The power of word choice

I’ve been struggling. A lot. My body feels like it’s been breaking down. (Lots of muscles freaking out, stomach disturbances, sleep issues, etc.) My mental health plummeted. (The anger and true meanness I’ve been displaying has been ultra gross). And I can blame outside crap all I want but when I kind of reassess these past few weeks that led up to me having to take time off work to recoup and recover, ultimately, it’s on me.

So I need to fix it.

I know I need to fix my habits or daily rituals. But I lowkey hate both of those words. Habits feel like chores. It feels heavy, and boring, maybe because I associate it with a nuns outfit. And rituals feels like buying yoni eggs from Gwyneth Paltrow’s website to shove in my va-jay-jay to remove toxic vibes from my life. (They are real things, look em up if you want). And I’m sorta woo-woo, but not to that level. And I know it sounds silly but, my hatred of those words, makes it harder to be pumped about enforcing and sticking to the idea, you know?

So, with this quandary heavy on my brain, I go to my dictionary app, use the thesaurus part and I search “habit” and “ritual”. And I find it. The word that fits, that hits. Groove. That’s the mindset. So, I’m shifting my daily existence from my habits or my rituals (shudder) to my #grooveofgreatness. I love aliterations. And a groove feels fun and funky and like something I can be excited about.

My groove of greatness is gonna be different from yours. For sure. For me, it’s writing more, it’s reading and learning more, beauty/physical self-care/self-love stuff, it’s hydration and tea. It’s gonna be good. And I’m done with daily to do lists. I don’t want that kinda drudgery. From now on, I’m focusing on my daily Groove Gazette.

So. I encourage you to come up with your own #grooveofgreatness and to get up in your daily Groove Gazette. I also encourage you to see if there is like… some small change, like swapping out a word, that can shift your overall mindset towards a thing or situation. A workout becomes super hero training. A diet becomes a culinary adventure. I don’t know. A task is now a mission. Your shitty job as a third shift waitress is now your metier, which sounds way more boujee. Take a day. Find the leaks in your happiness boat and patch up em using a thesaurus. Words are important, and hold power, and I implore you to weild it like a flaming sword of fabulous living.

Dancing Like a Stripper…

We’ve all either heard someone say, or have said ourselves, “I’m gonna quit this job and become a stripper”

Y’all.

Years ago I was married (gasp!) and we bought a house, and then like a month after that purchase, my husband lost his job. So, I became a stripper.

He and I had gone to this club several times as customers, we were always treated well, always had a good time. The girls had joked around, asking when I was gonna come work there. So, when your former 2-income household becomes one, and your brand new mortgage is due… I needed work quick, without a stupid long time for training or waiting for background checks… I needed paychecks, now. (Some clubs might have training and background checks set up, mine definitely did not)

And you know what? It’s hard work.

I’m sure eventually you get use to it (I only worked there for a month), but that first week, your feet are on fire, your legs feel like you’ve been running a marathon, you can’t lift your arms over your head. Imagine attempting to go from couch slug to olympic athlete overnight. That’s pretty much what it’s like.

And that’s just the physical side.

I was very lucky. Most of my customers were amazing. I had a construction crew that came in once a week, on pay day. Half a dozen guys. As respectful as patrons at a strip club can be. One night as I was getting off work, my windshield was frozen over and one of the guys came out, in the cold and scraped it for me. So, please know I’m not saying it’s all bad.

But I had a coworker who had a guy who asked her to shit, in a cup, for 20 dollars. So you have that too.

Also, everyone thinks all strippers make bank. And I’m sure some do very well. I didn’t. I had another full time job at the time, working overnights in a call center, so between my availability and also being the new girl at the club, I was on day shift. Noon to 8pm. Not exactly prime time at a strip club.

You get the older men who don’t want to sit alone at home, they’d rather sit alone at the club. It gives the illusion of being social, even if they barely mumble a word, as they sip beer all day. You get the more awkward younger guys who are maybe too intimidating to roll up to the club on a busy Friday night. It is the island of misfit toys, y’all. And these pockets of people aren’t here for the champagne room (my club didn’t even have one), they aren’t here for a bachelor party, they aren’t making it rain. So, you are busting your ass, sometimes literally, for a few bucks. And I don’t think people really understand that.

The next time you’re like… wanting to grumble about how crappy your current job is, and you’re just gonna go “be a stripper” realize what you’re saying.

Dreams (not the song by Fleetwood Mac)

Now here I go again…

I never ever ever ever ever remember my dreams. Ever. Until this past week. I’ve not only remembered, but also upon waking, still physically felt, my dreams.

I haven’t changed my sleep hours or length or anything. I’m still, give or take, falling asleep around the same time. I’m occasionally getting up earlier so.. I haven’t prolonged sleep, or added any. If anything the past few days, specifically, I’ve been short on it. So, I don’t really know about like… R.E.M and sleep cycles and what stage you need to be in to dream, but I’ve somehow started going there again, all of a sudden.

And they are vivid. And not super strange, no flying or super powers but like… just weird enough to make me pause a few extra minutes when mulling then over when I wake up.

What has been kind of exceedingly odd though is like… real life dreams have returned too. Goals, focus, ideas have started coming in, like the tide, these past couple weeks. I commented somewhere on Facebook that, for the first time in a long ass time, I’m excited about life again.

I’ve tried to be more consistent with my writing. I actually, physically, hand write out one side of one piece of notebook paper a day. I lowkey love my sloppy handwriting and spelling mistakes. It adds an extra layer of messy authenticity, I think. I don’t use writing prompts, it’s just kind of an off the cuff brain dump. It’s like what I do here but even more jumbled and chaotic. But, I’ve been writing the dreams down there. And I’m having like… an Inception moment half the time. I’m having dreams that are telling me to chase and live and pursue my dreams. Which is not bad, but it is unsettling, for some reason.

And last night, I had a nightmare. My dream was chasing me. And that’s a weird twist. And the character chasing me was Chris Crocker (went viral years ago with his LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE video, but is hella funny and poignant nowadays too, find him on social media, you deserve his content in your life). A few hours before I went to bed, he’d posted a thing about sobriety, and authenticity and finding your purpose, and then, in my crazy dream world, he’s holding me hostage and running me down. So, not him, but the concepts my brain were still linking to him. My dreams tell me to follow my dreams and if I don’t I’ll be chased down by feelings of inauthenticity and purposelessness.

And maybe this is all mumbo jumbo. But like… I’m okay with that. It’s my mumbo jumbo. Maybe it means nothing and I’m reaching to ascribe meaning to it but like… couldn’t the same be said for like… almost everything in life?

When the rain washes you clean you’ll know.

The Girl with the Potato Necklace

I’m a very physical, visual person. I think that’s part of why I like tattoos (I’ve got 12 so far) and tarot cards (I’ve legit lost count of the number of decks I own). Having interesting images tell stories. Being able to touch something. I live in my head way too much sometimes and I need reminders I can see and put my hands on, that can pull me back into the really real physical world.

So I bought a potato. From a fantastic Etsy seller, in Lithuania. Like you do. 🙂

Clay Creations ForEver has a multitude of adorable items. But when I saw the fancy potato, I knew. I’ve never believed in love at first sight until this guy.

I don’t know the accuracy of this but, I’ve always heard that, when cooking, if you over-salt something (a soup or whatever) you can toss in a potato and it’ll absorb some of the extra saltiness. Again, my food knowledge mostly comes from watching Chopped, it’s not hands on, so please fact check this before yelling at me about a recipe not turning out right.

So, this lil guy is my real, physical, adorable, reminder to myself to not be so salty. Yes, I realize it is supremely silly, but like… that’s part of why it works. I’ve had more than one customer comment and/or question the potato and the dialog that follows is just great. I explain my reasoning, my little spud keeps me in line, in check, preventing me from becoming an overly salty bitch. And customers laugh and it does make things better.

A part of me wants to encourage you to buy a potato pendant, really. But another part of me wants you to find the weird thing that speaks to you. (I also have a tardigrade necklace and a giraffe necklace for different reminders, but the idea of wearing a mindset minder is the same). The sillier, the weirder, the more ridiculous, kind of the better. Wear it for you. And display it for the conversations and connections that it can forge. You never know when someone else needs the reminder as well.

Armageddon via Llama (or, finding contentment where you least expect it)

So, a movie exists called Llamageddon. Really. It’s real. It’s available for streaming on Prime right now. Yep. And it’s… something. I don’t even know if I recommend it. But…

I watched it the other night with my boyfriend. I love bad, B-horror movies. Killer Piñata, the one with the sofa, the zombie sheep movie… bring it on. Him, not so much. But, we ended up watching it. Shortly after it ended I was on Facebook (of course) looking at my memories and two years ago, on that day, a now former coworker of mine had posted on my timeline the trailer for Llamageddon.

I’m pretty sure 2 years ago you had to pay to watch it so I was like, “nah” and then in between the movie with the tire that kills people via telekinesis and “documentaries” about aliens, I lost track of Llamageddon. I have mostly been streaming cartoons, honestly. Shorter, mindless, content has been my pandemic default entertainment. But browsing on Prime brought Llamageddon squarely back into my thoughts and I latched on this time.

There is so much uncertainty right now. Am I, or a loved one, going to get sick? Will my workplace still even be open for business in a few weeks? What M. Night Shyamalan-esque plot twist(s) does this year still hold? It’s hard to tell if we’re coming or going, or where we are headed, at all. And with such profound unrest, I found a bizarre bubble of solace in my armageddon synchronicity. (The only fitting synchronicity for this year, truly)

730 days, 2 years, exactly, after someone told me about that movie, I just so happened to watch it. Not on any of the other 729 days. Not on day 731, when it wouldn’t have been in my online memories. No. On that day. I don’t always know where I fall in the predetermined fate vs. free will conversation but I do sometimes feel like there are signs, or coincidences, that hit just a little to correctly to be dismissed. Mine just so happened to be a low budget horror film.

I’ve been very on the fence with a lot of things recently. I’ve had so many forks in my road these past few weeks my life was looking like a cutlery drawer. And making any choice is hard. I get caught up in what-ifs, a lot. What if I had never met that person? What if I had taken that opportunity? And it’s so hard. We don’t get the cliche tv episode where we’re able to see/live out each path, usually coming to the heart warming conclusion that we are already exactly where we’re supposed to be.

But sometimes you have a really good day, that you find a really quirky synchronicity in, and you are able to have that feeling of contentment. You are able to breathe and assess, even if only for that evening, that you’ve made enough right choices to be kinda close to where you belong. And in these unprecedented times, that is a miracle. For me, it was a miracle with terrible CGI, a ridiculous storyline, and a llama from outer space with glowing red eyes, which sort of makes it feels that much more miraculous.

Thanksgiving 2020

So, my family never really did the whole, go round the table and say what you’re thankful for. We’re thankful for food and family, let’s eat.

My family still had that this year, but I know a lot didn’t. Travel is minimal, gatherings smaller, of happening at all and so it feels like it might be harder to come up with things to be thankful for. Even with my holiday feeling fairly normal, I’ve been extra grumbly about other shit recently so, here’s my moment of gratitude.

I’m thankful for dark eyeshadow that helps me feel like a badass bitch. I’m thankful for people feeling comfortable coming to me with their weirdness. For social media and all the interesting ways we have to connect, and the different platforms on which weirdness is presented to me. I’m profoundly thankful for hugs. I’m thankful that I haven’t broken my favorite coffee mug, after years and years and use, and several moves. I’m thankful for the right song, at the right moment. For people who share songs with me. For every karaoke singer in my town.

I’m thankful for notebooks and colorful pens that allow my written words to be as colorful as the thoughts are when they are in my head. For books – reading them, writing them, talking about them. For clean sheets and shaved legs. Forehead kisses that melt the troubles of the day away. For my work family, even when I hate my job. And customers that dance with us at 3 in the morning.

I’m thankful for the bad, for allowing me to more deeply relish the good. For my past, for allowing me to have my present. For tarot cards and cartoons and tattoos. I’m thankful for my artist friends, which is every one of them, even if they don’t know it. To cinnamon and ginger and rice krispie treats and wine and rainbow roses.

I’m thankful for the city of Las Vegas and the people who have allowed me to experience it. For my first boyfriend. For my current boyfriend. For all the loves and losses in between. For anyone who’s shared laughter or tears with me.

I’m thankful that in this mess there are still so many opportunities to see the good, from silly simple things to life altering interactions and on every level in between. I’m thankful for life, for love, for having the ability to pursue happiness and for feeling the fire of not taking any of that for granted.

From Complain to Compassion (or,what autocorrect is teaching me about self care)

It’s been a while. Probably too long. And I want to talk shit about myself for being a slacker, but I’m gonna refrain. I’m going to show myself some compassion.

I was texting a dear friend the other day, swiping my words away and I tried to type “complain” (for context, I was generalizing my well being, “can’t really complain”) and legitimately at least 3 times my phone autocorrected to “compassion”. The first time I was annoyed, how dare my phone not 100% of the time know what I’m trying to say. The second time I was kind of amused. The third time though, I really kinda noticed and reflected.

Compassion is the sympathetic concern for the suffering or misfortune of others. It’s not pity. It’s not enabling a pity party. It’s sympathy. It’s concern. It’s meeting someone where they are and lending a friendly ear, holding a hand, offering a shoulder. How often do we do that to/ for ourselves?

Ask me how I’m doing and typically my response is either, “I’m okay” or “I’m good” followed up by inquiring about your state. If we’re close friends you might get a bit more (“I’m a little tired, but I’ll be fine” “little stressed about money with my job potentially shutting down in a few weeks, but I’ll figure it out”) but it still generally ends with a similar statement of being fine/ okay/ good. Which is what I was attempting to express to my friend that day, I was a little tired, but I was gonna nap so, couldn’t really complain. And that’s true, I can’t. I’m fucking lucky. Profoundly so. But sometimes shit still sucks. And I’m allowed to complain sometimes. And I need to show myself compassion.

There’s the quote about being kind to others because you don’t know what battles they are facing. Yes. But.. don’t forget to extend that kindness inward to. Kindness that does not include towards yourself is incomplete. And just because your battles may not be as tough or as bad as others, you’re still in them, fighting them, every day. You may have financial stability, but you may have a chronic illness or a chemical dependency. Or you may have an amazingly supportive family system, but struggle to keep food on the table. Or you might fall somewhere in between all that. I’m blessed in that, in my life and jobs, I’ve met so many people from various backgrounds and even the most solid, stable looking people I’ve known, they all have something, one area, that is not correct. And that’s okay. That’s humanness. And it’s beautiful. It gives us something to strive for. Improvements to be made. Goals to reach. I think being perfect sounds dreadfully boring. But.. whether your battle is against the snooze button in the morning or a potentially life threatening addiction, it’s there. And while you’re working on it, show yourself a little compassion. The world is hard enough, especially right now. Do not add yourself to your list of enemies. Give yourself a mental health day off from work (if you can afford it), eat a piece of ridiculously good chocolate (I’m a big fan of those Lindor ball thingies), cry to your best friend over a beer or four. And do not feel guilty. Please.

I know it’s wildly out of context but, like Otis Redding said, “try a little tenderness”

Memories

I’m seeing, “Tell me your favorite memory with me” making a rotation on Facebook currently. And especially right now when people are still not as able to get together in person, I think looking back and reflecting is super good. So, a buddy of mine posts it, and then replies start. And someone commented like.. an entire story, and how anytime he hears this one artist, he always thinks of the original poster. Which is so fucking cool, right? But it gets better, because the original poster replied something along the lines of, “I don’t really remember that, but cool.” And this whole interaction is just so perfect. The replier links the entire musical catalog of an artist to this brief interaction with this person, who doesn’t even remember it. And a part of me almost feels some kinda melancholy here, but not really. Like.. a part of me wants this moment to have been significant to both parties involved, but I think I like it more being uneven. Because it holds more potential this way. It shows how, at literally any moment, you could be having a massive impact on someone – for better or worse. And that really kind of makes me want to re-evaluate some of my behaviors and habits and patterns. I fully realize I have very little control over how others view me or interpret their interactions with me. Communication is so personal and being clear is difficult at times. But.. holy fuck, do I want to try my best to ensure that the interactions I have with people leave them better. I want someone to have a new favorite song or movie because of me. I want someone to have a memory of a perfect night, or a profound conversation because of me. I want someone to chuckle to themselves every time they hear a certain word. We all have that one liquor that when you smell it or even think of it, you get a little queasy. Yeah. I don’t want to be that for anyone. I don’t want to be your tequila. (I feel like I’ve said this before. I don’t update often. If I’m repetitive, clearly I haven’t fully learned or processed my thoughts, so forgive me). My first serious boyfriend ever told me how, after we broke up, he started talking to a girl who wore vanilla perfume, and how he couldn’t bear it, because it reminded him of me. Something as simple as what fragrance I most commonly wore had an impact. Like… fuck, you know? What else? So.. As always I have no point, really, no conclusion. Merely observations. I am feeling some kinda conviction to really up my mindfulness game. Like.. who knows what people will remember, you know?

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” Dr. Suess

Well, what did you expect?

Expectation is such a funny thing. I have been soul level pissed at someone for not meeting my expectations before, which is wholly unfair to them, I fully realize that now. And I try not to have expectations, but I still do. I ran into this recently, actually, on Tinder.

I matched with some guy, didn’t really examine his profile, but matched with him. He sent me a message, asking if I use to work at a certain place. I confirmed that yes, I had, and he introduced himself as someone whom I knew back then (his company partnered with mine, so he was often in my office). I was genuinely excited. He is a good looking guy. But, the thing that always stood out about him, to me, always, was how polite he was. Everything was, “yes ma’am”, “yes sir”, he was always impeccable with his speech, very kind. And I was so brought in by that, when we worked together, his politeness was captivating. So… 2 years or whatever it has been later, we match on Tinder. And I’m stoked. And then I get the message.

“Is it bad if I want to show you how big my dick is?” Except he used the eggplant emoji. Maybe he was still, in his own way, trying to be polite. I think I would have almost preferred if he had just been more direct. But.. the one thing I expected, based off my of interactions with him, had been someone who was very polite. And now he’s like.. “let me show you my wang!” And it really bothered me. Not because he offered a dick pic. I don’t really care about that. Seen one, you’ve seen ’em all.. and I have access to internet porn, and guy friends so… I’m sure yours is great and all, but overall just sorta meh with that. But having my expectations not met, that really bothered me.

I have led a fairly underwhelming life, so I don’t often feel many people expect a lot out of me. Which I truly do appreciate it. But, one of my dearest, most lovely friends was chatting with me recently about how her father is… somewhat disappointed in her because she doesn’t have a career in the field she went to school for. I guess that’s maybe fair, if you were upset because you felt your child was unhappy, not pursuing their dreams. But.. my friend, at her current, “non-career”, makes over twice what I do per hour, and has insane benefits. She, at the age of 29, is more financially stable, with better health care coverage, than most people I know in their 40’s or 50’s. She is moving into a beautiful apartment, with a lakeview, by herself, no co-sign, no roommate, no partner, just her and her puppies. At 29. And yet, because she is not living up to her fathers expectations of what her life should look like, she is feeling all kinds of ways. And that’s fucking horrible.

I saw a quote attributed to Shakespeare (probably incorrectly, but whatever… the sentiment stands) – “Expectation is the root of all heartache”

The.root.of.all.heartache. Fuck. But really dive into that thought. I thought this boy was gonna love me forever, and now he decided he’d rather be back with his ex, who he swore to me he’d have to be crazy to go back to. Cool. Maybe I should have expected him to be crazy. He was dating me, after all. I expect my electronics to work, every time I hit the power button. You expect your car to start every morning. It’s not always parental disapproval or dumb dick pics, it’s ingrained in everything we do. I expect my job to not fire me. My water to be hot in the shower. My coffee to taste a certain way. And how pissed, or at least inconvenienced, would I be if those expectations were not met?

I’m not really sure how I want to try and resolve this, in my life, personally. A part of me is like.. lower my expectations. Which doesn’t really sound right, and also, then, if my even lower expectations aren’t met, I’ll be super fucking disappointed so… I think, for me at least, the thought is going to be to expect as little as possible. Not less. As little as possible. And then allow myself to be pleasantly surprised and grateful for everything. The water in my shower is super toasty, that’s fucking rad. Even though I hated every second of it, my job didn’t fire me, and that’s pretty cool. And the things that don’t work out.. well, meh. There are enough big, important, things in the world that are waiting to break our hearts every day right now. I refuse to allow some goober trying to show me his eggplant effect me, at all. I will not allow others expectations of me to sway me, or crush me, and I will not impose my expectations of others onto them. I will try my best. And I will allow you to be who and how you are. I may not want what your peddling, but I won’t be let down when you’re selling knock off Gucci (you know where, if you look really close, it actually says like.. Guggi), I just will chose not to buy, but thank you.

Also guys… if your cock seriously looks like an eggplant, y’all need some medical help. Again, not trying to hold expectations, but.. just floating this idea out there for you to consider… maybe the cucumber/pickle emoji, depending on how honest you’re being with yourself 🙂