Tag Archives: mantra

Sometimes I listen to people. It’s rare, but it happens.

For the 3/4 of a person that cares, I am once again quite sorry for disappearing for the last few weeks. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say or the time to say it, I’m just a horrible horrible person.

I kid.

No, it’s just inertia working against me. The less I write the harder it is to get back into the proverbial saddle and wride on (get it? get it?).

But, anyway, I’m here now, trying to get my mind-at-rest to stop staying at rest. I’ve been struggling for an hour or so to organize my thoughts and decide what to say and what is unimportant, and then I remembered that once upon a time, I had readers; and once upon a time, one of my readers gave me some advice. On one of my lazy posts, someone left a comment saying:

“You should write in bullets more often. They’re much more entertaining.”

Well, I aspire to someday be considered entertaining, so reader and friend, these bullets are for you.

  • Several weeks ago I retook the GRE (Graduate Record Exam for those of you lucky enough to not have taken it on yet) and improved my score since the last time I struggled through that POS test, so I am now one step closer to going to graduate school. About. Fucking. Time. Now I just have to apply, get in, get grants and financial aid and loans, and actually GO. Not exactly a done deal. But this will all happen eventually, I just know it.
  • September 2nd officially marked my last day as a nanny. The babies are growing up: Edy started 5-day-a-week preschool this week, and Graham will be entering Montessori in just a few months. It’s bizarre and sad not seeing them everyday, but this change was very very necessary.
  • After fearing that I’d be unemployed for weeks after leaving the kiddies, and going so far as to start planning a road trip that would fill a month’s time while I waited for new work, I landed a job before even saying farewell to the babes. Last week I began working at an after-school Academic Center as a “Coach” (a.k.a. tutor). I’m working with younger students on math and reading, high schoolers with writing essays and the like, and I’m also an ACT prep coach. It is a job vaguely in my field (Praise Allah!), and I also feel like I’m doing something good for the world: in a few weeks we start working with children in the No Child Left Behind program, and I’ve already been assigned one very troubled student who just needs someone to push him, yet be patient with him. I already feel so much more fulfilled doing this than I did watching Sesame Street with the babies, and it’s only been one week. This is where I’m meant to be for a while, I suspect.
  • I hate, so much, living at home. I have officially reached my breaking point with my parents and thus try every waking moment to be…not here. The hours of this new gig (11AM-7PM) are awesome for avoiding the parentals, but I’m still constantly looking for reasons to escape the homestead: drinking on a Tuesday, eating sushi I cannot afford, visiting my BFF in East Lansing literally every weekend, working to have walked aimlessly around every Target in Southeastern MI, etc. I really like my new job and don’t want to leave it for a while, but I am still applying for any and all work that requires me to make Billy Joel proud and declare that, “I’m movin’ out.”
  • My self-esteem, for several weeks, was taking a sharp nose-dive, and I was having difficultly stopping it from just crashing completely. But then I realized that the magical thing that got my self-esteem high a few months back–high enough to, say, walk away from a bad relationship and to wear a roller derby outfit in public so as to catch the eye of the lead singer of my favorite band–I had forgotten altogether: my mantra– BE BRAVE. I was caught in a vicious circle: the less brave I behaved, the shittier I felt about myself and thus the less brave I wanted to act…and so on and so on…but I think I finally got myself out of this negative feedback loop and my confidence is on the road to recovery.
  • After bemoaning for weeks that I was emotionally broken and all I wanted was to feel something, now I may be experiencing feelings again and it’s freaking me out. I don’t know if I should be happy that I am fixed (or, rather, getting there) or if I should just re-break my emotive bone to keep from doing something stupid…like maybe being happy. GASP!
  • I am getting back into Paleo pretty hardcore. All I want to eat is tuna steaks and salad anyway, so why ingest other stuff that’s bad for me, right?
  • I feel pretty good right now. How often can I say that?

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Sometimes the greatest gift you can give yourself is permission to be lame

The life I lead currently and the life I lead 3 months ago are two very different animals: like, I was a hamster, running on my sad little wheel, and then overnight I evolved into a carnivorous capybara.

(Attempted Pokemon reference FTW!)

You see, approximately 2 hours after I became a single girl, before I had even packed my first box or properly grieved my newly-ended relationship, I informed one of my friends–Jessica, single girl extraordinaire– that she and I would be spending a lot more time together. Well that lovely girl went all momma bird and took me under her wing, and I have been her apprentice ever since.

Most nights of the week I am instructed to meet her and her partner-in-crime Jen at one bar or another. I am resistant to this midweek debauchery: it’s a foreign concept to me, drinking on a Tuesday (a.k.a. Boozeday). But I have pretty swiftly adopted their live-for-the-weekend mindset, and I look forward to putting on my Hot Girl Disguise (thank you to Jenna Marble’s for inventing that term) and tipping back a drink or two at the bar with the girls every Friday. I can count on J & J to be doing something fun (if not certainly alcohol-related) at any moment of the day, and I feel honored to have been accepted into their topsy-turvy Do-I-Look-Hot-in-This? world.

The funny thing is, as much fun as I have been having with them, your average person find my recent behavior very strange: I wear sneakers and pigtails; I laugh at comma placement and enjoy children’s television; I listen to alternative music. So when I don 4-inch heels and dance to Usher songs in a crowded club, it seems out of character. I understand that viewpoint, I do; frankly, it felt very odd zipping up that first cocktail dress and walking around that bar looking for my friends. But I think that’s why I’m so enjoying it: it’s not the norm for me. It’s an Amp-like thing to do. Or, as Jess and Jen have taken to calling me, Spicy Pam.

So for several weeks, this has been my life: receiving text messages all week from the girls asking, “Is it friday yet?”; getting instructions on Friday about what time to meet them at the bar, and to dress cute, goddamn it; sipping Manhattans till midnight, then I sober up so that I can drive; dancing, and rejecting the weird men who attempt to molest me on the dance floor; Coney Island at 2:0o in the morning; finally, gloriously, sleep around 4:00AM. Repeat (sometimes) on Saturday, and once on a very odd Sunday. Wait for the next weekend all over again.

It’s not a bad life. I have had a lot of laughs, quite a few cocktails, and a couple hangovers; I have made a few good friends, a couple great friends, and maybe one or two enemies (well, maybe I wouldn’t go that  far, but they are certainly persona non grata);  I have kissed a girl, a couple boys, and have taken many ridiculous OMG-We’re-at-the-Bar! photos like so:

So cliche, so tacky, so fun

I have had very very much fun and do not regret a minute of it.

So all of that said, I am so fucking tired.

Having a life is exhausting.

I just a need a friggin’ break.

Jess is leaving for Law school soon, so I have been trying my best to power through and keep on partying it up till she departs.  This past Friday, come 10:00PM, I was tired and cranky and had resolved myself to simply staying in, but instead of sticking with that healthy plan, I stayed up until 5AM playing monopoly and drinking too much wine. Fun, but not smart. I was a zombie for most of yesterday, nearly falling asleep at the wheel and barely able to sit at the dinner table without collapsing with my face in the jambalaya. When I returned home from my aunt’s house, I was just passing out when I got the “You coming out?” text. I said I needed a nap and I’d meet them at midnight. Well, that never happened. At 11:30 when my alarm went off I said, “Mmm mm, no way, fuck it,” changed into more sleep acceptable clothes, and curled up with my dog.

But oh shit, it was a Saturday night! I was supposed to be getting hammered or getting hit on or complaining about how I don’t know how to dance with guys! Well, at least that’s what I was thinking last night as I was dozing off. Just as I’d drift off I’d pop back up and think about how pathetic it is to go to sleep early on the weekend and how my friends were out expecting me to join them and I felt vaguely guilty and very very lame.

But I finally told myself that maybe, just maybe, it’s ok to turn the Amp off once in a while. Maybe Spicy Pam can go in the closet for a night and I can be just Pam. Maybe I’m allowed to be lame. Once I granted myself that it was like the Heavens parted and the angels sang and it was raining gumdrops and my cat’s whiskers were rainbows and…

You get it. I got to sleep. And it was amazing.

We all need to be kind to ourselves now and then. A little self-forgiveness for our inadequacies, a little sympathy, it goes a long way to maintaining our happiness and our sanity. And as someone with a weak ass immune system, being kind to myself means letting myself rest. Telling a friend recently that I am old and get tired early prompted him to say, “Psh, sleep when you die.” Well, let’s be honest, if I don’t sleep I will die. So, I am not taking that sage advice.

I can be a “spicier” version of myself. I can say “yes” to experience and “no” to boredom and loneliness. I can Amp it up. But I am also allowed to know my limits and have the self-love to act accordingly. I am allowed to have mercy on me. And I am 100% allowed to sleep on a Saturday when I am deathly tired and not feel like I wasted my weekend. It takes a certain amount of courage to do what is right for you even when it’s not the popular option. So, frankly, by being lame, I was Being Brave (yay Return of the Mantra!). By turning down the volume I was actually being totally Amp: she is not afraid to be true to herself. EVER.

Awesomeness through lameness. It happens.

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Filed under self-reflection, The Good Moods, Wellness

It’s like Ohm Shanti…but not

When you think of mantras, I bet you envision monks meditating on snowy mountain-tops, or tan glistening yogis in L.A. coaching plastic-surgeried housewives and celebutantes. You don’t? Oh, well, I always did.

For me, the word mantra evoked notions of people seeking peace and transcendence. And while reaching a higher plane is all well and good, these days, I need a little less peace and a little more…action. But I read an article in Runner’s World about running mantras that help you power through the hard parts or push yourself a little harder for that last half mile. Something about a simple sentence to repeat over and over spoke to me, so I selected myself a little mantra to try out on an 3 mile-run: “Stride Strong, Be Brave.” After beating my 5K PR, I knew I had a winner. But I didn’t know that a little running mantra would wake me up.

Courage, bravery, that’s always something I’ve felt I lack. I have plenty of fear– fear of the unknown, fear of failure, feat of judgement, fear of conflict, fear of change (which ties in with the unknown), fear of insanity (that’s a whole other blog)–and that really hinders my enjoyment of…life. How can I make a decision, live my life at all, if I am paralyzed by the idea of something going wrong? How can I feel free to be myself if I am constantly afraid of people judging me? How many times have I chosen a safer path, a more boring haircut, a less feisty comeback, out of fear? I finally got sick of it, and it all started with me wanting to be a better runner.

Anyway, I started thinking to myself “Be Brave” on and off throughout the day, sometimes about things that may not even have anything to do with bravery: I really want that ice cream“Be brave”Oh, guess I don’t. I really like these nerd glasses, but my boyfriend might not“Be brave!”Fuck it, buying them! The more I started aligning myself with living without fear, the more  self-confidant I felt. And then, last weekend, I did something that would have mortified an old version of myself. Something that was clearly one of the best ideas I’ve ever had.

And so follows my Super Epic Tale of my Mantra. So maybe I didn’t confer with god…I think this is still pretty amazing.

Here’s what happened. I LOVE 30 Seconds to Mars (read this for more on that) and I finally decided to part with some money and see them in concert. I was totally stoked and had been planning every little detail down to what shoes I would wear for weeks.  And then, a mere 6 days before the show, they announced a theme: sports! Let me say that of all the themes they had to choose from (bloodball, whiteout, goth, etc.) they went with the last one I would have chosen for the Detroit show. And, you know, a month ago, I probably just would have worn a Tigers T-shirt (not that there’s anything wrong with that. Yay Detroit teams! Go Tigers! Go Wings! Go…oh, does anyone care about the Pistons anymore?) and called it a day. But I was in Bravery phase. I wanted to stand out, and just because they picked what I considered to be a lackluster theme didn’t mean I personally had to lack in luster. I wracked my brains for that almost- week, and literally found myself having nightmares about what I would wear to the goddamn concert.

And then, the night before, I had an epiphany: in what sport do the athletes wear fishnet stockings and torn tank tops and war paint and arm bands? In what sport is sexiness part of the fun (and I am not talking about beach volleyball)? Roller derby! I have totally admired those girls since I saw the derby episode of Psych, and it just seemed like the ideal costume idea: certainly a sport, but way more noticeable than a baseball cap. And hey, in the spirit of being brave, why blend in when you can standout…in a helmet.

So in a few frantic hours before the concert, I ran around Southeastern Michigan on a raging caffeine buzz gathering materials for two roller derby costumes, one for myself and one for my very loyal friend Shannon who agreed to be brave along with me. And that night we rolled (pardon the pun!) up to the Fillmore in Detroit decked out in knee socks and helmets and armbands. Shannon looked at the very innocuously dressed crowd with trepidation, but I felt all the more spurred on by the lame-zors in the crowd. We were dressed to theme (whether anyone else knew there was a theme or not was beside the point…the band knew, and I only cared about what they thought), we looked damn good, and we would turn heads. Maybe the people inside those heads would think we looked crazy, but I didn’t give one single fuck: I felt awesome.

We got stares. Stares and sideways glances and quizzical smirks and I loved every minute. And slowly but surely Shannon started to see the fun in being epically courageous in a huge-ass crowd. And had my whole night consisted of people thinking I was nuts, I think I would have been happy with that. But I have my little red helmet to thank for the best night ever.

I was just rocking out to the (Incredible!) show, waving my helmet around, having the time of my life, when I saw Shannon Leto (drummer extraordinaire) looking at me. Not you or you…ME. I waved, and he waved back, and then I put my helmet back on…and he mimed as if he was doing the same. I looked around at the sweaty crowd around me like, “Did anyone else just witness that?!” It was awesome, and I would have carried that memory home as a happy little talisman  except something even more unreal happened.

For the encore song–their ANTHEM “Kings and Queens” no less–the band pulls people up on stage. You hope, you pray, but you never actually think you will make eye contact with the dead sexy Jared Leto, see him point at you and say “You, with the armbands”; you never dream that you will say, “Me?” and knock on your helmet; you would never really allow yourself to believe that he will nod, and then offer his hand to you to help you up onto the stage; and you definitely never ever thought in a million billion years that you would look into his ice blue eyes (the ones you watched in the music videos  and movies all those times) and say, outloud, so he could actually hear you, “I love you.” But yeah, all that happened. I told the Jared Leto–actor, singer, songwriter, most-beautiful-man-to-ever-walk-the-earth–that I love him. To his face.

I should be horrified. But I’m not.

I am just really, really happy that I bought that cherry red helmet.

I wore this in public. I have no fear.

Bravery rules.

So yeah, I never thought a simple mantra could rock my world like this,  but it did. Telling myself to be brave gave me a night I will remember FOREVER. And now, I can’t help but wonder, what will happen if I keep it up?

Seriously, if I just keep being true to myself and keep living courageously and fuck anyone who wants to quash my awesomeness, what can’t I accomplish?What would you do if you drown out all the voices and live without fear? Think about it. No, really, stop, close your eyes, and really think about it: What would you do if you decided to just be brave. It boggles the mind, doesn’t it? Suddenly, I feel like I have no limits…just as long as I’m brave enough to barrel through the barricades.

I think I’ll start with getting the fuck out of limbo and into a career.

But change is scary…“Be brave, be brave, be brave“…OK, let’s do this thing.

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