How long is 10 minutes?

The biggest thing about Alabama in the summer is that it is hot and humid and being outside is hard, especially if you don’t get into a routine early.  I’m not going to make excuses as to how or why, but I, once again, failed to get into a routine.  Thus, running or biking when the sun is out is just not a wise decision.  I want to be active, but I don’t want to die.
One thing that I’ve incorporated into my life over the last couple of years, but definitely even more in the last couple of months, is yoga.  I’ve been trying to do yoga for 20-30 minutes every day that I can, which, luckily, has been most days.  I do Yoga with Adriene on YouTube, in case you’re wondering.

Today I went to the next video on the September playlist and it’s 41 minutes long.  I’ve worked out for longer than that many many times in my life before, but I’ve felt weak lately.  I’ve felt that I can’t do much.  I’ve felt overweight and out of shape and so many other things that probably aren’t true.  But we all tend to perceive ourselves differently than we actually are, don’t we?
So I almost skipped the 40 minute video.  Because ten extra minutes just felt too long.  I felt too weak.  I felt like I might feel too tired afterward.  But then I thought about how I usually feel after I do yoga.  Unlike other workouts, when I do yoga I just feel good.  My mood boosts in a different way.  My body doesn’t feel like I’ve done a hard workout, it just feels… I don’t know… good.  I told myself to do the 40 minute video.  It wasn’t hard.  Those ten extra minutes weren’t even noticed.

So I wonder how long ten minutes even is.  What else could I do for ten minutes that I might not even notice?  Could I do ten extra minutes of cleaning?  My house would look that much better.  Could I spend ten extra minutes outside with my dog?  Maybe when it cools down.  Could I spend ten minutes writing, so maybe my mind might be clearer, like it used to be?  I decided to find out.

What could you do for ten minutes?

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Times They Are a Changin’

I almost never blog anymore, but I always blog in airports, and that’s where I am right now.

Yesterday would have been my mother’s 64th birthday.  It’s been two years since she passed.  She’ll never meet my boyfriend.  She’ll never see me finish my masters or have a real job.  She’ll never visit me in Alabama or Arizona or anywhere else I might end up living.   And my life keeps going on.  I keep moving forward.  Everyday I’m distanced from what she knew me to be.  And I’m hoping that I’m who she would have wanted me to be.

We’re flying to California because my dad is getting married on Saturday.  He’s moving to Southern California.  My brother moved back to our childhood home to keep the house.  Everything’s different, and I’m not even around to notice it.

People keep asking me how I feel about these changes.  My biggest concern is that my dad is happy, so obviously I’m fine with it.  And honestly, being across the country, I don’t even notice the changes.  My life is still the same.  I go the same job.  I have the same friends.  The only difference is that I’m in school, so I have class and homework.

So yeah.  I’m happy.  Or relatively.  Blending my family is not the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

I’ll try to have more thoughts next time.

Out in Publix

Since moving to the south, I’ve had to change the way I shop for groceries.  I miss Vons a lot, but I’ve been here long enough, so I guess that I’ve adjusted for the most part.  I go to Walmart way more than I did when I lived in California.  A place where I’ve learned to get the most of my groceries here is Publix.

The thing about Publix is, it’s pretty southern.  They take care of their employees, and almost everyone I’ve seen working there is in a good mood.  They go out of their way to talk to you, which is pretty much my nightmare.  I prefer to shop uninterrupted, unless I actually have a question.  And I know that it’s a customer service thing, bothering the customers.  I work in customer service, I get it.  But it’s a lot harder for me to address someone I don’t know.  I hate when strangers talk to me without a purpose.  I’m not good at conversation.  It spikes my anxiety.

But the biggest thing that Publix insists on that I hate is helping me to my car.  I grew up having the grocery store checker asking if I needed help out.  I don’t like strangers seeing my car, and I’m fairly independent, so I’ve never needed help out.  But at Publix, you don’t really get a choice.  One time I had only one bag in my hand and they guy tried to take it from me.  It almost gives me stalker vibes.  I know it’s their job, it just feels very intrusive to me.  It happens less when I take my boyfriend shopping with me, but if we have a cart, someone definitely is going to help us out to our car.  I’m sure there are lots of people who really appreciate this Publix standard, but I hate it.  And if it wasn’t the best grocery store in the area I would just go somewhere else.

This is just one instance where I need to learn to say “no.”  Still working on my effort to avoid small talk at all costs.

Maybe I was Brainwashed

I’m pretty sure I grew up in a bubble.  Most of us probably grew up in a bubble.  Up until high school, I only knew Christian people.  I went to Christian camp.  I went to Christian school.  I had friends from church.  Even the after school program I went to was Lutheran.
I was told that “non believer” friends would cause me to “stumble.”  And then, when I got older, I was told to bring those same people to church, but they couldn’t be my friends unless they were Christian.  How was I supposed to bring someone to church without first befriending them.
The Seventh Day Adventist private school I attended for most of my life told me that eating things like pig, or catfish, or any other “bottom feeder” was basically sinful and that it would make me an unhealthy person.  To this day I can’t stomach some of these foods if I’m aware of what I’m eating, even if they taste good, are made right, raised right, and are something I want to eat.
In high school, where a lot of people are discovering who they are and they’re sexuality, I was told that gay was not okay and that abortion was murder.  And I had gay friends that would come to church with me.  I used to be so sad because I was told they weren’t going to go to heaven, all because of who they loved.  If someone felt that they were born the wrong gender, they had to be wrong, or sick, or have some sort of hidden sin in their life, because God doesn’t make mistakes.  Yes, we are God’s creation, but I think a lot of Christians forget that our world is broken, so someone being born the wrong gender isn’t necessarily a God thing or a sin thing, its more of a fallen world thing.  God is in control, but he gave over the reigns a long time ago.

In Acts, God spoke to Peter and told him to not call anything unclean or impure what he has made clean.  Didn’t Christ abolish the law?  So why are we still so legalistic?  We don’t “get to heaven” by following a bunch of rules.  It’s not even really about being  a good person.  But I think if we started seeing everyone as created, seeing everyone as having a purpose, seeing everyone as worthy, maybe some of the hurt in this world would end.

By the way, bacon is awesome, gay is okay, I won’t invite you to church because I don’t have one locally, and I will listen with an open mind and open heart if you need to talk about abortion.

Truth and Lies

When I was fourteen I got a phone call from my mother after school asking why I was telling rumors about Jessicah.  For most of my freshman year of high school, Jessicah had been my best friend.  I don’t remember exactly why Jessicah had turned on me, but I do remember she and a few other girls who rode my bus had started to make my life very difficult in certain spaces.  Anyway, Jessicah had told a close friend of my mother’s that I was spreading a rumor around that Jessicah had put razor blades in my backpack.  When my mother called me to ask me about it, I had no idea what she was talking about.  I didn’t even yet know about this rumor that I was apparently spreading.  Also, why in the world would it even occur to me to make up a lie like that.  I hadn’t even found any razor blades in my backpack.  That wasn’t even a thought that had come into my head.

The next morning before school, I was digging through my backpack looking for a book or something, and at the bottom I found a plastic container with razor blades in it.  I think they were replacements for exacto knives or something.  How did they get there?  Oh right, obviously Jessicah had put them there, expecting me to find them sooner.  So she started a rumor that was actually true.  But I never told anyone that Jessicah put razor blades in my backpack.  Not until after I found them.  And I got the school involved.  I got the “authorities” involved.

She was putting razor blades in my backpack because I was and “emo” girl.  We all had our “emo” fazes.  And everything else that comes with that doesn’t even matter anymore, because that was more than 10 years ago.  We are grown up now.  Adults don’t make up stupid rumors about each other out of malice or embarrassment.  We put the past behind us a long time ago.

Last year I worked for a local food delivery company called Shoals Takeout to bring in some extra money.  For the most part the job was really fun.  I got to drive my own car and listen to podcasts.  We worked for tips.  But none of or mileage was reimbursed, and since I don’t know the laws, I wasn’t aware that that’s technically illegal.

I left that job in December.  There was too much going on in my life.  Trying to work a second job when your main job is Starbucks during the holidays is almost suicide.  I was constantly stressed out.  I was tired.  I was depressed.  I was scheduled more than I had originally agreed.  And there was very little help when customers refused to tip or were unreachable.  But none of that matters now, because the past is in the past.

Right before I went to Europe with my dad last year, I went to do my cash drop in the Shoals Takeout office before I went to work at Starbucks.  We had to do our cash drops on our own time, but the office was only open certain hours.  I worked two jobs, so I didn’t often have free time to do my cash drop during those open hours.  I was leaving for Europe the next day and I had 45 minutes until I had to be at Starbucks, and I knew the office was open.  I walked in the owner yelled at me, because the time I chose during their open hours, the only time I had to do my cash drop and give them their money, because I was leaving for Europe, just happened to inconvenience her.  Even though I didn’t even say anything or need anything from her.  I should have just quit then and kept the money, but I would have felt too guilty.  Because I’m a nice person.  Fairly.

So, like I said, I finally turned in my 2 weeks notice in December.  Every time I went into the office they weren’t in the office, so I had to send my notice via Groupme, which wouldn’t have been my first choice.  However, since that was the way I was forced to do it, I have proof that I left that job by my own accord, in a peaceful manor.

Last week Bobby and I went to trivia and saw one of our former coworkers.  We discussed a lot of things and generally had a good time.  But we also talked about frustrations with our former workplace, and questioned whether we would be reimbursed for all our mileage, since we had heard that another employee was getting his backlogged mileage reimbursed.  However, he was still with the company, while we were gone by that time.  I’m not fighting for it, but it’s still a conversation we’re bound to have when we’re together.  But I also found out something else.  Apparently, even though I gave my notice when I left, Shoals Takeout has been telling people that they fired me.  I guess they were embarrassed to have lost too many good employees.  It is pretty embarrassing, when you think about it.  You have a great company idea but no people skills, so everyone quits because you’re rude to them.  Maybe I’d make up lies too.  Except I like to think that I’d be a better person.

I thought we had left childish rumors behind in high school.  I thought southern people were supposed to be raised with better morals.  I thought parents were supposed to be more mature.  I thought a lot of things.  But I’m not always right.  I can be mean too.  I’ve never been fired from a job.  But I can fire some shots.  I can rant on twitter.  I can be a child too.

Grad School, Mother’s Day, and Road Trips

I’ve been on a hiatus for longer than I ever have been.  I haven’t written.  I haven’t posted.  I feel like I haven’t existed much at all.

I got into grad school.  I’m supposed to start in the fall.  But I have to register.  And in order to register I have to figure out my financial aid stuff.  I feel like I’ve gone back in time.  I should know how to do all of this, but I don’t even remember how I did it the first time around.  I’m pretty sure my mom did it all for me.  But I don’t have her to help me this time around.  And I know I can do it.  That doesn’t make me any less afraid.

Last month was Mother’s Day.  It was my second Mother’s Day without a mother.  I wanted to not focus on it being a holiday at all.  So Bobby and I went to visit someone who I had been wanting to visit for quite some time.  We went up to Nashville and had lunch and exploring with JJ Peterson, who was the Dean of Students for three years of my college career.  JJ is one of the funniest, freest people that I have ever known.  He’s deep and real and inspiring.  We had hot chicken.  Bobby got to see a different side of my life.

A week and a half ago Bobby and I returned from a nine day road trip.  We went to Mule Days in my home town in California.  We visited my dad and my home and I wish we never had to leave.  I miss living out west.  I miss the dry air.
We stopped in Flagstaff, Arizona, and we’re pretty sure we found where we want to end up some day.  I dove into a big blue hole in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.  We found the infamous Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas.
I’ve always loved road trips.  But I love them even more with Bobby.  I love having a forever person like him.
We don’t have it all figured out.  But I’m thankful that we get to figure it out together.

When I was home a lot of people asked if I’m still writing.  I felt like I’d let everyone down when I said no.  And I don’t even have an answer for why I stopped.  Have I forgotten who I am?  Have I forgotten everything?  Or have I just disappeared a little bit.  I can’t make myself be more inspired.  But I can learned to be disciplined again.  I can learn who I am again.

I’m not making any promises though.  I’ll try to ramble less.  Or maybe I’ll just try.

Use Your Words… Or Don’t

I don’t really care what you believe about anything, words have power.

I was just listening to a Lore podcast about Romani curses.  The Romani people would hold trials when something was stolen or some other crime had been committed.  In these trials they would will their community to confess to the crime, and if no one confessed, they would curse the perpetrator to an agonizing death as a group.  Then the trial would be over and things would go back to normal.  But Romani curses aren’t real because of any kind of black magic.  They’re not real in a physical sense at all.  Rather, they’re real because thinking makes it so.  It’s the power of the mind.  A Romani person could curse you by telling you your life will be hard and your death will be painful.  And it would probably come true, not because the Romani were prophetic, but because you’d probably spend the rest of your life worrying about the curse, thus your life would probably be hard.  And your death would probably be painful because you had spent your whole life worrying about your death.  Your mind gave these words power.  Thinking made it so.

I work with someone who doesn’t believe in encouragement, and only believes in belittlement.  No one could ever measure up or be good at their job.  So it’s best to make sure they know that you believe that.  Call them stupid and slow.  Because that’s sure to make them work better and faster.  “Don’t applaud a fish for swimming.”
I had to take a class on leadership for my degree.  We learned about so many leadership styles.  But as an exhorter, I believe the best way to lead is to come alongside and grow with someone.  Lead by being a part, rather than sitting above.  Encourage and help, instead of getting upset because a mistake was made.  Build up, rather than diminish.
I’ve felt very discouraged lately.  Because although those under my leadership believe that I’m doing a good job; although I know that I am doing a good job, my equals still don’t see me as equal.  It makes me want to move on.  It makes me want to give up.  It makes me want to quit.  It can always be better.  And I’ve believed for a long time now that if you don’t like something, change it.

Have you ever heard a lot about someone before you’ve ever met them?  So you go into the relationship with preconceived notions of what everyone has already told you?  I went to college with a girl that I had heard about for most of the summer before.  So I met her believing several negative things about her.  I knew her to be annoying before we ever spoke.  I believed she was something that she isn’t because of the words others had spoken.  But that girl became one of my best friends.  Words have power.  Until they don’t.

We should talk about each other less.  We should build each other up more.  We should be more careful.  We shouldn’t believe that we have to be careful.
I spend so much time afraid that I’ve messed up, that I’ve ruined everything, that I forget how to love myself.  I forget how to love others.  I forget how to be happy.  I don’t want to forget anymore.