Happy Anniversary to You, Los Angeles, with Hard Earned Love, Me

Recently October 1st to be exact, was my anniversary of moving to Los Angeles. 8 years, all of the 8 years found within my twenties. In which case you could call these “formidable” years. I grew up in a small town and then grew up again in a huge metropolitan city. Ironically I spent my anniversary with Los Angeles in my hometown of Niagara Falls; and while I reflected on the days leading up to moving,(in all thanks to that friendly Facebook Memories feature) and what has happened since I moved for good, I began to figure out whom I’ve become from memory, circling back to where it began.

I was 20 years old when I moved to Los Angeles from Niagara Falls, New York. In hindsight it was an impulsive move. Not very enthused to attend the local junior college, when my two years were up at Niagara County Community College I jumped at the chance to escape and to be somewhere, anywhere, other than there. This rush impulsion was the first step into me trying to be someone I am not. I applied to The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Downtown Los Angeles and wanted to do my very best Lauren Conrad impression of life. I mean fashion school,really? I literally wore sweatpants and a ponytail everywhere I went and suddenly I found myself surrounded by rich blonde girls who wore 4 inch heels to pump gas. I was way out of my league, I was way out of myself. But I was determined to finish and figure it out, I was determined to make it work. I graduated from FIDM with a school made friend, a boyfriend and an internship at Nordstrom so maybe I could make it work.

I began working at Nordstrom and felt very comfortable there, I was a sales girl working off commission and with years upon eons of retail experience fit directly into the flow. Of course there were many things that I had to get used too, like moms spending thousands of dollars for their preschooler to go back to school. But these were just examples of the differences between where I grew up and where I was.

After a year or so working at Nordstrom I was promoted to Assistant Dept. Manager, I also moved into an apartment with the friend I had made at school and my boyfriend. I would like to label this the “dramatic years”, and lets be honest I was 22 and everything was dramatic, but really I was perfectly placed within my role as a 22 year old. I was recently graduated and trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to do while being stubborn enough to continue on. I struggled with the fact that my roommate was younger than I was and still wanted to party while I had to wake up at 7 am to get to work for an 8 hour shift. My boyfriend and I were continuously learning about each other while simultaneously learning about ourselves. But within that year while I was trying so hard to continue this facade of being someone I wasn’t, I finally started to see myself as who I was.

A little after I had been promoted Eric and I moved into our own apartment. It was our first apartment. We had nothing but a saucepan and $20, that we had to pay back. We spent our first Christmas in that apartment with a tree and lights to compensate for the lack of furniture and food, but we continued working and continued to build our little home with each other. It was around this time, while I was an Assistant at Nordstrom that my depression started to seep into every aspect of my life. My managers at work were constantly reminding me that I was and never would fit into the fashion world here in Los Angeles, and my lack of funds constantly reminded me what living paycheck to paycheck felt like. I no longer felt strong, I no longer felt empowered or ambitious. I felt like I was on autopilot going through the motions with no emotion attached to anything. I tried latching on to Eric for support but there was only so much support he could give me. I had gotten lost in this dream that was my life in Los Angeles and I had forgotten who I wanted to become. I look back on my years at Norstrom now and tell myself that if I was who I am now it never would have gotten that far, it never would have affected me that much. But then again don’t we all say that? Aren’t we all stronger retrospectively?

After 3 years of trying to fit into the world of Fashion I had had enough. I was done, I was over it and I was ready to figure it all out again. I was ready to be different, I was ready to figure out who the fuck I actually wanted to be. To do that though, I needed some time and because time isn’t cheap I needed money. I got a job at a restaurant and applied to the local community college. If my time in Los Angeles had a theme song it would be irony playing constantly in the background of every decision I made. It was however during this time working at a restaurant that I started to actually like the people around me. I found my coworkers to be relatable and as genuine as a bunch of non working actors in Los Angeles could be. And for once since moving to L.A. I was not only good at my job, but recognized as such. I could be myself while paying my bills and show my personality.

School on the other hand was a totally different experience, and I wanted it to be. I had such a rushed and negative perception of my first go at college that I really wanted to be involved during this second chance. Although I was excited about this new start, the universe still wanted to remind me that nothing I ever did was easy. At the end of my first semester at Santa Monica College I learned that none of the classes I had taken back at Niagara County would transfer and that my new college experience would be a full four years. When I learned this I sat in the counselor’s office and cried. Why exactly was I doing this to myself all over again? What the fuck was I thinking that this would be a good idea? Or that it would be different for that matter? That everything would just work because I had a shitty college experience as well as a shitty post college experience so the universe owed me a better one. The universe owed me nothing. Mostly because I expected it to owe me something and I wasn’t willing to change my attitude/energy. So I made the decision that if I wanted a better outcome from the universe I had to change my relationship with my own energy. I also had to figure out how to defeat my depression. I started going to yoga to figure out exactly what I needed to change. Yoga transitioned into a constant practice through the changing of jobs, seasons, and transferring to a major university. My first major, four year university; and just like my headstand pose, my energy slowing started to change and take shape.

Once I began my first semester at Cal State Northridge the desire to become immersed in the full college experience was back in full force. I wanted to join clubs, get straight As, sit in the front. There was nothing stopping me now. Not everything was an obstacle it seemed, or if I did meet an obstacle I was just better at adapting and adjusting; and that in itself was an accomplishment. My school spirit however last about two weeks. Although I did get straight As and sit in the front, I did not join any clubs. I did however privately worry about the future of America. College kids annoyed me to no end. If anything watching various younger versions of myself and my friends walk around campus wearing slippers, not doing basic homework tasks and complaining that life is too hard made me only want to figure out my own life even more. Even though I was only 26 while attending CSUN I felt old as hell, I now know what my parents feel like when they say “back when I was kid” and that is sad. As my two years at CSUN came to a close I wanted to be over but to never end. I found a great love for school, and maybe it was that I was finally engaged in a subject matter that never felt like school work or maybe it was because during this time I had finally embraced my introverted, nerdy self. I wasn’t constantly worrying about fitting in with the blondes and their high heels, I wasn’t worried about making friends or going to clubs on the weekends. I was happy to be at home writing papers. And while everyone around me thought that I was a little weird for liking a 10 page term paper on Friday night, I for the first time was fine with the fact that I didn’t care what they thought. I was finally becoming who I wanted to be, I was finally comfortable with what I was doing. And I really enjoyed not giving a shit.

And now here I am, post college grad and still waiting tables. But that is okay, because I am okay with where I am and what I’ve done so far. I’m not trying to be anything other than what I want and what I want takes time, it takes energy. Headstand is a level three pose and I am okay with working through level two. Eric and I still live in our apartment that we both grew up in, and maybe it’s because we are not done growing up.

Coming back to my hometown is always a great break from life in La La Land, but La La Land has made me who I am just as much as Niagara Falls has and who knows I may not stay with Los Angeles forever and that’s okay but after everything that Los Angeles has taught me, I can’t wait to see where else I have in store for myself.

Monday Night Countdown Hillary v. Trump

All day on ESPN sports journalists spoke of the 10 year anniversary of the New Orleans Saints city lifting game that some attribute to the beginning of the city of New Orleans’ rebirth. It was a rehashing of terrible memories and the building that stood in the middle of everything and is continuing to stand today. Also today all over CNN was the impending first Presidential Debate. This historic debate places the first woman candidate against a man who is a first time politician. So in accordance of being a good citizen I scheduled my workout early and ordered Chinese take out in preparation to watch The New Orleans Saints battle the Atlanta Falcons while simultaneously watching Hillary Clinton battle Donald Trump.

So with the anticipation mounting as I watched Monday Night Football on my muted television and the CNN coverage with the volume full blast. I would also like to disclose that I didn’t really have a drinking game planned out, as I am not a big drinker, but I did finish off a pan of Brownie Cookie bars that I had made over the weekend when things during the debate got intense. To kick things off Debate Commission members Frank Fahrenkopf & Mike McCurry came out to address the audience. Mr. Fahrenkopf spoke to the audience like a frazzled mother speaks to her anxious five year old upon getting reading to enter the grocery store. He explained the format of the debate and how the timing, moderating and questions will be presented in such a way that you could almost hear him saying, “Please goddammit just behave yourself for five minutes!”. Then Mr. McCurry had his turn to address the home viewers and take the time to explain social media to the older generation watching from their sofas. Since the debate was lacking in entertainment value, while what was presumed to be mundane beginning action with what was promised to be an exciting debate I focused my attention and gave myself a football update.

The The Orleans Saint open the doors and score a touchdown, Atlanta fights back and forces a fumble NO-7 ATL-0.Commentating continues as the CNN countdown clock ticks away at the minutes leading up to the face-off.Atlanta scores a touchdown, tie game NO-7 ATL-7.We start the debate with a tie game, leaving the only pressure to perform right out of the gate to Lester Holt.

You can cut the stress with a knife until Lester Holt comes out onto the stage and begs the previously mentioned five year old to play nice with him tonight.The candidates finally come out to the stage and give their opening statements:

Clinton: Love me I’m a grandma

Trump: I have a tally of everything we’ve lost and everything that was stolen from us. I have been keeping track.

Atlanta scores and takes the lead as Lester Holt gives his first press to Donald Trump.

Lester Holt: Yea but what would you do specifically?

Trump:Politicians are terrible.

Holt:Yea but what would you do?

Trump:Let me be a politician.

New Orleans battles to make it a tie game once more but fail to gain any ground or put any points on the board.

Hillary Clinton reminds people watching to go on her website and have a live fact check in real time during the debate.

Trump:Mine too.

Lester Holt has to now gain control of what is happening because the five year old is starting to act up halfway through the aisle that is significantly colder than the rest of the aisle in the grocery store. The candidates get into a heated argument regarding climate change where Donald Trump appears to becoming just as red as the pants suit Hillary Clinton is wearing.

New Orleans scores a touchdown and we have again, a tie game. Atlanta gains a clutch first down while a player for The Saints is down hurt on the field. Trumps gets a zinger off and the five year old gasps.

Trump continues his rhetoric of Politicians as bad…please let me be one.

Atlanta makes it down the field into the red zone as Lester Holt brings up the issues of tax returns.

Donald Trumps answers by going on a very well articulated tangent about how he is relatable to the working class American because he made 650 million dollars last year. He continues to fall down the rabbit hole with his answers. Saying it was a smart business move for evading paying federal taxes, circling his answers by avoiding giving specific policy agendas, instead focusing on how much the American economy and people have lost; what has been cheated of them and how it has been stolen out of their hard working hands.He continue to show his understanding of everyday American’s problems by saying that making 650 million in a year is not a lot and he knows money so let him take care of the money. Like an older brother scheming the five year old with what to buy in the candy aisle with the dollar their mother has given them. Trump creates the first mild tantrum from the five year old playing audience with a zinger about tax returns vs releasing emails.

Hillary Clinton again apologizes for the email micro-agression and pivots to make specific campaign plans on what she would do as the next president.

Atlanta scores a touchdown and takes the lead, the spirit is starting to wane from Saints fans. As the momentum builds on the Clinton side of the debate split screen, Trump continues to lose composure drinking so much water I’m almost positive he will have to pee before the debate is over. He also has a very interjecting sniffle thing. 

Trump: I’m not a business man I’m a business man.

Clinton: Let’s talk about your business and your inability to pay working employees and contractors.

Trump: The work was shitty so I didn’t pay.

Lester then moves on to the issue of race, something that was seen as an issue Donald had to work on. He lives up to that anticipation by shooting himself in the colored foot. Centering on more law enforcement, stop and frisk policies and taking out a demographic of “illegal gangs with guns” whomever those people may be. Hillary responds by dropping the systematic race card.

Atlanta scores another touchdown, New Orleans continues to battle but unravel. Trump continues to unravel with his responses.

Holt: Let’s talk about the birther issue

Trump: I say nothing but let me tell you….

Clinton: You built your political agenda on a crazy, racist issue.

Trump: But I got the birth certificate. You couldn’t do it and I did it nah.. nah.. nah. nahh.

Trump has a tantrum about his opinions regarding the Iraq war, Atlanta scores a touchdown. Trump continues to fall down the rabbit hole screaming at the top of his lungs “CALL SEAN HANNITY”. 

Hillary uses this Trump tantrum to have a likeable moment regarding her temperament and the five year old audience squeals in delight.

New Orleans continues to try and be the best it can be and scores a touchdown making the score ATL-35 NO-25.

Lester Holt tries one final attempt at gaining some control over the candidates  and a final outcome can be taken away from the debate once it is over.

Trump: We suck at everything we do.

Clinton: If I was a man, this wouldn’t even be a contest.

As the debate ends, New Orleans continues to battle in the second half. With the debate over I listen to Anderson Cooper and team to fact check the debate and we can all take bets on what clips Hillary & Co. will choose for television ads and online gifs for her Instagram.

It becomes very clear that Hillary Clinton was very prepared for the debate this evening. She basically Hermione Granger-ed it up there tonight.

“She’s the smartest in our year.”

Atlanta scores again, all but cementing their lead 45-25.

Our CNN crew have a slight moment down the rabbit hole as they argue the birther issue.

As New Orleans battles on and scores another touchdown, CNN takes 36 minutes after the debate to share that their democratic/ Hillary loving poll has come to the surprising conclusion that Hillary won the debate. As to not be outshown by the futile attempt by the New Orleans Saints who lost the to the Atlanta Falcons.

It is clear once everything is over that Red is the winning color of the evening.

 

**the featured image is taken from an article via The Wall Street Journal.

 

Adjust, Rinse, Repeat

When I went back to college I became fully immersed in the what I needed to do. I adjusted my time management, I worked my life around classes, homework, and working just enough to pay the bills and keep on pushing towards the goal of graduating and not being the oldest person in the classroom…I’m not even that old, I wasn’t even close to being the oldest person in every class… but that was my insecurity which calls for a different post, at a different time.

So fast forward four years and now I’m done. No more homework, no more classes, no required reading. Just me and Lola sitting on the couch reading trashy novels because I didn’t want to read anything that I had to think about really. I still went to work, but my job doesn’t start until nighttime so, with my body adjusted to waking up early I never slept in too late and filled my time with late morning yoga classes. But then what?

I knew that I had to get some kind of internship or new job. I wouldn’t let go of the job I have now because hey…that student loan grace period ends sooner then anyone ever thinks. But the beauty of my job is that it allows me to have free time to pursue other things, while at the same time having the comfort that it had provided while I was attending school. So the search for internships started and stopped soon after school was over. I started working at an internship for a Lifestyle Website soon after graduating. I promised two half days a week, which is pretty much a lazy, non existent commitment but I wanted to ease into it. The internship wasn’t far from my home and I didn’t really have to change anything about my current schedule to accommodate this addition. I hadn’t been  interning for very long, and I hate to admit but I gave a very minimal commitment. I just couldn’t get into it, instead of taking advantage of the opportunity I tuned out. I didn’t want to be bothered just yet. I was still in the mindset of ‘yay school is over! Let’s do nothing bur eat bon bons!’ I left that internship after less then a three month commitment. I used the excuse that I needed to find something more in the field that I wanted to have a career in, (which is editorial/ literary publishing) and that was pretty true, but I still could have stuck the internship out in hindsight.

And so me and Lola were back on the couch, watching trashy T.V. and reading trashy novels. Only this time I spent majority of the day looking up the very limited choices of editorial and literary publishing internships available in Los Angeles. After about a month of searching I found a great opportunity that I just couldn’t pass up on. There are really only three prominent literary presses in Los Angeles and I happened to snag an internship at one of them.It presented itself as a great opportunity, with many things to learn and many connections to be made. However, it completely fucked up my own personal daily schedule and lifestyle.

First of all it’s like a solid 45 minute commute, and who am I kidding this is L.A. and everything is a commute. It literally takes me 7 minutes to walk to the corner of my street because J-waking is a bitch of a ticket and the light takes that long to change. I also had to make a way better commitment than I had done with the previous internship. That wasn’t too much of an issue because I was very excited to start this opportunity and get started, no matter how long the commute was. So I found myself committing to three full days (9-5) in Pasadena in an office, in a cubicle, pretty much by myself.

It’s been two weeks since I’ve started and the adjustment I’ve had to make to my everyday daily life has been turned upside down. My household has never been a 9-5 type of household, I don’t believe it ever will. However, Eric and I have learned to never say never and to never underestimate the power of throwing a child into the mix or in our case a puppy or two. Everything had to be readjusted, grocery lists, cleaning schedules, and most importantly, my workouts. I suddenly find myself meal prepping on Sunday nights so I have lunch for my time at the office, I wake up early and put my coffee in a togo cup and commute my way to working for free. I get home late, I make some kind of dinner whether it is for myself or for when Eric gets home, maybe, take a shower and do it all over again.

This new routine isn’t something that I had been ready to do with the previous internship, nothing would come in the way of being at the yoga studio four days a week, nothing disrupted “me time” which was my lazy days on the couch. But in the end, everything was disrupted including the days I vacuumed my apartment. It took really two weeks to adjust, and I am still honestly adjusting, finding time to take Lola on walks and getting use to waking up early. This internship has posed more disruptions that I had anticipated but has also introduced much more opportunity than I had thought it would.

While readjusting my schedule I have also had to overcome the early onset anxiety of proving myself a worthy intern. And both of these concerns I have learned, have to be taken with a deep breath and inner confidence. Readjusting is never easy, and having confidence in your own abilities is something that comes from within, it must be taught and learned by only yourself. It is easy to fall into lazy, trashy T.V. mode and it’s even easier to stay there. It’s comforting and it doesn’t require any kind of stepping out of your own private comfort zone. But we don’t grow on the couch, we don’t push ourselves to see what we can do and how far we can do it. And I am better than trashy T.V. and unintelligent novels.

Lola for the Win

I had been struggling all week wondering what I would write for this week’s blog post. Since this is my third…fourth? blog that I have started it is the only one that people are actually reading so the pressure is on to create weekly posts that continue to get views…right? So what to write about? Do I write a hilarious recap of the Real Housewives of New Jersey? Show hidden footage of me and my best friend watching trashy reality T.V. and have our own version of The People’s Couch? So many ideas floating around, and I couldn’t decide on what to do. Until…

I had come home from work on Friday pretty late…later then I had wanted to come home but when I did my dog Lola was waiting for me. If she is a good girl while my boyfriend and I are not at home she usually greets us at the door with a toy in her mouth and runs from one end of the apartment to the other. It’s pretty hard to even pet her hello since she is a spaz and gets so excited you’re home she forgets that she can also get a welcome rub. Friday night wasn’t any different. Lola had been a good girl during her alone time, and was extremely excited when I got home. We went outside to use the bathroom, we had some dinner, she received some fresh water and I took my place on the couch turned the T.V. on for noise only and proceeded to get on my phone, obviously.

After a few moments I had noticed that Lola was acting a little weird. She was pacing around our coffee table, and she just wouldn’t settle. I watched her for another moment and then told her to go get some water, she sauntered over to her water bowl but didn’t drink anything, I gave her more food but she only sniffed it. I sat back down on the couch and continued to watch Lola become more and more restless, I grabbed her leash and asked her if she wanted to go outside again to which she ran and hid under the kitchen table. I now couldn’t take my eyes off of her. She had continued to pace around the apartment, and now she had started panting. As she became increasingly more restless I became more and more nervous as to what was happening. Our vet is 24 hours and right down the street, I reassured myself and continued to observe.

Still panting, she hopped up on the couch and leaned on the back of the couch with her butt to my face. Intently watching her, my mind was racing as to what could be wrong. Finally, I made the realization that when I came into the apartment when I got home from work the air conditioner was not on. When I walked in the door I had automatically opened the window to let a breeze in. It wasn’t roasting in my apartment but I also hadn’t been sitting in here with no air and closed windows for hours. I had left my apartment with a friend still here, this friend is also a friend to Lola and although I know that they would never do anything to intentionally hurt Lola they don’t have pets, so leaving the air on when no one is home didn’t cross their mind. I looked at Lola who was still leaning against the couch panting.

“Are you hot?” I asked her. And she instantly turned her head to look at me, like so fast I thought her neck would break off.

“Is that it Lola are you hot?” I kept asking, and she kept looking at me. At this I went over and closed the window and turned our air conditioner on. I sat back down on the couch and Lola came over to me tail wagging. She sat down on my lap (she is not a lap dog) and started licking my everywhere. She was thanking me.

And then I started to cry.

In that moment everything that Lola and I had been through culminated into that brief moment of connection that we had.

I had received Lola during the darkest time of my previously mentioned depression, and we created a secluded home for ourselves on the couch in our pajamas in the dark. Because of my issues Lola developed a dog form of agoraphobia, she is terrified of going outside. This is 100% my fault, I made her that way and it is my responsibility to help her with her fear of going outside; so we go on walks daily now, we see other dogs on the street and she is better at saying hello and maybe sniffing a butt. But strange people are Lola’s mortal enemy, just like mine. Her awkwardness towards strangers is every feeling that I have in social situations and we have to rely on each other to get through social situations and to keep on walking.

When I didn’t have any friends Lola was there, she is my best friend, she is my dog. She is mine because she is me. And even though I know that she is a dog and she will leave me before I leave her, I will take everything that we’ve accomplished and continue to keep walking. So not only did she give me a great post for this week, but she’s also given me my longest post. So like I said…. it’s Lola for the win..every time.

 

You Can Go Home Again…But Wait Ten Years

Having a Ten Year High School reunion seems a little bit redundant in this day and age. Am I too young to say “this day and age”? I mean with all of the connectivity that is available to us right at our fingertips it seemed a little silly to hear that one of my friends that was on our High School Senior committee was experiencing high anxiety  trying to plan our NFHS Class of 2006 Ten Year Reunion. Was there even a point? Most of the people that we had graduated with still lived in our hometown, and if they didn’t there was indeed always Facebook. But still, in a stance of support I flew across the country for 5 days to participate in the festivities planned out by classmates I haven’t seen (some of the them) in ten years.

And I must admit…I was pretty damn glad I did.

Leading up to the days of my leaving for my reunion, life was stressful. Everyday there was something that needed to be done, that of course is life but I felt as though I was chasing an ultimate goal, a constant struggle between being busy all the time and actually being productive. My relationship seemed like it was circling a drain, my job was annoying and I found myself counting down the days for a break. I NEEDED a break….I also it turns out needed a really good laugh.

And that is what I did for 5 days, I laughed until I cried everyday..I also ate pizza everyday. But hey it’s Buffalo and in Western New York we don’t judge you based on carb intake. And of course I still have those friends that I see and speak to on a daily basis, best friends for life that I had left behind when I moved to Los Angeles. But when I went to my reunion I couldn’t really tell the difference between those friends and the friends I haven’t seen in years, the jokes were the same, the laughs were deep and hearty. There were also people that I hadn’t spoken to even during our high school years, and I found myself laughing with them too. Time had passed and we had all grown older. On the walls of our High School there would be posters that said “No one will care what you wore in High School” and “No one will care if you were popular or not” they would stare at us as we walked from class to class attached at the hips of our best friends and cliques; always brushing off these statements because we would be popular and best friends forever. But of course those posters were right about us, of course our cliques didn’t matter anymore and everyone was okay with that.

Living in the past for five days allowed me to come back home feeling refreshed and relaxed. It was a weekend of effortless fun. Fun that didn’t need to be thought about or explained. My everyday life is a constant worry about what I need to do, what my goals are, what is due soon, what I want to do. My crazy L.A. life was waiting for me when I got back, my bills are due, my apartment needs to be vacuumed, and the fires are still burning in the mountains. But for five days I forgot about what I needed to do and instead spent time enjoying what I have done.

Finding Center and Building Strength

Four years ago I was working at a restaurant at the Santa Monica Pier when a guest had left his book at the table. We kept the book behind the bar for at least a week and no one had claimed it.My fellow co workers (knowing me all to well, like a person addicted to rescuing animals, I was addicted to rescuing books). When I came in for my shift the following week, I could only think about the lost book sitting behind the bar waiting for a home. That is a serious statement, I had a dream about that book before I went into work the next day, I take it as an indisputable sign from that dream on. So, I snuck behind the bar and snatched the book from one of the bartender’s buckets.

“I knew you were gunna come in and snatch that book!”

Whatever now the book is mine.

The book, if I haven’t mentioned the title was The Bhagavad-Gita. And I’m not going to lie that book made a home for itself on my every protruding bookshelf for a solid year before I picked it up, but then I did.

I haven’t read the whole thing yet, I read some sections at a time; so I can really think about what the text is saying. I’m must disclose that I am not a religious person at all much to the dismay of my Italian mother & grandmother. And I don’t take the Gita as religious text. I let my eyes take the words in and my brain interpret the meanings as it pleases.

But what I did discover was the practice of Yoga.

And yes, many people start yoga for many different reasons.

But maybe I needed a push; maybe I needed a sign to tell me it’s time to start. Maybe I have a flair for the dramatic.

I started going once a week to get my body better, and to get myself out of the house. Until I found myself in Anthony Benenati’s Hath 1 Yoga class, and then I never wanted to leave.

After practicing yoga for a solid month I noticed the benefits my practice was having on my body. My arms jiggled less, my thighs were always firm and my stomach…well it was getting there. And after a month I pretty much stopped worrying the classic newbie worries one has when they start something new. ‘Am I breathing right? Does the teacher think I suck? My boobs are sweating. How do people sit here for 15 minutes and have a clear mind? I hope I don’t fart. I have to get milk later.’

But I was waiting to feel something, something that connected me to “my practice”. An enlightened moment when I could say, “OMG I am a true YOGI!”

But that doesn’t happen, that’s not realistic. Yoga’s whole philosophy is to take it slow, use props, build your way to a pose from the Earth up.  And I found the belief in my practice that way. When I started yoga not only was my body weak, but so was my spirit, and gradually from the ground up I learned how to build strength.

I have now been practicing yoga for a a few years and I continue to find solace in the hard wooden floor, brick walls and humming ceiling fans.

Essential Friendship & Essential Oils

I haven’t been very open in regards to friendships in the early years of my adult life. It is a hybrid marriage of a strange side effect from depression in my early twenties and the fact that I am just a homebody person by nature. It got very bad, being “blatantly anti-social” my boyfriend called it and I just agreed and continued on. I hid behind the busyness of school work and deflected the fact that I have no social friends because I had work friends and that was enough.

But there was no life.

In an act of triumph against my depression I made one social friend, and he is an awesome friend. Tony will forever be a piece of my life, and has inserted himself as family. It also helped that he could be a homebody himself, and our personalities like all great friendships were not the same but compatible. He was the first step into finding a new version of myself, one that is not awkward and uninviting. It was much easier to be in a social setting with a friend to do this with. You never think about it like that until you literally don’t have a girlfriend to do things with. I should mention that Tony is a gay man and loves himself as I love him just the way his is.  Getting my girl time back allowed me to realize just how much I was missing it. Not only was I able to slowly come out of my shell in my own time, but pushed to break through it as Tony saw fit. Pulling me out of my comfort zone as girlfriends often do, and allowing me to realize things about myself that I didn’t think were issues. For me those issues were being social, and not just being social but actually liking being social.

I carried my progress with me to new jobs and sporatic new acquaintances until setting at a job where I’ve been for a few years now. This job has allowed me to gain more friends that have not been pushed into the “work friends pile” in my social setting. I find myself remembering what it was like to have people to confide in, to laugh with and have inside jokes with. I haven’t had that in such a long time that I had become lost in the secluded world I had created for myself. And it wasn’t easy on their part either, prying into my personal life, creating space for themselves into my daily happenings with the interest that only friends have.

And I unbeknownst to myself I allowed them in.

I slowly but surely found myself in the middle of friendships. Without even trying. That’s what makes it easy doesn’t it? The fact that it is effortless? And I hadn’t realized what happened  until I found myself sitting in an essential oil seminar on a Saturday morning before my work shift. Sitting there allowing a stranger to spray me with Peppermint oil (“for cooling purposes”) I had a friendship epiphany. Not only was I there to support a friend who was holding a class, I was there so my other friend wouldn’t have to sit through an oil seminar alone. I was being a friend to two people at once. I must admit that I blacked out a little during this seminar to really take in what was happening around me. It could have been the oils, it could have been the fact that the Peppermint oil was placed somewhere around my temples and my eyes started watering but I almost lost my composure in front of a stranger and cried at where I had found myself on that Saturday morning. I had found myself being a friend.

Everything that I had been missing with close friendships I had found, but I hadn’t really understood that by doing something for them, I was doing something for myself. If they were friends to me then I had to be a friend back, and I hadn’t been a friend to anyone including myself in a very long time. But that’s the great thing about friends right? You don’t know what they do for you until you actually do something for yourself. You don’t know how cooling Peppermint Oil is until you let a stranger spray you.