My Ugly Truth

My track record with accepting a compliment of any kind is not a great one. In the past few years, I’ve learned to be more gracious instead of countering every positive feedback with my own self-deprecating comments. I’ve grown up a lot, learned to accept my past, and try to let go of regrets best I can. I came up with the idea for this post a few weeks ago, when my insecurities came to the surface and manifested themselves into jealousy. I mean, the really ugly kind of jealousy. It was hard for me to accept and own up to it, but I did.

I’ve been sitting on this blog post for a while and I almost didn’t write it because I’m still processing everything. All of my insecurities, the events of the past year that fueled the fire and the unfamiliar territory of being surrounded by people who genuinely care about me, neurotic tendencies and all. I have never fully fit in anywhere in my life. Not with family, friends, or even work environments.

I began thinking about this post again this morning and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the real ugly truth is even scarier than my insecurities. It’s something that I never expected would happen, even though I have a pretty cynical past. The thing that you should know about me, if you haven’t picked up on it already, is that I don’t give up on people. I don’t give up hope. I give second chances. I forgive. I try to forget the pain. I rationalize their horrible behavior by making excuses for them. I forgive. I get hurt. I blame myself.

But I never give up on people. I open up my life and heart, because I believe that everyone deserves a chance.

We all get hurt by someone we love. We have friends who outgrow us, or we outgrow them. We’re misunderstood. We’re blamed for things that aren’t our fault. My experiences aren’t unique by any means. We diminish our own feelings because we feel guilty for being happy.

This past year, I was knocked on my ass, emotionally, by the end of a friendship I thought would last forever. I blamed myself. I tried to explain myself and apologized for something that wasn’t my fault. I was accused of things that had never come up before and I began reevaluating every single relationship in my life. My heart was shattered and I thought the friendship could still be salvaged. Because 8 years of friendship isn’t something you walk away from, is it? I couldn’t give up hope.

Until I did.

But this just threw fuel to the insecurity fire. I began feeling undeserving of any kind of positive interaction in my life. I am lucky that the Universe brought specific people into my life this past summer who accepted me right away – ugly insecurities and all.

You guys, my real ugly truth isn’t that I’m insecure or I’m prone to insane jealousy. My ugly truth is that I came very close to giving up on other people. I came close to giving up hope. I almost closed off my heart for good. Not just “I’m a teenager and I’m cynical because ugh, angst” but Why even try to be a positive force in another person’s life?

The girl who smiles at strangers in the street because they might be having a bad day almost gave up on wanting to make a difference in the world.

To be honest, that scares the hell out of me. So I made a promise to myself.

I refuse to let anyone make me feel so powerless that they put cracks in the foundations of who I am. No one deserves that kind of power over another person.

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What You Should Know About Dating Writers

*I have been seeing so many pieces circulate the web on how to date a girl who writes, how to love a girl who reads, etc. This was my reaction to them.  There is a reason it’s written in the first person and not as a sweeping generalization. The beauty of us who cherish words is that we each approach our love and passions differently. So yes, find a girl who reads and writes, but then take the time to find out why. This is my take on what you should know about dating a writer.*

I am that girl who always has a book or a notebook in hand, even when I’m having a beer at a bar, because I never know when inspiration will strike. The thing is, while I’m overflowing with the desire to express myself, the words don’t come so easily.

Writing is how I process the world. It’s how I validate my life. It may be surprising for you to find that writing is how I figure out my own feelings. Because it’s how I can separate my own thoughts from the overwhelming impulse to put everyone else’s feelings before mine.

I’m a talker, for sure, but I’m a better listener. I listen. I process. I don’t blow smoke up your ass. Sometimes, you might get an email from me hours, or days after a conversation, because I can finally articulate my thoughts and feel that you should know them, even if you have already moved on. It’s my way of showing you that I listened – even if I couldn’t reply right away.

I read. I consume books. I lose myself constantly in literary worlds but to be honest? There is a good chance I won’t want to talk to you about it. Unless we’ve both read the same book. Then maybe I’ll want to spend some time discussing our favorite moments and if we’ve re-read the book over the years, how many different nuances we’ve noticed in the writing. Other than that? Reading is a personal experience to me. Don’t expect to spend hours and hours talking about literature. But then again, sometimes I’ll be so moved, I’ll want to share it with you. I’m all over the place like that.

I do need you to understand that it’s hard for me to get into the groove of writing, so when I do, don’t interrupt me. Walk by and give me a kiss on the forehead, but don’t try to talk to me. Don’t ask me how it’s going. More than likely, when I’m ready, I’ll ask you if I can read it out loud to you. Let me do that. Just listen. If you want to make suggestions, wait until I’ve finished. Ask me if you can have a copy of it to read in your own time.

I want you to read my writing, because it’s the best way to understand me but it’s not the only way. It’s scratching the surface so don’t be afraid to talk to me. Don’t make the mistake of assuming you will know me inside and out just because you’ve read through my blogs. I will ask you random questions. I want you to ask me questions and I want you to challenge me. There is so much stirring under the surface and sometimes, it’s only through unrestrained exchanges that I can reach the “a-ha” moments of my own life.

Understand that I write about almost everything that happens in my life, in its own time, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect the sanctity of our privacy. Because it’s hard for me to express myself, sometimes you’ll get a text message from me with my thoughts. I don’t want to discuss it over text. I want you to know where my head is but I want you to look me in the eye when we talk about it. I have a hard time starting the conversation in person – I get tongue-tied. I ramble on. Let me ramble. Don’t interrupt, because it was nearly impossible for me begin talking in the first place.

When you come in to my home, you will see books and notebooks scattered everywhere. That part of the cliche is all too true for me. I will never give up my love for the ability to hold a book in my hand and turn its pages. I will never trade in my library card. Don’t even think about leaving me unsupervised in a book store, because you won’t see me for hours and my bank account will take a hit.

I’m a girl who reads and who writes, but I’m not a cliche. I’m just me – full of never-ending passion for the most random things in life. You won’t find me obsessing over sonnets or the classical literature. I just cherish words.

So talk to me. Be honest and open. Share your passions. Be prepared to be challenged and be willing to challenge me.

That’s all you really need to know about dating me. The rest? Well, we’ll figure that out together.

On Learning to Ask for Help

A: You hid those troubles well.
Me: That’s my superpower 
A: You wonderful mutant.

This brief exchange with a good friend struck me as funny – not because he called me a mutant (let’s face it, I am) but because at a time when I thought the entire world could see right through me and wanted to stay away from the emotional tornado that had engulfed me, I was hiding it well. Apparently. Though I said it tongue-in-cheek, that IS my superpower. I don’t ask for help. I’ve spent so much of my life helping others and suppressing my own needs and fears. Now that it’s time to ask for help, I don’t quite know how to.

The other morning, I struck up a conversation with a stranger at the gas station on my way to work. It started with him asking me how I liked the mileage on my car and then we proceeded to chat for a good 15 minutes, about everything from how he’s been using our tools for 30 years to my cross-country move. That word popped up again.

“Brave.”

I also happened to mention a couple of other things in passing, because I no longer think of them as major events and he just looked at me and said “Wow, you’ve been through a lot.”

I suppose.

No, I don’t suppose. I have. I know I have but at the time (and even now), I was just going through those things. I was in the middle of it and the only way I knew to get through it was to move forward. It wasn’t to talk about it incessantly. I didn’t do it by making everyone in my life of every little thing that was happening because they weren’t their battles to fight. What I tend to forget, however, is that I can’t fight every battle alone. The reason we connect with people and bring them into our inner circle is to not feel so alone in the world. Because life moves so fast and some mornings, we can barely get out of bed, let alone fight all the battles quietly and still smile on the outside.

Nor should we have to.

A few years ago, when I lost my job, I did what I always do. I internalized and shut down until I was ready to process it. I had one of my good friends get upset with me because she felt like I was pushing her away but not sharing. At the time (and for years after that) I felt like her reaction was unfair. I wasn’t ready to share my burden and I was sparing her so she could deal with her own life, and she was getting mad at me, on top of everything I was battling?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this and while my friend’s reaction may have been a little harsh, it wasn’t unfair. In the last 4 years since then, I’ll still have conversations with close friends where I will mention an event in passing and they will put their hand on my arm and go “Wait, what? When did that happen?

While I was operating under the assumption, and let’s be honest, the fear, that people in my life would stop caring the second I actually asked for help, they were moving on with their lives under the assumption that I was happy and just busy, as we all are. At the time, they assumed that I was happily planning my wedding, when in fact, my relationship was falling apart. This past winter, most of the people in my life assumed that I was busy adjusting to my new home, when in fact, my entire life had fallen apart and I didn’t know how to dig myself out from under the rubble.

Because I don’t ask for help when I need it and wait until the last desperate minute at times, it’s fair of people in my life to feel upset. Because I throw 5 months of anguish at them all at once, without explanation or a smooth transition, really.

So all this to say that I am learning to ask for help. It’s not like I’ve been pooping rainbows with every post on social media, because let’s face it, I bitch quite a bit. Because honestly, I don’t trust people who can’t be honest with themselves or the people around them. It’s too hard to keep up the facade of fake happiness. There is a difference between being able to appreciate the good things in life, even when it’s momentarily falling apart, and creating an illusion of a perfect life while wearing your judgey pants, which are popular among people who are afraid to live an authentic life.

Raw honesty isn’t for everyone, but man, we all need a little more of it these days.

I also have some fences to mend because the relationships in my life are important to me. I just have to remember to breathe, check in once in a while just to say ‘Hey’ and remember that it’s acceptable for me to have bad days.

So, hey.

Today was a bad day for me but I got through it.

How about you?

I’m Weird Like That: Party of One

Oh hai! Before you read my post, could you please go to Mission: Small Business and vote for PQ Productions? I have 2 days to get 250 votes to qualify to move to the next round for a small business grant that could make the past 6 years OH SO WORTH IT.

Thank you in advance and also, much love.

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So I’m kind of weird. I mean, duh. I’m also kind of a loner in the weirdest circumstances. As much as I love getting together with my friends and painting the town red (or, let’s be honest, having a slumber party with wine), I also love grabbing a drink on my own. I know that’s not so weird but I think I take it to a weird level.

Read more I’m Weird Like That: Party of One

Capitol Hill Photo Shoot

When a photographer friend asks me if I’d be willing to be a guinea pig for them, the answer will almost always be “Yes.”

So when my girl Rebecca asked me if I’d like some headshots because she wants to create a “Social Media Rockstar” package to offer her customers, I was READY. I needed some new pictures anyway and I suggested that we go to Capitol South for the actual shoot. It was a lovely Saturday and a fellow SMC-DC member, Clement also joined us.

I had a blast shooting with Rebecca, who’s one of my closest friends, and a blast to work with as my photographer.  We giggled a lot, I made ridiculous faces and at the end of the day, I have 5 fabulous pictures to add to my portfolio.  Rebecca is so awesome, she gave me a B&W version for EACH picture.

I know, bad-ass.

Here are three of my favorites and you can find the rest here.

Need new headshots? Have an event coming up? Just want some awesome new pictures?  Be sure to check out Ampersander Studios and tell Rebecca I sent you her way!

Photo shoot 1 B&W

Photo shoot 2

Photo shoot 3

Thanks again Rebecca for my awesome pictures! Can’t wait for 2013 😉

A little humor to boot, one of my friends decided to get a little creative with one of my pictures…

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here…

All the Things

Because I can’t think of a better title for this post. Considering how much has happened since the last time I posted (Uh, when WAS that exactly?) and so much continues to happen NON-STOP, ALL THE THINGS.

Places I’ve visited:

– Chicago for a wedding (Andrew’s cousin, who was adorable. Oh, and I happened to spend an entire weekend with all of Andrew’s family. What? We survived. It was amazeballs.)

– LA/San Diego for BlogHer. It was my first time in California and I loved it! Flew into LA to see Jenn, and we had the most epic road trip to San Diego, followed by a fun weekend at BlogHer, full of meeting new friends and lots of swag. I also got to see.meet Trista, a woman I’ve adored for nearly 7 years now, and it was awesome.

– Philly to see JOURNEY IN CONCERT with Katie and Kate. ‘Nuf said.

Things, and life, and stuff

Things have been pretty amazing this summer. A COMPLETE turn-around from last summer. (Seriously amazing) It was kind of crazy beginning a full-time freelance career during the SUMMER OF TRAVEL but I’ve made it work. Everything has calmed down to the point where I’m caught up with work and I’m no longer at my computer 12-13 hours a day. But I’m still checking email,  etc, right as I wake up.

Oh, we have a new bundle of joy.

Yup, I’m officially a cat lady now. Internets, meet Layla, the crazy kitty that’s made my life even better. Once I decided that I would be at home all day for work, I needed a furbaby. I fell in love with her at first sight. She is just too precious for words.

Wedding planning is still going on. I may have had a tiny panic attack earlier tonight when Andrew & I started talking about making the guest list since we’ll be sending out Save the Dates in a couple of months. My maid of honor and my amazing bridesmaids are keeping me sane during the planning. We do have a date, and a couple of locations in mind. The theme is set, the dress has been found and we’re halfway there. I foresee a panic attack every 3 months between now & then though.

There is a lot happening with the projects I’m working on, and hopefully, now that work is stable, I will have more time to write over at PQ Productions (Expect a post or two this week).

I’ve added more pictures to Etsy, and made one of my favorite prints available as a canvas. Check it out!

I’m on StumbleUpon now so if you’re on there, follow me! I share more stuff on there than Twitter lately.

I’m also part of this incredible project called Uno Kudo with super creative and talented people so you should like the FB page because it’s going to be a big deal, I promise.

And I leave you with this.

How have YOU been?

Return of the VEDA, BlogHer & Ramadan

Yup, it’s August, which means VEDA is back!

Here’s my first video. If you want to see the rest of the videos for this month, please subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Also, life update is coming soon, I promise. But I’m leaving for BlogHer on Wednesday, which means that I have to fit 5 days of work into 2 days WHICH MEANS I’m going to not sleep at all.

Oh and it’s Ramadan.

Yay AUGUST!

I DO WHAT I WANT

It’s the middle of June.

Doesn’t that blow your mind?

2011 is half gone.

Just like that.

This summer, compared to last summer, is going swimmingly. I am no longer dreading waking up in the morning to go to work. I’m not hiding things from my family, and I’m so much better at managing my money.

I DO WHAT I WANT.

Kind of.

So while things are going a LOT better, I’ve still been…off lately. That was the only way I could describe it to my friends whenever someone asked what was wrong.

OFF.

Then Andrew sat me down the other night and asked me to talk through things.  Then he hit the nail on the head.

I am in constant transition.

Which is exhausting so when I have the time & energy to write a blog, it’s usually a ‘breakthrough’ blog, with feelings & the schmoop and the WHINING (sometimes.)

Which, ya know, awesome. Because today at work, one of the interns I hadn’t met before told me that she read my QLC blog post over at Life with Pho and said that the entire intern room read it because it was inspiring. Later, a friend of mine called me inspiring because I was telling her that she needs to show her passion & go after what she wants.

Me? Inspiring? Well, it was a full moon today after all.

The point is this: When I’m on point, I can be pretty funny.

And I cuss, a lot. (Sorry Dad.) I’ve cut back cussing on my blog but that does not mean that it’s 100% PG.

Shit, that’ll never happen. (See what I did there?)

I am now in transition to bring that part of my personality back to my voice, to this blog, to my daily life outside of my small circle. Because one of the biggest things I’m proud of is that, when people meet me for the first time, they say I’m exactly the same as I am on my blog/twitter/ALLOVERTHEINTERNETS.

I’m sarcastic. I’m, at times, bitchy. I am GOOFY. I am all over the place & I’m hella opinionated.

Oh & I cuss like a sailor.

Also, things like this make me snort.

So, while I will continue to share my frustrations, breakthroughs & everything in between (Which may or may not inspire some people), I think it’s about time I start representing my spazzy goofball badge again.

So I hope you’ll stick around through all the sunshine & butterflies, and, ya know, all the fun stuff.

 

 

When the cable’s out…

Last night, I came home to find that our cable was out. (We’re lucky though because we’ve had our power while other parts of NE DC have been powerless over the last couple of days.)

Andrew was still at work, and I was not feeling well so I decided to just clean up a little while waiting for cable to come back. [It still wasn’t back this morning]

When Andrew got home, I was nearly ready to fall asleep but wanted to spend some quality time with him. I was too tired for any kind of strategy/board games so I picked up my copy of Bossypants.

I’m going to read to you now,” I said.

This is something I had done in the past with Jim Bruer’s book but life has been so chaotic lately that our quality time has consisted of falling asleep while watching TV.

So we changed for bed, and then sat on the couch while I read a few chapters of Bossypants out loud.

As strange as it sounds, it’s soothing.  He doesn’t have time to read, and it’s a good bonding exercise versus me telling him about the books I read.

Side note: When I was younger, I wanted to be a teacher, and a news anchor.  In middle school, I worked on our morning show. When I was at home sitting at my desk, doing homework, I would read out loud from my textbook as if I was reading to a classroom. Yes, I’m a strange little panda but we all have our dreams.