If It Makes You Happy

I have been so wrapped up in the hell that is testing season at work lately (which is always fraught with problems) – I’ve not spent enough time having fun and doing things that make me happy (even if they aren’t terribly good for me). So…in the spirit of that, let’s talk about some stuff that is happy, shall we? :-)
 

showerhead

I bought this shower head based upon a recommendation written by the loooooovely Alison Freer on XOJane – it has just been installed this morning, and I am hoping hoping HOPING that it’s going to do amazing things to my hair, because I swear to God, friends, I am about ready to shave my damn head bald. I am so sick and tired of my messy mop of hair that is always tangled, always in my face, always looks like an attractive home for sparrows to set up shop in….it’s a mess! Sick of it! I switched to the Wen system of conditioning cleansers a year ago, and while that made somewhat of a difference, I still don’t look like a Breck girl from the ’70s (why I want to look like a Breck girl, I don’t know…but you know what I mean). Maybe my mineral-y water has been the problem all along, and maybe I am meant to somehow be a person with pretty hair (because I never have been). Let’s hope, because I have way too many scars and bumps and ickiness happening on my scalp to look good bald, and I’m running out of alternatives. I will keep you posted! :)

 

Speaking of XOJane (which I do about a hundred times a day – if you happen to know me in real life, you will undoubtedly know that this is true), the awesome and beautiful Lesley Kinzel recently posted about something that I struggle with majorly – and, hearing that this happens to someone as amazing as Lesley is kind of freeing for me. It means that I’m not a total hopeless case for feeling this way, and that maybe – just maybe – I’m kinda normal. The topic of her piece was Erfolgtraurigkeit, which literally means ‘success-sadness’, or the bummed-out feeling that you get when hearing of someone else’s accomplishments and successes. Do you know that feeling? When someone tells you something great that has happened to them, you instantly feel joy for their success – but then you feel sad that you don’t ever seem to enjoy that same kind of success…and then you feel like a shithead of the highest order because you felt that way! It’s an ugly cycle! I thought that I would be in a very different place in my life at the age of 39 – and although I try not to get dragged down by that, it really gets me sometimes. I wish I was successful, that I had a different job, that I was doing different things…I guess I’m not doing too badly, but I just figured my life would be different. Anyway – I thought this stupid habit of mine was my own crappy attitude born out of pathetic jealousy (which it kind of is), but reading Lesley’s piece and learning that it’s common enough to have a cool German name is kind of awesome, and makes me feel mildly less awful, so…yaa me! :-) (if you aren’t familiar with Lesley and her writing – look her up…she’s super-talented)

 

23MUMFORD1_SPAN-articleLarge

Why don’t all men dress this way? They totally should :)

The excellent Mumford and Sons cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer” makes me happy every time I listen to it – give it a go and see if it works for you, too! :) Click here! :)

image

Finally – I bought these shoes a year ago, with the intention of wearing them somewhere really special. Sadly, I’ve not worn them anywhere other than my house (which isn’t all that special). I’ve decided to change that – apparently I will die of old age waiting for a special occasion to drop into my lap. :-( I am going to come up with something special to do in the next 30 days where I can wear these shoes…and I am SO excited! I’ll keep you posted, friends! :-)

What has been making you happy lately, my sweets? Share with me…and let’s be happy together! :-)

Xxx

Enhanced by Zemanta

Kindred Spirits

Mandy Stadtmiller is one of my very favorite writers – these days, she’s a Deputy Editor at XOJane (yaa!!). A few weeks ago, she wrote a particularly poignant piece on XOJane that I had to respond to – but, instead of using the Comments section, I sent Mandy an email at her XOJane address. If you can believe it, she wrote me a personal reply within 15 minutes – and her words were heartfelt, sincere, thoughtful, and beautiful (kinda like Mandy herself). She’s one seriously classy, smart, hysterically funny broad – if you aren’t familiar with her work, do check her out NOW – you will be thrilled with what you find, I promise. :)

She wrote a piece today entitled, “Can You Help Me Decide What To Do Next In My Life So That I Am On Some Kind Of Track: I’m in a funk. Existential-like. And I would like your advice, please.” In the piece, Mandy describes how crappy she’s been feeling lately, and how fed up she is getting with being in this funk (preaching to the choir here, sistah friend) – and then she wrote the following two paragraphs, and all around me became clear:

I am not good with any semblance of rejection in any form whatsoever. So I pretend that I am OK with it. I set myself up for it. I put myself out there in large and humiliating ways to see what happens, because I don’t think that any of it matters, really. Or perhaps because I think that will make none of it matter. I see the dust-to-dust thing everywhere I go, and in every encounter, and in every change. It is all dust to dust. So why not go for the things that you want? It all ends up dust anyway.

I once told a friend of mine that the problem with personalities like mine is that, in any kind of dating scenario, I take a hose, and I spray the delicate new roots, and I say, “Grow, motherfucker, grow.” And then it dies. Or it changes. Or it is not as good. This is an excellent quality to have in work. You can make an entire something out of a very little nothing — and then you are a big success, because no, you will not be swayed. You are unstoppable. You are a force.

 

Isn’t that profound???! I kind of can’t stand how absolutely she gets me – yes, I know she is writing about herself, but…she might as well be talking about me, too. You’d think that with all of the rejection I’ve endured in my life, I’d be better at handling it  - but, you’d be wrong. I don’t deal well with rejection at all (which is probably why I have a tendency to reject most people before they reject me – ’cause that makes so much sense), I regularly say and do things that are highly humiliating (if I only had a filter, if I only had a filter…), and I am exactly the way Mandy describes her personality in a dating situation in my everyday life – I try way too hard in everything, too. She’s right – when it comes to work, that kind of persistence is awesome, but…when it comes to life and relationships, well, that stuff can really suck the life out of things. I hate these qualities about myself, but I don’t really know how to fix them.  Part of me wants to dig in my heels, holler SCREW IT to the world as I vigorously flip off everyone around me…but, you can’t really do that and remain part of society, can you? Not so much. So, I have to learn how to channel this energetic persistence of mine and put it to good use…and I also need to learn how to better handle rejection, and not fall to bits at the littlest slight from someone I care about. (Interesting point – if I don’t care about someone, then no shits are given as to what they think of me….it’s funny to me when people with whom I am acquainted but am ambivalent towards snub me and try to do it all big-time, thinking they are making a point and hurting me on purpose – when really, I couldn’t care less. Har har har, bitches.) I don’t take any joy in the fact that Mandy suffers from the same miseries that I do – far from it, actually…I wish neither of us had them. However, there is something comforting in knowing that I’m not the only one who struggles with these things – and if someone who seems so damn together all the time, as if they have life swinging around them by its tail like Mandy has insecurities and funks, then it kind of gives a heaping load of hope to the rest of us, don’t you think? :)

xxx

 

PS: There was a lot of talk about Cat Marnell’s departure from XOJane (I did more than my fair share of writing about it, too) – and, for a while there, I was kind of worried about the site and where it was going. However, I am over the moon to report that things seem to be looking up – the continued strong presence of my favorite fashion girl Alison Freer, good stuff from Emily, and the addition of Mandy, Gala Darling, and the freaking HILARIOUS India-Jewel Jackson (this piece of hers on how to do a ‘do-it-yourself’ bikini wax makes me die laughing each time I read it – and I’ve read it about 20 times, no kidding! Her list of her favorite nicknames for the vagina is even funnier when read out loud over the phone – as I did to my BFF last week! Heehee!!!) have really REALLY spiced things up around there. Let’s hope it continues! :)

Enhanced by Zemanta

Love Story

Who do you love? Your family, your friends, you beloved, your children, your pets? Yeah – I love all of them, too (not yours, silly – mine, although I’m sure your people are wonderful and I’m fairly confident I would love them if I met them). However, something I frequently struggle with is not necessarily loving myself enough – and I’m determined to start working on that. Fabulous drag queen RuPaul says “Remember to love yourself, because if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else? Can I get an amen in here?”

I’ve been composing this post in my head for about a week, trying to figure out exactly what it is that I wanted to say about this issue, something that so many of us (women in particular) struggle with – and then the strangest thing happened yesterday (it was a SIGN!!): Jane Pratt (yes, I know…all roads in my life lead to Jane Pratt) introduced her new Beauty and Style Editor at XOJane – and it happens to be Gala Darling! If you aren’t familiar with her, you really ought to be – she has a great blog, writes for other publications, has spoken at the TED Conferences, and preaches a pretty good concept called Radical Self Love. I normally avoid such ‘self-help’-y type of thinking, but there is something about her ideas that speaks to me – probably because they are ideas that I rationally know, but struggle to implement. She has written a Radical Self Love Manifesto – I kind of love it. :) Here it is:

There’s some really good stuff in there – yes, a lot of it is obvious, common sense…but we don’t do enough of it. If you visit Gala’s blog, you can find a downloadable version of this that you can print super-large and hang up somewhere (which I intend to do) – and it looks pretty, too. :)

Also on Gala’s site is a list of 100 Ways You Can Start Loving Yourself Right Now – I love this list! :) I’m going to share a few of the ideas with you now – and from time to time, I’ll post more:

<3 Make lists of reasons why you love yourself…
& write down (or keep mental lists) of the compliments other people give you. We’re so quick to believe people when they say nasty, unkind or “brutally honest” (ahem, cruel) things to or about us, & we discard all the times we’re told how amazing, beautiful or intelligent we are. Usually this is because our sense of self-doubt is stronger than our self-love. If you can build up the love side of things, this will begin to change.

<3 Reach out to others…
…& do it regularly. When we don’t talk to people about how we’re feeling, or don’t have anyone to bounce ideas around with, it can be easy to feel lost, confused & out of touch. It also makes it easier for depression & sadness to nibble at our toes. Being reminded that the world is bigger than our bubble can inspire & uplift us.

<3 Think of a way you could make your life easier — then do it.
This could be anything from hiring an assistant to buying a better computer or just learning to say “no” more often. Whatever it is, make it a priority. Do some research on how to make it happen, & then get going!

<3 Change the way you think about food.
So many of us get trapped into thinking that food is “good” or “bad” & there is no in-between. Associating a word like “good” or “bad” with a type of food doesn’t help us, it doesn’t mean anything, it just makes us feel guilty or like we should be “doing better”. What has helped me is to think of food as pure fuel for my body, & considering how it will make me feel or how much energy it will give me. I know that my body (& my brain) work better when I feed myself with fresh raw vegetables & lots of water & fruit, & that I feel sluggish & useless when I eat heaping forkfuls of pasta. If you can think about food that way, there’s less guilt, & you feel more informed & aware.

<3 Stretch in the mornings.
It gets the blood moving, it fires up your brain & it gives you a few moments to just be still & grounded before the day begins.

<3 Really listen to people when they are speaking.
Look at them, make eye contact & be present. They’ll feel good that you care enough to properly engage them, & you’ll feel great in return.

<3 Have media black-out days.
The concept of doing this terrifies me but I know it needs to happen. Stay away from your computer, phone & television for an entire day. Those of us are who technology addicts will FREAK out at this idea but that’s an even bigger sign that we should try it. So many of us use technology to distract ourselves & keep our minds busy, when we would be far better served by just sitting still & learning to be comfortable alone.

<3 Have that “awkward” conversation.
You’ve been holding it in too long. Bite the bullet, take a deep breath, & tell the truth. Be gentle but honest. No one can predict how they’ll react, but it doesn’t really matter. The time has come. Say it, & move on.

<3 Ask for help.
Whatever you’re going through, someone else has been through before, & come out the other side. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel — don’t be afraid to ask someone for advice or help. It could make a huge difference.

<3 Know that you are good enough ALL THE TIME.
Yes, you are.

<3 Do your very, very best to stop judging people.
Wayne Dyer said, “When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.” Those critical voices inside of you get a great work-out when you let them loose on someone else, & it’s like training for the grand event — that of judging yourself. If you don’t exercise those voices, they’ll eventually disappear altogether, making you a much happier person.

<3 Express love in as many ways as you can.

Tell your friends you ADORE them, say thank you & mean it, flash your biggest & most sincere smile at strangers on the street, hug people for longer than normal. The more love you give out, the more it builds inside of you & the more you’ll get back — I pinky promise.

<3 Wear sequins.
They’re a wonderful mood booster. If you’re too conservative to wear them, buy sequined knickers & wear them secretly!

<3 Take a bubble bath wearing a tiara.

<3 Embrace the unknown.

Not everything needs to be planned to the last-minute detail! Mystery is wonderful & invigorating. It is the zest of life.

<3 Clean out your closet.
In addition to getting rid of old junk, cleaning out closets or cupboards is therapeutic because at the same time, you’re clearing space in your life for new, better things.

<3 Increase the amount of spinach you eat.
It’s like a miracle food. It’s so good for you & makes you feel amazing! Throw it in a smoothie (you won’t even taste it), use it as the base instead of lettuce in a salad or just snack on baby spinach fresh out of the bag. Yum!

<3 Forget about your “to do” list & just BE.
That’s when you’ll have the most fun, make the best breakthroughs & experience the most amazing adventures. Life is much more exciting & wonderful when you throw caution to the wind & do something ridiculous.

<3 Make a little extra effort every day.
Your definition of “effort” could be wearing a bow on your head, brightly coloured socks or even just taking the time to sit down with a book every night before bed. Just pick something that you know will make you feel good, & then do it.

<3 Listen to new types of music & dance!
Country? Bollywood? Rap? Seek it out & enjoy it with your whole body.

 

Some good ideas there, eh? I don’t know about you, but I personally spend so much of my time working on things for other people, and trying to do whatever I can to ensure the happiness of those around me…and I often overlook the happiness of the one that should be the easiest to tend to: me. I don’t spend much time pampering myself (rarely to never is not much time, right?), I don’t do very many things that are simply for the joy of myself – and I need to stop that and smarten the hell up. I’m not going to be any good to my daughter or anyone else if I’m unhappy within myself. I also think I need to learn to give myself a break sometimes – I’m not SuperWoman….why do I try so hard to be? It all goes back to that idea of being good enough, and my constant fear that I’m not. That nonsense MUST stop…I want to raise a daughter who knows in her heart that she is more than good enough, and she will be taking her cues from me. If I can’t get my shit together for myself, at least I had better figure it out and get it together for her…she is SO worth it. :)

 

Have a beautiful day, my friends! I love you just the way you are! :)

xxx

PS:

You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection. 

Buddha

If You’re Reading This

I have written many times of my immense love for the two websites XOJane and Jezebel - I read both throughout the day, am an avid fan of many of their writers (and long to write for them myself), and I link to their sites to share stories and stuff with you guys all the time. However, something odd seems to be happening at XOJane lately…and I’m worried.

 

While Jezebel continues to rock the universe with amazing posts like this one, an excerpt from Caitlin Moran’s excellent EXCELLENT book “How To Be A Woman” (I’m reading it right now – stay tuned for the review in a few days!), where she discusses the different names that women have for their vaginas (this is hilarious), XOJane is insulting their dear readers with mind-numbing buckets of crap like “Why We Don’t Talk About Each Others’ Bodies at XOJane” (which makes sense, really – they don’t talk about bodies with each other because THEY ARE WRITING STUPID ARTICLES ABOUT THEM ALL THE DAMN TIME!!!). I am finding so many contradictions on their site these days: they preach a message of body acceptance, yet we are forced to endure every up and down of one of their writers’  hatred with her self/eating issues (I really do love Emily’s writing, and wish her nothing but the best – just be you, Cupcake, you’re perfect – and get back to writing your good stuff, not this bleak shit you’ve been churning out lately. I get that you may be feeling rough, but.. hang on, sister) … because more and more, these pieces come across as ‘how-to’ articles rather than confessionals that could actually help someone. I can honestly say that after reading XOJane the past couple of months I am MUCH better prepared to enter the world of bulimia and drug addiction than I was before. (NOTE: I’m not intending to go anywhere near either of these…I am useless at making myself barf, and I’m allergic to 99.9% of medications, meaning that a foray into the underground world of drugs would probably kill me. Don’t think I haven’t considered it, though… the idea of being ‘addict-girl skinny’ is very attractive to me, but alas, I would probably die…and what fun would that be??!) I appreciate their willingness to open themselves up and share their lives with us, their readers – but lately, it hasn’t been feeling natural at all, but rather kind of forced.

As well, the long-famous It Happened To Me (IHTM) column has absolutely been the shits lately – just bloody awful. This column began back in the Sassy magazine days (which I long for on a regular basis, no joke) – people write in with stories of things that have happened to them (ergo the name, duh…sorry, that was a stupid explanation right there), and was always one of the highlights of Jane Pratt’s publications. However, the ones that XOJane has posted lately have been plain stupid: I Dated a Liar (really? no shit, Sherlock! we all have!! it would be far more interesting to read of someone who hadn’t dated a liar, don’t you think?), I Have Pyrotechnophobia (fear of fireworks??! who cares???!), and I Bullied My 8th Grade Teacher (Once) (ARRRGGHHHH!!!!). These are awful! Ridiculous!! And don’t even get me started on the ridiculousness of I Was The First Miss Teen Malibu…grrr. I’ve actually written two of these pieces myself but have yet to submit them – I’m a wee bit nervous about sharing them (they are quite the pair of corkers), and at the moment, I’m not even sure that I want to be associated with some of the other recent submissions (I Have Psoriasis!). I just don’t know where things have gone wrong.

 

 

It’s not all doom and gloom at XOJane - there have been a number of Beauty-related posts by writer Hannah (that’s her up there with the dark hair – she’s a doll) that have been great (note to Jane: If you are reading this, FEATURE HANNAH MORE – she’s fab!), and anything fashion-related written by Alison Freer (she’s the blonde in the pictures above) is pretty much guaranteed to be amazing (I don’t know that there is any person alive that I want to go shopping with more than Alison – maybe Salma Hayak, but…it’d be close). I don’t know if things changed when Cat Marnell left or what, but something is rotten in the state of XOJane/Denmark at the moment…and I desperately hope they fix it. These days, reading the posts by the different commenters is usually FAR more entertaining than the actual pieces themselves…and it wasn’t always that way, trust me.

On to Cat for a moment: I believe that she needed to leave XOJane – she had become a severe liability for SAY Media, and she wasn’t doing much good with the bits of work she was producing for the site. Everything out of her was drugs, drugs and more drugs – and I felt it was horribly irresponsible of those around her to continue enabling her like that. Since her departure, she has been writing a weekly column over at Vice, which is a much better home for her and her writing, but…her columns are reading like a combination of a suicide note and a train wreck. It’s sad, really…she is enormously talented, but is throwing it all away. I’ve noticed that the writers at XOJane will throw in gratuitous references to Cat in their pieces (when it doesn’t even always fit) – perhaps as a way to garner readers (since Cat Marnell is a pretty popular Internet search term these days). Whatever the reason, it seems that the tone of Jane has shifted somewhat following this Cat-gate scandal – it is my fervent hope that they can return to their past glory, and get out of this slump that they’re in at the moment. I have loved Jane Pratt and all that she’s done for nearly 25 years – I’ve written about her a million times, I’ve written to her about a billion times (sadly, she’s never responded to me directly…not even once. I’m not sure what’s wrong with what I’m sending her – too ass-kissy, perhaps? I’ll keep trying.), and I believe in her abilities and talent so much (okay, okay…I’ll admit it: I want to be her). I just want my old XOJane back….and based upon some of the incredibly honest readers comments that are popping up on the site – I’m not the only one.

xxx

PS: While you’re reading things over at Jezebel, be sure to read ANYTHING written by Lindy West…she is FANTASTIC!!! I have a ginormous girl crush on her – her talent is divine! :)

I Should Be So Lucky

 

I’ve had a couple of job interviews recently – they are both good jobs that I would enjoy (and better than what I’ve got!), but I haven’t heard a word about the outcome yet, so I’m assuming that means I was not successful yet again. I’m pleased that at least I had interviews (finally! Yaa!!), however I’m pretty disappointed in myself for not doing a better job and being such a great candidate that they had no choice but to hire me. I don’t know what it is that I’m doing wrong, but I sure wish somebody would tell me, so that I could fix it ASAP. I’m so bloody frustrated. :(

What frustrates me even more is news like this: Cat Marnell has been a beauty writer for my beloved site XOJane since it launched a year ago, and this morning it was announced that she has FINALLY been let go because of her persistent drug problems. Now, I understand that addiction is a disease, and it is abundantly clear to anyone who has read her work lately that girlfriend is struggling BIG TIME – Say Media (the publishers of XOJane) sent her to rehab as an attempt to help her, Jane herself has gone way above and beyond the call of duty to support her, and yet she continues with her ridiculous behavior. What’s so frustrating is that she had this job that was INCREDIBLE, a million of us out there (me at the front of the line) would cut a bitch for an opportunity like hers, and she has totally squandered it. I just don’t get it. As well, I find her complete disregard and flippancy about the whole situation to be really, really disrespectful and obnoxious – she is a very talented writer, and she’s completely wasted the opportunity. She was given the chance to fix the situation – many chances, actually – way more than the rest of us in regular jobs would have been given (can you imagine how fast my arse would have been tossed out the door if I had pulled even 1/10th of the stunts she has pulled??!?), and yet she continues. I just don’t get it.

Writing for Jane Pratt would be my DREAM job – I’ve mentioned this a million times, I’ve sent Jane about a hundred letters/emails/owls over the years telling her this, and yet I toil away here at home, with the opportunity to work with Jane just as remote a possibility as it has always been. Cat, on the other hand, had the opportunity of a lifetime (my lifetime, anyway), and pissed it away.

What a waste.

I do hope she finds her happiness, and that she is well – I don’t wish her ill at all, and I will miss her writing on XOJane. But, come on girl, get your shit together – if not for yourself, then for all of us who would kill for a chance.

xxx

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes…

I have been very remiss – I haven’t posted in far too long….but it has been a rough couple of weeks. Since I last wrote, I found out that my position at my current job was cut (due to the education financial crisis in the state of Texas), and that while my district is doing their best to find another position to place me in, I may very well be out of a job next school year. This has been extraordinarily difficult to deal with because I have years of experience, tons of education…and yet I’m out of work. Huh. As well, there is so much uncertainty: Will I be placed? Where? When? It’s mind-boggling. I’ve been advised to apply elsewhere and try to make things happen for myself, which I have – but it’s hard trying to apply for vacancies that don’t exist…nobody is hiring. So…times are tough around here, but I’m hoping they’ll get better. Do me a favor and think happy thoughts in my direction, okay? Thanks! :)

Now…on to some good things that I’ve noticed lately.  Here’s a short list:

1) Last week Jonathan Groff returned to Glee, and he and Lea Michele did an exquisite duet version of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”…hear it here – it’s magic:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TbOxROSuxQ&safety_mode=true&persist_safety_mode=1&safe=active]

Great, eh?  I love it – it’s really, really good. Those two are destined to sing together – they are awesome! :)

2) I have written a few times of my love and admiration for Jane Pratt, and yesterday I saw the new website she’s been working on – it’s smart, relevant and everything you would expect Jane to bring to a web-based endeavour. The site is called XOJane, and I hope that you’ll check it out every day (and subscribe to the email updates, too!). The content yesterday was changing and being updated frequently, and I love it so far – it has exactly the tone that faithful readers of Jane’s appreciate and love. I love it! (so much so, in fact, that I sent her an email pretty much begging her to let me write for her…since I’m kind of out of a job pretty soon, I imagine I’ll have tons of time on my hands :(  Anyway – the funniest part – she took a screen shot of her phone to display a message on the website that she had received from someone else…and low and behold, the email from little ol’ me was in the shot! Woohoo! Who felt like a rock star??! I DID!!!! It’s the little things, friends…) :)

3) The lovely Tommy Lee Jones has made a public service announcement to support education here in Texas, as part of the Raise Your Hand Texas promotional campaign. Needless to say, this issue is INCREDIBLY important to me- take a look at his ad now:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyYl9GJkikw&safety_mode=true&persist_safety_mode=1&safe=active]

Regardless of what state (or country, for that matter) you live in, please be sure to always support education and spending money on education – it’s an investment in everyone’s future, and you can’t go wrong. I’ll get off my soap box now. ;)

Sorry for the somewhat gloomy post and the delay since my last one…I promise I’ll get back on track and get back to happy talk. :)  Hope you’re doing well – and I hope you have a sunshine-y day! Love you!

xxx