Thoughts & Feels

I never lose. I either win or I learn.

As I close in on another birthday, I guess it’s about that time to get all reflective. It’s been a crazy fucking year. 25 was, in a word, turbulent, but the last two months have been so damn sweet. I feel like I’ve gone through my own personal renaissance.

I’ve lived in three different places this year and where I’ve landed…well, I think I’m going to be here for a while. I feel like a lot of the pieces that I’ve been waiting, hoping, wishing to fall in place finally are.

I changed jobs. I am doing exactly what I wanted to be doing and it is even better than I could have hoped. The cherry on top is the ridiculously amazing people I get to interact with everyday. How so many awesome people all ended up in one place just blows my mind, but I’m damn grateful we found each other.

I lost love, but gained some hard won clarity about who I am and what I want. I want outrageous, raw, unapologetic, real love. A partner. Someone that won’t make me doubt I’m wanted. Someone that will choose me, choose us, even when the going gets rough. Someone that believes in me and the magic of life and all it has to offer. Someone who isn’t afraid of disappointment. If I don’t find it, I’m happy on my own. I’m not in a rush and I won’t settle for less.

My business did better than I ever would have expected, especially with pretty extreme periods of neglect on my part. I’m not a salesperson, but I ended up with four clients that all gave me repeat business. It’s no where near a livable income, but it’s nice extra money doing work I enjoy on the side. I’m not sure how actively I’ll pursue the continuation of it, but it’s been rewarding knowing I can make money from something I created.

I didn’t end up traveling anywhere this year; landing a new job took precedence. But I’m heading to Seattle in a few weeks with my brother on a work trip and I’m thinking I might go to Utah or Ireland later this year. We’ll see. In the meantime, I’ve been having a blast exploring Central New York.

That quote at the top of this post? I just came across it today and it sums up my enlightenment period from this year. The last two months hit the refresh button on my life and I desperately needed it. I’m grateful for the good, the bad, and the ugly, but right now I feel like all the good things are coming my way and I’m going to soak it up.

I don’t have specific goals this go-round, but these are my intentions for the year:

  • make bold moves
  • embrace vulnerability
  • be open to opportunity
  • live on purpose
  • stay curious
  • find the wild and keep it close
  • let go of things and people who aren’t meant for me
  • enjoy the hell out of whatever brings me joy

Cheers to 26 and whatever craziness this year has in store for me. It’s going to be one for the books.

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Tickled by life

This morning I drove to Skaneateles. My primary goal was to check out this bakery I found online. You see, Skaneateles just feels like a place that would have a great bakery. And I was right. In fact I was almost gluttonous enough to go to two! But I’ll save Patisserie for next time. Skaneateles Bakery was a treat. I bought an over sized pink lemonade macaron and a raspberry muffin and ate them near the lake where some seagulls were also enjoying their morning.

I spent some time people watching, soaking up the sunshine, walking down the pier, and even finished reading my book. And, as I sat there, I felt more content than I have in a long time. Moving here was the best decision I could have made. I can feel myself settling more into who I want to be and I think this time alone is exactly what I needed. I love exploring on my own. Who knew?

You don’t realize that every person in your life and experience you have adds weight to your life until you make a big shift like this. Or at least I didn’t. And the weight usually isn’t a bad thing. It adds depth and value and love to living, but I feel less weighed down now and it’s freeing. There are less demands on my time and my mind and it’s helping me to feel more connected with myself. I cook what I want, go where I want, and do what I want without needing to compromise or wonder if someone else is going to be okay with the decision and, man, that feels so, so good right now!

I’m tickled by this season of life. I know it’s not likely that I’ll be on my own or want to be on my own forever, but right now I’m going to soak it up and enjoy it as much as I can. Cheers to being comfortable in your own skin and finding out you’re pretty damn capable all on your own.

The call of the country

I’ve always been open to a variety of music, but since moving to Syracuse I have been inexplicably drawn to the country stations on the radio. I know country music as a genre tends to be pretty polarizing. I’ve never had a strong opinion about it one way or another, but lately it seems to perfectly fit my long drives to nowhere roaming around the farmlands, cutting through the mountains and weaving around the lakes of central New York. They also match my mood lately; a little bittersweet, nostalgic about love gone awry…hoping it will still work out somehow, feeling like it must.

Here’s what I’m feeling lately:

Like I loved you -Brett Young

Die a happy man -Thomas Rhett

In case you didn’t know -Brett Young

See you tonight -Scotty McCreery

Runnin’ outta moonlight -Randy Houser

Leave the night on -Sam Hunt

Play it again -Luke Bryan

I don’t want this night to end -Luke Bryan

Small town boy -Dustin Lynch

It goes like this -Thomas Rhett

Get me some of that -Thomas Rhett

The death of a dream

It hurts letting go of something that once held so much promise. Losing your best friend, your boyfriend, and the man you thought you had a future with all at once is so damn hard.

But this is old news. It’s already been nine months. I should have been able to move on by now, right? He shouldn’t be slipping into my thoughts on a still daily basis. There are so many things I do everyday that still remind me of him. It’s not fair.

I loved him. I really did. I also fought against being with him. I’m not entirely sure why. In part, I think I was afraid of it turning into something real and solid and important. But it had been real and solid and important, until it wasn’t. Another part, I think, felt rushed by him and, sue me, I’m a little resistant to change when it’s not my idea. He knew what he wanted and being with me wasn’t important enough to give me time to catch up. I wasn’t worth the risk. His goals were more important. To hell with wasting any more time on me because I wasn’t quite ready for him and marriage and kids. Then he left and didn’t turn back. No room for compromise. No room for growth and discovery. No reason good enough to meet me in the middle.

Truthfully, I can’t work with that, but I want a family. I know I never said that to him and I couldn’t because I didn’t know it yet. But I want a family. And I want it with someone who isn’t afraid to love me outrageously. Who knows I’m the only one for him. Who knows I’m worth waiting for and fighting for. Who doesn’t make me feel less important than everything else he wants in life. I want to love someone with my whole heart for my whole life. I don’t want to be a victim of my own cowardice, or someone else’s.

It’s not something I need or necessarily want right this instant, but it’s something I want. The dream of having it with him is slowly dying.

Giving myself to him in a field of wildflowers, getting married in the clearing behind his parents house, creating our own home, exploring new places, shoe shopping, driving to no where, starting a family, cooking meals, sharing a life with him, the exciting and the mundane, the best and the worst…it’s time to let all of that go, isn’t it? Because me dreaming about it isn’t going to make him love me enough to make it happen and I won’t settle for less than all, for less than equal partners. I used to think we’d get there. We had a lot of the right pieces fit together. But I’m getting used to disappointment.

For now, I’m finding my own way and right now, that’s enough.

And one day, hopefully some day soon, I won’t feel compelled to write about it anymore. I guess that’s how I’ll know I’ve moved on.

 

Because I knew you

It’s not particularly novel to feel reflective at a major turning point, but this thought has been tumbling around my head the past few weeks and it’s time to give it proper dues: I have been so damn fortunate, in every stage of my life, in the people that I have met, befriended, lived, learned, explored, worked, fought, and crossed boundaries with.

For every great experience I have had, it almost always comes down to the people.

It’s true. I’m one of the lucky ones. Blessed with one of those families that was built on a rock solid foundation of mutual love, respect and belonging. I didn’t start to realize how rare that was until high school and it really does change everything. It is the best and most precious gift I’ve ever been given.

I’ve always made friends pretty easily. One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned is how to let people go and that it’s natural to outgrow some friendships. My very best friend growing up was three years younger than me and lived two houses down the street. During the summer we used to be out the door by 7am, ready and raring to go. We both had crazy active imaginations and would have fun dressing up and inventing games, pretending to be everything from wild animals to rock stars. We’d write stories, choreograph songs, have snack time and adventure time. Scrape knees, climb trees, build forts…we did it all. In seventh grade when I realized we were growing apart, it broke my heart. We were everything until we weren’t, but looking back on it, I know I was touched by a beautiful kind of magic.

Some of my closest friendships to this day are with people I bonded with in high school. The cross country team, my crazy band of misfits, gifted me with five deliriously special people that I’ve now been friends with for almost half of my life. And I had one of the greatest summers of my life so far with my other girl gang and while I don’t talk to most of them anymore, one of them is basically the sister of my heart, no matter how long we go between seeing each other.

If I could relive a year of my life, it would be my freshman year of college and the reason is squarely on the shoulders of the ridiculous and amazing people that I exploded into being with that year. Such a huge year of becoming. From a handful of certain classmates to the crazies that I dormed with, I cannot imagine a more perfect year with more perfect people. It wasn’t without its challenges, but every day I woke up on fire. So damn excited to see what else was in store. I only keep in touch with a handful of those people now, but they’ve all touched my soul.

My year of grad school gifted me with an interesting mix of people. I am so glad I walked toward and not away from that rambunctious group of weirdos blocking the hallway. Over four years later, my life has never been the same.

After graduation, I had a somewhat unique year of retail experience largely working with my friends and a great team of people. I actually learned a lot during this year, even though I was pretty depressed about how long it took me to find a “real” job, and it was largely in part to the new people I met.

And then comes Manzella, the heart of why I was inspired to write this post. For the past three years I worked at a marketing agency as a project manager. I won’t lie to you, it was not my favorite experience. But damn did I learn and grow personally and professionally in ways I couldn’t imagine. I was given unusual opportunities and earned the respect of great people. I worked with executives at major companies and contributed to a team of truly impressive creative people who I’m fortunate to also call friends. I gained so much; a mentor and a friend that I hope will be a part of my life forever; an exceptional, open-minded boss who trusted me implicitly and wants me to succeed, even if I have to leave; a creative director who gave me room to grow and learn to manage, and also took an active interest in me as a person; account executives that considered me a surrogate daughter. And more. So much more. I am so damn grateful for having had this experience. It was often uncomfortable. I knew it would be when I started. But I had no idea how much these people would come to mean to me or the impact they would have on my life and it’s something I don’t ever want to take for granted. I wouldn’t be moving forward without them.

So, if you’re one of the good ones (and I believe you are), thank you. Thank you for pushing me, pulling me, raising me, berating me, changing me, growing me, loving me and quite simply being with me. It has made a world of difference.

To quote Wicked:
I do believe I have been changed for the better, and, because I knew you, I have been changed for good.

As I start this new chapter, I’m excited about the people I’ll meet and the new friends I’ll make. Who will change my life? Will I change theirs? I hope this is an overwhelming season of becoming.

Let’s begin.

 

Love is brave. You are not.

Sometimes I feel like Severus Snape with his tragic unrequited love for Lily Potter. Except we’re (unfortunately) not wizards and you used to love me back.

You didn’t used to be so afraid of disappointment. You thought we were worth the effort, until you changed the playing field and simply gave up.

The part of me that I’m not proud of still hopes to hear from you. Hopes that you’re plotting how to get me back. Hopes that you never stopped loving me.

But the realistic part of me knows that you are selfish and that you’re a coward. That cowardice runs deeper than I ever realized while we were together–and I don’t respect that.

Love is brave…so, I guess you didn’t really love me. Otherwise you would have figured out how to keep me in your life. I wouldn’t have been the only one trying to make things work.

I do have to say thank you though. I wouldn’t be starting this new chapter if it weren’t for my own brave pursuit of what I thought we could have been. And even though you won’t be part of this next chapter, maybe especially since you won’t be involved, I know it’s going to be one of spectacular transformation and growth.

So, thanks for giving up on me. It pushed me further.

P.S. I am likely well rid of you, but I’m keeping your damn socks.

 

Those moments when…

You feel most alive. When your soul is leaping from your skin. When you feel like you can take on the world and be the very best version of yourself. When you escape the confines of your brain and become all heart.

Those moments are so damn special.

I made the decision to actually go out to see a band I’d never heard of last night. And it was the best decision I’ve made in a while. Magic Giant, you’re doing it right. You guys are pure positive energy. Keep doing what you’re doing. Thanks for coming to Buffalo and thanks Leanne, if you’re reading this, for bringing me along!

I’m guilty of listening to whatever is easy, whatever the radio feeds me. There’s a comfort and laziness in that so I appreciate friends that introduce me to new music I wouldn’t seek out on my own.

Magic Giant, you’re a keeper.