A playlist for 2019

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I don’t wanna brag, but I have epically bad taste in music.

Well, maybe not quite that terrible. But … close.

Honestly, some of what I love is downright awful. But I’m alright with that. The thing is music moves me. Inspires me. Punches me in the gut when I need to be emotional and kicks me in the ass when I need some motivation. Add to that I LOVE to sing, so yeah, I’m a music lover with shitty taste in music.

Why do I think that? Well, I do have some music aficionado friends and anytime they post a list of their all-time favorite bands, about half of them I have to google. The other half I’ve heard of but just never took the time to listen to.

There are no Smiths on my iTunes playlist, no Cure, no Strokes, only one Stones song …. but there is an embarrassing amount of Taylor Swift and Britney Spears.

And I’ll confess this right here, right now – I know only a handful of Beatles songs.

Now music appreciation is subjective, but the truth is I don’t get into bands that way.  Well, with the exception of the Dave Matthews Band and YES, I can hear you groaning with disgust from here (I’m groaning a little myself). But it’s not entirely my fault – I was raised southern baptist in a small town in East Texas so for the longest time the only music I listened to was gospel or country. And when I started listening to (gasp) ‘secular’ music, it was mostly what I could listen to on the radio.

I choose my music based on gut feelings. I get into a particular song in a particular moment and it will move me and then that’s that. I love the band and I don’t care if it’s shameful or childish or auto-tuned or universally considered the worst song (or band) in the world. If it moves me, makes me wanna dance, makes me wanna cry or leaves me thinking about my life in a new way, I love it and will belt it out proudly.

2018 was a good but tough year in some ways. There was a lot of growth mixed with a lot of joy and some considerable pain. Ash and I recently dedicated our year 2019 to the word ‘Fuck’. It’s our mantra, our anthem, our battle cry and quite frankly, a big part of our belief system. Instead of resolutions, we set our intention for this year – the year of ‘fuck this’ and ‘fuck that’.

In addition, I recently decided I want to set a playlist for 2019. Something I will add to as I run across songs that seem to fit. Basically, I want a set of songs that move me, inspire me, make me wanna dance or sing or shout. Songs that fit ME and songs that help me set a clear vision for what I want this year. You know, kinda like your workout playlist … only with slightly fewer rap songs or AC/DC.

The music to motivate me – creatively, physically, emotionally – when I’m not feeling very motivated at all.

So here’s my work-in-progress, very brief 2019 playlist, in no particular order.

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LATE: a story about alcohol, adulting and a happy ending

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My god, I am too old for this shit…, I thought as I stared at my red, splotchy face in the bathroom mirror.

It was then that I noticed one of my fake eyelashes from the night before had made it’s way to the center of my forehead and was now stuck.

Perfect.

I was still in my fancy black dress and sweater too. Apparently I had come home after a night of dancing and drinking, scarfed down two lean cuisine meals and then promptly passed out fully clothed on top of my comforter. With all the lights in the house still on.

I was hurting. I was sleep-deprived. I was going to be late for work.

I’m 36. I’m too old for this shit.

Or … am I?

This is the question I ask myself often. I’ve been warring with this idea of what version of an adult I should be at this age for quite some time now. I’m 36, I’ve been married and divorced. I don’t have any kids. I don’t own a house. I’m single. And I enjoy vodka. A lot.

I’ve written about it before, but my timid life as a child in the church was further compounded by an 8-year relationship where I never felt free to grow or discover who I was. After I ended my marriage, my previously sheltered life changed dramatically. I moved to Dallas and started making friends. I found karaoke and dancing and all the bars. And I have loved it.

These last 5 years have been complete freedom and fun. So fun. But also … quite exhausting. Physically and emotionally.

I thought I would’ve been out of this ‘phase’ by now. I figured I would eventually tire of it. Actually, if I’m being completely transparent and honest …  I naively assumed I would’ve met someone by now. I figured on one of these happy nights out I’d see him, across the bar, twinkle in his eye and he’d come over, kiss me and change my life forever. And then my lifestyle would naturally shift to complement his. I figured we’d ‘grow up’ together.

Ugh, I know … how upsettingly old-fashioned of me to wait on a fictitious significant other to inspire change in my life. I’m an independent woman who prides myself on being this way. But still, I’m pretty sure that’s what I’ve been waiting on. The next chapter, the beginning of my future … signified by the person I hope to build a life with.

The happy ending.

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March is for ‘Moving Forward’: Or how I learned to let go in my way

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I’ve always struggled with letting go. It’s a really strange and difficult concept for me. I think partly because it seems like … so sad in a way to me. Rose should’ve NEVER let go of Jack, just saying.

My struggle with this concept of letting go (which incidentally means I also struggle with acceptance, but that’s another post for another day) keeps me holding on to the past well past it’s expiration date. This makes it really hard to live in the present. I end up spending the bulk of my time either reliving the past or trying to envision a brighter future versus just being right where I am in that exact moment. My friends have all noticed this, counselors too. The advice? Let go. Let go of the past. Stay in the present.

But … how?

Seriously.

No one really has an answer for that. It’s unique to everyone I suppose.

Letting go of the emotions attached to a previous experience is especially difficult for me as I am a deeply feeling personality type. This means when I do relive the past, I relive every emotion associated with an experience. If it’s a pleasant one, then that’s great! If it’s a painful one (which, let’s be honest … the painful ones are the ones most people struggle to let go of), I am basically recreating the exact same awful emotions I felt the first time. It’s a cycle of repeated suffering and torture and it’s mostly self-inflicted.

There’s the ick part. The good part is I may have found a way to stop the cycle.

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A love letter to the woman I am now

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The other day I decided to unload all the photos off my iPhone onto my computer because I was running out of space.

After they’d all imported, I started to look back at pics from three and four years ago in my iPhoto library. Photos taken in the year after I left my ex.

It’s strange. In so many ways I felt like the 8 years I spent with Jay were basically … just the same. Day in, day out. It was like for 8 years I stopped … growing. Stopped evolving. Or maybe it was just … slowed? I don’t know. That time in my life feels sluggish and half lived.

But looking back on the images from four years ago, when I finally left, it’s shocking to me. The things I went through, the lessons I learned. So so many in such a short amount of time. And I watched them all unfold again while looking through my pictures. I remembered each moment and what it felt like to be experience these things for the first time.

I looked back at that version of me, all full of hope and excitement and just sheer creative power .. finally feeling like a beautiful, desired woman. But also … if you really looked in her eyes … full of such deep rooted fears and insecurities and self doubt. I wanted to hug her and tell her to hold on, this ‘becoming who you’re meant to be’ is going to be a long, painful, thrilling and heartbreaking process but it will be for your good. I promise.

It’s amazing to me too because at that time, I was in the best shape of my life. My face was thinner, my arms were toned and defined. And yet .. the sad truth is? I have many pics that I took simply to look at the parts of my body I didn’t like and shame myself for them. I have a serious amount of sexy pics too (which I’m glad I took because GD I looked good), but to see me struggle and obsess over that last bit of roundness and softness just breaks my heart. For the girl that I was.

So … as much as this month is dedicated to loving friends and building relationships, I also want to dedicate it to loving myself. To loving the woman I am now.

Because to be the woman I want to be in the future, the woman I KNOW I can be … I need to love all that I was before and all that I am now.

So here goes … I am 35, single and I love myself.

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Experiments in Happiness

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I had ice cream for breakfast recently. (gasp)

Someone left a pint of chocolate ice cream at my house and normally this would throw me into a borderline existential conflict. I would struggle with the decision to either throw the pint out without eating it (because of my never ceasing ‘diet’) … or binge eat it all in one sitting, only to feel great shame and berate myself afterwards, vowing to never eat that crap again.

That morning, after an early workout, I decided to take a different approach. I added a little protein powder and ate a proper serving size. Then threw the rest away. This, for me, was an experiment.

Typically I would feel great remorse even having something sweet AT ALL, let alone for breakfast. I mean I’m still trying to lose 10 pounds which my mind never lets me forget. So how did I feel after? I felt ok. I hadn’t binged, I’d had a proper serving size. I felt … happy.

I’ve written about how my 2017 was a particularly difficult season. I feel like with the turn of the new year, however, that the clouds have finally lifted and are allowing some perspective to shine through.  Along with a very positive, very energetic desire for change. (*Cue angels singing in harmony*)

Though last year was rough, I’m a naturally positive, happy person and I feel like I’m finally shaking off the ashes of the years before and getting super motivated to learn and to conquer the whole wide world. Or at least my own.

First step? I’m starting a year-long Happiness Project.

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Mobs, Magic and Bruno Mars

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I really really really reeeeeaaaalllly want to be in a flash mob.

This revelation came to me the other day while I was at the gym and the Bruno Mars song “Marry You” came on. I hadn’t heard it in a really long time. (Awkward fact: one of the last times I heard it was the night of my surprise bachelorette party.)

That song … well, it’s cheesy but there’s something glittery and giddy and hopelessly romantic about it. It’s about being in the moment. And trusting your gut and heart while simultaneously rebelling against traditional wisdom. It seems magical and wonderful and beautiful to me.

After I heard that song in the gym, I couldn’t get it out of my head. So later I went and tried to look up the music video. I came across one that claimed to be the ‘official music video’ though that seems doubtful. However, in it, there’s a flash mob that performs in the middle of what looks to be a crowded square. At the end of the song/dance one of the dancers proposes to his girlfriend and swoon. How incredibly, dramatically, stupidly romantic.

It was while watching the video and listening to that song that I had a sobering moment. For some reason, I couldn’t feel all the giddy feelings that song used to elicit. I heard the words, even sang them and they made me feel happy on a surface level, but deep down I couldn’t believe them.

I couldn’t swallow the romance. The hope, the fairytale belief … it was gone.

I felt like warning the girl (both the real one in the video and the figurative one the song is written for), ‘hey, it’s likely it’s not going to work out so DON’T go all in’. And it made me sad. Where has my belief gone? Where has my hopelessly romantic heart hidden itself?

I’ve never wanted to be the wounded, guarded girl who is too bruised to believe in fairytales. And it hurt me to realize that somewhere in these last four years and all the heartache it contained, I have become this woman.

Or … have I?

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Rebels and Resolutions

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One of my NY resolutions was to write a blog post every week.

Sigh. I have already failed at this.

It’s not for lack of trying. I’ve been trying to write a New Years resolution/goals post for the past couple of weeks now. Had a few thoughts .. but kept getting sidetracked and distracted and then I’d go back to what I’d written and think, ugh, I don’t wanna finish this.

I’ve always struggled with this part. The discipline part of any personal project. And I recently learned why. And (hopefully) a few tricks for overcoming it.

My best friend has been reading a book called The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin. Basically it breaks down the driving forces behind why we act … and why we DON’T act. We all have a natural way of responding to expectations and we all are motivated to work in different ways. Some are motivated by external forces only (Obligers), some by both external and internal forces (Upholders), some are motivated if they understand the WHY behind a course of action (Questioners) … and some (like me) aren’t motivated by anything.

We’re the Rebels.

Sounds cool, right? Let me assure you, it isn’t.

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