Friday, August 6, 2010

Unfinished Business

The last three weeks have been nothing but rain. Cold, wet, dark, unwelcoming.

But today feels different. Hopefully different. I can see clearly around me. And like a hard slap in the face, the reason why has presented itself to me.

All of this hurt, loss, the unsettling feeling of the unknown is fading into blackness. What once was stark white and staring me in the face now dissipates into the past.

The decision I've made and this choice to move forward with it scares me, thrills me and intimidates me but these past three weeks have done nothing but knock me down and keep me there. Today I've woken to stand back up, because when the universe knocks you down you not only have to stand up, you have to hit the ground running.

I couldn't have made this decision without my family of course, who love and encourage the decision I've made despite my ambitious goals. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Rith, my love, my equal, you are a great deal of the reason why. My next move is a little selfish and I'm beyond grateful to not only lean on you. I'm grateful that you carry me when I cannot walk on my own. These next years will be so exciting to share with you by my side.

To my best friend, Griffin, know that you inspire me when you do nothing at all. You constantly remind me to reduce the debt in life, to reduce the excess and for that I thank you. Thank you for not only keeping it real, but thank you for reminding me that the beaten path isn't necessarily the right path for everyone.

The wheels of change are in motion, once everything is complete and official I'll share with the rest of you what I plan to do next. To my readers in general, thank you for sharing all of this with me, I've got big surprises in store in the coming months, stay tuned.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stay With It

I've practiced yoga with several different instructors in various studios and gyms and also at different levels of difficulty. One of my favorite things that these instructors had in common was said to the class when we were posed in the most uncomfortable of positions. "Stay with it, the pain won't last long." 

And of course, it wasn't really painful or else your body would tell you to release the position, but to hear that reminder in class kept me going, kept me folded, kept me twisted, kept me bent. I say that phrase to myself more often these days and outside of the yoga classes. 

A few weeks ago when my tires were stolen and I was laid off the very next day I couldn't help but feel utterly defeated. But I said to myself, both verbally and internally..."Stay with it Tash, it won't last long." 

Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves that the pain simply means we're alive. Tires are replaceable and a job is just another opportunity. More importantly, our careers are not what makes us who we are, but rather its what we do. Stay with it.  

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Interpreter of Maladies

On July 8th, at 7am I kissed my boyfriend goodbye as I walked out of our apartment to my car to get in my usual morning cardio at the gym. I got into my car, locked the doors and started the engine. I took the gear shift out of neutral and shifted to first after releasing the e-brake. I turned the wheel to drive off but my car was unmovable.

Without knowing that both of my passenger tires were stolen, I repeated the same steps to no resolve. Finally, I got out of my car to walk around and inspect the problem. As I made my way to the passenger side, there lay my car, propped on two broken red bricks without rims, tires or lug nuts.

Initially I felt confused, saddened and then angry. Really angry. I felt personally violated against. I felt targeted. My mind was overwhelmed with questions, "Who would do this?" and "Why me?" But these questions didn't help nor did they make me feel better.

I ran back to my apartment and fell apart in Rith's arms. We called the police, filed a report, called my insurance as well as a tow truck. When all I wanted to do was crawl into a ball and cry there was no time for it. With $1800 worth of damages, I'm grateful that I was not in any danger. Sure, that certainly wasn't an expense I was planning for but at the end of the day I reminded myself that all material things can be replaced.

The very next morning, because I had taken Thursday off to deal with my stolen tires, I went into work about two hours early. At almost noon that day, myself, my entire team and several others were laid off. I wish I could take back my tears in that conference room because it wasn't worth my tears. I just couldn't believe it, couldn't believe any of it. It suddenly felt that everything in my world was crashing down right on top of me. Everything that had felt safe and comfortable, everything I knew was no more. The blows weren't stopping and I couldn't help but take it personally.

If everything happens for a reason, what was the reason for this? I don't know but I hope that the answer isn't far away. As for now, I'm taking some time off to focus on me. That may sound really selfish but after a weekend of some serious defeat, my mind, heart and body need a little TLC. I'm so grateful to have a supportive and loving boyfriend and family because without them I don't know how I'll get by.

I will tell you one more thing, it's day 3 of being at home and I'm already going crazy. It's not relaxing nor is it any fun...must seriously re-focus my happy thoughts.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

il dolce stil nuovo

I read something really beautiful today. Currently I'm reading "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert and she talks about why she went to Rome to learn Italian. Il dolce stil nuovo means "the sweet new style." I read it and instantly it brought a smile to my face. Change is what I take away from that phrase...the sweet new change.

Though she was talking about the origin of the Italian language as we now know it, I feel it applies to anything you wish it to. At this very moment, though many things are the same, many little things around me and in my life are changing. I'm constantly in flux and certainly basking in il dolce stil nuovo.

Living with my boyfriend is so new. Everything about it is new. We do nearly everything together, we eat together, clean together, go to the gym together, sleep together and my favorite, we wake up together every single morning. I'm loving every minute of it, even when it's difficult and we argue about the little things; when he leaves one plate in our empty sink I can't help but love him all over again for all the great things he does. He does our laundry and folds it without hesitation. He picks up groceries I don't even ask for when we don't go together just because he knows I like it or crave it. He lifts weights with me three times a week even though I slow down his workout routine. And these are all silly things, but they're tiny details. There's so much more than I can't put in words. He's constantly putting me first and that means more to me than a man who leaves one dish in the sink.

When I wake up in the morning and begin to open my eyes, I become fully conscious and feel his arms around me. Safety. Security.

L'mor che move il sole e l'altre stelle...
The love that moves the sun and the other stars.
- Dante Aligheri

If you don't already, go and seek il dolce stil nuovo though most times, it certainly seeks you.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Baby Fever

You know when you're old? When your entire weekend is packed with baby play dates and baptisms.

My nephew Darren James is so precious, when I don't see him during the weekdays I can't stop thinking about him. On weekends, my boyfriend and I make the trip up to Wauconda and spend the day with him yet somehow it's still not enough.

It's so funny and interesting to learn that you can watch babies do just about anything and be just in awe.

I could watch Darren sleep for hours and still not take my eyes off of him.

With my other sister pregnant, baby fever is in the air. And though babies are a welcome miracle, I'm personally nowhere near ready to want or have one.

It's a good thing we'll have two babies in the family this year...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Oral Fixation

The many and albeit daily eating downfalls at the office include boxes of sugar coated donuts, homemade brownies, cupcakes, candy filled cabinets and don't forget fast food lunches -- all washed down with an endless coffee supply. No thanks!

In the last 8 or so months I've put on some weight, when I tell people how much weight I've gained I find that the usual response is along the lines of, "I can't tell," or "that's not a bad at all."

But it is bad, I'm 5 feet tall so every pound matters on a petite figure like mine. I'm not upset about the weight gain but I'm certainly doing something about it. Big changes have happened in my life since last fall when I was at my physical best: I moved out of my parent's home in the suburbs, I'm now working downtown and living with my boyfriend in the city.

New home, new relationship, new job -- change can lead to a lot of things and in my case, weight gain. Suffice it to say, I've let myself go a little bit and have put on about 8 lbs, a little less than 1 lb for every month my boyfriend and I have been together. While it's certainly not an excuse to eat anything I want all the time, I accept the change and am now moving forward with becoming healthier. I've been at the gym almost every day this week to reinforce cardio and strength training as a routine.

And because I sit at a desk for 8 hours on Monday through Friday, eating healthy is harder than one would think, or at least it was. Ever since we moved in together two weeks ago, we've been cooking dinner at home and also packing our own lunches. This is a much better alternative than running downstairs and hitting one of the many fast food chains in the Loop, it's cost effective too!

Now I don't consider myself a "snacker," but there are times while I'm at work that I just need something, a piece of gum or mint...or whatever I can grab in our company's "candy cabinet."

In an effort to appease said oral fixations, I've recently purchased a 150 count container of Yummy Earth's Organic Lollipops from Amazon. They're all natural lollipops (no artificial flavoring or dyes) and a serving size is about 3 pops for 70 calories. I've shared these with my team (and other teams) and everyone really loves them. They're also fairly sour and less sweet which is highly enjoyable. I've got them at my desk, readily available for when that craving kicks in...

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Writing Won't Be On the Wall

In light of some personal realizations I've made the choice to remove myself from the Facebook community. It's been a presence in my mind for quite some time now and after evaluating my life in terms of what I want, need and where I wish to be in the future, Facebook is not a part in any of those plans.

So why does it sound like I'm talking about letting go of a relationship, it's a social networking site, not a person right? Reality check: Facebook was something I was a part of every single day. It was a part of my morning routine, as soon as I checked my emails upon waking up and again on my commute to the office. It was a part of my workday, I always kept an open screen to view updates. It was a part of any lunch or dinner plans in the form of pictures of my meal and checking in on Yelp.

And last night, after an argument with my boyfriend, Facebook became a part of us, our fight and our relationship with just an insignificant moment of weakness on my part.

No more. At first I thought I would slowly ween myself off of Facebook, maybe set a countdown of some sort to login and/or update less. And then I realized this morning, I'm not addicted to Facebook -- there is no chemical substance I'm dependent on.

I am a person; I am a living, breathing, loving, working, intelligent individual.

Facebook is a web site whose online relationships proliferate because of only one reason: we choose to and willingly participate in these menial interactions.

I participate in these menial interactions.

You have to know where you are to know where you're going. So, where am I?

I'm an aunt with a precious nephew I can't take my eyes off of. I'm in love and living with a man who changes my life for the better every single day. I'm friends with thoughtful individuals who inspire me constantly.

And I couldn't possibly ask for anything more than that.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Just Like Raindrops

It's such an automatic thing to get into my car and drive to the gym for yoga. I decided today that instead of driving I'd walk the two miles to the gym. Granted, it wasn't the best weather to go walking, but it felt surprisingly amazing to walk in the rain.

When I left my condo in the West Loop, the sky was an ominous gray and a faint drizzle kissed my face. About 10 minutes into my walk bound for my gym at Union Station, the rain began to fall in heavier, colder drops. I had no umbrella, no raincoat or hood, I had just my yoga mat strapped to my back, a bottle of water in my hand and my music. I have to say that walking in a rainstorm is one of my favorite things and it's so frustrating to realize how far removed I am from simple things like walking.

As a society we're so far removed from nearly everything; we drive when we can walk, we text when we could see each other, we believe in fad diets instead of routine exercise and healthier eating, and lastly, we use credit instead of cash. Needless to say we are a society dependent on instant gratifcation. When did this happen to us or rather, when did we create it for ourselves? Since when was it okay to rely on what is convenient and quicker as opposed to what's overall better for all of us?

Sure, we have schedules and commitments but who is to say that we can't wake up a little earlier in the morning to walk instead of rely on public transportation? Why do we spend hundreds of dollars on Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and NutriSystem? Because everyone tells us it's okay.

You'll be hard pressed to find people who go back to the source, who manage to make life what they want doing what they wish without the influence of others. I'm not crazy and by all means I am not saying everyone who takes the bus is lazy, but I'm slowly starting to realize that every decision we make is truly ours. If we don't take advantage of it, everyone else will.

Having said that, I'm going to start walking from my condo to my downtown office which, according to google is 3 miles one way. Not only does it start my day with great cardio and fresh air, but it saves me money every time I don't take the bus. Why am I doing it? Because I can and because I want to. Yes, I have to sacrifice waking up a little earlier and maybe coming to work sweaty but that's my choice.

Walking in the rain today was so liberating, people looked at me like I was crazy and I laughed inside. All around me others were ducking under awnings waiting out the rain and there I was, yoga mat in tow, walking in the downpour. Fittingly enough, Basement Jaxx's "Raindrops" played on my iPhone as I walked and it was the most serene 4 minutes of my day -- not including yoga of course.

Walking allowed me to connect with me, to listen to my own thoughts and be with myself in these moments. When you drive you have to be aware of everything, what gear am I in, is that lady going to cross, is this parking? Ridiculous. More and more I'm wondering why I even bought my car, granted I was in the suburbs and well, needed it. But living in the city with everything within walking distance what the hell am I doing with a sizeable car payment and insurance? Hopefully I'll figure it out soon, I'll think about it on my walk to work this week and keep you guys posted.

Seriously though, get out a little. You'll be surprised at what even a 30 minute walk outdoors will do for you.

PS Is anyone in the market for a manual 2007 Scion tC?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dear Gramps

April 22nd is here again and I wish I could say it's getting easier. I mean, in the general scope of things I'm okay really but ever since you passed a part of me left with you. In reflecting on how to add and remove people from my life, in losing you I've learned that sometimes the leaving can't be helped.

You should know that everyone is happy, healthy and our family is growing.

You should also know that I'm so in love Gramps, I wish you could meet him. Lolo Boy thinks he looks just like you back in the day. The way he takes care of me reminds me of how you cared for Grandma. Sometimes I feel like I don't deserve him.

When we cleaned up the house a few weekends ago mom came across boxes upon boxes of my toys and onesies that you'd saved. I'm not sure why you saved it but I suppose you didn't need a reason, you were always like a father to me. Seeing my baby clothes carefully folded and packed ever so delicately meant a lot to me. Those are pieces of me that I can give to my kids, pieces that are so much more than pictures in an album. Thank you for saving them.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Wonder Years

This past weekend my boyfriend and I were out to dinner with my sister and her husband. I'm not sure how the conversation turned to this topic, but my sister and I suddenly found ourselves talking about our childhood and how during boring summer breaks, we used to hold mock-beauty pageants with one another, actually we did mock-everything at this age -- school, news segments, etc.

This conversation then lead to the discussion of how I didn't meet my siblings until I was 7. True story.

It's one of those things where you think everyone who really knows you already knows this, but somewhere in between the whirlwind of the last 6 months, I'd omitted this tidbit from my boyfriend, unintentionally of course.

So, I know it's kind of weird and most certainly not the norm, but not meeting my siblings until that age is probably one my most favorite facts about myself. Needless to say, I was a nightmare. I didn't share because I grew up thinking I was an only child and I was quite spoiled. When three young siblings enter your life thus changing the balance (or imbalance, rather) that I once knew, I changed and I couldn't help it.

As an adult with full control of my balance, it's interesting to see how the addition of new people in your life can change you for the better. Additionally, it works just the same way when you remove people from it. In the mathematics breakdown that is your social and personal life, when will we ever produce the ideal remainder?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Can I substitute Yelp for friends?

True story: I was on the phone with my boyfriend tonight having our usual run-down of our days discussion and jokingly, I posed the question in this entry's subject line.

Once I said it out loud I knew that I half-meant it, then wondered what it'd be like to slowly replace my friends with restaurant and business reviews. No, I'm not serious. Okay, crazy - yes and perhaps fed up and obviously this is not a likely or desired solution or scenario, but hey...Yelp won't ever let me down.

Yelp won't disappoint me, hurt my feelings, judge me, blow me off or change into a whole 'nother website before my eyes. Stupid comparison.

Okay back to the real matter at hand. I'm not going to lie, I've been a little distant with some people - not to avoid them per se, but I guess just to gather my thoughts and re-evaluate these friendships in the long run.

What is it with some people? Everyday I'm more and more aware that I'm constantly annoyed with a pretty decent amount of people in my life. Is it my fault for keeping them around or am I at fault for not saying anything to begin with? I bite my tongue because I feel like some of my issues with them are petty and I'm positive they'll overreact and be too defensive to understand my point of view, so my qualms feel even more unwarranted than ever. Unfortunately, the maturity gap between them and myself is ever-growing. And this is no one's fault by any means, but it is a fact of life.

Change is good, I wholly embrace it. But when change happens to the people closest to you, you can't help but want to ignore it. Or rationalize that it's just a phase. And then question the hell out of it. In watching them change before you, does this then, in turn, change you (for the worse)? Or are you the one with the problem, are you the static character in a novel of a dozen dynamic characters?

At the end of the day my issues with said annoying friend(s) comes down to either 1 of 2 (or both) things, and it's not a shocker though as both points bring out the worst in everyone:
1) materialism
2) popularity contests

I'm 24. I'm at the point where I just want to scream, "Shut up, no one cares!" at the top of my lungs. No, I don't want to hear about your non-problem problems and/or Facebook dilemmas. I don't want to hear why you're forced to do A because you never deemed B, C, D or E an option. No one is controlling you, there are no strings, no marionettes on a stage, don't act like you need to blame every other person in the world for your mistakes and shortcomings.

So again, I ask, can I substitute Yelp for friends?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

That's Not My Name

It was around midnight on Saturday or Sunday morning rather and in a relaxed yet slightly intoxicated stupor, I made my way out of the Violet Hour with my sister, her husband and my boyfriend. Upon walking out and dodging the throng of people waiting to get in I hear inquisitive whispers that include my name and then finally...."Tasha?!"

I ignore it at first, as I usually like to dodge people I know. Plus, if you have to be whispering about me before calling my name out in public why would I bother saying hello? By this point, my name was called about 3 or 4 times, louder and louder and so I stop and turn around to confront the bumbling idiot calling my name. I saw some familiar faces from high school. Can't a girl get a break on her birthday?

I hate running into people from high school and I'll openly admit it. I have the most awkward conversations and interactions with them. So what, we went to school together for some odd years, we really don't have to talk now.

I'm not putting anyone down by any means, I'm really good friends with a lot of peers from my high school, we talk, exchange hello's via Facebook and so forth, I respect a great deal of them but these are also certain people I've continuously maintained friendships with.

Here's what's really annoying about that night. When I stopped and faced them after calling my name out a multitude of times, they stared blankly at me. Maybe you should consider being prepared with a response, or follow up, perhaps "Hey, how are you?" But no, nothing. They started at me and I stared at them. I walked away of course, are you kidding me? What was the point in all of it, to announce to the public that you knew someone?

I keep my life and the people in it very separate from almost all of the people in my past. Now of course, there are a handful of great friendships I took along with me but for the most part I've found out that time and time again a good amount of these people don't change. It feels wrong to group them per se, but high school is so far away, I can barely remember it. I just feel so awkward when I do run into them because we run out of things to say after the "What'd you do after graduation?" conversation.

If you're going to call my name out five damn times in public say something after you've got my attention. Actually, don't waste your breath because 9 times out of 10 I'll walk on pretending I don't hear you.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Journal 3831 Update

Shame on me, I'm a bad writer for not having updated my blog since January. I've tried about 5 times literally, I've written opening paragraphs....whole blog posts even, only to just delete them. I guess it's just been one of those feelings where nothing was really worth publishing on here in the first place, which yes I know is silly because something, anything would be better than not posting.

Well, I have some exciting news. I just got my journal back from my lovely cousin and her kids in California. Before this, a close friend of mine took it with him to Brazil and I had to send it out pretty much the next morning so I didn't have a lot of time to have it to myself. Anyhow, I was flipping through it tonight after haphazardly tearing through the package and I could not help but smile like a fool.

In this book of blank pages are spotted, imprinted pages of love. It's all over, from the front to the back...romantic love, family love, sexual love, patriotic love, lost love, etc. I never imagined this would be a love themed journal by any means but it's just interesting to see, no to feel what loved ones and close friends express in words and pictures. I feel like a voyeur, like I shouldn't read it but it's mine, it's a strange feeling.

This journal project is truly enriching my life, one day at a time even when it's not in my possession. All I can hope for is that it's done the same for every single person who's touched it. I'll have it for the remainder of the week and it will be sent off again this weekend, though this time it is local, whew.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Holy Discontent

"The term ideal, herein is not used in the sense of an abstract, unattainable perfection; but rather it means a worthy goal that has promise of attainment through appropriate efforts. The gap between where you are and where you desire to be creates a mental and emotional conflict, "a holy discontent" - often called stress in today's world. Normally the first response to stress is to mentally and emotionally run over the outward indications of the conflict - anger, fear, disappointment, resentment, embarrassment, or other such negative feelings. In doing this one's mind is trying to fill the gap between his expectation of what he desires and what actually exists."

-Loyd J. Ericson, The Sower and the Divine Pattern of Progress