Friday, June 8, 2018

Alive and Well

Hi friends! This is just a note that I'm alive and well. I promise to post an update soon. I've been very busy writing for Round Table Companies, MOGUL and doing freelance projects.

Until next time...

Monday, February 19, 2018

Boom Chakra Chakra

I know I've been venting a bit on this blog about feeling off balance and feeling like I can't juggle all of my goals while surviving and being a decent human being. Well, this time, I'm not here to vent. I'm here to tell you I'm doing something about all of that. 

Also, I owe you guys a Super Bowl and Super Bowl Parade post. I think I'll do that later in the week for a February wrap up or something. 


Anyway, I decided to explore some ways to instill balance in my life. One of those things was the purchase of essential oils. I only have a six pack and they're blended for very specific things: stress, head relief, muscle relief, sleep, breathing, health. But I also bought mini inhalers, like these lipstick tube-like things that let you put some oils on a cotton wick to smell throughout the day. AND I bought an essential oil diffuser. I know a lot of people who swear by these oils and believe me, I though it sounded stupid. Oh, right...smelling random crap can make you feel better? 

Yes it can. The sleep one? Yeah, that thing knocks me out and I have the most restful sleep. I had a massive wine hangover on Saturday. I plugged it in and diffused my "head relief" oil and took a nap. I felt so much better. 

I am also trying to learn more about the chakras. You know, those seven energy centers within the body? I think if I learn more about them I might be able to figure out how to hack meditation. I can't meditate. If I sit still with myself I start worrying about all the things I should be doing instead of sitting still. So maybe focusing on certain energy centers might help me.

But that's not all. I'm so excited to announce that I have booked a trip to Arizona and Utah for April! Lately I've been feeling called to the red rocks of Arizona. I just have a strong desire to go out there and hike and be warm and breathe in the clean air. Something is out there that I need, I just don't know what it is. So I'm going on a solo trip to Scottsdale, Sedona, Kanab, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and Flagstaff. I haven't been on a "Mary Anna vacation" in years. Typically when I have time off I go to Virginia for the holiday or break or go camping with my parents. 

I'm also excited that I get to go alone. I'm going to do a lot of hiking. There is a remote Yurt stay at some point as well. I just need to clear my head. In addition to all of this, I'm exploring purpose and passion books/webinars and various things. I have a pretty good idea what I want to do with the rest of my life, I just don't have a tangible way to turn my life into just that. 

Until next time...

Monday, February 12, 2018

Making the Most of It

It being....life. 

We're almost halfway through February 2018. Where does the time go? What do we spend our time doing? 

This morning, like nearly every Monday morning, I was greeted with social media posts of memes and cartoons. Each of these entertaining tidbits had a common theme: Mondays suck...don't want to go back to work. 

They're cute, bite-sized and damn well relatable. "Case of the Mondays?" Who does't have that? If we're lucky we get two precious days to ourselves. We spend those two precious days doing all of the things we don't have time to do on the days we spend at work. Those tasks include but are not limited to: laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, errands, housework, organizing, more work and if you have a family...well...doing things for your partner/kids..etc. 

We go to bed on Sunday and wake up Monday morning. Another week. 

I really struggle with that feeling of dreading Mondays. I struggle with the paralyzing anxiety that comes Sunday night, wondering if I got everything done, hoping I did everything I could to prepare for the week ahead. While I chuckle and raise my coffee above my head to toast the Monday Sucks Meme Posters, I also feel a bit of sadness. Why do we have to hate Mondays? Why do we have to dread work? Why do we have to roll our eyes at the endless torrent of meetings and e-mails? Why do we need to zone out with Netflix or grab a drink at the bar to ease the stress and tensions caused by things that don't really matter?

I know, I'm offering a plethora of questions with little to no answers. It is just, I spent my entire weekend working to feel okay about the week. I was searching for balance. I was searching for a sense of control over my life. I fell off the exercise train, no surprise there. I've been celebrating the Eagles Super Bowl win hard (post on that to come later). (Somehow did NOT gain weight despite the amount of beer/wings I consumed). But I put all this effort into preparation and now we're here. It is Monday. I want to be back home, with my dog, listening to music or writing or daydreaming while watching the wind blow the trees outside my window. 

You don't have to live a life where you dread Mondays. No job is perfect, but people need to really work hard to develop a plan that allows them to be financially stable AND happy. I'm not saying every single day is sunshine and rainbows, but dammit...create a life you can't wait to wake up to each morning.

That is what I'm trying to do. It is hard. There are so many detours. But that is the life I want. The kind of life where when you see the Monday Sucks memes you just shake your head and say, "Not my Monday. My Monday is awesome."


Until next time...

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Juggling Life

This GIF usually comes as a meme, where someone says, "Me trying to pay my bills, eat healthy, exercise, maintain a social life, text people back, excel and my career, be happy and stay sane." 

That's some real shit right there.

I come to you all, not from a place of exasperation or frustration. I'm not defeated, nor do I feel any sort of negativity in my bones. What I do feel is exhaustion and the realization that trying to do all of these things I listed above at the same time is really really hard. 

So far in 2018, I've been pretty faithful with my water drinking. I've managed to sip at least 64 oz. of water almost every day. Some days it is a bit less, but I'm definitely drinking far more water than I ever have before. I've also established a very concrete skincare routine. At night I'm using charcoal cleanser, toner and eye cream. In the morning I use the toner. I'm brushing my teeth with charcoal teeth whitening powder twice a week. I finally bought a new brush and am trying to do more stuff with my hair or at least brush it often.

These little achievements may sound like common sense or basic hygiene, but I'm telling you, these are things I really haven't invested much time and effort in before. I barely drank water. I would just shower and not do anything special with my face. I'd brush my teeth twice a day and that was that. Also, if I was really stressed, my hair would thank me by forming thick and unwelcome dreadlocks. 

The other goals are slowly progressing as well. I've been faithful to the SELF Magazine New Years Challenge. I've had to switch around some rest days and double up workouts based on my schedule, but I have faithfully stuck to the program and have not skipped any exercises. I've also been successfully going to kickboxing at least twice a week. I'm watching what I eat, being mindful of what I put into my mouth, knowing it will go into my body. But I haven't been depriving myself of things like an occasional doughnut, cookie or pizza. 

I was supposed to write every single day but I'm slipping on that goal. Probably because the results aren't that visual. It is more of a mental thing. I have a notebook by my bed, where I'm supposed to jot down a few thoughts before going to sleep. What I started doing was rushing through one to two sentences and then turning the lights out, ready to pass out for the night. I also wanted to read one book per month, but I've found I don't have a lot of time for reading with all these other goals going on. 

I've managed to keep my apartment relatively clean and my refreshed kitchen space remains immaculate. I'm using my Food Saver to keep fresh veggies throughout the week which means I eat more veggies. All good things. 

While I feel like I have a decent balance between work and life...I know there are some elements are are lacking. My social life has been dismal because of weather, priorities and lack of energy. The other night I was going to go to a bar to do my work for my other job, but once I showered, I couldn't justify putting real pants on and makeup to go out into the world. I did go to a concert this weekend with my best friend and celebrated the Eagles win and journey to the Super Bowl, but that was as social as I've been since the year started. 

Part of me is worried that if I focus to much on one thing, say...exercise and eating right...I'll lose sight of the other things that need my attention like my Story Slam schedule or writing my book. I still haven't mastered waking up early to maximize my waking hours. 

All of this is just to say, being the perfect human is impossible and striving to be your best self is really hard work. Sometimes you just need to spend your entire Saturday sleeping and listening to relaxing music. Every minute of every day does not need to be planned. Progress comes with your heart is into it. 

Until next time...

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Art of Storytelling

One moment I'm gently eyeing my peers success, reminding myself of my own mediocrity. The next moment, I'm on stage in front of a packed theater doing what I love best: being the center of attention. I mean...telling stories. 

Last night I competed in my second First Person Arts Story Slam. The theme, "Once More With Feeling" inspired me to tell the audience about a time I tried Pound Fitness, failed miserably and went back the next week to prove myself and try again. It was peppered with funny lines and moments and only went about 20 seconds over the 5 minute cut off mark. Judging was fierce and I received consistent 8's on Performance and an 8, 7 and 6 on content. 

I'll be honest, the 6 stung a bit. Granted, the judges were really strict and people were getting dealt average and below average scores all night for various things. What it did, though, was remind me that storytelling is an art. It doesn't matter how many times you make someone laugh...if you're at a storm slam...you need to tell a story. Which I did. But I analyzed my story and realized it lacked a story arc. It had a strong beginning and engaging middle but fell flat at the end. There was no suspense. So I'm going to take that lesson to heart the next time I perform in one of these things. 

Self-critic aside, I had a blast. I really enjoy listening to the other storytellers and being a part of the First Person Arts scene. It feels so good to be a part of something. It also feels good to do something I'm so passionate about. I was so wired last night I couldn't really sleep. I also had the absolute best Uber ride on my way home. My driver, Jean was playing Puff Daddy's "I'll Be Missing You," which I happen to know ALL of the words to. I treated him to some white girl rapping and he was laughing so hard. He loved it. I was the best customer of the night. I bet my rating jumps from a 4.90 to a 4.91. (I take pride in my Uber passenger rating).

What's next? Well..working on that damn book of mine...taking my new found storytelling lessons to the Podcast because that REALLY needs some work AND quite possibly, throwing my hat in the stand up comedy ring. I found a show/contest thingy at the end of the month and I'm considering trying to put a bid in for a 4 minute set. We'll see what happens. Telling stories. Making people laugh. Being 100% me. These are a few of my favorite things. 

And yes...also being the center of attention for five minutes. That too.

Until next time...

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Inspiration Around You

Thou shall not covet your neighbor's success. That should be one of the Ten Commandments. Seriously. I'm on Week #3 of my water drinking, mindful writing, exercise often adventure. So far so good. I'm making tiny little successes each day. The scale isn't moving too much but my skin is clearing up and I swear my pants are getting baggier. I'm still absolutely in love with my part-time job as a writer and writing coach. My clients are incredible people and I feel honored to be helping them on their book writing journeys. I'm staying as focused as I can.

In the corner of my eye I see what others are doing. This past weekend was a majorly successful weekend for people from the Eastern Shore of Virginia. One person married the love of his life in a celebration people will be talking about from years to come. Another person won a major award for her children's book on women in black history. She was on the Tonight Show last night with Trevor Noah. Both of these two had dreams in high school and both of them are fulfilling those dreams.

I'm proud to know them. I'm incredibly happy for them. I'm also painfully aware of my own mediocrity. I have big plans and big dreams too, but I'm not as close as I'd like to be in terms of fulfilling them. My book? Still working on it. I have until August to submit it to the agents who expressed interest. I'm working on building my platform on social and boosting the listeners of my podcast. However, those two have shown me that I can grab life by the balls and get what I want: a fulfilling career telling stories and making people laugh AND true love. 

So I'm not jealous but I am aware that these things I hope for are possible. It is just going to take a lot of sacrifice and a lot of work. I'm heading in the right direction, just taking a very slow and cautious train to get there. 


In other news, I'm trying to compete in another First Person Arts Story Slam tonight. I almost backed out because I didn't think my story was that good, but in the last minute...decided to sharpen it and bought tickets for me and my best friend. Today is also the 8th anniversary of my Mom Mom's death. Maybe she'll be with me tonight as I share my story. I'm glad I decided to stick with it. I made a resolution to compete in as many story slams as I can. I'm using them as the baby steps to work my way up to open mic stand up. 

I've got big dreams and I'm gonna chase them. I've seen people beat me there. I applaud them and use their success as my inspiration. I'll get there too. In my own time.

Until next time...

Friday, January 12, 2018

Honor Your Reality

For my DIY MFA Book Club, Writing Prompt #2 is: Write about a time you had to honor your reality. So here we go.

My reality is a reality of significant student loan debt, substantial but manageable-ish credit card debt, a car payment, utilities, life insurance, car insurance, renter's insurance, and rent. This reality is the reality of almost all people. I know. I also won't make excuses. I'm lucky that I only have two mouths to feed...my own and my dog's. However, this reality means that there is one resource I need to make sure is ever flowing and reliable: cold hard cash. 

We need money to survive and I (like many people) really need my health insurance. I have an array of health problems that require daily medications (including asthma so I need inhalers to you know, breathe). Because of these needs, money and medical, I have to work a job that pays a living wage. Guess what? Being a writer is not that job. 

As a full-time marketer finding great joy and fulfillment in my freelance side hustles, I also have to expand my capacity for time management. That means, mornings and evenings are fair game and free space to complete side hustle work. That's a lot of work. I don't mind the hard work, but I can't magically cram more hours into the day. I'm willing to make sacrifices to write more, believe me I am. However, I need at least a few hours of sleep to function properly, right? Can I give up sleep too? 

So my writing reality is living a sustainable life to pay to live while trying to eek out time to do what I love...writing. If I could just get that book proposal done and build my platform empire I might be able to transfer to the life of a writer full-time. Until then!

Until next time...

Alive and Well

Hi friends! This is just a note that I'm alive and well. I promise to post an update soon. I've been very busy writing for Round Tab...