Gratitude, and a new Year…

Another year, another “I’m going to post something I’m grateful for every day” on social media…another year that I am dreadfully behind.

The fact of the matter is, I’m pulling away from social media more and more these days.  And that’s actually something I’m feeling grateful for.  I have resolved to spend more face to face time with people that I love, and I don’t want to spend all my time on my phone.

As is customary for me, I always want to post a blog detailing the things that I’m grateful for.

This had been a trying year.
Tragedy struck Las Vegas just a few weeks ago.  There’s been all kinds of crazy tension between people online due to political leanings, racism, sexism…friends fighting friends.  People thinking that LGBTQ rights and struggles are a laughing matter.
I personally have seen a different side to people that I thought I knew.  Intolerance for different races, sexual preferences…even snide comments from people we were once super close with.  I’m sure they thought I didn’t notice, but I did.  Believe me I did.  And it hurt.  But I’m not letting people hurt me anymore.  Its not worth my time anymore.
I’ve lost touch with more people that I loved.  Things are weird and tense.  I’m pretty certain that I’ve been written off completely by at least 2 if not more.  I try to keep things friendly, but if they don’t want to reciprocate, I’m not going to force it.

Which leads me into my gratitude list.

First and foremost, I am grateful to have people in my life who are true to their words when they say that they love me.  They stand by me.  Even when we disagree on things, they don’t let ego get in the way.  They respect our differences.  They can recognize that things have been hard, even if we don’t confide details.  I am grateful that they know that I love them as well.  Even though I’ve been shite at seeing and hanging out with people recently (something I truly hope to remedy soon).

I am grateful for my husband.  Through thick and thin, we have each other’s backs.  Through hard times.  Through fun times.  Through arguments.  Through laughter.  We’re there for each other.  We respect each other.  He’s my strongest supporter, biggest cheerleader, and the love of my life.   I love our drunken scrabble nights, our snuggly Downton nights, our bacon and cuppa mornings, and our cooking days with music and dancing.  We have our ups and downs, but the constant is that we love each other, and I’m so lucky to have found that with you, Morgan.  I love you babe.

I am grateful for my family.  My parents, aunt and uncle.  I’m grateful that we see each other almost weekly these days.  That we are able to laugh together, talk about politics, celebrate birthdays, and being cancer free.  I love that my family has so graciously and completely accepted my husband for who he is, and that they love spending time with both of us.  I’m grateful to have spent so much time with my youngest niece and nephew, Jacob and Jillian, this summer.  It really made me happy to be able to see you two for more than just breakfast one day.  Thank you for going with me to the Goddess Temple.   I’m grateful for my seester Sara, and for Meghan, and so proud of her for going off to school, that we are able to talk with snapchat.  I’m grateful for writing letters with Aunt Norma, and even though I don’t talk to them as often, I’m grateful for Unksie, Sandra, Adam, and Aunty Kathy too.

I’m grateful for my pups.  My little loves with the stinkiest breath ever…they are just the sweetest.  They know when I’m sad, and they do their best to make me feel better.

I’m grateful for new opportunities that are starting to present themselves.  Options for a future, for a change…I’m grateful that I’m able to keep an open mind.

I’m grateful that Morgan has taught me (by osmosis, mostly, and watching) how to cook more intuitively.  I’m grateful that he’s open to my crazy ideas in the kitchen.

I’m grateful for my still new spirituality.  For the openness I have with my husband about performing rituals, for smudging, for collecting rocks and crystals, and incense. For him putting up with my failed attempt to garden. (Just wait till spring, I’m totally trying again!)

I’m grateful for my witchy sisters.  For Nina, for Brooke, for Leslie, for Janae, for Lisa, for Lala, and for Heather.  You all have provided me with much needed help, information, inspiration, and resources.

I’m grateful for dance.  Every year.  I’m grateful to Sandi, for hosting the haflas, and providing a place for us to dance for the community.  I’m grateful to Phil and BBear for asking me to dance at their many charity events…for allowing me a stage to do not only traditional Arab dance, but to dip my toes in the fusion pool in a safe space.  Thanks for letting me do shots of tequila on stage and then spin around like crazy. 🙂 I’m grateful to have been able to take a workshop with a dancer I was previously unfamiliar with, but who I LOVE now!!  I’m also grateful to have been able to volunteer at the Tribal Massive this year, and meet many amazing dancers.   I’m grateful for my dance friends, old and new, who not only believe in me and encourage me, but inspire the hell out of me.  I’m grateful for the opportunities I have coming up this coming year…I already have 2 workshops to go to, and I couldn’t be more excited!

I’m grateful to friends that I don’t want to single out, but you know who you are.  You open your home and your heart to us.  We play games together, cards, smoke cigars, drink wine, eat delicious food and cheeses.  We trade smutty stories, and cookbooks.  Your family is my family.  You come to concerts with us.  You just come over and hang out and drink, and play games with us.  You offer an ear when we need it.  You play disc golf with us.  You come to my dance performances.  You encourage and inspire me to keep trying when I feel like I can’t do it anymore.  We read books and share experiences together.  We workout together.  We inspire each other on the web.  We maybe have never met in person, but we can confide in each other about experiences, and stressors.  You come to karaoke, and drink and sing with us.  You are an ear, a shoulder, and a pair of arms when I need a hug.  You give me alternative methods of taking care of myself when I’m sick, and offer amazing help and advice.

My friends, I am so grateful for you.

In a year where I feel as though I’ve lost so much, I am so grateful to know that I really have so many amazing people and opportunities left in my life.

My year in review is coming up again, and as the holidays descend upon us, I wish you and your family a peaceful few months, whatever you celebrate or don’t celebrate.  May your days be filled with joy and laughter, and your nights be warm and easy.  May you be blessed with amazing food, drinks, and time with  friends and family.

Until next time, dear readers, I remain grateful for you.

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Another day to be Grateful

And so another Thanksgiving has come and gone.
As always, I attempt to participate in the 30 days of gratitude on social media, and I tend to do well at the beginning of the month, but always seem to forget towards the end.  That’s fine though, because when I forget…its because I’m out enjoying life…finding more moments to be grateful for.

Adopting an attitude of gratitude these days can be quite trying, to be honest.  Everyone is offended by everything these days.  Its all “PC” and “Trigger Warnings”  and “I’m offended by that” and “That’s cultural appropriation.”

People are judged by the color of their skin.  Their religious beliefs.  What they wear.  What they listen to.  What they eat, for crying out loud.

The world is a crazy place right now.
Yet, in the midst of all of this, even with seasonal depression rearing its ugly head, I have hope, and I am grateful.

I’m grateful for an amazing, loving family, crazy as they are.  I’ve had such an incredible amount of support from my entire family this last year, it blows my mind.

I have a solid group of friends:  TRUE friends…people who don’t judge.  They offer encouragement.  Support.  An ear.   Love.  Food.  Hugs.  Advice.  We have game nights, and poker, and wine and cheese nights, and D&D nights, and Hogswatch, and dance days, and sushi dates, and baby hugs, and Godtoddlers, and book clubs, and Sunday Dinner.  We trade stories, and clothing, and books.  We’re affectionate and loving.
We’re family.

I actually have a pretty great group of online friends too…mostly new friends, but ones who listen, give solid advice, and who are just really freaking cool women.

I had another surgery on my kidney, which seems to have really helped, if not completely solved my pain problem.  It may be too soon to tell for long term, but I have been mostly pain free since July.  I have a handful of days where I experience pain, but its not nearly as bad as it used to be.  My surgeon took plenty of precautions to make sure that I healed well, and I’m grateful.

I’ve started dancing again. Through the support of one of my best friends, I entered my very first belly dance competition this past September.  I performed for the first time in 4 years on the Flamingo Library Stage.  I made it into the top 12 dancers!  Not too shabby for 2 months post surgery.  I fulfilled a 12 year dream: I improvised a drum solo to live accompaniment by Issam Houshan!  Since the competition, I’ve performed with 3 other amazing ladies, and we have another performance coming up in January.  I have ideas for a new solo for myself, and have a couple of duet ideas in the works too.  Through the competition, I met and reconnected with several dancers who are awesome people.

On November 6, I married the love of my life.  Yes, that’s right dear readers.  I don’t think I ever actually updated about the proposal…but Morgan and I married just 3 weeks ago.  It was a beautiful day: The ceremony was hilarious, and we were surrounded by loved ones…Morgan’s dad and oldest friend from Alaska even came, which meant the world to us.

And so, of course, I’m grateful for my husband.  My best friend.  My lover.  My partner in crime…my partner in life.  The man who puts up with my crazy.  My lazy.  My scared. My silly.  My rock…the one with the cool head and logic…with the huge heart, incredible mind, and such passion.  Morgan knows EVERYTHING about me, and chooses every day to love me…even though I hate putting laundry away, and I’m obsessed with Doctor Who, and I’m overly sensitive sometimes.  Being married has been incredible so far.  Nothing has changed, and yet, everything has.

I’m grateful for the life I live.  Sure there are snags.  There are areas I don’t like, and want to change.  There are issues, and sadness.  There’s uncertainty.  Through all of it, and the craziness of the world, though, I choose to feel grateful for what I have.  For the amazing people I am so blessed to know, and love.

I can’t possibly tag or mention everyone, but you know who you are.  Yes, you.  I treasure you.  I value you.

And I am grateful.

I am truly thankful…

Thanksgiving has come again.  Every year I post something about what I’m grateful and thankful for. This year is no different, and I have a lot to be thankful for.

I’m thankful for my family.  My parents, my aunts and uncles, my sister, my cousin, my nieces and nephew.  We don’t talk or see each other often, but we are always there for each other, and we always love each other.

I’m thankful that I am still fairly healthy, and that I’ve made it a year and a half without being in the hospital.  I’ve had a rough year with my kidneys, but its no where near as bad as it was before.  

I’m beyond thankful for my friends…you all have a special place in my heart. I count myself as truly blessed, and consider my life enriched by knowing each and every one of you.  

I’m thankful to have a house full of people and animals that are caring, and supportive.  

I’m grateful to have attended the Arab Dance Seminar this year.  After wanting to go for the last 8 years or so, I was actually able to attend, and it was the experience of a lifetime.  I hope that fate and the universe can provide a way for me to go next year.  

I’m thankful that I’m learning to see the positive in life much more.  

I’m thankful that I feel like I’m on the right path.  I feel like while I don’t know what the future holds, I have a good feeling and idea where things are going.

I’m thankful for the opportunities I see every day, and even more thankful for the few opportunities I take to appreciate life.

I’m excited for the year to come…for all the endless beautiful possibilities to be grateful 365 days of the year….

 

No sappy person specific thanks this year…you all know how I feel about you, and it goes without saying on a public blog.  I’d rather tell you all face to face how much I love you.

Have a great holiday, everyone.  I have a chicken to check on. 😉 

21 Days of Thankfulness…in one blog.

I know, I know, I’m jumping on the “Thankful/Thanksgiving” bandwagon late.  So sue me.  😉 
The truth of the matter is, that I’ve been in a pretty deep depression for a few months now…I’ve had wonderful moments of happiness, and crazy giddyness…especially this weekend…but sadly my mood has been bad. 

So…while I listen to VNV Nation and wait for my pizza to arrive, I figured I’d bust out a quick list of 21 things I’m thankful for…big and little, in no particular order.  (except maybe the last couple.)

1.  I’m thankful to have a job.  It may be one I’m miserable at, but…at least I have a job to go to that pays the bills…I’m grateful to be employed. 

2.  I’m thankful to have an apartment.  And in 2 weeks, it will be a bigger more spacious apartment.  And its all mine.  🙂

3.  I’m thankful for Karate Karaoke.  It may sound cheesy, but I am.  Karate Karaoke has helped me not only get over my fear of singing in front of people, but has helped me to squash it, and stomp on its stupid face for holding me back from so much fun for so long.  Its also introduced me to some of the greatest people on the planet. 

4. I’m thankful for my family.  They always provide unlimited support whenever I need it. 

5.  I’m thankful for Deathing. 🙂 

6.  I’m thankful that I’ve pretty much gotten over my dislike for pork…because I loves me some bacon!

7.  I’m thankful for curry.  (you all HAD to see that one coming.)

8.  I’m thankful for my “old” friends…the ones I’ve had for a year or more…whether I see you often or not.  You provide love, comfort, help and support to me when I need it the most.  You don’t judge.  I love you all.  I would name names but there are too many of you that I love to death.

9.  I’m thankful for my new friends…the ones that have been in my life for a year or less…I’m learning things about myself from you all…you’re bringing variety into my life, and don’t judge, when many of you have a right to… and I love you all.

10.  I’m thankful for my teachers and mentors in dance.  Its not a huge part of my life currently, but it will be again soon…and without you and your knowledge, dance wouldn’t be a part of my life at all.  Its changed me into a better person, and I love you all for it.

11.  I’m thankful for SURPRISE TRUST FALL!  (and Surprise Boob Grab)

12.  I’m thankful for Pho.

13.  I’m thankful for music in general…for providing an outlet when I need one…for being able to articulate what I cannot.

14.  I’m thankful for picking up new fun habits like knitting, because it helps me to curb my stress levels.

15.  I’m thankful for sleep…when I get it. 😉

*****************************************************

ok, this is where I’m going to get a little personal and name some names…I hope you all don’t mind…but I have to speak what I’m feeling right now…and its not that i love these people any more than i love any of you, but I’ve had recent encounters with these people that I’m feeling exceptionally thankful about…so…there…

 

16.  I’m thankful for Cherish.  You have been an amazing friend to me…you listen, you console, you provide comfort and words of wisdom…you’re an angel for letting us borrow your car all the time, and for hosting awesome fun parties…for inviting our craziness into your home and life.  I am honored to call you friend. 

17.  I’m thankful for Nina and Sara, my spooky muffin and cupcake.  You girls give it to me straight…you don’t sugarcoat anything…you get me out when I need it, you support me when I need it, you tell me when I’m being stupid…you love me no matter what…and I love you guys. 

18.  I’m thankful for Leslie.  You are my sister from another mister.  😉  I love you SO much…thank you for always being my sounding board…for talking sense into me, and for helping me to look at the good when all I want to see is the bad.

19.  I’m thankful for my new friend Kim.  Like you said Saturday night, I’m SO glad that we are actually friends.  Thank you for giving me a chance…for being so fucking sweet…and for being my minion. 😉 lol “ITS SO FLUFFY!”

20.  I’m thankful for my best friend Morgan.  Because of your guidance, I’m living on my own…which is something I was afraid I’d never do.  You help me on a daily basis to face my fears, my shortcomings, and inspire me to be a better, and more selfless human being.  🙂  You’ve helped me to uncover things about myself that I may have never known…Thank you for always listening to me, even when I’m a fucking lunatic. 😉  I love your face. 

21.  finally, for right now…

I’m thankful to be alive.  Over the last year, I’ve encountered a lot of crap, and had health problems for the first time in my life…There were days that I was afraid that I’d been handed a death sentence…days that it truly felt as though I would die…pain so bad I could barely stand it…pain that landed me in the hospital for days on end…

I’m coping with all of that now…and though I may still be blue, I do know in my head and heart that things could always be SO much worse…I’m blessed and truly grateful to be alive, and to have such a rich amazing life. 

 

In closing, I would like to leave you with some song lyrics from a group that I am SUPER thankful to have seen this weekend, VNV Nation:

Resolution:

“No pride to feel, no waiting country
No parades to line your way
Though your hands may bleed, and your body may lie broken
Every storm must soon give away

Raise your head up high
Raise your head up high
So the heavens hear you cry
Light the brightest fire
From the highest mountain
So the whole world knows
That your spirit can’t be broken

The rage you feel will consume you and destroy you
Let this rage inside you die
One day, you’ll find the signs in every motion
Close your eyes so you might see
I will hold you still, every second of every hour
Let your actions speak your will

Raise your head up high
Raise your head up high
So the heavens hear you cry
Light the brightest fire
From the highest mountain
So the whole world knows
That your spirit can’t be broken

Give up your fear
These senseless longings
Let this pain inside you die

Raise your head up high
Raise your head up high
So the heavens hear you cry
Light the brightest fire
From the highest mountain
So the whole world knows
That your spirit can’t be broken”

 

And finally….

Gratitude

“It is not love, if love is cold to touch.
It is not belief, when there’s nothing there to trust.
Could not submit, would never bring myself to heel.
Determination grows, as each truth is revealed.

Torn and repaired, just to endure it all again.
Without a reason, for my place in all this pain.
Though well concealed, the scars they just compound.
Until there´s nothing left of what was my former self.

My god, look at what we are now –
without regret for all the things that we have done.

Thank you for all the doubts, and for all the questioning,
for all the loneliness and for all the suffering.
For all the emptiness, and the scars it left inside.
it inspired in me, an impetus to fight.
For the conviction, for the purpose found along.
For the strength and courage, that in me I’ve never known.
And if it seems to you, that my words are undeserved,
I write this in gratitude for whatever good it serves.

Sometimes I wish, that you could see me now.
In the rightful place, where I knew that I belonged.
Sometimes I wish, that you might someday understand.
to close the chapter, and lay to rest the past.
But nothing would change, we make the best of what we have.
for we are measured by the actions of our lives.
we bide our time, let the future unfold.
Like immortals, in great legends to be told.

My god, look at what we are now –
without regret for all the things that we have done.

Thank you for all the doubts, and for all the questioning,
for all the loneliness and for all the suffering.
For all the emptiness, and the scars it left inside.
it inspired in me, an impetus to fight.

To all who stood with me, when we stood as one.
Thank you for guiding me, for bringing me home.
And if it seems that I’m obliged to say these words,
I write this in gratitude, the least that you deserve.”