Show Up

Sometimes, life is unfair and downright fucked up. This is something most of us learned as children.

For me, I was in elementary school and had to pull my card for allegedly talking. I actually wasn’t talking, but my teacher did not want to hear me out and I had to pull my card anyway.

The smug little girl who WAS talking and knew full well the injustice that was happening right before her devious eyes just sat there.

While I knew she clearly wasn’t getting into Heaven, I was still upset. In fact, I was so upset that I began to cry and my teacher made me pull my card AGAIN for crying. The satisfaction of knowing that now both of them would be rotting in Hell still wasn’t enough to console me.

This memory stuck with me. Sometimes unfair things happen. Even worse still, we usually can’t do anything about it. It’s a part of life. I get it….but still, fuck that.

I am happy to tell you that the evil little girl who didn’t own up to talking in class grew up to be a woman whose husband left her for another woman. Sad, really. She could have avoided all of that pain had she just admitted she was the one talking and pulled her card. Let that be a lesson to you all.

I know, that’s a silly story and a minor injustice, but what do we do when the really unfair things happen, and we can’t do anything about it? What do we do when we can’t console ourselves or the ones we love? What happens to our hearts and minds when the unfairness is too much to bear?

I don’t have any answers for you. Many of us have faith in a greater power and that brings some peace and comfort, but not always right away and very often we are still left not understanding why certain things happen.

Here’s what I do know…

When times get tough and things are unfair, it helps to have amazing people around you. By amazing, I mean strong people who have empathy and give love. If you don’t already have these people in your life, get some.

I’ll share some of the best parts of the people who keep me sane (sort of) and give me a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen when I need it.

They dance. They dance like fools and like everybody is watching, but they don’t give a shit.

They laugh. Not only do they laugh at my jokes to the point of snorting (you know who you are), they also make me laugh and know how important laughter is. This includes enjoying stupid/lame jokes that only we think are funny.

They sympathize. Even if they don’t know exactly what you’re going through, they listen with compassion and try to understand.

They empathize. Even better, they know exactly what you’re going through, and you don’t feel alone.

They drink. Let’s face it, I’m gonna need you to have a cocktail or three with me because days are hard.

They sit by your side. They’ve seen your ugly cry face. They’ve seen you overreact. They’ve seen you without makeup. And still, they sit next to you.

They don’t judge. There is no “right way” to do this thing called life and they know this. They’ve made the same mistake 12 times, just to be sure it was really a mistake. We’re all still figuring some things out and that’s ok.

They dislike all the same people you do. We don’t wear pink on Wednesdays, but you still can’t sit with us. Like, ever.

They think you’re beautiful, inside and out. They not only think it, they tell you. We build each other up. The world will tear us down, but we won’t do that to each other.

They believe the best of you. Others will assume the worst of you, but your people should always see the good in you and tell you so.

Most importantly…

They show up. At a moment’s notice and sometimes without you even asking because they just know.

To my people who are all of these things and more, I love you and thank you. We have a safe place to go when we need to unwind or vent or cry or laugh and that place is with each other. We can’t always fix each other’s hurt or make the terrible things better, but we can show up and be with each other.

There is something devastatingly beautiful about the pain that makes us vulnerable in life. We become so open and exposed that others have a chance to pour love and healing into our hearts and our wounds.

Even when my heart is heavy, it is full. And that is a gift.

Definitely, maybe

I thought I was clear, but apparently not. Please don’t talk to me for the first few hours of the day. I’m coming to grips with the fact that I have to be awake and it’s difficult.

Also, please don’t wear your Snuggie to work. Oh, it’s a poncho? Umm, no. At the very least, that is a cape and who are you saving? Nobody. Fucking nobody.

I’m trying to be a nice person, but you people are making this hard. I’m staying centered. I’m burning my Sage. I’m hugging the humans I like. I’ve even eaten Kale twice in the last week. Help a sister out and save your words for someone else. Hold that thought, like, forever. Thanks.

I’m about to become one of those people who creates a Facebook event. I know, but it’s for a good cause. It’s so my girlfriends and I can go eat delicious food and drink adult beverages a month from now because we’re all so damn busy and this is what it’s come to.

I guess being an adult means you have to schedule lunches a month in advance and eat a lot of green leafy vegetables. Nobody tells you that when they’re reading you fairy tales as a child, do they?!

“And then the princess picked her boyfriend’s boxers up off the floor every day for the rest of her life because while his eyesight was good, the hamper was invisible to him.”

Cohabitation is fun. This month alone, I’ve watched 13 movies I couldn’t be less interested in. I get to tell him that he’s using his inhaler wrong and wonder if he’s leaving his trimmed beard hair in the sink because, like the hamper, it’s invisible to him. Write a story about that, Disney.

As though that isn’t hard enough, I go to work and PEOPLE TALK TO ME.

I’m not actually upset about any of this. They are minor annoyances, but I might have an attitude problem. Definitely, maybe.

Confession time: There are six stalls in the bathroom in our building. The fourth one doesn’t lock. There is no way to make it properly lock, it just won’t. I see women walk right in and I say nothing. They usually like to give it 3 or 4 tries before realizing there is no way to lock it. I could have told them, but I find it amusing. I might be an asshole. Definitely, maybe.

Here, watch this little hedgehog try to swim. Act like you don’t love the hell out of it. I dare you.

Shut Up, You’re Weird Too

As much as I like the fun part of holidays, can I just say that I am so happy they’re over? Of course I can, I’m the boss of me. I think holidays make people crazy, rather, they bring out the crazy. What is that? Is it being reminded of bad memories past? The impending doom of spending time with relatives? Is your creepy uncle coming to Christmas dinner? I mean, WHAT?!

It’s fine, we all have our reasons for wishing the holidays away. Mine would be the crowds of people. They are everywhere, and they bring their crying babies with them. Isn’t this time of year hard enough without your teething infant screaming in the middle of Macy’s? I’m just looking for a sweater, dammit.

I enjoy parts of it. My Mother is an amazing cook and I happen to like my family so that part is easy. I love watching my kids open their gifts. Then, I regret buying things that require batteries, assembly or set up of any kind. Immediately, I turn my daughter and ask her to set up the new Nintendo Switch pretending I’m like a grandmother who doesn’t understand how “email” or “texting” works. She obliges because watching me attempt it would be equally if not more frustrating for her. She’s a good daughter.

When Christmas is finally over, there sits New Year’s like the smug bitch that she is. “New year, new you? Not so fast!”, she shouts.

I burned White Sage throughout the house and carried on with a positive attitude because new beginnings, right?

Shut up, you’re weird too.

Well, I can’t even believe the things people around me have already endured. Jeez, 2018. Simmer down. However, there’s happiness too, some have new houses and new babies (I’ve already advised them on not allowing their infants to tag along to Macy’s). I suppose this is the stuff of life. Ups and downs, ebbs and flows.

The truth is that New Year’s Resolutions are silly. It’s just a date. You want to change something? Umm, change it. It’s not like the Universe is gonna stop you… “Whoa, making a change today? On a school night? I won’t allow it.” Then, you’re struck by lightening to set an example for all the other humans who dare to be so bold as to try to better themselves in the middle of the week.

I’m going to make resolutions and evolve twice monthly so just brace yourself, this will never end. I don’t ever want to stop being curious and will constantly want to try new things. For instance, I had an app on my phone for a solid 5 weeks to help me learn French. Sure, it didn’t last, but “c’est la vei”. I’m now researching the benefits of bone broth and will be making my own in the next week.

Shut up, you’re weird too.

Lifetime learners and people who aren’t scared to be who they genuinely are, that’s who I like and want to surround myself with. Yes, tell me about your strange childhood. I live for this shit. Talk to me about your latest epiphany, I wanna know. You had a rough day, but found the silver lining? Let’s talk about it over a beer.

As my good pal and I recently discussed over a shared jar of moonshine, we are all changing and evolving. This is a good thing and something that should never stop because if it did, then what’s the point?

I think we’re here on Earth for two reasons:

To love ourselves and others

To learn what we don’t know

That second one is endless, obviously. And that is the point.

I spent a solid decade learning about myself and reading every book imaginable. I love to learn about others too, this is my jam. If you’re a MBTI nerd like me, I’m an ENFP. If you don’t know what that means…as my good friend says, “Google that shit!” (GTS). I’m a Type Two on the Enneagram. Again, GTS.

As much self-discovery as I’ve done, I still surprise myself. I recently noticed that after a very social weekend, I will suddenly shut down and need no one to talk to me or even breathe in my direction. It’s just too much to bare. I have expended all my extroverted energy. I now need to re-charge and I can’t do that with you in my space. I suppose I’m a Social Introvert, which is weird.

Shut up, you’re weird too.

Anyway, I guess what I’m saying is that my Non-New Year’s Resolution is to keep trying new things, keep learning more about myself and others, and just love people. They need it and so do I. I’d also like to go wine tasting. I’ve never been and it seems like the 37 year old thing to do so maybe. We shall see.

I will always crave connection, real connection. If you’re not going to be real with me, I’ll know, and our conversation will be about the weather and last under 5 minutes. I’m not a Meteorologist, I don’t give a shit about the forecast, I just don’t like you. It’s ok, someone else will.

Good luck with your New Year’s Resolutions, everyone! Try being Gluten free, you’ll probably be friend free in 2 weeks, but carry on. Giving up alcohol? Call me when that’s over. I’ll be here for you, but in the meantime, I’ll be over there where they keep the beer. Deciding to try bangs? I’ll caution against it, but still sit next to you. (P.S. you look 5 years old now)

How To Be 37

I just had a birthday. I know, fantastic. I bought myself all the face creams so let’s just not talk about it anymore.

I’ve been catching up on the last few seasons of Grey’s Anatomy as of late. So far I’ve diagnosed two people with Cardiomyopathy, one with Bronchitis and 62 with an attitude problem. A few didn’t take the news well, but whatevs.

We recently attended a Halloween party. I went as an attacked Little Red Riding Hood with a basket full of booze. Duh. I contemplated doing the couple thing, my boyfriend obviously being the Wolf. However, the look of excitement on his face when we found the inflatable Velociraptor costume was just too much to bear. Plus, I was really hoping he’d get a little tipsy and fall over. Then, I could just roll him out the door and back home. Bonus, he’d be encapsulated in this getup all night so when he farted and gassed himself out to the point of unconsciousness, I would see Karma at it’s finest. I’m an amazing person.

Fine, I’m not that great. Still better than some though. For instance..

I saw two women jogging early in the morning and one was wearing a head flashlight. I can’t decide if they were friends jogging together or if the flashlight wearer was chasing the other woman to force her into friendship. She clearly needs a friend to tell her that she looks like a dumb ass. First of all, it wasn’t that dark. Second of all, you’re not a coal miner, ma’am. Take it down a notch.

Or how about the guy who likes to hold the door open and wait for me to walk through at the gym even though I might be a solid 50 feet away. Thank you sir, but I’m going to get my cardio inside the gym and now I feel like I have to awkwardly powerwalk because you have an impatient look on your face like I’m inconveniencing you. Dude, I’ll get my own door.

Enough about others, let’s get back to me. I’m about to cry over this hangnail and I just washed a plastic fork. Send help.
And out of the blue, I decided to watch Eat, Pray, Love. It felt like the 37-year-old thing to do. Clearly, we needed wine and by “we” I just mean me. I watched the movie twice. In a row. I blame the wine.
I’d actually seen it years ago, but I don’t think I got it at the time. Either way, I suddenly have a desire to eat all the pasta in Italy, buy bigger jeans, then attend a wedding in India and finally cry with Javier Bardem about EVERYTHING.

However, there was a quote in there that I loved so very much..

“Ruin is a gift. Ruin is a road to transformation.”

I think there are some types of growth that can only come from brokenness. Sometimes we have to be humbled to be open to what we need to learn.

A little bit of the wisdom I picked up over the last year:

Half the time you’re fighting with someone, you’re really fighting with yourself.

Forgiveness is not a chore, but a necessary part of loving someone completely. This means yourself also.

Life’s trials don’t end. One gets solved and another arises. Learning to enjoy life throughout all of the trials is the point.

Don’t miss the point.

There is always room for one more.

Check in on people, they need it more than you think.

You don’t have it all figured out, life will surprise you and about half the time you’ll like it.

I will say “Bless You” up to 3 times when you sneeze. After that, I assume you’re an attention whore and you’re dead to me.

What? I can’t be mature all the time.

Ever feel like you’re not cutting it as a parent? Let me help you out. My son just went to Camp and I sent him with a disposable camera. I’ll be dropping it off to get the pictures developed along with my daughter’s disposable camera from when she went to Camp SIX YEARS AGO. Mother of the year.

I’m going to need you guys to lower your expectations. Thanks.

South Lake Tahoe, A Love Letter

Dear South Lake Tahoe,

I didn’t want to meet you. I thought the timing of this trip couldn’t have been worse with so much going on in my life. I just knew that my absence from my regular life would be detrimental TO THE ENTIRE WORLD. I may have over estimated my importance a little, maybe. Surprisingly, the people in my life survived without me and had I not gone, I would never have experienced the splendor of your beauty.

As it turned out, this trip came at the exact right time. While it was a work related trip, I feel as though it was a gift to me for so many reasons. It coincided with a time that my soul needed something. It’s a different kind of hunger when it comes from my soul. I truthfully had no idea what I needed. Maybe a reminder. A reminder of who I am.  A reminder that no matter who or what surrounds me, I am grounded, I am centered and I know what is true. It is so easy to get lost in the day to day and I forget the big picture of my life.

Off I went. Slim Jim’s, check. Playlist, check. Stress, check!

I arrived not knowing what was in store, but boy did you feed my soul.

The last hour of the drive to meet you was worth the trip alone. Oh, hello trees. There are so many of you, you are so green and happy. Why wouldn’t you be? You are hugged every day by beautiful mountains with surprise waterfalls that pour with delight at the chance to nourish you. Lest I forget the streams. They flowed in a way that told me I was headed to a place where peace would abound. Yes, please. That’s one thing I wanted for sure, peace.

My Buddhist tendencies keep me from going into new situations with expectations and I found it quite easy to just take the experience for what it was and be grateful.

Something I’m adamant about when traveling is walking as much as possible. Not only is it great after sitting in a car for so long, but for me it’s a better way to get a feel for my new surroundings.

I learned a few things about myself while in this gorgeous place…

One, I LOVE to travel alone. Being able to explore whatever I wanted and not having to consult another living soul was liberating. I loved driving through the mountains and performing the most amazing car karaoke that the world will never have the pleasure of witnessing. (Some gifts aren’t meant to be shared)

Two, I adore me. I thoroughly enjoy my own company. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with me. I’m adventurous, fun and might I add, a little easy on the eyes most days. My inner monologue keeps me highly entertained and I am one of the funniest people I know. Did I mention I’m also humble?

Three, the older I get, the more I talk to myself. Not a low mumble, but like regular conversation level volume talk to myself. I think the people in my life have gotten used to it, but go to a new place and all of a sudden you’re “the weird girl who wanders and has an imaginary friend”. All I have to say to that is, DROP DEAD FRED!

Let me take you through a bit of my journey..

Day one, meeting the lake.

Sunshine, but only 83°. It was 106° back home so enjoying the warmth of the sun without feeling like it was trying to murder me was fantastic.

The bluest lake I’ve ever seen..

IMG_20170709_191721_148Music is life. I feel like every situation can only get better when you have some good tunes.

Since I love music so much, I was naturally drawn to the center of town where live bands seemed to be everywhere. I listened to three different bands at various venues. All of them were great. There’s something about live music that makes me surrender to the moment.

I crossed over to the Nevada side for a bit, not as fun in my opinion, but cool nonetheless. I spent so much time walking and exploring the town that I forgot to eat dinner so I grabbed a tasty pizza from Vinny’s on my way back to the hotel. I washed it down with a Tallboy Bud Light because I am nothing, if not classy.

Day two…

Work obligations took half of the day. However, my coworker/friend and I accomplished our goal and graduated from a program we’ve been working on for a couple of years so yay to that!

We also got to enjoy lunch at Heaven’s Little Cafe which was indeed heavenly. The fish tacos were amaaaazing.

With responsibility out of the way, I ran back to the hotel to change and I was gone. I did a little Googling earlier in the day and read about Emerald Bay. I can’t explain it, but I knew I had to go. I wanted to see that view for myself. I just needed to be there so up the mountain I drove.

Along the way I saw 2 beautiful Ravens which I took as a good omen. Most of you probably know that my left wrist is adorned with one of these beauties.

My love of birds has been with me since I was a child. Yes, my last name is Nightengale. No, not like the bird and no, that’s not why.

My Mother always called me a night owl because I never wanted to go to sleep at night. Side Note: I only ever got spanked once as a child because I didn’t want to put on underwear. I guess not much has changed. I still like to be up late and still hate underwear…and pants for that matter.

I think I was a bird in a past life. Imagine the freedom of flying and being able to take a crap on whoever you want. Amazing.

I digress….so back to the trip up the mountain. I made it to Emerald Bay and it was breathtaking.

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The presence of other humans was a minor annoyance, but I had plenty of solitude and my earphones so all was well. I think that was exactly the point you were making to me, all is well. There are small matters; stress, conflicts and people who will try to rob me of my joy and peace, but at the end of the day all is well with my soul. I have what matters most in life and I am grateful.

A few fun facts..

Emerald Bay is home to the one and only Island in Lake Tahoe.

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Fannette Island

There are days I would like to be air lifted to this Island so no one can talk to me. I could send a Raven with a message should anything of importance arise, but otherwise I should be left alone.

Then there is this gem. Captain Richard “Dick” Barter made his way to Lake Tahoe in the 1860’s. He was quite the character and would row his dinghy into town to visit the saloons. Captain Dick had a proclivity for Whiskey which only makes him more lovable. There’s a story about him amputating his own toes and showing them to visitors, but we’ll just focus on the positive here.

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Just to confirm that the birds love me right back..

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He was just a little shy.

 

The biggest challenge I face is being present in the moment and enjoying myself when all of the small stuff in life tries to get in the way. It was easy to do when I was with you, none of those things existed. I messaged a friend who frequently visits you and asked him, “Is this heaven?” He replied, “Of course it is”. And that was that.

I may have found my heaven on Earth. I think you’ve stolen my heart from the Ocean who I still hold in high regard and will always visit. However, nothing can compete with the clarity I feel standing under your giant trees and looking at the majestic view of your water and mountains.

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At Inspiration Point

 

Day three, a sad goodbye..

I will miss you. I debated going back to the lake one more time, but since a 5 hour energy drink was already going to be required for the trip home I decided to get on the road.

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Not to worry, I safely drove while the phone was stationary and capturing a bit of my drive. I could drive this road every day and never tire of it.

Until we meet again, South Lake Tahoe. Thank you for the reminders. Thank you for being so welcoming and thank you for the quiet.

There is value is saying nothing at all, in quiet reflection and in a little soul searching.

 

Bad Boys

Bad boys.

While listening to Miranda Lambert’s latest album, I came across this song and it sparked a conversation.

My girlfriends and I have been discussing the topic and I love the feedback so here goes.

Most of us girls have fallen weak in the knees a time or two for this brand of man child. First, a few questions…

What constitutes a “Bad boy”?

Is it a style?

 Is it the vice/vices they have?

 Is it a “don’t give a shit” attitude and/or disregard for the law?

I think there’s something intriguing about a guy who seems as though he can never be fully attained. Maybe it’s the idea that they save their softer side for only you…or at least you hope it’s only for you. Maybe it’s the challenge or the idea that we can “save” them.

One friend said she used to be into the brooding musician types and once fell hard for a gorgeous guy who was dark and moody.  Unfortunately, that dark side led to him being a cheater and the moody side ended up being a serious drug addiction.

And because Lana is a bad ass.

Sometimes we only see the good and don’t see the bad until we’re already in too deep. Oops. Our bad.

Carrie may have warned us, but we don’t always listen..

I’ve seen some bad boys turn into good men, usually after years of the Peter Pan Syndrome and the love of an incredibly patient woman.  However, guess whose patience has worn thin after 36 years on this planet? This bitch!

I’ve spent some time being attracted to men who had an air of mystery about them, rebels with absolutely no cause, but as time has passed it seems less attractive. A tough exterior, swagger and street smarts are the only qualities these bad boys may possess that I still think are attractive.  Outside of that, I’m pretty much done with this brand of male.

Some men grow up and outgrow the more immature aspects of the bad boy persona, leaving behind the destructive behaviors that ruin relationships and kudos to them. Some can never get past idea that they have to be accountable to another human being and that means not doing whatever the fuck you want whenever you want; but guess what? If you want a loving, lasting relationship with someone you can count on, you kind of have to grow up. Shocking, I know.

You know what I find attractive? Manners, respect, being consistent, having priorities and life goals. A man who is tough when he needs to be and is always protective of his lady is a keeper in my book as well.

Another one of my lady friends said that while she is still attracted to the bad boy type, her older and wiser self prefers a good guy that is hard working and family oriented. She still wants him to be able to whoop some ass and stay street wise though.

Amen, sister!

The next bit of input comes from the person who brought this to us this morning…

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She said, “I like boys…good boys, bad boys, funny boys, rich, poor…if you show me attention I will probably fall in love with you. I’m a sucker thanks to my self-esteem. Unless you have a man bun, then you’re out.”

She is obviously my favorite human today and not just because she shares my hate of man buns or because she gifted me with a giant zucchini, but because she’s so honest and knows how to laugh at herself.

Another said, “I think I’m attracted to narcissists. I like super confident guys and then I realize they are way more in love with themselves and not so into me.”

 

On relationships in general…

In the end, we fall for who we fall for and love who we love. Every relationship is different and no matter what it looks like from the outside, only those two people know what’s what. We’re all loving flawed human beings and hoping for the best.

Ladies, we’re a hot mess too. We analyze, then discuss with each other, over think and then discuss some more. Sometimes we are fuel to each other’s fires and make things worse, but I’m so glad we have each other to bitch to about guys and relationships, and most importantly thank God we have each other to laugh with. It saves us.

Guys, don’t be a dick just because you have one. Know what you have when you have it because I guarantee you that someone will appreciate what you take for granted and every girl has an ex that wants to make it right for the 89th time. Instead of being a bad boy, be a bad ass man who has self-respect and does right by the people who love you.

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And scene.