September 19, 2017

oh yes, morning is my favorite time of day

September 18, 2017

always stop for flowers

September 16, 2017

saturday pep talk

It doesn't matter that yesterday you didn't put on real clothes or leave the house at all. It doesn't matter that work was less than ideal the night before last. It doesn't matter that two people quit tonight. Let the bad stuff go. Today is your fresh start. Today is your Day One, if you need it to be. 

September 12, 2017

find the joy

Today is the first time that I have been in front of my own camera since 2014. All at once, the feelings of anticipation and nervous excitement from trying to get that perfect shot for my first 365 came rushing back. I texted my best friend after I got home and said, "I have missed taking pictures so much. I feel like I'm seventeen again, and I think I'm going to spend the rest of my life chasing after this feeling. (And the good light!)"

I spent a solid hour and a half in the woods taking pictures tonight. The familiar act of pulling my tripod out of its bag and fumbling for my remote came right back to me like three years haven't passed since I last got in front of the camera. Joy filled my heart as I swooned over the sun and danced in the clearing. Don't forget what this feels like again, I thought. Hold onto this joy and never stop.

Find your joy and then keep doing it forever. I think that's what life is really all about.

September 08, 2017

good things

I thrive on sunshine, dance parties, art therapy, coffee, and laughter. Happy Friday!

September 06, 2017

life lessons in setting boundaries

I have spent so much of my life living in the shadows of fear. A lot of my more transformative years have been spent pushing back against fear. Saying yes more. Going outside of my comfort zone, and still recognizing that being uncomfortable is one of the best feelings in the world. Pushing the boundaries of the worlds we build for ourselves in our heads is necessary to achieve our ultimate goals and our big dreams. Discomfort is necessary to find our purpose and make our path that we are trying to carve out for ourselves in this big scary world.

Boundaries are important. From infancy, we are always testing, testing, testing, seeing how far we can go. We go from being completely, 100% dependent on our parents to slowly earning our own small forms of independence. Then, all of a sudden, we are kicked out of the nest we have spent our most innocent years changing and growing in. The shock of early adulthood, being 18 and freshly moved into my college dorm 1,000 miles from the comfort and familiarity of home and anyone that really knew me is still fresh in my mind. The color I injected into my side of the room lifted my outward spirits, but inside I was floundering. The anxiety of young adulthood and I did not mesh well together.

What's going to happen when you encounter discomfort?

Will you stare blankly at it like a deer in headlights, frozen in the moment of Shit, what do I do? Will you run from it and pull the blanket over your eyes? Or will you put your game face on and run straight toward the thing that makes you uncomfortable?

All of the major traumas in my life can be encompassed by these three scenarios.

I was the deer in headlights, staring blankly at the nothingness in front of me. Sitting in a little pup tent, staring into the darkness, weighed down by the decision between right and wrong. I was fourteen and understood nothing. I ran out of that tent leaving shreds of my innocence behind. Those moments of indecision, of me sitting there inside my own head battling with myself over right and wrong, are ones that still haunt me eleven years later.

Pulling the blanket over my eyes is what I did when my dad told me he had cancer. I naively believed him when he told me everything would be fine. He was my dad... He wasn't supposed to lie to me to spare my feelings. At least not when it was literally life or death we were talking about. I chose to pull the blanket over my eyes and not question him, so I can't resent him now for his one last fatherly act of protection.

Running toward the things that make me uncomfortable started as exercise in telling my anxiety to fuck the hell off. At first, it was simple things like getting dressed in something other than pajamas and actually leaving the house. Making sure I drink more than just coffee all day. It turned into accepting invitations to hang out with my friends more. Saying yes to adventures instead of staying inside to wallow in my own self-pity. The healthy things. These were good for me.

The not so good for me decisions revolved around boys and sex and the irresistible pull of power and control. In all my life, before Justin, no one had ever taught me the importance of sex in a relationship. Sex as a means of growing closer and as a means of true intimacy with your partner. No one had ever taught me the gravity of love and connection and chemistry in relation to a healthy sex life. All of my basic information was covered in Mr. Block's 8th grade sex ed class, accompanied by the ever popular "Scrotum Song" that I still remember the words to. But I never learned how to connect the physical and the emotional aspects into something that is supposed to be beautiful.

Boundaries in relationships are the most important things to set. I entered simultaneously into a relationship that had boundaries completely defined by the other person, and into one where those boundaries of friendship crossed muddy waters into the "Will we or won't we?" battle when it came to an actual relationship. Both scenarios, running straight into my discomfort, eventually led me back to the deer in headlights. But this time I was asking different questions. This time, it was "What the hell is wrong with me?" instead of "What do I do?" The strict set of rules to follow on one spectrum, and the on again off again nature of trying to make a 5 year friendship into something more was too much for me to handle.

Learning how to set boundaries is hard. Looking back on your past mistakes and saying, "Okay, now I'm drawing a line there so that doesn't happen again," is one of the most liberating things I've ever done. It's letting go and wrapping yourself with grace all at once. There are always bumps in the learning process. What you let go of sometimes comes back to you—even if you don't want it anymore. Those instances are especially where you need to either set boundaries or remove yourself from the situation entirely. Honing in on those judgement calls is a lesson that I'm learning never really gets any simpler. But slowly, slowly, drawing a line in the sand and learning not to cross it becomes easier and easier.

September 05, 2017

currently, september edition

listening to my discover weekly playlist on Spotify

mixing florals and stripes like a champ

finding bliss in drinking coffee under the neighbor's apple tree

watching (probably) the last new episode of deadliest catch for the year :(

working on a book of sudoku puzzles when I'm bored

finishing up projects! knit blanket palooza is coming once my tripod gets here. ;)

dreaming up plans for handmade Christmas presents this year

forcing a no shopping order for the rest of the month

planning a "weekend" (in the middle of the week) away with Justin for his birthday/before his teeth surgery getaway

researching new camera options to put on my Christmas list

speaking out about boundaries and people who can't respect them

looking for the good in the shitty situations

dancing it out to combat the negativity

loving the freedom and change and inspiration that's in the air lately

September 04, 2017

fall is on its way

Fall is... hot coffee, scarves, actually wanting to wear pants again, knitting, breaking out the extra blanket for the bed, hot chocolate on Sunday nights, pumpkin spice everything, red and yellow and orange leaves, drinking hot tea at night, football games, bonfires, "voot voot," s'mores with burnt marshmallows, Grandma's homemade chicken noodle soup, breaking out the ugly sweaters, all my TV shows come back, wearing lipstick all the time, back to school, new notebooks, trying to be more organized than last year, cardigans, freshly sharpened pencils, grilled sweet corn, BBQ chicken on the grill, blisters from new shoes, corn mazes, hay rides, apple picking, pumpkin patching, roasting pumpkin seeds, Halloween costumes, wearing boots again, crunching through leaves on the sidewalk, going for long drives to look at the trees, feeling lonely yet inspired, new craft projects, when Justin and I met for the first time, homemade Chex Mix, grandma making pie crust, quarts of pumpkin custard stock piled in the freezer, caramel apple sundaes from Adrian's, dark lipstick, winged eyeliner, doing my nails again, new hair cuts, the best golden hours, soft acoustic melodies, meditation podcasts, working through the hard things, change and reconciliation all in one.

September 03, 2017

11 years in the blink of an eye

September 3, 2017. 11 years ago, I could hardly imagine I would be here: 25 and thriving. My mantra for this day the past few years has been, "You are not defined by the bad things that happen to you." One of the many thing my therapist when I was a teenager drilled into my brain, over and over again. 

"This was not your fault. Yes, it happened. Yes, it hurts like hell but you need to talk about it. This. Was. Not. Your. Fault." 

Some days I want to sit down and write a letter to Cassie, my therapist when I was seventeen. She taught me how to tame the PTSD and the anxiety and the depression that run rampant in my head. I want to tell her about the apology I was so convinced I was never going to get. I want to tell her about everything coming full circle. 

To celebrate and not give myself over to my own darkness today, I broke out the red lipstick. I wore it to the grocery store, for selfies in the driveway after, and work it all night at work. My coworkers were surprised at the pop of color, but it did its job. I was motivated by 30 second dance parties and the power of confidence. 

Do something nice for yourself on your bad days. It is the best way to celebrate the passing of time and the process of healing. 

September 02, 2017

take it easy

Saturday morning... coffee in front of the TV with Justin & the cats. catch up on email and blogs and Instagram. shower to bon iver and iron & wine. i am knitting up a storm before work. started my last skein of yarn last night. determined to finish this blanket this weekend. xo