A small gift.

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Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.

I’ve been taking such good care of my body the last few weeks. The last time I was exercising this much and eating this healthy, I was also drinking too much. So this is the first time I’ve ever been this healthy. Not gonna lie; it is a lot of work, but it feels amazing. I thought I was gonna get thrown off by Thanksgiving, but it doesn’t really seem like I did.

Along with eating healthy, doing yoga, and running…I’m trying to save money. Like, really save it. I’m on a budget. I sort of overdid it at the grocery store today, but I saw a cleanse in Women’s Health magazine and I thought it sounded doable, so I’m gonna try it out and see how I do. The good news is that if I stick to the food that I’ve packed for work and don’t eat anything else, I will be well within my budget.

I’ve also made a goal to run 100 miles before the end of the year. I’m 37 miles down, so I should be able to attain this goal as long as I keep running 2-3 miles a day. I don’t know when or how it happened, but I’m really starting to enjoy running. I am sure I’ll get bored of it soon, but for right now, I’m loving the way it feels. Tomorrow I have 20 hours in FLL and I’m so looking forward to an outdoor run on Monday morning. It’s gonna be pretty fantastic.

All I really want in life is to feel good about myself and be able to gracefully say thank you when someone gives me a compliment. I have struggled with this for a long time, but I’m getting closer to feeling better about who I am and the things that I’m working towards. Every mile that I run, every meal that I prepare, and every 20 minutes of quiet time I have in the morning, gets me closer to feeling comfortable in my own skin. At the end of the day, that’s all I really want: Peace of mind, body, and soul. I’m pretty proud of where I’m at right now and really excited about where I’m headed.

Healthy Living. What a beautiful buzz, what a beautiful buzz.

“There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” – Rumi

I didn’t know that life could be this beautiful. I’m in a serious state of gratitude, self-love, and heightened awareness. I’ve been exercising everyday and the endorphins in my brain are fueling a lot of change for me. I feel super grateful for the newfound motivation that has found it’s way into my life. This year I will be the oldest I’ve ever been (Obviously. I’m not Benjamin Button) and I think it would be fantastic if it’s also my healthiest and happiest year yet. 

Last year at this time I had a trip on the horizon that was my primary motivator in working a lot and saving money. This year, I do not have any trips on the horizon and I am Okay with that. I don’t know why, but last year I had the feeling that this year was gonna be my one and only chance to get out and see the world. Now I know that I have a beautiful future ahead of me, filled with a lot of wonder and enchantment and travel. But I have to get comfortable in my skin, with my bank account, and my current place in life. 

Today I strapped my yoga mat to my back, hopped on my bike and rode to the studio where I took a Pilates class. I am trying to spend more time on my mat, not because I want to look better, because I want to FEEL better. After Pilates, I ran my longest run ever. Six miles. I feel pretty amazing right now because I did not know that I was capable of running for so long. I stopped a few times, of course. But still, when I wanted to give up and walk the rest of the way home, I pressed next on my shuffle and hit the pavement even harder than before. Running frees my brain from the crazy that normally takes up space there. And Running makes me feel more alive than riding my bike ever has, which is to say a lot, because riding my bike is my favorite thing ever. Once again, I am not running because I want to look better, I am running because it makes me FEEL so.much.better. 

As the end of the year approaches, I keep fighting back the desire to get all emotional about what kind of year it has been. I have been on a roller coaster of emotions this year, so many ups, so many downs, and oh so many upside downs that made me want to lose my lunch. I know that life is filled with lots of ebbing and flowing, and I’m grateful for that. It keeps things interesting. But, this year was more decline than I would like to admit. I’m more in debt than I was at this time last year, but I also have six stamps on my passport and I know how to surf. So there’s that. Earlier this year, I wrote that I believed that God wanted me to find my life’s true calling and I believed that I had found that calling in traveling and being in a State of Wonder. I still believe that my true calling is to be in a State of Wonder, but now I know my calling is in finding a way to be in a State of Wonder right here, where I am. In this city, that wraps it’s arms around me every time and loves me every time that I come home. In the rooms that saved me, so that I can help save someone else. Or in my job, which teaches me more difficult things everyday, but also shows me that I am capable of doing something that not everyone can do. It is no longer my form of escape, as it used to be. It is where I show up to be of service and to be kind, even when I do not want to be.  And in my writing, where I am learning to show up to myself and my creative intention. This is the hardest place for me to show up, because I am showing up to myself, the Self that I really want to believe that I can be. The Self that loves without condition, without remorse, without fear, and without expectation. The Self that writes just because she wants to write, not because she wants to be recognized, famous, or rich. 

There are so many things to fear in the year that lies ahead. I’m afraid of getting older, of being alone forever, of never getting out of debt, of being a bad sister, friend, aunt, daughter, etc., and of being a disappointment to myself. But, those fears are being shot down by an immense amount of gratitude, courage, and FAITH in a God that loves me and wants me to be the best ME that I can possibly be. So instead of being afraid, I’m gonna be amazing. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Something beautiful.

Something beautiful.

It has been a really great week. I am moving towards something bigger and more real than any of the trips that I went on this year. I am going on a journey of Self. I know that not to far below the surface of the self that I’ve let everyone see for most of my life is an even more beautiful version of me. A version of myself that I love and deserve to find. I’ve been living in fear for so long but I’m not going to do it any longer. I’m sure it will be uncomfortable, I’m sure I will have my doubts. I’m sure something will come up and I’ll have to remind myself that I am being true to ME this year and finding out who that ME really is. It should be an interesting journey.

Stuff.

Today I sat down and wrote an entirely new relationship ideals list. I first sat down to write this list when I had about four months sober. I remember being blown away that I had to write these things down and that I had to make sure that any person that I dated in the future matched those ideals. What a foreign concept that was, to find someone who had qualities that I liked, instead of just looks that I liked. My original list was pretty small; it didn’t even fill up half a page. Today I wrote two and a half pages of characteristics that I desire in a future beau. I was brought to tears by the last few things that I wrote down because I realized how very far I have come since those early days of sobriety. I won’t lie, most days it feels like I am still pretty small and that my life has not changed at all. But looking at these ideas that I had written down on paper made me realize that I have started to grasp a little bit of my self-worth. Maybe I was brought to tears because I feel like my actions lately are starting to match my ideals and that is a completely foreign concept to me. I’m sure I’ve always desired a certain type of relationship; one with a man who respects me and loves me and treats me like it. However, my actions have not lead me to have any sort of men in my life who have treated me this way. I’ve been disrespected, let down, and brushed to the side, time and again. I do not wish to let myself be treated this way anymore. I’m willing to settle for a lot less in life when it comes to certain things, but not relationships. I was writing today and I started to realize how big and beautiful my life has gotten and how full of amazing people it is, that settling for less than I deserve is to do myself a disservice. I have so much more work to do on myself, but I have come a long way, and that is a beautiful thing.

I’m reading Cheryl Strayed’s book “Wild”. It’s been on my must-read list for months, so I was super excited to find a used copy of it at my local bookstore. That woman really has a way with words. While I’ve been reading it, I’ve had to fight off the urge to hit up REI and go buy myself a pair of hiking boots. I’ve always wanted to go hiking and be more of the outdoorsy type, but since I’ve started reading this book, I want to do it now more than ever. But, I always do this. I read a book and find myself wanting to go off and conquer the world and write about it, like so many amazing women are doing these days. It’s been like this ever since I read “Eat, Pray, Love”. What I seem to forget, that is a very important thing, is that I can conquer MY world and write about it. I struggle with so many things like spending, eating, dating, listening to that voice inside of me that tells me that I need MORE in order to be happy. If I just stop thinking that I have to live someone else’s dream instead of actually living my own, I would be so much happier. It’s great that I read as much as I do, because I get inspired almost daily by the words that I read.

My last entry was about knowing what you want and how one comes to figure out what that looks like. I am a little bit closer to knowing what that looks like today and I’m grateful for that. I still have a lot to figure out, but at least I’ve done some work today. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself earlier because I couldn’t figure out what to do with my day. I feel like I’ve done a lot, so that’s good. Tonight my friends are having a party for some anniversaries, including my own. I do not do well in large social settings lately. I’d much rather spend my evenings hanging out with my girlfriends on my porch or at dinner, talking stuff out. But, I want to have a good time tonight so I’m going to challenge myself to act differently than I normally do. My challenge for myself tonight is to act like  a woman that knows what she wants and is well on the road to making that happen.

xo.

Knowing what you want.

Lately, it seems like every book I get my hands on, every motivational TEDtalk that I watch, and every other person I talk to is telling me the same thing: that in order to get to where I want to be in life, I have to know what I want. Some people shrug stuff like this off, but I cannot do that. I feel like I’m getting a pretty clear message from the universe that is saying one thing over and over again. Figure out what it is that want, Lori Anne Mitchell, and GO GET IT.

Do you know what you want? I sure as hell don’t. I mean, sure, there are things that I know I need in order to be happy. I know I need good relationships with people that I love and trust, a strong relationship with God, a job that I love and a purpose to serve when I show up at that job, a roof over my head, and a future that looks better than my past. All of these things are tangible ideas that I’m currently holding on to and working hard at to continue holding on to them.

But what about those things that I desire that I haven’t yet obtained? Those goals that I dream about, write about and spend evenings on my porch talking about with my girlfriends. Those things that I know that I can live without but I also know that I really want. Things like true love, true passions. Vacations. Places I want to go. Goals I want to achieve. What does my future really look like in my head? And how am I going to get there? All these books I read are great, because they are showing me what kind of writing I like, and what I don’t like. But I can read every book in the world and still not get where I want to be, if I don’t know where that WHERE is and WHAT it looks like.

I have a lot of thinking to do. And a lot of writing. I have a lot of cleaning house to do as well. I feel like my life is so cluttered with things (and people) that are holding me back and keeping me from growing. I also need to give myself permission to think big, because I deserve big. Once upon a time, I was someone who didn’t think she deserved anything. But this year has taught me lesson upon lesson about the beauty of knowing how much more I am worthy of attaining and how much work is needed in order to get those things that I didn’t think I deserved. But first things first, I have to figure out what it is that I want and what I’m willing to give up in order to get there.

I have to start making lists and checking them off. I’ve always loved the idea of list making, but I am not so good at sticking to those lists once they’re made. I get distracted by life, by phone calls, by meetings, by fellowship, movies, books, boys, my bike, the beach, vacations, and pretty much anything else that sounds like more fun than doing any sort of actual work.

I have to start making rules for myself and sticking to those rules.

I need to slow down! Always, the desire to” pack more into the stream of life”, instead of slowing down and enjoying simple things, like a cup of coffee. Instead, a cup of coffee turns into a something else or four other somethings. And above all, I need to ask for help. From friends, who are like-minded with similar struggles and similar desires. We can really hold each other accountable if we tried. I feel like I am blessed with this amazing group of women (and men) who teach me new stuff all the time. It would be awesome if we could set goals for ourselves and challenge each other to work harder to make those goals happen. AND, I must always trust that God has my back in helping me find the way to those things that I want. But, in order to know that God is there, I must always keep the lines of communication open. Without those lines, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

If I had a long overnight ahead of me, I would spend a few hours writing things down and trying to figure some of this stuff out. Unfortunately, I have seven hours till my alarm goes off, and I don’t function like my normal self on a small amount of sleep. Part of me wants to say, “Forget the sleep, I’m inspired!” But the good part of me (obviously, the part that I should pay more attention to) knows that in order for me to be happy at work and be of service, I must get some sleep. So, I’ll do that.

Standby for more… And in the meantime, if you are someone who knows what you want and you feel compelled to share, please do. Also, if you wish to, tell me how you got there. Thanks!

A writer?

I’m currently reading the book “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott. It was suggested to me by my close friend, Annie. We were discussing various books that have spoken to us recently and she immediately recommended this gem to me. I went out and bought it the next day. Why the rush? Well, Annie said a few words to me that immediately lit a fire in my creative mind and told me that I needed to listen to what she said. What did she say? She called me a writer. I’ve never been called a writer before. Yes, I write. But to label myself a writer, seemed to me the biggest form of a lie that I could ever utter. To have a close friend speak of me in this way was the biggest gift of words I’ve ever been offered.

I brought the book to work with me and read it at every opportunity that I could on my last trip. Last night, when I was putting the book away at the end of the night, a passenger noticed it and asked me if I was a writer. My response was a natural one; one that comes from a person who doesn’t really know what she is. A flight attendant, yes. A sister, an aunt, a friend; Yes. A writer? Um. The passenger looked at me with the most sincere form of understanding and just simply said that it was a wonderful book and that it helped. A lot. I’m so grateful for moments like these. Moments in which I am understood. That’s all anyone wants, right? To be understood.

In the 24 hours that have passed since this interaction and the 72 hours since my friend called me a writer, I have been mulling over the word. It’s just a word. So why does it cause so much fear, so much anxiety? And the only answer that I can come up with is this: If I really call myself a writer, that means I have to believe it and I have to write. It also means that I am grouping myself in the same club as people who have raised me, changed me, made me who I am. 

Reading was my first love. Before there was music and travel, there were books. Words on pages that took me places, made me believe in something bigger than myself, and helped me shape the life that I currently live. The first time I read “Little Women” was the first time that I remember feeling like I wasn’t alone in the world. The character, Jo, was my hero. The way she was misunderstood by her sisters and parents, was a sign to me that other people struggled with things inside of themselves.

From “Little Women” to “Bird by Bird”, I’ve been building a pathway out of myself into a world where other people understand me and know what it is like to feel different than everyone else. And this is why there is so much fear. I never want to believe that I have anything to say that will help anyone else. Yet my phone rings on a daily basis with calls from friends, who ask me what I would do. Maybe nothing I write will ever help anyone, but I know that it helps me. Just like reading, writing offers me a way of escape from all the crazy that runs wild inside my head. 

I worry that if i I start writing, I won’t be able to stop. I know, of course, that this is far from true. I know that I’ll be at a loss for words more often that not. I know that I’ll struggle with what to write about, when to write, where to write. I’ll start to rely on a certain pen to write with, or a certain table at my favorite coffee shop. I won’t like the music playing on certain nights at the aforementioned coffee shop. I’ll begin to think that I can only write on Sundays. I’ll write entire blog posts that I’m convinced are masterpieces and then I’ll hit the delete button too many times and I’ll lose the entire entry in the blink of an eye. This has happened twice in the last month. I’ll worry that my sentences are too long, that there are too many commas, that I won’t being using semi-colons correctly or that my grammar is all off. But, the most important word out of this entire paragraph is the word that I have so much fear writing. Because if I am worrying about any of this, it means that I am writing, which means that I am, in fact, a writer. 

All I really want in life is a creative outlet. More than a million dollars, more than fame. I just want to be able to find a way to give this beautiful world something beautiful in return. I’ve struggled with this constantly. I’ve fallen in love with photography, hoping that it’s my creative calling. I’ve traveled all over the world this year, taking photos, thinking that was the answer to finding a way out of myself. But I always come back to writing. It has been calling my name since I was just a small girl, telling me that if I had something to say, that I should just say it. 

Well, I have a lot to say. I hope I can get it all out.