Forward

9:50am New Year’s Eve. Home alone. Still in bed. Nowhere to be, the day at my complete disposal. You have no idea how happy I am.

Normal me would disapprove of staying in bed past 9am on a weekday, but fuck it. The week between Christmas and New Years is always a period of blurred, ignorant bliss; between traveling to see family, friends coming to town, and endless indulgences too easy to lose track of time. My typically structured days are replaced by spontaneous whims, my often rigid eating habits a bit more lax (Italian, anyone?) I enjoy getting lost in it all, immersed in the abundance of love, gratitude and sugar.

11:00am Its hard for me to stay in one place for long, so I book myself a bike for 12:00pm HIIT in the city and finish my morning lemon water. Anderson Paak sets the tone for the rest of the day.

Cliched as it may be, one of my biggest accomplishments this year was making fitness a priority. I have been involved in sports since I was a kid, but for the first time I’ve really come to enjoy the benefits of a good sweat. In the past, I would work out either in advance of or right after a period of unhealthy eating, as a way to “offset the damage” I was about to do to myself, especially around the holidays. I now truly understand the connection between fitness and nutrition, how my body works, what it responds to, what it likes. I love that feeling of achievement after a particularly challenging burn, especially when I almost opted to go home and watch Game of Thrones instead. I am now one of those sick fucks who actually prefers to go to cycling over happy hour, and I am okay with that, because it has improved not just my physical health but my mental well-being. I want to get even better next year, and I want to inspire people to do the same. Sorry in advance for being annoying about it.

1:00pm Sweaty, happy, hungry. As opposed to going and buying a green juice, I head back home and make myself a salad.

A 2018 goal of mine that didn’t end up manifesting until almost 365 days later: cut out the bullshit. This was the year of my financial awakening in that I realized how much of my money was spent on absolute bullshit non-essentials that were contributing only to my present happiness: $5 daily matchas and bi-monthly mani pedis, pricey nights out followed by Uber rides home, $14 lunches when I have fully-prepared meals in the fridge.

When I was living with less intention, not only I was content with my aimless spending, and I had come to think of it as simply a part of living in New York.  It took almost a year of podcasts, books, and looking at my bank statements to truly understand the gravity of this behavior. It is really fucking hard to break these habits that have been engrained since childhood, but it’s imperative that I do, because unless you have a trust fund or 6-figure salary, things do not just magically work out. Not to say that I am going full-on minimalist by any means – I have festivals to attend, restaurants to try, and French classes to buy – but I am thinking ahead, now more than ever. One day, I want to buy a home. I want to travel. I want to work voluntarily, not to make ends meet. I don’t want to be a slave to the almighty dollar at 55, so leftovers it is – for now. Future me will thank me.

Here’s to a new year of living presently, but also thinking forward. To standing up for myself and saying no more often. To not letting my experiences of the past limit my future potential. To new experiences, more love, and even more growth.

On Words

Those that know me well that I take words very seriously. This is particularly true as a quieter soul, as I fully recognize that words are weapons – ones that can be wielded to praise and persuade, to deceive or destroy, to heal and to harm. Too often we underestimate their value, forgetting that choosing instead to move on our own, stealthily, in silence.

I don’t understand why people choose to withhold, to save special words for certain occasions, or say things they don’t mean. Words that should be shared are so often contained by those who fear a negative response, preferring to hide in the safety of reticence. Others have no problem say things as they come, throwing their words around haphazardly with complete disregard for any and all consequences or understanding of their permanence. If only people could truly be cognizant of just how impactful a single word can be in bettering any and all areas of our lives.

We are groomed to believe that that actions speak louder than words, but for me there has always been an equal importance in things both said and done. More meaning exists to me in a loving message from a family member or a well-worded compliment from a friend than from a tangible gift. In relationships, words are essential – a frequent whispers of affection and love from a partner is all it takes to fall. As a result, I have fallen in love with promises that were likely never meant to be kept or taken too seriously, harping on their presence and taking them as fact. While I’m no longer quick to hang on a word, instead focusing on follow-through and delivery on such promises, I don’t ever want to lose my faith in the magic of words and the power they hold.

Moving forward into the new year, I am working to practice what I preach: to express myself fully, knowing when to retreat but never shying away from speaking up out of fear. I want to tell people I love them, to voice my concerns, express annoyances and feelings both positive and negative, without concern about being overly emotional. I want to be kind to others and true to myself. More importantly, I want to be around people who support that mindset, understanding that our differences and the breadth of our human emotional ranges should not be suppressed, but instead acknowledged as strength – an intelligence that needs to be embraced, harnessed, and expressed.

So here’s to opening our mouths and using our words for good in 2018 and beyond.

#makeamericaemoagain

WTF

Dear Universe,

WTF is going on?

I like to think that I give pretty good advice – I derive pleasure from listening to people’s problems and offering my take on things, providing a (typically) unbiased perspective and hopefully offering comfort or serving as a catalyst for some type of resolution. As I see it, all of my friends are incredibly powerful beings deserving of unlimited love, sex, money, success, happiness and fulfillment. The advice I give, sometimes harsh and always honest, supports that theory.

The same things I champion in others – vulnerability, fearlessness, strength, tenacity – have recently been completely lost when it comes time to apply said advice to my own life when I need it most. Despite being surrounded by love and an especially strong support system, I feel this incessant need to do everything on my own – to always be strong, strategically work through my problems, shove any negative feelings to the back of my mind, and actively refrain from burdening those around me with my own needs. I want to be the best that I can be in every role I inhabit, from daughter and friend, to girlfriend or employee. It is important for me to be there for others, but when it comes time to call on support I am suddenly paralyzed, terrified of becoming a “nag” or the “needy girl.” Why the hell is it suddenly so difficult to be there for myself, to be so easily giving but simultaneously unable to receive?

At this moment, my life is somewhat in flux across the board: I am having a minor, unexpected and unwelcome quarter-life crisis as I try to navigate the best next steps for my career, wondering if there is ever a time to choose profit over passion (I shouldn’t have to choose…I want both!) I am dealing with an ailing family member, which will imminently bring a devastating loss in the near future. While uncertainty can undoubtedly be exciting I know I will inevitably persevere, I am admittedly overwhelmed and in need of someone to lean on – to remind me that is okay to not be okay, to feel, to cry, to be girly and imperfect before refocusing and moving forward.

In addition to everything going on, I am falling for someone. Wasn’t necessarily planning to, but as well all know, life rarely (if ever) goes as planned. But that is a topic for another day.

On Quitting

I quit my job two weeks ago. No, I did not have another offer lined up or a trust fund to fall back on. Was it a reckless move? Sure. But it was one of the best I’ve ever made.

One of the things I am most grateful for is my incredible support system. My parents taught me the value of working hard, but also of maintaining integrity and involving myself only in things and people that make me truly happy. While they may not always understand my choices (not going to grad school), my jobs (a career in the arts/music industry), or my path in general, their support never wavers. My friends have always been there to listen to the rants that inevitably come with a less-than-traditional career path. After weeks of bitching about my job, I told them I quit and was met with nothing but unending support. Yes, things may be uncertain I will undoubtedly have to hustle my ass off, but they never failed to remind me I will land on my feet. That right there is worth more than gold.

While positive thinking and pursuing happiness is important to our overall wellbeing, so is getting to the root of our problems and taking action. Issues at work, in life or love don’t just go away and sometimes you need to sit in your shit and find a solution. Some things – including jobs, people and relationships – are simply not for you and cannot be forced into being otherwise, despite your best efforts. Maybe something that was once working for you and brought you joy, such as a dream job, partner or environment, no longer does. Mental shifts and change are all inevitable parts of life, and being honest with yourself (though scary as hell) is integral to individual growth. We are conditioned to believe that outright suffering is a part of the process, and while not everything is perfect or glamorous in the pursuit of success, it is important to recognize when something just doesn’t feel right anymore and to be able to walk away.

Quitting is not always the answer, but can serve as a catalyst for change – and it should only be done when your problems in a current situation are no longer fixable. We are too often and too easily tempted to give up on things before we have truly assessed if our problems are solvable. If you’re feeling unmotivated at work, can you change your mindset to become more productive? If you’re feeling an emotional distance between you and your partner, have you thought of new ways to reconnect? One bad week at work is no reason to throw in the towel and one bad argument with your significant other isn’t reason to break up. Knowing when to walk away is a valuable skill that should only be applied when absolutely necessary.

There is a shame around the concept of quitting, but I urge you to change your perspective. No, you shouldn’t abandon things before putting in the necessary work, but if after all of your effort is exhausted things are still not progressing, know that walking is an option. Despite what society has told you for your entire life, you do not always need to wait for good things happen. Taking agency is one of the most rewarding things in this world, and while things may never be perfect, we have full control over making our time on earth as happy as possible. If you are at a college you hate, transfer to find a better environment. If you aren’t getting fulfilled by your friendships, make new ones. If you aren’t fulfilled at work and there is no change is sight, leave and take a temporary position to keep the bills paid till you land the next gig. Do what the hell you need to do. If that makes you a quitter, then so be it.

Introvert Problems

I am an introvert. Somehow writing it down feels like a confession; all at once I feel lighter as though I am revealing some magnificent secret, lifting its weight off of my chest. There are certainly shades of grey in between the timid introvert and its counterpart: the emboldened, unabashedly prominent extrovert. Personalities, after all, are capable of spanning across the many labels we place on them. While I enjoy interacting with others and highly value interpersonal connections, there is no doubt of where my true self lies, despite years of trying to fool myself and the rest of the world into thinking otherwise.

I have always been an introvert, but terribly ashamed and scared to admit this as I irrationally attached so much negativity to it. In all honestly, I resented myself: for not being more outgoing, for not being able to enter a room of strangers and feel completely at ease. I envied the social butterflies who could flitter around through a crowd initiating conversations and introductions, completely uninhibited by fear of rejection or judgement. Meanwhile, I would assume my self-assigned role of the wallflower, finding comfort in my solitude (and in turn, as you may have guessed, was perceived by many as standoffish/a huge bitch). As a result, the self-deprecation persisted, as did this vicious, victim-based mentality. This went on for years, and yes it was fucking exhausting.

Luckily for me (and the world) I decided to get over myself and accept that I am not to be understood by the masses. My introversion throughout my teens and early adulthood was based in fear, but I have since reclaimed it, recognizing the true extent of its power. I now take pride in my boundaries, in letting people in slowly, in not investing emotionally in every single person I meet. I don’t beat myself up for not being the life of a party or for having a million and one friends or followers. Naturally, I am drawn to those who are on the other side of spectrum, amazed by their outgoing superpowers.

Most of my closest friends are extraverts, but now instead of breaking my back trying to compete with them I choose to yield, allowing them to take center stage and glow in their unashamed, and incredibly loud selves. On occasion I step into the spotlight going off on a tangent about my newest interests or dancing on a bar after one too many margaritas. In general, however, I find intimacy in silence – the most cherished moments with people for me are just listening, not thinking about some witty rebuttal or any of that shit, actually listening and getting into the core of another human. Intimacy is in doing nothing, in reading side by side or bodies intertwined with music blaring and neither of us saying a word. Alone, together.

For what its worth I know that I am imperfect: I am not the most eloquent, despite my username. I don’t always speak, and when do it is often fraught with emotion and mysterious riddles that require some serious deciphering as I jump from one thought to the next. I am intuitive and I feel extremely deeply though I don’t always verbalize these feelings. I don’t often speak without thinking first, unless margaritas are involved. I don’t give myself fully to everyone I meet, but I constantly strive to make sure that those close to me feel the depth of my love and gratitude, even when I don’t say it. I prefer to express myself through writing, or let a song say the things that I sometimes can’t. And I realize that these things aren’t problems after all.