growing up

www. Wednesday

Happy half-way through day, ladies and gents! Links for your perusing pleasure…

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+ As everyone here knows, I can get pretty political and impassioned when people are being wronged… but instead, I will just leave this gorgeous series of photos of the prayer chain in Charleston here, because I need–and maybe you to do–to focus on the positive for a while. It’s absolutely stunning what people can do when they work together.

+ A lot of people these days say reading is a waste of time, or boring, or insert other moronic excuse here. GOOD NEWS, LIT LOVERS: WE DA HAPPIEST!

+ I’m 114% positive I have thought this type of malpractice was going to happen to me before because I KNOW MY BODY, but doctors think I’m crazy. Doctors let this poor girl die because they didn’t take her seriously, and I am so proud of her mother for making a public effort to change that in the face of losing her gal. Brava, lady.

+ I’m intuitive and introverted (with a pesky outgoing personality), and this is why you think I’m totally bonkers.

+ Back to that whole book thing mentioned above: if you need a summer reading list, Refinery29’s got you! I also have a massive stack beside my bed I could roll-call for you, but I’m not sure you’d find that appealing!

+ My fave Aussie blogger came up with a list of 35 things she’s learned about life in 35 years, and I agree with ALL of them… except maybe the kid one 😉

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Hey, did you know PYGMY HIPPOS WERE A THING?! Now you do & you can obsess with me!

Hey, did you know PYGMY HIPPOS WERE A THING?! Now you do & you can obsess with me!

What Parks and Rec Taught Me About Life

1. Never let someone dull your sparkle.

The right humans for you will never tell you to be something other than yourself, whether that be your sig other or your bff or your co-worker. They like you for who you are, and tell you to go for your crazy plans when everyone else doubts you.

2. Always put friends first.

LK always put her friends first, and she reaped the benefits of a beautiful life full of love because of her loyalty. (Even if she leaned Saracen #teamriggins)

3. Be nice, and I mean like “ANN, YOU BEAUTIFUL, NAIVE, SOPHISTICATED NEWBORN BABY!” compliment nice.

There is no reason to be mean. You can be passionately angry and lose your temper from time to time, but you should never let anger sit in your skeleton. No one who let anger overcome them on P&R ever got anything done. Their kind circle got things done because of the goodness they expected from each other and everyone else.

4. Embrace your inner Leslie. Or Ben. Or April. Or Ron. Or…

In my case, I am Leslie AND Ben, with April’s cynicism. I like that I’m crazy-passionate, hard-working, anxious, nerdy, and sarcastic. There was a time when I didn’t see this reflection of myself represented in the media, but I think thanks to this show, we can all see a little of ourselves, whether we’re Toms or Donnas or Andys!

5. Who you work with IS as important as what you do.

I have long maintained that co-workers make or break your working world; P&R proves that your life and your workspace will be so. much. better. if you’re a community of people who respect each other.

6. Being happy in what you do is the ONLY way to make a living.

No matter what path the characters took, they always followed their hearts career-wise. If it didn’t make them happy, they moved on. You have to be fulfilled; you can’t sell something you hate or do something that makes you sick. You have got to be happy in the thing you’re doing 8-12 hours a day, 5-7 days a week. What that is is different for everyone, and you should never hold someone back from trying to find that workplace happiness.

7. Never grow up…

You must always remember your inner Burt Macklin and release him often. No good can come from taking yourself too seriously and never having fun. I will always buy Marvel t-shirts, for example. NEVER SORRY!!!!!!!!

8. … but always work hard.

That being said, you can have fun and do the things you love, so long as you’re working on bettering who you are, what you do, and enriching the world and the lives of the people in it. That means working hard, and there’s nothing wrong with a good day’s work!

9. Always lend a helping hand.

It’s really easy to shake people off, but when someone needs you, just help them. Even if you can’t help in the way they need, bring them coffee and hold them until someone else can. We need each other.

10. Breakfast food is the best and solves everything.

WAFFLES. BACON. EGGS. THEY ARE EVERYTHING! Sad? Eat b. foods. Celebrating? Have a brinner. “There was never a problem that couldn’t be solved by breakfast foods.”

The Mystery of Myself

Imagine you’re a drum. Every day you wake up to the same familiar drummer beating a steady tune, keeping you fresh and functioning. She speeds up when she needs to, and slows down when a deep, dawdling punch here and there is all you need. You and all the other drums happily live each day like this, functioning perfectly symbiotically with your drummer.

One day, a symbol comes crashing down beside you and wakes you up mid-day, jolting you out of your sleep the way a human does when their alarm clock sears through their sleep cycle. You’re disoriented; you’re feeling unwell and unsure. Where is your drummer? Where is the steady attack you’ve felt since… forever? You wait, sweating bullets, wondering when the pulse that’s kept time for you will finally return. The drummer does come back, but sporadically. She’ll rattle on you for a minute, then run out faster than she got there; other times she comes and beats you to hell, ferociously kicking for an almost-unending time. On occasion, she seems to fall back into line, practicing that steady, change-when-you-need-it rhythm. But you never know anymore. You will never quite trust your drummer again.

Now imagine all of that is an analogy for your heart. You are the drummer, your heart the drum. GUESS WHAT? It’s an analogy for ME.

Since high school graduation, my life has been a series of journeys. Humans are always on the search for something, me especially due to my overactive imagination and anxiety. More nerve-wracking, my life since teendom has been filled with a search for what the hell is going on with the drum that keeps me going, and the resulting side effects in the rest of my bod.

Recently, I’ve been incredibly fatigued with overall pain. Now, considering the wringer I’ve been through health-wise for almost 10 years, it takes a lot for me to be like “Hey, um, I know I always talk about how crap-tastic my bod is, but I think there’s something really, really, REALLY wrong this time. Help????” So when it got to the point where I felt like I needed to shout this on a 24/7 loop a couple of months ago, I realized there probably was something really, really, REALLY wrong. I decided I needed to revisit the experts, despite their lack of ability to find the answers the first (and second and third) time.

After a night of sleepless sleep and a fever that seemed to creep all over my body like a static-y Snuggie, I forced myself into the doc’s office. They leeched more of my blood from me and found… well, not that much.

Except one thing no one has ever found before: a deficiency…

This suddenly explained a lot. And the stuff they couldn’t explain? Well, they directed me where I needed to go to find answers. It was like these medical professionals were TRAINED OR SOMETHING! Finally, someone who realized they just didn’t know what I needed, and said “Hey brah, this dude might, tho. HIT ‘EM UPPPPPPP!”

Next time on Serial…. Er, I mean, next time, I’ll talk about my newly diagnosed deficiency and how I’m finally starting to solve the mystery of myself. (Brought to you by Audible. JK. Damn you, Sarah Koening.)

December, Always Been a Problem Child

I’ve been mostly missing this month (and in months past) thanks to a whole lotta life jumping in the way. The MOMENT the last bell of the year rang, I started working on a whole queue of posts I wanna publish ASAP. In the mean time, it’d probably be advantageous if you felt up to speed, eh?

Here’s a blog vomit of lots of a pics and links so we can get over this horrible and lonely part of our reblogonship as I move back in and rebuild. I’ve missed you, my loves. You’re the only ones for me!!!!!

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Style posts that should have been:

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Cool things that’ve happened:

D.C. –

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Paul McCartney –

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New hair –

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Harry Potter Yule Ball (COSTUME CONTEST WINNER RIGHT HERE!) –

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A family wedding –

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Secret Santa –

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(Just a few) www. Wednesday links I missed posting:

+ By now, Colbert’s last episode has already aired, but I still have to share the heartwarming genius that is this interview with he and Jon Stewart. Also, did you see Obama KILL The Word?! I<3MyPresident.

+ A list of slang terms NOT ALLOWED was created by a manager {of a company I will never eat at again} is something I’m going to have to “harvest” for use in my own classroom.

+ 17 things people born in the late 80s are currently experiencing. I think it speaks for itself.

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And on this day, the eve of Christmas, the birthday of many of my favorite friends, my li’l pup’s Gotcha day, a day spent snuggling in bed with my love and then laughing merrily with my family, I wish you all as much joy diving into your dreams as I’ve had catching up on this one.

Life happens, so I simply just disappear to handle it from time to time, but I am going to try my damnedest in the new year to say “NAY, LIFE, YOU WILL WAIT, FOR I HAVE A BLOG ENTRY TO WRITE TODAY!”

I’m blessed to always be able to come back because this is my home. This is my goal. This is my life. If I couldn’t come back, what would I do? I know I’ve said it before, and I know I’ll say it again, but I can’t wait to be back at the keys, typing away, just for my readers.

Cheers! xo, Reyonce

Must-Have: Mascara

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I feel like I’m definitely not the first, nor will I be the last, lifestyle blogger to endorse the hell out of this mascara. It’s a true-blue for a reason.

Recently (perhaps a year or so ago?) Maybelline changed the style of wand. Needless to say, it made me nervous, but the new tapered end is MAGICAL and ensures you get those li’l baby lashes in the corners of your eyes. You know, the ones that always manage to get away from all the other mascara wands.

Sure, sure, sure. It’s offered in an array of colors, but we all know which one is the real deal, the million-dollar color: blackest black. It’s 20x’s darker than any other “black” mascara on the market with one coat. By the way, this rave review is coming from a one-coater kinda girl. Imagine the results multi-coat ladies get from Great Lash. (Guess I know what’s next on my beauty experiment check-list.)

Oh, and as an added bonus, you don’t even have to get the waterproof version of Great Lash to get stellar all-day results. I steer clear from makeup that takes more than a face wash to get off, but this sucker not only washes right off, but sticks all day. HOW DO THEY DO IT?! Maybe it’s science, maybe it’s Maybelline.

What’s your go-to mascara? Let me know! I always love suggestions 🙂

To the Women…

The drive home from my aunt’s house last night was full of laughter, my grandma and her daughters recounting the time she and Pop-Pop horrified them, using a ripped blouse as inspiration for a pre-date prank.

“Sometimes the Devil just gets inside of you, and you have to go for it!” Sassy Maggie said.

We laughed until we cried, and I just felt so warm inside, the visceral kind that reaches your toes and your bones simultaneously.

I had been surrounded by such strong women all day, women who have survived lost love, lost children, divorces, economic hardship, and the day-in, day-out patriarchal bullshit I’m still putting up with today. And luckily, because we’re strong, we’ve surrounded ourselves with men who build us up; men that know that if they don’t, they’ll be kicked to the curb because we have each other–the women–to pick up the pieces.

Our society is divided by race, sex, and religion more than ever, but I don’t see that in my blended, matriarchal family. And though I’m so thankful for the men in my life (aka some of the strongest feminists I know), and my friends, and my love, and my puppies, and the general blessings of a white, middle-class (i.e. PRIVILEGED) American, I’m still the most thankful when I look around the kitchen in my Grandma’s house in the stark light of a November morning and see women of three different generations relating over and over again. About drugs. About music. About family. About sitting inside together on Black Friday in support of a young man in Ferguson instead of shopping for more shit we don’t need. About making today about someone else.*

It doesn’t matter if we were born in 1921 or 1950 or 1987. Because women are the strongest when we sit together over coffee, realizing that no matter how we differ, we are stronger and better together.

I am so thankful for the women who taught me to rise above the status quo, to strive to listen, to be better, to help, to support, to never let a man sit you down in a corner and tell you “No, you can’t do that.”

And it fills me with joy when I see my cousin teaching his daughter the same things, and letting me teach them to her, too, with 100 percent trust that I have her best interest–as a human, but most importantly, a woman–at heart.

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What women are you thankful for this year? I am proud of oh-so-many of us for breaking boundaries and building bridges this year!

 

* Well, I guess aside from this blog entry.

Fast Track to Nowhere

I’ve been feeling all over the place lately, but the truth is, I haven’t really done much of anything. Sure, I have a high-pressure job with a never-ending workload, but I still feel stagnant because I come home completely drained.

I lie in my bed and rest my aching bones.

Sometimes I do more work.

Sometimes I fall asleep.

Sometimes I watch TV for hours as a method to tune out rehashing the storm of the day (plus TV is just my fave).

Sometimes my sweet boo-thang can drag me from the house for a dinner or errands.

Sometimes I can drag myself if it involves retail therapy or necessity.

But all of the time, I feel less than. I feel like that weird, floating, empty plastic bag from American Beauty, minus the beauty aspect.

Some of this comes from my mental health issues, but most of it stems from external situations, split right down the middle over whether I’m at the helm or not. The ones I don’t control discourage me from even trying to step up to the ones I do. It’s a vicious cycle compounded by permeating fatigue. And all the excuses I’ve made for that fatigue are just not realistic anymore.

I’ve gotten help for my weariness-inducing depression. I’ve exercised a lot and not at all. I’ve eaten right, and I’ve eaten wrong. I have slept for hours or barely at all. None of it ultimately fixes the debilitating weight of gravity I feel all. day. long. None of it takes away the pain or heartache it brings. None of it is normal.

So I think it’s time I call in the professionals. I need to let go of the idea that I can fix this fatigue alone, that this is one of the external scenarios that falls in my commanding ranks. I’ll hold up my end of the bargain with copious water, more veggies, lots of dancing, continuing my meds, and jerking back the damn wheel on the half of the outside stimuli I do hold command over, but a lady needs some help.

And it’s going to suck. I am going to get worse before I get better. I am going to have to be experimented on, pay a lot of money to find answers, add more to my plate(s), and barrel through it all like some non-existent superhuman.

But in the end, I will be the bright-eyed woman with a trash can full of completed to-do’s and dreams, a life’s worth of goals attended to because someone out there (YOU DO EXIST, RIGHT, DOC?!) finally cared enough to find out what was stopping her little body from letting her.

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Rededication

My posts here lately have been erratic at best despite the fact that writing, especially on this blog, is my passion. I have found over the years, and especially over the past few months, that the world does not make it easy to follow your passions. Now, it’s not that I believe I’ve stumbled upon some revelatory idea, brand new to human kind… it’s just that I think we don’t really acknowledge this aspect of our culture or how shitty of an aspect it actually is. Worse, we don’t try to actively change this aspect of American culture because it’s too hard, and we’re too tired from living to work. What happened to working to live?

I’m tired of the former and dedicating my energy to the latter from now on. I can’t make a life by continually chasing the work horse I have never been able to catch, even after years of experience. I can, however, make a life out of my passions by making them a priority.

That means a lot of dedication and shifting of priorities is in order, and hope, hope, hopefully you’ll see those behind-the-scene changes reflected on the front pages of this blog.

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However, it also means I have to ask a lot out of you: patience as I find my stride. Understanding as I slip away from my personal life to focus on my dreams. Forgiveness if I make mistakes in a post, can’t immediately return a favor, and/or any other blunder as I stumble along a new path. Dependability, maybe even when I don’t deserve it. Support as I try to build an online community (including all of you!).

I may not get what I desire out of this new shift in behavior, but if I don’t try, if I don’t ask, if I don’t work at giving it a shot, then how can I ever know if I ever had something worth sharing?

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I know this won’t grow into what I continually dream of overnight, and I know I’ve rededicated myself to this blog a million times. But that’s because it means something. If it didn’t, I would have chucked it in the garbage by now and walked away without hesitation. But I know that, even though a lot of great things pop up in an instant, many more of them take years to cultivate, to hone, to perfect, to make them greater than they would have been if success had come immediately.

There’s still time, and I’m seizing it.

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How-To: Live Together

Cohabitation ain’t easy. It really brings out your inner control-freak diva (both of ya’s) and some tension can form. But if you love each other and you love the space, that eventually fades away. In fact, I think living with a man (and preparing to do so again) taught me a lot of important lessons on how to live in general.

1. You really don’t need all of those clothes.
I know it’s hard to imagine your closet less-than-overflowing or (GASP!) partially empty, but it’s really for the best. My man used to laugh at the sheer volume of clothing in my possession, but I would just retaliate by pointing out that I never, ever had to do laundry. Eventually I realized something about it really was funny, but maybe not in such a good way. Do I really need 5 dresses that don’t fit me anymore? Do I need 10 shirts that are just “okay?” No, no I don’t. I’d much rather launder my special, oft-used pieces than stare in disdain at a 50% lackluster wardrobe. Quality, not quantity. (And god bless the Goodwill trucks!)

2. Organization isn’t just about cleanliness, it’s about efficiency.
I love being organized. (If you’ve ever read this blog, you know I have an inner-voice that might, in reality, be OCD.) I love it because I like the way a space looks when it is in order. However, if aesthetics take precedence over functionality, there’s not much point to organizing at all. A kitchen might look amazing with stacks of rainbow ceramics stacked along the countertop, but what do you really need there? Probably something like a cutting board, not another cute vintage vase. At the end of the day, it’s wasted space if it doesn’t make sense for how you live in it.

3. Neutral isn’t bad.

In fact, neutral is amazing. You might start out with earth tones to please one another, but if you really put in the time, you can makes some beautiful spaces that never cross the color-war border. (I’m still of the school that all colors have at least one hue everyone can love, but that’s a whole other entry, y’all!)

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4. Woman caves are more important than man caves. (Or “Don’t Be Greedy”)

At the end of the day, I would rather have one room all to myself than fight over the rest of the house. Why? Because having one beautiful, perfect space is more important to me and certainly more than enough. Besides the sheer labor required when trying to cram two strong designs into a whole house full of rooms, it’s just greedy. Each person should get their own, independent space to decorate where they can be completely themselves. The rest of the shared house space can be that easy, clean, and beautiful neutral I mentioned a minute ago.

5. Compromise.

Contrary to a bad stereotype, not all men have poor taste. In fact, some of them have pretty amazing input. The only problem is when two people have strong opinions, sometimes things get messy or left undone in order to end the design debate. The tried and true art of compromising is really all you can do. I’ve learned that I don’t need to control as much of a design as I’d thought. I’ve learned that I don’t necessarily have the best ideas out of all the ideas all the time. I’ve learned that purging yourself of things is good and all it does is make way for better things. Compromising can teach you a lot about your partner, but most importantly, it teaches you about yourself.

Thanks to a headstrong partner, I’ve come to the table with a very clear vision of what I love, and a much better grasp on flexibility, simplicity, and form.

 
What did you do when you moved in with your partner? Any better tips out there? 

Perfect Alignment

Not too long ago, I wrote about my struggle with success in my passions, pinpointing this blog as a major piece in Strugglecity, USA. I’m not suddenly signed to an agency or unexpectedly inundated with advertising deals, but things lately seem to be simply falling in the holes that once riddled my career plans. Though there are many still to fill in, the change has been healing, noticeable.

First, there was the job search gone bad. As Maria said, when God closes a door, somewhere he opens a window. I took the rejections as a chance to jump through that newly opened window to focus on the job I’m trying to cultivate.

During a trip to the beach for a cleansing mini-vacay, I read six variations of my horoscope*, all of them telling me that my chance at career happiness was near. Like within the next month near. *(Whether or not astrology is actually a thing is yet to be determined.)

Though plenty has gone wrong – losing Robin, phone loss, housing ups and downs, one very sick pup, and all the minutiae in between – there has always been someone or something around the corner to pick me up.

An “it’ll come through, babe.”

A beautiful day filled with sunshine and creativity.

A “you’re going to find what you want, I know it!”

An article that says no plan B means no failure.

A sign.

So many signs.

As I walked into my Saka class last night, I was feeling the strain of the little shit, the things that shouldn’t get me down but do. Patrice looked around and lingered on me for a moment before speaking.

“I just want to… I just want to say something tonight. If you’re like me, if you’ve got a passion for something and it’s just not working out, whether that be a business, a friendship, or a marriage, I’d like you to put all your faith in that. I’d like you to put your whole heart into what you’re passionate about. I’m doing the same thing with this, and I want you to do it with me and see what putting your whole faith in gets out for you, for all of us.”

I held back the tears while smiling. It was exactly what I needed to hear.

When I got home, I caught up on my usual blogs, and found this quote on TSC:

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The Skinny Confidential

Fate.

For once, things seem to be perfectly aligning on their own. And for once, I’m just going to follow the alignment instead of trying to take control. For once, I’m going to put my full faith in.

Get ready, readers.

I know I am.