If We Were Having Coffee

If we were having coffee I would tell you that it would have to be quick this time, I am a bit busy today. I enjoy our weekly coffees and I made sure not to forget about you and made some time. This morning I had a brunch date with my lovely girlfriend. We had discovered a new restauraunt called “Punch Bowl Social” and decided that once a month we would go have brunch there. The food is amazing and the mimosas are good. This time we had a drink called “pim’s cup”. It was a lot of ginger, and cucumber, and berry flavors mixed together. It was a bit weird at first but I grew to love it.

After brunch we did some shopping, which is normally my favorite thing to do but this time just wasn’t that great. I didn’t find anything new or cool to buy and Chardonnay got a nice, comfy, and pretty pricey, new sweater. I am happy for her but also a l am jealous. I wanted a new cool thing too! Sigh, I sound like a child sometimes, I know. We searched and searched and I should’ve just gotten one of the fossilized shark teeth I saw at my favorite place, Ironwood. I wanted to make a necklace out of it. Dammit!

If we were having coffee I would also tell you that after writing the post about missing my friend Mary she came to visit me at my job! It was so great to see her and I really am going to try very hard to text and call and go out for drinks here and there with her. She sounded like she really misses me and wants very much to get together too. It is nice to be wanted back. That is something that is new for me too. I have my girlfriend and I know she wants me but not so much other people. I have never felt like other people just like me for me.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that as far as meeting my goals for the week I did pretty well. I meditated more and I wrote everyday and I even started a sort of sketch journaling thing too. Everyday I make time to “go analog”. I got the idea from Austin Kleon’s book “Steal Like an Artist“. I’m working on making things with my hands and not staring at a screen all day.

I am starting with a sort of logbook. I write a few things down that happened that day, or things I am thinking about. It’s nice to dump my brain a bit and I do love the feeling of using pen on paper. I also try to be a little creative with it. I have tried little drawings, quotes, and newspaper back out poems. I am having fun with it but right now everything looks very sloppy, when I get a better handle on it I will post some pictures.

If we were having coffee I would say I had better go now. The house needs cleaning and we are out of both toilet paper and ice cream so a grocery shopping trip is sorely needed. I hope you are doing well and hopefully next time won’t be so rushed :)

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Girl Gang Wanted!

I admit, there was once a time when I was one of those girls. You know the type I’m talking about, the special snowflake girls who hate other girlsI have recognized the error of my ways in the past few years though I swear! I thoroughly ashamed of ever having hated or bad mouthed other women. In hindsight I see that I was caught up in a struggle to get out of my feminism and I thought proclaiming my differentness from those other women I would not suffer the fate of being seen as less than in a mans world.

Then I discovered feminism. I now understand that what I was doing was leaving behind other women and helping perpetuate stereotypes. I was doing this to other women who were hurting just as much as me. I was ignorant but I have seen the light and the enemy is not other women, the enemy is the patriarchy.

During that time I also met Mary, the best female friend I have ever had. Mary worked with me and we would spend a good portion of everyday just talking. We talked about everything and nothing. We talked about things we had in common and things we didn’t. We talked about men, and women, and life. We talked about trying to do better and be happier. We talked about how hard life was and slowly we started talking about how hard life was because we were women.

The feminism talks started because we were hanging out so much our cycles started to sync up. We would talk about cramps and bloating and our guy friends would get grossed out. This was highly offensive to us. They talked about their balls all day, why couldn’t we talk about our periods? So we talked about our periods and how it sucked that we weren’t supposed to talk about our periods. Then we talked about the prices of pads and tampons. Then we talked about how bad pads and tampons are for you. We still talked about other things too but the talk about women things was new to me and I enjoyed it very much.

Then Mary had to leave our job due to personal issues. We haven’t talked much since then. Life has just gotten in the way and I’m not used to having friends so making the effort to stay in touch is something I am still learning. I am not good at calling first or inviting someone out for drinks. I’m not good at texting and telling someone how I am doing or keeping a conversation going. Today I made the effort though. Today I text Mary and told her that I miss her face and that I am in need of friendship. She responded by saying she has been feeling the same and misses our talks very much. I am going to bug her about hanging out more. She has kids so it’s not easy for her to get away, but we both need it.

Missing her has also made me realize that female friendship is something I need in my life now. Since Mary left, and the other girl I worked with, Brittney, joined the Air Force, I work with only men and I am kinda miserable. It’s not their fault. They joke with me and pick on me and call me names and I do it back and sometimes it’s fun but sometimes not so much. These are guy things though and I miss the girl talk. They may talk about their feelings and hopes and dreams but they never do with me. With other girls those kinds of talks not only happen but are encouraged. Plus my guy friends just don’t understand some things. They don’t get mad about the crappy selection and price of bras.

I didn’t fully realize that this was what was bothering me about work but today it hit me pretty hard. The feeling of being alone and not having a girl around to understand and cheer me up hit me so hard I almost cried. So while I am making the effort to stay close with Mary, I am also on the look out for more girls to hang out with. I need the understanding and support. I need the encouragement and the openness. I need to feel like I am normal and guy friends just can’t always do that for me. I still like hanging out with guys but there needs to be a balance.

A lot of this post was inspired by The Lazy Feminist. There are two posts there related to girl gangs. One, How and Why a Female Friendship is the Most Important Relationship You’ll Ever Be In, and two, Girl Gangs. These posts really helped me understand what it was I was missing. I encourage you to check them out. And for all you ladies, do you have a girl gang? Got any advice on how I can find one of my own? Let me know in the comments :)

Zen and the Arrogance of Self Loathing

Yesterday I read a post from The New Zeitgeist in which the author talked about self-loathing being a sort of arrogance. I have had this thought myself but it was never fully formed in my head until now. Chronic self-loathing is, or can be, a way for each of us to set ourselves apart as special and different while also appearing modest. When I was hating myself I never thought of my self-loathing this way but it makes perfect sense.

When we tell others that we are the ugliest, or the dumbest, or the fatest, or the most unworthy of love and happiness we are saying that we are the most something, and that is better than being the same as everyone else. This is what we think we when we don’t understand that being the same as others does not take away from our specialness.

I have friends who seem to be in a perpetual state of self-loathing and when I try to help them or tell them about the things I have learned and what has worked for me in my journey to love myself I almost always get the same answers:

  1. It’s not that easy or simple for me.
  2. That would never work in my situation.
  3. My problems are different, or more difficult, than you know so you can’t help me.

It all boils down to “I am different and special and so are my problems. I am the worst person who has ever lived so nothing can be done.”. Now I am not saying that I can fix everyone’s problems, but what I do know is if you change how you view your life you can dramatically change how you feel about your life. Learning to let go of things I can’t change, learning to be aware of how I feel and why, and learning to go slowly and take time to just breathe has made me a happier person. There have been no other major changes in my life besides trying everyday to do those things.

When I tell people that they scoff and give me those same bullshit answers without even trying out my suggestions. I believe that they wish to stay in their current state of self-pity because for one, it is comfortable, and two, it makes them feel powerful. I believe these people are using self-loathing as a sort of warped way to set themselves apart and gain attention and power through manipulation of others.

I have decided that as much as I want to help these kinds of people I cannot. Everyone has to start their journey when they are ready to live better and these people think the way they are living is what is best. I don’t think they are bad people but I think the self they present to the world is a lie. I don’t think they do it on purpose. I don’t think they are bad people either. I think they just can’t see themselves as they truely are. They can’t see that there is a better way.

As so, I have also decided that I cannot indulge these kinds of people or let them into my circle. These people, again I have seen this in my own so-called friends, hate nothing more than to see someone around them happy. They belittle my efforts and my journey. They make fun of the things I try to do and try to destract me from my happiness. I am also getting the feeling that I cannot trust these kinds of people with my feelings or my ambitions. There is a quote from Maya Angelou that hadn’t made much sense to me until I read The New Zeitgiest article the quote goes:

“I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.’ … There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”
― Maya Angelou

Before I started this journey I read the quote and took offence. I hated myself sometimes but that didn’t mean I was untrustworthy. Now I see it from the other side and I see that not trusting them is not personal. The person that cannot love themselves cannot love others, in a healthy way. In hindsight I see that in my self-loathing I was selfish. I took and took from the well of other people’s happiness until they had nothing left and still I wasn’t any better for it. I see people doing that to me now and in order to protect myself and my state of mind (because I love myself) I cannot allow it.

I don’t know exactly what that means yet, except that I hold my cards closer and reveal less of myself until I know what I have to say will be safe with the person I am saying it to. I will be less pushy when trying to help others too because they will take my willingness to help and manipulate me and never try to help themselves. This depletes my emotional reserve and my energy. When I take on other people’s problems over and over again I also take on their emotional state and that isn’t good for me either.

I love myself, I am confident, I am moving forward. I am looking for friends who feel the same about themselves. All arrogant, self-loathing, wallowers need not apply.

Being Random is Potato

I couldn’t think of anything to write about today so here are a few random things just floating around in my head.

1. Washing my bowls.

A monk told Joshu, “I have just entered the monastery. Please teach me.”
Joshu asked, “Have you eaten your rice porridge?
The monk replied, “I have eaten.”
Joshu said, “Then you had better wash your bowl.”
At that moment the monk was enlightened.

I read this quote before but I ran across it again this morning and I can’t stop thinking about it. Wash my bowl, wash my bowl, wash my bowl. I think it means to complete each task slowly and deliberately before moving on to the next thing. It reminds me of another quote I read a couple of days ago:

Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.”
Alan Wilson Watts

I’ve been thinking about this one a lot too. I think the point of this one is that Zen is about being present in whatever you are doing. You can find spirituality doing just doing what the things you need to do and enjoying it. My mind is trying to combine the two ideas and put them into practice. Something like, do what needs to be done, do it slowly and deliberately until it is done, all the while being mindful and present. Enlightenment!

2. Black holes do not exist!!!!

Ever since I was a kid everything about space has fascinated me. I was always most fascinated by black holes. This morning a story popped up on my Facebook feed claiming that researchers have done the math and black holes do not exist. The article blew my mind! I don’t even know how to process this information. Sigh, this is worse then in 2005 when scientists demoted Pluto to “dwarf planet”.

3. Halloween is coming!

Halloween is easily my favorite holiday. It wasn’t always my favorite, not even when I was a kid. Trick-or-treating out in the cold seemed stupid, my costumes were always crappy, and I don’t even like candy all that much. Now that I am an adult though, IT IS AWESOME. I love scary movies, dressing up, and going to parties. I love all of it and this year I am hoping to attend some portion of the Mile High Horror Film Festival! It is being held at my new favorite movie theater the Alamo Drafthouse. If you live in, or around, the Denver, CO area I encourage you to check it out. They do a lot of events there and I plan on attending many more.

So that’s what’s in my head today. Hopefully tomorrow I can pull it together and write a real post. As always, thanks for reading :)

My Litmus Test

I believe everyone should have a litmus test question. It’s useful for determining whether or not you could be friends with a person you’ve just met. My litmus test question is, what do you know about the theory of evolution? I ask this because I only surround myself with people who have critical thinking skills and and interest in science. I have often felt bad about thinking this way but we all have a right to choose our friends. We all want to be around people we share interests with and don’t have to make such an effort not to judge. God, I sound like a horrible person when I say it like that. I have had friends who are creationist and I have found that it is very difficult for me to maintain the friendship. After awhile I can no longer fight the urge to engage with them and try to understand why they think the way they do. This always ends in an argument.

I want to be clear that it is not necessarily religion I have an issue with, although I am an atheist. I believe religion and the theory of evolution, or any part of science for that matter, are not mutually exclusive. I find that people who see science and the pursuit of knowledge as a threat to their spirituality to be very angry, controlling, and intolerant. They lack the ability to empathize with others and see different points of view. I really hate to sound so judgmental but this was a choice I had to make for myself. I have engaged with too many people who think science is a religion that is poisoning the minds of the children. I just can’t do it anymore.

For me the theory of evolution is beautiful in it’s simplicity. All of science is beautiful to me! I think purposefully denying yourself this beauty is sad. Willful ignorance is sad. I cannot surround myself with these kinds of people, I just can’t! I do have friends who are religious. In fact, the girl who I consider my closest friend is Catholic. The difference between her and the kinds I’m talking about is for one, she is open to learning new things, and two, she has a “live and let live” mentality. She never tries to convert anyone and she doesn’t believe her religion should be taught in schools. I love that about her and we often debate the particulars of her religion and she is ok with that. She explains to me why she believes what she does and I explain to her why I don’t believe what she believes.

I admit she might have failed my litmus test but only because of ignorance, which I might have been ok with. A person who truly fails the test would answer that they did know about the theory of evolution, then proceed to tell me why it was wrong in a way that sounded like science but wasn’t at all. This person would say things like “Evolution is only a theory, not a fact.” or “If humans come from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?”. Responses like those are automatic fails!

This test has worked out well for me over the past few years. I no longer have to hide my atheism and I no longer have to hear someone spout ignorance and intolerance in social situations. All of the friends I have now love science and strive to learn more everyday. We teach each other new things everyday too. This is the way it should be, for me anyway.

I Love You Everyday

This morning I woke up frustrated and still tired. I rolled you over and kissed you and said good morning. You aren’t ready for it but you let me do it anyway. I feel you wanting to be grouchy but you know I need this time with you to start my day off right. I love that you know this about me and you know it before any words are spoken.

We get up and I watch you get ready for the day with ease. I don’t know how you do it. Part of me feels neglected but also proud. You are the definition of focus and organization. I try my best not to bother you and you see that I am sad. You stop and ask if I’m okay. I say that I am but you see in my eyes that I am not. You kiss my forehead and ask me what you can do to help. I smile at this because you are sweet but I know I have to do this on my own. I have to find a way to get ready on time without your help. I think you are relieved and that’s okay. I love the honesty I see on your face. You want to focus on the things you have to do and I want that for you too.

I miss you terribly all day. I text you sweet messages, some of them you get, some of them you don’t. I know you are busy so I don’t take it personally. I think of all the things you are probably accomplishing and I am proud of you. I love you for being a so motivated and pushing yourself to do more and be better. I wish I could be like you. You are my role model and I love you for that. I am sad that you are too busy for me right now but I love you for it too. I think about what it will be like once we get home and that helps. You send me a message saying you love me. I love you for having such good timing.

We’ve just gotten home after working long hours. You are complaining about your job and all the people you had to deal with. I am listening but part of me is smiling because in this moment I love you. Right now your anger and frustration make you seem passionate and alive. I know that for every complaint you make there is a little bit of pride behind it for handling the situation and fixing a problem. I know you love the work as much as you hate it. I have always been able to read between the lines of what you are saying. I am the only one who can.

We sit next to each other on the couch and you are on your iPad and I am on mine. On the TV a stupid show is playing that neither of us paying attention to. This is how we spend most of our evenings and we like it this way. To the outside world it may seem like we aren’t close but we are. The way my cold feet find their way under your legs under the covers we are sharing. The way your hand finds it’s way to the back of my neck to play with my dreadlocks. It’s little things like that that let me know you are aware of me. I feel you next to me too and it is nice, it is comfortable, it is home. I know you haven’t forgotten me. I love knowing that these things we do are both intimate and automatic. Our bodies show our love even when our minds are preoccupied.

It is time for bed now and I know you won’t want to go. You are a night owl. You never seem to be tired. I have to tell you you need your sleep. You have to work long hours again tomorrow and you will only be at your best if you sleep. You hate to hear this but you do it anyway because you know I am right. I clean up our mess and turn out the lights. We climb into bed and you play the love songs we have collected into a playlist we call “Bedtime Stories”. I love that playlist. I can never go to bed angry with Sade playing in the background. I feel the words to the music and think about how much I love you. And just like the song says “Oh When You’re Cold/ I’ll be there/ to hold you tight to me”, I pull you close to me hold on tight. I wish I could stay here forever, in this moment just before sleep. I know that in this unforgiving, uncaring world, I have you and you have me, and that’s all that really matters.

As I drift off to sleep I quietly wish that we will have many more years of days like these. Days where you are you and I am me but underneath it all we are one. I wonder if other couples feel this way too and I fell bad for the ones who don’t. I wonder how single people do it because I just cannot imagine life without you. I think about the times when I almost lost you and I am ashamed of how I acted in the past. From somewhere in your half sleep you feel my mind struggling and you reach you hand back to pat my hips. In your sleepy voice you ask me if I’m okay and I say that I am, it’s just that I love you so much. No more explanation is needed, you know what that means. I love that you know me so well, you just get me. You say you love me too and you tell me to close my eyes and sleep now, and I do.

Tomorrow we will do it all again….

Monday Motivation and Goals for the Week

This week I will do my best to manage my time better. I can do all the things I want in a day as long as I stay focused. Do not waste time on the things that will get you no where. Don’t waste time on the things that aren’t moving you forward in some way. There is such a thing as “productive procrastination” and time can be made for that but do not forget your goals. Do something everyday that your future self will thank you for.

This week I am going to get go analog! I have a new Moleskine notebook and some pens and sharpies, and a plan to spend a few minutes a day using my hands. The goal is just to put pen on paper rather than stare at a screen. This week I will dump my brain regularly in to my notebook. Everything from artsy ideas, to to-do lists, to things that went well today, to goals for the upcoming week. Everything goes in the notebook!

This week I want to take everything slowly, one step at a time. I will not overwhelm myself or pressure myself. Being creative should be fun and fulfilling, not stressful and frustrating. I want creativity to be a habit, something I just am and do, but that takes building new habits. Small steps, small changes, everyday.

This week I will breathe! I have let my meditation go these last few days and that is not ok! I need to make time for clearing my mind and refocusing. This week I will try mediating everyday during my lunch break. I will refocus and come back to work refreshed. Meditation is needed is I am going to go on trying to do more and grow. Without stopping to clear my head and be present I know I will quickly become stressed and burned out. Go slowly, be present, and breathe.