2016 in Review

10 Mar

This is late (very late) in the year to be posting this, but it is finally done and I am a sucker for tradition. It has been a while since I have posted anything, but sometimes you have to deal with your shit and forgive yourself for sucking at the extra curriculars (more to come on that later…that is going to be a prevalent theme in this post…foreshadowing!)

10 Highlights…

  1. At the start of the year I finished all my obligations to the courts
    After all the frustration and shame that came with my DUI scandal, I am happy to say I have dutifully completed all the requirements the court required of me. It is my sincerest hope I can put that behind me and move forward.
  2. My Lucky Penny and I had a lovely handful of adventures that for the sake of space, I condensed into one highlight
    At the end of January I travel to LP’s new home in Portland and got to explore a new city and celebrate her birthday. In Septmber, LP returned to Phoenix or a visit and we went to see the Patriots play their first game of the season against the Cardinals (we may or may not have peed into a tupperwae cereal box while tailgating in my car). Finally, and most amazingly, LP moved back to Phoenix permanently in December!
  3. For the first time in my life I moved into an apartment of my very own
    All the dreaming and scheming I did as a kids, looking forward to the time I could be entirely independent and have a place to call my own, was finally realized in April, and it is the most free and independent I have ever felt. To think some people go their whole lives without that experience.
  4. Despite the ever deteriorating feelings of my job satisfactions, there were a couple victories this year
    I finally got my promotion to BHS2, I created from scratch and an entire curriculum for the outpatient program I was running, and I finaly got to switch to the school shift I have been coveting for quite some time.
  5. I hit some really awesome shows (primarily with Anarchy) this year
    My favorite of which was in May when we drove to Tuscon to see Harry and the Potters, The Driftless Pony Club, and Hank Green and the Perfect Strangers.
  6. Travel
    In June, I flew home to see my family, including, for the first time literally in years, my grandfather. In July, I visited my lady friends in Wisconsin (and my puppy loves). October brought the girls to me (and us to Vegas), as well as my old work husband from Massachusettes. I got to sho him around town a bit and we went for a weekdn to San Diego. Finally, I went on my typical treck home in December for th holidays.
  7. Budding Romance
    A coworker and I started dating in an entirely unexpected way and it turned into something more than I could have imagined. More to come on that later.
  8. Birthday Road Trip
    I may detail the whole experience in a later post. The cliffnotes version is that a long time friend from back East came out for a week in August and we went on a crazy, amazing road trip for my birthday. We went from Phoenix to Sedona to the Grand Canyon to Las Vegas to just outside Monterey down the PCH to LA to San Diego/Carlsbad. We hiked, explored, partied, went scuba diving, finally went to Harry Potter World and so much more.
  9. A Brief Interlude Back Into Church
    I have been wanting to start going to church again for a while. I met someone (someone I kind of wanted to impress/get in the pants of) who went to church regularly. One thing led to another and for a few weeks I went to his church and it was honestly really great and fulfilling, but also confusing. When things got awkward with that person though, I stopped going all together, which is a lesson in itself.
  10. Movies…or really just Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them…but also Rogue One
    The new Star Wars feature was amazing. I loved it, I talked about it for weeks. However, for me, nothing compares to sitting in the theater and reimmersing myself in the Potter universe. There are no words to describe the overwhelming sense of coming home.

10 Disappointments…

  1. The Big Bang
    Another thing I may explore in a later post, but Michigan and I imploded in the worst way about a month before our lease was up and he moved back to Michigan.
  2. Dating Fails
    In an attempt to get over Michigan and move on with my life, or mostly just get the fuck off my couch, I dived into the world of online dating. Some of the people were kind of nice, some of them were creepy or gross, but overall I was disappointed with my options. I don’t regret it, it got me back into the groove of things and put me in the mindset to find someone worth my time, but I still wouldn’t recommend it since the most I got out of it was a few free drinks and one really anxiety provoking go kart date. There was also I  must add, a handsome, but very young man that was a breif, but exciting interlude between POF dates and true love. I don’t know if he could have been real or if I just wanted to climb him like the tree he was, but I guess that will jus have to remain a mystery.
  3. My (Still) Shitty Job
    The fucks I give at work are in a steady decline. I still love my kids and the work I do there, but if I have to deal with anymore office drama, I am likely to murder at least half of my supervisors…which I am pretty sue would be frowned upon. Yes, I am applying to other jobs.
  4. My Travel Buddy Expenses
    My travel buddy also happens to be my car…and man was she a bitch this year!
  5. Falling Back Into Cynicism
    Along with my exploration back into religion came the return of my lack of faith in the community of faith. When the first time I go to a small group I am bombarded with women pining for men or talking about how great their husband are while doing arts and crafts inside while the boys get to have snacks and a slip and slide outside, well you can extrapolate from there. Why is the church so behind when it comes to feminism?!
  6. The Cost of Finding Love
    I got my first STD y’all, and yes, I am sad about it, but also it has been an eye opening experience. Yet again, more on that later.
  7. Hiking Failures
    I am not good with cardio. More often than not when I exercise, it is my lungs that give out before my muscles (thanks cigarettes and sedentary lifestyle!). My new love interest and I kept trying to go hiking and each time it ended poorly, me sullen or us in a fight. I take full responsibility because it was my own insecurities affecting my reactions, but I applaud him for continuing to try anyway.
  8. My Inability to Keep Up with ANY Workout Routine
    I am just going to be honest, I am lazy. I accept this about me, but I also really hate the place I have let my body get to. Those things don’t really go hand in hand, but it seems no matter how many things I have tried this year, none have stuck.
  9. Trump
    Do I have to say more? Unfortuantely this also led to the most intense fight I have had with my family in a very long time.
  10. Self Image Issues
    This goes along with number 8. My mental health has been on a seesaw and a lot of it has had to do with my issues with health and ability to maintain a healthy weight.

3 Game Changers…

  1. My (briefly named) “single girl apartment” and finding a new level of my independence and self-preservation.
  2. Breaking up with, and then getting over, Michigan. I haven’t had that level of heartbreak in a decade.
  3. Letting myself be open to new experiences, adventures, and connections when it could have been just as easy to wallow in self pitty for a majority of the year.

3 Things I focused on…

  1. Not letting deafeat define me
  2. Self care and weeding out what is actually important to me
  3. Trying not to get hang overs

3 Things I forgot…

  1. Applying for Grad School (Again)
  2. Figuring out a better solution for my student loan problem
  3. Staying active

Reflection…

Everyone keeps talking about what a horrendous year 2016 was and to some degree, I can concur. However, not all of it was abysmal and I think it is important to remember that life is made up of dichotomies. I had some big personal upsets and some long time issues facing me head on, but I also had some pretty big triumphs. I don’t know if in the long run I will look back and see 2016 as overall good or overall bad, but I do know I am thankful to have lived another year, learned some new lessons, and faced some big challenges that could have been the end of me, but weren’t

Adventures in Bullet Journaling

18 Jun

I recently fell down the bullet journal road and have been raving about it to my friends. We are in a honeymoon phase, my journal and I, which may or may not turn into a serious commitment. Isn’t that the mystery in any new relationship?

A friend asked me for my advice on how she could start hers (hi B!) since the internet is full of an overwhelming amount of information that can be hard to navigate. Being the opportunist I am (and since it has been a while since I posted), I decided to write a quick diddly on my initial thoughts.

I started with just a simple Shinola journal I had started using as a gratitude journal (a failed expedition) forever ago that had fallen into disuse.

journal ouside

I didn’t want to invest money into this thing until I knew it would be something I would use regularly. I just clipped off the section I had previously used and started fresh.

clip

I used The Lazy Genius Collective‘s post as a guiding light after watching the tutorial on the bullet journal website.

My absolute best advice is to not try to do too much all at once. Start simple!

I set up my Index first then set up a six month Future Log.

Index fuure lo

In the future I think I am going to set up my future log with a calendar look because that feels more natural to me.

calendar

My next step was to setup the first month and the Daily Log.

June June daily

I kept it incredibly simple and accepted it would not be perfect the first time, sort of a rough draft I could adjust in future months. On the left page, the month and a space for each day. On the right page, my list of things to accomplish. I didn’t have a Key at this point to delineate between tasks, events, etc. so it looks a little messy.

My Daily Log I intend to use as a basic journal. I suck at journalling, but I want to keep a log of events and big moments so that is my intention for this space. If that doesn’t interest you, you can utilize it differently or leave it out all together.

After using June for a while, I realized some of the downfalls to such a simple set up (and saw some fun things on Pinterest), and adjusted when I set up July. (PS can you tell I don’t own a ruler)

July

I needed space for my work schedule because it varies so I added a column on the left of the dates to write in my hours. On the right hand page I separated it into four categories for easier reference.

I also made a key for myself to keep track of different things on my monthly to do lists. There are a lot of cute symbols other people have use, but again, I kept mine simple. This is on the last page on my journal for easy reference.

Key

The last thing I did was set up a few pages of things I wanted to keep track of.

saes shows o wach Readin Lo

These can literally be anything important to you and they can be added anywhere in the journal. Just add them to the Index at the beginning for easy navigation.

That is one thing I am realizing I left out! Number all your pages!! Each time you create a new page in your journal, add the page number and title to your Index so you can easily flip through to find it.

I think that is all for now. Please feel free to ask me any other questions you might have about my experience and have fun with your own if this is something that appeals to you!!

Sexting with My Ex

21 May

In February, my partner of 2 1/2 years and I broke up. However, since we were still under a lease together, the two months that followed were possibly the most draining of our relationship. Living in the grey area was one of the hardest most confusing things I have ever done. I don’t know if it made the separation easier or harder now that all is said and done. I don’t know if I will ever know, but time gives clarity and I am still waiting and hoping for answers.

I have heard that one of the hardest things one can do is letting go of someone they still love. I didn’t know how hard until that February evening when Michigan told me he was no longer happy in Arizona and he was planning to move back home in April. I wanted to hate him, to be angry, but all I felt was blinding pain coursing through my veins. It had been so long since the last time I felt that way, I had almost forgot how entirely debilitating it could be. I am a stronger person now than I was the last time my heart was torn asunder, but no one is strong enough to withstand that kind of assault unaffected.

I know I acted the craziest I had acted since he knew me and I didn’t care. All walls were down and I was not above yelling at him one minute and begging him to stay the next. I drank a lot and cried even more and I made him watch it all. I would say I am sorry, but I am not. He was the man I loved and he was leaving me. He was not above it all, I knew it was tearing him apart to do it too. Love is a funny thing, even when you know it is not enough, it still feels like everything.

I felt like he had never really tried to make my home our home. Like I wasn’t enough to make him happy. Like all the things he had told me were lies that were now set alight. Of course some of those thoughts were overdramatized, but I think some of them had merit as well. He felt isolated and insecure which only amplified other issues we had. Of course it all makes logical sense now, but in the moment nerves were raw, exposed.

Our last few days were a roller coaster. Our last night was a passionate embrace. Our last morning was a waterfall of sorrow.

In the moment, I felt like that was the end of the story. In my heart of hearts I knew the healthy thing was to accept the failure of our hard won relationship and move on. At first I tried. We would text, but I would be vague and distant. I dated other people, tried to open my heart to options yet to be in my imagination.

Then, I let things slip. It was too hard to pretend I could fall out of love that quickly and move on to the next one. Especially knowing his feelings remained intact. We talked about more intimate things; we talked more often. We talked to end the day, and then we talked to feel something again.

LP one day observed that Michigan and I had returned to the state before things became difficult. Before he moved in, before our sex drives were incompatible, before we stopped communicating. I have no choice to agree, but I also know that things are different here at the end than they were at the beginning. We are different, and most importantly we aren’t together. In a way, I got what I had been asking for, freedom. The irony is that I no longer want it. It has been a month since I have seen him. I haven’t slept with anyone else despite the handful of dates I have been on. Maybe for some this is normal, for me this is incredible. This leads me to believe that what I actually wanted wasn’t what I was asking for.

I still keep analyzing all the things I could have done differently, but I wonder if it would have changed anything in the end. Sometimes what we want is impossible, and accepting that feels equally insurmountable. Sometimes fate just has other plans and we have to keep an open mind to see where we end up.

The Gender Tag Project

28 Feb

I found this originally through on of my favorite YouTubers, Hannah Hart, and knew immediately I was going to do my own. Working with the age group I do, it has become one of my life missions to talk about issues of gender and equality. Start ’em young!!

The project is pretty cool and I recommend checking it out, but without further ado, The Gender Tag.

1. How do you self-identify your gender, and what does that definition mean to you?

I identify as female. I am fortunate to identify with my biological gender. That doesn’t mean, however, following the expectations and norms of that gender is always straightforward or freeing, sometimes it is suffocating.

2. What pronouns honor you?

I am a “she”/”her” kind of gal.

3. Describe the style of clothing that you most often wear.

It depends on the day, the mood, the energy level, etc. Mostly these days I would describe my style as lazy hipster co-ed. Lots on legging, lots of yoga pants, recently joggers, all paired with t-shirts, tank tops, and sweaters. My job affords me the privilege of comfort and I usually take full advantage.

4. Talk about your choices with body hair. How do you style your hair? Do you have facial hair? What do you choose to shave, or choose not to shave?

Currently my head hair is long and two-toned. I dye it because I don’t enjoy my natural shade of dirty blonde and for the last several years I have been growing it out. Recently  the urge to chop it all off has taken a strong hold.
As for the rest of my bodily tresses, I tend to tend to them once a week-ish unless a good reason arises. It used to be an upcoming hot date most often, but solidly in relationship mode, the absolute necessity of wearing shorts seems to be the only thing with enough motivation (and sometimes not even then).

5. Talk about cosmetics. Do you choose to wear makeup? Do you paint your nails? What types of soaps and perfumes do you use if any?

Makeup on occasion, really when I want to/need to/already feel “pretty.”
Nail painting rotates between often and rarely, I am currently in a rarely phase.
Soap and perfumes both I tend to go for “clean” or “floral” or “musky.” I don’t use perfume often, every once in a while a splash of body spray (usually some bottle that has been gifted to me), I rely on my deodorant for any extra enticing scent (my latest addiction is Old Spice Figi).

6. Have you experienced being misgendered? If so, how often?

Misgendered, no, at least that is no how I would describe it. Felt pressured or expected to act a certain way because of my gender, a big big yes. This seems to happen less as I have gotten older, certainly as I have become more open in being entirely who I am, but when I was younger the struggle was very real.

7. Do you experience dysphoria? How does that affect you?

Again, less as I have grown older. When I was a teenager, it was a constant struggle to stay positive about my life and where my path would lead me. These days, I am generally satisfied and although there are goals I would still like to accomplish and things I struggle to change, I have more faith in my own process. Of course, no one is perfect and I have dark days that seem to swallow every ounce of sunlight, but even in the middle of the tunnel, I know there is another side I am going to come out on.

8. Talk about children. Are you interested in having children? Would you want to carry a child if that were an option for you? Do you want to be the primary caretaker for any children you may have?

NO. Sorry that was blunt. I do not desire at this point in my life to have a child. The thought terrifies me on several levels, and in all honesty, although I believe that if I was committed to the process, I would be an excellent parent, I don’t ever see myself being committed enough. I am going to be honest, I am selfish. I don’t want to struggle financially just when I feel like I almost have my head wrapped around what stability would look like, I want to travel, I want to go out on weekends and not worry about a babysitter for little Susie (not what I would name it btw). I just want to be able to live my life and I can’t even keep a plant alive while doing that.

9. Talk about money. Is it important to you to provide for a family financially if you choose to have one? Is it important to you that you earn more than any partner you may have? Do you prefer to pay for things like dates? Are you uncomfortable when others pay for you or offer to pay for you?

My relationship with money is interesting (at least to me). I don’t have a lot of it, and really I view it more as a necessity than an objective or a means to happiness. However, because I don’t have a lot of it I am often stingy with it. On the other hand, I am also very prideful and glean a lot of self worth from being able to support myself and not only pay my own way, but sprinkle my friends with generosity too. On more than one occasion I have had enough in the bank to only cover myself, but because of some weird social obligation I sometimes feel, have paid for an entire bill. I hate being in debt, but struggle to get out of it once I am in it because I have a hard time turning down social outings through which I may gain in iota of acceptance.
Long story short, I don’t relate to money via my gender or obligation I feel because of it in a grand sense, but in a more communal way which I may or may not have learned because of my gender assignment.

10. Anything else you want to share about your experience with gender?

On the whole I think the story of me and gender is this: the older I get the easier it is to come to terms with expectations that may be placed on me due to my femininity. Despite some of the obstacles that have come with identifying as female, I am appreciative that I was born already comfortable in the skin I have (in a sense). That doesn’t mean I stop striving to understand the battles that others face or lend my voice when I can.

Valen-ME Day

14 Feb

It is no secret I think Valentine’s Day is a bullshit holiday. I correct myself, it should not even qualify as a holiday. It is simply another way for big business to drum up sheep to spend money. In case you are unaware, the reality behind the “holiday” is a bloody mess (see here if you don’t know what I am talking about).

I don’t often celebrate, significant other or no, because I don’t want to feed the corporate machine more than I already do. I would much rather show my love in 365 little ways than one big way once a year. That being said, it occurred to me this year that perhaps there is someone in my life the day could remind me deserves a little affection…myself.

Self care has been a big focus for me the last six months or so, and I suck at it. It is ten times easier to overwork my body, tear myself down, and ignore the needs of my heart then to spend time putting energy into showing myself the love, patience, and encouragement I pour out to others. In this, I know I am not alone. Many of us are so much better at practicing empathy and tolerance with others and so bad at treating ourselves with that same level of respect. We are our own biggest critics acting as judge, jury, and executioner for the smallest of charges.

This Valentine’s Day I am going to show myself the love I withhold all year. I am going to put energy into what makes ME happy and give myself permission to be selfish. Maybe I will buy myself flowers and chocolates, maybe I will spend the day ignoring my phone and taking a bath, maybe I will leave town and go on a day trip all by myself wherever I want. Who knows! The point is I can use this day for me and give he most important person in my life some attention and consideration. I can give myself the gift of accepting me for me.

Who Am I?

24 Jan

One of the questions I struggle with incessantly on this blog is personal identity. How we define who we are. What it means to be human.

News flash! I am not the only one. And I am always happy to share my struggle and the struggle of others with all of you.

Way to start off the new year Reckless.

2015 Year in Review

13 Jan

Yeah, I know it has been 2016 for 12 days already, so what!  

10 Highlights… (In chronological order)

  1. The Patriots won the Superbowl!!

I tried so hard to get tickets for that game since it was outside of Phoenix, but quickly realized that is a longer term goal because Superbowl tickets are outrageous! I had to settle for watching at home, but the lead up to that event was fun, so many events happening in the city to explore. Then, my boys won and hat always makes me happy.

  1. Michigan moved to Arizona

The process was difficult and full of doubt and questions, but once it happened, it was one of he most exciting things to happen this year by far. Despite all the turmoil that has ensued, taking that huge step for the first time is one I would not undo no matter the eventual outcome.

  1. Moving to a new apartment

In tangent, with Ben moving, we moved into a place of our own. LP had taken care of most of my last three moves, so doing it on my own and getting to chose what I wanted instead of worrying about what someone else wanted (Michigan was not picky in the least and couldn’t do much choosing from so far away) was refreshing and fun for me.

  1. New Tattoo

With the upcoming departure of one of my closes friends, we decided to get tattoos together. They don’t match and each piece has individual significance, but it was nice to go get them together. Mine was a design on my right shoulder blade that outlines Hogwarts and has a Dumbledore quote inside the castle. It is by far the nerdiest tattoo I have or probably will put on my body…and I love it!!

  1. July trip to Massachusetts

This trip was actually really difficult for me. I had to grapple with a lot of disappointment and shame. I won’t go into detail, but it made it to the highlights because with that inner battle, I also managed to come to terms with some of my mistakes and by necessity, practiced acceptance of myself and my family. In addition, I still was able to sped quality time with my family and see some dear friends.

  1. Birthday shenanigans in Flagstaff

It was just a lovely weekend with two of my favorite people.

  1. RIOT Fest in Chicago

It was a crazy weekend and three days of mud, cold, and some crazy good music. I wanted never to leave. Plus, as a side note, it has been part of a growing closeness between myself and Anarchy. She is very much becoming one of my closest recent friends.

  1. Two whole years with Michigan

The last time I hit a two-year mark with someone, we broke up a month afterward. Officially my longest lasting relationship.

  1. Taking Michigan home to Massachusetts

I realize I have devoted way too much time talking about my relationship, but we hit a lot of milestones this year as a couple and for me personally. For Christmas, I took Michigan home. Crazy, I know. He hung out with my family, met my friends, did the holidays with us…all sorts of weird feelings, but pleasant overall.

  1. Discovering Cult Classics

Best theater series ever!! They have events once a month where they show cult classics (hence the name) in a real theater. I went to my first one at the end of the year to see Spaceballs and it was a blast.

10 Disappointments…(In no particular order)

  1. Rogers and the Viking moved to Wisconsin

It broke my heart losing two ladies who I had grown so close to and I spent many of my weekends with.

  1. So…many…relationship problems

I may have hit a lot of milestones this year in my relationship, but it certainly hasn’t been an easy road. The coming year needs to bring some changes for the good or for the ugly.

  1. The Patriots non-undefeaed season

This may seem like a silly one, but when they went so long without a loss I really thought we were going to pull it off…and then we lost…to the Broncos.

  1. Failing at my goal to be debt free

It felt like one thing after another kept happening and debt still looms above me…seemingly permanently.

  1. Not getting the promotion I so very much deserve…twice

I have been saying my boss has a grudge agains me for the longest time, and I am more convinced now than ever.

  1. Re-emergence of my cigarette habit

Getting close with Anarchy is so great in so many ways, except that she invites me for smoke breaks, and I often say yes.

  1. Weight gain

Despite my best (not really) efforts, I put on some pounds this year which brings in a whole slew of self-conscious thought processes.

  1. LP moved to Portland

After moving on from being roommates, our relationship seemed to improve…and then she moved to Portland which was hard to manage.

  1. Wasting a lot of time and money

That one is a bit self-explanatory.

  1. The evening of the sprained ankle

I went to stay with LP in her swanky downtown loft, got very very very drunk, walked home alone, sprained my ankle, and then continued to make poor life choices.

3 Game Changers…

  1. Michigan moving to Arizona

Challenging many of my assumptions about life, love, and roommates.

  1. My company hiring a new CEO

But more importantly getting rid of our previous tyrant. I still feel the need for new employment when that is an option, but this new fella gives me some hope.

  1. No longer being roommates with LP

And the vast array of new and different things that come with that.

3 Things I focused on…

  1. Paying off debts

Although unsuccessful, not entirely sagnant

  1. Reading

Did you see that book challenge post? Completed!

  1. Yoga and physical activity

Although not always successful, taking care of my body is a constant goal. I realized this year I need to focus on activities that get me moving instead of just relying on gym time or Jillian Miachaels to get the job done.

3 Things I forgot…

  1. Applying for Grad School

Again

  1. Figuring out a better solution for my student loan problem.

A forever battle that I love to avoid

  1. Self Care

I overworked and under-appreciated myself often this year. In addition, I still haven’t found a therapist.

Reflection…

As most years go, this one had its up and its downs. I made a lot of choices and changes and not all of them turned out the way I would have liked, but that does’ mean they weren’t worth my time. My brain has been preoccupied with relationship woes and wins more than anything else and a piece of that girl I never waned to be again is back in action. I have he ability to change that, but the upcoming year is going to come with its own set of challenges. Some I invite, others I am terrified to face. One can only hope for the best…and a good book to get you though the rough parts.