I tried to take a nice picture of all three of us as we got in the car Friday. What I got was a yawn from Jax and a sloppy French kiss from Delilah seconds before the shutter snapped. The result is this capture of imperfect hilarity.
Me: frizzy hair, crooked teeth, in freckle city. Pajamas under my ski clothes. Feeling well rested for the first time in weeks.
Delilah: too excited to be still after I've said the magic phrase "do you want to go on an adventure?"
Jax: lazily settling in to the front seat of my car after I picked him up on a whim.
My finger hovered over the delete button, critical of the blurred motion and my squinty eyes. Then I saw how genuinely happy I look. In this disheveled shot you can hear me laugh. So I think I'll keep it as a reminder to cherish the random moments of joy and to further embrace my imperfections.
*And by "throw out" I mean give away, donate, upcycle, recycle, or sell.
Do you use it? Do you love it?
I am the proud owner of a stained glass chicken lamp that I bought at a yard sale and that beautiful mother clucker makes me so damn happy when I look at it. I use it AND love it.
I have 12 fleece sweaters and only 3 of them fit me the way I want. The other 9 are going in a bag to be donated because I'm not going to choose to wear them when I have others that I prefer. I don't use them nor do I love them. I don't need to keep them.
One thing I've observed that keeps people from getting rid of stuff they don't need is the scarcity mindset. Sure, I don't need this beat up extra blender but WHAT IF my blender dies and I need a new one? Surely, to have one on hand is better than having to go buy a brand new one? Yes and no. I mean, if you USED IT it wouldn't be in the corner of the basement and if you LOVED your old blender you wouldn't have a new one. Should the apocalypse strike and you have the last two blenders on the planet, than yes it would be good to keep it. It could fetch hundreds of caps. In reality, you could give this one away and should a catastrophic smoothie accident render your new blender D.E.D. you could go to the store and replace it with a newer, better model for a reasonable price and not have to lug the old one around through three moves and 12 kitchen rearranges. (I actually have not one, not two, but THREE old blenders in various stages of usefulness and repair. Wtf?)
Sentimental stuff ... you can't just go out and replace it like a blender. Those things are a lot harder to part with. When my mom died I was left with an entire house full of her stuff. Suddenly every little piece of junk became sentimental and it took me YEARS to get rid of it. I felt like I was giving her away. Then one day I realized "I don't want to keep this forever." That started the v.e.r.y. slow process of decluttering. In that time I learned a lot about donating items to non-profits, how to give things away for free on Craigslist, and how to be patient with my own process of letting go. Was it easy? No, not at first. But the relief I started to feel when I was no longer being suffocated by all that stuff made me keep going. I realized that I was giving away stuff, just stuff. I wasn't losing pieces of my mom by giving away her woven basket collection.
A quick note about burning shit. If you have sentimental stuff that you don't want to keep but cannot imagine throwing away or giving to someone else, burn it. Have a ceremony and burn it. (I'm not talking a towering tire fire, here. Be mindful of the environment.)
Here's the beauty of minimizing: when you have less stuff, you want less stuff. You start to understand quality over quantity, need vs. desire. It saves you time. You don't have to search through things to find what you're looking for. It saves you money. You don't buy random stuff that you aren't going to use or that you don't really love.
I have gone through MANY cycles of downsizing, of minimizing. It seems to flow with the seasons. Friends give me gifts. I find random things at the thrift store that I fall in love with for a moment. I grow out of things and the time comes to pass them on.
I never regret giving my stuff to someone else who can use it or love it more than I do.
If you make $10/hour in this tourist driven town you are lucky.
When I'm in a store and I'm considering a purchase whether it's a for a new shirt, a set of bookends, or a package of gourmet cacao and coconut flake granola bites I ask myself this question:
"Would I work x amount of hours for this right now?"
For the sake of simplicity let's say that all of those items each cost $20. Would I work two hours of my life right now for this shirt? For these bookends? For this ridiculously overpriced snack? If I am entering the store without a specific goal, the answer to this question is almost always "no." However, if I'm looking for a new shirt and I've found one that I adore, that's made the way I think is best, from a company that emulates my personal values than fuck yeah I'd work two hours for this shirt. I'll probably wear it all the time until it's life is over and it turns into rags and then eventually gets fed to the compost worms.
I don't remember where I learned this method from but I do remember the shift in how I perceived the value of a thing. It wasn't just a $20 item, it was TWO HOURS of my life. I worked hard to earn that $20, do I want to spend it on this bedazzled dog statue made in China? No. I don't.
How about two hours for...
Going out to eat with friends?
Committing to a membership to improve my health or happiness?
Buying concert tickets and dancing my face off for a night?
Personally, I am more likely to find value in an experience than a thing. An adventure or activity that brings me joy means more to me than a Thing. Not everyone feels that way.
You have to determine what you're time is worth and what is worth your time. Then ask yourself the question:
"Would I work for this right now?"
Holy shit do I feel so much better after this glorious day of whatever-I-wanted.
Started with a 7:30 trip to the box to sweat myself awake. Came home to make a dope omelet breakfast. Cleaned some stuff. Stole my friend's dog and went on a chilly pup filled adventure. Made falafel for lunch. DID A LOT OF NOTHING. IT WAS GREAT. Brushed Delilah's winter dreadies back to fluff. Did some yin yoga to remedy my post-vacation week tightness. Drenched myself in coconut oil. Drank mad tea, yo. Went to bed early only to realize I hadn't written a Thing and groaned and got out of bed. Now I'm here rallying (and getting distracted by videos on Facebook).
I almost didn't know what to do with myself and all this TIME. Honestly, spent a lot of it laying on the living room floor next to my dog playing tug of war. She won.
THE POINT IS that I actually feel rested and WANT to go to work tomorrow. My job is probably one of the coolest ones in existence and I forget how much I love and appreciate it when I am overtired and grumpy af.
By the way, you can buy those little Yoga Joes. They exist IRL. You're welcome.*
*I have no idea how to create a hyperlink on this iPad editor so here's the link in case you want to by them for yourself. Or for me. They also have a motherfuckin' burrito bro-ga mat bag. WHAT. #goals
Today I went around with a unicorn helmet cover on and it brought so much joy to people that I didn't for one second care about how absolutely fucking stupid I looked.
Here are some truths:
I have experienced social anxiety and debilitating shyness for most of my life.
I've haven't struggled this much with depression in over 6 years.
I've never weighed more than I do right now. (My mom had anorexia so a lot of value was put on the number and not on the healthy body as a whole.)
Here are more truths:
I have never been less afraid to speak up in a crowd, to lead a group, or to make new connections.
I have never been less embarrassed to cry.
I have never felt as physically strong as I do now.
I have never been less worried about people thinking I'm weird or crazy.
I have never been this self confident before. I have learned to accept myself. I can appreciate the why behind my reactions, the feelings behind my thoughts, and the love behind my tears.
Like all things, it's a process. I'm working on it. I'm getting to know this version me.
I didn't feel like writing so I made this friendly reminder that I don't need to offer an explanation for the way I think/feel/interact/avoid, and neither do you:
My morning was magically relaxing. Woke up without an alarm. Went to breakfast. Stole my friend's dog so he could play with my dog. Sat and did NOTHING, glorious, sweet nothing.
My afternoon ... not so much. I found myself muttering "are you fucking kidding me?" repeatedly and angrily throwing my rain soaked mittens at the floor.
In honor of my slow ascent out of this deep, dark hole I've fallen into I am going to list all the things I am grateful for today. I used to, upon waking in the morning, write down 5 things I am grateful for and its time to bring that back because holy shit do I feel bitter as fuck.
Warm, snuggly blankets
Delilah all day, every day
Breakfast foods (are the way to my heart)
Dog play dates
Hugs when I'm sad from people that understand why I'm crying
Everyone being safe and happy
Little kid giggles
A brand new bright yellow metal edged shovel (yes, really)
Short lines and smiling faces at the grocery store
Hugging my brother who I haven't seen in weeks
Breakfast leftovers yeeee
Ginger tea in a DFTBA mug
Spotify Discovery Weekly
My iPad and wireless keyboard that I use to write this nonsense
Daydreaming about an extended WWOOFING/music festival adventure
Rice filled hot packs
The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer (reread for the 3rd time)
Going to bed before 9pm
Gratefully ... goodnight xoxo
My cup is empty. I am at the bottom of my own to-do list. I forgot to put my own oxygen mask on before helping those around me.
Christmas is an emotional shit show when you're an orphan. Vacation Week will beat down even the most well-rested and cheery human. Love returning and leaving again just as quick as it came will turn a hopeless romantic into a wistful mess. The phrase "I am done" almost captures how I am feeling. See also: "Do me a favor? Please kill me with that icicle?"
After escaping work early and openly weeping over the steering wheel the whole way home, I left my phone downstairs, crawled into my bed at 2pm and didn't emerge from the darkness of my blanket cocoon for five hours. I slept for about two of those hours and willed my brain to shut off for the other three. When I did sleep I dreamt about chaos at work, trying to solve unsolvable problems, and locking my stupidfuckingkeys in my stupidfuckingcar.
It's going really well. Thanks for asking.
What tools do I have that I'm not utilizing? Oh, just ALL of them.
Goals and Affirmations
Eating GOOD food that is not leftover sugar-loaded holiday garbage
Tomorrow I've planned a day for myself that includes getting outside with my dog and very little else. I'm going to spend time in quiet reflection and going with the flow of what brings me joy.
Cause I'll likely commit murder if I don't find some peace.
And now, if you'll excuse me, I need to write an "I'm sorry for being a awful bitch" card for a friend that absolutely did not deserve to be the target of my over-tired, underfed, just plain mean personality today. That is not who I am and that is not who I want to be.
Step 1. Go to bed early on New Year's Eve
Step 2. Wake up extra early in a great mood feeling well rested and ready for the day
Step 3. Lock your keys and ski bag in the car just before you are supposed to leave for work
Step 4. Kick your car door as hard as you can nearly breaking your toes and swear loud enough to startle your elderly neighbor
Step 5. Cry in defeat
Step 6. Call your friend and sob incoherently into the phone
Step 7. Accept a ride to work from friend, receive $20 from her for breakfast because you've locked your wallet in the car also and all you want are some goddamnfuckingeggs
Step 8. Eat breakfast (it's delicious)
Step 9. Work all day on the verge of an exhaustion fueled breakdown wearing borrowed ski socks because those are ALSO in the car
Step 10. Accept a ride home from the friend that lent you the borrowed socks
Step 11. Arrive home to find that a magician has unlocked your car for you while you were at work
Step 12. Cry about that, too
Throughout this whole day I've swung between uncontrollable tears and hysterical laughter. I've had to accept help from my friends, something I really have never learned to do with total grace. I like to think that I can do everything on my own and apparently I needed a lesson in saying "Yes, please. Thank you." today.
2017 is off to a great start.
So, I am without booze on this fine New Year's Eve and that's probably best for all involved. I don't think Delilah could handle my sloppy serenading after her day trapped indoors. And I sure couldn't handle the hangover.
After a long week that is not quite over yet I am at home drinking all the water, eating leftovers, listening to jams, and snuggling my fluffy brown dogchild. In an alternate Universe, 26 year old Mikayla is in a club in NYC dancing her face off and kissing a stranger at midnight. In this Universe, she'll be dreaming by the time the ball drops.
This past year has been painful and slow but it went by too fast. Here I am, teetering on the edge wishing I could take some of that time back. The time I gave to people who weren't really good for me. Time spent working jobs I didn't enjoy. Time wasted complaining. Time, time, time. Gone. I look back and see the missteps, the misunderstandings, and the moments of anger and frustration that could have been avoided. This year was a particularly rough one for so many reasons, but it wasn't all for nothing.
I've discovered things about the deepest parts of myself that I never took the time to acknowledge before. I felt emotions that I'd silenced in trauma. I talked about my fears. I learned how to say no with conviction. I learned how to say "I love you" even when it's scary.
This year I embraced the shitty, bitchy, dark side of myself and showed her how to cry in front of people. Then I taught her how to let that shit go. It's an ongoing process, of course, but it's less of a struggle every day.
I learned how to forgive myself for being human.
My original plan for this evening was to do the Clear Visioning Exercise, rewrite all my goals, create affirmations based on my goals, make a vision board, and restructure my daily routine. Honestly, I don't want to do those things tonight. I'm tired. I've reached physical and emotional overload and I owe it to myself to do nothing.
Well, almost nothing. Before I climb the stairs to my warm bed I've decided to write 5 affirmations. They aren't based on any particular goal, but are things that I found lacking in this past year. These are what I want more of in my life, what I want to create for myself:
I express love openly and often.
I take care of my mind, my body, and my spirit.
I say "YES!" to new adventures and challenges, even when they scare me.
I say "no, thank you" to what no longer serves me.
I write every day and share it, no excuses.
Here's to 2017. May this new year guide us in loving our imperfect, authentic selves.