Embracing Unrest and Fine Tuning My Intuition

When I was younger, wearing jeans would send me into full on panic attacks. It wasn’t the material that bothered me, it was the fact that they didn’t hug my ankles like my in-at-the-time stirrup pants did – the bagginess alone had the ability to make my palms sweat and my heart beat a little faster. If I was coerced into actually putting them on, I would spend a good thirty minutes (at least) attempting to roll the bottoms so they actually touched my skin. 

Even though the fact that a clothing item caused me such distressed was a bit, well, psychotic, it made one thing very clear: I knew from a young age – as we all do if we’re tuned into ourselves and our intuition – when things just didn’t feel right.  

For the past few years – and the past few days in particular – I’ve been wrestling with this feeling of unrest, attempting to find the “rightness” in where I am in this moment. Constantly feeling unsettled is driving me to the brink of insanity. 

Just for a moment I’d like to shut it off, forget the “big picture,” and convince myself that I don’t need to keep searching for fulfillment. You know – lose myself in a few days of drinking and pure indulgence and quiet that voice that keeps telling me there’s more out there.

Yesterday as I was spewing all this craziness out to anyone that would listen, my mom shed some much-needed light on the situation:

That ability to tell when things aren’t right is a blessing. It’s the Universe’s way of guiding you to something that fits better for you. If you didn’t have that you’d never move forward, never get out of your comfort zone, and never experience some of the greatest things life has to offer. That nagging feeling is there for a reason – it’s pushing you in the right direction. 

The truth is, she’s right (yes mom, I said you’re right). Every time I’ve made a big move in my life it was spurred on by this feeling that there was a better place for me – that I had the capacity to experience even more happiness than I was already experiencing. 

It’s not about failing to find happiness and beauty in the current moment, or looking outside for solutions to internal problems, it’s about allowing these feelings – something most people find as inconsequential – to serve as a guide to what should come next.

Out of all the things we strive to accomplish in our lives, I believe that nothing is more rewarding than experiencing a deeper sense of joy. The fact that we are able to discern between what will bring us closer to this state of being – and what will take us farther away – is amazing.

I still have that feeling of unrest, but instead of allowing it to represent what is currently lacking in my life, I’ll choose to see it as a guidance tool – a very clear indication that I have some really spectacular things waiting for me just around the corner.

After all, our reality is only as good or bad as we choose to see it…

I haven’t disappeared, I’ve just been baking in the heat.

Blogging, like most other areas of my life, used to be something I scheduled. (Because even inspiration can be placed on a timeline for someone as by the book as myself.) Then, when things started to get a little crazy, I stopped cold turkey. But what used to be an issue of priorities has now become another bout of perfectionism gone haywire.

Let me just begin by saying this- when I was younger and writing in a diary seemed like something every little girl should do, I used to tear out entries if I didn’t like how they sounded. Granted, I had a placed a massive lock on the outside to prevent anyone from reading my innermost thoughts, but the point was that I wasn’t satisfied with anything short of perfection. Thus, it was only a matter of time before I began judging the writing I was putting up for all of the online world to see (or at least the meager audience that I had acquired).

Inspiration, it turns out, is also a problem when leaving my house has ceased to be an everyday occurrence. No, it’s not depression, it’s an absolute hatred of the god awful heat. Heat meaning 100 degrees IN THE SHADE. Seriously. I’ve never before felt as if my skin was cooking two minutes after stepping outside.

I can blame my writing hiatus partly on the fact that I’m in the midst of a series of processes. Learning to live with my honey, for one, is a PROCESS (capitals seemed necessary for that one). How could it not be when I’m used to being comfortable and he’s used to a lifestyle of survival? My challenge this week: getting him to agree to a rendezvous at the farmers market this weekend. For some reason, he’s completely against fresh produce. Go figure.

Another process: accepting and recognizing the perfection in everyday life. After the homecoming was over, and I settled into a “routine,” I began to forget what both of our lives were like when he was away. I’m reminding myself to feel a little gratitude for the shopping trips, the movie dates, and even the arguments that we couldn’t have had if the deployment would have ended differently.

Most of all, I’m learning to redefine the individual me while still staying connected to this relationship I’ve waited so long to fully experience.

I’ve missed you blogger world. Here’s to checking in more regularly.

And Here Comes the Sun…

For the better part of the last three years I have waited for a significant change to happen in my otherwise middle of the road kind of existence. Perhaps the universe was backed up with requests and received all of mine at the SAME TIME. Nonetheless, the past three weeks has left my life looking like Heidi Montag post surgery. In a good way, of course.

After seven months of panic attacks and limited communication, my high school sweetheart came home from war. (Strange how retro that sounds now.) This was precluded by a week of hearing that the homecoming date was being pushed back yet again- another indication that organization is not one of the Marine Corps strong suits. However, every cloud has a silver lining and mine was wine guzzling and antique shopping with the other perturbed Marine wives/girlfriends. Without them I very well could have pulled all my hair out.

Three o’ clock in the morning on April 30th we were all dolled up and ready for those few seconds we had waited too long for. While I will undoubtedly experience other reunions in my life, I don’t know if I will ever again experience the massive amount of love and respect that this one garnered from everyone present. And for that I am truly grateful that I have loved someone who couldn’t be entirely mine for the past 3+ years of my life.

For those who left on October 4 and never came home and for those who sustained injuries that will forever change their way of life, my heart goes out to you. I know that the brotherhood of men that my love left with ensured that I attended his homecoming and not his funeral. I am forever indebted to all of you.

Because pictures (and videos) speak a thousand words, here is the video of the 3rd Battalion 4th Marines homecoming from Afghanistan. For anyone without an immediate connection to the military who doesn’t fully understand the sacrifice involved, this is what it’s all about.

I will now always have this as my reminder that all challenges come to an end and a little bit of faith can move mountains.

Cashier or Stripper: It’s All a Matter of Perspective

I woke up in a drag yourself out of bed and curse at the world kind of mood. I’m not entirely sure where all this bad energy sprouted from considering I drifted off to sleep repeating the mantra “everything is right in the world and good things are coming my way.” Maybe my brain just went into overdrive with all the fantastic things I was creating and it blew a fuse. Just a thought.

Today I allowed myself to be sucked into that “let me turn on everything with the ferociousness of a rabid dog” mentality. I picked out a few choice situations that were nagging reminders of how my life wasn’t playing out exactly how I had intended and ran with them. The result? An hour-long reprieve from the work that I should have been doing in order to look up secluded retreats in odd corners of the world with the intention of escaping it all. Bad choice for someone who already feels a festering pool of lack in the financial department.

The thing is, what was nagging me was nothing of significance. Worry makes me do ridiculous things- like not looking at what I already have and paying attention to the plethora of signs that say everything will work out just fine. And despite all the amazingly progressive things I was taught growing up in a family that embraced spirituality with open arms, I tend to be archaic in how I label things. Yes, I am a label whore- but not in the Louis Vuitton and Coach kind of way. I am the queen of deeming things bad, horrific or even life-ending. To top it off I am brilliant at going into crying frenzies that make even me feel sorry for me.

Often times, once the storm has passed, what I was so quick to label as “bad” unravels itself into something that was probably even better than what I had hoped for in the first place. I have gotten into knock down drag out fights with friends that were only a smidgen away from turning into full-out brawls only to notice that our friendship blossomed from it. I have fretted over job hunting that made me feel as if I would end up living in a box down by the river only to realize that the perfect situation just wasn’t available at that very moment I was looking.

So in keeping with this idea that all of life’s situations are a matter of perspective I thought I’d share this email that my dad sent me. Hilarious yet appropriate..

A first grade girl handed in the drawing below for a homework assignment:

After it was graded and the child brought it home, she returned to school the next day with the following note:

Dear Ms. Davis,

I want to be very clear on my child’s illustration.  It is NOT of me on a dance pole on a stage in a strip joint.  I work at Home Depot and had commented to my daughter how much money we made in the recent snowstorm. This drawing is of me selling a shovel.

Finding Balance (via a hazmat suit)

The potential of earning a paycheck and lessening the intensity of my money-induced panic attacks causes me to grossly overestimate what my mind and body can handle. So last week when I was offered a three-day stint in a hazmat suit for a little extra cash, I quickly accepted without much thought as to how it would fit in to my already busy bee of a work life. (And somehow the outfit didn’t serve as a deterrent either. God I would look good as a meth dealer.)

Being a card-carrying member of the promotional job market I often times agree to promote products or other such things I know nothing about. This time I was pushing the 3rd season of the television show Breaking Bad (involving a meth dealer thus the appropriate outfits)- one that I had never heard of before but will now most likely be hooked to like a multitude of other shows I DVR.

The cherry on top of this little adventure was that it took place outside the RV, Boat and Travel Show. Two of said days were on a Thursday and Friday- both prime days for the 60+ crowd to peruse the fantastic display of trailers and sign up for RV clubs. The problem? We were handing out free iTunes download cards to a massive group that either didn’t have computers or were blissfully unaware of what constituted a download in the first place. Oh the joy.

While the event served its purpose of paying off my debt to the IRS (yes, I blame taxes for the hazmat suit), my tendency to fill my plate with unnecessary obligations needs to stop. ASAP. My week was already filled to capacity with writing assignments and SLEEP when I said, “what’s one more thing?” Balance, I am learning, does not mean juggling twenty projects at once but only accepting the projects that I can complete without pulling out large chunks of my hair.

But where I used to BEG for new opportunities to float my way, I now feel as if I am firmly rooted in a stream of opportunity abundance. I am grateful that I have plenty of money-making jobs to choose from- now I just need to learn to say no. Or at least learn to only take the jobs with the attractive outfits.

Sloppy Hugs and Make-Believe

When I was earning a paycheck by watching after other people’s kids, there were plenty of times I loathed going to work. I couldn’t stand the thought of being called to the bathroom to wipe another little behind, to reread Curious George for the 28th time that day, to explain why we couldn’t watch another hour of TV (although if I didn’t fear that I was being nanny cammed I might have given in to that one). There were those times when I seemed to relive the same five minutes 20 times over because entertaining a child miraculously made time slow down to an excruciating speed. I remember hating pool time, dreading bed time, and thinking of ways to get out of make-believe time.

But yesterday, during a spontaneous trip to the Natural History Museum, I found myself stopping to smile at a group of kids holding hands, eyes glued to a replica of Mars. And I suddenly remembered how much I miss these jobs. I miss all the little ones that I watched grow from diapers and trains to big kid beds and homework. I miss the times when I had to sit down and explain multiplication in a way that a 2nd grader could understand. I miss the sloppy hugs and the faces that would light up when I walked through the door. I miss the kids whose lives I had hoped to touch but who really touched mine instead.

I thought, as we often do, that this was a part of my life that was better left in the past. I thought that with a degree and a dream there was no time to slow down for something that wouldn’t put me on the direct route to where I want to go. But with writing jobs banging on my door and a future that is brighter than I could imagine, there are times that playing a game of make-believe with a kid that still talks about Santa Claus sounds absolutely perfect.

To all of the families who brought me into their homes and trusted me with their most precious possession- thank you. Without your kids, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

Side Note:

*ATTENTION: to my fantastic blogging friends and fabulous readers*

I entered into a writing contest on Trazzler. Because I would fancy nothing more than the awesome trip to San Francisco that they are offering I need all the votes I can get. Find me here: http://www.trazzler.com/users/kayla33, sign up, and click save under each one of my trips. Thanks in advance for the support and I’ll be sure to mention you all in my acceptance speech (not that I get one, but you catch my drift).


Putting Jealousy In Her Place

Back in middle school, when lunch time was everything and blue mascara was rad, jealousy was as normal as brushing your teeth.  I’m not entirely sure how it was for the boys, seeing as they were too busy guessing bra sizes, but for us girls we seemed to just eat, sleep, and breathe the desire to be something or someone else.  Primping with the precision of runways models, we would strive daily to be prettier, funnier, just down right better than our peers.  And of course new seasons meant new trends and god save our poor parents who received the brunt of the financial strain that this kind of longing creates.

With the horrors of middle school rooted firmly in my past, I would love to stand on my soap box and declare that I am so far removed from this juvenile emotion that I don’t even remember what it feels like.  Truth is, I have yet to figure out a way to permanently stop jealously from peaking her bitchy little head out and throwing temper tantrums that a three year old could only hope to one day emulate.  At least now my spastic hormones have leveled out enough to ensure that my reaction to someone’s achievements and fantastic life happenings won’t include me crying pathetically in the bathroom over what I wish I had.  And of course it generally no longer is set off by cuter shoes, bigger boobs, or longer hair.

Somewhere along the way I was told by my new age parents that feeling jealousy towards someone else, no matter how high they are on the totem pole, actually keeps you from achieving the success you are looking for.  While all I probably took in at the time was “blah, blah, blah, jealousy is bad, blah,” I am now starting to believe this statement with a clarity that only comes with a little bit of age and a small slice of life experience. 

From my own obsession with self-help books in every shape, size, and color, I have learned that the universe listens acutely to every feeling I let off and every statement I think or express.  If my reaction to someone else’s success leaves me ultimately hoping for them to fall flat on their face (and knock out a tooth or two), then I have just expressed my thoughts towards success as a whole.  I have also inadvertently blocked any chances I have in achieving MY OWN success.  And of course paying attention to the awesomeness of the lives around me only broadens my horizons and plants a precious little seed of possibility.

So today I am going to send a little nod of congratulations to all those people who are living the life that I want, typing on the computer that I wish to buy, and swimming in that endless stream of financial abundance that I just can’t wait to dip my feet into.   Make room for me- I’ll be there soon.

A Lesson In Gratitude (courtesy of a Starbuck’s barista)

After I spent a long weekend frantically searching for jobs and making a list of all the reasons why I wouldn’t have the means to do the things I want to do, a Starbuck’s barista comped my $3 drink (I suppose this is a bit extravagant for someone without a steady income, but even I have my vices), and gratitude became my goal of the day.  When I stop my insanely irrational thoughts from shouting obscenities at my usually rational mind I can see how I have been provided for in ways that far surpass another bank deposit or the cash needed to buy a new laptop. 

Over the weekend I was given a FREE photo shoot for my honey abroad through Operation Love Reunited.  This brilliant organization provides free photography sessions for families with a loved one serving overseas, and sends these pictures to them to serve as a reminder of what they have waiting for them back home.   After sobbing through their heart-wrenching online video I sent an email, not really expecting much in return and thinking that my non-married status would probably serve as some sort of red flag.  Instead I was contacted by the founder of the organization (Tonne Lawrence, a brilliant photographer and military wife) who offered to take my pictures the following day in her home.  And as we chatted over everything from which branch had the sexist uniforms (Marines, hands down) to why deployments just suck all around, I was reminded that the universe is filled with people who will go out of their way to make the world a little sweeter for those around them. 

Despite the pitfalls of military life and being attached to someone who must be more committed to the United States government then to your relationship, there is a community upholding these servicemen and women that is unlike anything I have ever experienced before.  I have been offered homes to stay in by girls that I have met only once or twice before and lent support by families that are going through the same separation pains as I am.  Last time I trekked out to the desert to say goodbye to my Afghanistan- bound honey, we all (platoon buddies and their wives/girlfriends) spent the last few days preparing together for what we were all about to go through.  We cooked dinners, made margaritas, and attempted to forget why we were together in the first place.  Being a 20 something with little money and friends that are equally as poor, I’m not used to anyone opening their home without requiring that those that enter pitch on a pizza or a keg- this experience was so far removed from what I had become accustomed to it was shocking.  Luckily, living this taxing sort of existence comes with a new family that genuinely cares.

I have always been blessed with friends that keep me stable and help to inspire me in everything that I do.  Most of them have seen me through every life stage since my awkward dark eyeliner and blue mascara phase and will continue to be there despite the physical distance between us.  Today I am deeply grateful for my seasoned make-shift family and for all those I have met through my honey’s service in the military.  And of course to the Starbuck’s barista that sparked my sense of gratitude today- you are pretty awesome too.  I am one lucky girl to have so many fantastically spectacular people in my life.