Know Thyself

Good Morning! It’s 6:30am on a Sunday morning and I am up and at em’. There is nothing particularly wrong with this. Except for the fact that I was growing accustomed to the new me. The Emily that can sleep in until seven or eight and feel especially good about such a feat. I’ve had A LOT of energy lately. It’s like the old me is waking back up. Coming back from the dead.

Coolest CAM

My boyfriend is taking a few classes at a community college here in Raleigh, one of which is a Psychology class. Now, this has caused me to have to stifle my jealousy, because he is one lucky guy for getting to take classes, and fuel my brain in other ways so that I don’t sneak into his book bag and start doing all his homework. Nerd alert: I LOVE school! I love school and I love work. I love dorky things like Toastmaster’s and Networking Groups and Seminars. I blame these dorky pleasure sources on my mother who named me a name that means, “Industrious One.” I would’ve, of course, preferred “Illustrious One” but I also would have taken almost any other name meaning which denoted people in reverence and awe of me rather than me being sentenced to thriving in work and deed for the rest of my life on this green earth.

I digress.

Back to the Psychology class. He has a project to complete which involves a phenomena called “The Johari Window”. Now, lest you be one of the people that fell asleep in all of your college classes, you had better listen up because this is interesting stuff. The Johari Window is a method that helps people to better understand themselves. We all like to understand ourselves, am I right? In fact, the study of oneself is one of the most interesting, despite being seemingly self-centeered, because who else can we fully KNOW, but ourselves?! The Johari window takes YOU, the victim, and breaks you up into four “rooms” or “windows”.  They are as follows:

Open Self: This area represents traits about you that both YOU and most others in your life (mom, dad, brothers, sisters, grocery checkout people, your mechanic, your doctor, your boss, etc.) know about you. It’s things like the fact that you’re friendly, or funny, or a reliable person. Everything you let people know on a regular basis about you that helps them to form their picture of you, as well as things you know that help YOU form your picture of yourself.

Hidden Self: These are all of the adjectives and personality traits about yourself that ONLY you know. In the most successful relationships, this element exists, but there is very little. Openness and honesty is in fact the key to a successful relationship and in your very closest ones, this quadrant should be the smallest of the four.

Blind Self: This one is perhaps one of my favorite. These are the ways in which we perceive and see each other that THEY are unaware of. So, this is like when your brother doesn’t know that he has terrible manners, or is completely oblivious to social cues. This is his blind self.

Unknown Self: I’m not sure how one would ever actually determine what these traits WERE, considering their unknown to both themselves and others. But perhaps they are skills, knowledge, and parts of ourselves that have yet to develop. Our future selves. Our potential selves.

I feel as though I am the kind of person that knows herself quite thoroughly inside and out. As part of his project, my boyfriend and I discussed the aspects of our Blind Self with each other. The things WE see in each other, that the other does not see. For me, I feel I was less surprised about his responses than he was about mine. Although, I was surprised to hear him use the adjectives “generous” and “caring” to describe me, because those were adjectives I thought that were more part of my Hidden Self….in other words, I thought they went unnoticed. We talked about our strengths and weaknesses in communication, and the conversation ended on a very happy, encouraging, and uplifting note.

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Learning about yourself is fun, hence the plethora of personality tests that are swarming the Interweb. Know thyself. Know your likes and dislikes. Know your relation to the Universe as a whole, know your relation to other beings. Know your energy sources, what tires you out. Know your goals, your dreams, your passions. The more you discover, the more you find out that there is to love. If you have one, do this with a close friend. Seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes can be a great tool for honest feedback. But most of all, know that your perception is what you must base your knowledge off of. Your reality depends on you understanding YOU, and therefore what excuse do you?

Look, Wikipedia even lays it all out for you step-by-step on how YOU can learn about YOU. 

Here are some more questions to get you started on the fun path of self-exploration and inner knowledge. These questions come from Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project but I doctored some of them up a bit:

1. If something is forbidden, do you want it less or more?

2. Is there an area of your life where you feel out of control? Especially in control?

3. If you unexpectedly had a completely free afternoon, what would you do with that time?

4. Are you comfortable or uncomfortable in a disorderly environment?

5. How much time do you spend looking for things you can’t find?

6. Are you motivated by competition?

7. Do you find it easier to do things for other people than to do things for yourself?

8. Do you work constantly? Or think you should be working?

9. Do you work well under pressure?

10. What does your perfect day look like?

11. Are you a morning lark or a night owl?

12. Would you rather save time or save money?

13. Do you enjoy being the center of attention?

14. Do you continuously delay happiness in your life? Ie. “When I’m finished school…” “When the house is renovated…” “When I get a new job…” “When I lose weight…”

15. What would you do if you had more energy?

16. Does being around people energize you? Make you feel depleted?

17. Is it hard for you to get rid of things that you no longer need or want?

18. Do you have road rage? Do you get frustrated easily? Are you impulsive?

19. On a typical night, what time do you go to bed? How many hours of sleep do you get? Do you feel that is enough or that you need more? 

20. What are ten things you want to accomplish within the next ten years?

21. If you could truly live anywhere you wanted, where would it be? 

Last but not least, here are the adjectives that the inventors of the Johari Window concept use with their subjects to help them describe themselves and others. See if you can pick out your top 10 descriptors and have someone else do the same so you can compare answers!

  • able
  • accepting
  • adaptable
  • bold
  • brave
  • calm
  • caring
  • cheerful
  • clever
  • complex
  • confident
  • dependable
  • dignified
  • energetic
  • extroverted
  • friendly
  • giving
  • happy
  • helpful
  • idealistic
  • independent
  • ingenious
  • intelligent
  • introverted
  • kind
  • knowledgeable
  • logical
  • loving
  • mature
  • modest
  • nervous
  • observant
  • organized
  • patient
  • powerful
  • proud
  • quiet
  • reflective
  • relaxed
  • religious
  • responsive
  • searching
  • self-assertive
  • self-conscious
  • sensible
  • sentimental
  • shy
  • silly
  • smart
  • spontaneous
  • sympathetic
  • tense
  • trustworthy
  • warm
  • wise
  • witty

“We must not be defined by what we do, but we must be what and who we are, then only happen to do what we do!” 
C. JoyBell

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How You Know You’re Getting Old

Last year, when I crossed over into age 26, things changed for me. A wave came over me that send me careening into new and refreshing waters, and I knew that for the first time, there was no escaping the undertow and no turning back. EM

You see, like many 20-somethings that don’t have their mind made up, my past life was a downward spiral of moving from here to there, and jumping over obstacles, as though life was a game of leap frog. It was when I turned 26, and tried to put on that short, gauzey, flowery skirt, which I had somehow outgrown exponentially, that I realized it was time to grow up. Growing up does not mean you have to set aside your youthful spirit, your aspirations, and ridiculous belief that wishes made when the clock strikes 11:11. It does however require you to face the reality of bills, car insurance, and watching to make sure your teeth don’t rot out of your face because it’s the last set you’re gonna’ get.

27 came with an even bigger realization, the realization that in three years, I will be 30. It’s a challenging moment, when you scan your life’s accomplishments, experiences, and current placement, and introspectively soul search to determine whether or not that is “good enough” for you, and satisfying. The only opinion that matters is yours. And if you’re shaking your head in disapproval, there are changes to be made. Although 26 was a bit rocky at first; I felt suffocated, I flailed my way through the water, nearly drowned as I became forced to learn new swim strokes. 27 is better. More comfortable. And there it is, the word that, based on your response to it, tells you whether or not you’re getting old.

When you hear “comfortable” and breathe a sigh of relief. 

No longer are the days when you contort yourself into tight, ungodly outfits all for the sake of fashion or impressing a member of the opposite sex. You prefer to walk around the block, go to the grocery store, and run your errands to pay your electric bill in your most comfortable, spacious pants and your favorite basic t-shirt. Comfortable is a night in, relaxing, reading, and listening to music or catching up with your mom on the phone. Comfortable is a rainy day watching a movie. And comfortable is being with someone you love that loves you back, unconditionally, which is both comfortable and exciting. But mostly, comfortable.

You not only do the crossword puzzle, you speak crossword lingo

I’ll admit, I love me a good crossword, and not just the ones that are easy and I can whip through and understand, I like a real, down-to-earth brain challenging one. I understand what the crossword says when the clue is something obscure like: “Fall mo. pl.” and “This, in Toledo”. Though, I do sometimes have to look up some of the actors and actresses from the 1960’s and prior, but there are so many clues I shock myself with knowing the answer to (and scare myself by knowing the answers only the “old” people should get); I can cruise my way through the world of crosswords like….well….an old person in an armchair. The only part of the picture I haven’t completed is smoking a pipe.

You actually read and appreciate books

After college, I swore I would never read another book. I burned mine, sold them on Amazon and used them as a makeshift coffee table in many an unfurnished apartment. But, a good book to me, is like a good meal. Nourishing, mind-bending, thought-provoking. Books are the new Ecstasy, and I’m hooked. When a book is not rich enough for me, full of paltry words and unintelligent dialogue, I poo poo it and call my Grandma for suggestions for this week’s top reads. 

You actually start to believe it when you’re Nana says, “Nana knows best.”

Taking other people’s advice has never been one of my strong points. I like to pave my own paths and blaze my own trail. But after awhile, you start to realize that this lands you in a mountain of debt, no friends, and with the prospects of a lifelong career as a cashier or waitress. You want to succeed in achieving your goals? Take advice from those who have done so. Once I stopped turning a deaf ear to my mom and nana, my father, my boyfriend, my friends who have been there…things began to get remarkably easier. They get harder at first. But then….ah….

The people you admire are 20+ years older than you

For starters, most of my best friends are 20+ years older than me. One of my best friends is 67 right now, and the other day I befriended a 68 year old. I can talk to these folks just as well as I’ve been able to confess to my childhood BFF’s and collegiate acquaintances. When I look at what I should be doing, I consult these folks first, and look to them to help dictate my age-less, timeless fashion.

You cook, you clean, you sew.

When people enter my home, they take their shoes off at the front door. It’s clean. You know you’re getting old when no one has to pick up dirty socks to sit on your living room furniture, to brush aside the dust that has accumulated on your coffee table before placing their mug on it. You know you’re old when you HAVE a coffee table to place your mug on. You wash your sheets once a week and you clean your entire bathroom and kitchen, including the sinks, oven and shower. You know you’re either growing up, or your Cinderella.

You go to Trivia Night. Consistently. In fact, you have a trivia team and are part of league.

That’s Tuesdays, Wednesday night is tennis.

You go to anything. Consistently.

You fall asleep at 9:00pm no matter where you are

I’m not a great party date, because if the party just so happens to involve socializing past the hour of 8:30 pm, my brain becomes mush and I’m searching for the nearest surface to lie down on. You know, truthfully, this has been a trait I’ve had all my life. A girl needs her beauty rest! Sleep

You drink tea.

You’re too jittery when you have coffee, and it makes you see double? You drink tea instead, non-caffeinated, herbal tea, the kind with health benefits like: Ginger, Licorice Root, Rose Hips, and Yerba Mate. You know you’re getting old when getting yourself as high on caffeine as possible is no longer a sport, it’s a catastrophe and throws off your bowels.

Age is a mindset, this is a cliche, and a truth. I don’t think feeling old is necessarily terrible, it’s simply what happens when you feel the magical transformation into a new phase of life. A life where modesty and being a grown up is praised. Where sitting up straight, and chewing with your mouth closed will get you further than a keg stand. I want to say I was never really the immature one at the party, and was instead usually the one who brought her checkbook to balance and then designating herself to drive everyone home….but I’ve definitely noticed a shift as of late, as I’ve come to realize what this age acts, looks, and feels like. If anything, I think the number one way you know you’re growing older is that you have gained and grown to love the word “RESPECT”. Respect for life, for yourself, for others, for consistency, and for the present moment.

What Fairy Tales and Bologna Have in Common

The movies make it look so romantic when girls cry. They don’t tell you that it’s, in actuality, not romantic at all; they don’t tell you that you’ll have mascara running down your face and the guy you’re crying to will likely give you some cliche sentence like, “Don’t worry,” or “It’s ok,” or if they’re feeling ultra-original…a nice pat on the pack and, “Don’t cry.” The love stories fail to tell you that you’ll cry more often than once in your whole happily ever after, they always make it look like things turn out for the best, and they never end with the one you’re crying to, or about, falling asleep before you’re done expressing your woes. But real life, as I am slowly learning, is not a Dr. Seuss book, where you end up loving the Green Eggs and Ham, even though you previously wouldn’t eat them on a bus, on a boat, on a train, or in the rain. Real life is not as cushiony as your childhood imagination. It’s brutal, and harsh, and has been putting a smile on my face less and less with the burgeoning realization of it’s existence. In real life there are bills to pay, you have to wake up and clock in for duty every day, and you don’t automatically improve yourself on a regular basis –you have to work at it.

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I used to hope and wish, and truly believe that life would get continuously better, that my over-zealous exuberance at age 16 would develop into radiant adulthood enthusiasm. I thought by this time I would’ve developed enough good karma to be super set, on track. I had mental pictures of where I would be in life. But I’m slowly realizing that I’m more and more hideously behind in life, and incredibly yawn-provokingly normal with each passing day. A typical, run-of-the-mill, unoriginal American brunette. It’s no wonder that people are always saying I look familiar, or remind them of so-and-so. I’m a brown-eyed middle of the road chick.

I used to always want to be normal, want to fit in and fly under the radar. Now, as it’s slowly setting in that that is exactly what is happening, I’m deeply saddened by it. My desire to be extraordinary, to blaze my own trail, to be a prodigious, independent female is slowly being extinguished. I now am signing up for things normal people sign up for, I went to a DOCTOR for goodness’ sake, I am talking like a normal person, I’m even believing normal people things. I’ve watched an entire season of a television show on Netflix, I’ve implemented a “cheat day” on my hippy dippy cleanse, and I’ve become this horridly stereotypical emotional girl with feelings of glass and a brain of smush. IMG_4068

My British friend, Chris, was the first to point out this phenomena and as I drove into Starbucks to juice up my cheat day, I realized he was completely right. I am as normal as they come. As boring as the very first Plain Jane. It’s basically been downhill from there, feeling as though I’ve sold my soul to the mass population. My hopes and dreams were unique, until I realized they are not like in the movies and they likely won’t come true. That’s when I set them on the shelf and decided I would not dust them off for a great long time. No one cares to read that anyway, people want novel, they want something they can sink their teeth into. And this girl, with her passionless, ever diminishing zest is slowly becoming less and less of that healthy, fulfilling sandwich, and more of a sloppy, soggy piece of bread which one pushes aside in disgust and focuses on the main course instead.

Disney lied to me. Fairy tales are Bologna. How’s that for a magic carpet ride?

 

 

What’s Up Doc?

ImageIn my latest adventures, I have been in search of some supplemental work to my current job of “bed-ucating” my customers by selling organic, mattresses. I need to become rich, ASAP. I’ve gone to interviews to be a nanny, I’ve checked out the local pop shop that was hiring a part-time soda stocker, and I’ve considered submitting my works to a publisher to see if I can become a millionaire by tomorrow morning. I need something where I can use as additional income, on my own terms. As was inspired by my aunt and confirmed by a friend: What better than substitute teaching!? You basically rent yourself out to the County School District for a day, and you only have to pick up jobs on the days you’re free. Then you dress up like a school-teacher-in-training and trot into a school to teach who knows what, to who knows who, for who knows how long! I think it sounds exciting, daring, and full of blog-potential, and it came highly recommended by my aunt Hannah who did the very same thing, at my very same age for years; since I love me a good thrill, and am hoping to advance my vocabulary, I put in my application.

The grueling 8-month application process and orientation complete, my last step was to get a PHYSICAL and TB Test at a DOCTOR’s office. Now, for those of you who may not know me…I haven’t been to a real doctor in awhile. I went to one in France for my lip, and there have been some specialist visits here and there. But for the most part, my hoity, toity New Hampshire hippy-dippy alternative ways have thoroughly ingrained in me a very strong dislike for the medical field as a whole. Especially doctors. The reason for this is personal, what can a doctor tell me about my body that I cannot figure out for myself?

People think I am crazy when I say this, but I mean it truly. I am an extremely AWARE individual of how I am thinking, feeling, and acting. I can’t always be conscientious enough to alter these states of being, but I’m at least always in touch with what is going on in my inner and outer workings.

That being said, if I DO have a problem, I don’t give it too much attention because it’s not likely something critical or serious. Muscle spasms or pains? Not enough bananas, not enough water, too many sprints around the lake at 5 in the morning. Acne? Too many grains, gorging on popcorn, too much sugar. Exhaustion? Not a healthy balance, out of routine, not enough raw foods. The list goes on, and I won’t bore you with my medical history, but I will say that for the most part:

1. I don’t have any problems that cannot be fixed on my own through via diet and healthy lifestyle changes.

2. I don’t ever agree with a magic pill, which appears to be all that doctor’s prescribe following a diagnosis.

3. I don’t like to take advice in the first place. A.k.a. I’m stubborn. And picky.

I do however like to ask questions. A lot of questions. I interviewed my new (and super cool) doctor up and down, and asked a bunch of questions. Secretly, I was sort of trying to test her, her knowledge, and how intellectually she engaged in conversations with me.  Consequently, she asked me a lot of questions too. I guessed her astrological sign because she reminded me of my cool friend, Toni, and I wished we could become friends, but alas…she’s the Doc and I’m the patient so we’re probably not going to hang out, do yoga, grill veggie kabobs, and drink mimosas by the pool on a Sunday. She did however encourage me in achieving my hopes and dreams, and may have even secretly cut me a break since I don’t have insurance. It was all going fine and swell, and although I was sweating profusely under the rude interrogator fluorescent lighting, my blood pressure and pulse were all tip-top.

Then came the moment I was dreading more than any moment I’ve dreaded in probably the entire week….the TB test. I hate needles. Ok, let me rephrase that: I abhor needles. My first ever visit to the gynecologist resulted in me passing out because they took a tiny vial of blood to test my whosey-whatsit levels. I also passed out while heroically trying to be a blood donor, and several years later, while trying to heroically stand next to a friend who was a blood donor. I was never cut out to sport track marks, that’s for sure.

However, I have had at least ONE incidence having blood drawn or needles stabbed into me in which I’ve remained calm and not toppled. So, I was sure, a tiny little needle with a tiny little poison under my skin should be no big deal. That is, until I saw the TB bubble. The blob under my skin made me feel lightheaded and nauseous. I had to get outta there as quick as could be. The nurse asked if I was alright, and when I quickly nodded my head, she shooed me to the front with my paperwork. The woman in front of me in line was taking her time looking through her iPhone for the perfect day for her next appointment. “No, can’t make Wednesday, that’s my manicure. Hmm…August 4th would work but I have to check and see when my dog’s getting shampooed, and well, ok, I suppose I could do it after my manicure. Let’s see, that will take about one hour, then give me an hour to grab a bite to eat, pick up the kids, drop them off with the babysitter…Ok, how’s three p.m.?” I was becoming whiter and whiter and knew for sure I was about to go down. The sounds blurring together in that classic, predictable way. The colors and lights blending and then… I come to. I’m sitting on the ground (better than the last time when I toppled face first on the floor) and my head is between my knees. I must be getting good at this passing out business, this time I got myself in a humble position before blacking out. The nurses gave me a juice (which I quickly checked to ensure it was organic and not chalk full of high-fructose corn syrup, like they give you after you donate a pint of blood, along with a slice of pizza of course) and then I took a few sips, still roasting like a pig and feeling like I might go again at any second. I had to lay down (yes, me, a 27-year old grown woman) in the patient waiting room until I could muster the strength to update my Facebook status, write a check, and get the heck outta there.

“I bet that made you feel cool.” My boss said, when she asked about the giant bandage I dare not take off my arm, for fear of seeing what is underneath.

Oh, ya, I feel totally cool.

 

Generation of Inspiration

In case you’re an avid avoider of media, like myself, I will fill you in on some things that have been happening in the world as of late. And by the world, I mean it in the most American-ego-centric fashion and am only including things happening in our country.

1. School systems are becoming the new abortion. school-day-photo

Remember the way Roe v. Wade was the hot topic in 1973? Now, the word on street is what is taking place in our school systems as we allow lawmakers and policy holders to dictate how our children learn. There are a few things happening, which I found out the other day during an orientation for substitute teacher’s at the local school district. Substituting is a great way to dabble in the school system and find out what the generation of the future is learning and dealing with on a regular basis. Of course, it’s not the same story across the chalkboard, but those mandating changes sure would like to see it that way. Knowledge is no longer able to be placed in a mold and delivered to each child in the same, methodical way that it once was. Memorization, once a revered sacrament, and is instead being replaced with teaching kids to access information that interests them. New systems of education are being experimented with, such as self-directed learning formats, application, searching, discovery, inquiry, and a more subjective approach is being established. While such positive changes are taking place at this pivotal moment, and it’s likely a nationwide breakthrough is going to occur, my NC government, and maybe coming soon to a government near you, is busy taking away school and teacher funding, making budget cuts, and reducing teachers motivation to acquire further education. At such a crucial moment in our history, a time when altering the future is happening by waking up these little pupils and making them aware NOW, they’re attempting to put the kibosh on the passion that is infused in the learning process. Don’t even get me STARTED with the cafeteria situation and some of the ACTUAL things they teach kids. Let’s get with the times, NC. Whatever happened to school being the breeding grounds for inspiration and life?

2. The Blue Ridge Parkway is cracked.

This is no joke, the highway indeed has a huge crack in it and it’s getting even bigger. 20 miles of it is closed off from being driven on. I suppose we are going to need to hurry up and invent those Jetson-like cars sooner than we thought. Think of all the money you’ll save in tolls.

3. Coasters are no longer safe

Two years ago, I went to Carowinds in Charlotte, NC with my brother and his friend Brendon. We were hot. It was summer in NC….which, if you live here, you know that is no less excruciating than it is for a lobster to be placed in a pot full of boiling water. We had waited in line in the sun for about an hour for one of the roller coaster rides. I LOVE roller coasters, I love adrenaline and the thrill of being terrified nearly to the point of death, only to be rescued by the fact that I’m strapped in and locked in by a variety of safety mechanisms. For the same reason, I would love to try sky diving. However, this particular day was not a typical one at the theme park…or was it? When we got to the front of the line, there suddenly was a problem on the ride and it stopped running for about half an hour while ride mechanics or technicians fixed a “glitch”. Apparently the glitch was a problem with the braking mechanism. At this news, I began sweating profusely and it wasn’t simply due to the fact that the hot sun was blazing into my every skin cell, but because I truly did NOT want to go on that ride. However, Peter and Brendon, being the tough guys that they are, insisted we go. I couldn’t let my brother and his friend die without me, imagine how that would look when I had to go home and report to my mother what had happened. She would be so mad that it took him and not me! So, I went along. Plus, someone would have to tend to those two wild banchees in the afterlife, or else they would be dancing on streets of gold naked. Fortunately, nothing happened on the ride, except for the fact that my feelings of sheer and utter terror were amplified and resulted in me getting sick and not being able to continue the afternoon of riding on roller coasters. Now with this news of a lady dying in Texas, I am not sure if I could ever ride one again. I’d already written off theme parks because of the excruciating long lines, the entire herd like mentality of it the experience, and the sheer Americanism sold at every twist and turn. But now, it’s almost become an issue of reverence for me. How can I enjoy such a “harmless danger” when it has been the death to others…and all in the name of pleasure and fun. The riders with her said that she had been complaining to a park worker that her restraint wasn’t seeming to be fully operating, however, ride engineers and researchers say that there are computer mechanisms in place that do not allow the ride to start if this is the case. WITH ANY OF THE RESTRAINTS. So, why did this happen to this poor woman? The reasons are still being investigated…by Six Flags themselves. I feel that even if the truth does present itself, we’re not going to be privy to the full extent of it, not as long as we’re the general, admission-paying, coaster-riding public. roller-coaster-24

4. Yet people are still living on the edge

The other item under fire right now is that of Immigration. I recently watched a TV Show called “30 Days” in which Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me) set people up to undergo thirty days of living in someone else’s shoes. He brings in a bounty hunter from TX to live with a family of illegal immigrants. This is a subject I need to educate myself more on, and it’s also one in which everyone has an opinion and are making their thoughts loudly known. When it comes to the word “reform” I simply want to know this, will it truly change anything? Haven’t we been in the process of reforming this place since the beginning of time? And all that we have to show for it is farms demolished by fracking, water polluted by overconsumption, and people wearing down SIDEWALKS because they are eating one too many Philly Cheese Steaks at lunch. Where is the reform to be had? Perhaps it’s time we reform to look at one another as individuals and take this into account when making a practical system for becoming a valued citizen. What is at the root of the immigration “problem”? Is it overcrowding? Less job opportunities for qualified individuals as the unqualified ones are willing to do it for fewer bucks? Is it our lack of compassion for what they are escaping? Perhaps our warm, friendly and inviting American persona is being put to the test? How welcoming are we REALLY? Why or why not?

5. Is Insecurity the new security?

You can always be sure of one thing. That there is NOTHING you can be sure of for sure. I promise that to be true. Not that I can make you any steadfast promises. But really, no matter how much I can prove something scientifically, or otherwise to myself, it still could be a completely made-up figment of my imagination. And then how would I know? So, when someone tells me I look good, or that I’m safe, or that I can trust something…I have a really hard time doing so. As I seek stability, security and certainty in this world, it seems I find more opportunities for gambles, chances, and high risks. So since everything is already so up in the air, why not live each and every day like it’s exactly that. Life can change in the blink of an eye, and while you may have your job, your loved ones, your children, your cushy 401K,  pets, fancy house, blue suede shoes, and favorite breakfast cereal to depend on today, tomorrow could be another story altogether. And then we have what we think is our own private world, but are likely being spied on by our very own countrymen at any given time. This I don’t mind so much, as I’m aware that it might be an infringement on my rights, I really have nothing to hide. I’d be happy to tell them how many minutes I brush my teeth everyday, Tweet them how many hours I spent watching TedTalks one afternoon, or text the government and tell them all about the great outfit I have on today. How messed up is our country truly? Is there any allowance for us to put aside our stress and worries and indulge in more carefree living? Has virtue, creativity and passion died? When we’re in such dire straits, as we tread through such unpredictable and dangerous waters, what do we focus on?  I love what my good pal, Ghandi has to say in regards to security:

“This is the secret of security: like love, at its highest, it is not something that we receive; it is something that we do. And in doing security, in being secure and promoting the security of others, we find our own.”

It starts with the spirit, not the spy game. It takes a shift toward altruism, not a shift toward shutting down others and others and others and finally ourselves. Want more security? Perhaps it begins with each and everyone of us doing our best, being true to our word, and being the person that someone else can trust.

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The Good Writing, the Bad Hair, and the Ugly Skin

I went to the anniversary party this weekend of my friend, and former employer’s, business Luna’s Living Kitchen in Charlotte, NC. The party was fabulous and I connected with my co-workers, crying over how much I missed them, and staring in awe at how healthy, radiant and clear-skinned everyone was. I have a tendency to get myself in an emotional ditch and not be able to pick myself back up until I attend some fun social event geared towards being hyper and outgoing. “This time was going to be different,” I mentally announced on my way there.
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First, was battling the three hour car drive THERE which consisted of planning an outfit (which I would quickly change into at a stop light, of course), downing a hit of caffeine so I wouldn’t fall asleep at 9pm as I usually do, listening to no fewer than four mix CD’s, deciding whether or not any of the events of my road trip were blog worthy, and checking my sunburned lip catastrophe that was a glaring attention getter amidst my otherwise flawless complexion. The very last half hour of my journey was the positive self talk which every girl needs before a social event to calm the swelling waves of her nervousness.

Needless to say, when I got there, I was feeling pretty good. It made me so happy to chit-chat with everyone, and it was refreshingly the very opposite of small talk, rather a string of witty puns, heartfelt conversation, and lively updates. I refrained from overindulging in the many varieties of hummus and after all was said and done, I was feeling terrific about having had gone. I began questioning why I ever get sad or unhappy to begin with! When everything in life is so promising and so friendly, and so grand….like all the folks at the party!

Unfortunately, as with every high speed chase, or jailbreak, or caffeine rush……there is always a crash. Mine happened to be on my parents couch that night, which was conveniently located just outside of Charlotte.  IMG957232

The next day, on my drive back to Raleigh, after about the fourth time scanning every station on the radio, I was trying to make my brain do interesting things by forcing it not to think about anything at all, in hopes that I would think about something truly brilliant and original. I took a look at my uneven, overpriced Groupon haircut in the mirror and realized how petty and dull my blogs have been. Lots of whining and complaining about how unoriginal, and unliked I am. Then I started asking myself some soul-searching questions, what do people want to read? Why type of person do people want to be around? Who am I when no one is watching? What do I have to offer this world?

It boiled down to the following peanuts:

1. You’ll pretty much only be liked as much as you like yourself. People say this all the time and it’s rather cliché, or so I’ve always thought. But it’s really true….basically, the amount of crap you’re willing to put up with and take is the amount of crap you’re going to end up getting. It’s hard to trick your brain into things that it doesn’t think, but that really is one of the keys to happiness. That’s why it’s hard to be both smart and happy, so if you have both, you’ve struck GOLD!

2. People like to read about themselves or things they can identify with. My favorite book is called Running in Heels, by Anna Maxted, a story about a nearly 30-year-old who has all sorts of dilemmas and problems and personal neurosis. So many of the things that the main character does and says remind me of myself. Maybe that is why it’s my favorite book. Unfortunately, my other favorite is the Amelia Bedelia series, hence the blog name. I am rather accident prone and blunderous. The point being, we all like someone we can draw parallels with. We like attention, feeling as though there is some purpose for our very own individual existence. This is why women like flowers, because it demonstrates that you were thinking of us while you were off filling up your gas tank, or conquering the world all in a day’s work. It’s why cards and letters, and Facebook statuses with tags in them, and jelly donuts are all AWESOME. Ok, so I don’t really think jelly donuts are awesome…. so now the question is, what can I write about that people can identify with? I’m sort of weird, so clearly I can’t continue to write about myself. But what I can do is observe the world around me and share some of my insights about how one person chooses to navigate through this crazy life with two middle names and an energy deficiency. Likely at least 3% of my readers will be able to identify.

3. When no one is watching I’m a…..I can’t tell you what I came up with in response to this one, or else I’d be blowing my own cover!

4. What do I have to offer this world? I used to be a firm believer that no matter how much someone professed to love you, or like you, you should always like them slightly less. Be one degree colder, one more shoulder distance away from them than they are from you. No bear hugs, no kisses on the cheeks, keep an icey cool front in front of even your least critical fans. However, as I was pondering this little philosophy, I was realizing how completely and utterly I abandoned that theory as of about circa 2011 and started nose diving face first into the refreshing pool waters of loving people just BECAUSE despite what they can do for me, or how much they like me. I tried to ween myself off the word “hate” and “dislike” and it made me realize how many more people I truly LIKE! Sometimes I even like people that bash me over the head with berating words or disapproval. It’s the strangest thing, but it really worked for me. Now, I realize one of the key things that I have to offer the world, what we all have to offer is a giant, big heart full of love. I am so glad I stopped paying for expensive yoga classes to help me become a better person, the answer really WAS inside me all this time, like they tell you between breathing out your third eye and shavasana.

I’ll leave you with a final thought, in the form of an activity.

In honor of His Honor being born, can you remember where were you on the day of the Royal Wedding? April 29, 2011. It was a Friday. It took me about three days to recover this information, but I finally found it buried in the dusty crevices of my brain and I felt proud. Sometimes I like to try this activity, pick a random date and year and try to determine either your whereabouts, or your company, or your outfit, or your feelings from that very day. You might even have your Facebook timeline, old emails, journal entries, or school documents to help you out. It’s a really fun way to connect with people and compare where you were in your lives on xyz date in 1906.

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Decisions Decisions

Have you ever wondered WHY the grass is actually greener on the other side of the fence? The implications that has for the grass? It obviously has gotten far more manure than the grass on YOUR side of the fence. Or, alternatively, it could be fake grass like a football field, or pumped up with Genetically-Modified-Human-Killer-Plant-Grower chemicals and toxins that are harmful to everyone and everything within 7 corn fields. Farm

I have a really hard time making decisions, making up my mind, and setting forth. This is for several reasons:

1. Comparing myself to others

2. Not 100% knowing what I want until I try it and succeed/ fail

3. Setbacks

4. Not wanting it to affect someone else or something else that is going well in my life. 

A decision is usually made between two or more things that you are using to evaluate how you can make your life BETTER right, or conversely, NOT WORSE. You decide how to get to work based on which way will get you there fastest, or which way is more scenic, which way will have the least number of Starbucks coffee shops on the way so you can reduce your temptation opportunities from 10 to 1.

When making a choice, reaching a conclusion, signing on the dotted line it’s important to make sure first and foremost that you’re as equipped and informed as possible with the matter at hand. If you’re trying to buy a new car, don’t be a crash dummy and let them sell you an old one, know that NEW means zero miles. Know what you’re getting. Know who you’re getting it from and know how long it’s going to last you. Choosing between flavors of ice cream and what you want for dinner at night can be BIG stuff, really intense, deep, passionate and meaningful.
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But, I find that it’s those hankering and ever present life decisions that are the hardest. They seem to be appearing more frequently as of late, and require mindful and constant tackling, rather than simply making up my mind and forgetting about it. Let me give you some examples:

When I first came home from France after tossing pancakes, skiing down countrysides, and making beds for four months, I had no job, no place to live, and a pitiful 600 dollars to my name. I had to decide where to go. The choice seemed easy as I was all busy falling in love and stuff, what normal fairytale seeking princess wouldn’t settle down where her true love lives. Although, the choice was not actually that simple at all. Living where he lived meant I had to start out living with my parents, as his city was 3 hours from theirs. I had to take my 26 year old self and relive my glory days of living with my parents, whom I hadn’t lived with for 8 years! I had to start essentially from scratch with my possessions, carrying with me only some clothes, books, and thankfully I was greeted by a bed and dresser my parents had set aside for me. Then I had to decide how long I would stay with them. How would I save up money to get to where I needed to go next? Where did I need to go next? How long would I be “in love”? Would I ditch this guy in a few months and run off to Arizona to meditate under the hot sun and drink cactus juice? I sure did miss my friends in NH, I missed aspects of my old life and the old me that I knew I was sacrificing in order to be blistering away under the hot NC smog. My mind often drifted to asking myself whether or not I had made the right decision and it seemed that I was able to recant and run for the hills at any moment if I wanted. So I was constantly making the conscious and active decision to STAY.

I’ve battled choices with going back to school and my future career, my place of residence, my friends, weighty job decisions, and a major vehicle choice as mine was in dire need of TLC.

Some decisions you feel really good after making them, it was the best you could do, or you made others around you feel good with what you chose. But sometimes, the greener grass, the pampered manure, is really just you having to put up with a lot more crap in achieving what you think is what you want.

I like to blame my inability to make decisions on my hormones. The fact that I am gung-ho about something one day and the next day feeling the need to purge it out of my life….it’s all the estrogen! Sometimes I compare where others are in their lives and I kick myself for decisions I’ve made or am making. I often make a decision and realize there is no way on earth I will ever accomplish it financially this month, unless the sky opens up and the god of hundred dollar bills (that’d be Benjie Franklin) blesses me with particles of his bounty. Then I have to take back my decision, consider the ripple effect and examine if it was what I REALLY wanted anyway. Maybe it’s just not for now and it will come back later. Some choices you get to make again, and others are pressing for your attention NOW and only NOW, lest you burn bridges by turning something down.

Here goes another biggie.

I wonder this, if we start to get more in tune with our hearts true desires, and able to hone in on those. I imagine things are less of a decision making process and more of a natural flow. Ebbing effortlessly into the next step because that is what we have always wished and hoped would be there, and we wish, work, and wait, we often end up where we are. Oh wait, we end up where we are regardless. I’ll let you decide what to make of it all.