Internal Climate

Eerily quiet, chilly breeze, soft drizzle, and heavy clouds

My mind has surprisingly quietened

Just like the empty streets in my neighborhood

Oh, how good it feels to be home!

I feel a gentle nuzzle at my side

It’s just Hex

She hasn’t left me alone since I walked..

Yes!

Walked in the door two weeks ago

She even follows me into the shower now

She sits on the tub ledge in between the two shower curtains

As a woman who runs naturally hot, this change in temperature has been nice

I’ve had the windows open and been enjoying the cool fresh air

I know Houdini does too because he’s sitting in the window sill

The rhythmic beat of rain drops calms my soul

Reminds me of the consistent chirping crickets I play on my sound machine at night to fall asleep to

It’s soothing

Comforting

Familiar

The lack of sunlight is reassuring that I have control of the brightness, if I so choose

To lamp or not to lamp?

That is the question

The wet forecast swells

Weighing heavy on my heart

They increase together

In sync with Mother Nature

I take this as I am in tune with my surroundings

Grounding

The natural music to my ears and mindfulness

I softly whisper to myself:

“This won’t last forever.

Things will get better.

Get yourself together.

Light as a feather.

Simply enjoy this weather.”

My cranium is in a desolate, vast disarray:

Torn out pieces of crumpled paper littered about for as far as I can see

Puddles of spilt milk

Dry, cracked foundation

Overgrown, luscious poison ivy

Echoes of constant barking dogs

Fluttering birds dropping their poop everywhere

Herds of brittle tumbleweeds rolling through the chaos

I start by picking up, flattening out, piling, and filing the pieces of paper

Organizing them largest to smallest

Setting out the wet, transparent ones to dry

I turn up the heat and brightness to help the drying process along

This settles down the birds as they perch upon the file cabinets

This distracts the loud, obnoxious dogs to not focus on the now still birds

The dogs begin to fetch and bring me the strewn parchment

The birds start using their beaks to neatly place the papers in the drawers

I can use all the help I can get

Other pups catch and dismantle the stray tumbleweeds

Other fowls pull the botanical vines and fill in the cracked ground

I discover that who/what were annoyances are now helping me rearrange my messy thoughts

I realize that I’m feeling grateful for silence

I remember that even shit is useful

It fertilizes crappy situations into something beautiful

I notice how even spilt milk nourishes the thirsty mind and body

I carefully glove both hands to push the poison ivy down, further into the cracked crevices

I close my eyes and concentrate as I make the surface tremble together

The pieces align into a smooth leveled path

Illuminating my way to the combined “Enter / Exit” sign

I no longer feel confined in my own streamlined, refined design

The sun begins to brightly shine upon my face

I divinely breathe, “I’m fine.”

Open thine eyes

I sense my feline intertwined nearby

I now decline this benign deadline

I desperately pine for myself

I define this life of mine

Shivers down my spine

I refuse to resign

Rhythm and Rhyme

What songs are on your self-care playlist? 
Choose your favorite lyrics and tell us your story using those lyrics.

“Where words fail, music speaks.” -Hans Christian Andersen

I’ve been struggling with being able to write my blog recently, so this seemed fitting to share. This first song is also featured on my About Blogger section as my self-proclaimed anthem.

♫ ‘Cause I’m a warrior, I fight for my life
Like a soldier all through the night
And I won’t give up, I will survive, I’m a warrior
And I’m stronger, that’s why I’m alive
I will conquer, time after time
I’ll never falter, I will survive, I’m a warrior ♪

I worry about the future because of my anxiety. I’ve redefined myself as not a worrier anymore, but a warrior.

♫ Hush, just stop
There’s nothing you can do or say
I’ve had enough
I’m not your property as from today
You might think that I won’t make it on my own
But now I’m
Stronger than yesterday
Now it’s nothing but my way
My loneliness ain’t killing me no more
I, I’m stronger
Then I ever thought that I could be
I used to go with the flow
Didn’t really care ’bout me
You might think that I can’t take it, but you’re wrong
‘Cause now I’m
Stronger than yesterday ♪

Crying can be perceived as a sign of weakness, however crying demonstrates how strong one is. I’ve been struggling with my emotions. I cry when I’m happy. I cry when I’m sad. I cry when I’m mad. I cry when I am in pain. I cry when I am.. overwhelmed.

♫ (Ou mata e matagi)
I have crossed the horizon to find you
(Ou loto mamaina toa)
I know your name
(Manatu atu)
They have stolen the heart from inside you
(Taku pelepele)
But this does not define you
(Manatunatu)
This is not who you are
You know who you are ♪
[whispers] Who you truly are

The mix of languages being sung sends chills across my skin. This slow motion scene of the hero/protagonist, Moana, confidently walking toward the villain/antagonist, Te Kā, shows courage because Moana knows deep down that Te Kā will not harm her.

“Hurt people hurt people.”

“Her bark is worse than her bite.” Means that they seem much more unpleasant or hostile than they really are.

I struggle with the light and dark within myself. I am taken back by people who show me grace and understanding during my difficult moments.

♫ I’ve been staring at the edge of the water
‘Long as I can remember
Never really knowing why I wish I could be the perfect daughter
But I come back to the water
No matter how hard I try Every turn I take
Every trail I track
Every path I make
Every road leads back
To the place I know where I cannot go
Where I long to be
See the line where the sky meets the sea?
It calls me
And no one knows
How far it goes
If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me
One day I’ll know
If I go, there’s just no telling how far I’ll go ♪

Why do humans like shiny things? (haha, I know how ironic)
Researchers in the evolutionary aesthetics tradition have suggested that people prefer shiny objects because glossiness connotes water.”

I am drawn to water. I feel at peace when I am near a body of water. I am most comfortable in water. Weightless. Free. My dream home is waterfront.

♫ This is for my girls all around the world
Who have come across a man that don’t respect your worth
Thinkin’ all women should be seen and not heard
So what do we do girls, shout out loud
Lettin ’em know were gonna stand our ground
So lift your hands high and wave ’em proud
Take a deep breath and say it loud
Never can, never will
Can’t hold us down
Nobody can hold us down
Never can, never will ♪

The double standard of how a girl/lady/woman/female should feel, think, speak, behave, &/or dress is exhausting. We are worthy just as any other man.

♫ The whole world’s scared, so I swallow the fear
The only thing I should be drinking is an ice cold beer
So cool in line, and we try, try, try
But we try too hard and it’s a waste of my time
Done looking for the critics ’cause they’re everywhere
They don’t like my jeans, they don’t get my hair
Exchange ourselves and we do it all the time
Why do we do that, why do I do that?
Why do I do that?
Yeah, oh, oh pretty, pretty please
Pretty, pretty please, don’t you ever, ever feel
Like you’re less than fuckin’ perfect
Pretty, pretty please, if you ever, ever feel like you’re nothing
You’re fuckin’ perfect to me, yeah
You’re perfect, you’re perfect ♪

“You may not always be perfect, but you will always be perfect for me.”

Accepting someone as they are, flaws and all, is true unconditional love. Cherish it. I appreciate those who are patient with me. “Thank you for putting up with me.”

♫ Never win first place, I don’t support the team
I can’t take direction, and my socks are never
Clean
Teachers dated me, my parents hated me
I was always in a fight cuz I can’t do nothin’
Right
Everyday I fight a war against the mirror
I can’t take the person starin’ back at me
I’m a hazard to myself
Don’t let me get me
I’m my own worst enemy
It’s bad when you annoy yourself
So irritating
Don’t wanna be my friend no more
I wanna be somebody else
I wanna be somebody else, yeah ♪

I am my own worst critic. I get stuck inside my head often. I cannot stand to look at my reflection. Being at war with myself is exhausting. I am the bully and the victim. Sometimes, I need to be rescued from.. myself.

♫ When I was a young boy I was scared of growing up
I didn’t understand it but I was terrified of love
Felt like I had to choose but it was outta my control
I needed to be saved, I was going crazy on my own
It took me years to tell my mother, I expected the worst
I gathered all the courage in the world
She said, “I love you no matter what
I just want you to be happy and always be who you are”
She wrapped her arms around me
Said, “Don’t try to be what you’re not
‘Cause I love you no matter what”
She loves me no matter what ♪

I didn’t have to come out to my parents. My mom said she already knew:

“Ever since you were young, I noticed you have so much love to give. I knew your love was for.. everyone. Not just the opposite sex.”

If that doesn’t explain accepting and loving me “no matter what,” I don’t know what does. As for my dad, when my mom asked him about my sexuality, he simply said, “Her sex life is none of my business.” Well, there ya have it. My folks accept me “no matter what.”

♫ We don’t have time left to regret, hold on
And well take more than common sense, hold on
So stop your wondering, take a stand, hold on
‘Cause there’s more to life than just to live, hold on
‘Cause an empty room can be so loud
There’s too many tears to drown them out
So hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on
One single smile, a helping hand, hold on
Its not that hard to be a friend, hold on
So don’t give up, stand ’til the end, hold on
‘Cause there’s more to life than just to live, hold on
‘Cause an empty room can be so loud
There’s too many tears to drown them out
So hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on ♪

When I am in physical pain, I hold onto my own hand and squeeze it. I hold on. I hold on for dear life and endure until it passes.

♫ I can almost see it
That dream I’m dreaming
But, there’s a voice inside my head saying
You’ll never reach it
Every step I’m taking
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking
But I, I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high
There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb
The struggles I’m facing
The chances I’m taking
Sometimes might knock me down, but
No, I’m not breaking
I may not know it
But these are the moments, that
I’m gonna remember most, yeah
Just gotta keep going
And I, I gotta be strong
Just keep pushing on ♪

Progress isn’t a straight line or level for that matter. It’s an upwards climb with many obstacles along the way. There may be times where I lose, but I have to keep trying and not let my struggles break my spirit. Rise above the bullshit and face it head on.

♫ Party girls don’t get hurt
Can’t feel anything, when will I learn?
I push it down, push it down
I’m the one “for a good time call”
Phone’s blowin’ up, ringin’ my doorbell
I feel the love, feel the love

One, two, three, one, two, three, drink 3x
Throw ’em back ’til I lose count

I’m gonna swing from the chandelier
From the chandelier
I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist
Like it doesn’t exist
I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night
Feel my tears as they dry
I’m gonna swing from the chandelier
From the chandelier

But I’m holding on for dear life
Won’t look down, won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light
‘Cause I’m just holding on for tonight
Help me, I’m holding on for dear life
Won’t look down, won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light
‘Cause I’m just holding on for tonight, on for tonight

Sun is up, I’m a mess
Gotta get out now, gotta run from this
Here comes the shame, here comes the shame

One, two, three, one, two, three, drink 3x
Throw ’em back ’til I lose count

I’m gonna swing from the chandelier
From the chandelier
I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist
Like it doesn’t exist
I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night
Feel my tears as they dry
I’m gonna swing from the chandelier
From the chandelier

But I’m holding on for dear life
Won’t look down, won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light
‘Cause I’m just holding on for tonight
Help me, I’m holding on for dear life
Won’t look down, won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light
‘Cause I’m just holding on for tonight
On for tonight, on for tonight

‘Cause I’m just holding on for tonight
Oh, I’m just holding on for tonight
On for tonight, on for tonight
‘Cause I’m just holding on for tonight
‘Cause I’m just holding on for tonight
Oh, I’m just holding on for tonight
On for tonight, on for tonight ♪

I included all of the lyrics for this song because the repetition is important for addiction. It’s a vicious cycle. Filling up on a substance to feel empty inside. Where your ultimate goal is to forget your own memories. Unfortunately, all you’re doing is creating more problems instead finding a healthy solution.

This and That

If money didn't exist and there were no limits, what would your dream occupation be? 
How would you spend your days?

I would spend my days sitting upon a fluffy cloud, behind a large wooden desk, and before a mile long line of frustrated people who have come to me for.. ideas! I’d be the “Idea Person.” A Creative Problem Solver or Creative Consultant, if you will. These people have hit a roadblock, brain fart, or dead end and need assistance with an idea or ideas about anything under the sun: what outfit to wear, what dish to fix for dinner, how to respond to that person who’s been ghosting them, what to gift whoever for whatever occasion, how to decorate their home, what to name their new pet, what topic to write about on their school paper, what to say in their upcoming speech, how to arrange their furniture, etc. My brain never turns off and I love to come up with innovative/creative ideas to help people solve their unique obstacles!


Imagine your life is now a best-selling book. Write a summary for the back or inside cover.

Three steps forward and two steps back. Allison couldn’t walk until she was two years old. Hell, she was terrified to crawl! The rumor amongst the locals is she descends from mermaid or shark ancestors because of her numerous rows of sharp teeth. Nonetheless, she’s a Mythical Goddess! She may be a fish out of water, but she goes with the flow.. to survive. This heroine has to decide whether to rescue the Dominus in Distress, the stray animal, or the lonely child while trying not to lose herself along the way. Go ahead, turn the page to find out what “Dominus” means because now you’re curious. Come on down the rabbit hole and enjoy the fall. You’ll fall in love with Allison’s Adventures. Her name literally spells: “all is on.”

Dear Ms. Lloyd

Write a letter to a former teacher about where you are [now] and what impact they had on you.

I ran into my elementary Speech Therapist at the grocery store a couple years ago
So, I did get a chance to tell her what I was up to at that moment and thank her
In honor of Teacher’s Appreciation Week this week May 3rd – 7th

Dear Ms. Lloyd,
I travel the world as a Communications Specialist. I interact with dozens of Design Engineers from all the over the country, Canada, Mexico, France, and India. Being able to speak with every level of people, that’s all thanks to you!

You helped teach me how to speak so others can understand me and comprehend my words. This means more than I ever thought about before. I see others struggle speaking because of their speech impediments and getting lost in translation with others.

Spending those two years with you was time well spent with how I am now able to communicate with the world! You helped give me confidence! I’m no longer afraid to raise my hand or speak up for myself! Some would say I’m a Chatty Cathy, haha!

You’ve helped open so many doors for me in regards to career opportunities! I mean, come on, a “Communications” Specialist! My job title is verbally communicating in front of a group of people. How crazy is that?! I’ve also given a Maid of Honor speech, a Valedictorian speech at my college graduation, and [now] I speak/share my writing with a virtual Journaling Workshop every week.

I’d say I’m a success story! And I’ll say it again, “I’m a success story!” because I like being able to pronounce words correctly. It feels good!

Thank you again,
Your Grateful Student

Pigeonholes

See more alleys here
What are some labels other people have given you? How well do they fit?

Organized
Stubborn
Open-minded
Attentive
Unique
Teacher’s pet
Honest
Sensitive
Bookworm
Submissive

Personable
Creative
Nerd
Dependable
Worry wart
Considerate
Different
Respectable
Outgoing
Helpful

Friendly
Expressive
Loyal
Determined
Fashionable
Easy going
Constructive
Private
Black sheep
Attention-seeker

Nurturing
Affectionate
Dyke
“Confused”
Anorexic
Funny
Assertive
Bitch
Free spirit
Insubordinate

Down to earth
Smart aleck
Approachable
Intimidating
“Life of the party”
Flirt
Anxious
Snowflake
Particular
Charitable

Ginger
Rebel
Weirdo
Contradictive
Trustworthy
Independent
Defiant
Inclusive
Good listener
Passive-aggressive

How well do these labels other people have given me.. fit?

Well, not so well.. Appearance alone, people presume I’m attention-seeking because of my mohawk and bright fashion style.

I believe I’m just expressing myself. Letting my freak flag fly so other “black sheep, weirdos, and different” people feel comfortable around me. An unspoken icebreaker. We all belong.. somewhere.

“Come sit over here next to me.”

I think if we took the time to get to know each other, we’d label each other less.

I’m not a fan of labels.

At.

All.

“Labels are for cans, not people.”

– Anthony Rapp

Soft Embrace

Someone gives you a big hug and whispers just what you needed to hear.

“You’re enough.”

“You’re worthy.”

“Because you’re worth it.” -L’Oreal.

Thank you for clipping me coupons.

“There’s that bright smile!”

“Both hands,” I always say when you try to give me a half hug..

It’s just..

Unacceptable!

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a two handed hug..

I know.

Soon.

You’re not a touchy-feely-kinda-guy and..

I get it.

You don’t want to break me.

Lose me.

Well, more hugs the better.

Maybe if we squeeze each other tight enough all of our broken pieces will stick back together.

Bring it on.

Let’s give it a go.

I welcome your hugs, half hug, two handed hugs, or any hug you wanna give me.

Time is against us.

Let’s not waste it.

I’m here.

I’m still here.

I’m your baby girl.

No matter what.

Bring it in, Big Guy.

Let’s..

Hug. It. Out.

Knock, Knock

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

[Silence]

I open the door to see the back of her head..

Walking away..

From me.

Knock, knock.

Who.

Is.

There?

[Silence]

I hate being ignored.

She’s a real piece of work.

It’s been four years since we’ve seen each other..

And spoken to one another.

I’ve seen her numerous times in between then.

I’ve tried reaching out.

All I’ve gotten is..

[Silence]

Silence..

Is..

So..

LOUD!

It’s deafening.

It hurts my ears.

It hurts my..

Heart.

What a heartless person.

It.

Just.

Hurts.

I try to see her perspective.

She may have her reasons.

She must have her reasons.

I’ve theorized quite a few.

If any/all are true..

I’ve accepted it.

I’m an only child.

Don’t even get me started on my brothers.

I’m an only child.

I’ve accepted it.

I do miss her.

Well..

I miss..

Certain parts of her.

Definitely not her..

Attitude.

Judgment.

Loose lips.

Superiority complex.

Insults.

I’d rather adjust to her absence..

Than be frustrated by her toxic presence.

My message to her that may very well forever go unanswered:

“Thank you.

Yes.

Thank.

You.

Thank you for showing me how not to be a sister.

Thank you for making room for other people..

Who have stepped up..

Who have chosen to be in my life..

They are my chosen family.

And you’re..

Missing..

Out.

Oh, well.”

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

[Silence]

I don’t care anymore.

This piece I wrote during another Journaling Workshop virtual event hosted by The Mighty that I attended earlier this week. Again, I can’t say enough about this group. They’re such a breath full of fresh air. I enjoy their company. We let all the feelings out on the floor. As I mentioned in my last post and the post before that, I highly recommend checking out their virtual events (&/or articles, social media posts, etc).

I debated about attending this virtual event since I’ve been under the weather, but I powered through it because I knew.. I needed it. It’s one of the few things I look forward to these days. Besides, nobody there could catch my germs, even if I was contagious.. Well, maybe their computer could catch a virus or two! Haha.. I’m glad I stuck it out and joined because a good piece came out of it. Go figure, even with my irritability and fatigue. I really thought I wouldn’t be able to churn anything out.. besides.. nonsense.

I chose the above photos to complement my piece because the covered bridge represents the care I had taken to preserve our estranged relationship. To bridge the gap.. between us. I kept hope alive longer than warranted. I didn’t want to burn any bridges. I’ve decided to take the high road. The covered bridge has a plaque that reads: Hyde Road. How fitting! How punny. Hy..de Road. High road.

The covered mailboxes are taken care of too. To protect those precious messages. Each mailbox is different. Varying in size, design, color, material, condition, and even how it’s attached to the post. Some by nails, brackets, or bungee cord! Some are barely holding on by a thread. Some are enclosed. Some are open ended with no cover. How symbolic of how we, humans, are.

Every family is dysfunctional.
I have chosen to function through the dysfunction.

Every relationship takes a hiatus.
I have chosen to make the most of the time I have.. with the people who choose to be.. Present.

The TGIF that turned into a WTF

The road map of life gives us countless avenues, U-turns, alleys, side streets, ol’ dirt roads, highways, exit ramps, bypasses, detours, overpasses, fast lanes, railroad crossings, pit stops, and forks in the road. We’ve all hit a fork in the road in our lives at some point. Some more than others. I hit one recently. A pretty big one, at that. It’s going to change how I spend most of my time. I lost my job. I guess there’s a first time for everything. I always have a plan, a backup plan, and even a Plan C. Just in case. I’m a planner. It’s what I do. It’s how I operate. My anxiety is mostly worrying about the future.. because the future is unknown, unpredictable, and scary.

I gotta admit.. I was blindsided. Hell, I’m still recovering from whiplash. Luckily, the damage that’s been done hasn’t diagnosed me as totaled. I’ve been given a severance package, which is nice. I will receive a payout for my unused PTO. Awaiting to hear whether I will receive my bonuses I earned/accumulated from last year. Pretty sure I won’t, which sucks! I keep forcing myself to focus on the positive and be thankful for how this ended. I’m fortunate to have such a strong support system in my life. Sure, the road flares are lighting up the dark night sky; but my air bags deployed properly, my hazard warning lights are flashing, and my road crew is taking care of me.

I first spoke of my job in my first blog post:
“For the past five years, I’ve been desperately craving a creative outlet because my day job, while it has great benefits and flexibility, is at an IT company that I find monotonous; however provides me the luxury of ample spare time to express myself outside of the cookie cutter IT world.”

Maybe this is my opportunity to explore creative positions the world has to offer.. well, at least in the metropolitan area. I am open to a remote position where I can work from home. With the way technology is advancing nowadays, remote positions seem to be more common than not. I theorize, someday soon, if we must report to the office or meet a client that our presence will strictly be in hologram form.

In Kindergarten, I was assigned a project where I had to lay down on a large sheet of paper, trace my body outline, and draw/color in my future-grown-up-self. The stereotypical “What do you want to be when you grow up?” assignment that every kid in the world is asked at some point in their young lives. Most kids’ answers were: firefighter, rock star, athlete, veterinarian, astronaut, president, etc. Nope, not me. I wanted to be a Planeteer. Specifically, Linka who had a magical ring that could create and/or manipulate the element, Wind. I have cared about the environment from a very young age because my parents recycled way before it was the “cool” thing to do. I’m proud to say that I’ve never littered in my life and don’t intend to.

Interesting how kids’ answers change throughout their young lives because they are asked that stereotypical question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” over and over. I remember changing my answer several times. I wanted to be a Veterinarian once when we got our first pet, a black and white bunny named Oreo. I believe I changed my mind about that career path because I couldn’t stomach blood or putting an animal down.

I remember briefly wanting to be a singer in junior high. We had a guest speaker in our Health class, they tricked us into thinking that our answers would be confidential and placed in a time capsule for however many years. I thought.. I had a good voice, but now.. I’m sure it’s only good enough for karaoke, haha.. Disney karaoke, specifically! I highly recommend visiting the bar formerly known as Video Archive, now known as Tiki, where they have Disney Karaoke on the last Thursday of every month.

I was not fond of being forced to take a Study Hall period in junior/high school because we weren’t allowed to talk or get up from our seats whatsoever. I volunteered to work at the Library as an assistant in lieu of study hall. That was where my love of reading and books skyrocketed! I thoroughly enjoyed organizing, alphabetizing, and categorizing books on shelves. Creating displays, coordinating events, and interacting with faculty/students. This is where I obtained my exceptional skill of multi-tasking! I wanted to be a Librarian! I’d love to be a Librarian today. I happen to know a couple librarians and they rock! You know who you are!

I decided to accompany my junior/high school classmate to try out for our school’s dance team. This classmate was one of those people who couldn’t go anywhere or do anything by herself. She didn’t drag me there, but I wouldn’t have tried out on my own. So, in a way I thank her for helping me discover my love of dance! I tried out and made the team! I had never done any formal training before, so I was quite surprised to say the least!

I remember one pep rally; our Dance Coach couldn’t attend for whatever reason so the Cheerleading Coach stepped in to assist the Dance Team during our performance. I was super nervous, as I always was before any routine in front of whatever size audience. The Cheerleading Coach decided to turn us a different way, away from the bleachers, and toward the Freshmen class (including the marching band). These were my people. My Freshmen class. Some friends of mine cheered us on. Cheered me on. It helped shake my nerves, so.. I just let loose. Put it all out on the floor.

The crowd was ROARING! I think it also helped that our routine was the longest one in our arsenal and.. it had a lot of pelvic thrusts and booty shakin’ moves. When we changed formation positions, I noticed the other girls weren’t really putting their all into each move and their facial expressions weren’t lively or animated. This made me feel good that the crowd’s positive, loud response was most likely for me. My theory was proven to be correct after our performance as I tried to leave the gymnasium. I had several of my classmates, some I knew and some I did not, come up to me, pat me on the back and compliment me on my dancing skills. I felt a little taller as I walked down the hall. Made me feel good.

Then.. the Cheerleading Coach (who coached our undefeated National Champion Cheerleading Squad) came up to me and asked if we could speak in private. I always initially have that stomach dropping moment where I feel like I’m in trouble and am being sent to the “Principal’s Office,” even though nine times out of ten, I haven’t done anything wrong. She asked me if I was interested in transferring over to the Cheerleading Squad! I. Could. Not. Believe. It. What a compliment! I knew the majority of the Cheerleaders were having issues landing their back handsprings. They were having issues with gymnastics, in general.. and that was hurting their squad. They were losing their edge.. and of course, increasing their chance of losing their undefeated title in the upcoming championships. I politely declined because I did not know how to do a back handspring or any gymnastic move for that matter. Also, my cheering voice was not great, haha.. She seemed disappointed, but I knew it was the right decision.

Even though dance was a short-lived experience in my adolescent life, I did want to be a Dancer when I grew up (not so much anymore since my knees gave out on me, haha..). Being a Dancer was up there on the list. Right next to Librarian. If you’ve read my first blog post, Once Upon a Blog, (go on, click it.. read it, I’ll wait.. I got all the time in the world now.. #FUNemployment); I talk about how I developed my passion for creative writing and photography, which spawned into my Graphic Design college major. I like to think that I am a creative person all around who has to wear many hats. Graphic Design includes being your own photographer, creative writer, web designer, social media specialist, print designer, etc. Please feel free to check out my portfolio website here. Hell, if you know of anyone who could help me find a job (in any or all of the three written positions in bold above), please share my LinkedIn profile with them. I’d appreciate it! Need all the help I can get!

I was apprehensive to publicly share my career setback this week, however, am glad I took the risk because I think humility can be a compelling attribute. I admire those who possess and share this quality. I hope the next time you hit a fork in the road and you just can’t seem to make it safely over to the shoulder; know that your road crew will be there for you: previous colleagues, professors, classmates, and/or family members. It’s important to network til you land on your feet. It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” -Proverb. Trust that you are not alone. Please share your fork in the road stories in the comments. I’m interested to hear about them!

Waiting for the Fog to Lift

Have you ever been in a funk that you can’t seem to shake? We’ve all been there. I’ve been in a funk ever since I returned from overseas. Jet-lag isn’t to blame as some of you may suspect. If it was, that’d have to be some serious jet-lag; considering we were only away for a week and have been back to the States for months! Haha..

In my Transformation post, I mentioned that I have intermittently utilized medication to help with my therapeutic process. Upon our return from the across the pond, my therapist and I decided it was time to revisit medication. I admit, it helps take the edge off my anxiety, which was at an all-time high. Dangerously high. It scared me. The new medication allows me to relax, and sleep comfortably; however, it has fogged my creativity. Being in this fog has affected my life in numerous ways. One of which is of course.. being able to write/create this blog. My boyfriend, Jaimie, suggested, more than once: “Just write about the fog!” It took some convincing. I pondered the idea for a while and thus.. this long overdue blog post was born! Welcome back readers/subscribers! I hope you missed me! As I have missed you all so! I’m curious if you had any theories as to where I went and what I was doing.. in lieu of writing. Please feel free to share any theories you may have had! I’d love to hear them!

I believe the winter weather has also contributed to my funk, the fog, and severe lack of motivation to be creative. I just want to curl up into a ball, under a pile of blankets, and hibernate until spring. I find myself sleeping more than usual (medication side effect), which has put the household chores on the back burner. Speaking of, I have a dirty pan literally on my back burner at home. Hey! At least I scraped the leftover egg particles out of it.. haha! No judgment. Oh! “No judgment” reminds me of my beloved Dance2Fit studio that closed last month. It was where I reignited my love of dance. I found my tribe of women friends there. It did hurt my soul not being able to attend as often as I would’ve liked since I moved an hour away.

I’ve gained quite a bit of weight since autumn, which has affected my self-esteem and confidence. Turns out that weight gain is also a side effect of the medication I am taking. I’ve modified my food choices and portions. At work, I try my best to stand at my desk as much as possible. Sometimes, I sneak in some squats and stretches too. I sit occasionally when my knees bother me. I walk around the office to complete various tasks throughout my workday. I think every little bit helps, for sure.

I’m in the process of looking into a new studio to dance at. Exercise must be a fun activity so I can trick myself into staying active and becoming more fit. I think I’ve narrowed it down to one fitness center that has a little bit of everything: various group fitness classes, which include dance and yoga (I’ll be attending these, maybe try some others), exercise equipment, and my favorite: massage machines to help relieve sore muscles after working out! Oh! I can bring a workout buddy for free, however they have to pay for the classes, if that’s what they want to do. All the other perks are available for them. I’m sure my boyfriend, Jaimie, will be utilizing their treadmills when it’s too cold or too hot outside. I don’t blame him. Hell, I don’t even run! If you ever do see me running, something is chasing me, and you should run too!

I’ve been spending a lot of time with my new Little from Big Brothers Big Sisters. We hang out once a week for a couple hours. She’s a quiet, shy little nine-year-old, which is fine by me because I talk enough for the both of us! Haha.. I try to change it up every week: physical activity, arts and crafts, board games, culinary, theatrical, educational, volunteer, etc. I thoroughly enjoy volunteering, BBBS included, however I’m looking forward to sharing that with my Little. We’re due to volunteer at a food pantry soon. This may be her first volunteering experience. She mentioned at the beginning of the year that she has a 2020 Goal of reading twenty chapter books, so I added a trip to the library once a month so I can help her achieve her goal! I’m a bookworm, so this adjustment to our scheduled activities doesn’t bother me a bit! I did support/accompany her (and her family) when she ran a 5K for Girls on the Run. Her mom and I walked that, haha! We’ve attended a couple BBBS sponsored events, which are nice because they’re free! Free is always good. We met another Big and Little at these BBBS events and we recently had an arts and crafts play date. The girls seem to enjoy spending time together. They’re complete opposites and there’s a couple years difference between them. Guess opposites attract! I should know because I think we’re a good Big/Little match! Kudos to our BBBS Match Support Specialist! I highly recommend volunteering for BBBS nearest you! It is rewarding and fun!

There was a health scare in my family that did put things in perspective for me about how every day of life is precious. My dad had to have his left kidney removed, which was scary because we weren’t sure if his body would adapt to operate with one kidney or if he would need to be put on dialysis. He’s recently retired from twenty-five years of service driving for a transportation company (fifty years in the workforce). He transported mentally and/or physically disabled, elderly, dialysis patients, etc. He may have been in his clients’ shoes. I’m happy to report he is doing well post-surgery! I’m glad that my mom is retired as well so they can keep each other company. Oh! They did recently get another dog, so their dog now has a playmate. This makes my heart happy because he really did need a buddy to run around and play with in their large backyard.

Speaking of playmates, Jaimie and I recently got another cat, so our cat, Hex, has some company while we’re away at work. She had separation anxiety issues when we would leave every day. She would get sick and tear up the carpet. It took time for them to adjust to one another. Our new cat, Hairy Houdini, is a lot younger and more kitten than cat. He’s very playful and rambunctious. Complete opposite of Hex. They tolerate each other at best. There were hierarchical issues when it came to food, however she has reclaimed her role as Alpha and he is the Beta. I’m happy to report that Hex has not gotten sick or torn up the carpet as often as she used to, so I consider this as a win! She has been too distracted with chasing/bullying him around that she’s forgotten how anxious she was about being separated from us. I must admit, I’ve transformed into a cat lady. I enjoy snuggling my cats and being a homebody. Toss in a good book and tune in to WMKV 89.3FM.. and I’m content for hours!

Another thing that affected my motivation, mood, and creativity was having a life-changing adventure with Jaimie in London and Amsterdam. We had so much fun together exploring, spending real quality time together, and experiencing a lot of firsts together; that when the trip ended and we came home to reality.. it deeply affected me. We’re both empathetic people so we kind of fed off one another and kept asking each other: “What’s the matter?” We concluded that we were inadvertently bringing one another down. We believe things will lighten up a bit when we start planning our next vacation. We decided to add a couple mini vacations or weekend road trips in between to keep ourselves in check. We desperately crave something to look forward to. Time away from work. We need that work, play, life balance. We are both consumed with wanderlust!

I took the two above photos of a vulture on a roof and flying off awhile ago when I was entering my office building one foggy morning. I noticed the vulture’s intense concentration: waiting for the opportune moment to fly. I’m sure it had an internal, instinctual checklist: adjust for the wind’s speed and direction, factor in visibility per foggy conditions, and be clear of all air traffic obstacles. I edited the two photos into one photo, edited their shape into ovals, added a blur effect on the edges, and adjusted to fifty percent transparency to exaggerate the fog. I tend to edit photos individually and then post them as a single image within WordPress, however this process seems to be better. I did utilize Microsoft PowerPoint this time around. I’ve previously used the application called Polish (on my Android smartphone) to edit photos quickly. If any of you follow me on social media (Facebook or Instagram), I post an announcement photo that somehow relates to my weekly blog post. This week’s announcement photo just makes me giggle! Feel free to check it out!

I was anxious to publicly share my ongoing internal struggles after this long of a hiatus, however, am glad I got back up on the horse; in more ways than one! I admire and respect those who’ve been knocked down but refuse to give up. I hope the next time you feel stuck in your head and you just can’t seem to shake it; that you’ll take the time to seek the help you deserve, whichever avenue you choose: therapy, medication, exercise, meditation, diet, etc. Trust that you are not alone. Please share your foggy stories in the comments. I’m interested to hear about them! We can help and support each other in our trying times.

Let’s Play “I Spy”

  • Look to your left
  • Look to the right
  • Look in front of you
  • Look up
  • Look down
  • Look behind you
    • BOO!
    • Gotcha!
    • Haha..

Find anything interesting? What would you choose as your “I Spy” object? Think about why you chose that. Really examine it. Get as close as you can to see it in detail. I prefer to choose an unusual yet specific object when I play “I Spy” because I’m competitive. I like to set the bar in hopes that my opponent will step it up when it’s their turn, so the game will become more challenging as we go. I’m sure it’s been awhile since you’ve last played “I Spy,” I know it has for me! Playing games aren’t just for kids.. I mean, think about it..

Whilst playing any of the above games, I would usually find faces in inanimate objects! Do you see faces too? One of the first memories I have of seeing an inanimate object face was when I would jump up and down on my parents bed and watch myself on their huge vanity mirror. They have this glass ceiling light fixture with blue accent shapes.. and the blue accent shapes look like an angry face! It was kinda symbolic of the “strict” no jumping on the bed rule that my folks rarely enforced. I did enjoy singing “No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” while.. jumping on the bed; I was such a rebel! The bottom center three flowers are the eyes and nose. The curved line is a sly smile. The top flowers are its wild, frizzy hair.

“I see you.. misbehaving!”

Another one of my early memories I had seeing an inanimate object face was in my childhood home bathroom. Below the sink, the bottom right cabinet door’s wood grain looks like a cloaked pig chief holding a staff while addressing his tribe. Do you see a pig? The snout is distinctly pronounced. Its tongue is perfectly shaped inside its open mouth. Pointed ear, enlarged eye, and I think this swine was reincarnated as a tree!

“Oink oink my fellow hogs!”

Another cardinal rule in my house growing up was: no playing with your food! I never did well abiding by rules.. I was a little stinker! I dare you to ask my parents about the spaghetti slinging incident! Oh, it was infamous. Anywho.. I do like how my food makes silly faces at me! The photo below has a Tupperware lid making impressions: two eyes and an open mouth. Maybe it’s shouting at me. What do you think my mashed potatoes would say if it could?

“Have a spud-tacular day!”

Even when I eat out at a restaurant.. My food speaks to me! My garden salad remnants decided to make a silly face at me in its shallow lemon dressing. I highly recommend Kinneret Grill! The sampler is to die for! If you’re not stingy, it’s enough for two people, haha.. Their vegan shawarma is the best faux meat I’ve ever had! Oh, their maple glazed sweet potato fries.. are delish! Everything is made fresh, large portions for a decent price, and I thoroughly enjoy the hospitable atmosphere!

“Lettuce pray.. Olive you!”

While visiting a friend of mine at her house, I noticed her little space heater was winking and smiling at me! See how the knobs are different and the red light is the tongue? Oh, and the indentation of the plastic makes a smile. Whoever designs these machines must be having a good ol’ time!

On a road trip years ago, I photographed a bathroom dispenser because it reminded me of The Brave Little Toaster movie and its secondary character, Air Conditioner, (voiced by Phil Hartman). I combined the two photos into one per Android’s collage feature so I could see the resemblance side by side! This movie seemed to inspire Disney to create.. Toy Story! Similar concept, but kids relate more to their toys than household appliances, so I understand why one’s more popular than the other. Do you find yourself telling inanimate objects to: “Stay!” when they’re about to fall? I need to know I’m not alone.. Please tell me you do the same thing!

One day when I was a kid, my girlfriend and I were stuck hanging out at her uncle’s job at Rent-a-Center. We setup camp on an extra large sectional couch with our Burger King Cini-Minis and milk. Every TV played The Mask, on a loop, for his entire eight hour shift! One particular scene (1:38-2:48) was where I first learned about the Rorschach test. This later inspired my abstract painting style.. with a twist. I specifically painted my nude body and then imprinted myself onto the canvas. I tried to make it as symmetrical as possible, except for the random splatters to fill the negative space. This is a good conversation piece when guests visit. They tend to blush more than I do!

What do you see?

An illustrator I admire is Hanoch Piven; he works with mixed media to create colorful, witty portraits. He is best known for his celebrity caricatures. He uses everyday objects and arranges them to hint at their identity. I created my own little portrait with a water bottle, some googly eyes, a Lisa Frank lip sticker, & Silly Putty. All of these items are in my office desk drawer! You can tell that I don’t like meetings because I get lost in my own world.

I must ox you a question.

I hope the next time you’re playing a game or daydreaming, that you’ll be inspired to take a moment to examine the details.. such as inanimate objects that look like faces! Who knows? Maybe you’ll start your own faces photo collection. If you do, please follow me on Instagram or send me a Facebook friend request and share them on my page! I’d love to see them! I’m sure the other readers would too!