Hold Up

What’s worse, lookin’ jealous or crazy?
Jealous or crazy?
Or like, being walked all over lately, walked all over lately
I’d rather be crazy

It’s a little disconcerting that even Queen Bey feels like this sometimes.

My Slump [My Slump, My Slump, My Slump]

Note to self: Stop comparing yourself to others. It all started with an Instagram stalk sesh. You know what I’m talking about…when you’re on your explore page and one profile leads to another. Next thing you know, you’re 128 weeks back on someone’s page and you feel like you know their life. Well, the people I happen to stalk today were super creative, crafty girls. And then it got me thinking about my career and art and wondering if it’s even my passion. I was spiraling like Dorothy in that tornado.

So step one was to mope, a lot, and resist the urge to throw my phone across the center in frustration (oh, I’m at work tonight). Next step was to text the Boyfriend about my feelings of inadequacy. Like the loving, supportive man that he is, he immediately fed me the words of affirmation I desperately needed. He even threw in a HIMYM reference; definitely my person. Last thing I did was Google “how to get out of a creative slump.” Browsed through a few articles, got a re-energized attitude about being pro-active in improving my art, and took the simple advice of one blogger who said to write about your slump. Thus, here I am.

If I think about it, there are several things I can do to get the right side of my brain moving again: Start using my coloring book again, get a change of scenery (this past weekend was a good start), break my routine, keep a sketchbook and don’t hold back on it (I often get so caught up in trying to make something perfect that I don’t even try in the end), finish one of my three incomplete vlogs, get back into calligraphy, de-clutter my room and my mind…the list goes on.

If you have any suggestions, holluh atcha gurl. Let’s get crafty, bastards (#bars #puns). In the meantime and I’ll leave y’all with this bumpin’ Afro jam that gives me life.

Three Things I’m Doing to Be #DebtFreeby2017

Money rules everything around me. Okay, not everything, but a lot. I’m tired of feeling controlled by my finances. I got places to visit, things to do, and clothes to fill my closet, all without the shackle that is debt. So here are three things I’m doing to be #DebtFreeby2017:

  1. Increase the monthly payment for both my student loans and credit card. This will require a lot of sacrifice on the rest of my budget. Just the thought of a life without Starbucks every morning* makes me cry a little. Goodbye frivolous expenses!
  2. Hide my credit cards. Some people are fantastic at being reasonable, logically human beings. I am not. I’m a typical millennial who’s fixated on instant gratification. I wanted a [ridiculously expensive] bike last summer SO I BOUGHT A MUTHAFRIGGIN’ BIKE. I even opened a new store credit card for it. Thankfully, the looming 30% interest after a year scared me into paying it off in five months. But I digress, I’m seriously irresponsible with a credit card in hand. So I hid mine. Outta sight, outta mind, right?
  3. Unsubscribe from retail emails. Marketing people are great at their jobs. I’d like to meet the person who comes up with subject lines for Ann Taylor & LOFT’s subscription emails. They are seriously excelling at life. I can’t count how many times I’ve made a purchase because my email informed me there was a sale going on. Getting rid of these soul-sucking rodents that ruin my credit score is bound to help me in the long run.

So there you have it. A resolution goal for the new year. I’m saying goal because so many people get up in arms about the whole “New Year, new me!” mindset. SHEESH, PEOPLE. Why don’t you mind your own damn business and let others live?!

* I’m typing this as I sip my grande soy peppermint white chocolate mocha. Jeez, I suck.

Spontaneity

Back in college, the concept of “making plans” did not exist. You would text/call your friends and meet up within minutes. Nowadays, I find making time a struggle. Between work schedules, hobbies, and “me” time, it’s hard to pencil people in. With this in mind, my recent day-trip with a few friends to the city of Philly and Longwood Gardens (about an hour south) was indeed ‘spontaneous.’

Sidenote about videos. I love and hate them. I really like producing videos. It’s super challenging because I get bored after three hours of editing. But as someone who creates on a daily basis, I appreciate a different craft from my norm. On the flip side, lugging around my DSLR is a pain. And it’s awkward shooting in public. And sometimes I feel like moments are meant to be memories that you recall randomly with fondness instead of something you can easily replay on your YouTube. I digress. Like I said, it’s a love/hate relationship.

rant/

This will be extremely rant-y, erratic, and full of grammatical errors, because I’m currently fueled.

Being stuck between a rock and a hard place sucks. Choosing between sense and sensibility sucks even more (that stupidly sounds like I’m referring to the most recent Girl Meets World episode). I refuse to apologize for my feelings and I know they are not felt for no reason. If you know you’re hurting someone, then stop. And if you love that person, there shouldn’t even be a debate. CHOOSE your person each day and with each of your actions.

Also, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

/end rant

Be Kind

For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. Who said that first? Ian Maclaren? Who knows.

I think about that quote a lot on public transportation. If you commute by BMW (bus/metro/walk) you know a lot can cross your mind while sitting on that vehicle. Some mornings, instead of super-gluing my eyes to my phone, I look up. I observe the people around me. Their expressions, their mannerisms, yeah, a lot of times their clothes. I wonder, what brand was that girl’s bag? Occasionally, I’ll make up stories for them; who they are and where they’re going. It’s all fun and games until someone makes eye contact back with me. Then it’s heads down, thumbs on the screen.

But the most frequent times I think about that quote is when someone is rude on the metro. I encountered an elderly lady who accused me of pushing her the other day. The fact of the matter was I was being pushed into her by every other person behind me trying to get on the train. I kept quiet, per usual, but immediately vented via text to my sisters when I got to my part-time job. I was so angry about what happened and had a handful of things I wish I had said. But the more I thought about it, the more guilty I felt.

Yes, I had just had a mind-numbing, boring day in the office (low workflow this week). But maybe she had a terrible day and me accidentally pushing her was the icing on the cake. The tipping point.

Who knows? I may concoct an elaborate backstory for the tired looking woman in a dress that does nothing to her figure, but little do I know she may have four kids to feed, a high-stress job, and divorce papers sitting on her counter at home. You just never know.

Tonight I closed the center on my own. A small feat as I’ve done this many times. But, it being basketball as the open gym activity, the courts were full of teenagers. I was feeling particularly frantic because in the past kids = trouble. They often disregard the staff’s instructions and can be quite rude. Regardless I miraculously managed to get everyone out of the center by 9:01PM. I heard a few kids mumbling snide remarks to each other about my curt demeanor though.

As my muscles tensed I began to think about that quote, and how those kids don’t know I worked two jobs today. Totaling 12 hours, all to pay off my massive pile of student loan debt. Oh, and I have a bus to catch. If I miss this one I’ll be waiting another 30 minutes and might actually have to use my cute, pink taser on my walk home (many, many thanks to my Boyfriend for this gift).

Just as I was reaching my personal tipping point, much like that elderly lady on the train this week, I hear another remark from the kids. “Yeah, you’d want to get home too after working eight hours.” Bless that child’s soul. And bless his parents.

My faith in human was restored today. Thank you, kid who reached down and found empathy for me today. I hope someone does the same for you, whenever you fight your hard battle.

Feeling My Felt

When my family lived in the first house I called ‘home’ we used to go bike riding all the time. The neighborhood easily accessed the large trail system that runs in the DC metro area, so it was almost a weekly activity for us. I loved riding with my family. It was challenging (climbing hills as a 8 year-old was no joke), but so enjoyable. When we moved to our current house, we either got rid of our bikes or they got stolen. I don’t remember. Either way, we never rode again.

Well, fast forward to the present where I’ve been cruising on my sister’s 2011 Fuji Finest 3.0. It’s a great ride, but I’ve always wanted my own. So I pulled the trigger today and bought this beauty:new_whip

 

After weeks of eyeing it online, I finally had the time to check out the bike in person. Even though I came back beaming from my test ride, it took me literally an hour to decide to purchase it. At one point I even mentioned to the sales associate, “I’m extremely indecisive, if you couldn’t tell already.” I know there are a million other things I could “wisely” spend my money on right now (HELLO, student loans and bills), but the way I felt — no pun intended — walking out the door* amounts to so much more. In the words of this youth generation, YOLO! I can’t wait to ride.

*I didn’t actually walk out the door with the bike. They kept it in store to do a final check and put pedals on it. Melodramatic. But picking it up on Wednesday!

Three Thoughts

I think I only turn to WordPress in times of sorrow. Prayer would probably be more productive, but I believe there’s something essentially cathartic about writing out your thoughts. I’m lost right now. I don’t mind admitting that to the few friends, handful of strangers, and countless spam robots who follow this blog. I’m not happy in various aspects of my life and there is a lot of inner turmoil, but I find it all a little too personal for the endless abyss that is the online world. In an attempt to maintain some sense of privacy (and positivity), here are three thoughts I’ve been willing myself to remember.

  1. You cannot control people’s actions, but you can control your reactions.
  2. Change begins with you. Love yourself.
  3. You are good enough.

In The Feels

“Early love is exciting and exhilarating. It’s light and bubbly. Anyone can love like that. But love after three children, after a separation and a near-divorce, after you’ve hurt each other and forgiven each other, bored each other and surprised each other, after you’ve seen the worst and the best—well, that sort of a love is ineffable. It deserves its own word.” –What Alice Forgot, Liane Moriarty

In What Alice Forgot, the protagonist is faced with a world completely changed from what she knows, when she wakes up and finds she’s lost 10 years of her memories. Her life is different, her relationships are different, everything is different. She spends a majority of the book attempting to assimilate into this foreign life; trying to regain her memories yet not knowing if she actually wants them back. I couldn’t have read this book at a better time. I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships lately. Always circulating around certain ideas. Relationships are hard. Is love always supposed to be new and exciting? Does time make love boring?

It’s so easy when you first start dating someone. Everything is truly exciting and exhilarating. You learn so much about this person who is just the most fascinating human being on the planet. You devote so much of your energy and effort to them. They easily become, for lack of a less cliché phrase, your world. But what happens when you’ve heard that one silly story about their childhood for the seven zillionth time? When spontaneity because routine, comfort takes precedence, and priorities change? When new dimensions and obstacles are thrown in your way?

Relationships run their highs and lows. If you haven’t experienced that in yours, brace yourself because it will eventually happen. I don’t say this because I’ve got a pessimistic view on love — I’m actually quite the hopeless romantic. I say this because a relationship takes actual work. It’s not something you perfectly fall into once you find your “soul mate.” It doesn’t work because your partner is the one. It works because the two of you put in work.

While there’s a certain glee about a fresh relationship, newer is not always better. But old isn’t either. Love, like life, is only boring if you make it that way. You’re not the same person you were ten years ago. No one is. Just as people rediscover themselves, a relationship must do the same.

So yes, love is hard. Sometimes, it’s the hardest thing to do. And a relationship is not always new and exciting but it’s not always boring. It can be whatever you want it to be if you put in the work.