If It’s Not Broke (and it never is)- it’s Abundant!

Keep holding on! Life is full of many twists and turns

Recently, I’ve gotten away from diving in and writing a blog post. I got sucked into my old habits of overthinking and analyzing my choice of words, so much so that my initial, beautiful message came across inauthentic– at least to me. I’m breaking down that barrier, and here’s what inspired me!

There has been wonderful news on the job front. Last I spoke, I believe I had been laid off (boo- hiss!) and due to complications running my own business, I was not eligible for unemployment benefits. Depression annoyingly booped me on the head as I realized I was now unemployed and BROKE.

And see that’s the thing. I felt broke…broken.

It took some digging out of that hole over the next few months to reconnect with my spirit and realize, “Girlllll, you ain’t broke!”

I was actually pretty abundant. All that time I spent wallowing in my little hole of despair, I could have spent recognizing this free space as just that… free. I was in the land of the free! When the fear of losing everything and not being able to pay bills clouded my judgement, I became insufferable, especially to myself. The stress was so much that my boyfriend and I took a break to recalibrate.

Financially, it appeared I was in ruin. Spiritually I was drained. I lost sight of myself, what brought me joy, and my old peppy nature vanished into… well, I have no idea where it went…

But what once was lost, was soon found.

Having been through trials and tribulations before, I took this as a hint from the universe to figure out my shizz.

(Recalibrate!! Recalibrate!!)

What did I want in life? What did I actually, truly, reeeeeeally need?

Being “broke” taught me the lost art of simplification. I didn’t need to only eat organic food from the most expensive store. I didn’t need to stop for breakfast every morning before work.

What I needed was my family, friends and a reason to get up in the morning- and my reason was: I needed to serve others.

And so began the job hunt! Tirelessly, I sent endless cover-letters and resumes out to the internet. I reconnected with a past retail job I had loved, so I could be surrounded by beautiful friends and beautiful clothing/jewelry I actually enjoyed selling. It isn’t a ton of money- but it’s more than nothing, and working customer service keeps me sharp.

I also reconnected with my high performance coach, who always believed in my capabilities, and became her executive assistant as she helped me on my own path.

Along with the lost art of simplification, I remembered the lost art of appreciation. And with it came new opportunities.

“Them that’s got shall get…”

I was getting. And it wasn’t my overflowing bank account (hah.) that was proof, it was my new perspective, light and happy, that now allowed new opportunities for further abundance to pop up.

Once Upon a slip of paper…

While working my last job, stuck behind a sad cubicle, migraines on the daily, I decided to try the whole “manifestation” concept again. It had worked before. I set a goal, asked the universe, oh so politely for my desires, and diligently continued on with my life as if I hadn’t done so. Then POOF, it appeared. So I gave it another shot. I wrote on a piece of paper what my dream job would look like:

  • surrounded by supportive employees and bosses
  • trusted to go out and about to meet clients
  • not stuck behind a desk the whole day
  • better lighting- more light!
  • doing what I love to do and getting paid to do it
  • valued.

Hah.

So many hahs. Why? Because POOF it appeared.

Once upon a Gallery Night…

While walking from one gallery to another, in celebration of Erie’s community-wide Gallery Night, I happened across a local marketing business I had heard about before, but never looked into. As my gaze turned toward their front window, a little internal “Ding!” noise went off in my head, as if someone was letting me know “take note!”

The next day– and I do mean the very next day– a new job listing was posted for this same marketing company. (Ding, ding, ding!!) I applied immediately. And instead of spending hours overanalyzing my cover-letter and berating myself for it’s minuscule imperfections- I said SCREW IT and sent it as fast as I could; perfection had left the building.

And now I work there.

The job I got hired into surpasses my expectations every day. Initially hired to do graphic design, I am now also recognized as a valuable copy writer, photographer, and videographer. Hot damn- I seem to be doing everything I love? And getting paid for it? Um, whaaaatt? And the people I work for are encouraging, supportive, and trust me to get work done. And don’t get me started on the amount of natural light pouring into the office. It takes little to no effort to get out of bed and off to work, and so I am feel very grateful.

In the end, it took recognizing I was already abundant to allow abundance back into my life. Seems so simple, but it can be easy to forget. I created daily Tune-Up routine to help connect myself back with that “rich” mentality. Next week I share part of this tune-up routine in a video so you can learn to bring in more abundance yourself. Stay tuned for a new Sunday Session with Sooz on, you guessed it, Sunday!

A Song for My Winged Friends

So, I think I may be starting a band? Or… maybe I already have?

I’ve started recording music and songs I write and calling myself A Serious Artist, to poke fun at the idea…

However, I’m really liking the idea!!

Last night a song came to me and I recorded it. It’s possibly still in the demo phase, but I was itching to share it and hear feedback, so I uploaded it and am sharing it now!!

 

Lyrics (work in progress):

dragonfly, where ya goin’
is it some place far away?

i can see you are sad
by the light of the day

don’t be sad just spread your wings and fly
isn’t that what wings are for?

dragonfly don’t be scared there is nothing to fear
i believe in your capabilities, is that all you need to hear?

look up high and rise past those fears
you won’t die, you will overcome

(chorus)
take a breath prepare for lift off
the wind is there to help you overcome
just trust in yourself and you will be rewarded
and soon one day you will reach your home
butterfly you are so pretty but what’s going on inside?
I can tell you’re unsure and you feel like ya gotta hide

But you can’t cuz your always on view
that’s ok, cuz there’s something great, that’s in store for you

Let them laugh, they don’t know you, they’re just a waste of your time
Let them point, they just judge you cuz they know you’re one of a kind

it’s got nothin’ to do with you
fly above and carryyyyyyy on throughhhhhhhh

(chorus)
take a breath prepare for lift off
the wind is there to help you overcome
just trust in yourself and you will be rewarded
and soon one day you will reach your home
buzzin’ bee what’s the rush? where do you have to be? (hah, get it?)
i just heard that you’re the one to beat, and it’s pretty clear to see

don’t you wish you could let go of the anxiety
you don’t have to constantly move around

do you fear the calm and what your mind may think and say to you
are you afraid you’ll fall behind and that there’s someone better than you?

slow it down, smell the roses and have some fun
if you don’t you may miss a ton

It’s Always About the Process

Ya know, I record music in my spare time. I like to write my own songs, and make new arrangements of old favorites. This one here? That I’m sharing? One of the first ukulele songs I learned and still a favorite of mine. I tend to nerd it up, play ridiculously for my own entertainment, and this is me exposing that.

I know I had mentioned in a previous post (this one) that I grew up surrounded by music and musicians. Everyone in my fam-damly played at least 3+ instruments and sang. Boom. We’re magical like that. I tended toward voice, because my arms often feel like noodly-bits and my fingers spastic. But hey! Learning Ukulele on my own has been very rewarding. Am I mad-awesome? Not really, but I enjoy it, and as you can see in the video it brings me great joy and makes me feel like a kid again. So, I share this to let you guys see it’s OK to not be the best, and OK to be OK not being the best.

Who’s imperfect? WE ARE!

When I posted my first uber-self-conscious-ukulele video (note: here), I was hella’ nervous. Comparing this new video to that, I see the growth I’ve gone through- both in my ukulele playing ability and my confidence level. It’s cool to be able to look back on who you were and how far you’ve come.

Releasing the Judgey McJudgerson Within

nonchalance

I’m a Virgo. No, seriously I am. If you’re creepy, you may know my birthdate and try to correct me

“Nah-uh Susie, you’re a Libra! ‘Says so in my Glamour/Marie Claire/Cosmo/Whatever I read!!”

And then I would counter and tell you the grand story of how my grandfather was an astrologer, and there are two systems of astrology, Sidereal (where I’m a Virgo) and Tropical (the hazy, non-specific version that is in magazines and newspapers because it’s easier to lump people all together). I could interest you (or bore you) explaining how there are “cusps” and I happen to be on one. I could tell you how there are ascendants and descendants, a moon and sun sign, a this and a that. But just take my word for it: I’m a Virgo.

Now, that being said, I’m incredibly judge-mental and critical. This can suck- as I tend to be harshest on myself. And this can uber-suck when I aim my powers on others. Catch me in a funk and I am sure to nit-pick! Thankfully, I am well aware of my detail-oriented state, and I have grown very accustomed to breathing instead of blurting out statements like:

“He’s doing it wrong”

“She sucks at kerning”

“Are they completely blind?!”

Instead, I’ve decided to become a master of manipulation. The good kind. The kind in which I manipulate myself! It’s called….

PATIENCE.

I’m currently reading a book called… wait for it…

the power of PATIENCE

and it’s about, you guessed it:

PATIENCE.

(written by M J Ryan)

It’s pretty darn good so far. I find when I pick it up and read a short chapter, it resonates with what I’m going through- or perhaps that just means I lack patience all the time!

I used to be a lot worse. I’m definitely improving. Gotta’ give myself some credit!

But as you may be able to tell, I’m interested in the New-Agey hullabaloo.

(As in, yeah, I have a Level 1 certificate for Reiki! And I keep crystals by my computer at work to suck the bad juju and negative complaints up around me)

I’m all for understanding the subconscious, releasing my motha-fuckin’-ego, and embracing the noooooowwww (Eckhart Tolle style). That nit-picking part of me does not go away when I’m meditating, forgiving past shiznit, or wondering what pretzel sandwich I want at the gas station. It’s all me. All the time, it’s all me. I can decide one moment “Hey! I’m being patient and listening and breathing and letting the other person talk without overreacting to their unbuttoned middle button! Go me!” or I could still be me and say

“UGHHH! What kind of slob are you?? Can you not feel that your button is undone?? UGHHH my life is so affected by your nonchalance!!!”

Either way I react, it’s all me. So what “me” do I want to be? The boastful (*coughTRUMP*) version of me? Who doesn’t stop to listen to herself before she nitpicks? Or the slow, patient, thought out (*coughOBAMA*) me who’s relaxed as fuq’.

 

I made this post because tonight I was in a funk, and feeling nit-picky. I was on facebook- which can be the worst place to be when you’re feeling this way, because you want to share your opinion (very strongly) on everybody’s lives! So, I thought I would vent, learn, grow, and write about my personality flaw? strength? feature? To better come to an understanding.

Judgey-McJudgerson- OUT.

“You’re Doing It Wrong”

You're Doing It Wrong

Recently, I decided to enter my first juried art show since college. I’m talkin’, it’s been almost 5 years! Admittedly (understandably?) I’m a bit nervous! I looked through all my work, trying to find the “perfect” entries. Hah. Perfect. What a concept!

I decided to print a photo I took of my most recent photoshoot (so recent I haven’t even shared them yet!). At first I thought I would paint this photo I was printing, perhaps oil paint since it’s been just as long since I used those.

Welp, things changed. Life surprises you.

My printer was running low on ink, and instead of letting me know and refusing to print (how it usually handles the issue) it went on ahead and printed my photo out, sans magenta. I was instantly in love. Who needs magenta anyway??? I scanned the imperfect beauty in. Printer lines, no magenta! Chaos! But it’s like I remembered my old artsy self again. I loved the imperfect! Thanked the imperfect! I, at one point, held a crusade against perfection, because I saw how much it had a grip on people’s lives- including my own…

So yes. This, in being imperfect, is perfect. (mind ‘splosion?) And I’ve decided this is a good move on my part. If it doesn’t make it into the show, Ah well! It was a stepping stone, helping lead me back to the vision I had years ago. I’m all for looking at it that way.

Why I Fear the Morning Alarm

 

Every morning, my alarm goes off.

Actually, every morning, my alarm goes off a few times: 5am, 6am, 7am. It gives me a choice, a decision to make right off the bat. Before my cognition has even received the memo that “Hey! You’re awake!” I am thrown into this terrifying, pressure-cooker of a situation to determine: “Yep, THIS alarm I will rise to.”

That’s a lot of pressure, first thing in the morning. And each alarm says so much about a person:

  1. 5am alarm: Are you going to be the productive billionaire you dream of becoming? Yeah? WELL THEN GET ON IT GRRRLLLLL
  2. 6am alarm: Ah, I see, you gave yourself an extra hour of shut-eye. You’re self-soothing. You realize that you need the extra sleep to be in the best mindset to be productive and become a millionaire. No need to be hasty. I get you girl, you da’ zen type!
  3. 7am alarm: Ok, that’s just lazy. Here’s $5. You suck.

So which is it, door #1, 2, 3?

Continue reading

Don’t Make It a Thing

Photo taken by fellow photographer and graphic designer, Sarah Bennett. See her blog at www.bennetttrails.com !

Photo taken by fellow photographer and graphic designer, Sarah Bennett. See her blog at www.bennetttrails.com !

So I wasn’t always this way.

I wasn’t always easy to laugh, easy to forgive, nurturing and patient. I didn’t always have the ability to laugh at myself for the mistakes I make, or even to allow myself a Big Ole’ FAT ugly cry when I was upset. In essence, I used to be young. I used to be 21.

Maybe you’d assume I was a victim of the drink’, being the age at which I can consume alcohol. But no, actually everything got rough when I was 18. By age 21 though, I realized I needed to change something up: I realized I needed to start loving myself. That first step I took? I wrote myself a letter.

Dec 12, 2009. Not any kind of remarkable day with a remarkable story, just a day I chose to sit down and talk to myself. The catch was this letter I wrote? I couldn’t just look at it willy-nilly as I liked. I made myself wait until Dec 12th, 2015 to reveal it’s original contents. I guess even then I realized my overwhelming sense of urgency and noticed I lacked the patience I desired. So I made myself wait. I guess I was also trying to give myself something to look forward to, something personal: A secret- just for me, to myself. I guess that made it pretty special… I needed that.

Yeah… well… about that letter: I had forgotten about it! Dec 12th came and went, and I had the letter openly sitting out, ready for the BIG DAY. But it wasn’t until a good week and a half after the date when I happened to remember,

“That friggin’ letter!”

I wasn’t doing anything remarkable at the time.

You know how sometimes making a space, making something a “thing”, a ritual or tradition, giving it this air of significance makes a moment more momentous?

It wasn’t.

It was an off hand realization. I was running around my room, as usual, cleaning, hanging up clothes, and I remembered…

“The friggin’ letter!”

I believe my exercise playlist on iTunes was playing, bumping out some high-octane fuel. I didn’t switch it to low key, emotional music. I didn’t try to set the stage, center my emotions.

I didn’t make it a thing.

I opened the letter, and read it.

 

Self Portrait taken in 2009

Self Portrait taken during the dark years! 2009.

Now, back in 2009, my life was pretty damn different! I was a lonely, severely depressed, highly anxious college student with no free time because I overbooked myself with classes. I was stressed and decided I was to blame for that stress. I treated my body like it was public enemy #1 because I was the determined bounty hunter. Not an ideal person to be attached to! Every chance I got, I attacked myself, blamed myself, and tore myself apart with the guilt: Guilt on top of guilt, on top of guilt. I had so much anger but was so depressed and lost that I didn’t know where it was coming from. I blamed others and was a very, very difficult person to be around sometimes… especially if you were someone I loved and truly cared about. They took the hardest and most hits. Some stayed with me, some got the hell outta there. I never blamed them, although outwardly it would seem I did. Inwardly, I knew it was all me- but I was the queen of denial, queen of unhappiness, and queen of “I’m a freakin’ loser, woe is meeeEEEE!!!!”

But despite the terror that was I, I always had a spark. I knew what happiness had felt like. I knew I wanted to learn how to love myself better, and to treat everyone with love and respect.

Sadness? Dance it out!

So yeah, I knew vaguely what to expect from this letter. My past has been pretty well recorded. I’ve kept a personal blog since I was 14 and during 2009 in particular I wrote in it up to 9 times a day to relieve my mind of the destructive, obsessive thoughts that were morphing my mind into an all encompassing black hole of BLAH and AHH! And although throughout the blog I would curse myself, blame myself, tear myself apart- I knew it was because deep down, somewhere in the great abyss, I KNEW I had it within me to be better and find the light again. I just had no idea whether I was supposed to go right, left, – wait, did I pass go? I had never been lost before. And I had yet to find a working compass.

Alright, so I didn’t allow myself to think about all this the morning I remembered,

“That friggin’ letter!”

I just did it. I jumped in and didn’t have time to be a judgey-McJudgerson to my past and myself. “I’m sorry Mam’am, the baggage claim is on the wayyy other side of the building.” I was leaving my suitcase behind. All I needed was my ID and wallet: aka identity and abundance!

And so I read:

Dear Susie,

You know how you can be. You’re unbelievably talented and ambitious. I know you’re probably killing yourself right now to make things “perfect” or “just right” in your life. Just think like Eckhart Tolle- and think in the NOW- not the future.

You’re so smart and beautiful. You have so much going for you- so why create extra stress? I hope you’re still writing in your online journal- that’s good therapy. I hope you are where you didn’t expect to be in life- but in a good way. I’m only 21, young, naïve- you’re an uber adult now! What’s that about? Haha

I feel like I’m writing a letter to my older sister- because I just want things to work out for you/me. I hope you can make it happen- and you DID make it happen.

I think that’s all I’m going to say…

I’ll keep it short because I know it’s hard to read my own handwriting.

Toodles Susie!

I hope everything worked out

Love,

your younger self.

 

As soon as I read it, I wanted to write about my reaction, get my thoughts on it out. But life had other plans. Life reminded me that we’re constantly moving forward and not to focus on the past too much. As my mom always told me (especially back in 2009!) Rumination leads to Ruination.

Rumination Ruination

So, I moved on. I didn’t make it a thing.

This morning I wrote a new letter. I won’t say what’s in it- that would spoil the fun for Dec 2020! But I wanted to keep the tradition going: I wanted to have a reminder in the future of what it was like, and what I was thinking here in 2016.

It’s fun thinking how different I was in 2009, how much I’ve grown within that time: What I’ve learned, what I’ve experienced, who I cared for. And I no longer harbor resentment for the pain I caused. I have learned from my mistakes, forgiven myself and I believe that is why I went through this ordeal: to strengthen myself.

And yeah, everything did work out. It’s still working out. I have much to be grateful for. When I was 21, I didn’t know these words: Forgiveness, Gratitude, and Abundance… I didn’t even know

Love.

Now I’m pretty confident I know what love is. I see it all around me, am able to connect with it, I feel it within me. Before, I would feel “love” but couldn’t communicate it, wanted to understand it and analyze it, ultimately stripping it of it’s magic. Now I just let it happen, I go with it. I can cherish others and especially myself.

I no longer need a letter to give myself something to look forward to. I look forward to everyday- but there’s something powerful about getting a glimpse of the past and recognizing the growth you have undergone, subtle or bold. It’s pretty remarkable.

So I’m making it a thing.

 

Photos taken by the lovely Sarah Bennett of www.bennetttrails.com

Oo-Rah? Oo la la!

2015-11-07 23.13.27

Yesterday, I had my first experience going to the Marine Corps Ball. My boyfriend, who I lovingly call a multitude of distinguished names (a few including Jaker-Bakers, Jaker-Bakerson, Jakey-Bakey) and I have been dating for almost a year now. He’s a Devil Dog, (no not THAT kind, THIS kind) and he’s a man. A man’s man. Which, in comparison, makes me really seem like a woman, a very feminine woman. It’s a fun dynamic, as I always viewed myself as a dorky, lanky theatre/art nerd. I’ve always been a guy-y girl, liking dinosaurs, and liking to play in the mud. I don’t shy away from stomping in puddles and causing destruction! However, Me-Likey a reason to get all dolled up and bust a move on the dance floor!

I first heard about the Marine Corps Ball almost a year ago, when I was out and about in the dating world.

I was dating a few men at the time, never really interested in anyone too much. Mainly, I loved meeting and learning about other people. Dating was a fun way to do that. Online dating made it so I could feel a person out before meeting them. Pre-requisites all in line, I’d agree to meet them for a drink.

But I guess the signs of boredom shone though. I started only meeting first dates at the same location, at the same time of night, and only for one drink. (What if we didn’t vibe well? No having to stick around for a meal!) I never tried to change up my game. I tried letting the dudes I met talk my ear off, because piecing people together, figuring them out was fun for me. Always a fan of analyzing suitors, I let them talk at me more than with me. If I could have broken out a notebook and pen and occasionally asked “Hmm, that’s fascinating. Now, tell me more about your relationship with your mom” without it being too obvious, I’d probably have done it.

But then this one guy.

I guess all it takes is one guy.

The first thing that pulled me into this guy, was his online dating profile. A typical selfie, in a typical bathroom, him making a Blue-Steel-esque mug. Oh, but his hot-nerd glasses… and what’s that?

A uniform.

Usually, I only dated between 24-30yo, and he was all of 21 at the time. I was 26.

But… but… the uniform.

I read his profile and it was well written, grammar executed correctly. Yay, intelligence! He was to the point, without being arrogant or too direct. He was warm, open.

And, I mean, uniform.

So i wrote him back, and thus began our weeks’ worth of messages. What I loved the most about our correspondence was he always talked about doing things. No “netflix and chilling” kinda vibe from this guy. “I’m volunteering for a Toys for Tots drive for the Marine Corps”. What’s that? Volunteering? Part of a community? Little kids? … Uniform?

So the time came when we had our first date. True to my nature, I tried the old routine: “Bar? Drink?” But he a threw a (much needed) wrench. “Can’t. Work.” So I was forced to change my ways. We met for coffee, in the early morning.

I still love reminiscing about our first encounter. Seeing him walk up to that Starbucks, right down the street from where I lived, watching as he grabs the door handle, and then he looks up and we see each other for the first time. Goddamn those blue eyes.

The first date went great. I won’t go into detail because if I did, this reasonably sized blog post would turn into a steamy romance novel. And honestly, we’re still writing the pages.

So that’s how I met this guy: Sir Jaker-Bakerson (I guess Jake for short). And soon after, he mentioned the magic that is the Marine Corps Ball. At the time I was working at a Vintage Clothing Boutique, and the idea of placing together an outfit, fit for the 1950’s, had me at Hello.

The day came that I found the dress. Occasionally, in my free time at the Boutique, I’d try on vintage weddings dresses (Oh- Like you wouldn’t!?) It was a dangerous game. I tried on a tea-length 1950’s champagne dress and it was awful! Because it fit me like a glove.

How dare it! Well, honestly, only my bank account was sad that day. The girl with a new 1950’s dress? Yeah, she was taking up residency on Cloud 9. True, I had only been dating King Jakely-Bakley-Noodles for a few months at the time, and I really wasn’t trying to place any pressure on the guy when I sent him the text- “Hey honey, I bought my wedding dress today!” with accompanying photo. But I was nervous when I sent it.

His response said it all.

“You look gorgeous, babe!!!!!”

I didn’t know when or where I would wear the dress. I just knew it fit me too perfectly and was too “me” to pass up. It sat in the back of my closet for over 6 months. Then, last week, the day came for the Powers of the Dress to shine:

“Jake-tastic-Bakely-boo… when is that Marine Corps Ball?”

“This Saturday.”

Insert My Panicked Expression Here.

Both Jake-leton and I went back to our apartment. I immediately went to my room, tried the dress on to make sure I still fit into it (Maybe it was a glove over half a year ago, but Major Jake-McLovin is a great cook and I’m a BIG fan of his meals). As I went to look in the mirror, I saw my boyfriend, buttoning his Blues, scrutinizing himself in the mirror as well.

“Are we both doing the same thing right now?” He asked, and we laughed. Both of us were concerned about looking Damn Good at this ball. Both of us were concerned that we had waited too long to prepare for it! And both of us knew Jake-on-the-lake was too good a cook for our waistline’s good. We both also noticed that, geez, if/when/(ahhh-it’s-bad-luck-to-talk-about-it) we get married, we’d probably be wearing the same attire we are planning to for the ball.

Amazingly, thankfully, my dress and his uniform fit even better than before. Apparently, Jake-le-cook is good at making delicious-addiction worthy food at a Low-Cal price. If an Umpire could narrate my life, he would have been throwing his arms out, down on one knee declaring the situation, “SAFE!“. *Phew!

So finally, yesterday was the day. Jakey-Puddin-Pie was in the ceremony and had to go in early to practice and set up. This meant I had to arrive at the ball unescorted: Me, myself, and I. I was nervous! I didn’t really know anyone going to the ball. But I loved the idea of Jakely-bibbly-boo getting to see the Big Reveal of my completed ball look as I walk down the hallway toward him.

15 14

I arrived. And had no idea where I was going. Three events were taking place at the Convention Center that night, and I didn’t know where to go. Luckily, every Marine was dressed in their Blues, and so all I had to do was find a military man and tail him.

The women were gorgeous! Everyone went all out because it was a black-tie Gala event! I wanted to go up to everyone and tell them how beautiful they looked. They were so kind too. When I first arrived in the Convention Center, many women in long gowns were standing around drinking wine.

“Is this where the Marine Corp Ball is?”

One woman graciously took me under her wing and showed me the way. She asked where my Bakey-boo was and I told her he was in the ceremony. She made sure I got a drink while I waited and I was able to have company until he could meet me. It was very sweet and I’m so glad she spent time with me! Feeling cared for led me to reach out to all the other ladies there, strike up conversation, and make them feel as welcomed as I felt.

Jakely-biddly-boo-bear tapped me on the shoulder, and there he was! All crisp and clean in his majestic uniform.

Mmm… uniform.

The night was awesome. I met his friends, a few of which I had met in the past. We ate great food, Jakey-Fuzzily-Wuzzily attempted to salsa, and oh! A Master Sergeant playfully (though I’m pretty sure legitimately) tried to fight me. I think the heels I wore intimidated him. The dancing was my favorite part. Jakeley-Wakertons was really nervous about the ceremony, and as soon as it was over and he could let loose, he really busted a move on the dance floor. They played a lot of 1940’s/50’s music and we felt like we were back in a different era– we were both certainly dressed the part. I was the Prettiest Girl at the Ball. Well, ok, that’s what Jake told me at least. I know he’s biased, but I felt pretty damn special hearing it. And he looked so handsome

So I had a great time at the ball, some would say I had a …. BALL! Hah! Get it?

And this is yet another magical evening Jaker-Bakerson and I can reminisce about when we’re old, grey, and sitting in comfy chairs next to each other. I can see it now: I probably started the day off pointing out how messy the table is after he left all his stuff on it. He’d counter that I left all the lights on before we left for breakfast earlier that morning. I’d try to convince him to walk the dog and he’d begrudgingly do it, using the Lord’s name in vain under his breath, maybe tripping slightly on the carpet as he reaches for the leash. His stumble would remind me of the time he tried to master the Salsa that one year at the Marine Corps Ball and I’d laugh. He’d look at me like I was making fun of him for some reason, but in reality I just remembered how much I love him, and how trivial a messy table is in the big scheme of things.

16

“She is Me”

2007

2007

I took the job.

Ridiculously happy? Me? Ermmm YEAH!!! This new job solves so many problems in my life! Moolah! Opportunity for leadership! Creative development! It opens up a world of possibility! But man, is this a transition period. Following that pure joy comes realization of things I must leave behind. I did not comprehend how hard it would be to leave my current job. I have grown very fond of the atmosphere, positive music, encouraging bosses and fellow employees. My friends are there, mentors in life! And I fear that sense of loneliness as I part ways with them.

Yes, I will make new friends.

Yes, I will find other mentors.

Yes this job is a leadership position, with new opportunities- and yes! That can be scary.

This is all a good thing.

I am ready for this opportunity. I am hungry for it, even! I have realized the strength within me, my capabilities, and I know I can rock the socks off this new job. I believe in karma, and for years I thought I was being punished for choices I had made, actually a negative attitude I had trouble letting go of. But now I realize that I was doing it to myself. As my mom used to tell me (ok, yeah, pretty often) “Susie, you’re cutting off your nose to spite your face!” I was my own worst enemy. I was terrified, fighting for survival. There was no need for that; I was alive, I was capable of happiness and love. I created my own suffering. I was punishing myself, thinking myself small, weak. This perspective was self-fulfilling. I think therefore I am (err, was!)

But giirrrrllllllllLLLL, look at you now! And most importantly, look at the people in your life that stood by you as you found your way.

Gratitude.

Recently, it was Appreciate yo’ awesome Bosses day! At the retail job I work at, a customer was buying a gift for her boss and informed me of this. I knew it was a perfect opportunity to show my bosses, mentors, friends how I felt about them and how much I appreciated their patience, kindness, and support. It was even more apparent I should do something for them because now The End was in sight! How I would miss them! How they have helped me get to where I am going now! I am overflowing with gratitude.

So, I bought them gifts. I took the time to write letters to them, letting them know how their leadership affected me. I wrapped their gifts, folded their letters, all with love. I took my time.

I never really did that before. I never really put effort into wrapping a gift “What’s the point? They’ll just rip it open! Neglect the wrapping!” But at my sister’s baby shower, I saw a woman make a Tricycle out of baby supplies and it made me rethink that belief.

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Oh, wait… that’s creative! Time was put into that! I was so impressed!!

So what if I approached things differently? I knew I wanted to be more open with friends, family, hell– even strangers!– About the light I see within them. I wanted to encourage and support others as I have been encouraged and supported. Talking can be challenging for me, I get self-conscious, pull inward. However, writing and creating have always been my best forms of communicating. And what’s nifty is a creation hangs around, tangible, recorded. Spoken words can be floating, lost, forgotten, jumbled around by faulty neurotransmitters.

4

Taking the time to take the time for others really made me feel good (and it’s all about me, right?). Writing those letters really solidified my future for me too. I’m moving on to a bigger job, more responsibility, and without my last job I would have never been prepared to take this on. I am forever grateful for that experience, for those friends. I learned how to treat everybody with kindness, patience, because I witnessed others doing just that.

Gabrielle Bernstein once mentioned a thought her inner voice mentioned to her. She was upset, taking her anger out on a poor worker behind a desk. She was mad at the situation, not the worker and suddenly she had the thought:

She is me

She instantly pulled back her anger, apologized, realized it was misplaced aggression and voiced her fears. This vulnerability, honesty, broke down the wall that her fear and anger were creating. The result? They both relaxed, were able to open up to each other, and create a harmonious interaction, even making a new friend!

I wrote that phrase down as soon as I heard it. It’s GOLD! Often we can place ourselves higher than others, or the opposite by putting people on pedestals. Each time we do this, we fail to see that person as equal, one of us. She is me. He is me!

The day after I heard these wise words, I applied it to my job. Each customer who came up to ring out, I practiced letting my guard down, placed my judgement of whatever they were wearing, or whatever look they had on their face aside, and did me. “She is me. I am talking to me.” I knew, on the flip side, I would have appreciated a genuine interaction with a sales associate. I am quirky, fidgety, I hum a lot! I used to view these traits as “abnormal‘ appropriate for scrutiny, but in reality, it’s just me! It gives me joy to hum, gives me joy to dance around, tap my fingers. If I can share my joy openly, that shit is usually contagious! I told myself each customer who came my way had that same joy, that same desire to dance and sing! They get it! And I Tore Down That Wall, released that leash!

And it was one of thee best day‘s I’ve had to date.

Not only did it help the other person relax, open up, tear down their walls– but it released my social anxiety. I was being me, and I was reaping the benefits! Learning about others, hearing their stories propels me, motivates me! If I clam up, censor myself and my feelings, I lose that opportunity to be inspired by the fascinating lives around me.

And who wants that?

Doorways and Windows

Should I? Or shouldn't I? Can I peek first?

Should I? Or shouldn’t I? Can I peek first?

No one said life was easy

Actually, I’m pretty sure the majority of those you ask say it’s pretty. Damn. Difficult. We are bombarded with decisions to make. Some are tiny, fleeting; one’s you don’t even really feel like you need to waste time distinguishing from subconscious motions. Others are pounding you in the skull, demanding every last ounce of your concentration and effort.

I use my art as a way to work through these problems. Recently, a big, life-altering choice came my way. Should I stay, or should I (metaphorically) go?

A job offer! A job offer? Right as I begin my journey as a small-business owner?

Do I see this opportunity, acknowledge it and then proceed with the way I was already heading in my life? Or do I jump on this, throw myself into a new journey?

I mean, it’s all the same journey: Mine. How will I write my story?

For now I don’t know. But I do know one thing:

I gotta create. I need to self-reflect, possibly a pros and cons list, definitely some emotional action painting, and perhaps a song on the ole’ uke.

And yes- windows.

If I can take a peek, glimpse through the stain-glass, perhaps I can get a better idea of what’s beyond that door without flinging it wide open, walking through, and having it shut behind me. I mean, what if it locks on the close? What if I can never go back?

What if.

And when does questioning your next move become too analytical? At what moment do you lose the bigger picture, nit-picking the fine details of an opportunity?

Yeah,

No one said it was easy.

And hey,

This might not be an “end” with a “new beginning.”

This may just be a sliding door. Maybe I leave it slightly open, big enough for the cat to get in and out? Maybe I can do both. Maybe this opportunity is just another step to lead me to being a better business owner? Maybe I learn the ins and outs of a successful business, build my financial independence, and meanwhile meet more amazing people along the way?

Maybe

Probably

I guess we’ll see