September 20

Butting It Out

**Note 1** I actually started writing this several months ago. Then summer happened and came along with it were the tough choices of whether or not I’d rather be frolicking outside or banging my head against my lap top trying to string together words I’m happy with.

If only there was an emoji for my decision making abilities…

Oh wait, there is…

poo

Maybe I’m being too hard on myself. I’ve turned out okay(ish) depending on the day of the week and the time of the month, so I suppose I’ve done a few things right.

I have, however, made one decision I can finally say I am – without a doubt – proud of and have zero regrets or second thoughts.

And no, it has nothing to do with my dating life.

**Note 2** At the time of initially writing this, my dating life was still on its nine-year hiatus and that has surprisingly changed, which is a story for another time.**

Anyway.

I quit smoking.

People quit smoking all the time… so why is this such a big deal for me?

My choice to begin in the first place isn’t one I’m proud of. Sometimes, you have to travel to the dark side to appreciate the light. Right? (Still waiting for the light to manifest itself into my romantic life).

**Note 3** Sometime last year, I was having a conversation with a friend about my lack luster love life. I brought up the topic of smoking and how I felt that it was something I had to give up before I could totally attract a healthy relationship – as much of what I had been attracting over the last decade has been toxic (not all, though!). I was treating myself with toxic habits and attracting similar relationships to the one I had with my self. Voila! Not long after butting it out, my perpetual single life smoldered out as well… again, a story for another time.

Regardless, it was a large part of who I was… and who I wasn’t.

In fact, I was such a stealthy smoker that most people in my life didn’t even know.

I was a mostly private – and heavy – puffer (of cigarettes, just to clarify) for 20 years.

Two decades.

That’s a long time.

For 20 years, I relied on these magic toxic filled sticks to make me feel at ease.  They were my dirty little companions in times of anxiety, excitement, boredom, and busyness. They were a social crutch. Ever been awkwardly waiting for someone at a bar? Easy, go for a smoke while you pretend to text someone.

They went great with wine, telephone conversations, driving, and they were my way to step back and quiet my mind. And let’s not forget coffee – nothing went better with caffeine than a dose of carbon monoxide.

Don’t even get me started on how great it was after sex… Well, so I’ve been told…

And I actually enjoyed it.

“Life is short… do what you enjoy. I could quit smoking and then I could get hit by a bus. It’s my only bad habit… I eat well and I exercise…. I really do take care of myself. I could have worse habits!”

This was my reasoning each and every time.

For twenty years I told myself that this was something I had full control over. I controlled them, not the other way around. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

The mere thought of going somewhere and not being able to have a cigarette or needing to hide it sent me into anxiety. Despite being careless with my own health, I was always cautious and considerate of those who I shared my bad habits with.

My car was stocked with the necessities. Gum, mouthwash, hand sanitizer, and body spray galore. I was like a Health and Beauty aisle at Walmart on wheels. Minus the Health part.

I had ‘quit’ several times over the years. Nothing stuck for more than a couple weeks, tops. I had tried the gum, patches, cold turkey and medications. The terrible dreams were one thing, but my raging bitch moods were another story. Don’t even get me started on being on Champix when you are PMSing. Guys, if you think we are too emotional then… think again.  You haven’t felt true toxic wrath until you’ve seen a crampy, high strung woman too bloated for her fat pants sans her cigarette. That terrifies even me.

I actually felt it was in the best interest of my own well-being and the safety of others to continue to light up.

Although I had ‘wanted’ to butt out for a long time, the one habit I never bothered to adjust was my thought patterns. I had always ‘worked’ on quitting smoking, but I never worked on my mind. For a while, I had only wanted to quit to have extra cash.

I had started CrossFit in 2012 to challenge my mental and physical strength. By no means do I consider myself highly competitive or even all that athletic, but I wanted something that pushed me just a little bit harder. I had only taken small sips of the proverbial Kool-Aid… which was enough to quench my thirst for a healthier lifestyle.

cfIt wasn’t solely CrossFit – much of it was also the changing social perception. Gone were the days of sandbox ashtrays in shopping malls and street corners. I had been a social outcast for the better part of my childhood and smoking was something I did to fit in to some -any- kind of crowd. Despite the changing laws and stigmas – it was still easy enough to hide. But, trying to mask the fact that I was losing a lung before the CrossFit warm-up was even over was getting to be a real challenge – and not the kind I signed up for. I dreaded things like sprints and thrusters, and wall balls and burpees were the absolute worst. And what was the first thing I did after walking out of the torture chambers? Torture my body even more. And not for positive gains.

The more I went, the more I began to feel like a hypocrite. That’s like claiming to be a nature lover as you nudge the remnants of your nic-stick into a sidewalk nook and cranny.

Finally, my mind began to change. Slowly but surely, I began to hate it. I had a hard enough time explaining to narrow minded people why I am was still single and child-less at 33, never mind trying to justify why I was dating the slick devilish darts.

smokeIt had occurred to me that my mind had been conditioned to think cigarettes were ‘cool’ and simply a part of ‘who I was’. The only way I could quit was to rewire my brain and adopt new ways of thinking. Rather than being accustomed to telling myself it was something I needed, I began to tell myself the opposite. (Now if I could only translate this into every other area of my life, I’d be set!) I also did what I have been seemingly good at in other areas of my life – I focused on the negatives. That’s right – but this time for good reason. I filled my brain with the very worst things I could think of. Rather than thinking about how much I enjoyed it with a cold beer on a hot summer night – I consciously thought about all the toxins I was polluting my body with and spent time asking Siri to show me blackened lungs.

One morning, I got into my car and left for work. I had one cigarette left. This is where panic mode would usually set in and I would need to b-line to the Mac’s store. I opened my glove box to dig out some change – only to have the content of primarily empty cigarette packages fall out. I stared at the pile of money I had turned into a toxic wasteland.

And that was it. This is stupid. I kept on driving – which might have been the best decision I have ever made.

Deep breath.

(Because I can do that now.)

 

February 9

5 Reasons Being Single Doesn’t Totally Suck

WINE

In 32 years, I have not celebrated ‘Valentine’s Day’, save for the bags of Hershey Kisses and trinkets my Mom would give me when I was younger (thank you Mom). I have yet to have someone Cho-Cho-Choose me.

As of this moment, I have been single for nearly nine years.

Not that I’m counting or anything, but that’s:

3,111 days
444 weeks and 3 days
74,664 hours
4,479,840 minutes
268,790,4000 seconds

Vday3(Thank you Google!)

While there are plenty of folks that don’t give a flying f*** about V-Day, there are always those that always feel a little bit ‘singled out’ while walking the grocery store aisles littered with love. It is also possible to feel both, simultaneously. I know I do at times.

As much as I would love to collide shopping carts with my life partner, I’m also an advocate of spending time single. Over the years, I’ve learned more about myself than some do in a life time. It hasn’t been easy by any stretch of the imagination, however there are some life lessons to learn that one should never live without.

If you are sick of seeing red and feeling blue, here are five reasons why being single isn’t totally terrible…

1. Because personal happiness should never be contingent on whether or not you have someone in your life. Finding your own source of happiness is key. Figure out what floats your boat and go do it. I know too many people that are only happy if they are in a relationship. Too many people that place their own value on whether or not they are coupled up. We all end up alone at some point in our lives, if you don’t know how to be happy with the person you are with (yourself), life is going to be a very shitty time for you when it happens. If you don’t want to be with you, why would anyone else want to? Being single is the opportunity to develop the ultimate relationship – with yourself.

VDay12. Relationships are a big deal. When the right one comes along – you hope it is for life. At least I do. Finding a good relationship is life is like finding a good job. There’s always going to be those soul sucking crap jobs in between, and it may take you years to find the one that resonates with you. Do you really want to be stuck at a job you hate for the rest of your life? Gross. There’s always going to be those people stuck in those crap jobs, because there’s always people who are willing to settle out of fear of not being able to pay their bills, much like those who settle out of fear of being alone. Do you really want to be stuck with someone for the rest of your life that you can just barely tolerate? Don’t settle. There’s far too many people stuck in relationships they aren’t happy with – if you’re single, you don’t have this problem. The options are wide open, my loves.

3. This one is for the group of singles that are kid free. There are a lot of folks that are happily married and enjoy the family life (I salute you)… but if you are like me, in your 30s and have yet to tie the knot and pop out a few babies, don’t dwell. Yes, there are some who feel their life calling is to be parents. I’m not one of them, which is a good thing, because judging by the quality of dates I’ve been on in the last near-decade, I suspect it may last another nine years and by that time I’ll be near menopausal. However, if your biological clock is ticking and it’s starting to look bleak – realize there are many ways to find fulfillment in life that don’t always involve kids. Until the time is right, which may or may not happen, find a way to leave your own legacy. Because you know what is sweeter than the sound of a baby crying and more entertaining than dodging poop? The ability to do whatever the f*ck you want, when you want.

4. V-Day is a commercial holiday designed to take your money. Nothing more than a visit from Saint Valentine, the Patron Saint of overpriced crap used to show your unwavering affection. The sentiment is nice, but love should be shared every day. We shouldn’t need a reminder. If you find yourself single on V-Day – don’t sweat it. Think of the dollars you are saving in our unfortunate economy. Which brings me to my next point.

WINE5. More wine. Yes, being single means you don’t have to share with anyone if you don’t want to. Take all those dollars you just saved and go by yourself a bottle box of liquid candy and enjoy (responsibly). Toast yourself and dream up all the things you want to attract into your life. Better yet, go do them.

See, it’s not so bad, is it?

Having said that, being single definitely does have its pit-falls at times. Craving human connection and closeness is natural. I’ve longed for it daily. How cool would it be to have someone you connect with on every level? Pretty neat, I’d imagine. But that being said, there is nothing that trumps loving yourself unconditionally first and foremost – essential to attracting someone who will do just the same. Enjoy your freedom while you have it, even if it lasts nine romance-less years. Being single can either be really shitty, or pretty damn amazing – it’s all on how you look at it.

Oh and as a side note – I graciously accept wine, chocolates (great for PMS week), flowers and dinners. “He” is out there somewhere… until then, I will treat myself.

But seriously, man… hurry the hell up, would ya?!

I’M WAITING PATIENTLY AND MY WRINKLES ARE NOT!

Vday2

 

 

 

May 31

Excuses, excuses

glasseswtf

I’ve been avoiding writing the same way I avoid questions like, “Do you have a boyfriend yet.” The difference is that one I’ve avoided by making plenty of excuses… the other… well, I don’t have an answer.

The last year or more since I’ve even bothered to write anything has been a juggling act and I’ve dropped the ball a few dozen hundred times.

I know I need to write and yet I avoid it. Why? Well, I will tell myself things like I have no time, work is in the way, I have nothing to say, and on and on.

The back and forth dialogue in my mind goes something like:

“I feel so inspired, this is going to be easy!”
“I can’t wait to get started!”

*Sits down to write*

“Nothing’s coming out…”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself, just get out of your own way!”
“This is stupid! Everything I try to write sounds like crap!”

*Texts friend to vent*

*Tries again*

glasseswtf“This sounds even worse! Nothing makes sense!”
“I don’t even know what my point is!”
“Who is going to care, anyway!”
“Blah!”
“I quit!”

“I can’t wait to get started!”

(And in case you’re wondering, yeah, I made that stellar graphic in Paint because it’s one of the few things that’s actually still working on my computer. Sweet, eh?)

I’ve been meaning to write a book for… oh I dunno, the last few years or more. It’s a vicious cycle. Creativity hits, words fill the page, PMS (a.k.a. nuclear emotional warfare) hits harder, self doubt blows up and before I know it I’m starting over. Again, and again. Approximately every 28 days. Not only that, the creativity process is an emotional one that stirs up a lot of energy (sometimes unwanted), PMS or not. They say writing is ‘therapeutic’, but I’m pretty sure that sometimes, after writing, I could use a good therapy session. Why? Because the process of creation is the thing that triggers the most emotion in me. Emotion = energy in motion.

Sometimes, I tell myself I have no business writing if I’m not in the right mind frame. It’s like I’m perpetually waiting for things to be just perfect. But, that would do little for authenticity.

I easily walk into the quicksand of negative self talk – in heels no less. I can barely walk in flats, never mind stilettos. I have a remarkable ability to focus on all the things that I don’t perceive as ‘right’ in my life and why they are preventing me from doing what I want. Which is nothing more than excuses, in other words complete bull shit.

However!

Yes, there is a however!

I put it this way… I think about living out my existence and what would haunt me forever if I didn’t do it. What would pick away at my soul eternally? That’s usually the thing you are meant to do. It’s not meant to be easy.

Hang on, I lost my train of thought again. Damn it. I’ve probably written about this very same thing before. Damn it, again.

Anyway, point is… you just have to keep going. What would have ever been created if no one ever got out of their own way and maximized their time? Get out of your head and just do it. Maybe it will be easy, maybe not. Probably not. Or, continually hang on to excuses, fear, and self doubt. What fun is that?! Where is it getting you?

That goes for me, too! I always need to eat my own words! It’s likely why I put them out there sometimes, to keep myself accountable.

My phone just beeped and someone just sent me this video… how synchronistic…

What are your excuses keeping you from?

If you’re tired of kicking your own ass and would like to keep me company on kicking mine, please join me HERE.

April 18

… And Breathe.

brain

brainPrepare for brutal honestly.

I tend to write only positive and uplifting moments… moments that can inspire magic and hope into others – even if it is only my average readership of one person (thanks, Mom). But if I always did that, I would not be including the remaining fibers of my soul. I would only be showing one fragment of my being, and given that I wear my heart on my sleeve, I find it damn near impossible to hide the rest of me.

That’s not to say I don’t have anything uplifting to say, but today I’m just not in the mood. Maybe it’s the weather.

F#ck it. Today I write my feelings, as they are, in the present moment.

It’s my therapy.

Lately, the amount of days I have felt empty and alone and lost and anxious have outnumbered the days of feeling intrinsically happy and calm. It’s a piss off really, because I WAS there, and I have always been the purveyor of self fulfillment and wholeness – the importance of going on your own epic self journey – and yet here I am, trying to chew on my own words.

Maybe I’ve been looking at too many ‘throw back thursday’ photos and wondering how I went from hob-knobbing with the semi rich and famous, doing really cool shit (as defined by my ego), travelling, donning some low cut, sexified tank top – to sitting alone on a Friday night, in my Walmart-special hoodie donning a salsa stain on it, and on the brink of joining a nunnery. If I ever do end up on a hot date in this life time, I may need an instruction manual.

Anyway, that’s not the point. I get that my interests have shifted as I get older more mature. Actually, I don’t even know what my point is.  Blah.

After all the searching and inner workings – I find myself not knowing where the hell I am. But then again, where did I expect to go? I have no clue. I suppose I figured after going on sabbatical from being stuck inside some little box the majority of society views as ‘normal life’, I’d at least have somewhat of an idea as to what the heck I am doing or what path to take. Perhaps I even went as far as to think I might also have a morsel of romance after I learned to find it within my self, first.

I don’t.

None. Nada. Zero. Zilch. F#ck all.

It’s like every time I think I have found myself, I get lost again. And again. Or maybe I’m just beginning. Maybe I have not yet learned to love myself in the first place. I don’t know.

Untitled

I also have a problem. It’s called self sabotage. It gets me every time. I am an expert on self destruction. Very rarely can I hold on to a good though long enough to let it play out. Instead, I kill it with impatience and a lot of ‘this-is-never-going-to-work-i’m-a-failure-my-life-is-OVER’ kind of thing. I have a solid habit of thinking of the worst possible scenarios in just about, well… everything. Some – if not most – days, it puts me into a total head spin. 

I’m starting to feel bogged down by those thoughts.

But I feel like lately that’s all I know.

My brain needs a bath.

I want to wash myself clean, scrub my negative patterns away until I bleed. Find a way to stop fearing the unforeseen and inch closer to my dreams.

But I feel like I’ve done that – over and over and over again.  It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey – I get that.

Good grief, I really need to stop saying the word ‘but’.

I guess I’m just frustrated, and I needed it to let it out.

Maybe I’m closer than I think.  

Exhale… here we go again..

yourself

 

 

 

April 9

How to Be Something!

Be

If you’re human, chances are you may share the same sentiments.  If you’re one of the few that is totally 1000% satisfied with all that you are doing and have it totally figured out, I salute you.

Oh, and as a side note, I should mention these are thoughts that prelude what will be my next rant… somewhere along the lines about why I jumped from the routine and security of a corporate desk job that I relatively enjoyed, into self employment uncertainty.  I thought about writing it all as it’s really one long string of thoughts, but we’re busy people. We got other shit to do and I’m sure you’ve already fallen asleep, anyway.

Moving on…

For the last twenty-some years, I’ve been following a similar routine. 8-5 at a desk (or a variation of). At first it was school. Much like the general population, Monday to Friday I would haul my ass to class before the sound of the bell and sit at a desk. Save for recess breaks, when I would scramble to find someone to play with. I was an awkward kid, don’t judge.

Then the bell rang and us rug rats scurried back to class. Back to a wooden slab of a desk to be spoon fed all sorts of interesting and relevant information that I am sure we all fully remember and utilize every day in adulthood. All in hopes that one day we will land a good career, and ‘be something’.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against school. I enjoyed phys ed, creative writing classes, and even failing math more times than I can count on one hand (I can only count to five, anyway). There were plenty of good things. Like overcoming the fear of speaking to an audience. I learned what I was good at, and I learned about the kinds of things I never wanted to do again.

It also taught me many of other things – social interaction, how to sit at a desk for prolonged periods of time, strengths and weaknesses, constructive criticism, how to meet deadlines, how to create sudden and spontaneous illnesses, forge sick notes, how to slice open an innocent frog, acceptance of routine (blah), and so on.  There were some teachers that simply showed up and read from a text book, and others that helped you to go past your fears and brought out the very best in you.

knowledgeBut in my opinion, there’s a lot of important topics school doesn’t cover in great detail – which are crucial to long term happiness. Unfortunately, they can only been taught through experience. There is no ‘Art of Being Human 101′ or ‘Inward Journey for Beginners’ or ‘Fundamentals of Soulful Living’ and you can’t get your Masters in Mindfulness. Important lessons that really help you BE the best you can be – in whatever field you choose.

And there was always that nagging question:

“So have you decided what you want to be when you grow up, Tanis?”

How do I know? Who says I’m going to grow up anyway? What if I die tomorrow? Does that mean I didn’t BEcome anything? But I already AM something, I AM me, and if I am ME, I’ll also BE me when I ‘grow up’, so doesn’t that mean I’ve already chosen what I wish to BE?

I loathe this question.

It makes it sound like you are not fully a human BEing unless you attach a fancy title to yourself. I guess you’re just merely human-ing, or something like that. Science is wrong, you’re heart only starts beating once you’ve found the perfect job to brag about. (This is incorrect, by the way).

So after school, I scurried off into the ‘real world’ and signed up for the rat race. Be something! Be something! I need to be something!!

As a society, we are caught up in labels, perceived meaning and the pressure to ‘be’ something that already exists (which is YOU, btw)… and less on what it actually means to BE. If you are reading this, I can only assume you’re alive – in which case you are already what you need to be.

“OMG. You’re famous?! Please let me lick the dirt off your heels! I bow to you!”
“Wow! You’re a lawyer! That’s so awesome!”
“So you’re a delivery person… Oh. That’s cool.”
“You drive a garbage truck? What?”
“Heh, so you work at McDonalds? Do you, like, not have any motivation in life? Ew.”

But, seriously. What if I really do actually enjoy flipping burgers and it makes me intrinsically happy? I actually really do enjoy BBQing.

routine3So, most of my life was spent in a relentless attempt to get to the top of some invisible ladder so that at my high school reunion I could say, “Look at me, look at what I am being!” And I was something. I was something that excelled in my field and sat a desk for a determined amount of time every day, Monday to Friday.

Anyway, after several fancy titles, a lot of time spent busy ‘being something’ – I decided I didn’t want to do the dance of routine anymore. I felt stifled and empty, not to mention I’m a terrible dancer.  I didn’t want to do things I wasn’t totally passionate about just to satisfy some ridiculous perception we have.  Disregarding who you are, compromising yourself in exchange for an inflated ego, a perceived monetary value of what you are ‘worth’ just so you can get by and hopefully go out and start enjoying life by the time you’re damn near dead, or because of a bunch of narcissistic societal beliefs, doesn’t equate to success. It adds up to misery and wastes the essence of who you truly are. Time you spend ignoring what you believe to be your true purpose is time you can never get back. Yeah, you can never get time back – that’s scary shit!

So I jumped. Into a foreign land of not knowing, no security, and not much routine. It might have been the most secure choice I have made. But, more on that later.

For now, though, here’s the thing:

Success is not defined from your job or the label you give yourself. If you’ve got degrees and certifications coming out of your you-know-what and you are a terrible person, I am sorry, but you are not a success.  All that does is make you a terrible person with a good education.

Success comes from BEing. That’s it, that’s all. Simply being. Being in the moment. As best you can. Great things happen when you choose to be awesome at LIFE, not just a label. BE a good person. That’s all there is too it.

If you don’t design your life, someone else will. That little nagging voice in your heart telling you to chase your dreams? Or at the very least, to make a change? It’s a real thing, listen to it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The crime which bankrupts men and nations is that of turning aside from one’s main purpose to serve a job here and there.”

You are already what you want to BE.

Go out and do it.

Be

 

March 2

Let’s Jump Into Bed

messybed3

I’ve started to make my bed each morning. This has never happened. Perhaps, psychologically I feel that if I make my bed it will help to tidy up my entire life which some days feels like a disaster. That, and it’s a small task that leaves a feeling of pride to start the day off.

My inner child is stoked.

“Yeah Mom, Dad! Take that!! I totally just made my bed!”

Life = winning.

Amessy bed1nd at the end of the day, it looks even more appealing to climb into.

But, in actuality, it’s the same level of comfort.

So, maybe this small step can be carried over into the rest of the mess. Truth is, we are all a little bit messy. Some of us aren’t exactly where we want or thought we would be in life. Relationship woes. Marriage woes. Financial woes. Emotional woes. Woe is me.

Some of us have really messy beds.

But, look closer. Is it really, ‘woe is me’?

Fuck that. Not today.

WHOA is me.

It’s all perception.

We are taught from a young age that you ‘should’ make your bed. And if you want to, go ahead. Really. I am.

Because I want to.

It can be as messy as you want it to be. (Unless you share it with someone, it might need a little compromise. I don’t have this problem… yet.) Still though, it might need a little fixing up before you crawl in – and if you make it too tightly, you might kick your feet so that it’s a bit more loose. A little breathing room, you might say. The trick is to find the right balance.

Regardless, it’s your bed. It doesn’t matter how perfect it is. It doesn’t matter how messy it is. It might change on a daily basis. Maybe you’ll go for month with nicely tucked in sheets. Maybe you’ll go for twenty years with pillows strewn across the floor.

What matters, is that it’s where magic happens. (Okay, as of lately, I don’t know what this is like, but whatever, you get the point.) It’s where magic CAN happen. It’s waiting. Calling your name. Dying for you to jump in, roll around and make love to it. How you decide to play – to explore in it is all up to you.

It’s where dreams are made.

All you have to do is show up.

(Maybe relax a little.)

Whoa…

This is a metaphor for life.

Sweet dreams.

messybed3

January 31

What Every Man Needs to Know, Period.

joy

I really am a firm believer in that what you place your intentions on, is what you manifest into your life. I know this because that is how many of my life experiences have came to be. I try to keep mine centered in positivity and gratitude in any given moment.

There is, however, one minor glitch.

They are called ovaries.

This might be an uncomfortable subject for some (mostly men), but the operating system I am currently working on is ‘Don’t Care 0.0′.

Included in this PMS inspired rant, are things important to note – pretty much ALL THE TIME. Grab your pens, men.  And a pad (of paper).

(Yes, I said ‘pens’.. there is no extra letter in there, I triple checked.)

Kudos to the women that handle PMS with grace and elegance. I certainly do not. It’s pretty hard to do so, when the walls of your insides are being torn down, forced out and you are still expected to put on a smile. During this time, it is also hard to believe that you were created from any kind of unconditionally loving energy when your guts are transformed into a grisly murder scene once a month. Whoever was responsible for creating women obviously had a vendetta to fulfill.

During this period (no pun intended) of time , every ounce of positive programming I’ve instilled into my psyche goes to shit.

Let me give you the lowdown. This may not be accurate in terms of all women (some are lucky to experience little effects), but for the most part, I think it speaks for many.

It’s a regular day. I feel happy and alive and even though I am not even remotely close to where I want to be in life, I am grateful for my many blessings. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Happy happy, joy joy. La la la la la life is good. 

(Repeat the above every day for about two weeks. As you get about ten days in, start shaving off roughly 10% of the positivity every day.

Still, not too bad.

pmsEnter PMS. Roughly day 16 or so. No, this is not the real thing. It’s only PMS. Pre shark week. More like week of the killer whale – because that is what you feel like. A whale. With killer instincts. Swimming though a sea of Hormone Hell.

I’m getting moodier by the minute. Don’t worry, it only lasts for just under a week. Small potatoes.

Mmmm. Potatoes. Finely chopped into salty golden French fries, covered in gravy and cheese and more cheese and bacon anything else that’s horrible for me. I’d also like a side of an ENTIRE pizza to myself, Cheetos, Taco Time Mexi Fries (so good) and a tub of chocolate.

Oh, right. Back to the moods. They like to jump around a bit.

Not only have I been bloated for the last week from all the water retention PMS creates, but now all the exercise I’ve done in the past month has effectively gone out the window along with my good intentions. My elastic waistline pants don’t even fit because I’ve just gained seven pounds in one miserable sitting. It’s one thing to put on your skinny pants – it’s another to peel off your fat pants.

Hello, depression!

But wait, it’s not just a mild sadness – it’s a full on blah fest. I am now a 30 year old baby throwing tantrums at the drop of a hat. Give me a bottle to suck on. Filled with white wine.

The wine only causes a numbing effect – it doesn’t, however, erase the fact that every single problem in your life is magnified by a BILLION during this time.

What problems you may ask? Anything. During PMS, NOTHING goes right and EVERYTHING becomes a problem. Even the things that are actually good in life are now seen as epic disasters. Ie:

My once happy thoughts of being single and not settling are now turning into sheer misery because I’m in my prime, and I haven’t had a date in seven years – and after deciding to put myself out there again after too many horrific online dating experience, the first person I connect with turns out to be a total creep and sends me a picture of his junk after having my number for one day. I just made the best meal and I’m eating alone again. Damn that happy couple that just walked by! The universe wants me to be alone forever and no one will ever love me! Ever! Wahhhh!

The cost of living is through the roof, my only decent pair of winter boots are falling apart and I can’t afford new ones and wah! Life is a total failure! Forever! Why do I even bother anymore! I want to disappear!!! Wahh!!!

Screw all the accomplishments I’ve ever made – I’m not where I want to be in life, I don’t know where I am supposed to be, winter is too long, nothing is going right, someone cut me off on the way home from work and.. and.. and… I’m crying so hard I can’t breathe. Wahhhh!!

Everything is a sob fest. EVERYTHING.

Oh, but all is not lost!

There is a light in the dark! With the flick of a light switch, the tears have dried and I have now transformed into a hybrid between a preying mantis and a black widow spider and have all the powers of CARRIE. The Grim Reaper hath risen. Katie Kaboom is in the house.

katiekaboom

Did you just look at me the wrong way?

That’s just the emotional part.

While your body is preparing for a full on volcanic eruption – you get pre cramps. They aren’t quite like the regular cramps – they have a different sensation, but are equally as uncomfortable. Your ovaries are throbbing. Wearing a bra is like walking around in chain link armor. Migraines, nausea, fever, fatigue. Maybe even a cold, too. The water retention makes everything feel swollen. You can no longer make sound decisions because your emotions have just been through the ringer.

And the real fun hasn’t even started yet.

It is now day 20 or so and the calm before the storm sets in.

Enter, stage left. A random glimpse of happiness.

glimpse

Now it’s over.

BAM!!!!!!!!

And usually at the most inconvenient time – like in the middle of your sleep on a Sunday night, right before you have a Monday full of meetings.

meanwhile2You jolt yourself out of bed – awakened by the feeling of a rusty dagger that’s been sitting on a mound of hot charcoal – now being driven through your guts, twisting, turning and burning.

SHARK WEEK HAS ARRIVED.

The moods have subsided because the only thing you can think of is possibly performing a hysterectomy on yourself at this very moment. However, that would be dangerous and slightly irrational – so you fill up a hot bath instead – which you never really make it to, because you can’t move from the fetal position you are lying in. You are sweating through the pain, cursing your creator and praying for mercy at the same time.

Half a bottle of Tylenol 3’s and four hours later, you have finally fallen back to sleep – only for the alarm clock to go off five minutes later.

But it’s something men have never experienced, and women have always just ‘dealt’ with since the beginning of time, so skipping out on life for a day on account of your ovaries exploding doesn’t cut it. Get dressed, and prepare to be chronically tired for the next three days. (Day two is the worst). You will also need to budget time for a trip to the Ladies Room approximately every half hour. Don’t forget to put on a smile!

By day three or four you are now physically and emotionally wiped out. And it gets worse as you get older. Not to mention that, the amount of money you’ve spent on feminine products, wine, cravings, and medication up until now is almost enough to eradicate world hunger.

So, what can men do to reduce the effects of PMS?

Nothing. In fact, every time a man says they also experience PMS, a small puppy dies. It’s probably the worst thing you can say.  If you really want to experience the wrath, downing rat poison has similar side effects, although I would not recommend it.

Yes, our moods can put men through the ringer. We feel bad about it. Walking on eggshells and having everything be your fault probably isn’t easy. We don’t mean it. But, on a bright note – you can escape the emotional roller coaster to a degree.  (Only at the precise right time, of course. Don’t forget, we have PMS and likely a GPS – meaning, we WILL find you.) But, we can not escape the marathon of emotions. For those that come along for the ride – thank you.

joyAnd then, just like that – it’s over. Hallelujah! Rejoice! The sun has risen and the sea has settled. All is calm. I feel like a brand new woman! Life is wonderful!

Cash in on this wondrous, miraculous moment of time – because it will come to a crashing halt in approximately two weeks.

At the end of the day, embracing the flow is the best option. I hear menopause is a thousand times worse. Awesome! But I am sure I will still be dining for one by then (wahhh!!!) and no man will have to deal with it.

If you are not in the ‘flow’ – something is probably wrong. This is also a metaphor for life. Understanding and being aware and in tune with it all tells you that you are healthy – emotionally and physically. Period.

Who took my chocolate?!?!?

December 30

Tight Pants, Loose Change and Resolution Refrain

Be-The-Change

Ohhh, the holidays. That joyous time of year that floods the shopping malls with only the kindest of folk. The time of year that has me digging around for an even more elastic-y pair of elastic stretch pants.

Only one of those two sentences has truth to it.

Every year I ask Santa for a slim waistline and a fat bank account, and every year he gets it all mixed up. But is it really Santa’s fault?! Or is it my own for shoving all those extra chocolates and perogies and ham and meatballs and those cute little cocktail wieners into my face that I didn’t need. No need for me to insert a sick joke here, I’m sure you’ve already thought it.

Every action has a consequence. Mine is puffiness around the mid region… and quite frankly, there is nothing Santa can do about it.

(But seriously though, I did get to spend the holidays with a ton of people I love tremendously, so that trumps the stretchy pants.)

gymAnd so comes the New Year. A real time for change, right? Another chance at bringing to fruition all that I (and you) want. Hooray!

But,

A change in numbers doesn’t mean change, unless you are a calendar.  It doesn’t mean a promise of better things to come.  Change only comes from a change in attitude and inspired action. You have this opportunity in every new moment – which is basically, well – all the time.

A ‘new year’ sounds great and all, and sure it gives that refreshed and brand newish feeling – albeit a fleeting one – but don’t sit around and wait for the stroke of midnight. Every moment is a new one, regardless of what year it is. And not to sound totally morbid, but do any of us even know if we are going to live through 2014?! Nope. If you aren’t six feet under, the moment is always ripe.

I stopped making typical new year’s resolutions a while ago. Fuck the plans to save more money, lose weight, etc etc.

Why? Because you don’t know what life is going to throw at you! Last year, I could have sworn by this time this year – I’d be running my own retail business and more financially stable.

Instead, life threw other surprises my way. But as for the good times, I did I find myself couch surfing and castle hopping in Germany, sipping cervasas on sail boats and working in the film industry. None of my year was anything like I thought it would be. I managed to do almost the complete opposite of everything I was ‘planning’ to do. And I enjoyed every single minute of it. I didn’t sit around and wait for the right moment to come along. Instead, I grabbed opportunities by the balls and some of them led me on down paths I never thought I had. Even all the perceived ‘bad’ shit helped with that, too.

Obviously not every change happens over night. Would I way rather be backpacking across somewhere in Central America right now? Oh hell yeah. That’s not going to happen tomorrow with the current state of my bank account. But the point is, is that when you decide to be conscious of the moment, doors you didn’t even expect will open. And some others may shut. You really don’t know where life is going to take you.

I have one goal and one goal only – that is to appreciate everything… whether it’s the extra five bucks to buy a coffee or 50 for a night out. With gratitude comes happiness, and with happiness comes opportunity, and when you are in that zone, things like losing weight and attracting cool shit comes far more naturally.

So rather than setting up all these ridiculous resolutions that last for 72 hours and set you up for frustration and failure, practice mindfulness. Not the most easiest thing when you are feeling disgruntled, but it does help to create change.

Look at everything with a sense of impermanence. That person you last talked to? Yeah, they are going to be gone one day. So are you. That bed you slept on? Well, to be honest it’s going to be in the dump one day. One day that house you live in is going to be gone. Sounds harsh, but it’s true.

Everything – every, single thing is impermanent – and when you look at things with that in mind, not only does it help you to have a greater appreciation for even the crappiest of moments… but it can also create a state of urgency to make change if you are unhappy. Currently, I’m not happy about my tight pants.

Life is short. Don’t wait for a flip of a calendar. Carpe diem. Be grateful.

Be-The-Change

December 4

A Holiday Poem for the Whole Year

christmas heart

T’was the month of December and all through the weeks,
A frenzy of folks, for ‘things’ they would seek

Pushing their way through the others in a scurry,
Get out of my way – Hurry, hurry, hurry!

Gizmos! And gadgets! And all the latest fads!
Surely, with all this ‘stuff’, no one will be sad!

But it’s not just Christmas, that we find objects to hold dear,
The religion of consumerism exists all through the year.

Cashing in on the sales, just think – the money we’ll save!
For more and more items, you can’t take to the grave.

For some of these folks, these ‘things’ provide solace – on this happiness they depend,
But for others – happiness is found – without a dime to spend.

An embrace, a smile, a gesture, a tender touch
Irreplaceable things – that really don’t cost much.

We get caught up in the parking lot mess, the debt, the stress
Some of us forget – the greatest gift of all – is an act of kindness.

If you want to give true items of gold,
Invest in the things that can’t be sold… memories, experiences, and tales to be told

For the things worth giving, are memories not forgot
They come with real value – because they can’t be bought

The useless crap we collect eventually serves its purpose
Winding up as garbage and junk, eventually worthless

Think not about what you want, but truly what you need
When you remove the clutter – is when you are freed

Collect possessions of love and desire – things that fill your heart inside
When you shop from outside-in, you’ll never really be satisfied

Because ‘things’ only offer moments that are soon to be fleeting
They are not the things that keep your heart beating.

If you don’t know what to give, there’s one true gift that everyone wants
Is the gift of happiness and love – it doesn’t come in a box

It’s not hanging on a rack or sitting on a shelf
And it surely isn’t glued together by elves.

For the gift of pure joy in the heart, is not a room to be furnished
Because it all derives from character – and character can’t be purchased.

Happy Holidays!

christmas heart

 

November 17

This is How I Inherited a Unicorn.

wtf

First of all, this is going to be a long one. I’ve got some magical stories but without any back story, I’m sure I probably just sound like a nut job. I also haven’t found any way to shorten my thoughts yet. Mission impossible. I’m sure I sound like a nut anyway. Whatever. Read if you wish…

Every now and then I get a little bit disgruntled with where I am at in life, and then I need to force myself to stop and remember that EVERYTHING is impermanent. This really helps when you get into a quarrel with your family or are in a shitty situation. Just remember – nothing lasts forever.

wtfSure, it’s about the journey, not the destination – which I fully understand, though it would be a bit easier if I was actually born with a thing called ‘patience’. I am trying to learn the art of patience, which given the path I’ve chosen to follow in this life time, is undoubtedly one of my ‘life lessons’ to master – if I could hurry up and learn already, that’d be f***ing stellar.

However, beyond the whole discombobulation, I find myself drawing people into my life that often spark a memory of the magical things that happen in my life – which forces me to reflect – and ultimately helps me to have gratitude and wash away any unsettling feelings. Not only that, reflecting on some of my stories – and writing them out, helps me to remember that there is a lot of behind-the-scenes magic at work, even when I can’t always see it. Things become clearer. Someone said something to me a couple weeks ago that made me recall this story, so here it is. (Thanks by the way!)

Years and years ago, I began noticing patterns in my life revolving around the number 11. I’d see 11:11 just about everywhere, and although I could have brushed it off as nothing more than the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, it was more complex than that. I’m not going to explain the whole 11:11 thing, because those that understand – do – and the rest – well there’s a thing called ‘Google’. I’ve even mapped out the search terms. Or, you can be all scholarly-like and visit your local book store. But quite honestly, it’s really something you need to figure out for yourself.

1111All I can say, is that over time I started noticing that 11s would appear more frequently in my life when I was going through a massive change, or questioning the path before me. When I couldn’t  understand how something was going to work out – it was as if it was a ‘wake up’ call telling me to sit back, be patient, keep my thoughts positive and let it manifest itself. It was a gateway to a higher level of consciousness. It was telling me that everything was happening at precisely the right time.

The number became a sign to me, and always reminded me of my spiritual essence. I can recall many, many experiences that have come to fruition that are pretty mind blowing – but if I wrote them all out here, I’d have nothing left to write in a book that I am trying to work on – again – writing and a lack of patience are not the best combo.

Before I get into this, I’ll say that I believe some people cross our paths for good reason… there are divine beings out there that are often placed right in front of us to offer a message… half the time though, we are too self absorbed to understand the magic behind it.

Where was I going with this anyway? Oh right… unicorns…

Part One to Acquiring a Unicorn…

When I was going through a kind of turmoil a few years ago, I was really questioning what to do with my life and what my place was (really no different than these days!). I had being seeing 11s everywhere and honestly it was starting to piss me off. I knew I was on the right path but things were so f***ed up, for the life of me I could not understand how they were going to work out. I had become very depressed – and it seemed like everywhere I turned I was met with a brick wall. I tried to do what I normally would – which is build something to climb over it – but I was running out of materials.

I remember waking up almost every hour – 3:11, 4:11, 5:11 and so on – for months. In the mornings, my sadness got the best of me and I could barely get out of bed. I felt lost and did not want to face the day at all.

It was one particular rock-bottom feeling day that I realized I hadn’t even gone grocery shopping and I would need to stop at the supermarket on my way out. It was 8:11am on my clock when I got into my car. I was running late for work, but I didn’t care.

I grabbed a few things to eat for the day and went to go pay. The bill was… $20.11. Meanwhile, in the corner of my eye, I could see a man get behind me at the cashier. I kept my head down, I didn’t want to talk to ANYONE that day.

The man behind me said to the cashier, “Excuse me miss, but please don’t charge this young lady, I am going to buy her lunch today”.

I remember that he was wearing a kilt. He looked like a bag piper and his silver hair was pulled back into a pony tail.

I was shocked. Tears filled my eyes. The cashier smiled and said that was very nice. I waited for the man to pay and walked out with him. I thanked him and told him that was the nicest thing that had happened to me in a long while.

He gave me a hug, wiped a tear away, and said, “Don’t worry miss, everything is going to be alright – just be patient.”

WHAT?!?!?!?!? 

I had never seen him before and I don’t know how he knew, but boy – he knew. It was as if he could see straight into my soul at the adversities I was facing.

I proceeded to my car and started to cry. He got into a van close by, and his license plate began with 111.

I started my car, shaking, crying… the CD playing in my car was on Track 11 and it was skipping on a line in the song… the line of the song sang, “don’t worry everything is going to be alright”. 

Woahhhh… that’s exactly what he said!

That’s the day I knew everything would be alright. Somehow. Some way.

Part Two to Acquiring a Unicorn…

I called him the ‘Mystery Man’. I hadn’t see him for quite some time, but that day I met him was still vivid in my memory bank. It was now about six months later and I was still in the same position. Frustrated. Not only that – I had been discovering my self in a more spiritual way – and I was confused with a lot of things. If there was anything out there guiding me, god dammit I wanted to know – because I sure didn’t feel like I believed in anything.

One weekend afternoon, I was at the Supermarket again. It was a zoo, and I happened to take the last parking space. I was sitting in my car and I remember I had glanced at the clock and it was 1:11.

Out of nowhere the Mystery Man knocked on my car window.

Holy shit.

He said “I’ve been thinking of you and just wanted to know how you were doing?”

I was a bit shocked and stuttered, “I think I am doing okay! I think things are working out.”  That was the only thing I could muster out.

unicornHe said that he had been shopping for a gift for his niece and at that moment he handed me a stuffed unicorn.

He said to me, “I bought this for my niece, but I think you need it. Believe in the things you can not see.”

Before I could say anything he walked way. Again, tears filled my eyes.

That was the moment that I knew I was being guided – even though I couldn’t see it.

I opened my car door, set my foot on my pavement – and right next to my foot was a dime and a penny – 11 cents.

I still don’t know the man’s name or who he is exactly. I’ve crossed paths with him a few times over the last couple years, sometimes I say hello and sometimes I don’t. I’ve never asked his name, because I don’t think that I am supposed to know. But, more often than not – in each passing he always delivers a message to me at a precise point in time that is aligned with exactly what is going on in my soul. He never says anything more, or anything less than what I need to hear. It’s amazing, really.

I haven’t seen him for about seven months now… the last time I ran into was when I was on my way to my usual gym – when for some reason I decided to turn around and go to another one that I had a free pass for. I just had this weird intuition that I needed to go there.

I was in the middle of my work out when he approached me. I was no longer shocked at these moments, as over the last couple years I’ve come to know a lot of magical experiences – and rather than thinking they are ‘crazy’ – they now fill me with wonder.

He said to me, “I don’t know why but you’ve been on my mind a lot lately. You should know that the universe has a very special plan for you, keep holding on because your brightest days are ahead.”

Once again.. it was exactly what I had needed to hear. The time that had been paused on my treadmill when I stopped to talk to him? 11:11.

Excuse me while I go and feed my unicorn.