Blessed Solstice, Merry Yule

and so, dear readers, the end of the year is upon us.
This year, I’m doing things a little differently than I have in the past.  My new year is beginning on the Solstice, with the longest night.  The following day marks the returning of the light, and I’d like to begin my new year with the promise of bright days to follow.

As I do every year, I like to recap what goals I’ve met, and set goals for the new year.

Personal Goals Met:
*Observed and celebrated Samhain, Mabon, and Yule (this week)
*Read 1 book per month
*Read over 52 books this year
*Kept up with household chores
*Started memorial tattoo

Dance Goals Met:
*Took 1 workshop with OOT dancer
*Performed 3+ times

This past year, my CDFs were:

Cultivated:  grounded, rooted, earthy, and immersed in culture.
Magical: witchy, observant of magic all around
Connected: closer relationships
Stong: physically, mentally, emotionally
Cozy: comfortable, relaxed
Playful: playful with friends and family

I feel  like I embodied a lot of these this year, particularly Cozy, Cultivated, and Magical.  I spent quite a lot of time drinking tea, cuddled in bed or in the bath with a good book.

This year has been interesting.   It hasn’t been bad, but it hasn’t been spectacular either.  This year has definitely been one of growth.  Outgrowing practices, people, bad behaviors.  Losing people.  Gaining others.  Connecting with different people.   I danced quite a bit.  I spent quite a lot of time with the love of my life, and with my family.  I feel as though I’ve gained quite a bit of knowledge and perspective this year too.

I’m looking forward to the new year.   2017 wasn’t spectacular, but it was a pretty good year.  Lots of learning experiences.  I feel that 2018 is going to be amazing.

So, without further ado, my goals for 2018:

Personal Goals:
*Finish editing Morgan’s book
*Get fit, strong, and healthy
*write my own stories, 1 day per week
*Read 104 books
*Start language study again
*Cook more
*Fit into costumes again
*More planning time
*Monthly date nights
*Monthly friend dates

Dance Goals:
*1 workshop/private lesson with local dancer
*1 workshop with OOT dancer/musician
*1 OOT workshop
*Perform 3+ times
*2-3 times a week practice/drilling
*Purchase Karim’s sagat DVD

My CDFs for 2018 are:

Limitless: without limits in every aspect of my life.
Delight: 
Pure joy.  Playfulness.  Magic.
Sage:
Wise, and powerful as fuck.
Stimulating:
Intelligence, wit, conversation, sex
Passionate:
filled with passion for life and my loved ones
Magical:
witchy, filled with wonder at the real, every day magic in the world.

Life is what you make it.  With the returning of the light, may this year be bright and full of promise, and goodness.

I want to wish my readers, my loved ones, very happy holidays, whatever you celebrate or don’t.  Have a safe and happy new year, and may 2018 be full of joy and love for you.

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So long, 2016. You will not be missed.

This year has been a rough one for a lot of people.
From the death of legends like David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Prince, Debbie Reynolds, and Carrie Fisher , to the presidential election that still has me praying that I’ll wake up and this terrible dream will be over…a lot of folks have had a rough time this year.

We have too.
Long time friends have vanished, without so much as a “Fuck you.”  We moved and are struggling to pay things off, with car repairs, old bills, and new.  (We are getting there though.  Thankfully.)

This year has also been pretty damned amazing though, and that’s what I want to talk about today.  Dwelling on the negative side of life will never be helpful.  Acknowledging negativity, and allowing yourself to be in your feelings is one thing…but to dwell.  To let the bad fester…that’s not helpful.

What amazing things happened this year?
Well.
I got to spend some amazing time with friends this year.  Whether we were going to see The Cure, VNV Nation, exploring Disneyland, fan girling over The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, gothing up a good friend, playing poker, playing D&D, playing disc golf, painting, dancing, drinking, eating cheese, seeing each other for the first time in 5 years, singing,  moving, laughing, crying, or visiting the Goddess temple and sharing struggles and successes…2016 was an incredible time for being with true, real friends.

I celebrated one year of marriage with my amazing husband.  That right there feels like a huge accomplishment, even if it was the easiest thing that either of us did all year.  Being with Morgan is easy.  Even when we disagree, argue, fight, or completely misunderstand each other.  With the things we’ve gone through this year, I love that our relationship only grows stronger every day.

I embodied 6 of the 7 CDFs (core desired feelings) I set for myself this year.
1. Bliss:  I was able to find a lot of good in many things this year, many of them simple pleasures.
2. Resilient:  This year has thrown me some curve balls.  But here I am.  Bouncing back.  Coming back stronger.
3. Sparkly:  I danced  A LOT this year!  I performed at 2 haflas, Steam-A-Thon Steampunk convention, and a fundraiser hosted by a dear friend.  I took a workshop AND was able to take a 6 week long raqs sharqi class with Aradia!
4.  Abundance:  This one was hard, because my focus was always on financial abundance, which…to be honest…we don’t have.  And we haven’t found it yet.  (I’m convinced 2017 will be the year we get to catch up AND save, but more on that later.)  This year, I was reminded of the abundance of LOVE and COMPASSION I have…I’m surrounded by friends and family who love me.  Who help me.  Who listen to me.  I am, in that aspect, abundantly blessed, and rich beyond measure.
5. Uncluttered: This one started at the old house after Pat disappeared.  We cleaned up.  We organized.  We threw things away.  We had a house that was fit to throw parties in!
Then we moved, and we got even more uncluttered.  The apartment is small, and while we do have SOME spaces that are a little cluttered, its nowhere near as bad as it used to be in the house.
6.  Healthy:  I’m most proud of this one.  Since my surgery last year, I’ve been mostly healthy this year.  Minimal pain, and that’s just been recently.   I haven’t had as many colds…I’ve been eating better, and exercising too.  Health is SO important to me, now that I have it back, I intend to keep it, and work hard for it.
(*side note, the one I didn’t really get to much was “steamy” but I might keep it as an honorary CDF for this year…embody my sensuality and sexuality a little more this year.)

I also set several goals last year that I actually met!!  There’s nothing better than reaching a goal.  Here’s what I accomplished last year:
1. Found a primary care doctor
2. Had my tubal ligation
3. Set workout goals, and started working out 3 times a week.
4. Set up and use planning time in the mornings (bullet journal)
5. Keep up with household chores
6. Eat more veggies
7. Take 1 local dance workshop
8. Take 1 session of raqs sharqi classes
9. Collaborate with local dancers for fun.

I’m really proud of myself and my progress!  So, as 2017 approaches, I am preparing myself for a stellar year.  I am visualizing and manifesting greatness and success for myself and for Morgan, and all of my friends.  I have 3 categories of goals again this year, and I’m excited to get started!

Life Goals:
1.  Find a better/better paying/more fulfilling job.
2. Save money.
3. Repair my credit/pay off medical debt.

Personal Goals:
1. Lose 62 pounds.
2. Get fit, strong, and healthy.
3. Observe and celebrate solstices, and holidays: Samhain/Yule, etc.
4. Read AT LEAST 1 book per month
5. Attempt to read 1 book a week (52 books this year.)
6. Continue to keep up with chores.
7.  Run a 5K/7K
8. Finally get memorial tattoo.

Dance Goals:
1. Daily/3 times a week practice
2. Take 1 local workshop
3. Take a workshop/private class with an OOT dancer (example:  When I go to San Diego, take a detour through L.A. to study with Aubre, Courtney, Princess Farhana, etc)
4. Perform/record the duet that Nina and I have choreographed, and send to VNV Nation.
5. Perform at least 3 times
6. Try to attend the Arab Dance Seminar

I’ve set my Core Desired Feelings for 2017 as well, and I’m really excited about them.  Here’s how I want to feel this year:
2017cdfs
1. Cultivated: I love this word.  This encompasses so many feelings that I want to experience.  I want to feel cultured.  Intellectual.  Intelligent.  Rooted.  Earthy.  I want to read books, I want to experience new music, see art galleries, sing, dance.  I want to explore my roots and my spirituality.  I want to learn more about my spiritual path, but in a grounded way.  I want to be more cerebral, but keep my emotions in tact.  Cultivated, for me, has all of those feelings and emotions and plans all wrapped up into one.
2. Magical:  This means so many things to me.  I’m exploring actual magick, and learning about witchcraft.  I know that magick is real, and I want to have magick in my life.
I also want to be amazed by life.  To find sparkly wonder everywhere.  I want to take people on a magical journey with my dancing.  I want to spend time with my head in the clouds.  I want to be entranced and enraptured by life itself.
3. Connected:  I want to feel more connected to my family and friends.  I want to spend less time with my phone in my hand, and more time face to face.  Laughing.  Talking.  Singing.  Eating.  I want to connect with people.  I want to connect with music when I dance. To connect to culture, and spirituality.
4.  Strong:  Strength is something I desire in all areas of my life.
I want to be physically strong.  To do pull-ups.  Push-ups.  Weighted squats.  Lift heavy things.  To be able to run a 5K or 7K.
I want to be mentally strong.  To be able to lift myself out of my depressive times.  To deal with stress in healthy ways.
I want to be strong when it comes to my resolve:  to find a new job.  I don’t want to be complacent about this anymore, and this is going to require a TON of strength to move outside of my comfort zone.
I want to be financially strong.  Bills are paid, in full, on time.  Debts are repaid.  There is money in the bank for a rainy day.  I live abundantly, all my needs and the needs of my husband are met.  We are strong and successful.
5. Cozy:  Cozy brings to mind comfort.  I have a tendency to put off self care and self love.  I don’t take down time until I am completely exhausted.  Cozy, to me, is curling up on the couch with my love and the dogs with a hot cuppa and a good book.  Cozy is a nice, long, hot bubble bath with more tea or wine.  Relaxing.  Blankets, and sweaters, and snuggles.  2017 I will take better care of myself.  I will not be afraid to say “No thank you” to plans, and to just stay in and relax.  To have a night in where I read one of my 52 books.
6.  Playful:  We, as adults, don’t play much anymore.  I feel very stressed, and tired all the time because of work.  I want to find a job where I can be playful.  Where I don’t have to be serious all of the time.  A job where I can have a bit of  fun.
I want to take the dogs for walks and to the park, and play with them.  Throw balls, chase them, run with them.
I want to play with my husband…he likes to be goofy and playful, and I tend to be cranky and old.  I don’t want to do that.  The key to a long life is laughter and fun.  And I want to play.
I want to play games with friends.  Game nights, poker nights, disc golf.
I want my life to be playful.  My dancing to be playful.
Let’s Play!

As the new year arrives, and we release the crazy year 2016, I want to thank you all, each of you who read this, for coming on this journey with me.

May your New Year’s eve be fun, filled with joy and laughter.
Be safe.

And may 2017 bring you closer to your goals, and leave you feeling the way YOU want to feel!

Happy New Year.

The year in review, and goals for 2016

What a whirlwind this year has been.  Highs, lows, ups, downs.  Sadness, elation.

My year started off fairly well in January, with good times with my love.  January also saw the return of my kidney pain, and my meeting my new doctors.

February was a month I will never forget.  Some low and sad points, but the best memory was on February 20, at Gordon Ramsay Steak with 5 of our closest friends, Morgan proposed to me.  I never in a million years thought that I would ever get married.  He had said time and time again that he didn’t want to get married ever again.  The proposal was sweet, and romantic, and a complete surprise.  The fact that I was able to share it with some of my closest friends was amazing.

In April, I had an exploratory procedure with my new surgeon, so that he could see exactly what he was dealing with to correct my kidney issues.

In June, Morgan and I traveled to LA to see Underworld live in concert.  THAT was amazing.  I danced all night long.  We got to see the original line up, which was incredible.

Also in June, I took Karim Nagi’s “Music Raqs” workshop for the second time.  I learned SO much, and his class really sparked my desire to dance again.

July 11, I had my second robotic pyloplasty on my right kidney.  My surgeon took many more precautions than my previous surgeon did, to ensure that I’d recover with minimal issues.

In September, at the prompting of a dear friend, I participated in my very first Belly Dance Competition: So You Think You Can Bellydance at the Las Vegas Belly Dance Intensive.  I learned two choreographies, and made it into the Top 12 dancers.  I realized two dreams in one night:  To perform on the Flamingo Library Theater Stage, and to improvise a live drum solo with Issam Houshan.  I had so much fun, I learned SO much, and I made some great friends.

Learning those routines, and performing again has given me the dance bug again.  In October, along with three other talented dancers, I performed the fusion choreography (and another short, sassy piece) at the Halloween Hafla.  The troupe was asked to perform in January at the Steampunk Convention!

November was probably the most memorable, the most monumental month of them all.  On November 6, surrounded by friends and family, from near and far, Morgan and I were married.  It was by far the most perfect day I’ve ever had.  The ceremony was officiated by a dear friend, and it could not have been more perfect for us.  It was funny.  It was touching.  It focused on love, communications, and D&D.  Nothing has changed in our relationship, yet everything has.  I find myself wanting to be a better person, to do more, to take better care of us…

Which leads me into my goals for 2016!  I’m actually working on separate goals:  Life goals, Personal goals, and Dance goals.  Some of these are lofty goals that will not be accomplished in one year.  The point is to start working towards them, so that they are more easily achieved when the time is right.

Life Goals:

  1. Start repairing my credit.  (Pay down my medical debt.  Open a checking account.  Open a credit card, and use once a month, and pay off immediately, in small amounts.)
  2.  Save money.  Whether its $10 a week, or $100 a month, I want to put money away for a rainy day/emergency/vacation/down payment on a house.
  3. Take courses/learn about first time home buyer assistance.

 

Personal Goals:

  1. Asses the risks/recovery time for the tubal ligation surgery, and schedule.
  2. Find a new primary care doctor.
  3. Set realistic workout goals. (Starting 3x per week, etc)
  4. 10-15 minute morning meditation/planning time daily during the week.
  5. Keep up with household chores. (sweeping/dusting)
  6. Check off a couple more items from my 40 before 4o list.
  7. Find a more fulfilling and better paying job/promotion at current job.
  8. Eat more veggies.
  9. Get more information for Arab Studies degree/Apply for Grants/Apply for admission.

 

Dance goals:

  1. Attend at least 1 local workshop.
  2. Volunteer for the LVBDI
  3. Daily practice
  4. If I travel to another city for more than 1 day, schedule a private lesson with a dancer there.
  5. Continue to collaborate with local dancers for fun duets and group pieces, in all styles.
  6. Find and take 1 session of classes from a local Raqs Sharqi dancer.

 

With 2015 being so amazing, even with the low points, I can’t wait to see what is in store for 2016.  I feel that it will be a year of personal growth, change, and progress.  I will become a better version of myself, in all aspects:  a better person, a better wife, a better dancer, a better friend.

May your new year be safe, and happy.  May your goals and resolutions be attainable.  May 2016 be filled with love, happiness, and abundance.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans…

Ah, the New Year.
Tomorrow starts another trip around the sun.
Many people use the beginning of a New Year to start afresh, to make changes to their lives, to try to be better people.

I’m not really doing that this year, although I had a sudden compulsion to buy a $40 planner yesterday to try to get myself and my year more organized.
I started my “New Me” in July, when I started P90X.

In 3 months, I lost 15 pounds, 11 inches off my waist, and more inches off my chest, hips, and thighs.
In the one month that I’ve been back on it since my break, I’m down a total of 18 pounds, and about 11.5-12 inches off my waist.  I’m only 12.8 pounds away from my first weight loss goal, and only 43 pounds from my final goal.

This New Year, for me, is about continuing to cultivate good habits:  eating better, working out every day (at least 4 times a week), and spending more time “unplugged.”

On Christmas Day, my fella and I went to brunch at a great little Thai spot near the house.  We’re both pretty avid people watchers, but on this day, I found myself drawn to the table next to ours, where four late teens/early twenties sat, on their phones.  For the first 10 minutes that they were there, the only time they looked up from their phone screens was when the waiter came by.  They sat in silence.  They didn’t speak to each other.  For 10 minutes!  Watching this, I became grossly aware of the tendencies I have to be on my phone when I’m out with Morgan.  USUALLY, if we’re out with other people, I stay off it till the very end, but a lot of the time, when we’re at a restaurant or bar, Morgan and I will both chat for a few minutes, and then spend a few minutes looking at our phones.
I really don’t like that this has become such a normal occurrence.  I don’t like that when I go visit friends, I have a habit of pulling my phone out when I don’t have anything to say.
Over the last week, I’ve made more of an effort to keep my phone/web use to a minimum.  I used to spend all day at work cruising around on Yelp writing reviews, and chatting with people.  I’ve stopped almost completely.  If we’re super slow, and I don’t have a book, I might hop on there for a minute, but, not nearly to the extent that I used to.  Morgan and I went to my parents’ house for Christmas Eve, and I kept my phone in my coat pocket all night.  I didn’t even take it out to take a picture of my dog in his new bed!  On Boxing Day, we spent the evening with some friends celebrating Hogswatch, and I’m proud to say that the only time the phone came out was to take pictures of the delicious food my friend had prepared, and to take a “thank you” call from my nieces and nephew in Chicago.
Last night, I had a lapse, and spent the better part of 3 hours on my phone, but so did Morgan.  We were at the ER, and he was in pain…there’s only so much “Its going to be ok baby” either of us could take.  But realistically, I feel that there has been serious improvement.

Its my goal, in the coming year, to try to spend more time face to face with people.  I want to spend more time actually talking with and enjoying my friends.

In my last post, I mentioned the loss of one of my best friends.  Its been two weeks since he died, and while we really didn’t speak often over the last few months, I miss him terribly.  I really regret not calling him more often to hear his voice…instead we’d text.  I regret not taking a trip out to see him.  I regret not badgering him until he came to see me in Vegas.

But losing Jake has inspired me to really make more of an effort with the people that I love and care about.  I have many friends that I don’t see often enough, simply because of being “busy.”  Well, I’m done being busy.  I’m almost 35 years old, if I don’t start living my life now, and really enjoying every moment of it, its going to be too late before I know it.

I’ll need to start small, of course.  Putting my phone away 30 minutes before bed, turning it off when I get to a bar or a party, NOT photographing everything I eat…I also want to set aside one day a week where I keep my phone off for the entire day.  Just have one day to myself.  This will also include the computer, unless I’m watching a movie, but I want to try to spend some of those days crafting, knitting, reading, playing cards or other games.

Technology is a wonderful thing that has the ability to bring people closer together, and in many cases it has.  Through social networking sites, I’ve been able to get acquainted with several women who share several passions of mine (belly dance is the first common passion, and we’ve discovered several others through the years), and these women, even though we’ve never met in person, have become real friends!  People that I think about often, and consult when I have a problem, or just need to vent.
But technology also has the dangerous potential to completely isolate us, if we aren’t careful.  We can be “out with friends” and spend the majority of our time on Facebook instead of talking to the people that we are face to face with.
I’m not going to let that happen to me.  I’m tired of telling people “I miss your face” and not doing anything about it.  I miss your face, so lets get together next weekend for a night of board games!  Who doesn’t love Cards Against Humanity?!  I miss your face, do you want to come over for dinner?  Morgan is cooking!  And once you’re there, tell me, how are you doing?  REALLY, I want to know!

My New Year’s resolution is simple:  I want to be a better person, and friend. I know what I have to do to accomplish this goal, and I am determined to do it.

May your New Year be safe, warm (its really cold here today), and full of life!

dance ferris

Time after time…

And so, another year draws to an end.
Hogswatch is tomorrow (although we’re celebrating on Boxing Day), and the New Year is just a few days after.

Every year, I like to take some time to reflect on all that has happened, good and bad, to see my growth, and to assess where I want to be next year.  I’ll share with you a few of the highlights:

Morgan and I celebrated one year together, and a few short months after that, we came out publicly about our open relationship.  We received so much love from our friends, it was overwhelming to me.

I attended 3 weddings this year:  One for The Punknecks, one for my dear friends Jody and Jeff, where I was a pirate wench bridesmaid, and the most recent was on Saturday: Wasaabi and Karissa, where I was asked to stand up as a bridesmaid…I was honored to have been a part of all three.

Two of my besties also had a beautiful baby girl, Calliope, who is my goddaughter.  Once again, I was overwhelmed with emotion and joy.  Calliope is a beautiful baby, good tempered, and very smiley.

I embarked on a journey towards reclaiming my health, kicking some of my bad habits, and starting P90X.  In 90 days, I lost 15.9 pounds, 11 inches off my waist, and more from my hips and thighs.  My next weigh in is actually in a few days, and I think I’ve done well these last four weeks.    I’m eating better, making better choices, and getting myself active.  I’ve seen results in the fact that I, generally speaking, have fewer body aches and pains, and can fit into my clothing more comfortably again.

I’ve done 3 photo shoots this year, 2 with my fella Morgan…I’m pleased with the photos, and can’t wait to start diving into more modeling opportunities!

I’ve seen an outpouring of love from friends, during some hard times, financially and emotionally…

I’ve also started learning to play the guitar too.  This one started as a dream that I had one night, and has evolved into a desire to really learn more about music and to play another instrument.

Morgan and I became parents to an adorable furbaby:  Gentleman Jack, a beagle/dachshund mix, has been bringing us joy (and a bit of frustration) for the last month.  I love my sweet cuddle bug, and am so happy that we rescued him.

Of course…there have been some bad things…
Multiple costly car repairs have left us feeling drained, but the car runs, and is able to get me to work.  We didn’t raise as much as we needed for a down payment on a newer car, but we were able to afford the repairs with borrowing very little.

I’ve had some people in my life decide that they no longer wanted to be friends with me, which is sad to me, especially since they didn’t even talk to me about if there was a problem, but all in all, I see it as a positive.  No more needless drama, or ridiculous judgement.

The worst part of this year, however, happened just a week ago:  My best friend of 15 years, Jake, passed away.
He had been sick and struggling with all kinds of health problems for nearly or over a decade (the time frame when the problems started is hazy, but its close to 10-11 years ago).  Last week, his liver and kidneys failed, and he passed at home, surrounded by his family.  I consider myself extremely lucky to have received a phone call from Jake’s brother Donnie the day before he passed.  Jake couldn’t speak anymore, but I was able to speak to him, and to tell him goodbye, and that I loved him.  I’ve been a mess for the last week…good days, then bad…crying fits coming out of nowhere, this has by far been the hardest loss since my GrinGran passed away 13 years ago.
Even with this loss, I’m trying to keep a positive attitude:  Jake isn’t hurting anymore.  He isn’t in pain, he doesn’t have to go to the hospital every month…and he’s been reunited with his parents, sister, and friend Ryan.  The selfish part of me misses him, and always will, but I’m glad that I could say goodbye, and even more glad that he was surrounded by family and the people he loved.

In the coming year, perhaps driven a bit by the loss of a friend who was so young, and had his whole life ahead of him, my goals are simple:  I want to live every moment to the fullest.
I’m going to continue to try to live a healthier lifestyle, curbing more of my bad habits, and making better choices…being active, and trying new things.
I want to spend more time outside.
I want to start working on my “40 before 40” bucket list that a dear friend inspired me to start.
I want to play my guitar more.
I want to love more…be more accepting, more humble…less needy…less demanding.
I want to exercise love and tolerance.

I want to live, and be a better person.
I want to give freely of my love and time, to those who need it.

To all of you who have been a part of my year, thank you.  I love you so very much

A handful of special thanks:
To Karissa and Nina: my two best girlfriends…I love you guys.  I don’t know what I would do without your love, advice, and amazing spirits.  I hope that the year to come brings you two nothing but amazingness.
To Wasaabi:  I love you, my brother.  And I have to thank you for falling in love and making a baby with the awesomest woman who is now your wife.  I love you guys SO much…thank you for always being there, for your help, love, support, and your uncanny ability to make me laugh when I need it.
To Virginie and David: my dear amazing friends, a goal of mine this year is to spend MORE time with the two of you!  I love you both so much for the amazing support you’ve always offered, and for the brain stimulating conversations that we always have…the fun games, movies, drinks…I love you both so much, you are so dear to me.
To Jake:  I miss you so much, and I love you.  I’m glad that you aren’t hurting anymore.  Thank you for helping to shape me into who I am.  Keep an eye out on me…I’ll sing songs for you every now and then, and will always smile when I remember you.
And finally…to the love of my life, Morgan.  My sun and stars…moon of my life…you’re my everything.  As we approach our 2 year anniversary, I have to thank you.  Thank you for choosing to be with me.  Thank you for your affection, for your unwavering support, encouragement,  and love for me…we’ve been through some rough times this year, and you’ve stood by me no matter what…I hope you always know that I love you.  I will always love you.  Together, you and I can conquer the whole world.  I look forward to what this next year has in store for us…we’re going to do amazing things!  I love you so much.

To the rest of my beloved readers, even if I did not mention you by name, know that you are loved by me, and appreciated.   May your holidays be joyful and safe.
Good luck on your ventures in the coming year, and know that you have a supporter here,waving her pompoms for you.

Happy Hogswatch, and Happy New Year!

Me and Jack, the night we brought him home.

Me and Jack, the night we brought him home.

Jack and I at the shelter.  I fell SO in love with him when he climbed into my lap.

Jack and I at the shelter. I fell SO in love with him when he climbed into my lap.

My dear departed friend Jake, in his younger days...

My dear departed friend Jake, in his younger days…

My love and I.  photo by Bright Borders Photography

My love and I. photo by Bright Borders Photography

Happy New Year…Happy New Mina. :)

Oh 2013.

You know, every year, when I write my end of the year blog, I like to think that I’ve learned a lot, and that there will be nothing but goodness in the coming year.

 

This year, is so different, because I really have changed a lot.

 

Not changed so much, in the sense that I’m a completely brand new person, or that I’m in a new city, or anything crazy like that…

 

This year I’m changed in the fact that I can say with 100% honesty that I really love my life. I love who I’ve grown to be this year, and can’t wait to see where the journey of 2014 will take me.

 

Sure, there are still things that I’d like to change. I want to be more disciplined in my health habits, I want to save more money, I’d like a better job.

 

But all in all, what I’ve learned from this last year is to treasure the moment that you’re in, because you don’t know how long it will last.

 

This year, I’ve made many new and amazing friends, some of whom are living halfway across the world. I’ve shared amazing moments of dance, and emotion with some of these new friends.

 

This year I’ve learned so much more about love than I ever thought possible…love of others and love of myself…I’ve learned that it is a wonderful thing to be loved by people…and I have felt a lot of love from my friends, and family. But even greater is to love others with complete abandon. I’ve learned that in order to really love others, you have to love yourself…really truly love yourself…and while I may still think that I’m overweight, etc, I love who I am becoming inside.

 

I could not have learned these lessons without the help of some very special friends, old and new. You all know who you are. Even if I don’t get to talk to you or see you as often as I’d like, I hope you all know how much I love you.

 

This year too, I’ve learned something about forgiveness, of self and of others. Its always been hard for me, and to be honest, I still struggle. But there is something amazing that happens when you look at a person, or look at yourself and you say “I forgive you. Its in the past. Lets move on together and enjoy life.” Its so freeing!!!!

 

I still hold grudges and get mad. Trust me. 😉 But when I do find the strength and the courage to forgive, its amazing.

 

I’m tearing up as I think about these things…this year has been incredible.

 

There has been pain, sorrow, and loss…there always are moments like this in life. But the moments of bliss, joy, love, and wonder have greatly outnumbered the bad.

 

I have a long way to go in this journey. I count myself as very lucky and very blessed to know that I have a handful of people that I know in my heart will be there with me every step of the way.

 

To all of you, may your 2014 be filled with love, abundance, forgiveness, grace, and moments that take your breath away.

My goals for this year are simple:

 

I will love more.

I will give more.

I will spend more time face to face than on facebook.

I will be creative.

I will dance. A lot. Just try to stop me. 😉

I will forgive more.

And most importantly, I will be present more. I will enjoy every day of my life, and even when I’m sick, and whiny, and feeling like I’m going to die, I will remind myself of what a precious gift my life is.   Image

Another year bites the dust…

What a year 2011 was.  Ups, downs, hospital stays, fights, arguments, discovered many many MANY new things, made new friends and learned some very important lessons. 

One of the greatest lessons I learned this year, and it may sound really horrible, but it is, in fact, a true story, is this:  You have to be #1 on your own list, because you probably are not #1 on anyone else’s.  You have to think about your own happiness, and not rely on others to provide it for you, or you will end up like me this last year: miserable. 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always looked to others for my happiness.  Doing things for others, looking to friends for validation of the awesome person that I’ve always wanted to be.  And guess where that’s gotten me?  That’s right.  Nowhere. 

So, after an epiphany of sorts, I’ve decided that there is really only one resolution for me this year:

Be #1 on your own list.

This is going to require a few sub “resolutions” of course…

Find and follow your bliss.

Do things that YOU like to do WHEN you want to do them.

Stop waiting.

Stop being scared.

Get your ass in gear and make the changes you keep talking about instead of worrying about the how. 

Be like nike:  JUST FUCKING DO IT.

Stop putting up with behaviors that are detrimental to your happiness.

Don’t be around people who don’t build you up.

Remember how AWESOME you really are.

Remember that you deserve all the love and the happiness that you WANT. 

I don’t expect any of this to be easy.  In fact, I may be in for another rough and emotional year.  Change is hard, and sometimes painful.  But the way I look at it is this…it can’t hurt NEARLY as much as being miserable does. 

And I’m done.  I need my independence back.  Hell, I don’t know if I ever really had independence to begin with, but I need it now. 

I’m done being the downer in my group of friends. 

I’m done being the one who cries when she’s had too much to drink. 

I’m done being self destructive. 

I’m done being depressed. 

FUCK YOU LADDER!  I CAN CLIMB HIGHER THAN EVER BEFORE!!!!

And the reason I can is because I matter.  I may not matter to many people, I may not matter in the ways that I want to matter to them…but guess what.  I matter to myself.  And I know that I have some people in my life that I do matter to.  People that knew that had I stayed home ALL night last night, I’d have gotten myself drunk and been a crying mess.  So these people kept after me about coming out to a party.  To the point of being a little annoying about it, actually, but before that “annoying” could hit, a voice spoke up in my head and said “Listen to them, Mina.  They love you.  They are doing what friends SHOULD do.  They are looking out for YOUR best interest.  Remember what you always complain that no one ever does?  They are doing it.” 

Getting out the door last night was harder than I thought it would be.  I didn’t want to go.  And then, I got myself lost.  Do you believe that?  I’ve driven to that house more time than I can remember.  And I got LOST.  I took the wrong exit TWICE.  My brain was saying “This isn’t worth it…you have a headache and you feel like crap, just go home and apologize.” 

But my heart spoke up.  “Go.  They will miss you.  You NEED this, Mina.  You need to be out with the people who really care about you.” 

And so I went.  And can I tell you how AMAZING it felt, walking in the door and into the kitchen, and having the whole room yell “YAY!!!”  when I walked in?  Yeah, I’m crying just thinking about how amazing and loved that made me feel. 

And then, after I got home, I was laying in bed watching “Hogfather” wishing my head would stop pounding, and I got to thinking…why do I not spend more time with these people?  I love them all SO very much…Why do I not spend more time with my friends, rather than being alone?  Seriously.  I have ONE friend that I see on a regular basis.  One .

Granted, it is hard for me to go out a lot, because I don’t have a car that I can drive legally anymore…and I know that I have people who will pick me up, but…then I’m at their mercy for when it comes to leaving…and sometimes I just don’t like to be out very long. 

But…I’ve decided that I’m going to pick up a second job that I can do from home, and I’m going to try to buy a scooter, super cheap.  That way, I can take my own ass to work, and to places that I want to go WHENEVER THE FUCK I WANT.  I won’t have to rely on my friends down the street to take me to the store.  I won’t have to rely on my best friend to take me to work.  And, most importantly, I won’t have to take the bus.  *shudders*

 

So…this year really is going to be about me, for me.  Because while I know that the WHOLE world doesn’t revolve around me…my own world should.  Of course, I will still continue to take other people into consideration…that’s just in my nature.  I’m not a vain or self centered person to think that EVERYTHING has to be about me (contrary to what some believe.).  But my own damn life should be about me, and the people that I choose to have in my life. 

That’s not to say that I may not need a slap in the face sometimes, if I do begin to act TOO selfish.  But…I have to be #1 on my own list.  I need to put my own needs above other people’s needs sometimes.  Not all the time…that would be awful, and then I would become like so many people I can’t stand. 

It all comes down to finding balance. 

This year is the year that I WILL find a balance.