21 Aug, 2014
I recently discovered this amazing group, the creative collective, started by Melyssa over at the nectar collective. Every first and third Wednesday of the month they do something creative and share it.
This week’s assignment was to watch a documentary. I have to admit, when I put on The Punk Singer I really had no idea what I was in for, but I was more than willing to take to the ride.
The Punk Singer is a documentary about Kathleen Hanna, the front woman for the bands Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, and The Julie Ruin. Kathleen Hanna wasn’t just a singer, she was an artist, writer, and vocal feminist.
It’s interesting because I have a pretty good knowledge of the first wave feminists, a bit of the second wave, and, upon watching this documentary I realized, none of the third wave. I knew it happened and vaguely remember seeing it in my childhood peripheral, I have a basic academic understanding of it, but that’s about it. I’ve never really dug much further than that. Watching this documentary was a bit of an eye opener that there is a whole nother tier to feminism that I must first understand and learn to appreciate before I can really claim to be part of the movement.
I think the biggest thing that I got out of this documentary was really just further grounding for something I already strongly believe: if you’re going to be part of a movement/culture know its history. Know those who came before you and laid down the path you are now walking on. Know that you are part of a story and make sure that the mark you leave in it will make those who started it proud.
Love & Kisses,
19 Aug, 2014
I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that when I become a regular follower of a blog it’s not really the blog that I’m obsessed with but the person who writes it. The blogs I keep up with the most frequently are written by people that I look up to in one way or another. Here, in no particular order, are five women that I adore dearly:
Rebecca is possibly one of the first bloggers that I ever followed back in around 2009. Her simple style and outfit posts taken out in the wild of nature were what first drew me in and it has been an interesting journey watching as her fashion and photography sense has changed and developed over the years.
With her ever changing hair color, bountiful tattoos, and rocker meets vintage style sense, Kaylah was the blogger that made me stop with wide eyes and think, “That’s what I want to be when I grow up!” Her blog is always such a treat to come back to. I think I also gravitate towards her because she seems to have mastered the alternative and bohemian clash that I’ve struggled to harmonize for a while now.
The more I study paganism, the more I’m finding my path leading me towards Herbalism and Green & Kitchen Magic, which actually is about where I left off in high school. The more I realize that this is where I need to be heading with my life the more I’ve been trying to find a community of some kind (which is not easy in Texas) and is what lead me to Lindsay. I found her through instagram and as I scrolled through her photos I found everything that I aim to become. From her down-to-earth demeanor to her breadth of knowledge of herbs and botanicals, she is everything I need in my life right now and then some.
After high school, I decided that I didn’t know who I was anymore and decided to just empty myself out and start over. Gala’s advice articles helped me through a lot of that time when I needed some help standing on my own two feet. I stopped reading her blog for a while about a year or so before I started therapy (actually I stopped reading blogs in general about that time), but recently I found my way back to her site and have found that, weirdly enough, her topics have changed along with what I need to hear. Or maybe it’s just that now I’m in the right place to listen. The universe is funny like that sometimes.
Elsie & Emma are such a breath of fresh air. I love their style, their taste in food(!!), their design sense, just about everything. Their site is a pop of color and such an inspiration to not take life so seriously sometimes. I just really love them and their blog.
That’s all from me today. I have to say though, I think it’s time for a new computer. This post alone took me ages to finish because this old fossil keeps freezing and over-thinking everything that I do. Le sigh, I love this baby but it just can’t keep up with me sometimes. Ah, well.
Love and Kisses,
18 Aug, 2014
Crooked Still, Did You Sleep Well?
15 Aug, 2014
1. I was born on Victory in Europe Day
2. My birthday also falls either on or near Mother’s day every year
3. So, essentially, I was my mother’s first Mother’s Day present (I also use it to my advantage when I can’t afford an actual Mother’s day gift #perfectdaughter)
4. I’ve been told that I have a gift for baking
5. Despite being over weight (sorry, obese), I think I have really cute legs
6. I’ve (slowly) been learning to play the mandolin
7. I have mad crochet skills
8. I get to spend every day with this adorable fluff-ball:
10. I finished this list! That makes me awesome right?
Tell me what makes you awesome! Don’t be shy!
14 Aug, 2014
14 Aug, 2014
My ipod actually just today decided to bust on me. I’m hoping it’s the cord, but basically it plays with the headphones on but when I hook it up to my car stereo nothing happens.
To the left is my actual ipod. Yep, that is not a touch screen. Because I’m old school.
Anyways, as I mentioned on Monday, I’ve been listening to the Game of Thrones series for nearly a year now. I’m on the…..3rd, maybe 4th chapter of the 5th book. I’m enjoying it so far, especially because we’re hearing from Tyrion and Bran again.
Besides that I have so much music on there that I can’t really name it all. I have classical, Green Day, The Hush Sound, Clannad. I’m not sure if I have more Tegan & Sara albums or Jesca Hoop albums. I could count them, but my ipod is aaaaall the waaaay over theeeeeeere =P.
I have 2 or 3 albums of Native American flute music on there too. It’s my “anti-panic” music. I was actually thinking about this today. First off, one of my guilty pleasures is the Real Housewives shows, mainly New York. I can’t even tell you why I love that show so much, but I do.
So, I was watching season 5 on hulu, which is the first season with Aviva. For those who aren’t familiar with the show, Aviva Drescher is one of the housewives who happens to have a prosthetic left leg from the knee down. The loss of her leg happened in an accident when she was a child which resulted in Aviva developing an anxiety disorder. Well, in the 5th season, the housewives go to St Barths and Aviva, who flies in later with her husband, talks about her own anti-panic music (my own weird term) which she said changes with the level of anxiety she is feeling. She said that for situations that cause higher levels of anxiety she listens to dance music and more mellow pop songs during lower level anxiety attacks.
I found this interesting because for myself, anything with too much of a beat just exacerbates the anxiety. Because of this, I find music such as Native American flute music or traditional Celtic lullaby type stuff (“Theme from Harry’s Game”, “Lady Marian”, and The Fairy Queen by Clannad are some of my favorites) to be more beneficial, especially if it involves nature sounds.
The reason these types of songs help me relax are because,
1. They help me control my breathing and heart rate.
These two things are important to learn to control when dealing with anxiety. When your heart rate goes up, so does your breathing, and if your breathing becomes too erratic you can begin to hyperventilate. In learning to control your breathing and your heart rate it makes it so much easier to bring yourself down from a building panic attack.
2. They help me to clear my mind.
While everyone experiences anxiety differently, one thing I’ve personally noticed is that an issue most people with anxiety deal with is racing or out-of-control thoughts. These are really any thoughts that begin with something as small as, “I’m flying to x”, and eventually, and generally very quickly, increase to, “I’m going to die if I get on that plane”. I don’t have to tell you that once that thought process begins there is very little you can do to stop it. But here’s the good news, with practice you can learn how to not only stop the downward spiral, but also how to just clear your mind in general.
Both of these things can be done with a mix of music and meditation. I personally learned this technique from my previous therapist. At the end of every session she would put on relaxing music, have me close my eyes, and just breathe. At first she would talk me through it in a guided meditation type form. Once I could do it in her office by myself, the next step was for me to practice on my own at home. This is when I started to experiment with different music types until I found what really worked for me. For instance, I found that solo piano music really just gets on my nerves, nature sounds alone are pretty much all just a 2-3 minute track that they repeat to last 20 minutes (I don’t notice it when it’s in the background, but when I try to meditate with it I can hear exactly where it begins to repeat which drives me crazy), and anything with lyrics that I can understand is just too distracting.
Once I found my music, I was able to start really putting what I learned to work. I find that if I lie down in a dim room, wearing headphones, and listening to these types of music I can get to a point where my mind just shuts off. It’s the most amazing feeling in the world, I swear! My whole body just feels relaxed and light as air, my breathing is slow and steady, and when I finish my mind is clear and refreshed. Once I understood how to quiet my mind, I was then able to apply those practices to my anxiety attacks. Now when I feel one coming on, I know to stop, step away from whatever is triggering me, close my eyes, and begin to breath like I’m meditating. At first, I needed the music in order to recapture the breathing, but with time I got to where I can pretty much do it on command.
So, my advice is to start by just experimenting with different types of music. The best place to start is on Pandora with the relaxation or yoga stations. What I like about starting with Pandora is that you can “add variety” to and like & dislike songs on a station to tell pandora to focus in on a specific sound. So if I’m listening to a relaxation station and I want less piano solos and more nature sounds, the more piano solo songs I dislike and the more nature sounds I like, pandora will adjust my station’s selections to be less piano solos and more nature. And if, under “add variety” I add Celtic or New Age, pandora will start playing more of those types of songs. The only downside is that it’s a program so, ironically, it’s not an exact science. But at the very least you can write down artists or songs that you like and buy them on amazon or itunes so you can start building your own anti-panic list.
I realize I got sidetracked a bit there, but I hope some of these suggestions help. If I ever bring up a topic in my disorganized rambling that you guys want more detail on, leave a comment and I’ll be happy to write up a post about it!
Much love and many kisses!
13 Aug, 2014
Back in March we went to Sherwood Forest but I wan’t able to finish my costume in time. My plan was to finish it for the Texas Faire, but when my mother suggested going for the Halloween weekend I couldn’t resist starting over with a Halloween version!
I still haven’t entirely decided which design I want to go with. I really like the one on the left, but that will be dependent on if I have enough time to attempt making a corset.
This weekend Hancock fabrics was having a super sale, so I headed over and bought all of this for about $40. I LOVE the orange lace! I’ve never seen anything like it! I got two yards even though I’ll probably only use one, but I needed it! I swear! (Can you tell I’m excited?!!!!!)
This fishnet type stuff is interesting, I’m thinking it and the crinkle textured fabric will add some texture and volume to the skirt (yes it’s supposed to be wrinkled =P).
These three I’m hoping will break up the extreme orange of the lace and fishnet. The striped fabric is a knit, stretchy type material that I think will hang really well along side the lace. I’m hoping there is some of the polka-dot material left over when I’m finished, it’s so cute! I’m not sure what else I would use it for though.
And finally a close up of the bats! Aren’t they adorable! I had to have the bats! Bats are possibly my favorite animal after cats. I’m hoping the purple will add a bit more dimension as far as color goes.
What do you guys think? I’m so excited to get started on it! Have I used enough exclamation points yet?!
13 Aug, 2014
As much as I love my baby girl, she is still shedding that winter coat of hers, so every time I touch her fur flies everywhere. It’s really not that bad until she decides she needs attention and walks in purring little circles in my face. By the time she grows tired of me and leaves to go be adorable somewhere else I am entirely covered in fur. I bring this up because as I am writing this I keep feeling bits of fur flitting about my face and I have to keep stopping to try and rub it all from my eyes. I love that girl, but bless me, when will this end?
Anyways, onto today’s Blogust topic: regret.
There was a long portion of my life that I allowed not just regret but also guilt to dictate my life. One thing that goes almost automatically with anxiety is both guilt and regret. You feel guilt for feeling the anxiety and you feel regret for allowing it to happen. At some point in our history we decided that anxiety is something to be dismissed. If you’ve lived with any type of anxiety disorder then I’m sure you’ve heard how dismissive people can be. “There’s no such thing as anxiety”, “what do you have to be anxious about”, “well then, stop being anxious”. I’ve heard it all. Because of these dismissive statements many people who live with anxiety disorders never seek help because they have been told that what they’re feeling isn’t real. It’s all in their heads.
This could not be further from the truth. Anxiety is very real and anxiety disorders are hell to live through. Know this, and never allow someone else to tell you differently. They are not in your mind, you are. They don’t have to live with this pain, you do. Never allow someone else to make you feel as if your fears, your anxiety, your depression, your emotions are not justified. All this does is cultivate guilt which sets up a relation in your mind between anxiety and guilt, and the more guilt you feel about your anxiety the more anxious you will feel about being anxious. It’s an endless and vicious cycle that needs to stop and you are the only one who can make that happen.
When I think back on my life, the things that I feel regret about are all connected with anxiety. Before I went into therapy I never realized this, I felt regret over things and situations and then immediately placed blame and guilt on my inability to be like everyone else. Now I realize that all of that regret lies not in what I missed out on, but rather that I allowed myself to miss out on them. I regret allowing certain friendships to fall on the wayside, I regret never being brave enough to talk to a cute boy or girl, leaving me 25 and having never been on a date, I regret spending my high school years in a perpetual panic attack rather than being a teen, I regret not developing the courage to talk to people, even my own family members, until it was too late to get to know my amazing great-grandmother and her sister, two women who studied literature, grammar, and writing, who were the last connections to my Scottish heritage.
Despite all of these things, I have to say, I no longer beat myself up about it. Do I have regrets? Yes. But you know what? Every single one of these occurrences helped mold me into the person that I am today. Once I realized that, I realized that I really can’t look at anything that has happened in my past with a negative understanding; because if I love who I am and who I have become, I have to at the very least appreciate everything that got me here. I have to appreciate the anxiety, the depression, the harsh words, the bad memories, the missed life experiences. I have to appreciate where I came from in order to fully love where and who I am.
The only way to break yourself of that guilt is to realize that you have nothing to feel guilty about. Approach your anxiety not as something to be regretted but rather as a learning experience. Walk away from the things you regret not as something to beat yourself up over, but rather as a lesson of what aspects of your life need to change. Embrace lessons, embrace change, and embrace growth. I realize that it is hard now, but take every day with stride. Know and accept that some days are going to be harder than others. I still have days when I just don’t want to socialize and every person who approaches me causes a small surge of anxiety. When you experience these days, accept them, take a breath, and remind yourself that tomorrow is a new day. No one will fault you for having a bad day, and if they do then they’re not worth your time. In the same way, no one will fault you for experiencing anxiety, and if someone tries to make you feel guilty for it, they’re not worth associating with. Cultivate the positive things in life, even if that means making the negative into positives.
Today I want to offer an exercise. Look back on the things that you regret and ask yourself how they have influenced who you are today. Try to rethink the negative aspects of your past and attempt to look at them with a positive light.
Much love and many kisses,
12 Aug, 2014
There’s honestly not a whole lot that I miss (with the exception of Bluebell’s I ♥ Chocolate ice cream. Oh, Valhalla is an endless supply of I ♥ Chocolate ice cream!). I don’t think I’ve ever been happier nor so at ease with my current place in life.
Since before I can remember I’ve always hated multiple facets of where I was at the time. For the first time I can honestly say that I am where I am supposed to be and I am fine with that. Do I wish that I were somewhere else or farther along? Do I see other people succeeding and feel a pang of jealousy for what they have and I don’t? Of course, but rather than let it cultivate negativity in me, now I recognize those feelings and use them as incentive to try harder. I look at where I’m not and rather than getting upset about it, I take a breath and recognize that where I want to be is a bit further down the path and the only way to get there is to keep moving. It’s taken a lot of time and work to get to this place and every moment of it paid off.
If you had told me two years ago that I would one day be in this place of zen I would have scoffed with a dismissive, “Me? Zen?”. But to come back around to my original point, I’m not sure if I could really say that I miss anything 100%. Whenever I think of something that I miss, I realize that I’m better off in some way that makes what I miss irrelevant. Sure, I miss having a steady, reliable income, but I love being in school and thinking of where this time in my life will lead me makes the lack of Urban Outfitters sales section shopping sprees worth it (though they do have an alien head bank right now that is practically screaming for me to snatch it up).
How about you guys? Is there anything you miss? Are you happy with the path you’re on?
If not, then here’s some homework for you; list all the positive aspects of where you are even if it’s something that hasn’t happened yet (or is no longer happening. Sometimes I find a situation isn’t half as bad as I originally thought when I remember what the alternative could be). Keep your list close by and when you start feeling down about where you are pull it out and remind yourself of the positive things and where those things will get you.