Saturday, October 29, 2016

saturday

a tall glass of cold orange juice + a sturdy, wooden table to eat a meal at // 
jars filled with greenery + tin cans stuffed with notes //
a candle simmering, casting shadows on a wall + the smell of impending holiday in the air //
a morning marked by the dimmed light of clouds + a bed filled with pillows //
breakfast at nearly lunch time + a dog-eared books stacked on the floor //
coffee + tea burning sweetly //
white pumpkins for festivities + purple carrots for hot soups that fill bellies //
whispers + wooden floors that require socks pulled up to knees //
chocolate for lunch + a second cup of english breakfast //
quietness that is solace //
songs of san francisco + thoughts of those you love //
a christmas film in october + a breeze pushing past drawn blinds //
the thought of halloween kept in the back of the mind,
like a secret that the next eight weeks are filled with wonder and warmth.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

annnnnddd...

...just like that, i did indeed miss a day of writing/posting.

i realized this when i woke up, and immediately felt so sad!

i was on a writing-roll. but, in spite of this being an excuse,

i promise it is a good excuse:

i interviewed for and got a job with a temp agency yesterday.

there's still some training and paperwork involved,

but it happened.

so much change has occurred within the last four weeks.

a move, a wedding, a trip home, a couple job interviews,
new roommates, new routines, lots of job board searching and tears
and phone calls and m&m's, and learning the LA way of life with parking
and paperwork, etc.

in this moment i'm just taking deep breaths and not giving any mind to tomorrows.
{well, maybe a little}.

here's to sudden changes.

-M

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

"tuesday" thoughts

yes -- i know that my goal is to write a blog post for every weekday that i am in LA.
this post was written on tuesday. i just forgot to press the "publish" button last night 
in the midst of being distracted by the birth of a new family member! so....


as you all (might) know, i spend a lot of my time thinking about growing up --
my brain has been wired as so since i can remember.

though now a valid reason for why i obsess over this inevitable reality
is because it is in my face every day. 

i'm very grateful for the opportunity to grow -- especially
the opportunities in my horizon at present. i refuse to take
a single one for granted if i can help it.

anyway, two weekends ago, my best friend was married. 
it was an early wedding, and throughout the morning as 
all us girls got ready my friend repeatedly marveled at how natural 
everything felt. in fact, one of the first things she said upon arrival to 
the wedding venue was along the lines of this feels so natural, this
feels like such a normal day.

i wasn't even the one committing my life to another person or wearing
a white dress, yet i felt sick enough for the both of us.

on the phone yesterday, she and i got to catch up.
one question i was dying to ask her is if marriage actually
makes a relationship feel different.

she told me that marriage does indeed come with a feeling of change.
she told me that it's no longer just a "serious relationship", which is
a term popularly attributed to exclusive relationships and engagements, etc.
she said it's much more than serious because it's forever. she said that
there is a sense of responsibility for another human being that takes form.
that the gravity of the covenant of marriage is undeniably apparent.

i bring my friend up because of how she described her wedding day as being
so utterly normal.
up until two saturdays ago, i had never assumed a wedding day to be normal.
one (hopefully) only gets one wedding day in a lifetime. 
it's a very unique day, yet she described it beautifully as normal.

when she made this statement with the utmost certainty, i couldn't help
but stare at her as she put make up on. 
i stared for moments at a time at a girl who was no longer a girl, but very much
grown up.

saying "i do" didn't suddenly throw her the secrets of a successful marriage.
she didn't become a person with the wisdom of someone who's been married for decades,
yet she had grown up. all because of a choice.

especially in those moments leading up to the choice.

the intent behind the pursuit that didn't stop at an altar.

so, once more, i was struck by how she reveled in normality on a day
that i had presumed meant otherwise. though, i couldn't help but 
believe her.

marriage was the very normal next step in her life.

growing up by means of the avenue of marriage was normal. 
is normal.

i remember very vividly being much younger than i am now, 
because god knows i am so so very young still.

in that time, i desperately wished to be "grown up."
i assume that the younger version of myself associated
being "grown-up" with independence.

perhaps that was what felt so alluring -- the surface of independence. 

the assumption of a picture of independence. 

i've recently learned that creativity cannot flourish without boundaries.
i'm currently learning that independence requires its own set of strict boundaries.

independence with complete freedom isn't free because it is susceptible to becoming bound
to chaos and disorganization.

independence with complete freedom at a young age leaves the door wide open for 
poor choices, and loneliness, entitlement, and even the threat of stagnancy.

i once assumed that being "grown up" would mean independence with a surplus of
freedoms. i didn't anticipate the change of boundaries. 
or the depths of life that stretch on for god knows how long. 

i love asking children what they want to be when they grow up.
as a nanny, the answers from the kids i cared for changed over the years
and from child to child. 

but no one answer ever failed to be unique or captivating.
in spite of a child's ignorance to what being grown up really is like,
they maintain the ability to state their aspirations with intent. 

a child's imagination needs no boundaries because of the wholeness that wires it.

but as one grows, and as the boundaries settle in closer and closer, a decision must be made:

does one disregard all boundaries because, let's face it, impatience and over confidence are very real things? or, does one take the space between and work to harvest something that can eventually grow beyond the immediate boundaries and further out towards others?

i look at the boundaries before me now, and i want to be scared and i want to run away.

the imagination i once had (the one that drove my parents crazy at times) is tainted by unpreventable
realities that come with age. 

but it's my "grown-up" choice as to whether or not my intent will remain.
that wild, forgiving, relentless intent that comes from the mouth of child whose dreams know no bounds.

it's my "grown-up" choice to pursue a harvest with intent utilizing the space between. a space
that certainly doesn't have to be forever -- a space where potential is just beyond the immediate barrier.

a barrier that, with time and wisdom and tried and true efforts, will become small beneath my step.

i think that the point will always be intent.
intentionality breeds wholeness when intent is well and good.

intent makes the space beyond the bound normal 
because the harvest has been successful, and the time has come to "grow up" some more because outgrowing something naturally is, again, normal.

i think and obsess over the idea of growing up because it scares me every day.
but slowly los angeles is growing into that friend i talked about nearly one month ago.

i still see my bounds clearly, but i don't regard them as limitations.
i simply see them as "not yets".

i see the space between, and even though the surface is clear, i realize that a harvest 
is bursting beneath, waiting for age and time to catch up before i can be propelled forward.

i am forever, forever, forever holding on to intent --
like the intent my friend had in the time leading up to her marriage. 
the unwavering intent that comes from a pursuit of wholeness, of "growing up."

here's to intent and the doors of decisions it leads to.
and to the harvest -- gratitude for the unseen harvest. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Chicken Noodle for Your Monday Heyyyy

Last night I cooked my favorite thing I've ever made to date. 
{okay -- my favorite non-sweet thing}

My grandmother used to make a pretty mean homemade chicken noodle soup,
so when I planned my meals for the next two weeks + saw that the weather forecast
was suggesting some "fall" weather {i.e. 68 blessed degrees in near November}
I decided to put soup on the menu. Plus, the last time I made soup {which was last year}, it lasted me for 4-5 meals...big plus when you're on a budget!

I don't have the recipe my grandmother used to follow {actually, I don't know
if she followed one at all}, so I just sort of made it all up as I went.
It was so good, and it smelled soo good as it cooked, that I thought I'd share it here.
I took no measurements at all, didn't follow any timers, etc, so I'm just going to recall it how
I made it + hope that I make sense ;)

{excuse the poor quality picture, this is from one a snapped
to send to my mother to make her proud!}

Ingredients:
-Chicken -- you can use rotisserie chicken, but I bought a pack of raw chicken tenders {about 8-10 pieces}
-Carrots -- I buy Trader Joe's Organic Carrots of Many Colors {they are delicious} + I used about 5-6 carrots
-Celery -- 1 stalk of celery
-White onion -- 1/2
-Cannellini beans -- 1 container 
-Chicken broth -- 1 container
-Pasta -- all I had was bow-tie!
-Olive oil
-Garlic salt
-Pepper
-Parsley
-Lemon juice*

What to Do Pt. #1:

{If you're not like me, and you used a rotisserie, then skip ahead to Pt. #2}

Before you begin chopping your veggies, make sure that your chicken is thawed. Remember, you can use as much chicken as you like -- it's all based on preference for this recipe. Whenever I'm cooking anything involving chicken, I love to allow a good chunk of time {a few hours if I think far enough ahead} for my chicken to marinate, and I almost always marinate it the same. 

First, open up the chicken and have a Ziploc bag at hand. Place the chicken within the bag. Drizzle olive oil into the bag {though, when I say "drizzle" I mean that I drench my chicken. I tend to cook with a very generous hand}. I then {generously} sprinkle garlic salt, pepper, and parsley into the bag. Then, I drizzle lemon juice {optional*}. After, I massage all of the flavors into the meat before placing the bag in the fridge to let it all marinate. 

While that is marinating, we move onto Pt. #2 --

What to Do Pt. #2:
Remember! I based all of my measurements off of preference, and I judged it based on the size of my pot. Halfway through chopping carrots, I realized that I'd need to use a second pot {because I don't have a big one specifically for cooking soup}. 

Slice up your carrots until you have enough (make sure you've washed it all first!}. The same goes with your stalk of celery. Next, dice up your white onion -- I only used half because I knew that my portions was particularly small, plus the onion was killing my eyes + making me cry. Once these three things are diced and sliced, place them all into the pot{s} you'll be using. 

Next, add in your container of beans. Ultimately, I chose cannellini beans, but I was torn between using these or using kidney beans. I asked my dad which and he said both, but I was afraid of making too much. I regretfully say that I should have thrown the kidney beans in -- next time!

I then did with the veggies and beans what I did with the chicken: drizzle some olive oil, add garlic salt, pepper, and parsley. Mix it all and put to the side. 

What to Do Pt. 3:
Bring a pot of water to a boil {don't forget to add some olive oil so your pasta doesn't stick!}. I used bow-tie pasta because that was all I had. And, once more, I didn't use measurements for it. I just poured until I felt I had what I wanted.

Once the pasta was all cooked, I drained it and added into the pot{s} of veggies and beans. Mix it all up and then add the container of broth. I only used one, because my second can was expired, but I'm glad I only used one, actually. Instead, after pouring the broth, I used about 2-3 cans of water {or until the pots were mostly full}. 

I sprinkled a liiitttttttle bit more garlic salt and pepper and place the pot{s} int the fridge so that the veggies could begin to soften just a little.

What to Do Pt. 4:
Cook your chicken! Since I used tenders, they cooked relatively fast. Once they're done cooking, begin to shred and chop them. The same goes for those who bought a rotisserie. Shred your chicken until you have what you need and add it to the mix you've got going.

What to Do Pt. 5:
I did not time my soup {haha!} but I paid a bit of attention to the clock. I cooked my soup at a medium temperature for about 20 minutes. Then, I put it on low for about 15 minutes because it was beginning to boil and I didn't want that. All in all, I let the soup cook/simmer for about 45-50 minutes. When I finally checked on it, the carrots were as soft as I wanted them to be, which told me that it was done.

Before sitting down to eat my soup, watch a Christmas movie and enjoy the thunder and lightening, I also made myself a little grilled cheese.

And, don't forget to add a little salt and pepper upon serving -- like I needed to add any more of that ;)

+++

I'm so happy I made such a cozy meal when I did. I was going to settle for some Sunday night pizza, but there's something about slowly cooking a meal on a Sunday. Also, the forecast hadn't shown rain or thunder + lightening, so when those three showed up after dusk, soup was the perfect fall meal.

I hope this was an interesting read? I'm not much of a cook, though I do enjoy it! 

Happy Monday!

-M

Thursday, October 20, 2016

ten tips:


I'm three weeks in and here are ten pieces of advice I have for that awkward in between
of relocation + finding employment:

1. Leave your house every day -- even if on Saturday you leave the house
to walk to the laundromat or sit on the front porch or take the trash out. Leave. The. House.

2. Focus in one one achievement per day.

3. Rise early and don't forget to make the bed -- I've made it my goal to be up between 5:00 - 6:00 am each morning {I know!} not because I have somewhere to be, but because it helps my day feel productive. At first I wondered why on Earth I'd want to elongate an already quiet day, but I'm finding that rising early makes me sleep early, so not only am I getting rest but I feel like bedtime is well deserved at the end of the day, and there's not much worse than going to bed with a groggy, haven't-done-much-today feeling.


4. Make a routine and stick to it -- right now I read first thing in the morning; I check my emails; look at job boards; start work; eat breakfast; do more work; go run errands or go to a coffee shop until 1:00-2:00; come home; tidy up; prep dinner; write some more; eat dinner; clean up {because small spaces get dirty easily!}; make a phone call or two; read more or watch tv; and, glorious bedtime!


5. Dress yo self -- even if I'm not going to see anyone I know in my day, I make a point to dress myself and put some make-up on. It helps contribute to the feeling of productivity and accomplishment for the day. Even if the day seems like it won't contain much, being prepared to go somewhere helps me feel like anything is possible. 

6. Buy the flowers or the leaves or the candle, and then light that candle -- it's been very important for me to make my room feel like a home in itself. Since I spend so much time in or near it, I want to always enjoy it. Rearranging also helps with constantly improving a space. When the time comes for a hectic schedule, my room will be even more of a retreat. I also usually light my candles as I unwind before bed, which helps me feel relaxed. 


7. Stock your fridge and cabinets with nutritious food, but keep some treats around for when you feel particularly lonely -- I prefer frozen peanut butter M&M's. Usually I'll take one at a time from the freezer throughout my day.

8. Teach yourself something new -- I had to hang everything on my walls all by myself, and I even have some new recipes I want to try.

similar found here

9. Search for small inspirations -- lately I've been holding tight to this blog as a source of inspiration and motivation. She was once a young writer, too, who found success and wholeness in what she does -- that gives me hope :)

10. Tell yourself all throughout the day that today is important, even in all of its quietness -- I am constantly trying to remind myself to be grateful that this season is quiet, that I finally got the move I desired months and weeks ago, and that someday soon this will all be a memory that I'll probably miss. My mom has told me time and time again that she believed raising toddlers was tough -- as soon as my brother and I hit the teenage years she wanted to go back to simpler times. I tell myself that I won't always be single, and that life won't always be so calm -- someday I might look back and wonder at the lovely simplicity that is currently my present!

+++

These are my ways of remaining grounded in positivity throughout the day. I hope you all are enjoying your Thursday!

one 1/2 of my very compact and cluttered--though still somewhat organized--room!

p.s. these target shelves are a life saver for storage! Plus, they feed my love of doorless cabinets!

-M

*yellow text = fun links!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

style series inspiration // women who wear -- grace coddington

I never kept my promise {oops}. 


In honor of September being the January of fashion, I planned and promised to talk about Grace Coddington. A living legend of aesthetic, style, sass, words.

September got further away from me than most months tend to do, but better late than never, right?

Let's talk about Grace...stylist, creative director at large, fashion editor, fragrance designer, author, artist, model, humble, clever, wise...


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

leaving home (again)

the mountains that enclose the silicon valley are by far the most savory,
comforting sight for me in life.

the golden gate is grand in its structure and striking in color.
the bay bridge reminds me that the crevices of berkeley continue to decay in all of their glory.

but the mountains.
my breath is taken away any time i land in the silicon valley/bay area.

when i lived in sacramento and would drive in over the easy bay hills, i could see
downtown san jose in the distance, hugged by smog.
and all around, the hills and mountains -- whatever they are.

the mountains in oregon were so much different than what we have here,
and in los angeles they have a feel all their own.

when i flew into the silicon valley on thursday, i told myself:
remember this moment. remember this moment. look around and take it all in.

it's an airport for crying out loud,
and the mountains certainly aren't going anywhere any time soon.
yet i can't help but feel such a deep joy anytime i walk towards the exit at the airport,
rather than from it upon departure.

+++

i'm sitting at my gate right now and i'm looking at the mountains -- stained a bit
green from the rain this weekend.
there are conflicting clouds lingering lowly,
and i want so badly to get out of my seat and leave this airport -- missed flight and all.

i've cried on and off all morning (back to the tears -- hooray!) --
partly for the feeling of homesickness that no age of mine seems to cure,
but mostly because of fear again. 

fear and discomfort. 

while trying to hold back tears a moment ago, i told my boyfriend:
i think i'm just desperately not wanting to face my life feeling so alone. i am so unbelievably uncomfortable and i am desperate to find any sort of familiarity and comfort. 

+++

thursday was warm here, and upon returning from a trip to the pumpkin patch with my mom,
she and her friend decorated our front porch and planted flowers in the beds outside the front door.

the sky became increasingly darkened by a looming storm, and the air cooled into an autumn crisp.
my dad worked inside the house and my brother was home, too, which is good and rare.
i sat on the brick steps of the front of the house, watching the light traffic buzz by -- nothing like
the lines of cars in los angeles.

the wind repeatedly brought my attention back around, likening itself to how fleeting the moment i was in would be.

at dusk, my mom lit candles in the house. by then, it was warmed inside than out, and heavier clothing was permitted -- which is one of my favorite aspects of autumn.

my brother and i climbed into the car to go for a drive, right before putting cookies in the oven,
and as i looked to the hills that hug my hometown, as i snapped a mental image of the deep hues of the sky above, and the clouds that threw themselves around, i told my brother that that moment, that night was good and well.

that i might not get more of an autumn-y feeling this season,
that for all four of us to be home was the most beautiful feeling.

he said nothing,
but in that moment i felt the deepest sense of joy.

watching those mountains, i was grounded once more.
the impending homesickness i knew awaited me in five days time didn't have to be something
i worried about.

until today, when it showed up -- always unwelcome.

thirty more minutes of staring at those good hills, those good mountains
that my mom told me (when i was young) looked like sleeping dinosaurs.

when i'm unsure of when i'll return home once more, i look to the mountains and take a million photos in my mind, to remind me of home, 
to keep me sane,
to keep me grounded in what i can know mostly for certain. 

-M

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

october 12, 2016

i'd like to mark today as one that--while it will probably quickly fade into the slew
of other days that compile in my memory--
is a day that leaves me feeling truly happy.

not the surface, smile on the face happy.
but the hardy, slice of joy that doesn't need to be center of attention
to be present.
the one rooted in one's bones,
deep in the heart and belly of a being.

i looked all around me, even more than yesterday,
and i breathed it all in.

i also wrote twenty-nine pages of a story i'm developing.

and that in itself felt like the whole pie of joy,
and not just a slice.

now, i'm off to finish writing a piece for my best friend's wedding --

which is another pie in itself.

also -- life, guys.

life is good. quietly changing in drastic measures.
but simple, and good.

-M

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

"We need to be more convinced of the beauty of tomorrow than the difficulty of today."
-Billy Johnson

+++

Today was the first day that I didn't cry. 

In fact, as I drove to my new go-to coffeeshop, I smiled to myself.
Perhaps it had something to do with being out of the house early;
perhaps it had something to do with the fog! that greeted me all morning long through the window...

Whatever it was, I drove for thirty minutes just to go three miles and I still smiled to myself.

I sat in traffic --
took in the compacted, over-crowded, aged surroundings --
and, the feeling in me said you're doing it.

I was doing it.

And that is more than half the battle.

And I felt grateful, and content.

Still uncomfortable, but content.

I am holding fast to the beauty of all the tomorrows I have in this life --
and finding that it makes today's difficulties doable.

-M

Monday, October 10, 2016

world mental health day

(that cat and those flowers are what dreams are made of)

inspired by my favorite blogger, meg.
and because of world mental health day --

+++

i'm big on apologies over here on the blog -- partly because of my own awkwardness and partly because of insecurity. 

going into this post, however, i'd like to not apologize for how it might read. i don't want to feel the need to justify myself, or add a cherry on top for the sake of lightening the mood. i also don't feel as if this has to be a depressing conversation. important, yes. some times saddening, of course. but negative or even depressing? i don't believe so.

on many occasions i have alluded to difficulties in my life in regards to my mentality. i've had this blog for so long that i honestly can't recall how far in depth i've gone on the topic. but, here it goes (again?) --

today is world mental health day. 

i don't quite know what "national" and "world" days usually entail, other than a hashtag --
though on my little blog (and i'm certain in other contexts), world mental health day means that i want to talk about something that especially matters to me.

i'm like most people -- i get anxious, fidgety, down and out.

but in another sense, i go beyond just the feeling of nervousness and restlessness and sadness.

so much so that i have to daily choose how i want to feel. some days this is easier than others.

so much so that i oftentimes can't find the words to describe how i feel.
and those watching closely see it all come over me like a wave that they cannot stop. 

and i see them closely. i see the uncertainty in their eyes, how they wonder how to deal with me and this. how they wonder what to say. and that point when they're at a loss. that's when i know i've pulled too deep and far away.

i used to be very afraid of myself. so afraid that i would actually bring myself to tears. as if 
the idea of me was a monster all her own.

i was petrified of growing up and still feeling this way.

now i am grown -- not fully, but enough.

i'm at the age that i used to be so afraid of.

the well and funny thing is that i'm still here. 

i'm somewhat normal -- save for some quirks and a whole lot of imperfections.
i don't have much figured out, and i've been told that i will "deal" with my issues for 
the rest of my life.

in the grand scheme of things, these issues don't have to be defining points. they're valid, and perhaps forever. but they don't have to lord over me -- which is what i believe was so fear inducing years ago.

i didn't realize that light works like a half way point. i learned to open my eyes a little wider and little by little a dim would come my way through this corridor of life, and hope came right along with it.

i also didn't realize that i could come to a place of seeing myself from outside of the confinement of my mind. i usually describe the depression part of my life as a glass box. i'm in the box, watching life happen all around and i want to get out. i want to join everyone else. they see me, and i see them. but there is this wall that i try so hard to break through.

most times i do break it. some seasons the shattering just takes a bit longer than others.

moving to los angeles has been daunting for so many reasons, though one of those reasons is a quieter one: that fear of being by myself;

officially on my own;

alone with my thoughts for periods of time;

impending rejection with the potential to be a trigger for more insecurity, anxiety, etc.

though i'm learning that in life there is always the possibility of something going so terribly wrong, which is why all the good in life continues to exist and contrast anything and everything else.

we go to bed after a horrible day, not fearful of tomorrow but eager to meet it, and confident that it will be better.


+++

in my therapist's office, a few weeks back, my depression was brought up -- not by me, by her. 

immediately i felt myself close up. i still haven't quite dealt with how to talk about it face-to-face. this is partly because of my lack of vocabulary with the subject when it comes to actually speaking -- for so long i just didn't talk about it. i wrote about it. but words rely so heavily on context and presentation. 

and, also, i feel like a fraud.

feeling like a fraud when it comes to one's own well being and mental state and feeling and emotion and experience is awful, really.

so, i told my therapist that regardless of knowing deep down what i have and am and will struggle with, i don't feel as if i have the right to claim it for myself.

then she told me that in spite of patterns and symptoms, every person ultimately deals with mental illness and mental health in a unique way.

she assured me that my way is neither right nor wrong. 

she told me that becoming acquainted with this part of myself was beneficial. i realize that this is not for the sake of living with depression and anxiety, but rather living beyond it/both.

more and more i know what makes me feel certain ways.
i know what starts and what follows.

i'm familiar with the aches and appetites and haze of it all.

though as i am getting older, rather than fearing myself, i'm learning to love myself more.

i'm learning to face the scariest part of myself with the intent to learn how to tend me, not to it.

by placing myself first every day, and being intentional about life and about even my smallest choices (remember: small achievements), i've found that i can combat a whole heap of what usually feels like the weight of the world, or the glass box i find myself frequently placed within.

so, the things that aid my mental well being include, but are not limited to:

anthropologie candles; lists; crossing items off of lists; films; fresh flowers; fresh greenery; baking a cake; the color yellow; writing; writing every day; literature; taking pictures of those i love; step by vampire weekend on repeat; visits to berkeley; strolling through san francisco; waking early; foggy mornings; stretching; breathing exercises; sleeping with my windows open; chopping fresh fruit; frozen peanut butter m&ms; organizing; any sort of paper; evening walks; city skylines; any time in a coffee shop; iced coffees; hand written letters; phone calls; decorating and rearranging my room; scripture; a good therapist; parking my car somewhere comfortable; photos from architectural digest; white noise on my phone; funeral canticle by john tavener; the voices of those i love most.

+++

regardless of whether world mental health day is relevant to you, i believe it's important to observe what makes one's own self feel comforted, beautiful, loved, full, joyful.

these things help me feel grounded.
they are a source of joy, no matter how odd or particular.

and, i must say that when i first began to wrestle with depression and anxiety, i couldn't have listed so many items.

it's important for me to have an anchored perspective on my own life, on simple things, for those stormy days.

having even one thing to hold fast to is validation enough of joy,
validation enough of comfort,
and validation that i am not alone.

my life can be about more.

i hope that others can feel hope as well, 
not just this evening, but tomorrow, too.


-M

Friday, October 7, 2016

pt. 2 (and a whole lot of rambling)

It occurred to me today that this time last week I was rushing around like a crazy person preparing for my move -- but this was easy to recall because it was only a matter of days ago. But then, when I was reminded that it is indeed October (how that happened, I have no idea), I realized that this time nine months ago, I was preparing for my first move out to LA.

I can't tell you what I was doing specifically. I have no memory of the 7th of January. What I can say is that, when needed, I comforted myself with the fact that I only needed to stay for four months. After that, I thought, I'd be free.

Remember the letting yourself off the hook idea I talked about yesterday?

I don't believe that it necessarily ends there.

Actually, I believe that there is a part two.

You can let yourself off the hook, sure.
You can relish in that one small achievement.
You can then wait for tomorrow's small achievement.

Or whatever else might suit you.

Though, I believe that letting one's self off the hook is beside the point when s/he is bound by the idea of freedom - bound by the idea of being let off.

I am so guilty of hyping myself up on one scary achievement that I begin to settle in nearly invisible aspects of life that are so subtle, though still entirely relevant.

I'm writing this partially because all week I've been looking at job boards, and although I need to be gracious with myself, I can't help but feel suffocated by the fear of what an industry job will entail. I feel myself fearing, and rather than being comfortable in the small achievements of coffee shops and  bill paying (these are still so valid!), I personally need to be reminded to strive a little bit more each day.

This doesn't mean that life and its achievements will be a steady climb - but progress in the form of growing and not only surviving is what I'm after.


I feel myself caught up in the idea of freedom.
I am free to choose my daily achievements.
I am free to come and go from my house.
I am free to choose friends and a job of my preference.


My fault is that I give so much of my time to thinking about what the feeling of freedom might actually taste like that I ignore the freedom I already have. I diminish the value of the achievements I am capable of out of even more fear of what it would be like to be uncomfortable again.

My fault is that I place freedom/independence/adulthood in this seemingly unattainable box that requires me to meet a caliber that I'm not even sure of.

In January I told myself just last four months, then you'll be free.

Upon leaving my home last weekend, my family told me just last the year...

You don't have to stay...

You won't make it as long as you hope...

This morning when I awoke it occurred to me that this is my life.

There is no date telling me when a class will end, when a diploma will come, where my next home will come from.

And I am having to work hard to remind myself that having indefinite aspects of my life is not an indication of stagnancy. I also have to hold tight to the idea that this is my life now. This is the freedom part, the post graduation part.

This life started in January,

and again at my commencement ceremony,

and again as I drove down the 5 last weekend.



There have been many fear-induced moments and experiences in my life, and this is certainly not the worst and it is certainly not the last.

It feels frightening to know that the possibilities are endless.

Though there is freedom in those possibilities, no matter the ambiguity.

I'm trying so hard to let myself off the hook and stay off the hook.

I'm hoping to always take it day by day, even with my small achievements.

I'm also hoping that I won't stick to seeking achievements that grow familiar and comfortable.

And after too many words and babbled thoughts, I believe I've reached the point I should have made in the first paragraph,


Thursday, October 6, 2016

little, daily achievements!!

My #1 reason for moving to Los Angeles is to write.
Whether my writing ever garners me accolades or money is not the point.

The point is to write no matter what, and since my current script feels like it's taking
me an eternity, this blog is slowly becoming my primary source of achieving my daily writing goal.

This brings me to the point of this post. 

Last week in therapy, I asked how I should deal with my mind once I moved here and had some major adjustment time (meaning: I'd have a consistent amount of quiet time to myself).

In seasons of life when I've had too much silence, my anxiety tends to take me for quite a roller coaster ride, and sometimes this is the very thing that leads me right back into a depression. I knew that this move would mean a major adjustment for me emotionally, financially, socially, mentally -- so in therapy I expressed one of my more rational fears of being alone with myself for too long.

But then my therapist said something that I know I will never forget, and it's truly aided me this week, and I hope it will continue to do so throughout my life. 

She told me to have "one achievement" each day, no matter how small. She said that even the act of paying a bill is achievement enough to indicate a productive day.

For me, paying a bill is still a big deal. So that is a huge achievement for one day! But bills haven't needed any paying this week. Instead, each morning when anxiety creeps around me at the thought of another day maneuvering and learning this new city, I tell myself that one of the only things my day needs to be productive is a small achievement. 

On Sunday, that achievement was settling into my room. 
On Monday, the achievement was making it to an interview, doing the interview, going to a transportation office, and organizing my room.
On Tuesday, I made it my goal to find a coffee shop I could spend time at AND not need street parking (hallelujah for spending my third day in a row at the shop!).
Wednesday, my goal was to pick my dad up from an airport and hold my emotions together as I watched him drive away (let's just say that I found him just fine, but didn't hold it all together as he headed north and I headed south).
Today, my goal was to get my parking pass (second try!), but I failed to do so. HOWEVER, I managed to do the errands and make a huge effort, which feels a lot like four or five achievements. 

Moral of the story: go easy on yourself. There is plenty of time for healthy pressure, unnecessary pressure, normal stresses of life, discomfort. Letting yourself off the hook in terms of allowing yourself the satisfaction of at least one achievement per day will work wonders for your soul and happiness.

I actually patted myself on the back for making it to the coffee shop after driving over what felt like all of Los Angeles today. I made it, I got the last parking spot, and I get to sit by a window overlooking (what other than) traffic! 

While attempting to get my parking pass today, I told the lady at the desk that I hate this city. I began to cry, told her how frustrated I am and scared of getting towed, and I thanked her for showing me kindness and doing her best to help. And she smiled back, and empathized with the fact that I'm not from here, and that honestly made not getting the pass feel okay.

She doesn't know it, but one of her achievements for the day was being kind enough, if even in a typical DMV environment, to see my problem, listen and reassure me. 

Life will eventually get crazy. 
I'll eventually have a set schedule, a social life (hopefully), and this week will be a minute part of my past.

So for now I'm letting myself off a little easy.
My best friend gets married next week and taking a handful of days to celebrate and enjoy family before really planting myself here in Los Angeles is okay. 

It's a lifetime achievement in my book for ever moving here in the first place.

All of the daily achievements I collect along the way are just bonus blessings.

Here's to small achievements every day --
may they make us feel productive, 
may they bring us some assurance,
and--if not--may they at least grow us and prepare us for tomorrow's achievements, yeah?

-M

Also, another daily achievement is that it's almost noon and I've only cried three times.
Progress, guys, progress.
;)



Wednesday, October 5, 2016

sf v. la

The other night while gushing over my love and affection for San Francisco, my boyfriend caused me to have a major epiphany -- which actually gave me a heap and a half of hope for my impending friendship with Los Angeles.

I was saying something typical and along the lines of I don't know why I love San Francisco so much. It just feels so much like home. I see it and I feel this sort of peace. Something so terrible could be happening but as long as I'm in San Francisco all would still feel right with my world.

Seriously.

I got a well deserved eye roll from my boyfriend. But! That's when the epiphany occured.

I told him that San Francisco is my lover. That I probably love it more than Herb Caen ever did/could have. (I got another eye roll). And then boyfriend said, "So, basically, Los Angeles has been friend-zoned."

And I couldn't believe it!

It's so true.

San Francisco is my lover, and Los Angeles only ever has the potential to be a friend.

I can't say that the two of us are amicable just yet.

But there's hope for a friendship.

If I can simply be friends with Los Angeles, I can certainly still love San Francisco --

and make my way home to it in several year's time.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

3 Days Into (semi)Unemployment, and Something About the #96 :

Technically, I’m not unemployed.

Technically I work for my father’s Bay Area company.

Although for exactly 96 hours now, I have officially become a Los Angeles resident, and when asked where I work, I explain how I have the magical ability to download my father’s computer to mine and do work for him via that method, which just receives a mixture of I-Don’t-Cares and confusion from my semi-listener. As if freelance (?) work is the illegitimate child of employment. No – as if a freelance job for one’s own parent is the illegitimate love child* of employment. Because, you know, supposedly working for one’s parent automatically comes with less effort?

ANYWAY – for exactly 96 hours now, I’ve had ample opportunity to explain my state of unemployment. In efforts to avoid the illegitimate love child of employment, I usually just say that I am unemployed. I feel like living in a big, expensive city and claiming unemployment is an excellent way to get a sliver of sympathy. This might work for another couple 96 hour periods, but certainly not once the whole I’m new to LA thing wears off.

For the time being, while claiming newness is still acceptable, I say 96 hours because it sounds like much less time than 4 days. It sounds like I still have time to be scared shitless. To not have my ducks in a row, or something like that.

Also, it just sounds nicer, you know?

Sort of like those annoying mothers who, when asked about the age of their ginormous infant reply with, “22 months.” Or—worse—“25 months.” 26? 27? 30 – perhaps? Because a child's age in months sounds less threatening or terrifying than saying 2 years old -- because who hasn't at some point in time been terrified of a toddler.

Right? Right.

96 has rounder numbers that lean against one another comfortably. 4 is just stagnant and unwelcomed in the mouth. Especially within the mouth of a semi-homesick, semi-unemployed (kid) young adult who wishes she could skip ahead four years from now.

But, damn. She can’t do that. No.

Not only is traveling forward in time impossible (hello, where have you been?), but even if such a thing were an option, by going forward in time, she’d be going against the very thing she reprimanded herself for 96 hours ago: rushing the four years of university because (for some reason?) adulthood seemed way more comfortable! Irony, folks, sweet irony.

So, there will be no skipping forward four years. Which, by the way, doesn’t the 4 sound so much better in reference to rushing through time? Maybe that’s just me.

This was the third day I’ve woken up in Los Angeles and with each morning I’m even more shocked that I’m still here.

It’s as if I expected this move to kill me right from the get go – which is such a pleasant thought when you’re 96% alone in this. (Each of my roommates makes up a 1% that I am not alone, and the other 1% is earned by my parents who allow me to call them multiple times per day).

So, each morning I’ve awoken, semi-startled by my continued existence. And each night I blissfully climb into bed with heaps of relief that I did another day! Even if the day only consisted of that freelance love child called work and unpacking my disgustingly cluttered room.


Positivity, people. I’m trying to stick to positivity! And, right now that means clinging to any 96% I can get.

-M



*don't even know if I'm using that term the correct way, but it's what came to mind