Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Project Positivity: Part 1. Ahem.

I am not a very positive person.
I was not a very positive person.
I also am not a very happy person.

Now in the midst of my [post] quater-life crisis, with an unfinished Masters degree looming over my head, and a job that's not really what I want to do with my life (but at times is quite rewarding, even if time-consuming and underpaying), and wanting to make a difference in some way, and doubting my own abilities and/or expertise, and dealing with the fear to be myself, it can be very hard to be happy.

I spend lots of time looking at other people and what they're accomplishing, and questioning why I can't get out there and do the same things.

Well -- in late July, after a semi-meltdown (which included calling it off with my boyfriend - for a moment, failing miserably at this healthy eating challenge by being unprepared, and just feeling overwhelmed by life) I took a break from social media.  And I picked up Everyday a Friday by Joel Osteen.

It was refreshing to not have to check in to Twitter or my drama-filled Facebook Groups. (I still don't check in as much as I used to)  It was nice to have that quiet.  To wake up and pull up some positive reading and do some light movement, instead of reading feeds (and getting sidetracked for 30 minutes at a time) was awesome.  I know I became a bit more productive!  And the book was really good.  I read it slowly, a chapter or two per day.

Now it's nothing I didn't know in the book -- it's all about choosing happiness and positivity (and planting seeds of encouragement and positivity in others) -- but it was a timely reminder that happiness is a choice.  Not just saying "I'm up and I'm going to be happy" but learning that you can't change what happens to you, but you can choose how you react.  And a lot of times, the negative reactions cost.  A lot.  In your own personal happiness. It causes YOU discomfort and makes you question yourself, when really you could have chosen to take the situation down another road.

In essense, I embarked on Project Positivity!  -- A conscious effort to find what makes me feel good and how I could spread feel-goodness around.  A way to re-learn thinking about myself and others.  Maybe it'll lead me to what I want to do in life.  Or what I'm called to do in life.

But for now, here's what I've learned and want to continue:
  • Eating good whole food, but not stressing over it (Diet mentality is hard to break) makes life better
  • Sunshine.  I need it.  To move in the sunshine - I need it. (Morning walk/jogs are everything)
  • Planning ahead, even a little bit is helpful.
  • Saying no is ok.  Really.  I won't be able to please everyone.
  • Writing is needed.  I don't do it nearly enough.
  • Quiet time (meditation or prayer or just silence) I don't do this nearly enough, but when I do it's awesome.
So yeah: Project Positivity! 
What are your positive steps?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

From an old assignment.

I wrote this as an "autobiography" for an assignment a few years back.   
I still feel this way  for the most part. 

“Life is a journey, not a destination.
There are no mistakes, just chances we’ve taken. 
 Lay down your regrets because all we have is now. . . “

First off, I don’t think my life is terribly interesting.  I also don’t know of one self to talk about. There is only one thing in my life that I regret, and I’m not going to tell you about it here.  Well, I will let you know that it has to do with groupthink and being caught up in a moment.  Never. Again.  
But, besides that regret, I don’t regret anything I’ve done in my life.  I’ve done good things, not-so-good things, and some very stupid and unsafe things, and I don’t regret any of them.  They’ve all been learning experiences to grow from, and without them, my story wouldn’t be my story. 

I have friends who want to be thin, I have friends who want amazing families, I have friends who want to be super successful or filthy rich, and I really don’t want any of those.  My obsession is to learn how to be happy with myself and how I can live the healthiest, happiest, most fulfilling life I can live for myself.  See, I am a people pleaser, and it is easy to want to live in a way that will get the most approval from other people, and that includes, for someone like me, becoming thin, having a family, and being “successful” which basically amounts to having a nine to five with little time for vacations but living in a big-ish house in a suburban area.  I don’t really want that.  And sometimes I am a bit embarrassed by it, because all the other women my age are striving for that hardcore.  Well, at least the women I know and/or grew up with.  I tend to feel that so many people are making themselves unhappy striving for happiness.  

Like I stated before, I just want to live my best life.  I want to have juicy stories when I get old.  I want to have memories of silly adventures and tons of things I can look back and smile on.  And not just things that included other people, like finding the love of my life, or the day I married him, or my wonderful kids or something.  I’m not saying I don’t want that, I am just saying I want my own accomplishments. 

When I turned 23, I decided that my life was not going to be the way it had been.  I feel that although I was doing things, more things were happening to me, and I was not doing enough.  I didn’t want to sit around and just let stuff happen.  I wanted to make things happen for myself as well.  That was really when my life started changing.  First, I figured I may as well appreciate myself and treat myself right.  That meant not beating up on myself for not being thin or conventionally pretty.  It meant trying new things, and taking steps to be a person the me I was could be happy with in the future.   In the following years I:  Learned bellydance, taught myself crochet, went out on dates, cut my hair, flirted, took silly pictures and posted them on facebook,  learned to cook, made a dress.  

I think a lot. I talk a lot.  I also do a lot.  One of my biggest pet peeves are people who talk and never do.  It’s scary to take a risk, but either you succeed or you fail.  I surprise people because I tend to do.  When I was in second grade I was in the school talent show.  It surprised everyone that I actually sang a song a cappella while all the other students lip-synced to their favorite ditties.  I stood on that stage by myself and sang “Some of My Best Friends are Notes” in a white outfit, hand painted with music notes by my mom’s crafty friend.  

“Life is a challenge, not a competition;
You can still smell the roses and be on a mission.
Just take a moment, get in touch with your heart. . .”

I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.  I find that terribly problematic.  The thing is, I never feel as if I’m prepared enough to do anything regarding a career.  I graduated college and I felt like I knew a few things about theatre, but not enough.  Like I didn’t spend enough time doing anything, though I’d costumed and directed shows.  I still felt like I couldn’t do anything.  I am afraid that life will be like that when I graduate again, but I’m a bit more willing to throw myself out there and see.  I doubt most people are ready for their careers after graduation.  It’s all a learning process. 

The other reason I have no idea about what I want to be when I grow up, is because when I’m in school, a class will introduce me to something new, and I think Hey!  I want to do that, too, now.  It’s awful.   But really, I know that if I can do anything in the theatre, I’d be happy.  Or event planning.   Event planning and theatre are really close to me.  It’s always a rush to get some amazing piece of art up that will only be there for a while, and then you have to take it down, and do it again with a new play or theme or something.  I like that, always creating, always moving. 

I know one thing; I do not want to work in a school bookstore for longer than I have to.  I sometimes dislike it so much.  It’s amazing how un-smart people in college can be at time.  I leave that job everyday and thank God that I have a job and then remind myself why I go to school and work hard.  So I don’t have to be somewhere where everything is cyclical and repetitive and redundant.  I don’t want to be one of those people who take things so seriously, as some of the people do there.  

“I wonder how life will surprise me today. . . “

I love fashion.  It’s hard to love fashion and be fat, because most designers/stores think you don’t deserve to be fashionable when you’re larger.  Out of all the reasons I’d ever want to lose weight, to have more selection in clothes would be one of the biggest reasons.  That’s sad because most people think it should probably be because of health reasons or something.  But I can be healthy almost at any size if I work at it.   A big girl has to be creative when dressing.  One of my long term goals is to create a plus size clothing line that is really fashionable, not just a regurgitation of stupid fashion rules for fat people, or something made to make us look ridiculous.  I have no idea how or when I will do that, but I really want to.  

My life’s not really that exciting.  I sometimes look around and wish I had a bit of drama to stir it up a bit.  I could use more friends.  I could go out more.  I could be a bit more outgoing. There are big lulls sometimes, where I begin to sit and feel sorry for myself for silly reasons.  I think I’m pretty boring.  That’s one thing I’d like to change, to be more exciting.  Hopefully as I age, I’ll have more stories of excitement to tell.  Right now, I’m just living in the moment, trying to be healthy, happy and fulfilled. 

*Lyrics from “A Beautiful Day” India.Arie

Sunday, June 9, 2013

get up, get out, & do something OR how not to be a clod OR becoming a FORCE

This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. Being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.  - George Bernard Shaw 

The reason why I created my personal growth challenge, besides trying to rekindle all of the things that inspired me before, was to stop complaining.  Or at least get to the root of my complaining.

I'll admit:  I am not always happy with where I am in life right now.  But I was finding that my unhappiness was becoming a constant stream of complaints -- everything was going wrong.  An worse than that, I wasn't doing anything to help move me from this state of dissatisfaction. So yeah,  I am was one of those.

Here's the problem with complaining -- the more you do it the worse things become and the worse things become, the more you do it.  Frankly, you get STUCK.  You can't do anything to move forward because you know that whatever you do won't work  - you don't have time; you don't have the drive;you don't have the will anymore OR you don't have the funds; you don't have the support; you don't have the LUCK that someone else has/had.  Or you replace the don't's with if's.

Either way, stuff starts happening TO you instead of YOU making things happen.  You feel like it's you against the world, the universe, God.

So, as I was reading the Purpose-Driven Life earlier this year, and came across the above quote --- I was pretty much was called out by Mr. Shaw.  I realized that at that point, I had, indeed, become a "feverish, selfish, little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world would not devote itself to making [me] happy."

Nothing was really my fault:  I could do this but I don't have [time/money/resources].  I was constantly being acted upon, I was not acting.  I was not a force of nature.

Truth be told, I still am not a "force of nature." I haven't moved anything yet.  I'm pushing a bit more than I have. I've  I am still trying to figure out the purpose that I'm working toward that I will see as a mighty one.   Clearly, that's why I'm blogging here, getting back in touch with my life and needs and passions.   I don't have answers.  Just working through the questions one sentence at a time.

I know one thing, though-- being called a feverish, selfish clod?  I ain't here for it.  Being a FORCE, however?  I dig it.

What about you?
Do you feel like a "force of nature?"  What are you doing to become a force?  Have you figured your purpose?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

dream big?

This picture makes me sad.  Poor little rhino doesn't realize
unicorns are mythical creatures.  
I walked in on the last (very last) few minutes of Extreme Makeover - Weight Loss Edition.   I tend to stay away from weight loss porn for various reasons (the why may be discussed in a future post.)

So back to the story,  I walked in on the tail-end of the weight-loss show.  I'm sure there were tears and frustration and lots of inspiration before she was able to reveal herself to a "concerned" body of family and friends.  That's not what prompted me to write this.  What prompted me was when she proceeded to talk about her pride in accomplishing such a feat and that her "dreams had come true."

Weight loss is hard. Fitness isn't easy. I am not dismissing that and I feel that it totally natural to be proud of changing eating habits, or pushing through a particularly challenging workout, or fitting clothes you couldn't before.  (There's more on that as well, but that's not it either).

My issue is that ultimately her "dreams had come true." Dreams.  Plural. 

I already find it problematic to have one dream of being thin(ner), but that's the nature of the society we live in.  But if all your dreams revolve around weight loss, I'm just. . . worried.  

When I was a kid, I dreamt of many things.  I wanted to be a business woman like in Big Business, I dreamt of having a family, I dreamt of being asked out on dates . . .  And really, none of those things depend on size.   And it made me sad that apparently she thinks that it's all going to be rosey because she's smaller.    And most, if not all, of us have been sold on that "dream" - That everything will begin to work because we've reached some goal weight or size.  Life will inherently be better because we've left some fat behind. 

I mean people might be nicer.  Maybe.  
You may get hit on more. Maybe. 

But being thinner won't free up my money cuz I'll still have student loans; it won't make me a better artist if I don't practice; it won't bring me success unless I work at my dreams. 

We put so much faith in our bodies and how they look.  We put so much faith in becoming "aesthetically pleasing" to a certain population.  We put so much faith in creating a before and after picture so we can be praised. 

 It's time we put some faith in ourselves.  It's ok to dream big. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

do something you've never done: june personal growth challenge

I've been stuck.  
In a rut.  
I'm still there, I'm sure. 

However, I don't want to stay here.  I don't want to be here. 

See, I've been having a hard time finding my passion, latching on to my happiness.  At one point, I think I'd forgotten my dreams.   

After numerous conversations, lots of introspection and a multitude of tears, I have decided to jump back in to those things that made me happy - 

1. Blogging
2. Theatre
3. Fashion
4. Size Acceptance
5. Yoga

Obviously, I'm beginning with blogging.  I'll be documenting my progress here - sharing successes and failures.   I'm excited and scared.  However, one thing I know - to get something different, one must DO something different.  I've got to move.

I want to be able to say I love my life.  I haven't been able to say that in a while.   So here's where I do something.  Here's where I move forward. 

Let's go.  

Friday, October 26, 2012



I've been having a hard time figuring out my home, per se, online.  I have this blog (which has been terribly neglected), and then my other one (which I thought was going to be my foray into lifestyle blogging.)  Unfortunately I've just been crazy mixed up over the two.

I am not going to get into a long story here, but I'll say --- I think . . . and i drink cups of tea is where I should be.  Where I should stay.

As I keep saying each time I return, I don't know what shape this blog will take, or if it will even have a defined form ever. I just know that I have a lot on my mind, a lot to work through, and a lot I want to share.  And that's good, right?

So, yeah. I'm back.  For real this time. Look for posts from the queen of her now late-twenties crisis.  It's going to be a fun ride!


- a.renae

Also you can follow me on twitter  and instagram at @loventea!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I need your help!

I'm directing a production of the Vagina Monologues and the proceeds benefit the Stanford Houses Women's Shelter/ Safe Health and Wellness Transitional Housing.  I want to fill up the auditorium.  I also want to make sure that we've done our part to help end violence against women.

If you're in the area, consider buying a ticket and seeing the show.  It's going to be great!  If not, consider donating to the cause.  You can do both here.

Thank you!