Saturday, January 23, 2016

Oh won't you please, please, please like me????

People like me...
I have a morning routine.  The first order of business is the bathroom, followed by feeding my feline mistress.  After this I pour myself a coffee, take a sip or two and then begin my morning yoga.  I write a few pages in my journal, do some sort of breathing exercise or a short stillness meditation.  During this process I am continually fighting the urge to pick up my phone to check for text message or Facebook notifications.  Generally, I do a fairly good job of resisting (putting the phone on Do Not Disturb helps) which means that by the time I finish the first thing I do see what’s happening in the world of social media.  

This morning was no different.  Well, mostly no different. 

I scrolled through my feed while sipping my coffee, clicking likes, making short comments, sharing stories I found interesting, moving along my Facebook feed at a steady pace until…

…I saw the post.  Not an offensive post.  Not a post by someone who is down in the dumps who I want to try to console.  Not a post of a horrific news story, or a funny cat picture, or a lost animal.  It wasn’t anything that was in the content of the post that made me stop.  It was who made it. 

I stared at it, my fingers hovering above the home keys, wanting to write a response to the post but unsure of what to say.  

I typed a sentence.  No, no, that won’t do it sounds too over thought.  Backspace, backspace, backspaaaaaace. 

Maybe just a like and a smiley face?  Uh uh.  That will seem like I couldn’t be bothered to actually write a real response. 

Tippity-tappity-tippity-tappity…a paragraph.  TWO paragraphs.  Oh I’m on a roll here!!!!!  Wait. No.  You can’t write that.  It comes across as trying to show how smart I am.  I definitely don’t want to sound like a douche. 

Time check.   Holy smokes I’ve been staring at this post for 20 minutes?  What is wrong with me?  Tap “Like” – move on.  Breathe.  

Do something!!!!!

Nothing.  I delete my paragraphs. Scroll down.  The post is soon lost in the depths of my feed. 

I think we all have someone like this in our lives.  Well, maybe not all of us do.  Maybe the rest of the world is perfectly secure in who they are and never craves or has a need for any sort of outside approval.  Maybe I just don’t want to be alone in my insecurities, but however together the rest of the world may or may not be, I do have someone like this in my life.  Someone who I admire and respect and who I really, really, really, really, really want to like me. 

This isn’t admiration from afar.  I cross paths with the person on a fairly regular basis.  We are friendly when we meet (though my tongue usually refuses to cooperate beyond, “Hello.”) and I manage to not jump up and down frantically screaming, “Notice ME!  Look, look I’m over here!  I think you are really awesome and I do awesome stuff too and can we please be friends?”  Instead, I agonize for twenty minutes over Facebook comments.

I know some of you will try to tell me I’m a great person and that I don’t need anyone else’s approval to be happy, and you are right; I don’t need it.  Logically I know this.  I know that if I just keep working on this self-love thing, that I’ll one day I won’t need anyone’s approval.  That I’ll be a super hero of self-esteem.  But today, today I’m terribly human.   

Monday, January 18, 2016

Slow and steady...

Preparing for the semester...
Tomorrow morning at 8:45AM the new semester begins.  It is my last semester. I started the journey towards my bachelors degree five years ago in 2011.  I started as a part-time student and had plans to continue working full-time through school.  Due to a variety of circumstances, such as the realization that I'd come to detest my job, I left full-time employment and began the life of a full-time student.

Translation: This was one of the scariest things I've ever done.  I might have hated my job but I liked the security of it.  It was safe and leaving full time employment for a part-time job and full-time school was unknown territory.  I was not at all sure, even after I made the decision and gave my notice, that I could do it.

It has been a very intense five years. During these five years I worked two part-time jobs, I managed a performance troupe and began to teach belly dance classes.  I maintained a very full performance schedule with many hours of  dance and music practice each week.  Yes. There have been moments where I questioned my sanity and the wisdom of my choice to return to school.  I had many times where I considered quitting altogether.  My stress and anxiety levels were pushed to their limits.   I lived and died by my datebook and relied on my buzz of my iPhone to remind me of when things were due. 

Translation: It was difficult as fuck getting through these past five years.  Most days I was stressed out and the anxiety that I've managed for my entire life was triggered to the utmost.  I fought against my natural inclination towards procrastination but knew that if I put something off it would only feel that much worse later.  How more things didn't slip through the cracks is beyond me. 

Somehow I also managed to have a social life.  I know my friends at times must have been frustrated with my seemingly endless event declines and the need to schedule even a cup of coffee weeks in advance.  I'm am grateful for their patience, their understanding and support.  I believe I probably, maybe, could have done this without the amazing people I have in my life but their presence made it far easier. 

Translation: My friends were my life saver.  They answered my 2:00AM text messages when I was in the midst of panic and self doubt, they listened when I went on and on about some fantastic new energy or business idea I'd encountered that I was completely jazzed about, they were patient with my scheduling issues and they stepped in to tell me when they thought I was taking on too much.  And when I hit really hard times a couple of years ago, they arrived with food and love to get me through a very tough winter.  When asked how I manage to cram so much into my life I can really only answer with one thing:  I have a lot of help.

The semester that is ahead may be the toughest semester I have had yet.  Academically I am taking four of the most difficult courses that I have ever had in one semester.  I am actually looking forward to the challenge of this as they also appear to be four of the most interesting classes I will have taken.  I am anxious though, perhaps more so than I have been in the past, about keeping up with the rest of my life over the next 14 weeks. 


I will be making self-care a priority.  Taking time each day to myself; making sure I get enough rest and hopefully not falling in to a food rut of pizza, wings and coffee; dancing and making music as regularly as I can; walking; and of course making sure I spend time with those I love. 

Translation: I'm going to need a pile of sticky notes on which to write reminders to do all of these things and I shall stick them all over the apartment, in my textbooks, in my notebooks, and in my underwear drawer.  If I don't take care of myself I turn into a stressed out, angry, overtired, crank of a human and no one wants to see that.  "Breathe...breathe...breathe..."

I'm on the edge of finishing up a long term goal.  I'll be counting the days until May 14th, when I will be donning the cap and gown and going through the ritual of commencement.  That day seemed so far away five years ago, something I barely dared to think about, but today I can see the finish line. 

But there will be no sprinting to the end of this race...slow and steady, slow and steady. 

Translation: There's gonna be one hell of a party when this is over. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016


I blog a lot about my struggles with insecurity and anxiety.  I publicly worry about my ability to get everything on The To Do list completed.  I share my worry over school/work/life stresses.  I do these things often enough that at times I have worried about what sort of image I am projecting. 

Do I come off as too neurotic?  Will my readers stop visiting the page because I seem too negative?  Should I work harder at projecting more of an image of "having it together?"

Okay, wait a minute, I am neurotic.  I live with anxiety and I obsess about seemingly unimportant things.  I struggle with body image issues and my self-esteem has days that its level could be measured as somewhere between "in the toilet" and "flushed."   Yes, I have days where I feel pretty darn good about myself too, but I also have days that are just sort of okay and others where surviving them without bursting into tears is an achievement all on its own.

Yes.  I am human.  And more often than not my anxiety and stress is due to the amount of work I am putting into achieving the goals I've set for myself.  The struggle IS real, so why not own it?

There are plenty of blog posts, Instagram photos and Facebook status updates about how #blessed,  and #lucky everyone is to be #livingthedream.  There seems to be plethora of luck, blessings and perfect lives being scattered about social media these days.  If it isn't #amazing it's not worth posting and gods forbid we have a hashtag that says #iworkedreallyfuckinghardforthis or #Iamreallystressedoutrightnow. 

The internet is full of folks in workout gear with perfect hair and makeup who apparently don't sweat.  We've all seen enough yoga mats surrounded by flowers and soft lit by candle light, selfies with the best sunset EVER in the background, status updates that are counts of how many mantras were said today and just what we are #soooooooograteful for. 

It seems we've all become our own brand, marketing ourselves and our lives to the world.  Just who is it we are selling to?

I don't really make New Year's Resolutions but I do try to set some general goals for myself.  This year I have two, one has to do with learning to let go of control (another blog post for another day) and the other is to be more honest about what I am feeling, both to myself and my community.  That includes social media and my blog.  I want to own my good days and my bad ones.  When good things happen I want to acknowledge what it took to bring those things into my life.  When I am struggling I want to be able to share that too. 

I hope we all have an awesome year but it's okay if that year also includes a bit of #imperfection, #doingthebestIcan and #onestepatatime.