This was premeditated.

Willful, premeditated, purposed.

Three fabulous words, all with one meaning: intentional.

This word has come up a lot lately, and at first I was chalking it up to random happenstance — but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I’m hearing it so often because it’s what I need to work harder to be. Intentional.

The irony is that even typing that word forces me to watch what I’m doing — to watch my finger placement, to type deliberately, and not just let my brain trick my fingers into writing “international”, which they just did so freely. I find it amusing that the word itself causes me to be so.

Being intentional is something that we take for granted. In a world full of flashy electronics, busy schedules, and go-go-go, we so often just find ourselves going with the flow of the current, confident that it will have us pass by the things that we need to see and do. And, because it’s a powerful force, it does. We follow the flow, bobbing here and there as required, and then continue to float about on our merry ways.

But soon we find, as I am right now, that we are missing things. We are not giving the care to the people or things in our lives that they rightly deserve, and they are becoming more of a “have to”, rather than a “get to”. I am so unbelievably guilty of this. I sit in the living room of my house, happy to be spending time with my husband, but realize that isn’t really what I’m doing. I’m spending time with my phone, or my iPad, while my husband does the same thing in the same room. That’s not spending time with each other — that’s spending each other. Using our time together up on nothing important and nothing that matters. That’s not to say that we can’t enjoy people’s company and not have to say anything — that is completely legitimate. That is comfort, true comfort, when you are able to do that and not want to fill up the empty spaces with meaningless thoughts and words.

But if I am gifted an evening with my love, it would behoove me to put down the phone, the iPad, the book… and spend some intentional time with him. Start an intentional conversation on the goals that we may have personally and jointly. Focus some time specifically for him, and on interacting with him. Give him a real conversation and a real slice of my time, because he deserves that. Our marriage deserves that.

This idea bleeds into my whole life. I am so blessed to have a job that I adore, and to have coworkers that I adore as well. I get to interact with 200 little people every day – I hear their jokes, give them band aids, and giggle to myself when they say “Ms. Harter – I mean, Mrs. Marcellis!!!!!”… But there are days when I feel like I’m on auto pilot, and my intenationality (is that a word? It is now.) slips out the window, or doesn’t even make it into the building with me. It can be hard to be intentional I’ve noticed in the last few days, and believe me, it’s going to be an uphill climb to devote myself more to this. It’s the look in a person or child’s eyes when they are talking to me, giving them my full attention. It’s putting down the pen or stepping away from the computer when someone comes to talk to me, or calls me.

Think about this: If every person that you met treated you like you were the only person in the world, wouldn’t you start to feel great about your role on this planet? So why not help make that a feeling that someone in your life experiences.

Being intentional. It’s such a simple idea, yet world-changing. And although it’s difficult to direct yourself to being more intentional with the people and world around you, it just makes so much sense. Why shouldn’t we all be doing it? It’s going to take a lot of diligence. We will literally have to be intentional, about being intentional. What a sneaky little word that is.

I challenge you, as I challenge myself, to be intentional with one area in your life this week – to get the ball rolling. Whether that’s carving out time for a friend you have been wanting to visit, or making a long phone call, or just being an aware driver who isn’t distracted by the radio or other things… Just try it, and let me know how it goes. Because I can tell you this — I’m going to need all of the help that I can get with this challenge.

Intentional. Need more ways to say it?

Mandylightfully yours. 🙂 

We have them for a reason.

My friends, I’ve come a very long way since we last met. My life has changed in ways that I never would have guessed back in June, when I was griping about giving up control. I’ve learned the hard way that sometimes you have no control and you have to deal with it. It’s a hard and fast rule of life, and I’ve come face to face with it and kept going. So let’s move on, shall we?

I have acquired much in the last month and a half. A new last name (a GREAT last name!), a wonderful husband (yeah!), lots of Fiestaware (melt.), guilt of not having my thank you notes done yet, etc… But I’ve also acquired an awareness of my body that I never had before, as well as an appreciation and complete reverence for my internal instincts. That sounds odd – but let me explain before you write me off.

Instincts. We ALL have them. It’s what makes us stop short of falling flat on our faces. Or what makes us feel the need to call a friend at just the right moment. Or how to react and assist in a chaotic situation. And I have learned that sometimes our instincts tell us things that seem really huge and scary, and when we voice them, and are told by someone that it isn’t what we think it is, we can squelch our instincts.

Let me tell you – I’m not doing that again. This summer I had strange pains in my legs, and my little brain told me “maybe a blood clot???” But when I told a doctor that, he dismissed it, but gave me testing to appease me, which they didn’t do very well at all.

Fast forward to three days after my wedding. I was supposed to be reveling in my new marriage and beginning a new chapter of my life. But I couldn’t breathe, and I was coughing like an old smoker constantly. Not the sweetest and loveliest way to start off as a Mrs… And then came one of the scariest moments of my entire life, and I am not exaggerating this fact – I passed out. It was so frightening when I came to (totally unharmed, thank God), and realized what was happening. That led to the emergency room, which led to a CT-scan, which lead to the fact that I had a BUNCH of blood clots in my lungs. And I had 10% lung function.

Ummm… WHAT? My response to the diagnoses? I turned to my brand new husband and half-shouted, with an oxygen mask on, “I KNEW IT!”. Because I did. My body told me what it was, and the part of rational Mandy wanted to squash irrational Mandy before she got out of control, which is easy for her to do.

My goal of this post is not to have a pity party and tell you guys my whole saga… I am alive, I am doing well, I am happily married, and back to work. 🙂 Things could have been better, and now they are. Ta da!

My point is to say that we were given instincts by whomever you choose to believe made us for a REASON. And I can tell you, without hesitation, that I have a new-found respect for these instincts that we are so awesomely equipped with. I beg of you to trust your instincts. I know that not every situation will be resolved by following them. And I know that not every situation where they kick in will be DEFCON 5. But we owe it to ourselves to feel that it is ok to rely on what we hear in our hearts. So often in this world we squash down what we hear inside of us because the outside is telling us otherwise. We are torn between compassionately caring for ourselves, and not being selfish and focusing on others. Do not get my wrong at ALL — focusing on, and being there for others is a privilege and honor that we are so lucky to have. But in order to properly do this, we HAVE to focus on ourselves first. If our eyesight is blurry in the first place, there is no way we will be able to take a photo of someone else that is in focus. So please do not squelch your instincts when they kick in. They can save your life, your relationships, your sanity. They can just plain save YOU.

I’m learning how to pace myself. I’m learning how to ask for help. I’m learning to be honest when someone genuinely asking me how I am doing. And I am learning just how amazing this life is — and how I have somehow managed to land in the center of the most wonderful and kind people that my life is filled with. It makes me so happy to know that now that I am listening to what my own heart is telling me, that I can finally, truly tune into some of their hearts, and be an asset to them.

Remember. We have our instincts for a reason. Don’t let them be diminished, or go to waste. They are some of the most awe-inspiring parts of us as a human race. And we each get our own set — so we don’t have to share. 🙂 It’s okay to be a little selfish with SOME things…

Until next time, my friends…

…mandylightfully yours…

The Eternal To-Do List

I like to make lists. There – I said it. Are you happy? Maybe some of you are because you realize the joy of taking one of your favorite pens and jotting down things that you need to take care of… then (hopefully) accompanied by the pure bliss of crossing things out, checking them off, erasing them, scribbling them away, etc. Then you get to throw it away and start a fresh new one tomorrow! It’s like the gift that keeps on giving – a game that never ends – a party on a notepad!

I give myself a label that I’m not sure many others would ever give me… but because I’m the person who knows me the best, I can openly say that I am a control freak. I’m not your typical control freak type – I don’t critique people’s outfits, or get mad when things get put out of place, or alphabetize people’s placements at dinner parties. I just have an incredibly difficult time with the unknown, and with giving up control. (Read: control freak.) 

I have battled off and on the last few years with depression and anxiety. And although I am not incredibly high on the spectrum, I still struggle. I’m sure that this was a problem that was going on much longer than when I realized it, but it took physical symptoms for me to wake up and be aware of what my body was trying to tell me – to just let go a little bit. I had just taken my youth group on a huge mission trip to San Francisco, and when I came home to my toxic roommate situation, I just could not handle it. I was convinced that I was having a heart attack – that my heart was doing something terrible to me. After 2 ER trips and much reassurance, it was determined that I was having anxiety attacks. I started medication and counseling, and eventually started to notice the signs of my anxiety levels rising, and was able to deal with them. I was surrounded by wonderful friends and a great family who helped me out as much as they could, and I’m forever grateful for their guidance and support. 

But there is still part of me that has such a hard time giving up things to others. And the silliest thing is that I’m not giving up something major, or life changing. It is usually really small things, and it would be given up or assisted by people who are my closest friends and family, but I still struggle. And part of the reason is the vision that I’ve built up in my head of the task at hand… I know how I want it to be and go, but what if it’s a little different? Well, then I am convinced that it won’t be as good as I’ve dreamed it to be. I know – stupid, right?

These blogs always taken an erratic turn I feel… Writing is so cathartic for me — I can just blah it all out and hope for the best. 🙂

Planning a wedding when you have a hard time giving tasks to others or getting help from others is probably just about the stupidest thing ever. I have NO doubts about the abilities of people in my life, nor do I question their motivations for offering their help. So why can I not just say “yes! that sounds awesome! I would love your help – let’s do it ______.?” Again – it’s that dumb control freak in me, and the fear that the vision that I have will pop. So, so silly. Even typing it makes me realize how dumb it is. 

I have come to realize that one thing that is impervious to my control issues is being in love. No one wants to be in love with someone who wants to micromanage their every move. I know that I certainly would not want that for myself – so how could I expect anyone else? People don’t generally think it’s “cute” when you are running their schedule, and are poo-pooing activities because you don’t know how they will go. Falling in love is one of the most amazing things that I have ever done. But also (for me at least), erratic and at times a little scary. You are literally exposing every inch of your heart and self to another person — and you HAVE to do this in order to make it work. But what if you expose it all and then they shy away in horror, or they decide it’s not worth it? These are the fears that would keep me awake before I found David. The idea of putting myself out on the line like that and having no control over the outcome TERRIFIED me. And for good reason – it’s a monumental thing! But I found that the more we progressed in our relationship, the more I was able to start loosening my grip on my reigns, and then eventually cautiously started to hand them to David. I had to let him drive sometimes… and I had to trust that he wasn’t going to steer me into an embankment or off a cliff. But I found that the more I sat back and let him drive, the more comfortable I became. And I knew that he would not hurt me… And I wasn’t in charge, and that was okay. It nice sometimes to give up the control so your mind and soul can take a little breather, you know? A little TLC, if you will. 

My fear of giving things up can only take me so far. I realize my limitations, and realize what I hold onto – and I have to just let them go. I can’t think about it, or make a list of pros and cons – if I don’t just go cold turkey, leaps will never get made, lines will never get crossed, and world peace will not be accomplished (that’s obviously the next thing on my to do list.) So I vow, from this point forward, to give up the reigns more often. I pledge to let people help, and be aware that even if it’s not like the picture in my head, it was made/created/done/dreamed up/accomplished/assisted with nothing but love and care by the people who I hold the most dear. And that, my friends, is worth a little bit of anxiety, don’t you think?

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My Best Girls. <3

I have something to admit, everyone. And it may surprise you a little bit if you know me… 

Sometimes I can be shy. 

Now I know what you’re thinking — you’re thinking “ummm, uh-uh. Not the Mandy that we know. She can get up on stage, pretend to be naked, speak in front of large groups, lead a camp… Not that chick.” 

But yes. It’s true. We all have both sides in us, and I feel like the older I get, the more my introverted self comes out a little bit. 

Those of you who had the pleasure of knowing chubby little Mandy know that this was pretty much never the case. I was loud, acted loudly, talked loudly, bossed people around loudly, played loudly – you name it, I did it – loudly. My entire childhood was pretty much spent having talent shows and putting on plays on the front lawn. My neighbors heard me learn various musical instruments. Maybe my parents forced me out of the house because of the racket – or maybe I just felt that the wide open lawn was a much more suitable stage for talent such as mine. But no matter what – I was bold and brassy. A tiny little Ethel Merman, if you will. 

But as I have aged, and as I’ve come into my own and chubby little Mandy has shrunk to pocket-size, I find that my shy side comes out. When I am with my very best friends, I am totally myself – loud, brash, goofy, borderline ridiculous. (We bring that out in each other!) I treasure those times that I can let loose and it all comes pouring out. 

I used to be the type of person, all growing up, and in college, that had a big group of great friends. I had a family of friends that I was surrounded by – never wanted for company, never worried about being alone. I loved it that way. I was cozy, and happy, and content! But as I’ve grown, I’ve honed myself down to a special, small, tight-knit group of people in my life that are my go-to’s for everything. 🙂 They will always be around – I’m not giving them up! And unless you are those people, I have a hard time letting chubby Mandy’s freak flag fly sometimes and find myself observing more. I used to come into a party or group not knowing anyone and then end up with several new friends. Now I am content to come in and be a part of the group for what it is – and leave knowing that they were great people, but I have the best already! 

This blog is going different places than when I started it, but that’s kind of where my head is. And I’m a fairly random person, so it seems pretty fitting, doesn’t it? 😛 

I am realizing this introverted side of me with planning the wedding (4 months from today!!). I am finding that when people who aren’t my tight cluster ask me questions, or ask to see my ring, or ask about my feelings or planning, I get really tongue-tied and flustered. It’s not that I don’t want to talk about any of it – I just get so weirded out about the attention. Who knew something like “how is wedding planning going?” would get me so tripped up, and leave the person asking it looking at me like they just asked me to explain my feelings on universal health care! 

Put me in a room with my best friends, and I can talk about it until they all want to puke from hearing it (which I’m sure they are close to! :P)… Sit me at my desk and have random people ask me about it and I get all weird. Hmm…

Like I said, this is going weird places. But I return to my previous thoughts regarding my tight-knit group of friends.. After 31 years, I feel like my group of best friends has been honed into an amazing team. When it came time to decide who I wanted standing up next to me on my wedding day (did I mention it’s 4 months from today? Eek!), it was an easy choice. I feel like everyone needs a friend like one of the ones that I hold dear (but you can’t have mine!)… I’m sure you have some of these types of friends as well, but just in case, I want to give some credit where credit is definitely due. I love all of these amazing women for different reasons, and that’s why having them by my side on September 28 is going to make the day more amazing than they realize!

1.) Jewel (Maid of Honor) – Jewel is the friend that you’ve had the longest. The one that you have the stupidest but funniest inside jokes with. The one whose family you know really well, and whose family knows you really well. The one who has secrets about you that other people don’t and who (probably) wouldn’t use them against you in a court of law. Or on Facebook. This is the friend who will let you just talk and talk and talk and just listen and listen and listen. The one who appreciates your love of Cheezits, cheesy Mexican food, and the Babysitter’s Club. The friend who has been there through various trips, conferences, school festivals, classes together, etc. She will help you organize your life when it seems like total chaos (literally and figuratively!) She has seen you at your best and worst. This one isn’t going anywhere!

2.) Kristin (Matron of Honor) – This is the friend who can get you to be the goofiest you have ever been! The friend who shows you the good when you’re feeling down. This is the friend that will always get a coffee with you when you go places, will have you try things on that you never thought would look good on you (and they always do!), and the one that will encourage you to go outside of your comfort zone. This friend is the type that hasn’t been your friend the longest, but will make you feel like you grew up next door to her and ran through the sprinkler together. This is also the friend that will help you expand your limits – whether that is new food, new music, new ways of looking at things, whatever. This friend shines with her passions and inspires you to be as passionate as she is about anything! This one is definitely sticking around. 🙂

3.) Stacy (Bridesmaid) – This is the surprise bestie. The one that was right under your nose the whole time (like say, maybe, your cousin???) and then you forged an amazing friendship! The one who will give you great advice, even if you feel like a whining brat sometimes… The one who will put things into perspective, who will have patience with you, and who will always offer a good glass of wine. This is the one that will dissect family dynamics with you until the wee hours of the night, and make yearly dates to wrap presents together. This one isn’t ever getting out of this friendship — especially because we are related! (Note – your friend like this may not be related to you. That is totally okay. :P)

4.) Stephanie (Bridesmaid) – This is the long distance friend. But also the one who when you see each other, or talk to each other, it’s like you are right down the road from each other. 🙂 This is the one who will understand your weird idiosyncrasies, and also the one who will look back with you on your past together and collectively say “what the heck were we thinking???”. This is the one who will be wise beyond her years, and will always have a great idea for saving time. This is the one who you tease about their funny little quirks but who isn’t afraid to tease you back about yours. She’s a permanent fixture in your life whether she likes it or not! 🙂

5.) Jennifer (Bridesmaid) – This is your friend who you used to work with, but who has morphed into something so much more. This the friend that will consistently keep it real, and encourage and remind you to do the same. The one who will tease you about things that only she can tease you about, the one that will take you under her wing, the one that will build you up when you are feeling down. This is the friend who will entertain you with stories of her life, and help you see just how interesting and amusing your life can be, even when it feels so mundane. This friend may or may not travel across the country to get away from you – but you will hook line and sinker her back in, no matter how hard she tries. 🙂

I so wish that all of you had women like this in your life that you called best friends. I so wish that you could feel how I feel, when I picture this day, 4 months in the future, and picture them standing there by my side. The idea of looking at my wedding pictures and seeing them full of these beautiful friends of mine makes my heart melt a little bit. 🙂 If you don’t have friends like these, start looking – they are out there, I promise. But again, you can’t have mine. Don’t even try it. They’re spoken for. Back OFF. 😛 

And so, chubby little Mandy, singing and putting on plays in the front lawn — hold out. Friends may come and go in your life right now, and you may have a new “best friend” every 10 seconds, but just you wait. Someday you are going to be luckiest girl in the whole world, and you will get to call Jewel, Kristin, Stacy, Stephanie, and Jennifer your best girls. And you will mean it with every single ounce of your heart and soul. ❤

Complete Surrealism.

It has been such a long time since I have posted anything, I realize that. But every time I think I will write a blog, I get swept up in something random and then I forget until the cycle comes around again! So forgive me, dear reader(s???)… 😛 

These last few months have been somewhat of a blur. Not in the sense that I look back and am foggy about the events that transpired — not at all. Just in the sense that I look back at the last few months like I would a painting in a gallery. And as I stare, and it all comes into focus, I realize “whoa. this isn’t a painting. it’s real!”… 🙂 

Most of you reading this are well aware of the adventures that I’ve had lately, but I don’t think that most of you realize just how blessed I feel to have had these milestones and events take place. Therefore I use this today as somewhat of a platform (a secret one, like Platform 9 3/4) to explain a little bit more. 

On March 23, something happened to me that, to be honest, I was afraid would never happen. My whole life I have been the chubby, loud girl. I was the one that boys didn’t like, but the one that boys were friends with. I hid myself behind my humor because that was a surefire winner. If I was funny, they wouldn’t see how chubby I was, or how giant my glasses were. This was not a Hollywood movie, where my glasses would fall off and suddenly the boys would realize my amazing beauty and fall over themselves. On the scale of “The Goonies” to “She’s All That”, my life seemed to fall somewhere along the lines of “Heavyweights” (“Mother Earth, Father Sky, and dear old Uncle Tony!”). My growing up was a long string of unrequited love, muddled by the ability that I had to become good friends with the boys that I liked. Which made things even more frustrating. 

But then, in April of 2011, I met a boy named David. 🙂 And I knew as soon as we closed a coffee shop down on our first date that something was different here. He was sweet, and funny. And he told me, and will still tell me, that he kicks himself for not walking me to my car that first date. 

Fast forward almost two years, and he’s dragging me out for the day. I’m grumpy, I don’t want to play, and I’m just a complete joy to be around (sarcasm on that last one.) After almost two years of talking about it, and hoping for it, I am caught completely off guard when he gets down on one knee and asks me to marry him. When I think about that day, I still see it as watching a movie of someone else’s life. But then I look down and see this ring on my finger, or see the wedding binder that Erin made for me, and I realize “this truly is real life.” 

I’m marrying someone. And not just any someone — someone who makes me shed all of my insecurities. Someone who I drop all of my walls for. Someone who can make me laugh at the silliest things, who meows back to me when I meow to him, who tolerates my made up words, who builds a garden at our home together, who takes care of Chloe like she is his own… The list goes on and on. The surrealism of this part of my life is still so thick. Sometimes I feel like I will wake up and it will all be a dream… But then I wake up, and see David beside me (usually hogging the entire bed, with Chloe assisting), and realize just how insanely lucky I am. I am so, so blessed. And so, so happy. Chubby Tweetybird wearing shirt Mandy does a little dance inside every time I see him. 🙂 

The next painting that I come to in the gallery of my life is called “España.” 🙂 When I was in high school, and began getting further into the Spanish language, I realized just how amazing Spain sounded. I wanted to go there, to live there, to be a part of that culture. Their schedule sounded ideal, their food sounded great, and the history sounded so rich. So I dreamt  and dreamt, and dreamt about one day going there. Everyone close to me knew that the one place on the tip top of my list to go to was Spain. And then, a few years ago, I made a plan. I formed a team, and we began dreaming and scheming. And then, just this past month or so, we did it — we went to Spain. 🙂 I spent 2 weeks in the country of my dreams. And guess what? It was all that I expected it to be and more! It’s hard for me to talk about a little, which I know sounds really silly. But it was just so amazing. And it’s still so surreal to me. I want to be back there so badly! I had dreams while I was there that I was missing stuff, and that I wasn’t getting presents for everyone — here I am, in Spain, having stress dreams ABOUT Spain. Weird, huh? 🙂 But it was just such a big event for me, that I don’t think my heart even fully understood until after I got back! I cried when we touched down in Madrid, and as we flew away, my heart felt so sad, but so ready to be home! And now, I’m ready to go back. 🙂 

It’s a strange thing when your dreams come true. It’s hard to comprehend, and then now you have to form new dreams to reach for. That’s the stage I will be in, after the wedding, that is. For now I’m still trying to get used to calling David my fiance, and saying “for my wedding”, or looking at pictures of ME in Spain. 🙂 

The moral of my story is this: I am happy. And I’m still a little bit shocked that it all is happening/happened to me. So pardon me while I live in a fog for awhile. Because if this was the reality of your life (see below), I think you’d live in a fog also. ❤

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Photo compliments of Lauren Oliver Photography
Sevilla, Spain

And so I say to you, past Mandy Denise: Hold out. Because your dreams are coming true. And you are going to be so happy when they do that some days you feel as if you may burst at the seams, and confetti will spill out. This may be a good way to feel a little more confident and a little less upset about your chubbiness – you can say “hey, people, it’s just confetti that will explode out when my dreams come true! Watch out, world!”

Yeah. That’s not weird at all, is it? Maybe keep that one to yourself. 

-Mandylightfully Yours

I get so emotional, baby…

As a female, I tend to be emotional. Shocker, isn’t it? I’ve always been a sensitive person. I read into things, take things WAY too personally, and over-analyze. It’s just in my nature (and by nature I mean my DNA, and just the ingredients of me.) and try as I might to put the kibosh on it, it doesn’t work. Although I have to say, there are pros and cons to this “talent” of mine. I choose to call it a talent, because it’s not a downfall, it’s not a pitfall, it’s not something to be ashamed of. It’s exactly who I am, and exactly who I was meant to be. And so therefore, in light of a day where my emotions are out on my sleeve’s sleeve, I present to you the following:

The Pros and Cons of Blatant Emotionalitynessism (if you say it’s not a word, you’ll make me cry.)

– by Mandy Denise Harter

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Not sure how I’m feeling at this exact moment? You lie. Even a blind person could tell that. Oh, great – now I’ve offended blind people.

1.) PROYou know what’s up.

I have been told by people before that I’m an easy read. I actually really appreciate that. People don’t look at me and think “hmm, is she happy right now?” “Is she grumpy?” I can be fairly good at concealing my emotions when they are negative and it’s not appropriate. I am a pro at knowing when the time and place is. But more often than not, you will be able to get it to some extent. And I like that. People tell me that they can hear the smile in my voice over the phone, too, and I dig that. Like I said, I’m good at masking when I need to. My old coworkers used to laugh really hard because I would grumbling to myself about a client or about my computer, and then would answer the phone in the most chipper voice ever! Uhthankyou.

2.)  CONYou know what’s up

Yes, right off the bat I’ve thrown a trick pro AND con in there. Sometimes I just don’t want people to know if I’m upset or angry. Sometimes I just want to fly under the radar. And even though I can mask, I sometimes let the emotions get the best of me and show when I don’t want them to. That usually leads to teary conversations, or bubbling over chatting with excitement. But there are times when a person is annoying me, and I’ve tried so hard to hold it in but am unable to, and I snap or grump, and then later regret it. I’d so much rather be always seen as level-headed and kind, than to be the grumpy, snappy one. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen too much though. 

3.) PRO – Freedom.

It’s so amazingly freeing to just go with your emotions sometimes. It’s helped me in my whole life. It’s helped me in my friendships, improv, work, etc. It’s freeing to be unashamed when I laugh so hard that I snort. It’s a beautiful thing to not be scared to admit that I had a nice, long, shower cry. The freedom of being totally unabashed at embracing my emotions is one of the best freedoms that I think we have as humans. And I must admit, it’s so much easier sometimes to be a woman and it be more acceptable. If I were a man, and I had to squash those down because of gender stereotypes, I don’t think I’d make it. Although if we’re entertaining stereotypes, I could spend my time fixing cars and building things with my bare hands – I wouldn’t need emotional outlets, right? 

4.) CONSnowball effect. 

It’s like they say – it only takes a spark to start a fire. For me, it’s a word, a song, a dorky joke, the sweet way that David kisses my forehead when he tucks me into bed. That can set me off for a good while sometimes. And the hard thing is that I don’t always know what it will be. Which I guess is totally normal, but it’s still a tiny bit frustrating. Sometimes I just get so overwhelmed by an emotion — and then that adds to the effect. Pretty soon I’ve built them all up like a little lego house. And we all know how hard it can be to undo legos if you don’t want to stomp all over them. It’s not a bad thing to go big or go home with your emotions. But sometimes I would just like a way to stop myself when I feel it getting to be out of control. 

5.) PRONailed it. 

With an onslaught of emotionalitynessism, comes an onslaught of ways to describe it. I never want for ways to tell you how I’m feeling. Sure, I can give you the standard “fine, ok, well”…. but should you truly want an honest description of my feelings, just ask. I don’t have to ruminate before I can come up with “slightly annoyed, a bit dejected, and ready for a glass of wine.” In fact, the more time you give me, the more creatively I’d be able to describe my feelings. Some people choose not to express their emotions as blatantly, and therefore have a harder time articulating themselves. Not I, said the fly. (in this instance, I am the fly.) I will explain it to you in enough detail (if you so choose), that you won’t be unsure at all – and will more than likely stop asking me at all. It’s just so healthy and brings so much ease to be able to answer “what’s bothering you?” or “how are you really feeling?” or “is something going on?” in a way that isn’t superficial. In a way that I sometimes wish that other people would share with me. Enough of this “ok, fine, good” bullhonky. We’re all friends here. Let’s be honest. 

6.) CON – Control.

This encompasses a lot. a) I hate being out of control, and sometimes (like stated above), the emotions control me. Again, I know a lot of this is universal, but this is all as it applies to me. And I don’t like not being the one at the wheel, so I struggle for control in the middle of a meltdown or a jubilating frenzy. 

I also say control because I have been told sometimes that my emotions are the barometer of situations. Meaning that if I’m grumpy, other people get grumpy… luckily it can go the other way, but I try to be aware of this. I don’t want to be in control of anyone else’s emotions, but sometimes apparently it happens unbeknownst to me. And that’s a bummer. See? I say it’s a bummer, and you feel bummed out now, don’t you? Sigh. I’ll never win. 😛

So now you know what it’s like to be me. Which is great, because then I can take a day off once in awhile and have a few people to call in as stunt doubles. 🙂 All kidding aside – I love having deep emotions and being able to express them. All pros and cons considered, I think I will stick with them for awhile. At least until I have kids, maybe… then I’m sure it’s going to get a lot crazier… I don’t know if the world is ready for that. 

I’ve seen fire, and I’ve seen rain…

Within the last week or so, our house has decided to start being a total brat. We have lived there for almost a year now, and have had no problems. We honestly have dream landlords, who check in a lot to make sure that things are going well. And things were — until a week or so ago. Okay, I’m being dramatic. Things are still going well. Just a little… discombobulated. And if there is one thing I have a REALLY hard time handling, it’s being discombobulated. 

Short story? Here goes: (super deep breath) I ask David to hook up the VCR. He goes downstairs to do it. Comes back, says he has to change his socks because there is water all over our 4th bedroom that we use as storage. Lo and behold, he is correct. Lots of water soaking the carpet and it’s still coming in. Boxes of things are filled with water, one of which includes my first ever real camera, my baby Canon Rebel 2000 that saw me through so many fun times. That went into a pot of dry rice quickly. Landlord and maintenance guy come the next day to look at it, put up heaters, take away carpet. Maintenance guy finds black mold. Treats black mold. We sit carpetless now, with the contents of my 4th bedroom in my basement, waiting to find out if we are getting the old carpet, new carpet, or now maybe tile. I’d prefer a trampoline floor, personally, but that probably isn’t a choice. Okay – maybe not a short story. But what can you do? 

Okay, so again – not a catastrophe. But it just threw me for a loop. And for those of you who know me, I’m somewhat of a control freak. Even if I’m silently being a control freak. I don’t like being thrown off my game. 

And that’s also what happens when you’re in the middle of making a super yummy dinner, listening to a great podcast, feeling energetic and good, and then the stove makes a loud popping sound and shoots a blue flame out of the back. Yep. THAT happened. Have I mentioned that fire is one of my worst fears? Luckily nothing like that happened, and David came home right after to diagnose the problem…. which turned out to be a few days waiting period because a part had melted in the stove. We are so, so, SO lucky it didn’t turn into a fire. Because it so very easily could have. But still, threw me off my game. 

Sometimes I feel as if life is a shopping cart. I navigate around, put things into it, take things out, pay for things, make arduous decisions about the contents. And sometimes you get the squeaky one that you have to tip on its side as you drive. And sometimes you get the one with the wobbly wheel, or the off balance one. And you have a few options. Either you switch it out and get a new one, or you just make do with what you’ve got. And I’m typically a person that tries to switch out carts as fast as I can. But I’m learning that sometimes you just have to put some more pressure on the handle, or tilt the cart a tiny bit in order to make things sail smoothly. And this house stuff has taught me that. 

If I can say that those minor things are the biggest annoyances and frustrations in my life right now, I am doing pretty great. 🙂 My blessings significantly outweigh what I oftentimes determine (unjustly) to be disasters. If there was a queen of making mountains out of molehills, I have to say I would probably be in line for the throne. But at least I realize it, right? That’s something?

And now, for something completely different. 🙂 Have a great day! 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D36JUfE1oYk (You will NOT regret watching this, I swear it to you.)