Marching on Home to Stand on my Head

It's always nice to return home, especially when Seattle's being a beast of a city.

What was especially nice this trip was how well being home accommodated my yoga/exercise month. (Yes, weight-bearing turned into general exercise, because I still don't yet have a membership to SBP -- *soon,* though!) I was able to take two yoga classes at "The Buddhio" with my mama during my stay. The savasana paired with absolutely nothing to do was heaven after such a crazy week of up-down emotions and standard stresses.

And speaking of stress, I've finally unlocked the trick to enjoying running: get really really angry-envious-worried about something, then take it out on the pavement. I've never enjoyed a run more than the one I took under such conditions!!

Other things learned from the past two weeks:

1) I would really like to take up dance again. 
2) I really need to work on my ab strength; if not just to look good, then for the sake of my lower back.
3) Car rides with brothers vs. car rides by yourself: one reminds you you're a spastic driver and you family's the base of your sanity, the other reminds you you're really an okay driver and the secret is singing insanely.
4) Absence makes the heart grow fonder. More importantly, though, it makes the heart grow more appreciative...er.
5) Wherever you go, there you are, and you'll probably feel better being there if you exercise.

I kept wondering at various times what April would bring -- I had worried it was Minimalism month (every time I go home I find six more things to bring over here...), but I was excited to realize it's Cooking! Lord knows I'm going to have to carry on the yoga, the bouldering, and the running if I'm going to be cooking anything worth mentioning. For the time being, though, I have evenings free once more! It will be nice to have real meals again.

My mom and I decided this weekend that March is always a time of crappy, sloppy confusion and despair. Just as the end of winter brings brown, messy surroundings, so do our lives become a messy, brown puddle of disarray. Spring's around the bend now, though, and I have high hopes for this year. I have a rose to look after, an acting career to invigorate, and plenty to learn in all aspects of my life. Bring Spring, I say! I shall miss my sweaters and baked goods, but I'm looking forward to the next turn.



"What've they got that I ain't got?! Courage."

Blogs can be dangerous things. You spill your heart or soul or brain or whatever onto this keyboard, and (assuming it's public) you never quite know where it'll end up. If you have links from Facebook, links from your internship, a link your Mom gave to your aunt while you were posting interesting pictures during your study abroad time... you suddenly realize that your aunt, your neighbor, and the guy's brother who knows an acquaintance of yours at work may now not only know your secret fashion fantasies but also your monthly goals -- and maybe even some of your deepest, darkest, fears.

I usually try to keep said deep, dark, fears for my journal, but in the interest of breaking boundaries and (hopefully) lifting a tremendous weight off my chest, I'm going to upend the water bucket and spill guts, hearts, brains, and soul all over. Now.

My life is far from troublesome. I am employed part and full time. I have friends who still live around the corner from me. I have a close, loving family. I can get just about anywhere I need to without exerting a lot of energy or spending a lot of money, and every once in a while I am applauded just for being another side of me onstage.

Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, this often "isn't enough" for me. I feel my desires pushing the limits of my common sense and digging their wicked fingers into aspects of my life that normally I am content with. Suddenly I feel underpaid, under-appreciated, and overworked. Self-sabotaging voices in my head begin to challenge and suspect: "If they really loved you, they'd do x for you." "You can't do makeup right." "If you were any good of an actress, you would've gotten that part." "You don't know enough to survive in the working world." "You really are a silly LITTLE GIRL." And the worst part about these voices is I haven't learned yet how to overpower them consistently. Sometimes it's enough just to go off by myself and snap out of it. Often it helps to vent to a friend. Other times I just need a really solid, wailing sob-fest to make me realize how pathetic I'm being. Each and every time I become embarrassed about this mousy, self-conscious person that fills the place of the girl I want to be.

Then I actually feel guilty about having these insecurities in the first place. Rather than recognizing my tendency toward self-criticism and forgiving myself for it, the trait itself becomes something to criticize. And the voices change to echo "You're so selfish." "If you really loved them, you'd x." "Why can't you think about someone other than yourself for five whole minutes?" "How is sitting here moping helping you get out an achieve your dreams."

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

And I suppose those latter challenges aren't entirely shameful. In many ways, questioning your attitude can change your life for the better. I tell myself sometimes that if I knew what I wanted out of life, I'd feel less frustrated all the time. It's just feeling directionless that's making me worry so much at present, right? Then I'm struck by the idea that no one on this goddamn planet knows what the hell they're doing with their time here, whether or not they look the part, and no one ever really does know. And rather than finding comfort in that, I just feel a sting of disillusionment. I really did always think that someday I would grow up and know everything.

Why is it so easy to doubt? To panic, envy, and fear? I know in my heart that I'm intelligent. I'm reminded by those dear to me that I am loveable, genuine, and vivacious at my best. Strangers, on occasion, have even told me that I'm beautiful outright. But no amount of compliments is ever enough to outweigh the doubts I have about myself. I realized a long time ago that such conviction has to come from the inside before it can do you any good. I'm just so tired of feeling lost in my own head. Perhaps, dear reader, you are too.

Let's dream on it. Things always look better in morning light.



March A


Haven't done an original Inspirsession post in a while!

Here are my current fascinations....

I discovered this app via Facebook from a dear
friend of mine who I used to draw cartoons with.
I've created my whole family, several friends, and
even some TV characters. It's getting out of hand.
Here's me as a Roy Lichtenstein lady:

Katherine Heburn...and everything to do with her
Seriously, I wish I could just be this lady. I'm
putting my hair in pin curls tonight with the hopes
that I will somehow channel the panache captured
in this photograph. Beautiful, strong woman.

Downton Abbey Star Fashion Shoots
I didn't know it was possible to make the stars of Downton
look even more awesome. Some of these photos are so
gorgeous I feel I could study them for hours. True works
of art. The third one down is Jessica Brown Findlay!
Can you believe it??

Have mercy.

Microfiber Fleece Socks
I can't find an adequate image to represent
these right now, but I'm sure you know the 
kind I'm talking about... The plushy, soft-as-
a-cloud, typically granny-colored, fleecy kind
you see around Macy's and Costco during the
holidays. Mmmmmm... Thanks, Mama.

1930s Cocktails
I've already mentioned these, but my thrill has
only amplified since the journey to Tavern Law
for my b-day. These far surpass regular drinks!!

Baking Soda & Vinegar...in my hair!
The real Hippiehunny is finally showing her true
colors. This idea was recommended by my good
friend, Katie, who's always lead a healthy,
organic life. I've done it for 4 days now, and I'm
loving the simple, clean feeling!

The Best of Everything
Another recommendation from my good friend,
Hannah. Of course I've always loved reading
about the 50s, but this is the first that's also spoken
to me as a woman, a worker, and a 20-something.

I didn't think I'd like this show as much as I do -- I
go back and forth with disliking Lena Dunham's
characters -- but I finished the 2nd season this
weekend and I already miss it. So something's going
on here. It's most likely due to Shoshana. Seriously,
how hilarious is this woman?

That's all for now, folks! More soon.

Yours truly, 

Mr. Toad


Marching Forward

Okay, so my Febspirsession was a bit of a flop. That accounts for half the reason why my posts stopped. The other half was that basically everyone's birthday is in February (including my own), and much of my free time went toward seeing friends, buying drinks, and eating cake. Not a bad way to spend the month, but not the most thrifty either. Needless to say, I didn't learn a lot about finance. That will have to wait for another time.

I'm starting afresh this month, though. It's only the 9th, and I can already count 6 times I've exercised, including 2 at-home yoga videos (thanks to my buddy Hannah for the idea of scouring YouTube for these!), 1 Insanity relapse day, 2 neighborhood jogs, and 1 yoga class at Seattle Bouldering Project with my two rocker buddies, M and D. I can't pretend any of these work outs have been particularly strenuous (though I was sore for a solid 48 hours after trying Insanity again...), but I've been riding high on the mental relaxation. I'm going to try and jot down some notes after each exercise so I have evidence that it improves my mood. I think having the proof will remind me how important it is to make time for my body.

So, from what I remember:

Yoga Vid #1: Felt accomplished afterward. Enjoyed the video's reminder to love the bodies we're given.
Insanity Workout: Had trouble accepting that I was not as in shape as this summer, when I did these videos regularly. Still had to remind myself it was okay to take rests. Had less cravings for unhealthy substances.
Jog #1: Knee started hurting halfway through. Tried to take it easy. Thought a lot about writing. Enjoyed my music.
Jog #2: Left the iPod at home -- was forced to focus on my breath, which was good for me, but did feel uncomfortable at first. Knee acted up again, so I walked the second half. Took a trip through the graveyard. Got a little lost on the way. Thought about mortality. Came back and had a really focused, positive conversation with my roommate about life and what I wanted from it.
Yoga Vid #2: Not only felt way more mentally at-peace with myself, but was also much better company to my boyfriend. Really appreciated the repetition of motion in this video, even though I was bored at first. Another "beautiful body" uplifter.
Yoga Class: Felt more excited and energized with my friends in the room; workout buddies help you focus! Enjoyed having a teacher there to look out for me and help keep my ego off the mat. Brain felt absolutely high afterward; body ready to go-go-go. Had more of an appetite, but snacked less afterward.

After the yoga class today my rockstar friends drove us to Greenlake, leaving bouldering for another day. The weather was too beautiful to stay indoors much longer, even for climbing. It would have done me good to walk around a bit more than I did, but it felt so nice just to spread out under the sun. My yoga high has lasted all day, and being in the company of some great old friends only added to the joy. For the first time in a while, I was happy to be exactly where I was at the moment. I didn't get nostalgic for what had passed, nor did I worry about what was to come. I felt closer to "living in the now" than I have for quite some time.

With a busy rehearsal schedule, it makes more sense for me to put off the SBP membership another week or so, but I'm excited to start! With a rock wall, free weights, and free boot camp / yoga classes, the fee pays itself off tenfold. I've never been so excited at the prospect of exercising before!

Happy March, everybody!