Dear Forgiveness, I saved a plate for you. Quit milling around the yard and come inside.

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Forgiveness.

You’re supposed to forgive people.

Apparently.

Years ago, I read this book that said to forgive people, even if they don’t apologize.

The book goes on to say that if you don’t forgive people, you end up with pent up hostility and grudges for people who never think about you. It suggests that you reach out to them and let them know you forgive them, and blah blah blah.

I completely disagree with this idea.

First of all, I don’t think forgiveness really has anything to do with anyone but you. You’re not forgiving people for some karmic relief. You’re not forgiving people for social status. You’re certainly not forgiving people for a second chance to screw up your day.

Maybe it’s my pride, or maybe it’s because I genuinely never think about people who’ve seriously disappointed me, but I have never (and will never) reach out to anyone to say, “hey, I accept your non-apology, because I’m that good of a person.”

I’m really not that good of a person.

Or that stupid.

People really just don’t cross my mind unless someone brings them up.

There are only a few people who’ve seriously wronged/slighted me in my life. I was incredibly angry, and depending on how much I’ve loved them, I tried to keep myself in check, because I never wanted to bite my tongue later.

You can’t take back things you’ve said.

Ever.

So, I always say what I mean and mean what I say.

After I get it off my chest, I move on. Occasionally, especially those first few hours or days, I try to pinpoint where it all went south. I try to figure out what happened.

Then I let it go. I let it go, because I realize that the answers I’m looking for don’t exist. Sometimes people do terrible things, and that has nothing to do with me. Sometimes people mistakes, because they’re careless.

I really don’t care why people do what they do. It’s enough to know that they weren’t considerate. That’s enough for me.

So no, I don’t hold grudges or remain hostile towards people, because I’m not spending any time thinking of them. I realize that holding a grudge will only hurt me.

I really don’t have time for that.

I’d list all the ways I’m even too busy to be writing this, but it came up today, and I felt the need to explain via this post.

I do not, however, think you need to forgive people for anything; it is sufficient to live your life and forget them without harboring any negative feelings.

What I do to remedy the situation is forgive myself.

So, I trusted the wrong person. So, something blew up in my face.

So, it happened.

I can lament over it, or I can grow.

Not one to ever sit in self-pity, I set a goal and I work toward it.

I forgive myself by trying new things. I forgive myself by accepting the fact that bad things happen to everyone. I forgive myself by knowing to be a little more careful in the future. I forgive myself by having a good life. I forgive myself by giving new people new chances.

I forgive myself by trusting that even though there were a few bad experiences had, there are infinite better ones waiting for me.

Literally.

It can be hard, for sure, but it’s important.

No, I don’t forgive people, because they deserve it. I don’t even think about those people. I don’t walk around with a dark, heavy cloud of anger towards anyone. Being such a firm believer in karma, I know that everyone eventually gets what they deserve.

I’d rather pour my energy into the things and people I love (or will love).

If you let one bad thing ruin life for you, you’re no better than any of the people who wronged you.

I remember once, someone I loved deeply was wronged and I don’t think he ever got past it. It’s a shame, and I’m incredibly sorry for him, because he was one of my favorite people on this planet (if not entirely my favorite person).

Forgive yourself, because you’re better off.

Be You, Be Great

You should do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

This has always been my mantra, and I will take it to the grave.

I try to live my life to the fullest, but to the fullest for me.

For example, I’m completely okay with being in pajamas by seven on a weeknight (okay, or even five if I’m not at the gym). I work hard, I study hard, and I do everything that I want in a day.

When it comes to things I’ve wanted to do, I have a bucket list. I’ve done a lot of things I wanted to do, but I still have a few I’m working on. If I died tomorrow, I’d know that I did the things I could have done given my time here.

When it comes to things I’ve wanted to say, I’ve said them all.

There isn’t one person who doesn’t know what I needed them to know. Don’t get me wrong, not everything has been reciprocated. When I was 17, I told The One That Got Away how I felt. Of course, I realized (in time) that he wasn’t actually TOTGA.

Years later, I did it again (I’d like to say tactfully, but when you’re telling someone, “hey, I’ll love you for the rest of my life, because you’re you, and I don’t need that reciprocated. Just thank you for existing,” well, you can see how that might be not classy for a girl to say [but I really didn’t care. It needed to be said.]).

I think you should tell people everything you want to tell them, because you don’t know when you’re going to go. I just know that if I died tomorrow, the people who matter, the people who mattered, the people I love, they all know.

As for the things I’ve done and am doing, I’m more than happy.

My coworker told me today, “I’d be sad if I died this young, but I lived my life. I’m happy where I’d be going.”

I know that everyone has their own set of guidelines to live by, but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t think mine were the best.

I think you should always be honest. I think you should always be compassionate. I think you should always be as good of a person as you can be.

For you.

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget and get caught up in other people, in other things, but it’s really not all of that. It’s just about being okay with you.

One thing that has always bothered me was insecurity in your own self. I get physical imperfections, and I’m all for bettering oneself, but I don’t like that guttural rejection of oneself.

If you’re unable to love yourself, you have to work on that. It’s the one thing that irritates me to the core. You should love yourself more than anything, because you’re all you have! You should be kind to yourself, and you should be happy with yourself.

Unless you’re a crappy person (you very well could be, and that sucks for you).

You should leave your house every day and know that you can handle whatever life throws at you. I can’t really explain this, but I’ve known a handful of people who search for external approval for validation.

Maybe my ego is too big, but I don’t think that’s it.

I’m well-aware of my shortcomings, but they do not (in any way) affect how I live my life or how I see myself.

For example, I’m atrocious at small talk. I’m the absolute worst person to try to talk to at a function if we’ve never met. I used to try to smile a lot and nod. I tried to make it easier for other people to feel less awkward not knowing someone at a social function.

Not so much anymore.

I mean, I’ll try to talk, but most likely, I’m too busy thinking about something else and wondering when this function is over.

Is that a shortcoming?

Heck yes!

Do you know how many people I never get to meet? TONS.

My soul mate probably saw me a thousand times but never approached me!

I believe in soul mates!

If that’s not a shortcoming, I don’t know what is.

Seriously speaking, though, I have a lot of shortcomings.

They do not dictate my life, though.

That doesn’t have any bearing on how I feel when I leave my house every morning. Every morning, I leave my house and look at the one bird on the telephone wires. I smile at him and I think, “today will be better.” Sometimes it is, and sometimes it’s the worst day ever.

Then there are the people who walk around with a heavy brick on their shoulders. I have no idea what makes them so insecure, but you can see it through everything they do. It follows them around like a nasty stench.

They try incredibly hard to please others, and they usually do a great job. It’s just that they’re never confident. They fake it, but—let’s be honest—we can see through it.

Anyway, before I get carried away on the fact that I absolutely cannot tolerate the weakness of them, I’ll stop.

I just mean to say that you should be 100% of everything you’re doing.

You should make that green smoothie, because you want that green smoothie and that should be enough.

You should tell the gas attendant that you don’t want to be topped off.

You should say no if you don’t want that second beer.

You should say, “I’m sorry, but I’m not comfortable,” if you’re not comfortable.

You should change your social group if they’re not what you want.

You don’t owe anyone on this earth anything. You owe it to yourself to be a good person for you.

It’s nice to do something kind for someone else. I completely condone that.

You should do things that feel right. You know when things feel right.

Too often, we’re busy making excuses for why right is too hard or too complicated.

Right is right is right.

Life may be shades of gray to many people, but it’s black and white to me.

You will always know when something is right or wrong.

Hey, if you are indecisive and make a mistake, own up to it and move on. People will forgive you when you screw up on accident. People aren’t all terrible (this is immense coming from me).

Own all of your mistakes. Own all of your rights. Own your life.

My accounting professor said, “if you think it might not be right, THEN IT’S WRONG.”

I say this now, in WordPress, because I’m not big on telling people things anymore.

We’re too old to be telling people what they already know.

None of this is new information.

Everyone knows how to be a good person. Everyone knows how to do the right thing. Everyone knows that what they put into the world will someday be given back to them in some variation.

This isn’t news.

If you go to your grave tomorrow, make sure you’ve done the important things.

Make sure you lived the life you wanted to live.

Make sure you’re whom you want to be.

How To Delete Manually Entered Indents (AKA Noob’s guide to publishing)

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I’m working on publishing my first e-book.

One thing I learned the hard way was First Line Indentation.

After a final edit of my novel, I anxiously updated my file to the platform.

Like any author/editor, I pressed preview before I pressed publish (actually, I think there are more steps before I hit publish, but as you can see, I got hung up here).

What was beautifully written in Word was a complete nightmare in preview.

I’m PRETTY sure that I didn’t indent half a page for 300 pages.

Except that I did.

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How could I have done this horrible thing?

It turns out, Word has some useful tools, and one of them eliminates the need for your ring-finger to stroke the TAB button SEVEN BAZILLION TIMES.

Would’ve been nice if that was taught at Rutgers. Thanks again, guys. Super.

So, I spent an hour reading about formatting BEFORE you write (this is great: Everyone Needs To Do This Now).

Unfortunately, when I sat down in all of my crazy-must-get-this-out writing ways two years ago, I banged out the thirty something chapters with my best friend: the TAB button.

For the past few hours, I have read tutorials on how to get rid of my manual indents. I read about Tab Stops (this is a function that’s buried in Word), and it seemed to work wonders.

Keyword: seemed.

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I re-uploaded about seven times and, without fail, it still indented.

That’s because the formatting is gone, but the damage I caused (hitting physical buttons) wasn’t forgotten by Word. See, when you do something stupid and expect it to go unnoticed, it rears its ugly head later (300 pages and nearly two years later). So, don’t do anything stupid.

Not one to give up, I used Google (page 3 of “how to get rid of manual tabs”).

No dice.

Finally, I did what any self-respecting person would do: I searched for add-ins. It’s the cheater’s way out, but it should work, and then I’ll delete whatever the heck I just installed on my computer. This is a Mac after all. It can’t get crazy viruses.

Of course, the virus writers (aka, my only beacon of hope at this point: [someone pretending to help me, but really just causing me an hour of detours]) knew that they would get nowhere with a writer’s Mac, and you know–never wrote the pseudo program.

ERGO, the only add-in worked on Windows.

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What good is complaining, though? If I can’t beat it, then I might as well get started on my long, flipping’ journey.

I resigned to manually delete all (1,333) indents.

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After half a page of deleting my tabs, I thought, “this cannot be a thing. I cannot be the Only Person who has ever written an entire book without proper formatting. Not every writer is a freakin’ Word Guru out the womb.”

They’re not. They knew something I didn’t. There’s an easy fix somewhere.

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Here it is:

Highlight your mistakes. Literally, highlight ONE indent that you want to get rid of.

Go to FIND.

Right-click and paste.

It looks blank, but have heart!

You’re halfway there.

In the replace section, you can do the best thing ever.

Nothing.

That’s right: leave that empty space blank.

Then press Replace ALL (you will lose all of your tabs). Probably best to go back and reread your work.

That’s how to do some damage control.

ron-moved

*A simple google search on First Line Indent will show you the basics. It’ll save you serious time.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I commend you. May you never have to deal with manually having to do ANYTHING that many times. If you do, you’re welcome. Simple solution, but hey, I was at a loss for a while there.

Don’t be a scumbag.

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Sexual harassment has always been kind of a gray area for me. I’m a woman and, like most women (whom I know), I loathe being viewed as fragile, dainty, or weak.

I think all women have dealt with some form of harassment, but there’s a line that can’t be crossed. It’s subjective.

Here’s my line. I’m pretty liberal on this, because I ignore 99% of what people say (men and women).

The 1% that makes me uncomfortable is what I’ll discuss.

At first, I thought about professional settings, but this spans all settings when you don’t know a woman (or man).

Under no circumstance should you ever come on strongly to anyone. For the love of God, you will make me reach for my pocketknife, and trust me, I will go for the eyes.

“Hey, good looking” is disturbing. If you follow up with “I’m doing about as good as you’re looking,” you’re a pathetic douchebag, and I hope your future wife miscarries forever. Forever.

No rational being wants your seed.

Actually, let me list things that are completely unacceptable:

1. Do not wink and give a dirty smile with too many teeth. It makes us vomit a little.
2. Do not say anything cheesy. We’re not in a bar, and it wouldn’t work for any self-respecting woman, either.
3. Do not say anything cheesy and expect us to fall all over ourselves.
4. Do not boldly ask us out anywhere (some women or men might find this bold, sexy, or something, but I am speaking for myself. I think you’re an arrogant shit and I want to spit on your face.) If you don’t know someone, the wise thing to do is have a conversation where you aren’t a cocky snob.
5. Do not shout at us. If we aren’t within earshot, we probably don’t want to be.
6. Do not whistle at us. We aren’t dogs.
7. Don’t be a douchebag.
8. Learn to take no for an answer. If someone says, “I’m not interested in you,” it doesn’t need to be followed up with “why? Do you have a boyfriend?” That’s completely irrelevant. We don’t like you. Believe it or not, not every woman pities your pathetic ego and goes on a date with you. Some of us (sadly, only so few) can say, “I do not like you as a person,” and move on.

There’s a defense for the above eight. Here’s what I’ve been told to justify some of this behavior.

1. You’re attractive, so you should just be glad someone notices you.
2. It could be worse. That guy could’ve said you were ugly and ignored you.
3. It’s a free country. Why are you so negative?
4. You could give the guy a chance. He’s really nice. I feel bad for him.

First of all, my goal in life is not to be noticed. If I wanted to be noticed, I’d wear gold spandex and tease all my hair. If I wanted to be noticed, I’d be noticed by everyone on the planet. My goal is not to be noticed.

Couldn’t dying in a fiery car wreck be worse? How about losing the love of your life to a terminal illness? I’m pretty sure I can think of a thousand other terrible things. Some guy calling me ugly is the least of my troubles. I had some loser throw donuts at me in high school. Literally. I was singled out and picked on every day by this scumbag. My life has gone on. My life will go on if someone calls me ugly or ignores me.

Yes, it’s a free country. If I happen to respond with, “knock it off. This is not okay,” I’m entitled to.

Take a note on this one: guys who complain about women ALWAYS screwing them over are all liars. Unless they are complete morons (LAWL on second thought), there are always three sides to every story. If a guy is persistently pushing the envelope on a girl even if she says no, he’s a scumbag and should be shit on by every girl every time, without a doubt. Forever. We all know “really nice guys” who aren’t. So, no, Mr. Persistent is a scumbag.

So yeah, don’t be a scumbag.

I’m not fragile, I’m not dainty, and I’m definitely not weak. I am fed up, though. Women aren’t cold hearted or stuck up bitches because we don’t blush at your pathetic plays for our attention. Learn to take no for an answer. If we like you, it’s obvious. If we don’t, MOST of us let you know.

If you’re a scumbag, you’re a scumbag. Sure, some guys aren’t scumbags. Some are actually decent. Maybe even great.

Here’s the thing about this free country: we don’t have to like you. We can coexist without flirting with you to soothe your extremely sensitive ego.

You’re welcome.

What Knitting Taught Me

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Standing alone in Michael’s one night in October, I felt something that I can’t really verbalize. I needed to do something different. I didn’t know what I was looking for, but I’m glad my eyes found the knitting section.

I didn’t think I’d be able to learn how to knit, and I figured I was probably wasting thirteen dollars on the knitting kit, but I decided to give it a whirl.

“Other people can knit. A lot of people can knit. I could knit if I tried if all those people can knit.”

That night, I sat on my bed and practiced casting on for about a half hour. The booklet taught me nothing.

Youtube saved me.

I spent the next two hours knitting. Upon closer inspection, I realized that it didn’t look right, so I undid all of my work and started again.

It took me about a week to finish my first mini, ugly, unusable scarf (can we even call that thing a scarf?).

I learned how to knit, though.

Since then, I’ve made nine scarves (not counting that terrible first try) and a Christmas Cape for Mogli.

I’m going to make three scarves this week as Christmas gifts, and then I’m going to start working on running headbands. I’d like to open an Easy store by the end of Q215 with customizable sizes and colors.

Aside from learning how to knit, I learned some lessons, too—especially in the beginning.

  1. Stay patient. When I first started out, I wanted to give up many times. I put the needles down and took a deep breath. Then I’d remember myself standing in Michael’s. I felt many pangs in my chest that first night, a lot of anger, but I got the hang of it. My first scarf (thing) was a disaster. I began working on my next scarf, and I had high hopes. I fought off the nagging feeling that I was going to screw it up, and I was patient. I made a lot of mistakes, and I had to undo a lot of rows to make it perfect. In the beginning, all the knitting looked boring. Then, I began the knitting and purling. I watched yarn become something. I watched my hands create a pattern. Once the first thirty rows were done (1/4 of the scarf/shawl), I marveled at my work. How did I do this? Was I going to really knit scarves?! I was excited. My patience wore thin often; I wanted the scarf to be done, already. I wanted to show off my great work.  I apply patience like this: I have experiences that I’ve turned into stories. When I wrote Love, Ava, it was written all over the place. I jumped from the beginning to the middle, to different countries, to different people. When I put it all together, it blended. I didn’t see it happening, but it did. On my trip to Colorado this year, I wrote 30 pages of my new novel. Again, I wrote all over the place. I started at the beginning. Then I jumped around, because that’s how my life is. I remember things at inopportune times. I have to get things out of my system. Patience. I won’t write this novel as quickly, because I’m busy knitting, but believe me, this might be my favorite story to date. Patience.
  2. Time Management. Unless you’re an expert knitter, you’re not cranking out a scarf an hour. I can do an infinity scarf in about four hours and a full size shawl/scarf in about eight. I love to write. I love to read. I love checking tumblr for quotes. I love to run. I love to eat. I have a full-time job, and I go to bed every night at 11. I have to sacrifice things to do what I want to do. If I have to make three scarves for Christmas, I have a lot of time to work with, but if I want to make someone a scarf for Friday, I have to manage my time. There is a quote that says something like “getting what you want isn’t hard. Figuring out what you’re willing to give up to get it is hard.” You can have whatever you want in the world. I truly believe that (outside of people and tangible items that belong to other people—but even those may be bought). I can write a novel by the end of January if I want to. I would quit knitting for the time being, and I’d spend every night after work writing. I could do it. Do I want to knit instead? Do I want to catch up on Grey’s Anatomy while knitting? How important is it that I finish this novel? (It’s actually extremely important. I want this idea out of my head and gone for good.) Time management. You choose what’s important in your life.
  3. Creativity is everywhere. Yes, I do a lot of creative things, and let’s be honest, I’m more than happy with the creative bone in my body. I’m not a good artist, I can’t paint to save my life. I’m no poet, and I lack the ability to be fluid in any serious form of dancing. I can be awkward to the point of tears, but I’m flippin’ creative where it matters (to me). Knitting is creative. I’m creating things! Tangible things! Not only books that people can relate to (some people), not songs that people find funny and relatable (oh, September song, thanks for existing). I’m making something you can wear! When I wrap my white infinity scarf around my neck, I feel warmer knowing I made this. I spent hours working on it.
  4. Not getting what you want can be a wonderful stroke of luck. I’ve tried to do certain things with yarn that just won’t happen. It’ll come undone, or it won’t be the way I’ve envisioned it. I wanted to make Mogli a sweater. I looked at the directions for measuring him. I had to measure the rows, I had to do a lot. It was more than I wanted to do. I know there are some things I’m incapable of. I could’ve followed the directions, but it wouldn’t have been the correct length. At the end of it, I would’ve been annoyed about wasting my time. I know myself enough. So, I decided to stop the knitting and tie it. It’s a cape, and let me tell you, he looks fancier than your dog. Yeah. I didn’t expect to make him a cape, but I did. I’ve wanted a LOT of things in my life. I’ve even thought that I needed a couple (wow, yeah, let’s not go there). At the time, I thought I was being punished, but in time, I discovered it was a blessing. Sometimes it’s taken me years to understand things, but I’ve understood them. I’m more than at peace with them—I’ve forgotten them. They taught me things, and that’s what’s important. Even now, as I sit here, I think of the things that I still can’t attain, and I have to believe (I do believe) there’s a good reason for why I don’t have certain things. It will take time, but I’ll look back someday and go, “dodged that bullet.”
  5. Move on. You can’t dwell on things. Can I go back to my first scarf, unravel it and start again? Sure, and I’d probably make something nicer, too. I’m not going to do it, though. It taught me a lot. I poured my heart into that. I worked harder on that piece than I have on all of my scarves. That was the piece that decided whether or not I would continue to knit. Likewise, I can list things in my life that I could dwell on, but it wouldn’t change anything. I’m where I am, because of all of the things in my life. Truthfully, I’m not always happy with where I am, but I’m here, and I’m bettering myself every day. My goal isn’t to be better than anyone else, it’s to be better than the person I was yesterday. I’ll knit a new scarf. I’ll turn the page. I’ll start a new chapter. I can’t spend my life looking back longingly for something to change.
  6. Don’t rush anything. In knitting, you can sometimes get ahead of yourself and yank on the yarn too soon. You can miss a stitch. If you’re not careful, your work can unravel right before you, and there’s not much you can do, except start over. I read a quote about rushing things. It said you shouldn’t yank on a thread before it’s ready to go, because you’ll unravel everything. I read it over the summer, and I loved it. I thought I understood it, and maybe I did, but I genuinely understand it now. I apply this to my life often. There are times when I want to scream (and I never scream. I don’t think I’m capable of really raising my voice) with impatience, “why me?! Why cant this flippin’ work out for once in my life! WHY” I’ve done it before, too. With the right people (thank God), they’ve just looked at me and told me what I needed to hear, “it’s just not the time.” This has applied to me in more ways than I care to admit.

So, I’m glad I learned how to knit. If I can knit, you can knit, and if you have any inclination to do so, you should. You can do it while watching television (some animal shows on netflix are also my fav [in addition to GA]).

Anyway, I’m an unfinished sweater, and I have an incredibly long way to go.

Trust Timing

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In grade five, I moved for the first time. My best friend and I cried. We exchanged addresses and promised to write. We exchanged numbers and promised to call.

I spoke to her once since then. Years later (2007), I looked her up on facebook and we caught up. We never went back to being best friends. I check in on her life through photos, but we lack the desire to stay in touch.

When I was in grade nine, I had another best friend. We immediately clicked. We disliked everyone, watched the same reruns, and had similar goals.

Within two years, she made different friends, and I don’t really remember specifics. I was probably unhappy sharing my best friend, and we stopped speaking. I deleted her from social media, because I burn my bridges like a job.

Anyway, I’ve since seen her at my previous job, but I’ve changed and I treated her like any other customer: with a smile. I conveniently covered my name tag just in case she recognized me. I had (have) zero desire to rekindle a friendship.

These are examples of the first times I felt loss. I felt disconnected. I only tried to keep in touch with my neighbor, but even that proved futile. Sometimes you realize you’re only friends with people because you see them every day.

Since then, I’ve had many people enter and leave my life—more than I care to count.

Few people have ever stung when they left, though. I can count them on one hand (and a plethora of wasted wishes).

My struggle has always been with fate—with timing.

My pastor said that hindsight is 20/20. You can’t see what you’re learning until you’re past it. Sometimes not until you’re way past it.

There’s only been one friend that I ever missed. I’ll never forget how angry I felt when the friendship imploded. “We were supposed to be friends forever.”

How childish, right?

Long story short, she’s in my life now, and I’m thankful.

All of my friendships have been replaced by different people. I wrote about this concept before, and everyone that meant something to me then (save for one) is still in my life.

I have a small addition to my list, but they are deeply respected, and I’m thankful for them.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I shouldn’t focus so hard on things I can’t control. I can’t control what mistakes someone else will make. I can’t control whether someone will decide to enter or leave my life.

I grip so hard when I care. It’s taken me so long to figure out what I want, so when I feel like something is jeopardizing that, I grip harder.

There’s this quote I read, though (I love words), and it said something about the harder you hold on to something, the quicker it slips through your hands—like sand.

For example, my loving dog loves me. Mogli loves wrapping himself around me. He loves curling up at my neck. He loves falling asleep in my arms or across my stomach.

He loves doing it of his own accord.

There are times when I just want to hug him, though. I pull him closer, and he pulls away. No matter how hard I try, he doesn’t want to be held.

Similarly, I can’t hold on to something that doesn’t want to be held. I learned this over ten years ago.

My point is: the things that are meant to be in my life will find a way.

I should trust the timing of my life.

There’s almost a guarantee that what I currently want, I’ll never have. There’s also a guarantee that what I’ll someday have will be infinitely better for me than anything I can fathom now (provided I keep working hard).

While a part of me laments over the things I can’t have, another part of me rejoices.

The people I’ve replaced so far—people I thought (at the time) were okay people (yes, not great, just good enough) were replaced by amazing people.

I could list the people who matter to me most and they would knock anyone pre 2009 out of the park (save for one I met in 04—she’s in the list). The people pre 2009 don’t even exist anymore.

I may not always trust why things happen, but I do trust the timing of my life. I trust karma. I trust the universe. I trust God.

And I trust people.

I think you get what you put in, and it’s not right away, and it’s not always from the person you do it for, but you get back what you put in tenfold.

I just hope everyone realizes this, and lives their lives accordingly.

I would hate to hear bad news about someone that once mattered because of poor character or choices.

Say It, Just Say It

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If you don’t ask for it, the answer will always be no.

If you don’t speak up, you won’t be heard.

If you can’t convey what you want, you’ll never get it.

Most of my life, I was very quiet about my wants, my needs, and in general.

I’m pretty quiet in general, but I’m not quiet about my comfort zone anymore.

Drunk people make me uncomfortable. The dating scene makes me uncomfortable. Pseudo formalities make me uncomfortable.

Business suits make me extremely uncomfortable.

I don’t like to be around people who aren’t in control of their words, emotions, or selves. I don’t like watching girls pretend to be interested in each other’s stories while they’re scoping the guys nearby. I don’t like small talk with anyone.

I hate the feeling I get when I put on a business suit (whether that’s a dress or a suit jacket).

Because of this, you will never catch me uncomfortable because I don’t drink and I don’t hang around people who drink. I usually leave any place where the dating scene feels a bit too Discovery Channel for me. I answer a small talk question, but I no longer reciprocate to diffuse the awkwardness; I am content in silence.

I’m donating all of my suits.

I have been uncomfortable in my life, and it wasn’t until this year (I know, how sad), that I decided to put my foot down.

Here’s how and why:

I give everyone a fair chance (sometimes more than they deserve, but I have a hard time grasping that some people are no-good people. How can that be? Wouldn’t you want to change? What is wrong with you? Please see a therapist or something. What the heck.) I know you’re not supposed to expect anything, but I expect the same in return.

Treat others as you would like to be treated. Is this a selfish thing or is it considerate? When I was seventeen, I thought it was selfish, and maybe then it was.

It’s not selfish anymore. If it was a selfish thing, believe me, I wouldn’t be considerate anymore. Not to get all “woe is me,” but if I had a penny for every time I gave considerable thought (and action) to inconsiderate people—I would probably have $924,238.

That’s a lot.

So, I’ve always been considerate, but I’ve never really voiced my desires or my needs.

Growing up, I was always passive-aggressive.

This year, I quit that act. Did I get anything with passive-aggression? Sure, but it took a heck of a lot longer, and I was pretty miserable. The trouble with me is my sensitivity. I take things personally (I know, nothing is personal—I get it, in theory).

So, this year, I opened my mouth, because I had nothing to lose. I was the most vocal I have ever been in my life. I thought fireworks would go off. I thought the moon would come down and shake my hand. I was well-versed. I was calm. I was collected. I was concise. I expected big things to happen. I expected good things to happen.

Nothing happened.

Nothing.

Here’s the thing: nothing happening is something happening (I know, but please stick with me). If I had been full of thoughts, full of ideas—I’d have never gotten nothing. I would have been sitting in something that meant nothing. I would be clueless.

You can’t get what you want if you don’t vocalize it.

Ever.

No one can read your mind. Even if they could read your mind (huge assumption), they could feign ignorance. Unless you say “I want this” or “I don’t want that,” you will never get anything.

The beauty of vocalization is that it doesn’t have to be in the form of a question. No one likes the black and white as much as I do, but questions don’t have to be asked. Sometimes, you just have to tell someone how you feel about something.

You can’t expect (and you shouldn’t) someone to do something FOR you or BECAUSE of you. I say this, because I wouldn’t want someone to expect anything of me. If I give you something, it’s of my own freewill (or perhaps I was held at gunpoint, but that’s doubtful).

This is where comfort and consideration come into play.

Sometimes, (and I wish I could say ALL THE TIMES EVER) people are incredibly receptive and responsive to your feelings. Other times (a couple more than I care to relive), people aren’t responsive.

Now, whether it’s because they don’t care (they probably don’t, sorry), or because they genuinely are clueless (I don’t believe this one exists), I can’t tell you.

It also doesn’t matter which one.

If after vocalization, your comfort zone isn’t where you feel it should be—you have your answer.

It’s probably not the answer you wanted, and you can beat the horse to death (it’s dead, though—trust me, it’s dead. I can go ask Florence, but I assure you–it’s dead, and I’m so sorry. I can make you a bangin’ playlist if you’d like, though), or you can move on.

This is in respects to many aspects of life.

To list a few:
-asking for a raise, vocalizing your worth
-respect in friendships
-boundaries with certain people
-significant others (or not so significant [whatever the case may be])
-situations with coworkers
-anything ever (because your comfort zone surrounds you)

What you choose to do with your responses (or lack thereof) is solely up to you. I’m one of those people who hates regrets. My life is too long to stay up at night and wonder “what if” about anything.

Anything.

If I have a question about something, I take my time, but once I’m concrete on my feelings (this can take a few…days, weeks—months), you can’t shake me. I don’t like the gray area. I don’t want to wonder about something, when I could just know for a fact.

Of course, people can also lie straight to your face about things (people, you are such a glorious thing—truly, I love you), but that’s another story for another time.

I can make up a thousand reasons for why things are the way they are, but I’ll probably miss the truth. So, unless you vocalize something, you’re never going to know.

Finally, if it isn’t addressed, go to where it is addressed. It may be a lonely existence occasionally (I took up knitting on a whim, and I’m super happy that I did), but you won’t make yourself uncomfortable. You should love you. You should work at that. Be the best you that you can be.

If you feel uncomfortable–that feeling in your gut–cut your losses. I say vocalize things, but you can’t beat a dead horse. See, once I learned to vocalize, I wanted to learn why my issues weren’t met head on. I’m the kind of person that needs answers, though, and this is also something I’ve learned is moot. If you “need an answer,” it’s nothing good.

Trust me.

If it was good, you wouldn’t be in this predicament.

I’m still learning this, and yes, many of my realizations aren’t as pleasant as I thought they’d be, but they’re reality. I can live in a world of my own making, but why give people credit for things they’re incapable of (they’re capable but unwilling)? I’m still new to this, but I will say that it’s refreshing to see things as they are and not how I’d like them to be (I write novels, because people are never as good as I think they should be).

It isn’t a competition, either. I’m not saying I’ve always been the most receptive person (sometimes, I’ve intentionally been the opposite).

I feel like this is vague, but I’ll make it less vague with this:

“Say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

**and those who don’t mind-—hang on to them, because they are hard to find. That’s something I know for sure.

In Case You Need Some Love (song) Help

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I love mix CDs. Before I had my first iPod, I constantly made mix CDs. From the moment I got my license, I listened to my own brand of music. Unfortunately, my first car had a tape deck, and it was haunted by demons, so if you were lucky enough to ride around with me (you know who you are ;) ) you heard the crazy sounds my tapes made.

I’ve since upgraded and discovered the wonders of bluetooth (believe it or not, I’ve had this car since 2008 and only last fall did I realize what bluetooth was), yeah. I know. Tech savvy me.

Before the iPod (2010 birthday), I made mix CDs galore.

Galore.

I’ve made maybe 20 mix CDs since then, and most of them weren’t for me, but I did make playlists for myself. Tons of playlists.

Running playlists (I’ve had about 10 of those, but now I have my ultimate one)
Dancing playlists
Rap playlists (mostly for running—don’t judge, some decent rap artists that don’t talk about getting laid)
Break up playlists
Moving on playlists (these have helped a lot of my friends, and yes, I’m quite happy to make them happier)
Love songs
80’s songs
Writing playlists
Bad day playlists
Great day playlists

You get the idea!

This year, I started making playlists based on the month. At the end of the year, I’ll consolidate them into one 2014 playlist. I still make playlists based on emotion (Clear Your Head is my absolute favorite playlist I’ve ever created, and maybe I’ll share it but it’s mine mehhhh!), but only when a song jumps out and grabs my heart strings.

SO, I am incredibly smitten with this playlist I’ve been compiling since August, and I figured I’d share it.

The playlist is titled Pepsi, because of this funny meme someone sent me.

If you are taken with someone, and you’d like to let them know, but aren’t exactly the greatest at expressing your feelings, then you could make them a mix CD with these songs.

This is also provided that they share your (my) taste in music. These are all upbeat and convey how you (I) feel.

My stash of personal love songs (that abate a really loving, sweet feeling will not be shared, though. They’re slow and meaningful. I’m selfish on that playlist and it’ll only be shared when necessary—sorry!).

PEPSI

1. Saint Motel – Cold Cold Man: This is pretty self explanatory, and from the moment I heard this, I thought, “wow, this is me. I could’ve written this.” This is the sweetest, upbeat love song I have ever heard, and perhaps one of my favorites.
2. Saint Pepsi – Fiona Coyne: “I love you til the record stops.” Let’s hope the record never stops.
3. Crystal Fighters – Love Natural: This is what everyone wants, and if you don’t, well, something’s not quite right with ya.
4. Train – Wonder What You’re Doing For The Rest Of Your Life: Listen to me, Train comes out with a crazy good song every now and then. I was so so so so so so smitten with Hey, Soul Sister several years ago, because it meant a lot to me. When I first heard this song last month, I fell in love with it. I think I had this on repeat 30 times. Yes, I repeat stuff, because I have no limit. What’s that saying “tis better to be furious than uninvolved.” I live my life like that.
5. Miniature Tigers – Sex on the Regular: So yeah, this one is a bit vulgar, which is why I haven’t actually put this on a mix for anyone. God forbid someone listened to the words, and you know, maybe they get offended. But then, do you really want to be with someone like that? Ah, musings for another day.
6. The Preatures – Is This How You Feel?: I love her voice, and my favorite part is, “I’ve been walking in suburbia just looking for yaaa, baabby.” Yes, we all know that feeling, when someone seemingly drops out of the sky and you didn’t realize they were even missing from your life. Yeah, this song has hit the spot from the moment I heard it.
7. The Mowgli’s – Say it, Just Say it: This is kind of like the previous song, but it kind of has a negative connotation. This song means a lot to me. What can I say, I’m a sucker for some negativity in the positive.
8. Mat Kearney – Hey Mama: For your soul mate. No drama.
9. Klingande – Jubel: This is my all-time favorite song, and if someone didn’t know that, and put it on a mix for me, I’d probably cry of sheer surprise and happiness (in private later, but it’d mean a lot). I don’t think this is a love song, but for me, it encapsulates that feeling of utmost love and compassion you get in your chest for someone. It’s rare, but this song elicits it always. Maybe the receiver of this playlist will love it and fall all over themselves for you. I sure would.
10. The Lumineers – Ho Hey: Is this too serious? Is it overplayed? I’ve heard this over 100 times, and it will always hold a special place in my heart. Maybe it’s not upbeat enough, so shoot me.
11. Hot Chocolate – You Sexy Thing: This is for comic relief—in case you spooked your lover with the lovely songs. Hopefully they laugh and don’t get a restraining order against you.

Enjoy. 😘

Sriracha Taquitos — MM!

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Who doesn’t like Taquitos?

Back in the day, if it was frozen, I’d heat it up, and eat it.

I can’t tell you why I’ve stopped eating frozen food or junk food, except that most of the time, I feel sluggish. Whenever I eat out (literally, any time I do), I feel sluggish for the rest of the day. It’s not that I feel fat, it’s not that I feel guilty—I feel tired. I don’t eat more than one serving (I’m the first person to bring home leftovers and actually eat them the next day), but I never feel great.

Whenever I cook, I always feel great. I’m sure the reason is somewhere between no preservatives and my labor of love.

One of my best friends is Pinterest. I finally hopped on the bandwagon this year, and it’s one of my favorite pastimes. From picking out my perfect home to crafts for friends to cooking, this is the best site ever (well, it’s tied with Last.fm for obvious reasons).

So, I found a recipe for Buffalo Chicken Taquitos, but (as usual), I decided to tweak it.

I love the spicy mayo sauce they make for sushi, and my friend Stef recently showed me a recipe for it (via Pinterest!). I decided, hey, why not try that instead?

Why not, indeed.

Ingredients:

4 ounces fat free cream cheese, softened
2-3 tablespoons of light mayo with olive oil (you could use any variation, though)
eyeball some srirachea
1 cup any cheese (I had Mexican on hand)
1 can (12.5 ounce) Swanson Premium Chunk Chicken Breast in water, drained
8 8-inch flour tortillas

Directions:

  1. Preheat the over to 350
  2. In a bowl, mix cream cheese, cheese, chicken, and mayo.
  3. Add sriracha as you’d like. For instance, if you prefer spicier, then add more. Taste it as you go along, because it might be too spicy. I managed to make mine exactly as spicy as I liked it (aka: not terribly spicy)
  4. Place 2-3 tablespoons of the mixture in the center of a tortilla, roll it up.
  5. Place in baking pan.
  6. Continue. I had about nine.
  7. Bake for 17 minutes.

Ta-da!

IMG_0387

I’m taking two to work for lunch this week, but these seem like an easy snack when you get done work or just an anytime snack.

In case you wanted the original:
http://www.tasteandtellblog.com/baked-buffalo-chicken-taquitos/

Always follow your heart

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“What if?”

Those words will kill you over time.

They’ll slowly turn into “could’ve, would’ve and should’ve.”

When I was a youngin’, I hated the idea of not knowing something. It never sufficed to be merely told an answer. I had to go there to know there.

This got me into a lot of trouble and, as a result, I was grounded a lot. In the same breath, though, I learned a lot, too.

Regret was not a word I wanted in my vocabulary even as a child. Granted, I didn’t understand the word regret, but the concept was all too familiar to me.

You get one opportunity in your life, maybe two, but two tops. If you don’t take the shot, the answer will always be no. You will wonder, “what could’ve happened?” and you’ll never know.

I can’t live with what ifs. I can’t live with, “could’ve.”

I have many pet peeves, but my biggest pet peeve is “should’ve.”

When someone tells me they “should’ve” done something, I get aggravated. Are you unable to take the shot now? If you aren’t, then you should do it now. Don’t waste another minute in turmoil—just do it! If you can’t do it, then take it as a lesson and do everything you have to do when you get the opportunity.

How can you live any other way?

If you follow your heart/gut/feelings, you’re bound to live a good life. You will get hurt, you will be disappointed, but you won’t have regrets. You’ll always know. Trust me when I say I’ve been disappointed, I’ve been hurt, but I could die tomorrow and I’d have no serious regrets. Sure, do I regret maybe giving people too many chances, or do I regret staying in a certain job too long, yes. That doesn’t keep me up at night. What would keep me up at night is wondering if I let someone go without making an effort.

This isn’t exclusively about The One That Got Away (though, no one can get away if you live the way I do, because then they weren’t The One).

No, this extends to everything in your life.

If you’ve always wanted to be a doctor, then get your butt in school and be a doctor. Who is stopping you? Okay, financial issues? Go back home. Live with your parents, explain it to them, take out the loan, and do what you have to do.

For me, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I wanted to write books on top of books. I’ve written two full-length pieces. Sometimes I act like it’s not a big deal, “anyone can do it.”

Maybe anyone can, but not anyone does. I have a lot of determination. I’m dedicated to one task, and I get the job done. I start a lot of projects, but when my heart is in something, I get it done. It’s all I think about. When I wrote Love, Ava, I thought about it every day. Every run was plagued with thoughts of her journey. Everything I did inspired me to finish that novel. So, yes, most days I act like it’s nothing, but occasionally, I pat myself on the back (in private) for staying the course.

My next novel isn’t as inspired, but I’m a few chapters in, and I will finish it.

When people tell me they don’t have a passion or they don’t have a goal, I don’t really understand it. I’m driven to express my imagination. Whether anyone likes it or not isn’t really my concern (though, it’d be nice to be a best seller someday LAWL!). I write, because there are ideas that need to come out. I’m inspired every day to write something. Most times it’s just a short story, but that’s something.

I can’t say how anyone else should live their life, but I will anyway.

Follow your heart. I think if you always go with your heart, it will never steer you in the wrong direction. Like I said, you’ll be disappointed, things won’t go your way, but nothing good comes easy.

People will judge what you do regardless, so do what you want and forget anyone else. They don’t pay your bills, they don’t help you sleep at night.

Don’t turn 30 with a regret. Don’t turn 26 with a regret. Don’t turn any age and wonder “what if I had just…”

Just do it.

One (serious) thing to note: some people will envy you for your gusto. Some people will have a hard time swallowing the fact that you know who you are, what you want, and how to live. For whatever reason, they don’t know what they want, they don’t subscribe to the way you live (following their own heart), and they’ll feel inferior to you or insecure (sounds crazy, but you’ll see).

I haven’t met all of these people, but the few I knew were confusing and an important part of my life (at first, anyway). In the beginning, they’ll find you interesting—people are attracted to something different, but after a while, they’ll start to feel insecure around you.

Again, some people don’t trust their own heart or their own feelings. I don’t understand it, but they’re insecure around someone who knows what they want, and someone who has no qualms going into battle for it.

It’s a weird feeling. It’s not all of a sudden, but you’ll slowly start to feel judged. For instance, when you talk about an accomplishment, or how you’re going to tackle the next obstacle in your course, they’ll seem irritated or disinterested.

Eventually, they’ll say something rude, and that’s when you’ll be shocked. “Excuse me?”

That’s what I’ve said. Then you’ll want to defend yourself, but don’t bother.

But no, the good in you will want to understand where their insult came from. You’ll wonder why anyone would insult you over doing what you want, being able to, and knowing all that you’re capable of. It’s not like you’re shouting from rooftops, you’re just being open with someone important to you.

One day, though, it’ll dawn on you. It’ll hit you like a sack of bricks off the Empire State Building.

Insecurity.

If I could change one thing, I’d have said, “I’m sorry that you’re insecure and have no ambition. Don’t take your self-pity and self-loathing out on me.” Then I would’ve disappeared.

These people don’t have anything going for themselves and find you threatening. God forbid you excel at something you want in your life—you’re passionate about—while they wither away in their small town and do nothing with their lives.

This has happened to me a few times.

Word of advice: you’ll never forget these people, but you will use them as motivation (as if you need any heh). Let their negativity, their insecurity, their unaccomplished weak hearts be the fuel to your fire.

Don’t let their what ifs, their should’ves, make you doubt yourself or your goals.

Believe me: if you’re anything like me, these people will temporarily shock you (just their stupidity), but you will bounce back higher than before.

You will feel alone at times. You may doubt yourself occasionally. You will wonder if maybe you should just quit, because what’s the point.

Your happiness. Always do what makes you happy. Forget anyone else. Your career, your dreams, your goals, they won’t wake up one morning and say, “I found someone I like better than you” or “I don’t love you.”

Your life will be there for you, because you make it what you want.

Here’s a quote that resonates with me more than any other. I found it when I was fourteen, and I’ve carried it in my wallet for the last 12 years.

“Those who have spontaneous feelings can only be themselves. They have no other choice if they want to remain true to themselves. Rejection, ostracism, loss of love, and name calling will not fail to affect them, but once they have found their authentic self, they will not want to lose it. And when they sense that something is being demanded of them to which their whole being says no, they cannot do it. They simply cannot.” – Alice Miller

Always follow your heart.

You’ll make it, and you’ll make it well.

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