Category Archives: Life

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.

 

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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.

Personal Evolution

Lately I have been doing a lot of writing. Just in my own journal because I love the feeling of pen on paper. I like the tactile quality of doing things the “old fashioned” way. I have a love/hate relationship with the screen too. As someone who has spent so much time hanging out in academia I have spent too much time in front of the screen! So getting away from it is a blessing. And carrying around a journal instead of a laptop is, by far, much easier.

A very wonderful friend of mine has recently started a PhD program at FSU in Tallahassee Florida and while she has been separated from me I still feel like she is close by. We were talking yesterday because the job she wants is open in the location she wants. The only problem is that she needs the PhD to be able to get the job. I flirt with the idea of going back to school for that doctorate. I want it some days, and other days I struggle with the idea of putting my student hat back on. What happens when I finish and have spent so much time and effort doing this great thing, and there’s nothing for me to do with it at the end, beyond what I already do? Don’t get me wrong the title alone would be epic for me, and I’d be the first doctor in my family, but I often struggle with the potential future that it would create. Yes, I would love to be able to study and do the things that I love in this world more effectively and write about them. Yes, I would love to be able to find a tenure track position and teach art history to the masses (because maybe one day it will be important again!). And I realize that I have to be far more dedicated to my studies than I already am in order to achieve any of this. There is lots of studying involved in even being accepted to a program. There’s lots of writing as well. Which I don’t mind, I just am so out of practice of all of these things that I feel I might be completely terrible at it. And I know that I probably will be at first, but eventually it will all come back. I’m not stupid, I am quite capable. I may in fact be the best damn researcher on the planet (I’m not really, but I’m damn good at it!). So what gives? What is holding me back? I honestly don’t know, other than fear.

So what is fear? Fear of failure? Fear of never being accepted to a school? Fear of not finding a university that would actually pay me to be there, because there’s no way I can afford to take out any kind of loan to do this degree. It will have to be a completely full ride. Basically, I have to get over these fears. If I try, and actually apply myself then I should find a program that will see my potential and let me in. If I try and actually find myself succeeding, then I will know this was the right path for me, yes? And maybe the universe will recognize the effort that I’m putting into it all. The personal evolution that I am going through to let go of these fears and just let things happen. I keep saying that I want my new place to be a different kind of energy and getting rid of the fear that lingers in my head about these tasks is something that has to be left behind. I’m throwing them out with the old furniture that I am not bringing with me! I’m letting it go with the old clothes that I donated. I’m throwing it all away with the trash I leave in the dumpster. Because I can do this. I know I can.

At first I didn’t think that I could be a successful yoga instructor, but I am slowly growing into one. I have had some great mentors! So if I can go from thinking that I’m not the best, to actually thinking that I am pretty good on the mat, then I can find my way to apply that to my education and growing my crazy number of degrees. Counting my High School Diploma I have 5. And one day, counting my high school diploma I want to have six.

I want that PhD. I don’t care what I have to do to get it. If I have to study all night, and work all day, then I will do what is required. It is something I haven’t been able to stop thinking about for a long time. And they say (whomever “they” are) if you can’t stop thinking about it then you should probably just go ahead and do it.

I know that I am on a path of growth. I am uncomfortable most of the time, and that is simply me adjusting to this new realm of possibility. I want to be something better than what I am. I want to be the best that I can be. I want to work every day to find my way to that better place. I want to study and to grow and learn.

The journal that I am writing in these days, the cover says “The best way to get something done is to begin” and the only way that I can get this done is to start. I have to. I know how to. I just have to actually do it. So I suppose I should stop milling around, grab a fresh cup of coffee and dive into something beneficial for me and my future. No matter what it is, no matter how little I think I am accomplishing, a little is better than none. And eventually that “little” will evolve into something much bigger. Even pennies add up to something!

Fear is no longer an option. I have to push forward. The universe is pushing me in that direction and I can no longer resist.

❤ Namaste

Onward and Upward

I have busted my ass as long as I can remember. I had a part time job starting at the age of 14 and always had a job since then, aside for the 6 weeks I didn’t in 2014. I have gotten an education along the way. Constantly pushing myself to prove, mostly to myself, that I’m not a moron. I was never an A+ student. I was an A/B student with the occasional C in math. I hate math. I’m an artsy type, so that isn’t abnormal.

In the 20 years I have been in the workforce I have worked in all kinds of places. I started out filing papers in a doctors office after school. I then moved on to retail in Jewelry, Kmart, then on to lots of restaurant jobs, back to retail, back to food, back to retail. Then in New York City I ended up working in education. I always said I wanted to teach. More specifically that I wanted to teach Art History. I had such great teachers in college that I wanted to be just like in my own way. I thought I could do it. So I set out on a path to do it. But turns out that path involves a PhD. So, I started with the Masters. I went to NYU and got that taken care of, amazingly. I never thought I would be smart enough to hang with the elite of NYU, but I graduated with a 3.6 GPA. So, you’d think I had the ability to tell myself I was pretty smart by that accomplishment, right? Nope. Still thought I was a moron.

I came home from New York and got a crap job. I stayed in that job and moved up for a few years. Then I went back to school for a degree in Library and Information science. I always saw so many openings for librarians when I searched for jobs. What the hell right? I busted my ass to get through library school in 18 months. I worked in a library for 2 years, one year in grad school and the other year just after. I like it. It was fun. Being surrounded by so much knowledge on a daily basis. I graduated with a 3.95 because I got an A- in a class. So, you’d think that would set me straight, and I would be confident in my knowledge. Nope. Still always second guessing my skills, what I knew how to do, etc.

I got laid off in 2014 from that library job. They didn’t want to hire me, as I was just a temp for a year. I suppose it isn’t good to be progressive around some folks. I accept that. At that point I was unemployed. I got 3 unemployment checks before I started working in retail again. Some crappy things happened with some friends of mine, we had a huge falling out in July 2014. And being really upset about not having a job, etc didn’t help.

One day I got an email from one of my undergraduate professors that I had kept up with. She said she would be taking a leave of absence for the semester of Fall 2014 and would I be interested in teaching her courses. She had 2, but could get me in line with a 3rd so the money would be worth it. Lucky for me a great friend of mine let me crash in her spare room for a few months. I moved. I took a chance. I cut a lot of ties with a lot of people, and took a chance on myself. I was SO scared of doing this teaching thing. University level teaching. It had been 4 years since I was in an art history class. I had no idea how to make a lesson plan or what kind of assignments to create. Hell, I didn’t even know what book to take my notes from. But I do know how to bust my ass, and I figured it all out. Yes, there were lots of bumps along the way. Yes I probably learned far more than my students did the first couple of semesters, but what I never stopped to take note of is the fact that I did it. I faked it the whole time and I made it. I’m a far better teacher now than I used to be. Going into my 4th academic year, reflecting on all of the hard work I have put into this career, I can say that I am much smarter than I ever gave myself credit.

My journey in getting Yoga certified has been a big contributor to that confidence. I still get nervous getting up in front of a class of people the first day, I know this because I taught my first adult class last Thursday and I was terrified. But I know what I’m doing. I have to remember that. Yes, I’m still learning, and hope to be forever, but I know the basics well enough to tell the people about it and even guide them through a practice. Yes, I will screw up. Yes, I will say the wrong thing. In all of the classes I teach. Some days I will be more tired than others. Some days I will be stretched too thin and others I will be bored to tears. But no matter what is going on, I will know that I have the ability to do what I am doing. People that know me on a personal level, they see it more than I do, and they tell me. The old professor that gave me her classes in 2014 emailed me yesterday telling me that she is continuously impressed by me. She has been my colleague for 4 years now and I can say I am equally impressed with her. She has always been a role model and without her guidance I don’t think I could have made it through the past couple of years. Honestly, my whole department has been really supportive and provided lots of guidance and feedback.

Today is the first day of the semester, even though classes don’t start until Aug 16. Today I got the Dean’s welcome email. I usually don’t read all of the emails from him, but this one I did. Turns out they gave everyone a raise. Me included. Sticking with it, and busting your ass pays off sometimes.

In Yoga news I have 2 more weeks in the After School program on Tuesdays. I have a Thursday evening class for adults. And tomorrow I’m going to meet with a studio owner to get things set up for a position in her studio. I can do this. I have the skills. I have the knowledge. I have the time. Onward and upward I go. I have been busting my ass. I will continue to bust it. And things will continue to pay off. I have some goals to reach by the end of the year, and I’m well on my way to accomplish them.

Thank you to all those who support me, encourage me, and inspire me. Without you always telling me that I was actually good enough, I may never have figured it out for myself.

~Namaste~ ❤