Mary

With the wind at your back

ian-keefe-304713

Photo by Ian Keefe on Unsplash

 

Do you ever have those days where you look at your to-do list and your whole being just yells no?

“#1: No….#2: Noooo….#3: That’s a no…#4: HELL NO….#5: Not today cuz no….”

I have those days, a LOT. I have days where I can barely do anything productive at all, and days where I have just enough energy to do the bare minimum, or days when certain categories seem fine but others not – so I’ll clean my entire house but won’t be able to look at the emails I have to reply to.

Some days I’m fine with this, with no guilt whatsoever. But most of the time I’ll have to wrestle with at least some guilt or frustration that I can’t just muster up the mojo to get all the things done. Especially when I have a few days like these in a row – I start to think “all this will never get done in time – I’ll never ever get to these gross things on my to-do list, ever”.

My first reaction is to try and force myself to do it. Sometimes a little bargaining works – “just do this one small thing AT LEAST – then you can at least say you did SOMETHING today”. But sometimes my desire to ignore my to-do list is like an elephant, and I’m trying to just pick up one leg and move it an inch forward with no luck.

Then my whole day is about this battle, and how I’m failing, and I’m such a lazy person, etc. etc.

But, around this time last year, I started making a big effort to cut out the guilt. And it’s been working out great. I still have to take a moment and talk myself through it, but I am so much better at letting things like this go now. I also trust more in a pattern I know that I have – where I can put things off for a long time, to a point where it seems like disaster is just around the corner, but then have one super productive day and wipe it all out in one sitting.

My sister and I have tried to remind each other of this cycle over the years – we’ll call the other person and we’ll be convinced that this is our life now and we’ll never get anything done ever again. The other will bring up how we always come through eventually with a super productive streak, and there is just no use in worrying. Thank god for sisters.

We’ve both gotten better at trusting this cycle, but we’ve never had a name for it. Then the other day Mary goes “I just have to wait for the wind to be at my back, yunno?”

It was the perfect way to describe it. Everyone is different, but I know that for us, we will just make ourselves miserable if we try to do things before we are ready. Of course we can meet deadlines and all that, but when it comes to that boring adulting stuff, or work stuff that doesn’t have a deadline but you want off your list, etc. – if we try to get all that done on a day where it feels like a battle, then we’re just wasting a day. Our bodies and minds are telling us it needs to rest, even if it seems to make no sense to us. Regardless of the reason, it’s best to (as my sister said) “just chill in the boat and have a margarita”. When the wind comes back, things will be SO much easier, and you’ll go so much farther with a lot less effort than if you tried to move yesterday.

And isn’t that just more efficient? I know that eventually I will have one of those days where I wake up just READY to kick some ass. And I always surprise myself on those days with how much I can get done and how many names I can take.

Today is not one of those days. But today, I’m trusting what my past has proved to me – that eventually I WILL make those doctor appointments, or write that blog post, or finally clean the shower… No use in trying to move mountains when it will just make me cranky.

Wanna have a margarita with me while I wait?

 

 

…and then she proposed…

I was watching TV, annoyed that I had to sit through commercials – because what is this, the 90s? – and a credit card commercial (I think) came on. A young black couple sat in a Chinese food restaurant. She looked nervous. He opened a fortune cookie. It was cute. She proposed. I was like, well that’s badass.

So back before we were ready, I had the idea. Aside from the fact that it would make me feel like a feminist badass, I also thought it would be really nice to take it off of Anthony’s shoulders. He stresses out A LOT about giving gifts every year for birthdays or Christmas – they have to be absolutely PERFECT. I knew that this would be so much pressure on him – so why not take it on myself?

Then one day, we talked about having kids. Usually these conversations go a little like this:

Him: Do you want kids?

Me: UGH. NO. I mean, probably. But in like, 10 – no, 20 – years maybe?

Him: Ugh I know right? We’ll probably have them, but I can’t imagine having them…

Me: Let’s stop talking about this.

Him: K!

But this time, he was like “Ya, I want kids.” And I was like “Ya, me too.” Then I realized we needed to get the show on the road and told him I wanted to be married for a few years before it all goes down. And we had this moment, celebrating our 4 year anniversary in Pismo Beach, where we were like – “Holy shit. We’re gonna get engaged soon.”

This happened in March. We both thought, without telling each other, that it would probably be sometime this summer. During our conversation in Pismo I threw out the idea of me proposing to make sure he didn’t react in a random way – of course he just shrugged, and apparently told people it was a toss up over who would propose first.

Which, by the way, I just LOVE. So much more exciting, in my mind.

So a couple weeks later, I’m hanging out with my sister and some friends and talking about what I would want to do. When I thought of what Anthony would want, I immediately thought of his family. He would want them involved somehow. So I thought maybe I could have them come out and surprise him over the summer. Then I realized they were already coming out for a show of his in late April. My sister was like, “Just do it then.” I was like “Ummdkajfhweihgwirjglkwgjm;wldg huh?”

But that made the most sense. It was SO fast, but also – what are we waiting for? And I’m soooo glad I didn’t plan something farther out because it is SO hard to keep that shit a secret – I just wanted to get it over with!

So I made a plan – then called his mom, his dad and sister, and my mom. They were all thrilled and we made a plan for the parents to come to Santa Barbara the day after the show. It was a really emotional day, actually – talking to everyone about it and planning it and having it become real – no going back after that.

There were a lot of logistical issues, some I won’t bore you with, others I’ll mention because they might be helpful to someone who might be thinking of doing the same thing. But I have to say, with all of the complexities and planning and things that could of gone wrong (even though the proposal was so simple!) – I was SO damn lucky. Fate LOVED me the whole time.

So one issue was his ring. I wanted something shiny to hold up when I got down on one knee (I wanted to do the whole thang ya’ll). But I didn’t know his ring size, and I didn’t know what kind of ring he would like. I googled the first issue – and let me tell you, the internet doesn’t talk much about chicks proposing. Except this one study that said it’s a BAD IDEA AND DON’T DO IT. Anyways, people were like, “measure his finger while he’s sleeping!” or “go to a jeweler and joke around and have him try on some!” – those weren’t going to work without completely giving away the surprise.

So – I just made a call. I picked one that I thought would look beautiful on him, and picked the size of my friend’s husband’s ring. It was $20, so no big deal if it didn’t even fit on his finger.

Fast forward to the day of. I had been SO good you guys. Usually I tell people I meet in the bathroom line what’s going on in my personal life, but I had kept this a secret from all of our friends, save a couple of mine who live far away. YAY ME. I also wasn’t acting like a total crazy person, even though I was SO nervous the entire afternoon leading up to it.

I suggested that we head to the beach early to take some pictures and watch the sunset before meeting his parents for dinner. And my guy is so sweet. He was like, “Okay, I guess I’ll need to look nice then.” When I suggested that I drive instead of taking the usual Lyft (so I could make a detour to the proposal spot) he kept asking why, since parking at the restaurant/beach was so insane. I just said because, and he just let it go and let me do whatever I wanted. I love this man.

I realized we had to get gas and nervously texted my sister who was hiding at the proposal spot, camera ready. I felt like I could probably barf on my shoes. I’m getting nervous even thinking about it now! As we drove, he loudly rapped Kendrick Lamar lyrics and thought it was a great idea when I suggested (totally casually) that we stop by that lookout point he had taken me to years ago, above the beach on the cliff. Apparently that was not my smoothest moment and he started to think something was up. It didn’t help things when he asked me what we should listen to and I suggested our song. But I knew he would love that so it was worth it.

The sun was golden and perfect and Santa Barbara was looking its very best that evening. I pulled over at the lookout spot and nervously grabbed the ring out of my purse, putting it on my finger and hiding it from him as we walked to the cliff edge. I was totally shaking at this point, wanting so badly to just rip the band-aid off.

I (think I) told him that I was so glad he moved here and that we met in such a beautiful place, and that I was so happy and proud of the little life we made together. I (think I) told him that I usually get scared of big things like kids and marriage, but he makes it all seem doable, and better yet, fun. That I have a hard time trusting and being vulnerable but he makes it easy, and better yet, the most rewarding thing in the world. I wanted to spend the rest of my life having as much fun as I’ve had in the last four years. And then I knelt down and held up the ring, and said “Will you marry me?” (I think – I was so nervous I may have blacked out a little).

He was immediately on the ground with me, all reassurance and love and happiness. I was shaking and we stood up and I hugged him and just shook and sort of sobbed? But not really crying yet, just shaking and electricity and relief and vulnerability literally pulsing through me. I just held onto him and was so glad it was over.

original_url: 2B1D3122-5325-42AA-8814-759A18ED32A1

He said I was really cute and that this was perfect and then said “Are we the most subversive couple or WHAT?!” and we high-fived. Then I told him I didn’t even know what I just said because I was so nervous – and then proceeded to tell him everything I WANTED to say, but maybe forgot to say?
He said, “Ya, you already said that, baby.”

So yay me, I guess?

By the way, the ring fit, and he loved it.

original_url: FA7DC7C3-9234-4C82-926E-74C65127CB9B
original_url: 7B20C2E6-27DC-4696-9124-616AA437C7A6
original_url: 217DFBF1-7F2C-45E8-81AD-872E2D501913

My sister came strolling up – “I just happened to be in the neighborhood!” – and gave him sour skittles. Then she took some pictures of us right after, and we all headed to dinner. We were early, because apparently proposing is so uncomfortable that I do it in lightning speed. And I could hardly talk to anyone for about 10 minutes as my body recovered from what apparently was quite the physical as well as emotional ordeal. Once I had champagne, and realized it was over and I could just relax, I came back to life.

My parents also came to dinner, and we had such a special night. My mom gave me her mother’s wedding band, which was so special for so many reasons – I might do a separate post explaining that – but we were all crying and the night was even more amazing than I could have imagined. Anthony’s sister FaceTimed with us and sent a gift ahead of time, and our parents bought dinner and champagne – it was the best time ever.

2017-05-30_16-07-15

We got home to our apartment and talked about the whole thing, staring at our rings. We texted friends. I said I was surprised he didn’t cry more when I proposed – I was expecting a lot more water works from him. Although, he did cry when I said I knew he would want his parents there to celebrate with us. And after a couple beers, and putting on the playlist we used to listen to when we were first dating, it happened – he started crying and it all hit him – and I was like YESSSS! I won’t be the only one with a crazy emotional roller coaster happening tonight!

It was truly the best night ever. I can’t believe how easy he makes things. How the hard things are rewarding with him. How everything seems to be exactly the way it should be – but even better. I get to be with my best friend, and laugh my ass off everyday that I’m with him. I couldn’t be luckier.

original_url: 050234D6-9850-4B10-A0B2-83A4E282E456

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How will we fight

15094828_1173179019437126_4007271348657377521_n

So I’m going to be honest with you. Election night for me went a little bit like this – I got drunk and cried at a bar with a bunch of friends, emailed saying I wasn’t coming into work the next day, and proceeded to have a pity party for myself and how this result was going to affect my white privileged life. Not my most shining moment, but it was real. I feel like I felt my feelings and that’s okay.

The next day (after I slept off my hangover) I went into self-care mode. Watched the series finale of Buffy (helpful inspiration – we will triumph over evil again and again, etc – and I am in desperate need of a pep talk by Joss Whedon btw), hardly went on Facebook, took a walk and called my mom and asked what she did when things were this bad – the civil rights era? The Bush era? What should we do?

What should we do? That was all I kept thinking. I was sober and ready to think of the more important problems – how we will protect people of color, Muslims, immigrants, LGBTQ+ communities…

I kept saying to myself: “This is only day 1.”

“This is only day 4.”

“This is only day 10.”

We will strategize, organize, talk to each other, try things and try other things instead – we will figure out the best way to fight for our values and we will do it for as long as we need to.

My mom said she wants Trump to hear an enormous outcry every time he does something that goes against our values, and I agree. I want to flood the right places with calls. I want to have huge marches. I want to give them hell.

But it is only the beginning. For now, I am looking for sustainable ways to incorporate fighting back and engaging in my community into my life, and learning about what works, how I can play on my strengths, and how to use my family and friends as resources.

At the end of week 2 of this weird apocalyptic reality we’ve been handed, here’s what I’ve come up with:

Green Initiatives 

For my personal cabinet for the next four years, I have appointed my BFF Emily as my Chief Green Initiatives Commissioner & Hippie Consultant. She has done hours and hours of research on all things green and environmentally friendly. I call her whenever I need to check what’s killing me in my house: “Is soy still a thing? I heard that candles are bad now? What should I clean my sink with?” I love having her on speed dial – she is all-knowing and wise.

I’ve already been using cloth napkins and coconut oil for a while now, and switched to a menstrual cup a couple years back to cut back on waste. I’ve also wrapped my Christmas gifts in brown paper bags, and plan on doing so again this year. But I wanted to take more steps since Trump doesn’t believe global warming is a thing and will fuck up our progress on trying to save the planet.

So far, I have switched over to 100% renewable energy for our apartment. It was only going to be a couple of extra bucks a month, and now we are supporting clean energy just from a couple clicks on our energy provider’s website. Take a look at the website of your provider and see if they have a renewable energy program – it literally took me 2 minutes to make the change, and it’s something that could make a big difference if more people join in.

Here’s my list for the other things I want to do to do my part:

  • Make my own household cleaners
  • Get refillable containers and get common items in bulk to reduce package waste
  • Switch to beeswax candles (nontoxic and purifies the air!)
  • Use essential oils + coconut oil instead of scented wax for my wax melt air freshener
  • Watch Before the Flood

Have more ideas? Tell me in the comments!

Get Involved

In addition to Emily, I have added a couple of friends and my sister to my Bad Ass Bitches Feminist Collective Committee. Texting, ranting over drinks, sharing articles – they are my powerful tribe of intelligent AF and brave women who inspire me to do more in the world. With ideas from them and encouragement, here is what I have tried so far to be more involved in my community.

I attended a peaceful protest in my city and marched to protest hate and promote diversity and love. I follow a local group that organizes these events on social media, and I’m hoping to attend more. There is a women’s march in LA in January that I also want to attend. I believe protesting is helpful and meaningful, and found this article to be helpful in explaining that position, in case you’re interested.

I also found this app that compiles locations of safe and/or unisex restrooms for trans, intersex, and gender nonconforming individuals – add bathrooms in your area when you see them so people can pee where they feel safe!

I’ve also called my local representative for the first time in my life, and I’m going to make it a habit. The staffer was so so nice, and I want to just keep the pressure on for my reps to take a vocal stand against all of the very wrong things that are already happening in our government.

I sent an email today to my loved ones that may be shopping for Christmas soon, and asked that they consider using the money they might spend on me to instead donate to organizations I care about (I included links to Black Lives Matter, my local NPR station, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and my local LGBTQ+ organization). I’m not sure how I will donate yet and where, since money is a little tight, so I felt like that was something I could do in the meantime.

Next on the list:

  • Find the best ways to keep track of local town hall meetings and other events
  • Gather ideas of sustainable ways I can help local organizations further their causes
  • Find good sources for local government news to stay informed

What have you found that’s effective when engaging locally?

Don’t back down

The biggest urge I had on election night was to not listen to the news for four years. The idea that I’ll have to listen to that man’s voice, as the representative of the voice of our country… I just couldn’t. I wanted to hide. I couldn’t imagine getting more bad news day after day, hearing him spew hate and being allowed to do it while holding the highest office in our country.

But that would be the most privileged and unhelpful thing I could do. I would be trying desperately to ignore the things I am lucky enough to have the option to ignore, and try to force this new fucked up arena into the “normal life” category. Nope. We have to stay informed. We have to stay angry. That’s what will fuel us. We can’t hide for four years, or move to Canada, or try to get California to secede – those things aren’t helpful. We need to stay and fight for those who need our help and protection.

It’s going to suck. But not as much as it will suck for our LGBTQ+, POC, and Muslim neighbors. We need to fight as hard as we can for them – this is our mess, and we need to clean it up and stand up with the resources we are lucky enough to have.

So that’s what I will try and do. And I don’t want this post to come off as self-congratulatory – I really just want to share ideas. What has worked for you? What have you tried that actually doesn’t work? What do you think I can do to help more?

Here is another helpful list of things we can do to help if you want more!

We need to keep talking, keep reminding ourselves that this isn’t normal, and keep the fire to fight stoked and ready. I’m loving all the thoughtful conversations on social media and off and I know we can all come together to do something to help.

<3

 

 

Twenty Seven

On Sunday I turned twenty seven. It sounds very grown up. Anthony made me dinner on Friday night and we went out drinking – Saturday we had a party at our house with a bunch of friends, a lot who I see rarely or who came in from out of town. Sunday my sister came into town for brunch, shopping, a movie, and dinner. She took this snapshot of us, which was such a perfect slice of my life right now to remember this year by:

IMG_7071

Photo by Two Happy Lambs Photography

Some things that I wanted to remember about my life when I turned 27:

  • I just bought a new car, for the first time ever. A 2013 Toyota Corolla named Yoncé. Anthony calls her Mrs. CARter. I feel very grown up after doing that. Automatic locks, windows, keyless entry, talking on my phone THROUGH my car – it’s all very fancy and new to me.
  • I’ve been at my job for over a year, and I’ve had a pay raise and a fun business trip this year. I love it and I’m hoping to stay for a long time. I’m so ready for a real career that I am challenged by and makes the days go by fast. I feel appreciated and fulfilled, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.
  • Anthony and I have been living together for over a year now. It has flown by, and is the easiest, most enjoyable, fun thing ever. We live in a one-bedroom apartment and pay way too much rent, but we live near downtown and in walking distance from our favorite place. It has been extra hot this summer with no AC, we are doing laundry at my sister’s house every chance we get, and we really want a dog but aren’t allowed…but other than that we love our apartment to death. We do “urban hikes” through the neighborhoods in the mountains above the Santa Barbara mission on the weekends and I love the view of the mountains from our lawn. I don’t know how long we’ll stay, but it’s looking like quite a while, if we can.
  • When I turned 26, I started working out consistently for the first time ever. Now I go to the gym twice a week, and I’m trying to get it up to three. But I achieved my goal of getting to a point where I wanted to work out twice a week and making it part of my routine. I can feel the positive effects it has on my mood and how my body feels – I’m hoping to fine-tune my workout to maximize its effect and get more confident with trying new things in the gym.
  • This year I also took over the blog on my own! I love this blog, not only because I can use it as a creative outlet, but it is also a substitute for the journaling I used to do when I was younger. I am thrilled that people are reading and absolutely LOVE when people mention that they are a reader – it usually completely surprises me. Can’t wait to see where it takes me this coming year!

<3

 

 

 

1 2 3 5

%d bloggers like this: