my girl

Tonight, after I put my kids to bed, I found myself hanging streamers and blowing up balloons when I’d prefer to be asleep (or maybe watching Parks & Recreation). 

Ah, yes, I have finally succumbed to the stage of parenthood where I do stuff for my kid’s birthday. Truth is, it’s really fun. I’m super tired, but I can’t wait to see my four-year-old’s reaction at the colored streamers and balloons. She’s going to be sooo excited!

This morning I realized just how much I love spending time with my daughter and getting to know her as she grows. She’s so fun. She’s the daughter I was given, the daughter I have, and I’m so glad I have her. I probably won’t have another daughter. She’s it. And oh, is she IT. I got the girl with it all… all the flair, all the drama, all the passion, all the laughter. 

We were sharing moments together this morning like we do all day long every day, but this morning I could feel my heart so full of gratitude and love. I am just so thankful to have her in my life. It’s hard to put into words. I guess if you’re a parent then you’ll understand what I mean.

I look forward to celebrating her precious little life tomorrow. One day she’s going to grow up and do big things, but for now she’s my little comedic princess who sleeps across the hall in Minnie Mouse pajamas. 

Advertisements

Number One Tip For Growing Out a Pixie Cut

There was once a time I had long flowy princess hair that was the envy of hair enthusiasts everywhere. It was full and glossy and sooo long. I loved to put my luscious locks into a french braid and wear flower dresses. 

And then I had yet another baby and decided to cut off my long hair in favor of a pixie cut, something I NEVER thought I’d do.

I have enjoyed having short hair, and at one point I even buzzed it all off just to say I’d done it once. It actually looked pretty good on me.

But then I finally decided I’d had my share of flirty pixies and wanted my long braidable hair back. 

Growing out a pixie is not fun. You hit these stages in the process where it just doesn’t look good at all. It must be what a caterpillar looks like as its transforming into a butterfly. I suspect the in-between stage looks like some horrible science experiement gone wrong… like, WHAT is this mutant? (And does it have any powers?)

There is nothing that can speed up this process, very little to make the transition easier. It’s simply one of those long dark nights your hair’s soul must go through.

I have one tip, one tiny golden nugget of advice when the urge to give up and chop it all off again becomes irresistible:

STOP LOOKING AT PICS OF YOUR PAST ADORABLE PIXIE CUTS

and

KEEP LOOKING AT PICS OF WHAT YOU WANT YOUR HAIR TO LOOK LIKE.

For me, this means I avoid looking too long at pictures of myself from the last year and instead, drown my eyeballs in all my long haired glamour shots. When I see my short clean hairstyles, the urge to start chopping gets strong. But then I go back and look at older pics of my long flowy hair and remember how much I loved that look and feeling.

For those of you who never had long hair, just find pictures of the long styles you’d like to have and keep those in your line of sight daily. 

Keep your vision on your goal and not the past. As the saying goes, “When you feel like giving up, remember why you started.”
Stay strong, my Lovelies. Let your hair grow long and wild. If you need moral support, hit me up.

Connect

Today was a day of connections.

I sat down and finally wrote to my grandmother, which I’ve been planning to do for months.

I wrote to a penpal whom I left hanging 2 whole years ago.

I got in touch with people I love and people I think I would love if I actually got to know them.

I had conversations with strangers on blogposts and Twitter. I followed new interesting people on Instagram. 

And I realize… it’s not that hard. Connecting with people is not nearly as hard as I keep thinking it is. All I have to do is reach out, speak up (or write down).

This is what makes me happy: connecting with others. It’s my responsibility. If I want to make connections, if I want friends… then I have to do something about it. It’s easier to do nothing. But no one is going to chase me down (especially when I’m an invisible introvert). If I don’t put myself out there, no one is going to find me.

If I want friends, then I need to be a friend. So that’s what I’m doing.

This is one of the things I would like to build in this master builder year of 2018: I want to build connections and relationships. I’d say I’m off to a good start.

the opposite of love

I don’t think hate is the opposite of love, I think apathy is. Hate implies that you care. If it pushes your buttons then it means something. But apathy is the worst. It’s a lack of all feeling. It’s a complete lack of connection. Hate, although negative, is still a connection.

Time, the Magical Cure (Not)

Time can help heal a wound. Don’t touch it, leave it alone- the body can heal itself.

Time can also allow an untreated wound to get worse. Sometimes the body needs outside help.

I am stuck in time, with no easy or clear answer.

All I have is time.

-9.29.09

Whatever tragedy or struggle we’re faced with, people always love to say, “Just give it time. You’ll get better.” I am so sick of hearing that. I am so sick of telling myself that. So sick of believing that one day, things will be better simply because an indefinite period of time will have passed.

“Just give yourself time,” they say. 

“It will get better in time,” I tell myself.

Uh huh…

What quantity of time will automatically flip the switch? How many weeks? Months? Years? 

Why do any of us assume that the passage of time is the magical cure? Time itself won’t fix anything. Time is nothing. There is no such thing as time. There is only Now, and what we do we with our perpetual Nows is the only way to affect change.

But I don’t know what the hell to do. All I have is time. And I don’t know what to do with it. 

So much of my internal world has changed in the last few years, especially the last several months, but these changes aren’t manifesting in my physical/material day-to-day living. I’m just as needy, dependent, brain-dead, anxious, and hormonal as ever. I still struggle with the same old issues over and over again. I think I’ve worked through something only for it to spring back up again and laugh in my face. 

How am I supposed to trust that I am, in fact, on the right track, and that in continuing with what I’ve been doing, the changes will appear in time? Because if nothing is changing, then am I really doing the right thing? How much time has to pass before I realize what I’ve been doing isn’t going to change anything, and that I need to try something else? 

“I am stuck in time, with no easy or clear answer.”

The Therapeutic Value of Art and Music

This morning I learned that Eric Church, a musician I respect and admire, was a headlining act of the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, where over 50 people were killed and over 500 were injured during a mass shooting early this week. Eric Church wrote a song afterwards with haunting lyrics asking, “Why you? and why not me?” I read his Facebook post, where he shared his feelings and his love for his fans, and I listened to the song he just wrote and performed at the Grand Ole Opry.

It was while I was reading the comment section of his Facebook post that I was again reminded of the incredibly important role that art plays in our lives.

I read comment after comment of people thanking him for writing that song. Individuals who survived the massacre saying they hadn’t been able to cry until they heard that song. Those still in shock now able to reconnect with their heart and loss by simply listening to a song. Others who survived past infamous massacres sharing their experiences and expressing gratitude for a song that speaks to them. Church has captured the questions and feelings of so many, and validates their pain and confusion. It’s a shared experience: bringing together hurting souls, sharing each other’s weakness to produce a new beautiful type of strength. It’s life and healing in the midst of death and separation.

This is what art is about. This what we as artists do- we help people connect with their own humanity and the wide spectrum of emotions we all experience. When it comes to tragedy, either personal or collective, some people may never bring themselves to seek therapy and sit and talk about their feelings. They may never seek help in processing their own loss, even though they desperately need to. They may live the rest of their days half-alive because of unfinished business their mind or ego can’t bring themselves to deal with. But art, and in particular, music, often has a way of slipping in unhindered, of triggering a heart response- a true reflection of the state of the soul. Art gets past all the mental barriers because it doesn’t speak to the mind, it speaks to the deep places of the heart. And in this way, art is therapy, for both the artist and for the consumer. It is permission to FEEL, and learning to accept our very real feelings is a crucial aspect of healing- and living.

I think now is a good time to examine the role the country music genre has played in American life, since this week’s tragedy in Las Vegas happened during a country music festival. I am reminded of the song “This is Country Music” by famous country star Brad Paisley. With unashamed pride, Paisley sings about country music’s reputation for addressing specific topics other musical genre’s might not touch with such simple frankness. Love it or hate it, country music covers the gamut of human emotions and experience: joy, celebration, love, heartbreak, loss. I think Paisley’s song is a reminder of what art truly is:

“So turn it on, turn it up, and sing along
This is real, this is your life in a song
Just like a road that takes you home
Yeah, this is right where you belong”


So far, my most profound experience as a musician happened when I was 21 years old. I had just finished playing a set of original songs at our local coffee house, and was mingling with the small crowd. A man I had never seen before walked up to me and took my hands in his own. He looked me in the eyes, with tears in his own, and thanked me. He said that in listening to my music that night, he felt as though he found his soul again.

This is the power of art. This is the power of music. It illuminates the meaning of life, teaching us what it truly means to be alive. It can help mend a broken heart and also usher in new hope and possibilities. It can help a soul become reacquainted with itself. Art meets us, right where we are. It asks nothing of us but to open and connect with our own souls- and with the very Soul and Source of all creation. As an artist, I am overwhelmed to know that my artistic expressions can have such a powerful influence on another. I am awed at the amazing gift art truly is, and I am deeply humbled to be a steward of such a gift.

Eric Church is one of those artists I have always admired as being a truly gifted song writer. His songs “Lightning”, “Carolina”, “Homeboy”, and “Springsteen”, have all touched a piece of my soul, as well as countless other souls. And in the aftermath of such violence and heartbreak in Las Vegas this week, Church is again helping us connect with our souls and with each other. Because this tragedy occurred during a grand celebration of life through the power of music, I believe that music will inevitably play a large role in helping to heal these wounds.

In the end, I think the most valuable lesson art teaches us is that we are not alone. We’re all in this crazy ride of life together, and the recognition and embracing of our commonalities is the only way to truly heal the broken heart of humanity.


Coming soon…

I’ve been quiet on here. The quiet will probably shatter pretty soon. I have a lot to say, and I think I’m just about ready to start saying some of it. 

I am my own special kind of crazy. And for the first time in a long time, I’m totally cool with it.

Crazy is sort of a relative term. I’m not crazy, I’m just me. Sane me may appear crazy to others. But when I appear sane, that only means I’m hiding my crazy. But my crazy isn’t really crazy once it gets out. It may look like it, but it isn’t. There IS a rhythm to my madness.

Confused yet? It’s ok. Welcome to my world.

If You’re Having a Hard Time, Read This.

So good.

Denise Minger

First, watch this. 0:24-0:31 is the most important part.

You’re welcome. Now let me tell you a story.

Many years ago, on a family vacation in Canada, I sat on the oceanside steps of a bed and breakfast and cried until I couldn’t breathe. I was sixteen and living on melons and lettuce. Ninety pounds. Ribs like a birdcage. Hair ripping out in clumps every time I brushed it. My raw vegan honeymoon had exploded, and I was left writhing atop its shrapnel—stuck in that awful space of knowing something was very, very wrong but not knowing how to fix it.

The B&B host sat chain-smoking a few yards away, pretending not to see. I loved him so much for not asking if I was okay. Inside our room, my wonderful, rightfully distraught parents were discussing my “situation,” thinking I couldn’t hear. Their murmurs bled through the wall and mixed with the…

View original post 2,678 more words

Novocaine for Nihilism

Eric Hyde's Blog

Nihilism is a tricky mode of existence. How does one continue existing, in an existence one finds thoroughly meaningless, when one’s very being demands love and relationship with others to survive?

Dostoevsky has a scene in the Brother’s Karamazov where a man, an elder of an Orthodox monastery, explains how the more he “loves humanity in general, the less [he] love man in particular.” This is a typical mode of being for many today whom favor the crowd to the individual. Think of those social justice warriors, those businessmen, those entertainers, artists, and others who set their life agendas on specific outcomes where the crowd takes precedence over the individual.  Yet the crowd is an illusion, the public a phantom (Kierkegaard). Can one exist in a love relationship with an illusion? Is there any relationship – any personal love given with reciprocal personal love received – possible with a crowd?…

View original post 218 more words

hello again?

It’s been over a year since I’ve been blogging and it feels a little awkward jumping back in. Especially with a brand new blog. My former blog ran for 7 years and I picked up a decent amount of readers in that time. Starting over from scratch makes me feel like a baby. *cue baby noises and slobber*

I don’t know how to write for the public anymore. My current drafts make me sound like an idiot. Perhaps I’ll just stick with poetry for the time being. *cue emo music and staring out windows*

Well anyway, thanks for reading these words of mine.

gracie