Categories
authenticity self discovery

Vanilla

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Nine years ago, I worked at a software company in San Francisco.

I got the job through a temp agency and quickly converted to a full time role I probably didn’t deserve.  Being an office manager wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, but I did enjoy spending my time blogging, writing Yelp reviews (I had just become “Elite”), and gossiping with my friend Sonny about my dating and drinking life.

I lived for going out, meeting new people, networking, and documenting my adventures on the internet.  I used Blogspot at the time, and I thought my mishaps were of the genius variety.  I was certain there was more for me than a job at a front desk in SOMA, but I wasn’t quite sure how to get there.

So I went out.  A lot.

RIP to The Lion Pub

To fill the work day, I obviously needed a work crush.  When you’re 25, what job is complete without a work crush as a distraction?  I vividly remember the cottonmouth feeling of arriving on Bagel Wednesday after a long night out in the marina with my friend Mary, sweating out vodka and maybe even tacos, preparing the breakfast delivery for a team of data security engineers and executives.  I’d toast a bagel for myself, feeling partially sick as I swallowed my coffee, only to see him walk into the office kitchen.

I immediately became much too chatty, telling him all about my escapades and hinting at inviting him out with us.  He was a gentleman- a Kennedy type from Austin with an MBA- and I was certain he would see past my childish antics, realizing I was a serious writer and potential rising entrepreneur.  I mean, didn’t he see my Yelp reviews?

Nevertheless, I would go back to my desk, and Sonny would swing by and cheer me up.  He, on the other hand, adored my drunken tales of Chestnut and Fillmore Street, Taco Tuesday at the Bluelight, and which Ivy League school my latest conquest was from.

“You have special powers,” he would say.  “Men love you.”  I was extremely pleased to hear this from a 40-something gay man.

“So why doesn’t he come out with me?”  I asked Sonny.  He just smiled.

“He’s far too vanilla for you.”

I had never heard this before.

2010 was the last year I thought my reckless drinking and behavior was somewhat normal.  I was also in deep denial.  However, Sonny’s comment struck a chord.

I may have entered the decade thinking there was something wrong with me; and there was. Obviously, the Kennedy-esque work crush wasn’t interested in a hard partying 25 year old.  Nevertheless, thanks to Sonny, I discovered that maybe he wasn’t what I wanted, either.

I may not drink or go out looking for men these days, but I will never lose my quirks.  They’re what makes me me. 

I entered the decade thinking I needed to change for other people, but I’m leaving it knowing that the only person I needed to change for was myself- and no matter what I became, vanilla wasn’t meant for me.

I am definitely more of the Superman or Neapolitan variety.

Categories
authenticity mindfulness self care self discovery spirituality

Take Time To Yourself While You Can

There’s no “finish line” of life.

Sure, life will come to an end at some point, but we never know where our journey will lead.

We don’t run the show as hard as we may try.  We can’t finagle our own little plans and designs to go our way, because the Universe already knows where we belong- and when pieces will fall into place.

While sitting at my favorite cafe, Brew, I chatted with one of my dearest friends who I met in 7th grade.  Both bullied, we bonded over the years due to our struggles and strength.  Today, she’s married with two kids, a house, and a lot of responsibility.

“Take time to yourself while you can,” she told me.

“I tell my sister the same thing.”  Her sister, also a friend of mine, is beautiful, strong, and sophisticated- and single.

Lately I have been feeling lonely (obviously- I left Boston to return to my hometown), thinking I want a partner.  I have been thinking about all the guys I have met, wondering why they didn’t choose me- and why people I know have partnered up and I haven’t.

Then, I realized:

I’m not quite ready.

Loving myself, spending time with friends, and embracing my family is where I am at now.  I’m becoming the most authentic version of myself that I can be, and I am no longer willing to let someone try and change me.

When he comes along, he will come along- and he will be strong. He will love me for me. He will encourage me to be thrive.  He will be ready for me, too.

But for now, I’m taking time to myself while I can.

Categories
mindfulness self discovery

You Can Keep Your Opinion

I’m continuously baffled by the things that come out of other people’s mouths.

You can keep your opinion, but I don’t need it.

I’m talking about the small, petty things- things that are meant to critique others, bring them down, or to question themselves.  I won’t get too deep, but I’ll give a few examples that I heard in the past week:

“You should grow your hair out.”

“You should go without makeup.”

“You should wear more color.”

You know what I have to say?

“You need to stop shoulding on me.”

I struggle to recall times I’ve given such annoying suggestions to people.  I’ve never urged someone to change their style or to do something different with their appearance.  It’s just petty and, quite frankly, mean.

If people try and change the person you love (YOU!) then I would begin to question the people you surround yourself with.  My real friends like me for me- and those people love me for my black wardrobe, blonde bob, and pink lipstick.

Categories
mindfulness self discovery

Strong Enough To Embrace The Flaws

While living in New York I had a hasty breakup with a filmmaker who lived in the East Village.  After a few months of dating, he told me I was “nothing but trouble and problems,” only to say how lucky he was that I “graced his presence,” and that he was “undeserving” of my company.

This left me stumped.  After the alcohol-infused argument, we never spoke again.

Today I realize he did me a favor on that December night of 2015.

I was pretty distraught with the breakup despite how he treated me.  I thought it was all my fault.  Then, knowing me all too well, my college friend Nessie sent me an article with a title so true, yet so hard to fathom, that I was finally able to move forward:

You Don’t Need A Man, You Need a Goddamn Warrior.

A warrior?  This never phased me.  I had just thought I was “too much.”

For the past few years I’ve been unapologetically uninterested in commitment.  I’ve seen what is out there, and I’ve worn my own shield of protection to fend off unwanted attention.

However, not everyone is going to try to go to war with me- maybe, just maybe, there’s someone out there who’s strong enough to love my quirks and see the beauty in my imperfections.

For a long time I was scared to share my truth with others- so I tried to act or be a chameleon.  This never failed to backfire, leaving me in a worse position than if I would have been honest upfront.  Yes, I have been wounded, but my struggles have brought me strength.

Today, I won’t settle for anything but a warrior.

Categories
mental health mindfulness

Sunday Self Care: The Importance of Taking a Mental Health Day

We are a society always on the move.

We go to work, fill our schedules, and tend to the everyday tasks required to be productive and responsible people. More often than not, “self care” isn’t on those to-do lists.

Today, self care is #1 on my list.

It’s Sunday, and my alarm went off at 7AM. As I heard rain falling outside my window, I began resenting the things I had planned for the morning. I couldn’t remember the last day I got to spend simply caring for myself. I looked around my room and spotted the book I was reading and thought, “wouldn’t it be nice to just stay home to read and journal all day?”

So that’s what I’m going to do.

It’s important to stop and pause when we begin to feel restless or irritable. The two questions you need to ask yourself are:

Why am I feeling this way?

What have I done to care for myself?

You’ll probably find a correlation between the two answers; and it’s likely you’re caring for others better than you’re caring for yourself, whether it’s your family, your job, or other responsibilities. When your intuition tells you it’s okay to just stay home, say no, or relax, listen to your inner voice. It’s a gentle tap on the shoulder to remind yourself that it’s okay to sit still and take a break.

Self care Sunday is a perfect way to reset for the new week and to recharge your batteries. Whether you choose to do some yoga, enjoy a long meditation, enjoy a sea salt bath, or go for a walk in the park, these moments to yourself are crucial to living a happy, balanced life.

You’re the only one who truly knows what you need, so I hope you can take some time out for self care today, too.