Thursday, December 31, 2009

Another year has gone by

I can't even remember what I did last year on New Year's Eve. Maybe I should keep better records of my life.

But I DO remember a lot of things that happened through the course of this year. A lot of firsts, a lot of finals, a lot of hurts, a lot of good friends, a lot of laughter.

I became an officially single woman again in March. My divorce was finalized and I was on my own, working my butt off and loving every minute of it.

I moved out of my room-for-rent in Saugus and into an apartment in Newhall with my sister just before summer. We both still live there, but our numbers have increased, and so has the level of fun. I rarely go out to the bar anymore because, frankly, being at home with my friends is more entertaining (and cheaper!)

At the beginning of the year, I was taking a bus to work every day and hitching rides with co-workers or friends to get home every night. In August, I got my drivers' license (thanks to my good friend Corey, who spent several months teaching me how to drive and trusting me behind the wheel of his Jeep!) and I bought my truck, my Phoenix, my freedom.

In October, I got laid off from my job at The Signal ... not a fun experience, but one that has opened up a new world of challenges and opportunities. I also embarked on a road trip across the southwestern U.S., including a stop in Phoenix, AZ to see my good friend Bradley and a stop in Hatch, NM to see my paternal grandparents, finally ending up in Texas to celebrate my 24th birthday with my parents and baby sister. I spent a little over a week with them, catching up on everything in our lives and enjoying each other's company. I love my family!

On the way home from Texas, I drove through northern New Mexico and up through Denver, just for the hell of it. I'm glad I did, too, because I fell in love with the Mile High City and vowed someday to move there. When I finally returned home after two weeks on the road (thankfully there was a LOT of music involved in that trip!) I made an effort to find a way to move to Denver immediately, but a fear of freezing to death while living out of my truck, coupled with an unwillingness to leave my sister behind (and maybe few other factors), kept me grounded in sunny southern California. And I'm glad I did. I'm happy here, and relatively warm. :)

After Thanksgiving, I started seriously looking for a job and found a part-time temp assignment at City Hall doing administration for the Department of Building and Safety. I started in mid-December, and so far, I'm pleased with it. The assignment is only for six months, so I know there's plenty more change in store for me in 2010, but that's more than OK with me.

This has been an overwhelmingly positive year, despite a few minor challenges and setbacks. I am incredibly lucky to have my sister as my best friend AND roommate. I have accomplished many of the things that were on my "To Do in '09" list and I've made a few new goals for the next year. I have made new friends (and given several people "roommate" and "honorary roommate" status) and reconnected with some old friends. I've had conversations that don't matter at all, and conversations that changed my life. I've been to places I've never been before, and I've returned to the places that I've been missing. I've been touched and moved by new sights, new music, new feelings and new people. I've learned a lot about myself this year (although I think I say that every year ...) and I'm on my way to whoever I'm becoming. I've made my share of mistakes this year, and I've come to terms with them.

For everyone who played a role in my life, whether it was as a friend, a family member, a co-worker, a roommate, an acquaintance or a stranger who smiled at me on the street and brightened my day ... you are appreciated. For everyone who gave me a hug when I needed one, for everyone who saw me cry, for everyone who laughed with me over something inane and hysterical, for everyone who was there for me when I went through my "firsts," for everyone who changed my life in one way or another ... you are my lifelines. For everyone who became my surrogate family, for everyone who accepted me as I was and allowed me to become who I was becoming, for everyone who understood what I was trying to say when I couldn't find the words, for everyone who loved me ... you are loved.

And remember this as you start your new year: the greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.

Now let's make this year AWESOME!


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Independent women

Why is it so many women believe that to be independent, they must also be bitches?

I want us to be the new generation of independent.

Where are the women who can work 40, 50, 60 hours a week to pay the bills, to make ends meet, to get ahead ... but still be a good friend with a listening, sympathetic ear and helpful, mature advice?

Where are the women who can maintain a positive attitude, even when things don't work out as planned? Where are the women who can merge from Plan A to Plan B to Plan C as circumstances change? Where are the women who can keep moving forward when tough times hit, instead of wallowing in self-pity and the woe-is-me's?

Where are the women who support themselves, not only financially, but emotionally? Where are the women who exude the irresistible charm of someone who doesn't need anyone, but who everyone wants to be around? Where are the women who know who they are as individuals and stand their ground, no matter what? Where are the women who believe in themselves and work hard to accomplish what they know they can accomplish with their lives?

Where are the women who do good to their friends and neighbors and communities because it's the right thing to do, not because it's a conscience-salve that allows them to go about the rest of their lives in whatever selfish way they please? Where are the women who keep their class and elegance when everyone around them is immature and tasteless? Where are the women who aren't afraid to show a little personality?

Where are the women who know how to treat a man, the women who know how to let a man treat them like a lady? Where are the women who understand femininity is an essential part of being an independent woman? Where are the women who don't feel like they have to act like a man to be independent in this world? Where are the women who understand that their femininity is an asset to their independence, not a liability?

Where are the women who can think for themselves, instead of letting themselves be spoonfed by a media-laden culture? Where are the women who value their brains as much as their beauty? Where are the women who refuse to believe in the lies that romantic comedies and fashion magazines portray? Where are the women who know that beauty comes from within? Where are the women who can express their own personality with their fashion choices, rather than displaying the off-the-rack or off-the-runway mindless fashion that tells the world nothing about who they actually are as a person?

Where are the women who have passions for something worth while, something that will leave a legacy? Where are the women who care about the world around them and work to create a better one? Where are the women who aren't afraid to go against the grain and become what they want to be rather than what their environment expects them to be?

Where are the women who choose to be truthful and refuse to be manipulative? Where are the women who embrace the challenges of relationships? Where are the women who accept others for who they are and encourage them to be better people? Where are the women who know that strength is quiet and calm, a courage that doesn't give up but continues to press on through the diffculties, day in and day out?

Where are the women who love unconditionally? Where are the women who know how to balance their toughness with their empathy? Where are the women who know how to balance every aspect of their lives and keep their harmony and center?

Where are the women who treat others with respect and earn the respect of everyone around them? Where are the women who take their work seriously and themselves lightly? Where are the women with a sense of humor, an ability to laugh at the little ironies in life instead of getting irritated with them? Where are the women who love life to the fullest and live each day the best way they can? Where are the women who lead their lives as role models, as friends, as mothers, as sisters, as wives, as lovers, as executives or hourly wage earners, as artists or scientists, as dreamers, as hopeless romantics, as students, as believers, as women?

Where are the women who make me proud to be a woman?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Sometimes, I feel the fear of uncertainty stinging clear
And I can't help but ask myself how much I let the fear
Take the wheel and steer
It's driven me before
And it seems to have a vague, haunting mass appeal
But lately I'm beginning to find that I
Should be the one behind the wheel

Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there
With open arms and open eyes yeah

Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there
I'll be there

So if I decide to waiver my chance to be one of the hive
Will I choose water over wine and hold my own and drive?
It's driven me before
And it seems to be the way that everyone else gets around
But lately I'm beginning to find that
When I drive myself my light is found

Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there
With open arms and open eyes yeah

Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there
I'll be there

Would you choose water over wine
Hold the wheel and drive

Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there
With open arms and open eyes yeah

Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there
I'll be there


There was once a plan... a plan that would change my life, a plan that would change the lives of many people around me. Some despised the plan, some supported the plan, a select few supported me whether they approved of the plan or not. Some tried to stop me from going through with the plan. Some doubted I could go through with the plan... some doubted I could go through with anything. She doesn't finish things, they said. She can't commit. She's wishy washy and unstable. She'll never make it, they said.

There was once a plan. Find a job. Check. Find a new place to live and move. Check. Get a driver's license...... and I'm proud to say that I can finally, after all these years, check that one off the list.

I passed my driving test today, and am now the proud owner of a CA driver's license.

I was finally at the right place in my life where I could commit to learning to drive, and had the means to do it... and I did. I followed through. I did what I needed to do. I'm that much closer to my freedom.

There's still a plan. There are still many steps to go. And as I check each one off, I add new ones to the bottom. I make new goals and I figure out what I have to do to reach them. And then I reach them.

It's not that I can't follow through. It's not that I can't commit. It's not that I can't finish what I start. It's just that I know when something isn't worth following through with... isn't worth wasting my time on... isn't worth the heartache and the drama and the despair... isn't worth the pain. When it's worth it, I finish it.

I'm more likely to finish what I start nowadays, because I'm more careful with what I start to begin with. It's a live-and-learn thing for me. The things in my past that I gave up on (or a few that I merely postponed) don't haunt me. I stopped "following through" when it stopped being beneficial ... to anyone, not just to myself.

When I dropped out of college, it was because a $30,000/year education became too many cons and not enough pros. When I go back to school to finish my degree, it will be because the pros outweigh the cons, and not until then.

When I signed the divorce papers, it was because I believed that it was not only in my best interest, but in the best interests of everyone involved ... whether they could see that at the time or not. Sure, a lot of people thought my decision was motivated entirely by selfishness. And part of it was.

But now ... the past is in the past, and the future is bright. There's a plan ... and even if the plan morphs and grows and becomes something other than originally intended, it's still a plan, and I'm still following through. There's still a dream, and I'm still pursuing it.

So don't accuse me of never following through simply because I chose not to follow through with the things you wanted me to follow through with.

My choices are my own, and I live with the consequences of them.

And guess what? I haven't gone crawling back, I haven't hit rock bottom, and I haven't made the same mistakes twice. I understand that this surprises some who knew me way back when. But I'm stronger because of the choices I've made and the way I've dealt with the situations that have sprung up in my life. I'm wiser because of my mistakes. I know more about love and honesty and acceptance and supportiveness than ever before.

I still have my moments of weakness. I still have small bouts of depression sometimes, but they are short-lived and easy to cure. I still have doubts and misgivings about the direction my life is headed, but I know that even though I can't control the circumstances around me, I can control my own actions and reactions. And I still have plenty of faults and I still make plenty of mistakes, but I have learned how to learn from them and how to avoid repeating them. I don't feel like I have to be perfect all the time anymore. I'm not afraid of being found to be flawed. I'm not afraid to be myself.

Fear isn't driving me anymore. I can drive myself. And whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there with open arms and open eyes.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Random fragments of thought that have a special meaning in my brain right now.

I will always love you.

Desperado, you'd better come to your senses, come down from those fences and open the gate... it may be raining, but there's a rainbow above you... you'd better let somebody love you before it's too late.

Lay me down with a ghost, 'cause anything's better than alone.

Some believe in destiny, some believe in fate, I believe that happiness is something we create.

I stand for the power to change, I live for the perfect day, I love till it hurts like crazy, I hope for a hero to save me.

There's only us, there's only this... forget regret, or life is yours to miss... no other road, no other way, no day but today. I can't control my destiny, I trust my soul, my only hope is just to be... there's only now, there's only here... give in to love or live in fear.

Take me for what I am... who I was meant to be... and if you give a damn... take me, baby... or leave me.

I am more than you know... streetlights and open roads... I am more than a face, stuck living in one place.

Off into the world we go, planning futures, shaping years... love bursts in and suddenly all our wisdom disappears... love makes fools of everyone, all the rules we made are broken, yes love, love changes everything... live or perish in its flame... love will never, never let you be the same.

All along, all I ever wanted was to be the light when you life was daunting, but I can't see mine when I feel as though you're pushing me away. Well, who's to blame? Are we making the right choices? 'Cause we can't be sure if we're hearing our own voices as we close the door even though we are so desperate to stay.

Tough, you think you've got the stuff, you're telling me and anyone you're hard enough... you don't have to put up a fight, you don't have to always be right.. let me take some of the punches for you tonight. Listen to me now, I need to let you know you don't have to go in alone... and it's you when I look in the mirror, and it's you when I don't pick up the phone... sometimes you can't make it on your own.

Now I'm glad I didn't know the way it all would end, the way it all would go... Our lives are better left to chance... I could have missed the pain but I'd have had to miss the dance.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sand and sea

I wore skinny jeans -- fashionably fitted, tight from hip to ankle, and utterly impractical as beachwear. But I wouldn't let a silly thing like practicality keep me from doing what I wanted to do, so I set to work, determined to roll the cuffs of these damned jeans up as far as they would go without cutting off the blood supply to my feet.

I succeeded marginally with the cuffing venture, then removed my shoes, stuffed them unceremoniously in my purse, and trekked, barefoot and bare-calved, toward the ocean. The sand was blistering hot, but the breeze was almost chilling. The combination gave me goosebumps.

As I neared the water, I broke into the best sprint I could muster ... which was mostly just a slight lengthening of stride and an extra bounce. The wet sand was cooler and easier to walk on. I slowed my steps, sinking into the impressionable surface as I walked, looking back at my footprints. I wanted to think of something profound, an epigram of sorts, to commemorate this walk, but everything I thought of was profoundly lame and cheesy, so I gave up.

I made my way to a spot the crowds hadn't claimed, near where the waves lapped up against the legs of the pier. There I stopped and stood and gazed and let the foamy water swirl around my ankles, and then my calves. The tide was coming in. My cuffed jeans were soon wet all the way up to the knees. The careful hem-rolling hadn't done any good at all. But I didn't really care.

A wave slipped back from the shore and left the sand soaked and smooth. I picked up a feather from the dry ground behind me and stooped down to absent-mindedly draw shapes in the sand. But as soon as my primitive artwork was complete, or nearly so, another wave snuck up on me and erased it.

This gave me an idea. There was a reason I was here. I just hadn't known the 'why' until now.

In the wet sand, I began writing words -- phrases -- thoughts.

"I'm letting go of the past," I wrote. And the ocean erased it.

"I forgive you for the pain you caused me," I wrote. And another wave smoothed it over.

"Fear, doubt, hurt, bitterness, hate, anger, jealousy," I wrote. And the water washed them all away at once.

I crouched alone with soaked jeans and an improvised quill pen, spilling years of deceit and petty dramas onto the sand, watching as each negative thought was erased and a blank slate left in its place. A fresh start. Yes, that's what I came here for.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Forget regret, or life is yours to miss

Three years isn't a long time in the grand scheme of things. But it's been long enough for me to do a lot of thinking and realizing and growing and becoming.

I realized who loved me for me and I realized who loved me for what they thought I was or what they wanted me to be. I realized that there were people in my life who wanted to change me, and there were people in my life who wanted to help me.

I'm still learning how to communicate in a mature, adult way. And I'm still learning a lot about honesty. And trust. And vulnerability. And truth.

I've made plenty of mistakes in the past three years... some that went by relatively unnoticed by the general population, and some that changed the course of people's lives (including mine) forever. I've made life choices that strengthened bonds and friendships, choices that reflected love and caring. And I've made life choices that broke hearts and destroyed relationships, some irreparably. I've made a couple emotionally-charged choices, and I've made a lot of painstakingly contemplated choices. I've done the right thing a few times and I've done the wrong thing a few times, and sometimes I couldn't tell the difference between the two, but I did what I felt had to be done.

And everything that is done is done. Every choice I've made has brought me to where and who I am today. And I don't regret it. Regret is for people who don't believe in learning from their mistakes. I don't deny that I've made mistakes... and big ones, on occasion. But to regret those choices would be to regret the very things that make me the person I am.

Over the past year, I've made several conscious decisions to move on with my life and to not let the past determine the future. I am stronger now than I've ever been, and I know myself better than I ever have. I'm in a good place in my life right now, mentally and emotionally. I'm stable and happy. And should circumstances change, for better or worse, I know I can still be stable and happy.

Despite the mistakes I've made (or probably because of them) I am a better person today than I was three years ago. I know more about love (real love) and I understand people better. And I'm still moving on. And I'm still choosing, every day, to move forward, to continue becoming the person I want to be... not who someone else wants me to be.

And to those who have loved me the same, through it all... thank you. You are the sunshine of my life, and I love you.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The voice-to-mindset connection

I've been thinking a lot lately about the connection between what we say, think and do.

Remember the old children's story about the little engine that could? "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can..." This is a concept that I am finding more and more to be true and applicable to adult life.

Our minds are fascinating organs. I find that my mind responds very strongly to auditory cues, the things I hear. When I am surrounded by negative sounds (too much loud noise, people yelling and screaming, a lot of angry swearing, harsh squealing, whining and complaining) I tend to quickly fall into a bad mood, no matter what my overall state of well-being is like. Conversely, when I am surrounded by positive sounds (the voices of people I love, music I appreciate, pleasant conversation, people laughing) they tend to bring my mood up, even if I am otherwise feeling down.

Another interesting concept I've been learning is a voice-to-mindset connection. I find that when I complain, vent or whine about negative things, it only seems to make me feel worse. It seems to me that by hearing myself vocalize the negativity in my mind, I only validate those negative feelings and teach my brain that those feelings are OK. My brain responds to my voice.

I'm also finding that by vocalizing positive things (even if I'm not necessarily feeling them) helps my brain respond in a positive manner to the situation.

My brain processes my voice saying, "I can do this. This is OK. This is going to be all right. I can make the most out of this. This may be a problem, but I am strong and resourceful and I can make it work. I am going to rise above the tide. I am capable of doing what needs to be done." And the more positivity my brain hears, the more my actual mindset becomes positive. And when my actual mindset is positive, my actions in each circumstance and my reaction to each situation become more positive as well.

Have you ever wondered how it is so easy for some people to live a lie? I think it's because they have convinced themselves (through constant voice-to-mindset conditioning) that a lie is the truth. It becomes their reality. The brain really is a fascinating organ.

The kind of voice-to-mindset conditioning that I am trying to practice in my life is of a more positive nature. It's the kind of conditioning that teaches my mind to look for the positive in every situation. It's a kind of self-vocalized pep talk.

The more positively you approach a situation, the more resourceful your mind is when trying to come up with a solution. If you go into something thinking (or even worse, saying) "I can't" then your mind has already given up, and you most likely won't be able to come up with a solution. When you free up your mind by giving it the positive green-light, you can do so much more. You remove the "I can't" boundaries you've set up previously in your mind, and you give yourself the freedom to do what needs to be done to turn a potentially negative situation into something positive. Attitude is everything.

Some people call me an idealist. They call me a hopeless optimist. A dreamer with my head in the clouds and little grasp of reality. I beg to differ.

I've seen plenty of negative stuff in my brief time on this planet. I know it exists. I've lived through some of it, and I've stood by some people close to me as they've lived through some of it. I know there is evil, I know there is bad, I know there is negative. I also know that giving in to evil and bad and negative is not an option for me. To me, pessimism is letting the negative win, letting the negative control you.

Training myself to vocalize positivity is merely taking advantage of my brain's natural functions and using them to better my life and the lives of those around me.

Besides, nobody really wants to listen to me complain and whine anyway. :)