Monthly Archives: August 2019

My relationship has made me better.

Being married to a woman – not just “a woman” but THE WOMAN…the one I can express the crazy to, the silly insecurities, and the occasional apathy toward ridiculous situations. The one who can be like “Yeah, me too!” or “Stop it”, without a feeling of shame or judgment.

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This woman has created unexpected comfort in my life in many ways, but I’m going to share a few of silly, small things that I realized on a walk this weekend.

Growing up, it was repeated to me that “men only want one thing…”. Instead of that sort of mantra putting fear and distrust into me, I felt like I could change that. Sure, the “one thing” lured them in, but once they saw me it wouldn’t be all about that. I spent my teenage years and young adulthood seeking affection from men, thinking that was the first step into finding a long lasting relationship that would be based on more. I flippantly refer to myself as a slut for that…decade…but it wasn’t a conscious promiscuity. Only as a more mature woman can I look back and see it as it was – desperation for love, attention, affection. I’d wear certain clothing and undergarments all for that attention factor without being very consciously aware of the underlying reason why.

[And if you don’t know the true reason why you are doing things, it’s hard to get to the results you really want.]

I was never really comfortable physically. Tottering around on sky-high heels isn’t comfortable for me. Super tight clothing isn’t comfortable for me. Thong underwear in my ass crack every single day is not comfortable for me. Always showing off my body isn’t comfortable for me. (And it may be for others, I am not judging their choices – I am only speaking of mine).

I was never really comfortable mentally. In a lot of relationships, I felt like an object. I felt like I was one mis-step away from it all falling apart (not considering if it was worth keeping together anyway). I felt like I had to keep looking a certain way, dressing a certain way, otherwise why would you remain interested? I felt like I was in a show. I needed to perform. All I really wanted what it seemed like everyone else had in my graduating class – successful, marriage-oriented relationships.

It took hitting 30 and then having a failed marriage under my belt not too long after that for me to be mature enough to realize that social media is just everyone’s highlight reel. Real life is much grittier than that, but nobody really wants to take the time to commemorate those times with photos and blogs. We all want to move on from those rough times to the happy ones, right?

It took falling in love with The Woman for me to realize that I could be comfortable with myself – the stripped down, more real version of me. The one that wears very little makeup (seriously, I rock mascara lately and that’s about it). Mainly flat shoes at work, although I do occasionally rock a low pump. Cleverly styled yoga pants instead of pencil skirts and trousers to work. Unpolished nails. If I forget to shave, I’m not worried about being judged by it because she understands what its like to stand in the shower and not be productive with it. I don’t have to keep up this level of sexuality that I once felt I needed to in order to survive and stay relevant in some way. Seriously, I rock bikini briefs more than thongs nowadays and love my Teva-looking Sketchers squishy sandals, although they likely make me look like a stereo-typical lesbian. I LOVE BEING COMFORTABLE mentally and physically because I’m doing these things for me now, not for the attention of others.

I don’t need to go out every weekend and live a life for social media that looks exciting and appealing. You know what I did this weekend? I went for a walk with my best friend, had a sushi date with another friend, a walk with my wife the next day, canned, crafted, and cleaned. No bathroom mirror selfies needed. Again – not judging those that do. I’m just saying I don’t feel this pressure to do all those things anymore because they aren’t always authentic to me. I don’t need to be on display; I don’t need to have a certain body, outfit, or attitude.

That’s what being with my wife has done for me. It’s stripped away the fakeness and what’s left is me, unapologetically.

What’s your greatest quality, in your opinion? A review of answers.

Yesterday, amidst the creeping feelings of stress and boredom, I asked my Facebook friends what they thought their greatest quality was.

Usually when you give people the opportunity to speak about themselves, they perk right up. I was sort of surprised that I didn’t have too many responses…which I probably could interpret as a response in itself.

Honest question: do we acknowledge what we like about ourselves as often as we acknowledge our flaws? That was the whole purpose of the question – let’s talk about the good things we see in ourselves instead of what we feel we could improve.

Some answers were their humor, perseverance, loyalty, honesty, love, compassion…one said their flexibility (which is a talent, not necessary a quality), another their ability to be a good friend (which I’m also not sure fits into here – but it’s an answer I’m still dissecting a day later). But my feelings about the answers really don’t matter; any emotion I have toward a given answer is shaped by my own perspective and doesn’t need to match the individual’s. S’all good.

It was just a neat thing to think about randomly throughout my day.

The jury is out on what I feel my greatest quality is. When asked in a private conversation, I said that it’s my ability to understand. (Bear with me as I try to explain this.) I find that instead of assuming that, when I have a conflict with a person, that it’s simply because they’re a jerk or whatever, I make excuses for them as to why they are behaving that way. I try to understand what could be going on in the background of that person’s life to make them the way that they are. I think people’s negative actions toward others doesn’t always reflect the actual situation that’s happening right there – often, it’s affected by the vibrations of all the other bullshit that’s buzzing around invisibly to everyone else but the person who’s acting out. I suppose I try to give the person the benefit of the doubt that maybe they aren’t a total and utter shit.

Another quality that I have that I feel is a good and strong one is perseverance/determination. I get shit done. Lately, though, I’ve felt like I haven’t been able to accomplish what I said I would. The thing is, I don’t feel good unless I’m consistently moving forward in some way. There are too many people in this world that talk a good game but actually produce nothing but smoke. Last night I stubbornly pushed through the evening and did the following:

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I put labels on my jars of dried herbs! Now they look more profesh. 🙂 (Although they are not for sale. They are for personal use and gifting for the holidays.)

I also cleared off a big metal rack in my craft studio. The plan is to move it out of the studio and into another part of the basement so that it can hold the preserved foods I’ve done so far and will be doing over the next several months.

Those two tasks, the latter being a more time-consuming one, felt really amazing to accomplish on a weeknight. I struggle to get things done on weeknights ~ there’s just not enough time usually after work. I don’t usually get to touch my crafting projects until the weekends which is when people want to get together. This whole 40-hour work week thing is for the birds.

 

Oh, I’ve been creating!

Creating more art for my shop, creating dried herbs from my garden, creating quiet space to [try to] stay sane, creating memories..

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My latest ~ musical-note themed candle jars – can be found HERE

And the week before that, I completed this guy:

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Can be found HERE.

I’ve been enjoying simplicity lately.

………………………….….Who am I kidding?

I’ve been actively seeking simplicity. Desperately. Hungrily. Stubbornly. At times, my anxiety feels like it’s going to vibrate me into million pieces. [I mean, if I’m going to blog, it may as well be honest!] I’ve been relying more on sleep aids at night than probably any other time in my life. But this too shall pass. I have faith in that.

Creating and keeping busy helps immensely.

This weekend I dried a lot of herbs from my garden. Theresa and I went out there on Friday night and picked basil, oregano and chives. I dried all of those and some dill I had frozen; hand-crumbled and divided them into small glass jars. I’m going to create labels on them and give them away at Christmas time. We’ll be keeping some for our own use, as well. We are going to try to get some space cleared out in our basement for a shelving unit for our preserved foods and overstock of other household consumables.

To me, taking the time to make things IS an act of simplifying my life. Plus, it brings me enjoyment. So it’s a win/win.

Also, I saw when I logged in today that I now have 69 followers to my blog! Wow! Thank you all! It’s nice to know that something I was doing more for me than anything else is resonating with others, too.

If you’d like to play along elsewhere, too, you can find me also on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest! I’m still building my FB and IG presence – and trying not to be annoying about it.

Back to some basics ~ [baby] homesteading

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Instead of taking things off of my plate, like I talk about wanting to do pretty often, I’m like – nah, let’s do MORE!

So, I was away from work for about a week; my first day back at the office was yesterday. During that time, I had a good solid 4 days that I spent mainly at home gardening and other random household chores. That means I had a lot of time to think about things, as I’m wont to do.

I realized how much I missed doing more things for myself and my household. It was pretty amazing to have 4-5 hours in one day to garden; it made me look forward to the time when I’d be canning and preserving. I find such satisfaction and pride in doing things on my own instead of relying on purchasing those same items from the store.

Last weekend, I had to trim a lot of my cucumber plants because of mold. Lots and lots of leaf removal was done and I’m still picking off newly infected leaves here and there because it travels up the vine, unfortunately. I made a solution from water and baking soda and have been spraying the remaining leaves in hopes of saving the plants I’ve worked so hard to have.

[Every year, I learn new things. Now I know to use the baking soda and water mixture right from the get-go to avoid the plants from molding.]

As I wasn’t sure if I’d get another good batch of cucumbers from the plants (who knows, maybe I’m too late to avoid their deaths), I used what I had and made pickles! I was only able to make 4 jars but that’s 4 jars of dill pickles (the dill being from my garden, too) that I know don’t have to buy for the pickle-obsessed kids in my house.

I have also preserved a lot of shredded zucchini for use in the making of zucchini banana bread around the holiday time.

My task tomorrow is drying herbs…

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The pictures above are of 1/3 giant sheets of basil I have drying out and the second picture is a batch of oregano freshly pulled from my garden. In the background of the second picture are some handfuls of chocolate mint and sweet mint.

The plan is to oven-dry all of my herbs (thankfully I will be home much of the day!) and then to crumble them up and put them in small jars. Those jars will be neatly labeled and put aside for our own use and for holiday gifts.

The mint will be used for my personal enjoyMINT ~ I want to try making a cucumber mint sugar scrub- I have two small cucumbers picked within the last day or two from my garden.

Basically, I miss doing this type of stuff. I haven’t indulged too much in it at all since I moved out of my house in Ballston Lake. Between moving to an apartment and then moving to Niskayuna, I haven’t really had the time or mental space. I’m in a spot now where I want to create that mental space because I truly, truly enjoy doing it. I wish I could describe the feeling of accomplishing these tasks and saving as much as I can ~ “satisfying” doesn’t seem to quite cover it. It’s almost like WINNING. Learning how to make things that my family needs out of raw materials instead of just going and buying it. It’s pretty nifty, to say the least!

I used to also make my own cleaning solutions and laundry soap; I’ll be getting back into that, too, for the same reasons. Because I can and because I like to. 

 

I’ve [temporarily] run out of things to say!

In the spirit of that, this blog post should be completely blank. It won’t be though. Writing gives me a chance to think through what it is I really want to say ~ much easier than having an on-the-spot discussion.

My anxiety at the beginning of the week was something to behold. My wife asked me if I felt I should talk to someone or go see my doctor because I’ve expressed my extreme anxiety a number of times over the past month. The problem is that I am very resistent to this – not because of feeling any sort of shame or embarassment, I just don’t think it’s time for me to medically address it. I know that I haven’t been taking care of myself the way I should be. My sleep patterns have been interrupted due to too much caffeine, sugar, overall too much not-good-for-me stuff. I haven’t been drinking enough water. All the things combined heighten my anxiety and that impacts sleep and sleep impacts how I feel about everything in life. It’s a cycle.

So to break that, this week I’ve been drinking a LOT of water. I mean a lot. I may as well move my office into the bathroom. I’ve been eating more fruits and veggies. I’ve continued to meditate using the Headspace app. I’ve also been quieter; feeling like I have less to say. I’ve been actively avoiding chatter – responding a bit less to messages and overall just sitting with my own thoughts. It’s nice actually. I’ve felt a bit more peaceful over the past 48 hours.

I also came to realize that maybe not all my wishes need to be goals. Would I truly be satisfied with having my Etsy shop be my main source of income in the future, or would I end up feeling pressured to create? Chained? Unable to get away and take a vacation with my family? Would I ever make enough money to feel comfortable and happy? I honestly don’t know – but these are important things to consider. My first waking thought on Tuesday morning (after a FABULOUS night’s sleep) was: Not every hobby has to be a career path. Not every venture has to be a money-making endeavor. Some things may be meant to be simply fun and expressive. I’ll take that as a sign to keep the pressure off. Not everything has to be actively pressed forward with a sense of urgency. Things move when they move, change when they’re meant to, and stop when it’s time.

Maybe meditation has been helping.

Out with July’s goals, in with August’s Mantra ~

So, July’s over. I blinked and here we are.

Regarding the goals I set for myself for July, I did a decent job but I was not able to fully complete it. The big haul of clothing is finished; I dropped off one last bag this morning. However, I still do have two or three boxes of craft/gift items in the garage that I need to make plans for.

But to celebrate what I accomplished versus what I did not, here we go ~ in no particular order of importance!

  • I started a Facebook fan page for my Etsy shop and have been scheduling posts and keeping content fresh and updated consistently.
  • I went to the Great Escape with Theresa and the kids; I have been looking forward to doing that all year! We had the best time last Saturday!
  • I have spent a lot of time creating new items for my Etsy shop…and made a connection with a new storefront that’s going in town. Some of my items will be there! (This has me feeling all sorts of excited and nervous and optimistic…)
  • I started a separate Instagram page and have been creating content specifically for that consistently.
  • I ordered business cards!
  • My garden looks LUSH and fabulous! I’ve been picking zucchini and cucumbers like a mofo! AND I made homemade pesto over the weekend and froze some.
  • I introduced myself to the neighbor right behind us by giving her a zucchini fresh from my garden.
  • I bought pieces of clothing that fit what my style actually is versus what it was/what I felt it “should” be. I’m done with feeling stuffy and uncomfortable; when I am worried about what I’m wearing and how I am sitting, I am less confident and less productive.
  • I did a social media clean-out of people I don’t vibe with.

So, I did quite a bit in July – more than what I initially set out for myself.

August’s Mantra is super-simple ~ it’s CREATE! I have specific items I need to create for the shop storefront I mentioned above. I will share more details about the store, opening date, etc., once we are a bit closer to it happening.

But “CREATE” doesn’t just encompass that project. I want to CREATE more mental space for myself, CREATE stronger bonds with those around me, and CREATE a better vision for my future, career-wise.