Build A Fire

Managing personal, daily responsibilities alongside creative priorities feels, to me, a lot like trying to boil water without a stove. There are ways to do it, but it takes a lot more work and resourcefulness than you’d prefer. You have to build a fire.

I go through periods of sitting in the dark often. No fire, no stove, and certainly no boiled water. But the most frustrating part is that we all have our valid reasons for these misaligned responsibilities and priorities that can lead to darkness. My reasons, for example (since I’m painfully aware of my own and have made it a sort of habit to call out my own imperfections in this space), have to do with lack of time and with other, “more important” tasks than, say, oh I don’t know, writing a chapter of a book or drafting a blog post.

Limited time and limitless tasks might not be far off base from your reasons, either. I’m pretty sure we all wrestle with time management (or just a deficit of enough time) and needing to get the *really* important things done before we get the things we’d like to do done.

For me, the stuff that comes before my personal writing projects makes up a pretty long list: clean the kitchen, walk the dog, declutter the desk, vacuum, work on freelance assignments, make breakfast, make lunch, make dinner, clean up after any given meal, work out, answer emails. I spend a good portion of the week with the little boy I nanny for. I spend a good portion of my nights reading…or watching Bravo. (Okay, mostly watching Bravo.)

Most of those tasks are simply things I need to get done to function normally and make a living, but where do the creative priorities fit in? (And they are still priorities…even if they don’t always make it on the day’s list of must-dos.) For me, I’m learning over and over again that nothing happens in an instant. Writing a book takes time. Curating content online takes resiliency and consistency.

I’m also continuing to learn my strengths: I’m a big morning lover, and that’s when my creativity and productivity are their absolute highest. So, on the days when I have a full schedule, I know I won’t get any writing in if I save it until 9 at night. (Let’s be honest, it probably won’t happen after 3 in the afternoon.) Even on days when my routine is a little slower and more flexible, a sit-down in front of my computer or with a notebook first thing can kick things off in a way more positive way than scrolling through Instagram in bed for a half hour.

Plus, at 7 a.m., I usually don’t have a sky-high to-do list full of all my responsibilities yet, and many of those can wait until later in the day anyway, when my left-brained creative madness has chilled out a little.

It really takes a degree of self-awareness and some diligence, but the necessary duties of life don’t need to constantly outweigh the fulfillment and forward motion of a side project or two. Take it from me — I’ve been learning and resisting and relearning this lesson too many times to count. Do the thing makes your soul feel less crazy — clean the kitchen, go for a run. But also make sure you do the thing that makes your soul feel set ablaze.

The Best Kind of Hangover

Yesterday, I woke up feeling groggy and tired, and those worn out feelings stayed with me throughout the day. My head felt thick and my eyes heavy, but I didn’t have anything to drink except water and La Croix the previous night. And I’m fairly positive they weren’t spiked.

I realized I had to be feeling the effects of the aptly named “vulnerability hangover,” a phrase I heard and loved for the first time at my small group I joined through church. I remember, when I was in high school, crying to my mom on many nights about some fight I was having with a girlfriend or some unresolved feeling of anger toward a family member. Every time, I would wake up the next morning drained, bashful, and embarrassed that I had caused such a stink about whatever problem I was facing.

Even though I probably needed to hash out all my emotions in that way, it always felt overwhelming the next day. I didn’t know the feeling yet, thankfully, but it was pretty close to the emotional and physical symptoms of a hangover. You know that achey and awful beat-up feeling after a night of over-indulging, that hangover.

Read More

It’s All Good

Summer is here and good things are happening, friends. One not-so-good thing to get out of the way before the good things: John is in Austin all summer for an internship. I mean, it is really good that he has a wonderful internship that could lead to a career of his dreams and everything, but I miss him, you know? One more not-so-good thing: that thing I wrote about last week that I really don’t want to talk about again because I drained all my emotions into that one post and now I’m working on the healing stuff. So, let’s keep trekking along.

Good things. There are so many, but let’s start with this week — or this weekend, more specifically. This weekend marks the third CMA Fest in a row that my sister and I will attend together. This festival has all the things: FREE country concerts all day long for four days straight; beer; and my favorite city (which is also where I now live), Nashville.

The fact that I live here for this year’s fest may be what I’m looking forward to most. Last year, we stayed in a friend’s ex-boyfriend’s one bedroom apartment (there were four of us), and I slept on a chair — not a couch, a CHAIR — with an ottoman to support my lower half. But the ottoman would slowly slide further and further away as I slept, and I’d wake up with a foot of space underneath my lower back. Let me tell you, a chiropractor would have been a good idea after that trip.

And the year before that, we stayed in an Airbnb that, granted, was a great deal, but I’m pretty sure the rickety mattress we slept on was 80 years old, and we still had to take 20-minute Uber rides anytime we went downtown. (Chiropractor would’ve been sweet after that one, too.) So, to be in my own bed every night after standing in 90-degree heat for 12 hours every day sounds majestic. (Yeah, I’m basically 25 going on 87 years old.) Plus, I’m only 10 minutes tops from downtown! Bingo.

If you like country at all, I recommend this festival because you can go to free concerts all day, and you don’t have to camp (unlike several *cough* or all? *cough* other country festivals). If you want to see bigger-name artists, you can buy tickets to the nighttime concerts for a couple-hundred bucks, but honestly the day ones are more fun (again, grandma over here), you can get way closer to the performances, and you’ll still see performers you recognize.Read More

Get Out of Your Way

Two months later and hello! In case you were wondering, I took a little break over here. It wasn’t really on purpose. One week, I missed writing a blog post, and then the next week I didn’t write one, either, and then again and again the next and next weeks.

I kept thinking to myself, I should really write something, but then I’d get bogged down with what outfits I’d shoot (because that’s what lifestyle bloggers do, gosh dang it), whether or not I wanted to (or could afford to) pay for photography that week, not wanting to just write “filler” content (see: my last post where I was really reaching to get just about anything that came to mind written and published), not feeling inspired, and blah blah blah. I feel like I’ve been here and written about this inner-tug to slow down and step back before. Oh, why yes, I have.

So, I’m not complaining over here — just being honest: I let life get in the way of writing and then wallowed in the realization that I let life get in the way of writing. And then (if you follow me on Instagram, you’ve heard this story) something awful happened to the unrelenting people pleaser that I am.Read More