April’s Goals

Every month I’ve been sitting down and making a list of intentions. Things I want to focus my energy on and things I need to work on or accomplish. I thought I would share mine for April.

This time is all about getting ready- its a preparation for the return of the sun. It’s the sometimes uncomfortable transition as nature starts to shift from darkness into light. My 1st goal of April is to lean into the discomfort of this time. To embrace transition.

Change is hard and my natural reaction is usually to avoid it or smooth it over. I like my normal. I like my habits and patterns and knowing, for the most part, what each day has in store. I only like adventures when I plan them and sign on for them but life doesn’t always come with warning labels. If I’ve learned anything from living through a global pandemic it’s that you can’t take your normal for granted when you have it but you also need to be flexible and adapt to changes when they’re necessary.

My second goal is to downsize and organize- Spring is a great time to take a long hard look at what you own and whether or not it still serves you. I’m a whimsical Maximalist and I need my statues and knick-knacks and books and bobbles to feel cozy and at home. Even so, I want to be completely surround by things I LOVE.. Things that make me smile when I see or use them.. I don’t want more stuff- I want the right stuff. So, with a thank you and a smile I will release all the things that are no longer meant for me.

My third goal is to continue to focus on my health. 2020 took a toll.. I was in pretty good shape in the beginning but by the end I’d slipped. I was on track for a few months and then off track again. In March I decided to take a different approach. Gentle Self Care. Instead of working myself to death, working out 6 days a week, eating only turkey burgers and Brussel sprouts with occasional brown rice. I decided to just let my body have a break from the stress. I found that yes, I gained a little weight but overall I wanted to move- not because I felt I had to. I wanted veggies and lean protein while I also allowed myself to eat from restaurants. I made time to mediate every single day and complete a french lesson on Duolingo. I felt happier. When I was feeling tired I slept, When I was hungry I ate. I want to continue my journey in Gentle Self Care.

My fourth and final goal is to start packing a little each day. By the end of next month i’ll be beginning the process of a slow move.

What’s a slow move?

A slow move is a blessing. I will be moving house and I want to do so a little at a time. While the house is empty I want to take the time to clean, repair and restore it. This house was build in 1925 and it’s had multiple tenets. I want to clear out all the negative energies. I want to remove the carpet and redo the floors in most of the rooms, paint all the walls, moldings and ceiling, and maybe add some built-in storage units. I want to find some replacement french doors for the livingroom and add updated lighting fixtures.

I know that this isn’t a fast process but since there won’t be any major renovations (fingers crossed) I imagine this will only take a month or 2. During that time I can start bringing over boxes. By the time I’m ready to make the final move I plan to only have a small suitcase, a box or two of items to unpack immediately and all the big furniture pieces that will require a moving truck. I don’t actually have a ton of stuff so I plan to just put a couple boxes in my car every evening when I get home from work. Then the next day as I leave to go home from work i’ll take those boxes to the new house.. Clean or paint for a couple hours before heading home and then repeat the next day. This is why I have to embrace transition a slow move will be so much better in the long run but during that couple of months it will be hard both physically and emotionally.

Once the physical moving is complete I still have all the business stuff to handle- Address changes, updating all my contact information on all my sites, new driver’s license and so on and so forth. It’s a lot but it will be easier to handle from a completely unpacked and settled office.

So wish me luck! And as always…

Blessed Be!

Design inspiration for your life

So, I love interior design. I enjoy cultivating spaces- using color and contrast to showcase my personality. I love all those shows on HGTV where designers go into people’s homes and redecorate to make the places feel more like the person or people that live there.

Over the weekend I was watching a youtuber Paige, who’s channel, Farmhouse Vernacular, is all about renovating her 120 year old farmhouse. She goes step by step through the thought processes in each room and the construction and decoration process. She talks about how the house speaks to her and tells her what it wants- She chooses to listen.

She gave a really interesting piece of advice that I immediately knew I needed to steal for myself.

When you are trying to figure out what your personal style is, if your new to design or having conflicting ideas, pick 8-10 items that you absolutely love, items that you can’t live without, that make you smile and that made you so excited when you bought them that you couldn’t want to get them home..

Put all theses items together and take a picture of them.. Keep it in your phone.. What do these things have in common? How do they make you feel? What kind of person loves these types of things. When you are out and find something you are thinking about bringing home refer to the picture.. Will this new item fit? Does it have the same attributes? Do you LOVE it?

I ask you friends.. Is there better advice for life? Can we not also do this for the non physical things in our lives? What parts of your day do you love and look forward too most? Who is your favorite person and what is it you love about them so much? Where is your favorite place to sit and just exist- Why.

If you can, and you should- build a life you love by recognizing love and joy when you experience them and maximize the opportunities to experience it. Prioritize pleasure and enjoyment and look critically at new additions to see whether or not they fit into the 8-10 things you really care about and would not desire to live without.

What are your ten things?

Blessed Be!

Other Peoples Mental Health

I’ve done alot of hard work over the past couple of years with my mental and spiritual health. I had to open wide old wounds and take a long look at the ugliness within. I still have much to heal but therapy and good friends have helped me move towards a lighter and more positive me. I’m so grateful for that. I’m so well loved. My best friend Teresa reminds we often that I have changed so much from the timid girl I was when we first met- injecting me with Philly sassiness and permitting me to make those changes, accepting them and encouraging my growth. I’m very blessed.

Next week the anniversary of my father’s birthday arrives, followed closely by that of his death. All my life, death dates have haunted me; not so much because of my personal sadness at remembering the loss of a beloved family member or friend but because of the behaviors of my fellow left behind loved ones.

I always start to feel on edge as these dates approach wondering if my brother is going to call me drunk and sobbing again, having gotten into a fight or unable to get himself home. Will he lash out at our mother causing her to call me crying? Will he rant and rave for hours before finally passing out and then acting as though none of it happened the next day? Will it be uncomfortably quiet all day as I wait with baited breath for the shoe to drop.

In another post I mentioned briefly about keeping other people’s secrets and confidences and how important that is to me.. I just wanted to clarify here. Some things should not be kept secret. It’s the fact that we are not permitted to feel, to grieve, to hurt and burn that causes a lot of our issues. I sit and listen a lot to my mom fret about the decisions my brothers make and what they may and may not do. I try to offer advice- specifically for how she might react to the situations without commenting on the situations themselves.

The truth of the matter is.. We are all slightly broken. We were shattered in our youth and pieced together again. Broken and repaired. Broken and repaired. And you can’t want healing for someone else more than they want for themselves. You can’t force them into therapy if they aren’t willing or ready to do the tremendously hard work. You can’t wish them ok. All you can do is to love them in the darkness. Love them without letting them pull you down into that chasm with them. Let them know that when they are ready you will be there to support them in all the ways you can. When they have decided that they are exhausted; and the hurt is too massive and they feel compelled to release it all , in earnest; in exchange for the opportunity to walk less burdened into the next stages of their lives.

Dance my love.. We all live with one another and that means that we are affected by the mental health of our parents, our lovers, our friends, co-workers, classmates and leaders. And for whomever might need to hear it (probably just myself) – Sometimes, the way they treated you had nothing to do with you.. Sometimes, they can’t love you because they don’t love themselves and sometimes they hurt you without realizing it because they are so far in the dark that, honey, they can’t even see themselves, let alone you. So- know that at least one black woman in nowhere Pennsylvania loves you..

Blessed Be!

Moving

When it comes to moving I’ve had very little experience. I was one of those kids that was stationary. My parents moved me and my brother from California back to Pennsylvania when we were very young we lived in Greensburg or a while then a little shack in the town where I live now and then another house on the same street. And we stayed there. We stayed in that house as I completed elementary, middle and high school, my first 2 years of college. So i’ve moved 3 time as a kid but they never mattered- I wasn’t old enough to remember, I wasn’t leaving anything.

Then I moved out for the first time to go to college. I was nervous- 3 hours drive from home. I had to make new friends and get along with roommates and navigate a new city and campus. It took me quite a while to dig in but once I did it became like home. I have my group, my favorite spots, my little room in my apartment and I was sad to leave when Graduation day came- to move back home.

I didn’t have any job offers and in truth i’d found myself in college but I hadn’t really found my “purpose” or what I wanted to do for money. I embraced my creativity and desire to write but neither was offering me a living wage. Instead I got a day job and then I moved into my grandmother’s old house down the street.

I liked that house 🙂 It was old but it was big with 3 bedrooms and I got to decorate it myself. I learned to change light fixtures and how to manage multiple bills, not just rent. I did home repairs and I had a yard to maintain. I probably would have stayed there. I’m pretty sure I would have but one day after a really heavy rain storm the side of my house fell off.

Yes, It fell the fuck off of the house. I remember going to the bathroom and being able to see daylight through a nail hole in the wall. I thought it was odd but it didn’t dawn on me right away what had happened. I went outside and walked around to the back of the house and there on the ground was a good portion of my home: siding, wood, some newspaper and various building supplies. At first I laughed. They’d used cardboard and newspaper- probably before there were strict building codes that was fine but it looked so comical. Then the realization dawned.. It wasn’t safe.. I was going to have to move again. I cried.

I moved back home for the second time. I took a little while to think. Maybe this was an opportunity. Maybe this was the universe pushing me to do something else. If I didn’t have a house I wasn’t as tied down. Where did I want to live?

So I moved again- this time to Virginia. Don’t get excited- it’s lasted less than a year. I jumped into a living arrangement that destroyed my relationship with a very dear friend. I was more lost and confused than ever. I was grieving the loss of my house and my independence. I didn’t know what I wanted but Virginia wasn’t a good fit and I couldn’t ignore how depressed I was becoming.

I called my friend T and explained how I was feeling. She was on a trip to Maryland and offered to drive down and pick me up for a little break. I packed a bag and went with her back to Maryland. A weekend trip turned into a month long stay with her amazing friends. It was fate that at that moment the husband was preparing to have a knee surgery and they suggested I stay and help out while he recovered. I prepared meals and helped him with his physical therapy cleaned up but mostly we talked. Bob was like the father i’d never had full of wisdom and advice but in a non-confrontational manner that helped me sort though my mind. I wasn’t the best helper of house guest for the first two weeks but by the time his recovery was complete and it was time for me to go I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my chest. I had to move again.

I went back home for the 3rd time- It took another 2 months before I was able to go back to Virginia and collect my stuff. Another issue with my dad. I found an apartment and we moved my stuff in and I’ve been here since. I’ve loved this apartment. I love the location and the view and the fact that it affordable and vintage looking but over the last 2 years or so i’ve been feeling the crunch- the fact that i’ve out grown it.. I need more space.

I need room for my sewing and crafts and I want a bedroom (Studio apartments are hard on having guests since they are instantly in your bedroom). I want room for plants and I want to option to have pets 9my building doesn’t allow them).

So I’m hoping to be moving again soon. And unlike every other move of my adult life I’m not leaving kicking and screaming. I’m not moving because something physically or emotionally fell apart. I’m not moving because something is coming to an end. It’s not just happening to me. I want to move this time. I’m excited about the possibility of being somewhere different and leaving old places, patterns and people behind for a fresh change in a new place. I will miss my little studio- I can’t lie. I will miss the view and being right downtown in the heart of things and walking distance to the grocery store, Rite Aid, Sheetz and several restaurant. I will miss my well worn walking paths and my familiar faces but as much as I’ll miss somethings I’m just as if not more excited about the things I’ll gain: new paths to tread, new restaurants to try, a park, and space.. Lots and lots of room.

Blessed Be.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

In the last several years I’ve done a lot of soul searching. Lucky to have people around me that I do, I’ve been given the grace to experiment and grow. Trying on numerous hats and seeing which fit. I’ve been learning to embrace my flaws.. my fears and all the ugly realities of me.

I try not to share other peoples stories- I hold their confidences very dear and yet that means that somehow I always end up in the middle of other peoples issues. I try to help and usually it ends up shooting me in the foot.

Of course I could just as easily brush my shoulder and say “Not my problem, let them figure it out.” I could… but I don’t. I could but I can’t.

In some situations I know not to get involved. In love above all- often things must run their due course. The illogical nature of attraction, infatuation and affection render it outside the realm of practical decision making.

Other times, I do act- I do want to try and help and support others. As much as people confound me- they also intrigue me and I find myself investing easily in the lives of others almost like it is my own. I get involved- when often I shouldn’t and I’m almost always punished for it.. I’m tangled up in complicated knots. I’m ingested. I’m assimilated. Even when I know there will be consequences- I do the good because it’s part of who I am. I can’t overlook- I choose not to and if that means I’ll suffer a few slings and arrows then so be it.. I’m made of tougher stuff.

Back to Sewing

I took a little break from sewing for the month of Feb. After the intense marathon sewing I’ve been doing since the beginning of last year I felt my brain and my fingers could use a little break.

Now I feel revitalized and more than ready for new projects.. I have two- a “quick” dress based on the Belemnite dress I made last spring; and a longer one based on a 1875 summer tea gown.

The Belemnite dress should be a relatively quick project.. as before I will lengthen the pattern a bit and make it a bit fuller keeping the skirt in 3 pieces. I’ll add pockets and have it button up the front. I’ve picked a lightweight dyed cotton for the fashion layer and plain white cotton broadcloth for the lining. I imagine this project to be completed in a week or two. It will be nice to have something springy to invite the warm weather.

The longer project is a tea gown. The pattern is the Laughing Moon # 140 Ladies Princess Line Tea Gown with Watteau Back. I bought this pattern awhile ago now with the intent of using to to make that Edwardian evening gown that I had in mind (also on the to do list) but before I started that dress with it’s many layers and slightly more costly materials I wanted to make a mock up.. This dress will be the wearable mock-up using mostly scrap fabric and materials I already have on hand. It will be white using the leftover crappy Amazon sheet set and the sheer fabric from the curtains I made last year. I did buy 5 yards of white cotton broadcloth for this project just to make sure I have enough flatlining and interfacing so that I can make sure it has the structure it needs. I’m adjusting the sleeves into Bishop sleeves and using the View A front and the View D back. Almost all the fabric is poly or poly blend but I’d like to try to tea dye it so it’s not so stark white. Over all the dress is a long trained gown with a button up front that is covered by a faux gathered panel to make it appear to have another dress underneath. It also has ties that you can close the front of the garment with although I may also make a matching corset belt as a separate piece that would work very well with it.

I’m really exciting to be starting a new set of projects. The drafting and brainstorming is usually my favorite part anyway. regardless of how they turnout it’s the fact that I’m learning and growing more and more with every completed project.

Most Men are Terrible at Motivating Women

Warning: Broad Sweeping Generalizations and Potentially Controversial Personal Opinions Ahead. You have been warned.

As the title might have tipped you off- I don’t think most men are very good at motivating women and vice versa. Lately, and historically, the former fact carries a bit more weight. Men, still primarily in more positions of power and authority, fall short in understand what it takes to truly get a woman to preform in both the work place and otherwise. Why? They often try to use the same techniques that work for men.. but we aren’t men!

Throw some money at the issue. Everyone has a price. In both business and pleasure, buying people is a poor way of satisfying the person and their deeper needs- it’s not a guarantee they will stay and makes for only superficial attachment- people you pay to like you will disappear when the money or gifts do. You can’t fault a person for lack of loyalty if you’ve given them nothing to be loyal to. You are just asking for them to leave with the highest bidder or when a better offer comes along- and it will.

The fire of this realization comes from this trend online at the moment of men giving “inspirational pep talks” to women. They talk about having pride in yourself and your body, standing up for yourself and only accepting the “right” guys. It’s all quite pretty really. Even these well meaning men are missing the point though- because they are not women and have no idea what it’s actually like. They proclaim: “Leave the man who doesn’t open doors for you, who doesn’t value you, who is only keeping you from your future husband!” Yet these men have no interest in dating or marrying you. And they seem oblivious to the fact that the men of which they speak, the true gentlemen and partners, are few and far between for most women. Men who want a relationship and not just a lay are becoming harder and harder to find. You sir, have essentially told me that I should be alone.. And perhaps I should- or perhaps you shouldn’t, once again, be telling me what to do- what decisions to make about my life and my body. You presume that I want to marry, or have children or maintain a monogamous relationship. You also assume that I’m not smart enough to know for myself if the fornicating I’m getting is worth the fornicating I’m getting. Save the pep talks and focus on changing the systems that have created the need for them.

They shout! “Leave the man who mistreats you! Report the abuse!” Forgetting that women live within systems that are built by men- where justice isn’t a guarantee. Many women who stand- stand alone and in that vulnerable place are ignored, beaten or worse. Our military women are raped and must watch their attackers walk free with minimal reprimand. We must survive within a society that belittles women. A healthcare system, run by men, that tells women what they can and can not do with their own bodies- what procedures and medications they feel we should have access too. We are daily reminded that we are only as valuable as our appearance, the size of our breasts and our waists, the younger the better, the dumber the more desirable. We fight these ideals and stereotypes everyday so that, with hope, women in the future are gifted the grace of self determination- where being pretty isn’t the only point and we can choose to be smart, funny, and gorgeous- Girly or sporty- happy.

“That made me feel really bad,”- Having a conversation with my SO and he tells me that he’s waiting for a customer to call- he’d been waiting all day. I responded ” That sucks, I hate when people say they are going to call or do something and then don’t. Hopefully you hear something soon.” I wasn’t taking about him but my message made him feel bad because the mother fucking shoe fit and he didn’t desire to wear it. Now, you expect me to apologize for making you feel bad for realizing that you are often a dick.. Sorry- I gave my last fuck of the day away.. none left for you.

You know what motivates a lot of women? Respect. Support. Value. Show me that you value me by paying me what I deserve and not less than a man in the same position. Treat me with the same consideration you would any man. Support me when I trust you in coming forward about slights and abuses at home and in the workplace. Respect me and my decisions. Don’t talk over me. Don’t talk down to me. Don’t patronize me. If you really want to motivate me.. Piss me off. Tell me I can’t and I’ll prove you wrong.

Men are not the villains in this story- it’s not that simple. They can often be victims of these broken system too. But just “Empowering Women” is not enough. It’s not. It like spitting on a forest fire. It’s false- giving women a sense that they are powerful without them actually holding any power is what keeps the status quo right where it is. Splitting the message that “You are beautiful just as you are!” With “Try this new weight loss tea so you can look like a Kardashian” reinforces the bias that thin is still in and why be “beautiful” when instead you could be “desirable”.

I don’t have all the answers but I can tell you.. this for damn sure ain’t it.

Blessed Be.

The Morning Commute

If you’re anything like me COVID 19 probably threw your normal routine for a loop at the beginning of 2020.  Suddenly, we were collectively spending more time at home than ever before, working from home and avoiding public places in order to try and slow the spread. This disruption of our normal lives meant that we had to make a lot of changes very quickly as we adjusted to the “new normal”. Entering 2021 and beginning to focus on what we want our lives to be moving forward, many have realized that there is a vital part of their routine that is missing in the mist of working from home.. the commute.   

I know; what is there to miss about having to commute to work or school every day? Spending money on gas?  Sitting in traffic? Winter weather concerns?

Well, it seems what we miss is the feeling of knowing what happens next.

The morning commute provides a division from life at home and life a work or school. It’s a transition. It may also provide much needed time to think or listen to an audiobook, music or the news. Knowing you have to go somewhere means having to get up, make yourself presentable and move.

It becomes all too easy when working from home for many to roll out of bed, throw on a presentable shirt and log in. The commute going from a car or bus ride to a 10 step walk to your desk, kitchen table or maybe just right back to bed.

This lack of division means the clear rules between home and work blur and balance is lost. Starting work earlier and working longer- forgetting to take breaks or eat meals.. Maybe the opposite and taking too many breaks and eating too many meals. It also means losing connection with co-workers and lunchroom or hallways conversations can’t happen when all communication now takes place through a screen.

I challenge you as we begin this new chapter to take a long hard look at your morning routine. Does it serve you? Would you perhaps benefit from a Fake Commute. What are your views on start and end times if you are logging in from home? What would you like your mornings to look like?

Blessed Be!

The subtle difference makes all the difference.

She said “I miss you..”

He said “I miss being with you..”

She cried. Yes.. Yes of course he missed “Being with”. He did not miss her. He did not see her. Did he not miss her smile or the why she turned a phrase? Didn’t he miss her humor or her wit. Did he miss her..

No…

His reply implied that he missed him. Him in her presence. Himself around her.

“being with” implying the physical and sexual. He missed her body- not even her body but how her body made his body feel.

She said “I’ll see you soon..”
He said “I hope to see you soon.”

Her implying intent. All definite and definable a will with agency.

Him implying chance. A lack of action or planning- perhaps with luck or by fate something might happen.

Non-committal

“Is everything Ok?” He asks riddled with confusion

“Sure, everything is fine..”

“I’m busy…”

“I know…”

Completely different from

“I’ll make time for you.”

And

“No, you won’t.”

Both at fault for the gaps in communication. He doesn’t realize what his messages reveal. She doesn’t desire to have to explain it.

“I said..” He says.

“Yes, but I heard..” She explains-and it exhausts her. And over and over the differences make the difference. And over and over they resolve the missing bits and try to understand the other and love one another in the only way their brokenness will allow. They sigh. Loving is hard work.

She stops “Tell me I matter to you.”

“You do matter!”

“No.. say “You matter… to me.” “

“You matter to me,” he mimics. She nods.; the beast in her heart is calmed and its heckles relax.

“Ok?” He reaches for her hand.

“Ok..” She confirms taking it.

Just a quick drop in a huge bucket

2021

Learning Ballet, French, and Lucid dreaming..

Attach on the Capital?

$600 stimulus check was deposited and I barely noticed

NYE was both depressing and comical.. Sponsored by Planet Fitness

Still very little vaccine distributed- no idea if and when my turn comes

Trump no longer allowed to tweet- is that freedom of speech or private protection

Restaurants were permitted to re-open.. many didn’t make it

Just 2 short weeks and we have a new president.. Our country has been through so much this year.. May he be blessed- May we all be blessed.