Monday, December 21, 2015

Monday Mantra: Reset

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: Begin again

A couple of weeks ago I was at The Fiance's work Christmas party where I pulled a classic Awkward Melia Moment. I was in the restroom, at the sink, when I heard the voice of someone I knew in one of the stalls talking to another woman at the sink near me. Not wanting to insert myself in their conversation, I continued on drying my hands. As I was turning to leave, I heard the stall open and made eye contact with the woman I knew.

This is the moment when normal people would have said "Hello" or "Hey" or any other perfectly acceptable thing like that. Apparently, I like to take things directly past normal and straight to awkward and uncomfortable, because I did neither of those things.

In those few tiny seconds of eye contact a bunch of thoughts ran through my head. Should I say hello, again, even though I just saw her outside and said hello then? That seemed redundant. I needed something new. Should I high five her? Hug her? Go in for a fist bump, perhaps? No, she was on her way to wash her hands and physical contact at that moment wouldn't help anything. The classic Grocery Store Duck and Run move popped into my head too. You know what I'm talking about. Those times you've spotted someone you know far down an aisle and you have to decide if you A) Wait for them to spot you back, like some creepy stalker or B) Yell all the way down the aisle disrupting everyone else or finally (and, let's be honest people- usually) C) get the heck out of there as silently and speedily as you can without being spotted. It was too late for that. She clearly saw me seeing her.

Instead of any of those far better things, I did this: I looked at her, smiled, did a double finger gun point, and said "Bathroom Tiiiiime."

Then, because I couldn't even stand myself at that point, I turned quickly around and quietly chastised myself all the way back to the table. When I told The Fiance what had just gone down he bursted into laughter.

All of this had led to the focus of this post: Resetting.

There are many things in life we want to re-do. Moments, actions, words we'd like to take back and do again. Since we can't, since those time machines I prayed for the last time I did something stupid still haven't been built, the only thing we can do is let go, move on, and reset.

Resetting. That's what I'm focusing on for 2016. I'm looking at all the places in my life that could use a little fine tuning, a little balancing, a little resetting.

I hope, as you look forward to the new year and all the things you want to do/change/reset, you look at those things with an open mind and kindness in your heart for yourself, for no change - no matter how large or small - is easy. I hope you find it within yourself to try - to start - and to re-start as many times as it takes to reach your goals. I hope you reach those goals.

This will be my last post for 2015 and maybe even a little longer if I'm feeling particularly lazy. We'll see, maybe I'll focus on resetting that. You all enjoy this special time with your friends and family, and I'll catch back up with you soon! Merry Whatever You Celebrate and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Reflection of Shadows: What I'm Feeling

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments

What I'm Feeling

What I’m feeling,
What I’m knowing,
Is that nothing
Is worth folding.
Not the breaking,
Not the suffering-
Nothing’s worth
The endless numbing.
No desire,
No addiction’s
Worth my conscious
Lapsing, shifting.
I hear demons
Screaming, calling,
Wishing on me
Hopes of falling,
Pleading me
To go their way,
To once again
Give up my place.
But what I’m feeling,
What I’m knowing,
Is that nothing
Is worth folding,
What I know
Is what I need-
That nothing’s worth
A life asleep.

Monday, December 14, 2015

That One Time I Made That Other Really Bad Decision...

Hi Y'all,

I just got back from being stuck in a snowstorm, like the amazing non-woodswoman that I am. It's kind of my fault. I mean, I did wish for snow. I haven't seen that beautiful white stuff in years. And when it did snow, I decided I could still drive in it because I named my SUV Samwise Gamgee and if he could help get Frodo to Mordor, then surely we could survive a snowstorm together, right?

In my defense, I wished for it to happen on Friday - FRIDAY - not today, when I had to absolutely, positively drive home. Maybe I need to be more clear with my wishes since I also did not wish for a mini-blizzard that would lead to me slipping and sliding all over twisty, turny mountaintops with a white knuckled grip on the steering wheel.

Anyway, after what is normally a 90 minute drive turned into 4+ hours, plus one of those hours just being stuck on top of a mountain, the creative part of my brain is fried from imagining all the ways I could die out there in the snowy wilderness. Turns out, there are a lot! In lieu of a normal post, here's a throwback to that other time I made another horrible decision.

One of these days, I'll learn my lesson. Probably.

Out with the Old, In with the Ugh

Two months ago I had an allergic reaction. On my face. My whole doggone face. Before bed that night, I tried a new product from a product line I've used for years, only to wake up with a bright red face. A bright red, itchy, embarrassing face. I had two in-person meetings that day, to top it off.

The red eventually faded, only to be replaced by tiny little bumps that no one really could see, but I could feel every time I put moisturizer on. I went to my aesthetician who gave me a special facial and put me on a "Get Your Normal Face Back" plan. This plan included coming back for microdermabrasion to smooth out my skin.

Because I really suck at all the girly-girl things in life like makeup, liking things with polka dots (OK, I actually love polka dots, but I'm making a point here), and fancy shmancy treatments like microderm, I had not a clue what that was, but whatever. I was down with the plan.

On a recent Monday I go see my girl to get this thing done to my face. By this point my face feels and looks pretty darn good, making me question whether or not I need to go through with it. But I'm dedicated. I'm all about follow through and accomplishments and stupid responsibility to my commitments.

At the appointment she tells me we should probably consider switching to a superficial peel instead. A what? I ask. She, and one of the head honchos, goes over it with me. It's an organic chemical peel where your face kind of sloughs off the top layer of skin to reveal a new, healthier layer below. I'm not sold on it, but I'm also not terrified (like I should have been). It does involve a fair amount of peeling, which was my concern. I had a work volunteer event that Friday and The Boyfriend and I were having a bunch of family and friends over that Saturday, so I could absolutely, positively not look like a peely faced freak. I told them this. They told me I should be done with the peel by Friday for sure. FOR SURE.

I agree to it. Stupid, dedicated, follow through me.

My aesthetician covers my face with this stuff that, at first, feels fine but then burns like the fires of hell. All the fires, all of them, ever. On my face. Burning.

The burning subsides, the treatment ends, and I go home with instructions galore.

Day 1, Tuesday: My face is super tight, red, and shiny and it looks like I have one of those plastic face masks on that peels off after 5 mins. This doesn't do that. It just stays tight and shiny and plastic looking.

Day 2, Wednesday - 10am: Same as yesterday, but a little less tight. Possibly more red. I hurt a little. I look sunburned. Otherwise, I'm good.

3pm: I. Am. Freaking. Out.

When I yawn, or smile, or, like, breath the area around my chin and lips starts to tear and peel. But not really peel, because you are not allowed to peel the dead skin away or pull or tug or rub or do anything with it except let it do whatever the heck it wants, which is hang there and make me look like a zombie. You know why? Because if you pull or tug or take skin off that isn't naturally falling off you'll end up really, seriously messing up your face. Things like your skin turning a whole different color in those places and causing scars to form and hey, infection. Exciiiiiting!

I have class in 3 hours. The last class, the one where I have to present for 15 minutes. IN FRONT OF PEOPLE. Gah.

6:30pm: I'm at school, lying my ass off that I got a really bad sunburn and this is the result because I am too embarrassed to admit that I paid to look this tortured and bizarre (sorry, school friends). Every single time I talk a new peel section starts. My aesthetician gave me a hydrating spray to put on my face and I spray it on myself every possible chance I can get. I've gone through 1/4 of the bottle in 2 hours. I have to do my presentation, but then I can stop talking and hide in my hoodie.

Day 3, Thursday - 8am: I have never regretted anything more in my life.

I know I'm always talking about not having regrets, but screw that. My face hurts so freaking bad that I'm certain something has gone wrong. It hurts when I put moisturizer on it, it hurts when I don't, it hurts when the sun shines and when my dog is cute and every single second of every single minute of every single hour of my never ending tortuous life.

I pray to God and unicorns and Michael J. Fox to take me back in time so I can prevent this from happening. I hate my life and the world and everything in it. I cry. I get mad. I refuse to come to terms with this being my reality. I no longer understand why time travel doesn't exist or why people can't change the past. I'm certain that if I just want it bad enough (and I do...oh, I do) somehow, someway the universe will reverse itself and help me right this wrong.

1pm: I call the spa and talk to two different people. They tell me this is completely normal and that I'll probably peel through the weekend. Excellent. Just what I wanted.

6pm: The Boyfriend has been gone for a week on work travel and he'll be home tonight. I decorated the entire house and had the garage painted in ASU colors for Christmas to surprise him. I was not, however, planning on surprising him with this new zombie look of mine. I cry again. I find crying to be both beneficial and annoying. On one hand, the tears moisturize my poor, Death Valley face. On the other, I can't use a tissue to wipe my eyes or nose or anything because it hurts so doggone much.

7:30pm: He's home. He tells me I'm beautiful and he loves me and he hugs me for like an hour. This, clearly, marks the best part of my whole week. I, ahem, have also dimmed all the lights ensuring lack of visibility to my face.

Day 4, Friday: Volunteer Day. The volunteer shirt is a very bright red color and manages to make the red shade on my face look worse. I am peeling like an orange and the only way to mask it is to layer on about 4.7 gallons of moisturizer, then spritz that other stuff allllll over.

10am: I shine brighter than the North Star. My face could lead lost tribesman from far off lands to Arizona.

I arrive at the volunteer event with dozens (dozens!) of other people. We're at a Salvation Army warehouse packing toys together for Christmas and you can see me across the entire place, probably even through walls. That's how shiny I am - I have to be - to not look like I'm decaying. I stare in envy at every other normal face there.

Aside from that, it was a blast. I mean, I never forgot that I looked like a freak, but at least my heart was happy for the kiddos we were helping.

7pm: I cancel the Barre class I was going to do. No way am I letting anyone else see this. Plus, I hurt. I hurt I hurt I HURT A LOT. Places where I've already peeled are peeling. How is this possible?!?! Also, places where she didn't even touch me with the Fires Of Hell are peeling, like my earlobes and way low on my neck and up into my hairline. I can officially join the cast of The Walking Dead.

11pm: I've reached a previously unthinkable level of calm, considering tomorrow is the holiday party at our house with our nearest and dearest. My friends will love laughing at me. The holidays are all about bringing joy and cheer, right? Check and check.

Day 5, Saturday: Holiday Party. I explain my new look to each and every person the second the doorbell rings. You know, try and face the humiliation head on.

Still shiny. Still peeling. *spritz, spritz, spritz*

My friend tries to get something off my face. It's just my face.

Day 6, Sunday: Now I'm just a big flaky mess. No peeling, all flaking. Not better, nope, not better at all.

Day 7, Monday: I call the spa again and am told this is all still normal. Excellent.

Day 8: Flaky face.

Day 9: Flaky face.

Day 10: Flaky ass face. I have a team meeting with my bosses boss. Life could not get any better, am I right?

Day 11: This is never going to end.

Day 12 - Now: I survived. My face looks totally fine and is baby soft, but I will never do this again, so help me God and unicorns and Michael J. Fox.

After a lot of Googling and calling the spa and more Googling I've come to learn a few things. There are two types of people: Those who actually need (or want) peels and those who don't.

Want/Need Peel
 - Concerned about aging
 - Has scar tissue on face or other damage where a peel would actually help the skin repair itself and look smoother
 - Can go into hiding for up to two weeks. This is only for superficial peels. Medium and Deep Peels are completely different. Very, very serious. Many weeks of healing, a lot more pain, and you need a highly trained professional to treat you

Should Never, Ever Attempt This
 - No damage to skin/no need for repair
 - Not concerned about wrinkles or age spots
 - Unable to avoid the world and people and life for two weeks
 - Afraid of everything I just wrote about in my experience

I hope that helps. If you happen to need or want these, I'm not judging you. You are a much tougher, braver, far more patient soul than  I am.

Other titles I considered for this post:

 - Bad Decisions That (Hopefully) Lead to a Better Life
 - Stupid Things I Do So You Don't Have To
 - Why Time Machines Should Exist and Be Available For Rent

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Reflection of Shadows: Wicked Doers of the World

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments

Wicked Doers of the World

You can’t escape your troubled mind,
Or all the things you’ve left behind,
When all is said, and all is done
There’s nowhere – nowhere – you can run.

Go on- deflate your ships own sails,
There is nothing left to fail.
Where you’ve gone and what you’ve done
Is something you cannot outrun.

There is no one, there is nothing
That can save you from your suffering.
All you’ve done, you’ve done alone-
This battleground shall be your home.

For there is nothing you can do
To ever hide yourself from you.
Each day you wake, you’ll see it clearer-
There are no lies within the mirror.

For all you’ve done with all you knew,
In each mistake you grew anew,
Each inch you took- a mile gave,
This mind, your mind, you can’t escape.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Monday Mantra: TBD

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: To Be Determined


When I started writing this post, the "TBD" was for me. It was because I had a million thoughts in my head and I was trying to figure out which one to focus on. But it became more than that. It became the theme of what is happening in America with our political problems, the question of what will come: To be determined.

I find it ridiculous that in the year 2015, where we have mind boggling amounts of resources at the tips of our fingers, we have not found a way to stop the gun violence, to stop sex trafficking, to solve completely solvable problems. I know this seems contradictory of the other post I recently wrote, but not exactly. My particular frustration is this: We have the ability to solve these completely solvable problems, but we don't. Why? Because of politics, red tape, the inability to get to the root cause of issues.

Gun control is not complicated. It's not easy, but it's not impossible to solve, either. This is one problem our country is facing that can be fixed, slowly, but fixed nonetheless. First, the laws need to change. This won't solve everything, but it is a step in the right direction. More action will need to be taken...recovering weapons already in the wrong hands, recalling weapons that are unnecessary, educating people. Education is always part of every answer.

But after, what's the count now...something like 300 shootings in 2015...we still haven't made any changes. Rights are not affected by making it harder to purchase a gun. The second amendment is safe and sound. Consider this: Australia had a problem with gun control. They fixed it by changing the law (read more here). I mean really, they made a hell of a difference in their country. Yet, our toll has far surpassed theirs and we have done nothing. Nothing. What exactly will it take? How many people have to die? Does it have to be someone famous? Someone important? Does it have to be someone near and dear to each and every one of us before we realize the danger in the current simplicity of buying a gun?

Purchasing a weapon that has the ability to launch a bullet that can tear through human flesh and end life should require a lot of paperwork and a decent amount of time to review the paperwork. Simple as that. It should not be as easy as buying toilet paper from Target.

We are wasting so much time and life right now. We are quite literally allowing ourselves to be destroyed from the inside out.

It is not difficult to change the gun laws. You know how I know that? Because laws get passed and changed all the time. Stupid, insane laws. For instance, in Florida it's illegal to have sex with a porcupine. One dumb-ass did this and an entire law got passed. You know what's worse? There are dozens of these ridiculous laws in our country! In Alabama it's illegal to have an ice cream cone in your back pocket. In Nevada it's illegal to drive a camel on the highway. In Ohio it's illegal to get a fish drunk. And if you live in Wisconsin and you're a hairdresser, you probably want to move because it's illegal to cut women's hair.


What an incredible waste of time and resources. If our lawmakers have time to pass laws like this, then they have way too much time on their hands and not enough brain cells.

Will our country be destroyed because we're too stubborn to change the law? Will more children, more innocent adults, be victims because of our inability to make change that matters? I guess we'll all just have to wait and see.


Friday, December 4, 2015

The Reflection of Shadows: To be a Raindrop in a Cloud

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments
To be a Raindrop in a Cloud

In your pillowy formation, I shall lay my head and watch,
Watch the valleys and the meadows, watch the blowing strands of grass.
Take me to the lands I dream of, places I have never been,
Let me see the lilacs open, welcoming the Tuscan winds.
Let me watch the dolphins leaping, dancing in the turquoise waves,
Let me see the rainbow forming as your presence floats away.
Take me to the sandy beaches, make waves thunder on the shore,
Here I’ll see the sunset bowing to the power of your form.
Lead me to a wintery palace where in icicles we’ll form,
Beautiful like diamonds glistening, stunning in this frozen storm.
Take me to my grandma’s meadow; quench the thirst of daisies burned,
Make the trees as green as emeralds, make the soil burst with worms.
Lead me to a long forgotten pasture where my horse would rest,
Linger softly while my memories steal away a single breath.
Let me guide you to a valley where the ones I love now rest,
Here I'll roll off leaves of lilies where, I too, shall rest in death.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Monday Mantra: The Currency of Kindness

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: Kindness is the best kind of currency

A while back I was thinking (Again?! I know, I know!) about the crazy things people do for money and power. How those two things are always tied together. How we could find a way around them, if that was even possible. What I came up with will probably never happen, never even be possible, but thinking about it makes me happy.

I call it: The Currency of Kindness Plan

For every good deed and kind action you take, you get currency (aka money in a credit form). It would work like this: If you help someone that dropped something, you get a credit. If you did your job at work and treated your co-workers kindly, you get a credit. If you assisted your elderly neighbor with grocery shopping, you guessed it, cha-ching- credit. Without those kind actions, you don't get anything - simple as that.

Now, some sort of verification system would have to be in place, obviously. Many, many, many details would have to be hashed out, but that's getting into the weeds of the plan...this fake plan that will never see the light of day. Let's just go back to what it could be, if the world could ever work this way...

Let's say you're at work. If you're an a**hole of a manager or terribly rude employee, you're kindness account will suffer greatly. Why is this beneficial? Well, this means CEOs worldwide have to run ethical companies that actually care about their employees. This means teachers who kick-ass in the classroom will finally make what they should. This means kindness - not cruelty, not acts of terror, not crime - mandates how much power you yield. I can get behind anyone that's kind, no problem at all. You want to be president? OK, how many kind things did you do last year?

Clearly, my plan is genius. Flawed and completely unrealistic, but genius none the less.

Anyway, since this idea will never happen, here's a video thing that will bring you some laughs. Shawn Achor has been studying happiness for years (aka Positive Psychology). What he's learned will surprise you, entertain you, and hopefully change the way you view how happiness can be achieved...which is really not about the achieving at all. It's not about dollar amounts or how much is in our bank accounts. Happiness is a much simpler thing than we've made it out to be.

P.S. Listen closely because he talks a little fast, but oh boy, is he hilarious!

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Reflection of Shadows: What's Left

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments

What's Left

Of those I love, you’re loved the best,
Yet somehow I still love the rest.
The fractions of my heart are left
To love a little, love them less-
To love a little, little less.