My Intent: “Challenge” Accepted!

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A month or so ago, while reading about Joules’ experience at the BlogHer conference this year, I noticed a fun, customized bracelet she acquired: a simple metal ring with “joules” on it, tied on with a light cord. I just found it so intriguing that she had it made for her there that I had to track it down.

Turns out, the maker of the bracelet, My Intent, is yet another cool organization — like TOMS or Out of Print — that is in existence for more beyond consumers simply buying products. While there is not pay-it-forward quality to My Intent, their aim and goal is to create dialog: everyone has a word or phrase that synopsizes a story, mindset or intention for them. What would happen if you wore that word, almost like your heart on your sleeve? What if everyone could see this engaging, yet subtle, piece and ask you about it? You talk, you share, you connect. And I loved that idea instantly and couldn’t resist.

Within a day of reading through the My Intent site — looking at pictures, reading stories — I had to buy a piece. After thinking long and hard, I decided to opt for “challenge.”

I’m naturally a super quiet, shy person. I can certainly be open and giving in specific circumstances, like at work, but I naturally safeguard myself extensively personally, to the point sometimes of near debilitation. This piece is a reminder to myself to accept challenge in life — to put myself forward, even if it scares the hell of out of me; to take risks, despite that being against my nature; or, simply, to voice my thoughts and opinions to those who oppose, literally to challenge others. This is daily reinforcement to step up and out of my comfort zone, knowing it’ll be scary and wonderful all at once.

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PSA: Wear Sunscreen.

Yesterday, I spent the day with a friend walking around a touristy vacation spot. We got lost and walked for a few hours in the blaring sunlight. I’m now bright red.

When I got home, I thought about this song: how much I loved it at 13-14 years old, and how much wisdom I remembered was packed in this. I just watched it and, well, it didn’t hit me then as much as it does now. As I mentioned in my last post, over the next few months, before I turn 30, I’m planning on addressing some major life problems/goals/dreams that I’d like to change or aspire to. Let’s casually say that this video is a preface to all of those endeavors.

I’ll see you when I’m less lobster-red, folks.

Balancing Act

IMG_2563IMG_2534Dress: Old Navy

Cardigan: Loft

Belt: Target

Shoes: TOMS

Earrings: Old Navy

I was rereading some old posts and noticed how often I mention that my work days are hard or tough or trying in some way. There are few people in the world who can say that their occupations are stressless, worry-free, ideal. While I’m not one obviously, I also don’t want to imply that my professional life is somehow abysmal: in my full-time gig, I’m lucky to work in my favorite little city, learning its ins and outs, and talking to people everyday about it; in my side job, I engage with people at a theatre — a place where they are actively partaking in hours of social make-believe. Considering I’m not-yet-30, I would say those are pretty sweet deals.

That said, here’s the rehearsed line: “yesterday was a hard day.” We had a huge work event in the high heat of August. There were unclear expectations, a lot of problems to resolve on the spot, and some unkind actions. I came home — hot, sticky, tired, achy — took a bath, drank a glass of wine and cried. It was one of the hardest work days I’ve ever experienced.

As I’m about to turn 30, I’ve been thinking of the changes my life should take. (In some weird, macabre way, when I was a child, I never thought I would live to 20, let alone 30, imagining I would die young, tragically, romantically. Too much Poe and Shakespeare for me, I suppose.) I’ve considered the professional, the financial, the familial, the physical; yesterday’s event, though, veered me to the hardest needs and wants, goals and dreams to consider — the emotional, the personal, the intellectual. “What type of person do I want to be?” “What lessons have gone unlearned thusfar?” “How will I be remembered when I’m gone?”

I have an unhealthy work-life balance, as in, there is no balance. I work a lot — for ten months a year, I average 50-60 hour work weeks — and I let everything else slide. Friendships have withered, my exercise routine is null, and I’m left tired and dull feeling so often. That’s not who I want to be, nor is that how I want others to think or remember me, the workhorse with no life. Yesterday truly made me think: is this it? Is this all I have to hold on to — this beat, extinguished feeling? I reflected back to this window when I was 25 when life was perfect: I worked a full-time and a part-time job; ran several times a week; took poetry writing classes; organized a high school reunion with old friends; and courted B by walking around the city. There was hope and happy exhaustion. And that’s want I want again.

While this is mainly a fashion blog, over the next few months, I’me endeavoring to share my “30th birthday resolutions:” the aspirations I’m hoping to incorporate as I close one chapter to open another.

Freaky Friday

It’s noontime and I already feel ready to go back to bed. I’ve got a case of freaky Fridays: that last day of work and stress before some time off on the weekend, and yet…

I tried straightening my hair this morning. And, if you’ve ever seen a photo of my hair, you know it’s kind of a crazy, wavy mess. It has a mind of its own. I don’t know why I thought today was a good day to tame it. I failed, not badly, but enough. Then I got so angry that I threw my hairbrush on the bathroom floor hard enough to break it.

(In the irony that it my life, a little girl told me she really liked my hair as I walked into the grocery story this morning. I wish she had been with me a hour earlier when I was sitting on the edge of the tub, crying from frustration.)

B and I also danced around a reoccurring hard conversation this morning. While private, I will say that it’s difficult to always feel like the bad guy.

And when I (finally) came into work, my close colleague all but said that I wasn’t around this morning when she really, really needed support and she felt let down — which was also exactly when I was home crying about my hair and dwelling on couple stuff.

I find myself on the brink of tearing up this week.

“It’s hard being a human.” I heard that come up from an actor once, when talking about their role as the police officer in William Eno’s Middletown. (It’s a beautiful, modern take on Thornton Wilder’s Our Town.)  It’s easy as an outsider to make a judgement on someone when you see them in a less-than-glorious moment in their life; you may not understand, though, that that’s simply someone’s really bad day. We all have them, those freaky Fridays. You hate being in the midst of them, but forget, when you’re in the clear, that the wave has hit someone else instead.

The last time I wore this dress, I felt light and happy.

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Today, I pulled it off a pile of clothes in the bedroom. It passed the sniff-test. I think that’s as good I’ll get today while waiting for the dark cloud to pass.