All that L-O-V-E

I don’t know how many of you watched the Royal Wedding yesterday, but I did for about 45 minutes. I stopped just after they exchanged rings because I had a life to live. It was a really delightful service because of the inclusion of the minister who spoke about love. Not only was he a powerful and delightful to watch, but he spoke with such conviction about love and what it really is. I’m not a religious person, spiritual yes, religious no. I know a lot about religions from around the world, and I find a lot of the aspects of various religions to be quite delightful, and other parts not. And in all the religions I have studied or read about have I ever heard such a beautiful explanation of love. He truly made me cry. But he also gave me a lot to think about.

Oh there’s power – power in love. Not just in its romantic forms, but any form, any shape of love. There’s a certain sense in which when you are loved, and you know it, when someone cares for you, and you know it, when you love and you show it – it actually feels right. There’s something right about it.

And there’s a reason for it. The reason has to do with the source. We were made by a power of love, and our lives were meant – and are meant – to be lived in that love. That’s why we are here.~Bishop Curry 5/19/18

So powerful. Love is the reason we’re here. But like he said it isn’t just romantic love, but to love all because we are all one. Loving even when it is hard. Loving people who you completely don’t trust or someone who has terribly bad moral convictions or is just a terrible person for whatever reason, is viciously hard. But the thing is, it isn’t impossible. If that is the only reason that we’re on this earth, then why wouldn’t we strive to be this being of love?

I think of these lessons and I also think about how lucky I am to love someone who truly loves me back. Someone who I can say I love you to and have it feel right. I have said I love you to people in the past, and I always thought, and still do, that if saying it out loud took your breath away then it was real. The difference in telling those in my past that I loved them vs. telling Zack is that I don’t question that he means it when he replies. I don’t question if I mean it either, I just feel completely right in saying it. I’ve never felt completely right. Something was always wrong, like when I said it there would be a feeling of anticipation of whether or not someone would say it and actually mean it. And there were times I said it and I didn’t mean it, so there’s always a chance that they didn’t mean it. And the shitty thing is, we all didn’t know any better. But oddly enough I think I finally know better.

I was in love with Zack long before I ever told him. I was always afraid to screw up something by being too emotional, you know women have that stigma about them. But because I didn’t say it, and because I wasn’t being honest with him or myself it would give me anxiety. Dumb thing to have anxiety over, I know this, but anxiety is one of those things you can’t control. And after I said it I was totally scared about it, but I was also ready to not be anxious about something silly anymore. He’d proven to me many times that he wasn’t going anywhere, so why not go for it? And then I did and the words were welcomed and expressed back. And I never actually had anxiety over or about him or his feelings ever sense. For the first time in my life I seem to be right when I express that feeling, and when I say it I really mean it.

The weird thing is sitting here reflecting on those few people I expressed my love for and how really insignificant they were to me, but rather I was determined to have someone love me. I think the biggest difference is that I finally learned to accept and love myself the way I wanted someone else to love me. I spoil myself from time to time. I tell myself I love you. I take care of my body the best way I know how. I set goals and attempt to achieve them. And even when life sends me blow after blow I get the fuck back up. It might take me longer depending on what the blow is, but I find my way. It took me a desperately long time to not hate myself, and I think when I was telling those people that I loved them I wanted them to show me how to love me. Because I didn’t know how. But the awesome thing is now, everyday, when I wake up, even though sometimes it is hard to do, I find a way to love myself. And I don’t need Zack to validate me, but I do appreciate the affection and all the love he does provide. Sometimes I don’t think I deserve him, but I know he’s part of my life for a reason, to show me something, to be the catalyst for something, or maybe just to be a force of love in my life. I know one thing, I am so blessed.

So yesterday, when I was listening to the Bishop speak about love I really understood what he was talking about for the first time. I will continue to focus on how my life is here because of love and for love. Even when it is hard. Even when it seems impossible. I am here for love and I will do my best to not do anything else.

I hope you all have a lovely Sunday.

When Your Path Shifts…

We always think we know what is best for us, and honestly sometimes we do, but sometimes the universe knows better than we do. Some of us call it God, some of us call it a force greater than ourselves. Whatever it is that you call it, that force helps dictate the right path. Even though we think we know what we want, sometimes we just do things because we think that is what is supposed to happen, and then it doesn’t. Then we end up back at square one, trying to figure out what the fuck we’re actually supposed to be doing. That my friends is where I am today.

In the two weeks following the death of my father I wanted to make a big change and take a huge chance in my life. I applied to an EdD program (Doctor of Education) at the university where I work. I got all my paperwork together really quickly, and if we’re being honest, applied to the easiest program I could find. They didn’t require GRE scores (mine are out of date and I REALLY don’t want to take it again), they didn’t require huge essays, lots of writing examples, etc. It was super cut and dry. So, I applied. Wrote the letter of interest, focused on a topic that I thought they would gravitate toward. None of it was a lie, but it wasn’t the real truth of my being, if that makes sense. I got all the paperwork done and submitted. Then came the wait. I assumed I wouldn’t hear back until the official cut off date was here (May 15). Yesterday, I got my rejection letter.

I opened the letter, assuming that I honestly didn’t get in, and I was right. I didn’t get upset. I honestly hadn’t invested THAT much time in this attempt at higher education. I honestly didn’t even really want to get an EdD, but I did want a big change. I wanted something to happen in my life. I needed to fill a void. I needed to continue making my dad proud. I needed to do all these things, but the thing is I wasn’t being true to myself or the path I know I am supposed to take. My heart wasn’t in it. It wasn’t the right path. And despite my attempt at changing something quite big in my life, it didn’t work because I wasn’t supposed to do it. My sister told me to apply again next year. And I very well could, but why would I want to try this path again, when I honestly know it isn’t the right path.

For a long time my path has been art. It is the only thing I have ever been really passionate about. I really like yoga too, but we all know no one actually makes a living on yoga. Art keeps my attention. Genuinely, there is no way that I would want to continue a career that didn’t involve art. I tried the library thing, I thought it would get me a solid job and put me in a career that I would get to have for the next 50 years. It wasn’t my path either. It was a huge supplement to the art path, because it made me a much better researcher, still not meant to be my path. All of the rejection over the years should have been the indication of that, yet I still apply for library jobs and things never happen.

But the thing is I’m applying for those library jobs and the EdD program for the wrong reasons. I did it for the potential of a ‘good’ job, where I could have benefits and a decent income. I did it for the wrong reason though. Why would I even attempt to do those things when I know it would make me feel empty inside. I don’t want to work in university administration. I don’t want to work in a library (unless it is an art library). I just don’t. I want to be a scholar. I don’t even necessarily want to be a PhD, but I want to be a scholar. I want to write articles, have them published one day. I want to maybe even write a book and have it published too. I want to work on innovative new ways to take my art history courses to the online platform that is much more interesting than the way I have them now. I want to show the world that art, be it visual or musical or literary, is the most important thing in society. I want to present at conferences and show the world what I know. I want to be a scholar.

The one question is how does one become a scholar? Well, that part I have to figure out, but lucky for me I have some amazing mentors who are helping me each step of the way. I have a family that supports me. I have amazing friends who support me. I have an amazing man in my life who wants nothing more than to be supportive and help me in any way possible. I have the knowledge to explore different topics. I just have to find the time and dedication to make it all happen. This time I have, and this time I will start to utilize until I get on the right path and become the scholar that I know I am supposed to be.

Will there be hiccups along the way? Yes. Will there be highs and lows? Yes. Will there be many sleepless nights? More than likely so. Will I keep trying? Every. Day.

I hope everyone has a productive Sunday!

35 Years Ago

Today is my birthday. I was born today in 1983 at 9:27 in the morning. All of my birthdays leading up to this one all had one thing in common. My dad always made sure to send me a special note to tell me how proud of me he was and how much he loved me. Today my heart aches for that letter. Being a mile stone birthday, you know every 5th one is some sort of mile stone, I have no doubt that he would have had something very important to tell me, a memory he had of me or something we did together. But that letter obviously didn’t come. Instead of him calling, all I have are the copies of letters, emails, whatever. I’m wearing his sweatshirt. I’ve been working today and have been under his duck blanket while I work. I laid down for a short nap earlier and slept on a pillow that is now covered in a case my mom made out of one of his old flannel shirts. It even still smells like him. And even though I didn’t get to hug him when I was home over the weekend, I did have a few quiet moments with him, or what is left of him in the urn. And I have been waiting for this moment to happen today. For the sadness to take over and the tears to come. I’m thankful for them, and the memories that I have to cling to while I make it through this first birthday without him. Today All I have are things like this.

 

IMG_6388

Full, Blue Moon Yoga

Let me just say that today has been an awesome day.

The cat might have yelled at me to get up at the normal 6:15 to feed her, but it’s still been awesome.

I put together an awesome full moon yoga class on this lovely full and blue moon day. So much power to be absorbed today. I really had so much fun with the ladies from my class today. We made our way through a couple different moon cycles and had some balancing fun in half moon. It was also the best I’ve probably ever done half moon in my life!

One of the parts of my theme today was to pay attention to the impulsive behavior that comes along with a full moon, as well as the emotions and potential heightened senses. Something along the lines if you’re an impulsive shopper, probably don’t go shopping today. Or if you have a tendency to be emotional to be a little easier on yourself and just pay attention to the feelings that arrive in your mind. It happens to all of us. But not everyone pays attention.

From there I asked them to let go of the things that are no longer serving a purpose in their life. I think this part is a reason I’m having a good day! I’m starting to let go of things that have plagued me for a while. And by a while I mean some of them the majority of my life. Also, most of them are self inflicted. Tells you something. But in the moment, letting go is such a welcomed thing. You genuinely become lighter and smile brighter and all kinds of other thing!

In addition, yesterday was kind of monumental and plays into this. Letting go of anger and bitterness I have toward people I’m related to was a fucking powerful thing. And today, working with my students, helping them get rid of whatever they needed was so energizing! I can’t explain it, but the reward of teaching yoga is powerful. And because moon cycles aren’t super common I went through them with demonstrations. The full effect of the class was not achieved for me because I’m still the teacher, but the little bit of it that I did get was spectacular!

Now, I’m off to make a red velvet cake from scratch, for the first time, to take to the Stauble’s Easter celebration. Pray I don’t fuck it up! I cook, I don’t do so well baking, but I have faith that today, being as awesome as it is, will keep on being awesome and bring me success with this baking.

Have a happy Easter everyone. Love your people. Love yourself.

Early Morning Reflections

It’s Good Friday 2018. Once upon a time almost 35 years ago I was born on Good Friday, but this year my birthday didn’t match up with the lunar cycles. I will be turning 35 this year. Just a little over a week. I’ve dealt with the 30s pretty well so far. I never got that blues people get when they hit 30. Big deal, right? Just a number. But this year I feel a lot different. This birthday, while a marker that I’m just as close to 40 as I am to 30, this birthday isn’t hard because of the age. This birthday is hard because I won’t get my annual note from my dad. Legit, making me cry just writing that. How has it been almost 6 weeks? How has it been going so quickly? I just need time to slow down for a minute so I can take a breath. I make it through the daily routines fine, but I never actually get the moment to rest and reflect. I never get a chance to feel what it feels like to not have my father anymore. Life just keeps happening, and that is wonderful and I don’t want life to stop, but at the same time I need some rest.

I don’t have the most demanding job in the world, but I’m basically on call 24/7 when it comes to emails and such. I do my best to unplug from it and take time for myself, but it doesn’t happen easily. The only time it happened is when he died and I honestly couldn’t handle dealing with work. I could only handle being with family and loving on everyone.  I honestly don’t know how people do it and just jump back into life once someone dies. Shit, I feel bad because I keep writing about this. I feel like I should be moving on to better subjects like full moon yoga or something else, but here I am, stuck on this topic of death and grief. I’m not stuck on in, I’m more like swimming through it. Songs come on my playlist and I get the lyrics for the first time, even though I’ve listened to it so many times before. It’s so weird how that happens isn’t it? For Example. My friend Marah told me ages ago to download “Pray” by Sam Smith. So I did. It was a powerful song, and I like it but didn’t listen to it that much. Now, I think I listen to it daily because I get it. And it makes me think. “Everyone prays in the end” is one of the lines of the chorus, and I can’t help but wonder as he laid dying was he in his own mind enough to pray at the end? I know that he believed in God, and my mom tried to get him last rights, but I don’t know if he was in his own head enough to actually pray. He had a hard time talking to people because of the delirium that sets in from DKA, I just hope that he made sense to himself and was able to get that last prayer. I’m not a religious person, far more spiritual than religious, but I know from the time I knew he was going to the hospital to the end I fucking prayed. So maybe in the long run, if he couldn’t do it himself, maybe mine helped a little.

Another song that has been speaking to me lately is “Sunshine” By Matisyahu. Part of the chorus is “It’s raining in your mind, so push those clouds aside, forever by my side you’re my golden sunshine.” And I feel like my mind is full of clouds and rain lately. I put on a smile and make it through whatever I have on my plate that day, but I always feel like i’m on the verge of breaking. I sit on my couch alone during the day sometimes and just stare. I am genuinely running out of energy, and I know it will all come back in time. I know I will continue to piece myself back together, but right now everything is too wet and soggy from all that mind rain. I do consider my dad to be my golden sunshine.  And early in the morning when I hear those early morning birds chirp I think of him. I haven’t been to the ocean lately, maybe that is what I need to do. It’s the one place I know I can go and feel his soul. And I am so thankful to be by the ocean at this time in my life. It is saving my life, and feeding me an energy that I had no idea about.

I have so many friends who have lost their fathers over the past couple of years, three of them quite close to me. I can only say that I never wanted to be able to relate on this level with them, but I’m glad I have them to lean on. I try and express where I am mentally to those who haven’t experienced this type of loss, and while they mean well, they say shitty things, not meaning to, and it becomes one of those smile and nod situations. I mean, my own mom can’t even relate to the loss of a parent because both of hers are still alive and healthy in their 90s. I’ve never had to deal with the loss of a grandparent, which usually comes first. I know one day that I will have to deal with that experience, even though I pray it is a decade away (pretty sure my grandma will live forever).

So yeah. As the weeks go on, they say it is supposed to get easier, but I find that I am more compelled to say it doesn’t get easier it just becomes a more distant memory, which then becomes easier to deal with. My dad never got over the loss of his father. Grandpa died when dad was 27, just after I was born. I can only imagine what he had to deal with. Two small kids, his father died, still newly married. He didn’t have that man to ask questions anymore. And what a moment in life to have that taken from you. I can see why he never got over it.

While this is not a time to be mad about things, I am mad about a couple of them. My dad was the oldest of 7 siblings. I have seen and spoken to 4 of those siblings. Have the others contacted me, or my sister? No. I understand that they are going through their own grief, but you’d think that in a time like this they would find it in their hearts to take time and check on me, my sister, and my mom. No, I don’t have a relationship with these people because unlike my dad no one actually ever made an effort to be part of my life (and as elders I find that is their position in life and not mine). Am I bitter about it? Yes. Is this uncommon for his side of the family? No. Did he want me to have a relationship with his family, yes he sure did, and he made it a point to be part of their lives, so what the fuck happened? I guess the rift in our family that has always been there will continue to grow now that he’s gone. I will keep up with some, and it breaks my heart that it came to this. They didn’t even have to call, just fucking email me, facebook messages work too. My mom’s side of the family, the side I grew up knowing, his death has made us all closer. We are far more involved with each other since the funeral and its a fucking beautiful thing. I am so blessed to have such supportive and amazing people to call my family. I guess I just wish that the other half had given me more of a chance. All families have issues. Mine is not any different.

The one thing I will do differently going forward is forgive. The day before dad died I decided to reach out to someone I had a long, very serious hate toward because I decided to finally just be over it and forgive. So I reached out and told him that I forgave him and that I hoped his life was good. I felt so amazing after the fact and I let go of the pain that that grudge caused. It was an amazing day. So, today, despite my disappointment in my paternal family (some not all), I decide to forgive them. They don’t know their apathy has caused me serious pain in a time when I needed their love and support. So for that I forgive them. They also don’t know that I have taken notice in my 35 years on this planet that they have mostly been imaginary and no one taking an interest in the life of their niece/grandchild is entirely their loss, and not mine. It has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with them. So, to all my aunts and uncles who didn’t make an effort to communicate at the death of my father, I forgive you. He would have wanted it that way. And he is the only reason I do it. Because he wouldn’t want me to hold a grudge that causes me pain when I can just let it all go.

In closing, I’m making it. I don’t know how, but each day presents its own battles, and each day I fight them to the best of my ability. One day, I hope to be in a much lighter place, but as for now it’s still raining in my mind.

Those Normal Things

If I am thankful of one thing it is that my dad died right before spring break, so I had week to catch up on all the shit I missed the week before that I wasn’t in the classroom. Did it go smoothly? No. But it went and here I am in the last 48 hours of freedom before I have to pretend everything is okay again. Actually, I don’t know why I feel like that is what I need to do. I don’t have to be okay. I need to keep it together for my own sanity, but in the long run I don’t have to be okay. One day I imagine that I will be fine with him not being around, but this week and last week have been surreal. I keep waiting for it to hit me.

Yes, I avoided doing things this past week. I tried to make sure I left the house daily, but that only worked for the first few days. I bought groceries. I went to Lowes and got some stuff to plant. I’ve been going to the gym daily (but I don’t have to leave the complex to do that) and yesterday I did laundry and cleaned. I’m not just sitting around, but I’m not very driven to go out. I was invited to a birthday party yesterday, but I didn’t go. Zack wanted to take me to a movie, but I didn’t want to go. Why am I keeping myself locked up? Because I can control this area and myself. That’s all. I know I can’t control the world, and that’s not something I try to do anyway, but I needed to get a handle on myself.

Today I go back to the yoga classroom to take my spot as the teacher. I’m afraid to go and do things, but I have to remember to just be my authentic self. I don’t have to be okay for this class. I’m going over to Zack’s buddy’s house tonight, because I promised I would, and I need to get out. Going from zero things in a day to two things where I have to leave is nuts! But Monday I will have to go to work. I will have to talk to people and answer questions (I think this is the reason I don’t go out, because I don’t want to answer questions or tell people how it happened). I have a lot of other things to handle on Monday too. Back to busy organized Deirdre. Besides, I’m putting some things into play for my future. I have a lot of things to work on to make sure they go smoothly. Deadlines approach quickly, thus I have a lot of things to work on. All while still taking time for myself. My birthday is coming very quickly. I have a lot to do.

Honestly, I have nothing real to say. I’m just babbling. I’m ready to feel normal again. Not sure that will ever happen, so I may have to give up that dream, but in the grand scheme of things I would really like to. My dad would want me to go on living and thriving and making a place in this world for myself. He was always so proud of me and thought the path I am on in life to be interesting and unique.

I also want to take a minute and publicly thank Zack for being such a solid rock for me the past two weeks. He dropped everything to go meet a family he had only heard of, in a very awkward time in our lives. He made sure that I was okay constantly. He held my hand and me as I cried. He helped me reason through things I had to handle. He listened as I practiced my eulogy. He bought me ice cream, even when I really didn’t need to eat ice cream. He’s put up with my not wanting to leave the house. I am eternally thankful for him being around. It breaks my heart that he never met my dad, because they would have loved each other. They are quite similar in their love for history and a good debate. Dad was looking forward to meeting Zack over my birthday weekend when we planned to come up and visit for Easter.

I don’t know if you ever get over the heart break of losing a parent. I know my dad suffered with the death of his father daily. I never understood it. I never wanted to understand it, but I do. I can’t see his fucking face anymore. What happens when I can’t hear his voice in my head anymore? I know it is all part of a process. And I know it will be a long process.

I see him everywhere. I hear the birds outside my window chirping to welcome the sun, and I think of him. I hear the ocean waves crashing and think of him. I see people excited to plant seeds and grow plants and I think of him and how much he loved to play in the dirt (when it didn’t hurt him too bad). Right now there is a single ray of sunshine breaking through the blinds. It is illuminating a single purple flower in a bouquet of flowers some friends of his sent to the funeral. I see him in that ray of sunshine and that purple flower. And then my eyes well with tears and I am happy and sad all at the same time. I know I have the strength to keep going, but somedays it seems almost impossible. I know it isn’t, and that is why I still make sure to do things daily (even if I don’t think I’m ready to do them) jut so that maybe by chance I can feel normal and do those normal things.

Must get ready for yoga. Have a lovely weekend everyone.

The times we had

I’ve been surrounded by people that love me for the past day and a couple hours. I lost my father late on Wednesday night. My daddy. And this is the first time I have been alone (everyone else is sleeping) since the moment he passed. My stomach hurts. I never knew I had this many tears, and this is the most surreal moment in my entire life. Yesterday, sitting around at my parents house he wasn’t there. He wasn’t just late to show up to hang out with all of us. He isn’t coming back. I am devastated in knowing this. When people die suddenly you’re stuck with that long list of things like I wish I would have called more. I wish I had gotten to speak to him one last time. I wish this or that and the other. And yes, I wish I had been the last person to talk to him on the phone. His brother Jim gets that honor. The last thing I talked to him about what financial stuff and how I had gotten my taxes filed. He asked me if I was getting any money back. That was our last conversation.

On Valentine’s Day he texted me to tell me he loved me so much and wish me a happy day. The weekend before I had some questions about adult things (money shit) and I called him to ask him because I swear to God he knew everything. Especially when it came to finances. My eyes always glazed over with that shit but I knew I could always talk to him about something I didn’t understand and he could break it down for me. I can hear his voice in my head as I type this. He never said he was going to shower, he always said he was going to get cleaned up. He would always call me “honey bunch.” And he always worried that he hadn’t been there enough for me when I was a kid. He worked hard to support us and create a life that he thought we deserved, and he was a success. I never felt unloved a day in my life. I never didn’t know that my dad didn’t love me. He ALWAYS told me. And if I had been gone, living in New York or Wilmington, and I would come visit he would hug me so tight. Fuck, he gave the best hugs and I would kill for one. Just one more. One more night sitting on the couch watching tv and answering Jeopardy questions together. Or just talking about politics and other bullshit.

My dad and I had so many fun times, just the two of us. A trip to Maryland to go to the wooden boat show. We met up with some uncles and cousins upon arrival, but the trip itself was awesome. That was the first time I think we got to know each other. Later on many moons later we took another road trip to NYC to take me back after having my tonsils removed. He drove during the day, because he couldn’t see in the dark, and at that point it was my responsibility. We listened to the Allman Brothers and he was shocked that I liked them. We talked about everything in those trips. Dreams. What we thought life was supposed to be and what we aimed to do. He was so proud of me for going to NYU, continuing his fathers legacy. His father, I never knew, but he is my Godfather. He died shortly after I was born. And I never understood how hard that was for my dad to deal with, until now.

The one thing that my father always made sure of is that his girls never went without. He had a shit load of health problems. Some stem from his life time of diabetes and complications from that. Others happened along the way. His body wasn’t as strong as it used to be. It wasn’t firing the way it should. But despite breaking his ankle or his arm he still made sure that everything was handled. Yesterday, sitting on the desk in the kitchen I saw a letter penned in his hand and it was everything. Everything in that letter was what my mom should do and needed to do in order to make things go smoothly after he died. He wrote it 4 years ago. He knew this day was coming, and honestly we all did, because of his health issues, however, we always hoped he would beat the odds and stay a little longer.

I am lucky that I didn’t lose him 24 years ago when I was a child. He went into renal failure then, and ended up getting a kidney transplant from his brother Arthur. Arthur, always been my uncle and will forever remain as such, gave me my dad for 24 more years. Because of his selfless act he prolonged the life of a dying man. And that kidney was fucking amazing. It never faltered. Never once. And I am eternally thankful for my uncle. I always loved how when Art would call dad would answer the phone Hello, Governor. And Art would always reply, Hello Doctor. I always thought it was the funniest thing. When Arthur called me last night, hearing his voice was so refreshing and it brought me back to earth for a minute. I know he is devastated after losing his brother, but I also know that he knows the pain of losing his father. And because of that, my soul is humbled.

I worry the most about my mom. I know she is a strong woman, but I worry about her. He never let her go without. Be it having a cup of water waiting for her with dinner when she got home from a long day or making sure the house was cleaned, even though he could never achieve her standard of clean–hell, none of us can. So, if you could find it in your heart to keep her in the light over the next few months as she finds her footing in this new era in life, I would appreciate it.

I know I am lucky. I am lucky because my dad told me every fucking day that he loved me and that he was proud of me. Not everyone can say that and my heart breaks for them. He was more than a father, he was a provider, my #1 cheerleader, my voice of reason, my financial adviser (even though I epically suck at this shit), my rock, my dad, my daddy. There was one day when I got scared when I was probably 5 years old. We went to the hardware store in N. Wilkesboro and something, God only knows what, scared me and I started crying. He lifted me up onto his shoulder and rocked me. He told that everything would be okay and that I should just let it all out. He never got upset. He always had a calming voice. He also held me on that same shoulder at my great grandmother’s funeral. I was so high up (also 5 years old) and I looked back on the people at that funeral celebrating her, and I felt so safe, so content because he wasn’t going to let me hurt.

Daddy, I look forward to the day when our energies are together again, somewhere out there in the ether. I will continue pushing myself toward bigger and better things and continue to make your proud. I will look after mom, Ginny, and Heather. I will make sure they know they are loved, just like you would have wanted. You are the best thing that ever happened to me in this life and I will love you until my last breath fades. I know you’re with me, hovering just beyond this realm where I can’t see you. But I feel you. I feel that big bear hug wrapping me up as tears stream down my face. I will forever be your honey bunch, your baby girl, and you will forever be my daddy.

Happy 2018, y’all!

Oh man! How is it January 2018?! Where is the time going?!

Overall, had a lovely holiday break thus far. Tomorrow I go to the library to work on everything for my future classes. They start next Monday. Eek! I am also going to start writing my paper tomorrow as well, and get into my GRE study habit. 2018 is dedicated to my waist line and my future PhD. Woo! Big things gonna happen.

I’m going into the new year with a new attitude! Lots of positive love and thoughts for myself and others that I interact with. I’m excited to explore things with this attitude. I was reading my old facebook posts about the new year and I honestly keep telling myself the same thing. More love, especially for myself. And yet, I can honestly say that it has never happened. But this year, I’m hell bound and determined to have happiness and love and joy in my life. And, as you all are aware, that starts with me. Loving me for who I am right now in this moment. Discovering myself outside of my comfort zone, and learning to live. Living more than I ever have before. Adventures surrounded by hard work. What a year it will be!

Additionally, I’m turning 35. Officially my mid 30s. EEK! My first whole year as a yoga instructor. I was so humbled at my last class of 2017, 15 people showed up to share space and time on their mat with me. By far my largest class to date. It was so powerful, I didn’t even have space to put my mat down! So I was forced out of my comfort zone and had to teach with my words, and not my demonstration! It was a great challenge. And my boss was listening by the door and said that I did great! The students complimented me as well. It was a beautiful moment for me. 6 months into teaching and I have come off my mat. ❤

While my day today is going to revolve around food prep and preparing for my January Whole30 that starts tomorrow (so much wine to drink before then!) I am in such a happy place. My significant other has officially welcomed me into his life, I met his friends last night, and it was well received. Excited for my relationship to grow this year as well. I love him.

The Last Day

Today is the last day of university classes. And while we still took some notes and talked about the last couple of movements in my ARH 202 class (Renaissance to Modern) I did something different. I received a package this week from the Amplifier Foundation, which was an education packet of posters they put together to send to educators who were signed up for their program. Through this program educators are guided on how to have conversations about art and the changing face of America. I have been working as a volunteer with this organization since the Women’s March in Washington DC almost a year ago. I supported the kick starter to have the images produced, and I am the proud owner of the 5 original images. The We the People campaign was magical and I am eternally thankful for those who made this all happen. The conversation about art is vital and important.

As an Amplifier Educator I was supposed to open the dialogue about art, diversity, equality, activism, etc. Today, on the last day of class, I got there a few minutes early and put the posters that I was sent up on the wall around my classroom. I lectured for about 40 minutes and then asked the students to get up and look at the art in the room. From there I told them once they had looked at it all to stand by the image that spoke to them the loudest. Once they were settled in place I asked them to explain why. What about the image struck them and what did they see? Some were drawn to the science posters because they’re science majors. Some were drawn to the Native American inspired posters that fight for water and the earth. Some were drawn to the equality images as they see how incredibly unequal the world around them is and strive to change that. The three Shepard Fairey images the We The People series had 7 students hovering around them. When I got to them, and why they liked what they saw, all of them were drawn to the determination of the faces of the individuals. Some identified because they were the same ethnicity, as well, but even those students commented on the determination seen in their faces. The pride they have for being African American, Hispanic, and Muslim was electrifying them and they gravitated toward it.

Y’all, today was the first day that I felt students connecting and seeing the power that art has in society and the world. I felt their interest spark and the desire to know more grow in each of them. Curiosity is magical, no? I can’t even begin to explain the sense of gratitude that I have for my job today. Or how fulfilled I am by how magical that moment was. What a way to end the semester! I need more days like today. I wish I had the money to buy loads of posters each semester to give out to these kids so they could keep the conversation going. That was my only stipulation for those who got a poster. They had to keep the conversation going.

I am for once looking forward to the Spring semester. Excited to see how the interaction with the new crop of students will be. I can’t wait.

If any of you are interested in the amplifier foundation, check them out at http://www.amplifier.org.

Holiday Reconnect

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It has been a hot minute since I’ve had an opportunity to blog. Since I moved I’ve been running around, unpacking, traveling, etc. and quite frankly I’m so happy to be able to be home for a few weeks before the travels start again. I need this time to ground myself. Focus. Hang out and just breathe!

I have had a blast running around though. I went to New Jersey to see my friend, Olga, and her family. Her oldest daughter got married and the wedding was beautiful! Spending time with Olga was much needed. I hadn’t seen her in 8 years, since I moved out of NYC. It was just like old times though. The only the that had really changed was she moved, and she got a cat. Everything else, the same.

Upon returning from Jersey I had to work one day and then I was off to visit my family in the North Carolina mountains. I drove way too much, but I was happy to get the time to see everyone. I like hearing what they’ve been up to. It was also my cousin Jon’s 26th birthday on Thanksgiving. I can’t believe he’s 26. Scares me that the youngest (he’s 3rd from the bottom age wise with the cousins) group of kids in our family will all be in their 30s very soon.

I spent Thanksgiving evening with my parents at their house. Mom had to work, so she was unable to go to the festivities at grandmas, but it was nice to see her and spend time with both of them. I broke the news that I had been seeing someone, Zack (just in case you didn’t know either). They were quite happy and look forward to meeting him. It won’t be over Christmas, because he has to work, but none the less, one day!

So here it is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. December will be here Friday. My lovely yogi sister, Starr, has a birthday on Friday too! And it wraps up the end of the semester for me. I’m excited to have time off from teaching. I get to focus my time on doing some academic writing for myself and studying for the GRE. Hurray! Christmas break is so fun! I have planned on doing a yoga tour of Wilmington. Spending time learning and practicing from those around me. I am excited to experience some new things and really push myself to get outside my comfort zone. I’m stuck there, and I have to stop it. So, naturally, I am going to go to my mat and try all the things. There are so many wonderful teachers in this town (it’s legit over flowing with amazing teachers) and it is silly of me not to take advantage. I think I might start on Friday morning, since it is the first day I have ‘off’ from work. And I know just who’s class to take. Alexis, I’m coming for you!

In addition to my yoga tour, I’m excited to study. To spend time expanding my knowledge and working toward a larger goal. I have been anticipating this time off so I could focus and just work on stuff I want to do, instead of stuff I have to do for work. Not that I don’t like that stuff, but sometimes I find it really hard to actually split the two and I know that I need to learn to do that again. I plan to pursue some big things, and push myself again. I’ve done a lot of pushing this year, and I want to wrap up the year itself with one last one. It will lead me into 2018 and help me stay focused next year. Because, I’m not doing all this stuff to not keep at it. Dreams are worth chasing. And I’m trying to focus on some short term goals for now, that will possibly lead me to that bigger dream. Dr. Deirdre. It has a fantastic ring to it, no?

In closing, here’s to the last week of classes! I look forward to the month off. I look forward to the holidays with friends and family. I look forward to pushing myself outside of this comfort zone so I can grow and prosper in a different way.

2017 has been an awesome year. 2018, I hope you’ll be the same.

Namaste!