“Let’s Be Brave and Search Alone-Together”: Q’s 11 & 12

My friend, Tia, has started a tumblr (inspired by a production being put on by a local theatre company) encouraging folks to go on an Identity Scavenger Hunt.  And in her rallying cry of “let’s be brave and search alone-together” (which I love love love love) – I’m all in.  And I encourage you to play along as well! Over the next 30 days or so, Tia will be posting a question or two a day from the famous Proust Questionnaire on the tumblr.  I’ll be doing my best to keep up and answer the questions here; my approach will be to not think too much about any one answer and to go from the gut.  You can answer the questions on the Identity Scavenger Hunt tumblr, on your own blog, in your journal, in your head, or feel free to e-mail answers directly to the lovely Tia at theatretia@gmail.com – she may want to use some of your answers in different ways in the future!

11. What do you dislike the most about your appearance?

My skin. I never had real problem-skin until my mid-twenties and now I have fairly bad facial scarring and the occasional really bad breakout. I know my acne issues are hormonal and it is an active choice on my part to not regulate that hormonal shizz, but it’s still a pain – sometimes a literal pain.  To add to it, a medicine I was put on this past fall to try to manage the breakouts actually gave me the worst breakouts I’ve ever had and resulted in the worst scarring. PLUS the pills gave me anxiety attacks. So I went off of those and am now relying on topical and homeopathic management techniques along with going easy on dairy and drinking more water.

I will say that my skin has gotten a lot better since October, but is definitely still healing from the dermatological assault of this fall.  And I’m visually adjusting to the facial/neck scars, some of which may be permanent.  If I could erase them all, I would in a heartbeat. I looked into laser treatments but for some folks, those treatments can actually make skin gain the texture/appearance of an orange peel. I figured that I haven’t had that much luck with my skin lately and if I took expensive measures that only gave me a different and somewhat worse problem, I would lose my cool entirely.

So thank goodness for good (cruelty-free) make-up. And soft lighting. And – ya know – personality and heart and the things that *actually* matter.

12. Which living person do you most despise?

The “flip” answer after writing the above is “my dermatologist.”  But honestly, this has me stumped. Ooooooph.

I can count on less than one hand the number of people I can’t stand – mainly people who did the internal emotional equivalent of flipping tables and trashing hotel rooms when they were in my life. Like – really messed up stuff.  But *despise* feels so strong. I don’t *despise* these people because to do that much damage, you have to have been close at some point. And to be close, means that I emotionally understand some of the reasons these people are they way they are. And empathize to a degree. Which takes the edge off slightly and knocks potential *despise* down a rung or two…

For me, I think that *despise* must be reserved for real world evil.  There isn’t one specific living person who comes to mind but I do despise the people who abuse their animals and dump them at the shelter for no good reason.  Nothing elicits more rage from me than seeing under-fed, hurt, helpless creatures and knowing that someone was charged with their well-being and refused to give even the base amount of care necessary for a living creature to simply survive.  I do truly despise these people.

————————————————-

OK – that was rough. After thinking about people I don’t like and trying to figure out who I may despise, I need a little happiness.  Here’s a great video about people doing GOOD in the world from HooplaHa’s Facebook. I am a friend and fan of Dr. Spats and after this video, I bet you will be, too.

“Let’s Be Brave and Search Alone-Together”: Q’s 9 & 10

My friend, Tia, has started a tumblr (inspired by a production being put on by a local theatre company) encouraging folks to go on an Identity Scavenger Hunt.  And in her rallying cry of “let’s be brave and search alone-together” (which I love love love love) – I’m all in.  And I encourage you to play along as well! Over the next 30 days or so, Tia will be posting a question or two a day from the famous Proust Questionnaire on the tumblr.  I’ll be doing my best to keep up and answer the questions here; my approach will be to not think too much about any one answer and to go from the gut.  You can answer the questions on the Identity Scavenger Hunt tumblr, on your own blog, in your journal, in your head, or feel free to e-mail answers directly to the lovely Tia at theatretia@gmail.com – she may want to use some of your answers in different ways in the future!

9. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Temperance, perhaps. Exercising impulse control and “all things in moderation” seem about right, but I feel like I see a lot of temperance-associated shame for things that are purely human. Desire for sex, food, and drink along with the possession of pride are not to be shamed; this is how we continue the human race, sustain life, commune with friends, and are motivated to care for ourselves. Obviously going overboard can lead to dangerous territory (with just about anything) but even in a secular society, there is institutionalized shaming based on old notions of temperance which tells people that indulging in any of these things is inherently bad unless the indulgences take place under certain circumstances. That frosts my cookies. So I say: Go get laid! Eat some tiramisu! Drink some bourbon! And tell yourself you are pretty dang awesome!  As long as you’re being safe and that’s what floats your boat, don’t shame yourself for being alive and having healthy desires.

Have a drink or two if you want to, little elephant dude - it's been a long day and you aren't driving! (and yes that is a Dumbo lamp in the background. Because. #Fauxdulthood)

Have a drink or two if you want to, little elephant dude – it’s been a long day and you aren’t driving! (and yes that is a Dumbo lamp in the background. Because. #Fauxdulthood)

10. On what occasion do you lie?

On a RARE occasion. And typically to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.  I actually loathe lying/liars so feel really icky when I do it.

“Let’s Be Brave and Search Alone-Together”: Q’s 7 & 8

My friend, Tia, has started a tumblr (inspired by a production being put on by a local theatre company) encouraging folks to go on an Identity Scavenger Hunt.  And in her rallying cry of “let’s be brave and search alone-together” (which I love love love love) – I’m all in.  And I encourage you to play along as well! Over the next 30 days or so, Tia will be posting a question or two a day from the famous Proust Questionnaire on the tumblr.  I’ll be doing my best to keep up and answer the questions here; my approach will be to not think too much about any one answer and to go from the gut.  You can answer the questions on the Identity Scavenger Hunt tumblr, on your own blog, in your journal, in your head, or feel free to e-mail answers directly to the lovely Tia at theatretia@gmail.com – she may want to use some of your answers in different ways in the future!

7. What is your greatest extravagance?

Bedding. I love bedding. I have alluded to this love ever so slightly three times before, but never in-depth… so here we go.

At the end of a long day, I want to be enveloped by a comfortable, beautiful space where I can truly relax. If you can’t feel good sinking into your bed at night, what can you feel good about? Plus switching up bedding is the simplest way of changing the look of your bedroom – and I am easily bored and like to inject new colors and patterns into a space that essentially stays the same in all other ways. A prettily made bed also makes me feel like I’ve got my *ish* together every time I look at it, even if I don’t really – which is why I make my bed every day. That being said, I don’t always go for the fancy stuff. And I love having brightly colored polka-dotted or printed sheets contrast a paisley patterned quilt or muted, sophisticated duvet.

I think in some ways, the hoarding of bedding stems from a period of my life when I lived in a not-so-cat-friendly group house and Fabs had to have bedroom access at all times because her food, water, and litterboxes had to be in my room (gross…I know). Due to a urinary tract infection, Fab had a number of accidents on the bed (gross…I know) – and then continued occasionally doing that even after the UTI cleared (gross…I know!!!). Thank goodness my mattress was protected, but I needed back-up bedding so that I could clean things up and still sleep in my room vs. waiting for bedding to be washed and dried to sleep in my own room. Now that I live by myself, the KitBit’s necessities are in more fitting locations around the apartment and she does not have access to my room unless I’m in there with her.  Despite the fact that compromised bedding has long since worked its way out of rotation, the need for ALL OF THE BEDDING remains.

So now that I’ve said the gross things…here’s the pretty bedding!

The current hotness #forsheetsandgiggles

Spring 2015: The current hotness; quilt pattern close-ups and the hot pink polka-dotted sheets it is currently paired with. Current total pillow count: 8 pillows. #forsheetsandgiggles

Spring/Summer 2014 favorite - peacockin' y'all; also the quilt came with three pillows. #forsheetsandgiggles

Spring/Summer 2014 favorite – peacockin’ y’all;  the quilt came with 3 pillows. Total pillow count: 7 pillows.  #winning #forsheetsandgiggles

Favorite winter bedding. #forsheetsandgiggles

Favorite winter bedding OF ALL TIME – I may have two of these duvet covers because if one duvet cover dies, I MUST STILL HAVE THIS. You can’t see it here, but there is shimmery gold thread used on the designs. And the textures and patterns vary greatly from section to section.  LOVE. Total pillow count: 8 pillows.  #forsheetsandgiggles

10382728_10100101797139723_2371051830869263681_n

Back-up winter bedding new in 2015 and also how I got 3 more pillows!  Total pillow count: 10 pillows.  10 pillows felt excessive and helped me coin a phrase – #beditor – because sometimes you need a bedding editor. 2 pillows eventually got punted to the living room. #forsheetsandgiggles

8. What is your favorite journey?

This life. Or the band. But probably this life.

“Let’s Be Brave and Search Alone-Together”: Questions 5 & 6

My friend, Tia, has started a tumblr (inspired by a production being put on by a local theatre company) encouraging folks to go on an Identity Scavenger Hunt.  And in her rallying cry of “let’s be brave and search alone-together” (which I love love love love) – I’m all in.  And I encourage you to play along as well! Over the next 30 days or so, Tia will be posting a question or two a day from the famous Proust Questionnaire on the tumblr.  I’ll be doing my best to keep up and answer the questions here; my approach will be to not think too much about any one answer and to go from the gut.  You can answer the questions on the Identity Scavenger Hunt tumblr, on your own blog, in your journal, in your head, or feel free to e-mail answers directly to the lovely Tia at theatretia@gmail.com – she may want to use some of your answers in different ways in the future!

5. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

I am easily distracted and focus can be pulled from important things by shiny objects, so-to-speak. It leads to deplorable behaviors and activities/hurt family and friends on occasion – which is the worst. I also worry that I won’t accomplish as much in my life as I’d like to because of my distractability – so when I see others who are able to do so much, I wonder how and then the green-eyed monster creeps in … which is not a pretty look and makes me feel deservedly hideous. These wonderful, highly effective people probably have strong goals and stick-to-it-iveness; while I often lack follow-through. I have tried to cultivate follow-through and I’ve gotten a bit better, but I am too much ruled by emotions and instincts and whims and passions and less with the big-picture logic sometimes.

6. What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Lack of empathy.  Nothing is more horrific to me than someone who has a complete inability to empathize. And I have found that people without empathetic constitutions often engage in malicious activities and try to justify the “right-ness” of their ill-intent. To that I say…

Ya hear that, deplorable traits?

Ya hear that, deplorable traits?

“Let’s Be Brave and Search Alone-Together”: Identity Scavenger Hunt Questions 1 – 4

You know how sometimes you meet someone and you’re just like “Yeah. Yeah you’re cool. I like you.” And then because of the Wonderful World of Facebook, you are able to connect and see more of that person and how their brain works and be like “Yeah. Yeah you’re incredibly AWESOME. Let’s be buddies because I think our brains are riding some of the same waves and I dig it. And you.”  Well, one such fantastic person I know, Tia, has started a tumblr (inspired by a production being put on by a local theatre company) encouraging folks to go on an Identity Scavenger Hunt.  And in her rallying cry of “let’s be brave and search alone-together” (which I love love love love) – I’m all in.  And I encourage you to play along as well!

Over the next 30 days or so, Tia will be posting a question or two a day from the famous Proust Questionnaire on the tumblr.  I’ll be doing my best to keep up and answer the questions here; my approach will be to not think too much about any one answer and to go from the gut.  You can answer the questions on the Identity Scavenger Hunt tumblr, on your own blog, in your journal, in your head, or feel free to e-mail answers directly to the lovely Tia at theatretia@gmail.com – she may want to use some of your answers in different ways in the future!

Obligatory picture of Proust on a madeleine ... though I admit I have never read Proust... but I have most definitely eaten a madeleine.  (photo credit: Parismarais)

Obligatory picture of Proust on a madeleine … though I admit I have never read Proust… but I have most definitely eaten a madeleine. (photo credit: Parismarais)

So without further ado…here are the first four questions and my not-too-thought-over answers:

1.  What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Feeling the gentle hum of life energy resting in the space slightly above “just OK” and slightly below “exuberant”…a joyful calmness of the soul;  clutching an oversized mug of coffee or tea in a slightly-too-cold living room while the cat is curled in my lap or on my feet on a quiet morning when the day is full of new or at the end of an evening when the day has been well-lived; when I am sharing breath and space with another and feel that click that means you are both fully present and your souls start tumbling out of your lips; an empty theatre – no expectations just the promise of endless possibility and ghosts of stories told before and hopeful wisps of those still waiting to be born.

2. What is your greatest fear?  

This has been the same for me from the time I was very young and saying it or writing it always makes me tear up or bawl like a baby (breath):  My greatest fear is that I will die and people that I love will be left wondering if I really loved them or not.  This idea is terrifying and shakes me down to my core. I know it can be overwhelming for some, but this is why I go hard on expressing how much I love people – I say “I love you” and say it often because I never want anyone to question it when I am no longer here to tell them.  (annnnnd tears…on cue… as always. sheesh.)

3. Which historical figure do you most identify with?

I have NO clue…history was never a subject I paid close attention to and I’ve never been particularly moved to read biographies/autobiographies. Though maybe this is something I should explore.  I admire the heck out of Gandhi and believe strongly in his peace teachings. So maybe Gandhi? Mother Teresa is another. Though admiring is different than identifying.  This question raises more questions…

4. Which living person do you most admire?

Jane Goodall perhaps? Lately, I’ve been playing around a lot with the idea of doing “good” in the world and how if you feel ill-equipped to make a wave in the ocean, can you make a ripple in the pond that is just as “good”? I don’t know my path, I may always be a pond-or-lake-dweller so ripples may always be my jam – but I greatly admire the ocean-dwellers who make the waves.

Definition Part II: When “ish” gets slightly more personal and hippy-dippy

After writing the last post, I’ve been musing over “definition” in a much more personal and detailed way.  A ton of thoughts have been rocketing around my brain and something I’ve struck that I think is worth sharing (even though it means two posts in one day) is that no matter how you define yourself, I hope a piece of your personal definition includes some echo of “I am worthy.”

Part of the reason I think I am gravitating towards thoughts/discussion around the theme of definition is because in the last several years, my life had settled in a sense and I began defining myself in ways that meant I stopped thinking I was worthy of greater things and adopted definitions that negated important parts of my personhood.  This was easy to slip into because in some arenas of my life, I was directly being told or shown that I was not valued as worthy – and that started slowly and gently so by the time it was blatant and loud, I was accustomed to feeling unworthy and accepted it as truth.  In other areas, I wasn’t getting the validation or opportunities I craved in order to believe that I was worthy, supporting the “truth” I had learned elsewhere. So even though I continued defining others I loved as infinitely worthy – I lost that personally and slowly took myself out of the running for greater, better things. And it’s taken some time and work to come back to something that once sat in my bones so strongly and heavily that I didn’t question it or even need to say it:

I am worthy. I am worthy of the good I seek. I am worthy of the love I wish to give and receive. I am worthy as an entity unto myself just because I exist and breathe and dream and am.

You are worthy. And you don’t need others to show you or tell you or give you attention or opportunities that seem to validate your worth.

You are worthy. You are worthy of the good you seek. You are worthy of the love you wish to give and receive. You are worthy as an entity unto yourself just because you exist and breathe and dream and are.

So no matter what definitions you hold to your person, I hope there are vibrations of “worthiness” in there somewhere…whether hiding or in plain sight.

Definition

I like definitions. Of words. Of roles. Of boundaries. Definitions lend clarity. Definitions make me feel safe. Definitions give a sense of sure-ness to something; and even if that something is not-so-sure, labeling it as such makes it OK.

When it comes to people, there are so many things that define us as human beings, so many roles each of us play and so many things each of us do that make up the whole of the person each of us are. So I find it interesting the definitions that we cling to as being “it”; as being our personal definitions.  As in:  “I am (a) _______________.”  Mom, daughter, son, brother, father, sister, artist, CEO, tennis player, dog person, cat person, yogi, lifeguard, coach, teacher, lover, fighter, Irish, Italian, New Yorker, black, white, straight, gay, bi-sexual, asexual, liberal, conservative, scientist, Catholic, Methodist, atheist, ugly, pretty, tall, short, fat, skinny, athletic, writer, reader, painter, introvert, extrovert, Libra, Gemini, old, young, single, spouse, caregiver etc. And following up on that, even more interesting to me is the: “I am a _____________ and therefore it means that I do _____________. And I like ___________. And I dislike _______________.”

I was recently #SouloAdventuring and was wandering through a part of town I rarely visit.  After two hours of walking around and passing a particularly inviting tavern several times and feeling a pull to enter each time, I went in.  There were only 2 seats at the back of the bar and I was surprised to find a high school buddy who I hadn’t seen in 11 years sitting there.   We didn’t get to chatting much because he was there on business, but in my head, I was thinking of how much I’ve personally changed and grown since high school and how much he probably has, too.

In school years, I defined myself by numerous external factors that are probably not representative of who I am now.  You can track certain things I do – like theatre – back as far as pre-school, sure. And I am who I am in part because of lessons and compounding experiences over years of my life – very much including school.  But who I am at my essence has nothing to do with being in student government or in different clubs or homecoming queen or not making the basketball or field hockey teams or getting solid Cs (almost sometimes Ds) in math. However, at the time, I found those failures and achievements and roles to be absolutely defining.

In that same tavern, I ended up sitting between two older men – both who had lived in town for stretches of time a while back and both were feeling particularly chatty so we became pals for the night.  One was in his 60’s the other probably in his 70’s.

The 70’s something man told me about studying for the bar exam at this tavern and how he eventually owned a Porsche and would zip around in that car – according to him there is a stop sign on Rock Creek Parkway dedicated to his recklessness and police chases he zoomed out of.  He talked about money and success and DC-back-in-the-day and living in Georgetown.  These were the things he wanted me to know about him. He took out his phone later in our time together and the background had a dog on it. So – of course – I asked about the dog. Then he started telling me about all the different dogs he has owned; this one is a service animal and he takes it into the retirement homes to spend time with elderly people. His girlfriend is jealous of the attention he gives the dog because he loves it so much. A completely different side; a completely different definition than the Porsche-zooming, money-focused, power-man he presented earlier.

The 60 year old is from Colorado and has a young son who volunteers at the local animal shelter. He was glad to be in DC and comes back often on business. He said he enjoys this time of year – tourist season – because you get to see all the kids in DC on school trips; his son’s trip is coming up. He is a father. He asked me a bunch of questions about myself and when I told him I do theatre he said: “Believe it or not, I like theatre.”  “Can I ask you something?” I said “Why did you say ‘believe it or not’? I’m just curious what made you think I may not believe that you like theatre?”   And he went on to say how he has always been a jock and that people don’t think that jocks like theatre.  He said that back when he was in high school he was on the football team, but he still went to see the shows that his high school put on and that people were always surprised by that.  I asked him what his favorite show was and he listed off a ton of musicals that he’s seen on Broadway or in London or in Colorado.  He even told me about one time when he and his friend were on a ski trip but the lifts shut down because it was too windy; they found out that a local high school had a show going on, and because they couldn’t ski, they popped in on a whim to check it out and it ended up being a good show.  Clearly this man truly enjoys theatre but because he played football in high school, he still – at 60 – finds it weird to tell people “I like theatre.”  Even someone in a bar who has no awareness of his history.

Definitions are powerful. How we define ourselves matters because it does dig into our person and affects the way we handle ourselves in the world and even how we handle ourselves in private.  And – in life – of course there are events that change our lives forever; then there comes the question of whether or not we define ourselves by specific events or our actions in trying times.

I don’t really know how I am defining myself these days…I feel like it’s been changing so much lately.  Sometimes I am a theatre artist. Sometimes I am a communications employee. Sometimes I am a *good* friend. Sometimes I am a *bad* friend. Sometimes I am a productive member of society.  Sometimes I am an extreme procrastinator.  Sometimes I am lost … and sometimes I am just searching. Always I am a lover and a fighter and a believer and a journeyer and very, very human.

Or maybe the lesson here is that people really aren’t able to be defined.  Maybe the definition of a person is just “I am a person and therefore it means that I do things that my soul/personhood calls me to do.  And I like the things I like. And I dislike the things I dislike.”  Maybe it’s just that broad.

Head – Skillet – BLAMMO!: Creativity, Play, “The Road Less Traveled”, and Forgiveness

For friends who follow me on Facebook or those who have found my blog through internet magic, you may have picked up on some soul-searching I’ve been doing over the last 6/7 months or so.  It’s a never-ending process and I’ve always been contemplative but circumstances are such that I spend a lot more time on my own and a lot more time occupying an inward-looking soul-space than I used to (soul-space sounds funny, but it’s so much more than just brainspace).  This has led to a lot of bigger questions and very few answers – which I have come to believe is how life works; there are always more questions than answers and we should always be asking them.

I’ve posted a few vaguebooky things to social media about feeling like the Universe is hitting me over the head with an iron skillet. To be clear: this isn’t a bad thing. In fact – it’s probably a good thing!  A dear ladyfriend of mine once shared the idea (not in these exact words) that if you are not listening closely enough and not fully following your path, the Universe will start making it rather clear what it wants by hitting you over the head repeatedly with undeniable signs, as if to say “DO THIS! DO THIS! DO THIS!”

Lately, I’ve been getting blaring signals that 1) I need to be pursuing more creativity in my life, 2) I need to challenge myself, and 3) I need to release emotional luggage that I am still holding on to.

I’m a skeptically superstitious person with Catholic roots – and any Catholic/”recovering” Catholic/ex-Catholic who tells you Catholics are *not* superstitious is lying (I mean look at the accounts of apparitions for goodness sake).  So when themes pop up repeatedly in a short amount of time – I don’t discount it as fully coincidental and look for the connections.

The other week, I had a really useful Tarot reading. I don’t want to delve too much into the details of that, but basically the cards were encouraging me to feed my creative side because I’m not being challenged and am bored.  They were saying “do the thing you haven’t been doing” and “take a nontraditional path” – that it may be difficult, but it will be worth it.  Very interesting for where I am at this juncture and while I’m not going to run out and do things based on a Tarot reading, it has given me a lot to chew on.

Then this week, there was a day when I saw many things that said “trust your heart” or “trust your story” – literally. Memes and articles and artwork etc.. My tattoo says “Trust your heart, and trust your story” and it is a life mantra of mine, a reminder to stay on my path; so when I hear or see either phrase, it grabs my attention. I’ve honestly never seen it so many times in one 24 hour block. I also received messages from a few friends that day asking me questions about life direction – putting things I’ve been thinking about on-and-off back in the forefront of my brain.

Head – skillet – BLAMMO!

That night, on my way to yoga I met an adorable 10 month big-old pittie (y’all know my love for the big pitties!) and after chatting with the owner for a minute and engaging with the dog, I learned the dog shares a name with a person who is problematic for me and a person who was occupying brainspace this week after being quiet for a while; I still played with the dog (of course) and we parted ways. Once at yoga, the teacher started with a personal story about a difficult person/situation in *her* life, a choice she made that day to let unhelpful emotions surrounding it go, and then encouraged us to all focus on letting go of something during practice.  I think I started laughing at one point during her story because I saw where this was going and was tickled by the timing.

Head – skillet – BLAMMO!

Yesterday, I had a meaningful conversation with a dear colleague/friend about creativity and she became the fourth (or maybe fifth) person in the last few months to bring up The Artist’s Way and encourage me to do it.  Then today, I spent the morning overseeing a series of interviews in which a colleague discussed the themes of creativity, play, “the road less traveled”, and forgiveness. Over. And over. And over. This was not on the docket. These interviews could have touched on any themes. Could have talked about anything. And yet these were the things that came up in each of the seven interviews.  Even the theme of “play” struck a chord because I saw a performance last night in which a sense of “play” was very evident; I had gone to bed questioning whether I still had that same ability to “play” or whether I’d become stodgy in my personal approach to acting and character building.

Head – skillet – BLAMMO!

Life is in the big things but it’s also in the details. Themes, signs, signals, directions, coincidences, skillets – whatever you want to call them, I think it’s my job to not only keep listening, but to start making bold choices and intentionally move forward onto a more creative and playful, less predictable, wholly forgiving path.

Head – skillet – OK! OK! I get it. I’m working on it. I really am now working on it.

New Year’s Magic

I am not typically big on New Year’s Eve. While it’s a perfect excuse for a party and some champagne, it is just a measure of time. Nothing *actually* happens overnight. No extraordinary thing occurs as the clock changes over from 11:59pm on December 31st to 12 midnight on January 1st that doesn’t occur on any other day. Except maybe more people are more drunk than usual. It is mundane, daily magic that one day passes as another begins.

However, this New Year’s I’m banking on big magic. The kind of magic that shifts universes and starts the world anew.

Through all of December 31st, 2014, I will believe that with each tick closer to midnight, the roughness of this past year is being sloughed away. And when it chimes midnight in the District, I am going to believe with all my soul that the world is fresh. Clean. Smooth. Full of wonder and possibility in a different way than it has been before. Because 2015 is going to be a year of great things and grand adventures. It will be a year of change by choice, not by circumstance.  It will be a year of celebrations and creativity and self-discovery. It will be a year of love and laughter and full presence of being. It will be the start of a chapter that has yet to be fully imagined.  And while some ghosts may linger occasionally whispering 2014 in my ear, the bellows of a joyous 2015 will be louder.

Due to the immeasurable nature of what I want to do with the gift of this fresh year, I will make no resolutions.  Instead, I will say goodbye to the mantras I’ve been using as 2014 has slowly, drunkenly made its way to the door: “Get your house in order.” and “I am letting go.”

And I will say hello to a new one: “I will boldly go.”

So, friends, here’s to a magical New Year and all the good that 2015 will hold! Celebrate beautifully.

PSA: Know Your Side Effects

I recently started experiencing anxiety in a persistent, nagging way.  I have never been an anxious person in general. I have never been one to lose breath and have my heart race while driving to a friend’s house for a low-key evening of movies and wine with a small group of people I adore.  And the crying-attacks were unpredictable enough to take me by complete surprise and hijack an otherwise OK day – not to mention, they were exhausting.

Because of everything that has happened in the recent-ish past, I logically thought that maybe this was just part of how my body was continuing to deal with compounding personal stresses, the likes of which I have never dealt with before. It wasn’t until I had a panic attack in a bathroom at work for over an hour that I decided this was above and beyond what was tolerable.  And when I came clean to my Mom and admitted this was a problem, I was reminded to look into the side effects of an acne medicine I had been put on in early September.  And – sure enough – 2% of pill-takers experience anxiety while on this med.

I am not a medicine person. I don’t take them regularly and haven’t for at least 4 years.  I don’t like taking cough medicine or tylenol or even medicated cough drops which is why when I *do* take meds, they hit hard. My freshman-year-of-real-life roommate will attest that Nyquil would often knock me out mid-sentence; I would wake up hours later on the floor of our family room in a puddle of my own drool wondering why I wasn’t in my bed and trying to think of the last thing I remembered. Nyquil has since been banned from my personal apothecary. 7 years ago, I went on an acne medicine that during the adjustment period left me super light-headed and a bit out of it when standing; I warned my boss-at-the-time that if he heard a crash from my office, I’d probably just gotten dizzy while standing up and had most likely fallen over but was going to be OK. Normal. I think that poor man didn’t know what to do with me sometimes – it doesn’t help that my first week on the job with him, I suffered an allergic reaction that had me breaking out in hives and ransacking his medical closet for Benadryl. Again. Normal.

But I sometimes let my looks bother me more than I should and am newly single (I’m not going to try to stupidly pretend that had nothing to do with caring about my skin again) so when my dermatologist prescribed doxycycline hyclate in addition to topical meds, I decided to try it in attempt to finally get my skin under control.  I looked up side effects and the main ones listed were all things I thought were reasonable to expect OR had such a small chance of occurrence that I wasn’t concerned. But now that I was hunting specifically for one side effect, there it was. And I started to think that maybe I fell into that 2% of anxiety stricken pill-poppers.

Doing more Googling led me to message boards where some people expressed that they had experienced side effects in a MUCH worse way than I did when taking this med.  That was terrifying to see and all the support I needed to immediately take myself off.  And now – a little over a week later – I am feeling so much better.  Not 100%. And I don’t expect to be 100% yet because I know it takes time for medicine to cycle out of the body. But I have not had the heart-flutters for quite a few days. And I’m now attempting oil pulling as a natural way of calming the skin ( a suggestion from this smart lady who got the suggestion from THIS smart lady) and we’ll see how it goes.

All I know is having clearer skin is not worth living in a state of considerable anxiousness and agitation that is seemingly spurred by nothing.

So this is my PSA reminder to always investigate the side effects of any drug you take and if you notice a change in your body or mind – even if it seems somewhat reasonable due to external circumstances – do more research.  Please.  It saved me from spending more time in a terrible head-space and I would hate to see anyone else suffer unnecessarily.

Doooo-dooooo-dooo-dooooooooo!

Doooo-dooooo-dooo-dooooooooo!