Personal

Bravery in the Blog

I may not know much, or hell, even that much at all, but at least I know I’m brave.

I’m brave enough to speak my opinions, whether my readers will agree or not.

I’m brave enough to show my humanity through happiness, anger, sadness, bitching, etc. because I won’t pretend to feel a way others deem “acceptable” just to make said folks comfortable.

I’m brave enough to keep going, despite so many people telling me to stop because “nothing will ever come of this space.”

I’m brave enough to disconnect from people, no matter who they are, who don’t get why I would choose a blog over a career that doesn’t accept what the blog has to say.

I’m brave enough to say e.x.a.c.t.l.y. what I’m thinking.

I’m brave enough to come here and write anything–even the uncomfortable stuff–and sign my name to it.

So why, why, why, is one of you hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet, trying to infiltrate my life? Why are you wasting your time? I will always be here whether you want me to be or not. I may change the blog’s interface or subject matter or header 89 times, but I, the author, will still stand behind it, no matter those changes. I will be here, tall and unwavering, no matter what warfare you’re inexplicably trying to start. In fact, many of the things you’ve tried to accomplish over TWO ENTIRE YEARS have never, ever worked. Let it go or stop reading, plain and simple.

I’m brave enough to say without hesitation that you are a coward. You are someone who has some great void in life, and you fill it with hate instead of newfound interests or love. You are someone who has nothing better to do with your time than to type comments or send emails from behind a veil.

I get it. I certainly would be bored if I couldn’t say precisely what I desired to or confront someone face-to-face. But maybe, just maybe, you could try to be brave. Whatever your problem is, you will never solve it behind that curtain of hate, that security blanket of secrecy, that misdirected keyboard thrashing.

I’m even brave enough to forgive you if you ever want to join us in the Land of the Free Thinkers. If not, just stay in your lane, and let the rest of us write and live our lives to the fullest.

Smashing Your Boxes

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Pic via my bff, BB, from Austin, TX

Our perceptions of ourselves are probably a little skewed. Let’s be honest: most of us are probably our own biggest fans. Still, I strive to be mindful of my flaws (and let others know about them) in an effort to get to that sought-after self-actualization that Maslow guy was always on about.

That being said, I constantly feel I’m being thrown into these little boxes of inaccuracy, and that inaccuracy just drives me up the wall. I’m bogged down by the weight of the people who refuse to look beyond the borders of the walls they’ve imposed upon me before they’ve even seen the second layer of who I am. Yeah, sure, I’m that girl you got really drunk with one night six years ago, but that doesn’t mean I’m only a girl who drinks. That is a mere glimpse of my character and the experiences that have shaped it.

Just because I dressed in a crop top and shorts last Saturday doesn’t mean I’m rockin’ that look on the regular, nor does it imply that I belong in some kind of derogatory “slut” box.

Just because I lost my cool on a few folks who–frankly–probably deserved it, and you happened to witness said incidents, doesn’t mean I belong to be herded into your “dramatic ladies” category.

I forget my words sometimes, but that doesn’t mean I’m automatically and always required to reside in your box labeled “idiocy.” I could go on for days about how painful it is to be so categorized in such a small space when I want so badly for that person to know each and every tiny detail of me.

It’s hard, because none of us WANT to care what other people think. But when someone else’s VIEW of you is so skewed from the REALITY of you? That’s hard to ignore, especially when the person matters to you, yet they refuse to look past the boundaries of their self-created boxes on boxes and into your core.

I get bitchy sometimes, but I’m overall a sweet, loving person who just likes being honest. I go mad from time to time when people seem to be doing something wrong, but that doesn’t mean I want to live my life with that energy all. the. time. I am clumsy and foolish, but that doesn’t mean I can’t pull myself together to be poised and serious should the occasion call for it. I’m a bit of a mess sometimes, but I actually spend the majority of my time in an organized (somewhat vanilla) routine that keeps me down-to-earth.

I can be quiet and loud, refined and wild, funny and sad, hyper and exhausted, gregarious and boring, all in the same day. But none of that means I am any less deserving of your time.

I might not be perfect, but I am a human. We’re complex characters, and if you think we’re going to stay in one box, especially a faulty one you chalked up yourself? You got another thing comin’, honey……… especially if you’re someone who can’t admit to being wrong about the most trivial of pursuits , let alone admit to being… GASP! Less than perfect.

Like me. Like the rest of us. Like the world who doesn’t live in boxes because we’re cyclical and nuts and amazing and horrifying and brilliant all at the same time.

And all of us, not just the ones in your “perfect even though I haven’t looked below the surface or given anyone else a chance to prove they might be as good (if not better)” boxes, deserve to been seen fully, deeply, completely. We deserve to be seen, period.

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Words via the lovely Ellen Hopkins.

A Decade Out

The line sounds like the cliche opening in a movie trailer, but it’s plucked straight from reality: ten years ago, my life changed forever. I was a 17-year-old dreamer who believed in everything, feared nothing, and dove right in. But on April 20, 2005, I became a 17-year-old adult who didn’t believe in anything, feared EVERYTHING, and second-guessed facets of life I’d never even fathomed. I was thrust face-first into a harrowing situation, and the result was a broken human with a temporary case of PTSD and a life-long case of GAD and depression. 4/20/05 literally changed the fibers of my being, down to the very synapses in my brain.

I’ve talked (briefly) about losing my first love before, but sometimes I feel like I could write forever and still not manage to describe the events, the emotions, the people, the smells and sounds. I could never do the day justice through words in a million years. Whether I go a day or a year without thinking about it, when I let the moment completely take me over, I still feel the same dense sadness in my sweaty panic as I remember.

A struggle as a writer–especially one on the Internet, where things are public as public can be–is how much to reveal. Sure, it’s my life and I can tell my stories, but I very much take into account the privacy of others when I tell a story that doesn’t involve me and me alone. A decade out, though, I feel like it’s a disservice to J’s memory to leave out the details of how he died. Point blank, addiction killed him. I didn’t know it then, but god, I see it now.

The thing is, we see addiction as this gross, shadowy thing in our society. Only horrible, gaunt, rotting people who sell their children’s belongings to get a fix are the ones who get hooked and die, right?

Wrong. So wrong.

J was so different from our societal image of addiction that no one saw it, not even I. He was warm and disarmingly handsome. He could make me laugh with such ease, and even in our hardest times, it never felt uncomfortable. He was caring, intelligent as hell, family-oriented, and loved his friends. J attended church, even though I didn’t, because it mattered to him. He, on paper, was perfect. But the boredom of living in a town that didn’t provide enough stimulation for him–for most of us–pushed him on this precarious path of substance abuse we ALL walked down in that time. The thing is, he walked further than the rest of us… and it ended in the worst way, the way it never should have.

But that addiction doesn’t take away what he gave me, his family, and all of his friends while he was still here. The only thing it actually does is make it a horrible accident, and anyone who says otherwise doesn’t deserve to hear the memories the rest of us get to share with each other about a magical human who touched us on an intimate level.

I used to think “Hey, maybe I shouldn’t share this because it’s not just my story,” but the thing is, it is a story that saved me from dying, too. Sure, I immediately went cold turkey the day he died, but it was because I didn’t trust drugs anymore, not because I saw an issue. But when I realized how close or knee-deep-IN he and I and so many others were to addiction, I couldn’t believe no one had stopped us. I couldn’t believe no one had noticed. And then I realized, it’s because we didn’t fit the mold. We made straight A’s, looked attractive and healthy, and we could act our naive faces off. We tricked everyone, and probably the best of us paid for it. A lot more did before him and unfortunately, a lot more have since, too.

Ten years later, I am still broken, but I am alive; I thank J for that gift often. But I think I can thank him more by being more open about him and his struggle, about the different faces of addiction and the different ways we can be addicted. I can thank him by continuing to ruthlessly take care of my health, mental and physical. I can thank him by raising awareness of the INSANE amount of teen drug use, especially in tiny towns. I can thank him by living my life for me and ONLY me, just like he wanted me to.

And in a way, I feel like that means he’s not gone because addiction doesn’t change someone’s core. J’s core was kind, and we’ll spend our time left here making sure that core kindness keeps rippling through the world. He left a legacy that will last forever: through us, through the lives we build, and through the people we help. How many people can say that?

Not many, and we’re all better for knowing someone who could.

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Retaliation

Retaliation is not my style, but when someone keeps lobbing bombs on you, eventually you’re going to declare war.

For a long time, there’s been a behind-the-scenes battle against me. And not only me, but other people like me. I–we–shouldn’t care what these people think; after all, that’s what they want. But you know what? It’s time for some pay-back via fact-straightening and blunt truths.

Women are hardwired to apologize. We make a mistake, we say sorry. We accidentally bump someone, we say we’re sorry. We do anything out of norm, no matter how small, and we say we’re sorry. Why? I’ve made it an effort in the past and in the present to say sorry way, way less. It’s a term that should only be used when you’re truly remorseful for something you’ve done that is grossly shameful, not because you didn’t hear someone the first time they said something. These are not equal offenses, and shouldn’t be treated as such.

That being said, I am sorry for some of the things I’ve done, both small and large scale. But as a whole, I’m really, really… not sorry. I’m not sorry for being who I am. I’m not sorry if you take offense to my jokes. I’m really not sorry if you are offended by the truth, which is what I do my best to speak at all times. I’m not sorry if you are misunderstand me and what I’m about, what I’ve experienced. I’m not sorry if I didn’t sugarcoat things.

This doesn’t beget natural, moral order and/or manners; this is just when some action supersedes that basic level of decency, the decency I will 100% of the time extend to you. This is about when we’ve moved beyond that base level of decency into the “should I or shouldn’t I apologize” world. This is the stage when the offenders in question also move into their next and other stage: butthurt.

If you get butthurt-eth by something I say, I would have said sorry in the past. No longer. If you don’t understand hyperbole, sarcasm, and other basic literary devices, get educated. If you don’t get my humor, don’t read it. If you don’t grasp that I’m trying to stay true to myself and help others through BRUTAL honesty, no one is forcing you to stay around and hear it. I’m not going to apologize anymore when you get butthurt by shit that is humorous or true.

The funny thing is, there will be people who will read this and feel that ever-so-permating tingle in their bones and swell up into their cheeks as the butthurt hits. This is where I’d normally apologize, but no. NO! That’s really not fair. I have observed some people say and do and write and be so many worse things than myself. These are the people who have the audacity to demand apology, to point a finger at me, to tell me I am an ass. I let you say and be this way without comment. Prior to today, I let it slide by without judgement, too. But with your actions come retribution, and I say no more. No more leeway for you if there is none for me. No more apologies if you can’t suck it up and be an adult. No more room in my life for people who can’t understand that we’re all human, and we express ourselves in so many different ways; one is not better than the other. I only want people in my life who are understanding and compassionate of that fact.

Yes, I will make off-color jokes.

Indeed, I will say things without filter.

Of course, I will say things that offend some and humor others.

And maybe, sometimes, I will say I’m sorry… but only if the situation really calls for it.

Only if I really mean it.

Only if you really deserve it.

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How many of you have ever felt like you couldn’t be true (to others or to yourself) due to the reactions of those in your life? Let me know!

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.”

1 CoREYONCEians 13

Love is crazy, love is wild.

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It does not judge, it does not bore, it is not perfect.

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It does not involve games (unless they’re on the N64), it is not abusive, it is not one-sided, it keeps no record of anything. Ever.

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Love does not replace your independence but rejoices when two folks hang out from time to time instead of by themselves.

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It always makes you laugh, always brings you hope, always shows support, always is give AND take.

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Love never lies, cheats, or changes. Love is simply… love.

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HOW TO BE A WOMAN!

Hey, so, I’m not one to berate other women, but when you’re putting the feminist cause back, like, 50 years, I’m gonna need ya to pipe down.

So when I found this intensely infuriating Thought Catalog entry titled “50 Ways to Be a Woman,” I wanted to scream “HAVE A VAGINA?!?! OR NOT?! IT DOESN’T REALLY MATTER BECAUSE IF YOU IDENTIFY AS A WOMAN, YOU ARE ONE!!!!!!!!!”

But instead, I thought I should give public, livid, and perhaps humorous retaliations to all 50 pieces of advice on how to be a rEAl WomAn!*~ You will actually have to read the prior-mentioned demeaning piece of journalism to understand my responses, but if you don’t have the time, that’s cool.

1. Practice good personal grooming habits because we are all humans with noses, and it’s kinda nice to not make other humans vomit because you smell like toe cheese. Also, “take care of your body ’cause you only get one” is probably the best reason to wear sunscreen and bathe.

2. Dress however the shit you want.

3. Fashion staples are a basic thing in life if you care about style… but not having them doesn’t make you less of a woman or a man or an alien with 25 purple heads.

4. Say thank you all the time because that’s how the world works. You don’t have to go through some elaborate song-and-dance to do so. Do whatever shows appreciation for the person at hand.

5. Don’t sit on your ass and let shit happen that sucks.

6. Don’t spend your money like a child whose just won the lottery would.

7. Don’t talk about things you don’t know about aka get an education, and don’t let anyone tell you one type of education is less than another.

8. Hold your ground when assfaces try to sway you from yourself.

9. For some reason, there’s more about education here. I think the best way to be educated is to be in-the-know about what’s offensive as fuck to women of all types if you’re going to write an article about them.

10. Apparently women can’t handle their liquor so they should either be cool drinkers or non-drinkers. NO MIDDLE-GROUND HERE, LADIES. WE’RE EITHER LUSHES OR WE’RE SAINTS!!!! Jk, drink what you want, how you want as long as you’re being healthy and if you need help, ask for it.

11. High heels make you sexy so walk in them or something. Or don’t or something. How about you wear whatever you want to wear, okay girl? I don’t care if you can’t walk in them. Whoever does is a dick.

12. ALERT, ALERT: THE ONLY WAY FOR A MAN TO TREAT YOU LIKE A HUMAN SHOULD TREAT A HUMAN IS TO ACT LADYLIKE! …… except that if a human doesn’t treat you like a human, that’s on them, not you. And even though I am far from always being on my June Cleaver, my boyfriend is still doing things like opening the doors for me and respecting me and treating me to dinner, soooo… theory of gentleman-hood disproven, Catilin?

13. Yeah, you should keep your business to yourself, especially if you have weird opinions about what “being a woman” is. You’ll have a happier life that way. But what does that have to do with being a “real” woman? NOTHING, BABY; NOTHING.

14. No, you won’t agree with everyone. Yes, you should avoid conflict. But when someone is an asshole, spreading their gospel like it’s fact, you should definitely say something to them. Or, if you don’t know them, you should write a blog to say “HEY CAITLIN, I HAVE AN ISSUE WITH YOUR PATRIARCHAL-INDOCTRINATED VIEW OF WHAT WOMANHOOD IS!” Don’t be a doormat just to look “lady-like.”

15. Share whatever the hell you want on social media. You’re smart enough to figure out what will fly and what won’t with the people in your circle. Some of us don’t really care if it flies or not; that’s no mark of femininity.

16. Yeah, ask for help…. from anyone, of any sex, gender, non-gender, race, orientation, religion, etc. That’s, uh, how humans survive?

17. Answer your phone how you want. Answer your phone at work differently. If you hate the phone, don’t answer it. Glad we got that one handled.

18. Be kind to humans because the struggle is real. All humans. Of all creeds. Not just women.

19. Find faith or don’t, brah, just don’t push it in anyone’s face.

20. HAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAAHAHAHA. Ah, sorry. This is the one I found funniest. It was about not confining yourself to gender stereotypes but not “defying them for sport.” I dunno about you, but this is extremely offensive, and I refuse to acknowledge it as a thing that a human would actually say.

21. Don’t be a sore loser, like when you write an article that is an epic fail.

22. Be who you want to be so you find yourself fun. Fuck anyone who thinks you’re uninteresting; your life is about YOU.

23. BE THE HERO THAT GOTHAM DESERVES! Wait, what? I got confused.

24. This is another thing about not being a doormat. I’m reiterating it because it’s good to not be a doormat, especially if you’re being told you’re not a “real woman” because you don’t fit some arbitrary, bullshit list of criteria.

25. Leave your legs wide open. Cross them so tight you can’t uncross them. Shape them into a pretzel. Lift them above your head. Do whatever you want with your own god damn legs.

26. Another repeat–this is the third pair–about not lowering your standards. You shouldn’t, but remember: to be a woman, there are no standards!

27. Do what you love. Don’t waste your life doing stuff you hate.

28. Follow the rules or don’t, just don’t hurt other people.

29. Oh. My. God. DON’T talk about Becky’s butt. That’s mean body-shaming and no one likes you. But if you do, that doesn’t mean you’re suddenly a bearded dragon instead of a female.

30. Don’t let your sig other define you, but also don’t assume that everyone is straight and has a “boyfriend” or “husband.” Open your eyes to the beautiful spectrum of people in this world who love each other.

31. I don’t think a woman has gone to college actively seeking a mate and a mate only in a solid number of decades, so for this one I will say: don’t repeat old adages (that aren’t technically adages anymore) as fact.

32. *See #20 for my reaction to basically the same offensive statement.

33. There IS a time and place for everything… like not EVER telling the whole Internet that you only view women who do {insert weird, outdated list here} as women

34. Laugh. Most importantly at this woman’s awful advice.

35. Find beauty in every day by finding the beauty in all types of women, not just women who wear pearls and cross their legs.

36. Be happy if you can. If you’re not, that’s okay, too. Some of us are depressed and need drugs to help us feel happy which is apparently “unattractive,” but it’s okay. We all know by now that this list is the biggest pile of malarky since Joe Biden called Paul Ryan on all of his in 2012.

37. Yes, please do put yourself (and whatever version of a woman you are) first.

38. Ah, the old stay-at-home versus career-woman debate. I knew it was coming. Either one is fine. In-betweens are fine. Completely different things are fine. What you do does not a woman make.

39. She actually caught herself on #38 and tried to remedy it on #39. Yay?

40. YES, RESPECT YOUR FELLOW WOMEN, EVEN IF THEY DO NOT FIT YOUR PICTURE-PERFECT DEFINITION OF WOMANHOOD. RESPECT WOMEN OF ALL RACES, ORIENTATIONS, RELIGIONS, CREEDS, ETC. RESPECT WOMEN ENOUGH TO NOT PUT THEM IN BOXES (or binders, as Romney would say). RESPECT YOUR FELLOW WOMEN ENOUGH TO CALL THEM ON THEIR SEXIST BULLSHIT SO THEY CAN BECOME MORE ENLIGHTENED HUMANS.

41. No, you shouldn’t be afraid of being a woman or wearing pink, but I fucking hate pink. So I will still embrace my femininity by wearing whatever I want. I will also embrace the chosen level of femininity my fellow women do or do not feel comfortable with, whether that has jackshit to do with the color PINK.

42. Uh, yeah, I think we all know by now all the women who independent throw your hands up at ‘Yonce. But there’s not a specific thing that makes someone more independent, really. For some, independence is just being able to walk on their own, so check yo’ privilege. (Also, WHO ARE YOU THAT SOMEONE IS TRYING TO PUMP GAS FOR YOU SO LATE IN YOUR LIFE? WHERE IS THIS PLACE? PLEASANTVILLE? WHERE ARE YOU? DO YOU NEED HELP?!?!)

43. This is a reminder (uh-hum… repetition) that you shouldn’t spend your money like a dickweed.

44. HELL YEAH, DO NOT BE AFRAID TO SAY NO! There you go, gal. Now you’re getting somewhere. Say no to things you don’t want to do as furiously as you would say no to unwanted sexual advances from another human. You have every right as a woman to say no to AN. Y. THING.

45. I think #44 is where this girl starts realizing the entirety of what she just wrote was incredibly horrible, because this is about being a fortress against manipulation. Then again, this implies that we are easily manipulated, sooooo…..

46. “BE AN ADVOCATE FOR OTHER WOMEN. WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.” Now Caitlin’s talking. We are in this together, which is why I felt so incredibly cut by this article. I thought of my friends who had never felt good enough before thanks to men or other women or non-gendered folks, and it made me furious that a woman would… AGAIN… be shooting other women down with her impossible (and not truly applicable) standards. So Caitlin, I’m sorry if this bites and stings, but you have to know that what you wrote is the OPPOSITE of this, THE most important number on your “real woman” list.

47. I think the best thing to say here is never let a human make you feel inferior, and never let other humans make others feel inferior as well.

48. YAS, BITCH, YAS! Be a role model for other women. Be a role model for men. Be a role model for every different kind of gender and sex and all the in-betweens we have. Start by not being a douche, then take it from there.

49. Ugh, Caitlin, NO! You had made so much progress. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to be a mom or a Sunday school teacher or the first female pope or a dinosaur on Mars, you have no one to answer to but yourself about how you live. Yes, care about what your choices will do to you and the people around you you give two shits about, but other than that, if you look too far down the road, what stories will you have to tell your kids or students or the Martians when you’re old? Be you, and don’t worry about your mistakes. Everyone, even women, makes mistakes. Don’t let them rule you or your decisions.

50. RESPECT YOURSELF……. but also respect others and the way they live their life. Respect the life they were born into and the lives they have created. Respect women from all walks of life. Respect women who are transitioning. Respect women who are struggling. Respect women with vaginas. Respect women without vaginas. Respect women enough to never, ever, ever tell them they are not good enough.

You’re welcome for my sage advice. Also, you’re a woman if you feel you are, end of story! You don’t need 50 rules from me or anyone else. Now go on girl. Do yo’ thang. xo, Reyonce

Prepping for a New’n

This idea comes from Into Mind. I saw it on the blog and thought it’d be perfect to post here to share my experiences in 2014 and my dreams for 2015 with my favorite people: my readers!

YOUR 2014

    • 1. What one event, big or small, are you going to tell your grandchildren about? Hands down, this goes to my sister’s mega Christmas surprise of leaving Japan and ending up on our front porch instead of in Thailand as she led us to believe.
    • 2. If you had to describe your 2014 in 3 words, what would they be? Chaotic, progressive, eye-opening.
    • 3. What new things did you discover about yourself? That I truly cannot do something “tolerable;” that I must do what I love. That I need an environment and people who allow me to go full-throttle on being myself and only myself. That I need to live instead of what I’ve been doing.
    • 4. What single achievement are you most proud of? Changing the lives of my students.
    • 5. What was the best news you received? That I’m going to officially be an {unofficial} aunt next June 😀
    • 6. What was your favourite place that you visited in 2014? Everywhere I visited in ol’ 2014 would be categorized as repeats, but it was really nice to get back to Boone twice this year.
    • 7. Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year? I suppose honesty, or rather, openness.
    • 8. Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on? Jeff
    • 9. Which new skills did you learn? Hm… mayhaps I am forgetting something, but this wasn’t a particularly fruitful year for skill-learnage.
    • 10. What, or who, are you most thankful for? I’m most thankful for the love that got me and my circle through this year, spanning from the weddings and other celebrations we attended to the hugs we gave one another when we were crying or laughing.
    • 11. If someone wrote a book about your life in 2014, what kind of genre would it be? A comedy, love story, drama, film noir or something else? A coming-of-age comedy-drama with some awesome highs, but LOTS of lulls.
    • 12. What was the most important lesson you learnt in 2014? When all the outer AND inner elements are right, there will still be people who work really hard to bring you down; if your heart’s not in it, let them. Let them show you that you need to move on. Let them show you that you deserve more, better, what your soul’s been aching for while you’ve been skating by on simply surviving instead of living…
    • 14. What 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with? 1) My roomie. 2) The Wolfpack. 3) My clan. 4) My clan’s clan. 5) SQUAD.
    • 15. What was your biggest break-through moment career-wise? Landing a new job, I suppose……..
    • 16. How did your relationship to your family evolve? I have tried really hard to get closer to all of the “families” in my life, and as the year comes to a close, I know that something has shifted positively. Still can’t wait to do a better job in 2015, though.
    • 17. What book or movie affected your life in a profound way? The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho {explanation here}.
    • 18. What was your favourite compliment that you received this year? “You’re the best teacher because you actually care.” – So many of my students aka LOVE Y’ALL.
    • 19. What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life? I’m not gonna lie, my Smart TV is straight up the savior of my sanity this year, and spending time with that every afternoon was pretty rad. Also, my dogs. And caffeine. AND BAKED GOODS!
    • 20. What cool things did you create this year? A pretty spot-on Bellatrix Lestrange costume that won a contest at the HP Yule Ball. Some cool photo backdrops (even though I haven’t used them all… yet). Some cute little ledge gardens. A hot bod… for the first 8 months of 2014, at least.
    • 21. What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)? STRESSED.
    • 22. Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year? I had my first fancy four-course+ meal. I mean, technically it was NYE of 2013, but I’M COUNTING IT! There were a million other tiny things, too, but food wins.
    • 23. What was your favourite moment spent with your friends? We had some great times in so many different ways, from big birthday celebrations in cozy mountain cabins to beach trips galore to late-night mini Christmas parties and everything in between.
    • 24. What major goal did you lay the foundations for? I tried to lay the foundations for my own business. Only customers and 2015 can see where it all will go!
    • 25. Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary? Hm. This is a tough question for someone with an anxiety disorder AND an extremely intuitive intuition (ha). I feel like all my worries turned out to be valid, even if I only found out months later that they were. Hey, maybe that’s just the GAD talking.
    • 26. What experience would you love to do all over again? The Paul McCartney concert!! An amazing experience from head to toe.
    • 27. What was the best gift you received? I received a lot of great stuff, but my Valentine’s day surprise from J was out of this world, especially since part of it was going to see Shaun of the Dead on the big screen!
    • 28. How did your overall outlook on life evolve? I feel like my year started more positively than it ended, so I’d like to think that I had grateful/joyous intentions with my outlook that then got beaten down by life the rest of the year.
    • 29. What was the biggest problem you solved? Finding a damn house in this new city! J & I searched foreverrrrr.
    • 30. What was the funniest moment of your year, one that still makes it hard not to burst out laughing when you think about it? I can think of a couple of things that instantly bring a smile to my face, but I feel like they are meant to stay private to keep them hilarious…….. and to save face for a few folks 😉
    • 31. What purchase turned out to be the best decision ever? My one-bedroom apartment for myself. It was really great living alone and supporting myself, getting to do what I wanted, when I wanted!
    • 32. What one thing would you do differently and why? Held out for true fulfillment by not letting money drive my decision-making about what I have to do for 5/7ths of my life.
    • 33. What do you deserve a pat on the back for? Moving me, myself, and I FOUR TIMES without killing myself or anyone who came to help.
    • 34. What activities made you lose track of time? Podcast-filled road trips, Netflix binges, organizing my life, and spending time with loved ones while laughing non-stop.
    • 35. What did you think about more than anything else? Work, unfortunately. I even nightmare dream about it.
    • 36. What topics did you most enjoy learning about? The back of my eyelids and what Netflix selection would best bring me there. (Dude, exhaustion is a big ol’ bitch that can ruin your whole life; THIS IS A SERIOUS OFFENSE!)
    • 37. What new habits did you cultivate? 1) Cleaning every day to keep the mess at bay. 2) Not drinking.
    • 38. What advice would you give your early-2014 self if you could? It’s not going to get any less crazy until you jump off the crazy-train, so just grit and bear it until you can escape!
    • 39. Did any parts of your self or your life do a complete 180 this year? My better self (happy, hard-working, healthy, productive) was sabotaged mid-year by my worse self (depressed, over-working, unhealthy, sedentary). Here’s to my better self having all the say in 2015.
    • 40. What or who had the biggest positive impact on your life this year? My career had the biggest impact on me this year. I taught students who became family, finally made some friends at work, and realized what does and doesn’t work for me as a human, the latter of which is something I’ll be delving into majorly in 2015…

YOUR 2015

    • 41. What do you want the overarching theme for your 2015 to be? Metamorphosis.
    • 42. What do you want to see, discover, explore? I want to explore new countries, especially a few in Europe. I want to see more of what I want to see, which sounds vague, but makes sense if you feel like you’ve been confined most of your adult life.
    • 43. Who do you want to spend more time with in 2015? Myself.
    • 44. What skills do you want to learn, improve or master? I want to learn how to sew and woodwork. I want to improve my crafting skills. I want to master fashion, running a business, and being myself without saying “sorry” every two seconds.
    • 45. Which personal quality do you want to develop or strengthen? Authenticity.
    • 46. What do you want your everyday life to be like? 200% less stressful than any day this past year, and filled with joy, gratification, quality work, and love. A little dancing wouldn’t hurt either.
    • 47. Which habits do you want to change, cultivate or get rid of? I would like to get out of the habit of spacing 100% when I leave work. I want to change my living habits to be more minimalistic. I want to cultivate my work ethic I apply in an office and transfer it to be the same anywhere.
    • 48. What do you want to achieve career-wise? Work for myself for now and ever and EVER, amen.
    • 49. How do you want to remember the year 2015 when you look back on it 10/20/50 years from now? As the year I did everything for myself (DOES NOT EQUAL selfish) and finally got my shit together.
    • 50. What is your number one goal for 2015? To finally live doing the things that will keep my best self at the forefront, even if that means losing money, reputation, grace, friends, family, lovers, etc.

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

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.

Photo on 9-26-14 at 4.01 PM #2