Category Archives: Lifestyle

What Does Blogging Actually Accomplish?

I’d like to think that at some point my blog had a powerful effect on someone, and I think it did…on me. I’m not convinced that it’s good for anything else though, and at this point (for a long time now) I’ve wondered whether or not it’s good for me.

I’ve discussed a lot of topics over the years, and I’ve received a lot of amazing comments and insights from people, many of whom have similar goals and desires. I love communicating on various levels with people who live differently than I do. Rarely do I have a desire to change anyone’s mind (on my blog or in person,) but I do like engaging and widening my perspective.

My last post, in which I respectfully shared my views (apart from my title hook) made me think about whether or not my voice is benefitting anyone (myself included,) and the answer, at least in this case, is no.

I stand by the things I said, but what good does it do to come here and share my opinion? Everyone has one; why do I blog about mine? I started to keep myself accountable not caring whether anyone ever read it or not, then I continued because I enjoyed the constant onslaught of encouragement and attention. Now I do it because sometimes I have things to say, recognizing that not many will see it anyway.

I like to share my thoughts, views and opinions, but my goal has never been to hurt anyone in the process. As an American I have a right to say whatever I want to say, and I think it’s only fair for those who demand tolerance to offer it equally. Having that right doesn’t mean that I should always act on it, and the fact is, I rarely do.

It’s fine to disagree with me. I don’t share my thoughts here to elicit specific thoughts or opinions. I share them because they’re my thoughts and opinions. We are facing some serious issues in this country, and it’s important to acknowledge them. It’s even more important to do something constructive to change it, and I’m actively trying to do that in my community.

I have a separate blog to talk about what God’s doing in my life, but the same message applies here. Colossians 3:17 says,

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

It’s pretty clear than I have a right to share my thoughts and opinions, but I need to be more conscious about what I feel and why I do. I’m asking God to change my heart, to help me see myself and others the way He sees me. He offers grace, mercy, forgiveness and a clean slate. I want to be the kind of person who does the same, so if my last post hurt you, I’m sorry.

Until next time…

 

 

 

Enough with the Black Lives Matter and Gender Equality Stuff, Or Why It’s Not Going To Work That Way

Before I share my thoughts I’d like to note that I’m half (yes, 50%) American Indian, and I’m obese. I face harsh and unfiltered discrimination on a regular basis, and I’m actively working on changing the tide (starting with myself.)

I mentioned my chat with Senator Bernie Sanders a few weeks ago, and while I don’t agree with a lot of his political views, I’m pissed about what happened in Seattle on Saturday.

The senator and presidential hopeful was there for a rally that was disrupted and ultimately shut down by Black Lives Matter “activists” who stormed the stage, showing a complete lack of respect for the senator and for the thousands of people who waited all day to hear him speak. 

Of course black lives matter; I have zero tolerance for those who disagree. The fact is all lives matter, and it’s ridiculous and sad that there are people in this nation who disagree.

There’s a serious race issue in this nation that needs to be addressed, but it’s no longer one-sided. Misdirecting anger toward one elected official who actively fights for civil rights seems like a dumb move to me.

Note to the “activists” who showed no remorse for their blatant disregard of everyone else: If you really want to affect change, try showing some respect, as opposed to acting like tempermental lunatics on a stage that isn’t yours. 

And while I’m fired up I’m going to share my feelings on Target’s decision to “move away from gender-based signs.” In my opinion the concept is stupid and mildly offensive.

I’m a woman, and I’m proud to be a woman. I don’t believe that everyone should be forced to be a woman, but I don’t see the problem in being on either.

I have friends who are transgender, and I understand and empathize with their struggle to find contentment because I am keenly aware of the difficulty associated in feeling different than everyone around you. Moving away from gender-based signs is a separate issue.

When I was growing up I didn’t play with baby dolls; I played with my dad’s sermon notes and highlighters. I wanted to be a consultant or an analyst before I was old enough to label myself as such. It didn’t matter to me if my blocks were pink and purple or if they were primary colors. I liked Lincoln Logs and Barbies, though my versatility never led to gender identity issues.

Society (myself included) has become so incredibly weak and overly sensitive that I fear we’ve forgotten that our differences make the world go around.

Men and women are different. We just are. When did that become such a deplorable and unacceptable thing?

 

 

Hurricane Katrina Wasn’t As Bad As This

According to WWL, the local CBS affiliate here in New Orleans, New Orleans has already experienced 112 murders this year. At this time last year the number was 78, so our rate is rising exponentially.

Murders in NOLA

As I looked at the map they released earlier this week I noticed that none have occurred in my neighborhood, but it’s sad and scary to think about how many people are facing tragic losses in this little city.

When I left New York I considered it “home,” but now I feel at home in New Orleans. I’m just not sure it’s a good idea to live in a place that is so riddled with crime. We’re talking about murders now, and the numbers are astronomical, but robberies and non-fatal attacks are on the rise as well. It makes me wonder about the state of the city.

You can’t spend a day among people in New Orleans without hearing about how awful Hurricane Katrina was. I didn’t live here at the time, but my family did. The city, which is widely known for its resilience, was able to rebuild, heal and grow. The hurricane was devastating, but it ended.

Crime never stops, and it’s much worse than anywhere else I’ve lived. When a hurricane is coming we can prepare for that, but no one is adequately prepared to lose a family member or a friend to violence. I wasn’t prepared when a gun was pointed in my face a couple of months ago.

New Orleans has the opportunity to thrive, but people like me will be forced to find a new place to grow if the crime rates continue to rise. I love this city, but I value my life and my safety more.

When I chatted with Senator Bernie Sanders last week before his rally, we discussed gun control. (I talked about it here,) but stricter gun laws won’t fix the problem. Instant background checks isn’t the answer either, though I support that.

I wish I had an easy answer, but I don’t. No one does, but I think it’s important to pay attention to who’s being appointed and who we’re electing, particularly at a local level because that’s where change is most likely to happen.

What is crime like where you live? Do you fear for your safety in your community?

Family, Love Updates, Grown Up Coloring and Hand Knitting

Last week had some bright moments and some not so bright moments. I talked about the rough part here last week, and I’m happy to say that we talked today. I didn’t know that I was going to see him, but I’m glad I did. I was able to share my thoughts and feelings (and French press) with him, and I was filled with a sense of relief when I saw him. He was relieved and happy to see me tooI don’t know what the future holds, but I’m happier today than I’ve been in the last week.

The fun parts of last week came as a result of my sister and nieces. They visited Mom’s house, so I spent most of my time there.

Baby Niece

oldest niece

We did some cool stuff in my neighborhood too. My friend, who is a veterinarian at Audubon, brought us behind the scenes and let my nieces feed the giant turtle. We watched them feed the stars as well, and we ran around in the fountains after that.

New Orleans Aquarium

They headed back home Friday evening, so I returned home and caught up on things that I didn’t do during the week. I went to church, spent time with friends, and did some meal planning.

I went to an Outcry concert last week too, which featured some of my favorite Christian artists including Kari Jobe, David Crowder, Hillsong and more. My friends and I sat in a suite, which is my favorite way to enjoy any event (except Pearl Jam because I need to be in the front row for that.)

I also decided to join the grown up coloring book craze. I colored with my nieces last week, but I picked up an adult book at Michael’s too. It’s fun and relaxing, and i finished my first page today.

Is anyone else here doing this to destress or relax?

Is anyone else here doing this to destress or relax?

Sunday afternoon I decided to try something new, so I signed up for a hand knitting class at Michaels. It was an inexpensive way to spend the afternoon, and I left with a finished infinity scarf. I already know how to knit, but I did this without needles. Actually, I used my wrists and hands as if they were needles, which was an interesting and easy concept.

hand knitting Michaels

It looks like a loose braid.

Last week I said that I was going to focus on all of the positives in my life, and I did that. I’m thankful that there are so many reasons to enjoy life, and I’m looking forward to the month of August. It’s typically the hottest month in New Orleans, so I’ll be okay with it when it’s over. I’m also ready to start school again even though I enjoyed the summer break.

I’m not sure what the future holds. I have some things to figure out, but I feel hopeful. I’m pretty sure I’ll sleep a lot better tonight too.

 

Love and Loss, Or Something Like That

I’ve been pretty quiet about the fact that I’ve been seeing someone. I met him at the beginning of the year, and I allowed our relationship to grow offline for several reasons – the most significant being that it’s easier to develop something when others aren’t constantly inserting their opinions.

He’s handsome, easy to talk to and loves (our) Starbucks as much as I do. He’s older than I am, even-keeled and patient. He told me that he loved me before I was willing to say it, but I’m in love with him too. He has made significant efforts to show me, and I’ve never felt so emotionally and physically connected to someone at the same time.

He has spent the last several months making me feel special and beautiful. When he looks at me his face lights up and his serious demeanor is immediately overcome by an easy smile every single time he lays eyes on me. He loves my voice too (even when I sing gut-wrenching love songs about heartbreak after an argument, which only happened once, for the record. ha) I adore the way he says my name and his drive to succeed in everything he does…and his perfect hair.

He has helped me let go of some major insecurities that I’ve been clinging to since I left New York. He has been a healthy influence on me physically, and his patience and empathetic attitude helped me rebuild some of the self-esteem that I lost.

It has been clear to me that he desires me since the first time he said it, and my feelings for him have been equally strong. I crave him in every sense. I never tire of kissing him, but I can talk to him for hours too.

He’s dreamy and affectionate, and as I type a tear is streaming down my face because I broke it off with him a couple of nights ago. It wasn’t an impulse decision. I thought about it overnight before I did it, but I miss him. The hardest part for me right now is that I felt like I was finally in love with someone who loved me back and still don’t get to have that.

I realize that I’m not a helpless victim in this situation; I’m the one who ended it. I didn’t end it to play a game with him. I ended it because he (unintentionally) crushed my feelings Tuesday. I did it because it was the right thing to do, but I’m struggling tonight because it seems to have been so easy for him to let go.

He was in a lot of (physical) pain the night I told him that it wasn’t going to work out, and I thought it might be easier because he wouldn’t be focusing on me. I’m guessing that he’s better by now, but he hasn’t called. I didn’t see him at our coffee shop today either because I was there earlier than usual for a private tasting (which was awesome.) I don’t even know if he went there at all.

Ending a relationship can be confusing, at least for me. When we last spoke he said that he was hurt, and he also said he would respect my decision. Now he’s doing that, and I feel rejected. The man, who is emotionally stable, respectful and habitual is doing exactly what I asked him to do while I am wishing he’d do the opposite.

I realize how ridiculously girly and immature it sounds, but it’s true. I want to think that he misses me and that he won’t accept it so easily, but I also realize that he was not happy with my thoughts when I shared them. (Okay, he was pissed…partly because of my feelings, but largely because he had already had such a crummy day before I dropped that on him.)

I realize that doing the right thing isn’t always easy, but it’s still right. I just wish he was right for me, and I wish he’d show up at my door to prove it before hugging me and kissing my eye lids as he often did.

Tonight as I sit in bed writing about my feelings I can’t shake thoughts of him – the way it feels when he wraps his arms around me, the way he breathes when he’s falling asleep, the way he sounds so incredibly upbeat when he calls to say good morning on the way to work during the 7 o’clock hour, the way he takes charge while making me feel safe and adored…I miss him.

It’s hard to realize that my phone won’t ring in the morning, but I’m going to focus on all of the reasons I have to be happy and thankful. (There are many.) I don’t know what the future holds, but I’d like to trust that something good is on the horizon.

A Few Minutes with Senator Bernie Sanders

I have a lot of respect for the office of the presidency, so when I had an opportunity to chat with a man who could be the next leader of the free world I did it.

Bernie Sanders Presidential Election

Bernie Sanders is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting US Senators who has served in my lifetime, and we don’t agree on many fundamental issues. I’m not a part of his team, but I gained a lot of respect for him today.

I met with him at a small, private gathering in the suburbs before he headed to a campaign rally in a neighboring town. I think it’s important to hear what each candidate has to say because it’s the only way we can hold them accountable.

He listened intently and answered respectfully

He listened intently and answered respectfully

We discussed gun control candidly, and I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to share my thoughts on the topic because it hit close to home recently.

I live in a pretty nice neighborhood. It’s home to a variety of professionals, but that didn’t stop me from finding a gun in my face last month. I was headed to rehearsal for church at around 8:15 on Sunday morning when a man pointed a gun at me and demanded that I get out of my car.

I shared my thoughts on gun control, instant background checks, gun usage among criminals and the government’s role (and its perceived role) in all of it. We didn’t come to any grand conclusions, but it was interesting to hear his perspective and the perspective from others in the room.

I rarely discuss politics online, but today was an important day in my little world. I’m grateful for the opportunity that I had to communicate with the senator, and I’m looking forward to hearing from other candidates in the coming months.

 

 

 

Fat Photos

I’m heavier than most women I know, but I don’t shy away from the camera. If we’re connected through social media you know that I take selfies by myself and with friends. I share full body shots, and I’ve been known to rock photos in my swimsuit too. (See my Instagram account.)

Yesterday my long time friend, Tammy, posted about our favorite author’s article in Good Housekeeping. Jennifer Weiner and I have never met (life goal,) but the woman understands the inner workings of my mind. She’s been writing books that make me laugh, cry, dream and hope for years, and she opened up about avoiding the camera in first year of her daughter’s life.

I have beautiful friends who avoid the camera because they don’t like how they look, and I know women who will take 20 photos of themselves before they find one that they don’t despise. (I’ve been guilty of that countless times as well.) It’s hard to be happy with oursevles when we’re engulfed in a culture that says we shouldn’t be.

I’m obese…blah, bah, blah…I know. It’s hard to forget, as I have to live in my own skin everyday, but I refuse to allow my size to have bearing on whether or not I choose to live my life or take a photograph.

I went back to school at 30 years old to pursue a career about which I am passionate. I moved across the country and thrived in the biggest, most intimidating cities in America, I sang a solo in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, and I took on an entire industry in the hopes of making a positive impact for myself and others. I don’t back down from things that scare me, and I will not back down from capturing memories with loved ones.

I think it’s important to recognize our own value. I’ve learned that the hard way, and that learning process never stops. I put effort into how I look, what I wear, etc. I take pictures from flattering angles, and I pose with my big, cheesy grin.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t care about how we represent ourselves; I’m saying that I don’t want to live as a slave to this unrealistic ideal that we measure ourselves and our happiness against.

I love myself whether you think I should or not, and I’m going to continue to make memories and photograph them when I feel like it because I love looking back at the little moments that make life so special.

Do you shy away from photos because of your weight?

Hurting People Hurt People, Or Why Blogging Probably Isn’t The Answer

I feel so much better than I have for the last month or so. After realizing that the contents of my work was bothering me, I was able to address it. I addressed everything else that bothered me as well, and I realized that people really are (mostly) good. 

Some of the feelings I faced were tough to navigate through because I’m insecure, but after some self-reflection and straightforward talk from someone close to me, I realized that I’m pretty lucky. It’s easy to count the times when someone has been mean to my face, but it happens countless times here on my blog. 

I find so much encouragement here, but there’s also a lot of negativity from the trolls who are still obsessed with hating me. There only seems to be a  couple of them, but they are loud and obsessive. It’s insane and a little disturbing that people who don’t know me are willing to waste so much energy obsessively hating me. It’s weird, but it makes me feel so sorry for them. I mean, how much does your life have to suck to be obsessed with spewing judgement and blind hatred on someone else’s? 

When I look around at my life, I see so much validation and fulfillment that didn’t always exist for me. I feel content in who I am and what I’m doing even though I still want to make changes. I think there will always be room for growth and progress, and I don’t think I’ll be a failure unless I give in to the feelings of self-doubt that I experienced last week. 

We all have bad days, and I had several in a row. When I think about the things that other people go through my issues seem pretty insignificant. My issues matter, in as much as I need to face them, but today my heart goes out to the people who are truly suffering – the people I read about at work and the people who are so consumed by hurt and anger that they target me and others like me. 

I love to write, and I love to share my feelings. It helps me grow, but I’m processing and progressing a lot right now outside of the blog. It’s hard to imagine not checking in here regularly, but it’s also not something that sounds appealing right now. 

I won’t make any hard and fast decisions, except to do what’s best for me regardless of what others think about it. 

Carrying Emotional Weight

I’ve been doing a lot of self-evalations lately because I’m trying to figure out how I got to the point of disdain that I’ve been at for the last two weeks, and I think I found one of the big sources of heaviness that I’ve been overlooking. 

Right now I’m working on a project that requires me to go into the office daily, and I’ve seen some positive changes as a result. I’ve formed some good habits, including going to bed a decent hour and waking up rested each morning and thinking about what I’m going to eat throughout the day. Those are huge wins for me, especially the sleep thing beccause I’ve never been good at resting enough until now. 

The downside is that the content of the work is really hard to look at. I can’t go into detail, but it’s depressing…really depressing. I hate being privy to it, but I hate that people go through these things. Some of it is awful, and I’m definitely not cut out for this kind of work. (The work itself is great, but the content is weighing on me heavily.) 

Almost every Thursday since I started I go home and cry. That’s not like me. I’m usually pretty upbeat even when life presents challenges. I’ve also noticed a hightened sense of loneliness. I mean, I feel it from time to time, but it’s been really rough over the last few months. I’ve also noticed that I feel angry at times, and I’m not spending nearly as much time with God as I was before I took this position. 

I was looking over a report yesterday when my emotions hit me like a ton of bricks. Life isn’t fair, but I wasn’t sad about my life. I was devastated by the experiences that the subject of the report had to endure. It hit me hard, and at that moment, I realized that these reports are a huge part of the burden I’ve been feeling lately. I’m not angry that I have to do the work; I enjoy tedious tasks more than the average person. I’m just angry that we live in a world that is so full of hurt, and it breaks my heart into pieces to think that so many people walking around my community feel so hurt and hopeless. 

I’m going to finish out the contract that I signed, but I need some strength as I do it. I know that I can pray for these faceless people, and I know that’s all I can do. I just wish I coud take their hurt away. I wish they could feel peace. 

If you know me, you probably know that I’m emotional. Knowing that people feel pain makes me feel pain, and even though it sucks, it explains a lot. I’m relieved to have recognized this, and now I need to figure out how to dela with it. Days like yesterday make it easier to handle, so I’ll probably start by making an even bigger effort to do things that are good for me. 

I am so thankful for this job and for the opportunity to do something in this field, and I think I’ll leave stronger than I was when I got here. I just need to be very aware, and I really need to be wrapped up in God’s love just like each of the people I’ve just mentioned. 

If You Don’t Like It, Change It

Monte shared a message about discernment at NOLA Church Sunday morning, and while there was so much food for thought, the biggest takeaway for me was when he said, “If you don’t like your relationship with God, change it.” This isn’t going to be a post about that even though that’s really important, but the statement can apply to practically anything in our lives. 

I’ve been feeling down a lot lately, and today I decided to do some things to change it. Last night I spent some time singing and playing piano (if you can call what I did playing) just to break through some of the nervousness that I feel when I think of playing in front of people. I did it a lot growing up because my parents made me, but now I’d like to because I enjoy it. I’m passionate about singing, so maybe at some point I could feel the same way about keys. if not, it will still be fun to do it from time to time.

  

I changed up my lunch routine a bit today too. I went to Whole Foods and ate a healthy, hearty lunch, then I picked up a spa water (okay, two) to bring back to the office with me. I drank my fruit infused water instead of coffee, and it made me feel healthy and a little fancy. (It doens’t take much. Ha.) 

  

I also spent some time on my rooftop after work today. Having a snack and drink in your bed is gross and depressing, but do it by the pool, and it’s awesome. I had a couple of friends over too, and while we were up there a nice guy offered us some of the steaks he grilled. I had a few bites, but I grilled some stuff as well. 

After that I hit the gym with my aforementioned friends. Two out of three of us didn’t feel like it, but thankfully, the one who did convinced us to do it too. I spent 30 minutes on the treadmill, which feels a lot better than nothing. 

  

I also signed up to do a 5k with another friend on May 30th. She’ll reach the finish line before I do, but I’m fine with that. We’ll both leave with finisher metals anyway, and there will be someone waiting to take a picture of me. (Ah, the perks of being slower.) 

I can’t say that I feel 100% better and completely amazing yet, but I can honestly say that I feel so much better than I did yesterday. 

Now I’m going to curl up under my blankets, spend a few minutes reading the Bible, then have a good night’s sleep and pray that I can stay focused and empowered again tomorrow. (That may not be easy because I have to have a conversation that I’d rather not have tomorrow, but I’ll worry about that later.) 

I’m here, and I’m trying to jump out of my comfort zone to change what I don’t like while rediscovering my worth, which I seemed to forget for a while. Overall, I’d say I’m on my way back to the right track.