A Lady Told Me a Story and it Kinda Changed My Life

Yeah, but actually.

Story time: I took a day trip to Historic Petersburg the other weekend. Well, I meant to go to Virginia Beach to dramatically run in the waves at sunset*, but I ended up in Historic Petersburg because I got pulled over and it sent my anxiety into orbit so I opted to spend the day in Historic Petersburg instead. It was literally 15 minutes away from where I was so I decided to forget the beach and go there instead since I hadn’t been before.

I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the beginning.

I have this thing about romantic situations. And I mean that both romantically in terms of relationships, and romantically in terms of situational. Think the romance that movies set up for every day situations, or situations that seem to happen organically and are stunning and meaningful. Someone working on a blog at a coffee shop (ahem ahem), taking a walk through the woods during fall and listening to the silence, taking steps into freshly fallen snow outside of a cabin in the mountains. I seek these moments out and I revel in the beauty of situational romance. So when I say I was driving to Virginia Beach to dramatically run in the waves at sunset, I legitimately was driving 2.5 hours so I could stick my feet in the ocean and run at sunset.

I was well on my way when I discovered I hit a seemingly un-scalable wall in my plan. I was pulled over. It’s taken care of, nothing serious. No lasting damage done. But at the time it was a spike in the side of my anxiety which had been bubbling over the past few weeks due to stress at work. Frankly speaking, being pulled over was the last thing I wanted or needed. I wanted a relaxing, situational romance filled day that I could record in my memories and my Instagram. (me.rose12, btw.) So I’m pulled over, my anxiety goes into orbit, and I decide it just isn’t worth driving to the beach. For whatever reason I just felt, “done,” and I wasn’t up for the drive. On the way to the beach I had passed an exit to Historic Petersburg. I had never been, and frankly was kinda, “meh” about it, and wasn’t really into going. But now? As I sat in the parking lot of a Dollar General shivering from the after effects of anxiety? It sounded just fine to me. So, I turned around, and mosey’ed over.

At this point in the day, I didn’t know what I was really gonna do, but I figured I would walk around and maybe treat myself to some lunch. Take some pictures. Live the life.

My first stop was this antique mall.

I’m wandering around, and find myself a nice wool blanket for ten dolla. (Hell yes.) So I go downstairs, head to the register to pay, and am talking to the two ladies at the front desk. Turns out, one of them had survived breast cancer. This woman almost died.

And she told me something;

“You realize that nothing really matters.”

She went on to talk about how that boy you had a crush on but didn’t like you back, doesn’t really matter. That all of the stress and worry that you are accumulating now, doesn’t really matter. That in this life the most important thing is being alive, and how when she was sick she took a restock of her whole life and re-evaluated what was really important to her, and came out stronger, more grounded, and more thankful for life itself.

This really struck home with me. Like I said, I was upset for being pulled over and for the stress I’ve been having at work and just in general. Growing up and being independent is tough, my dudes. It’s a tough road of preachy self-help crap and learning personal responsibility and self respect. (sorta.) And this woman, she just kinda tore down all those perceptions of importance that I had been building.

Fundamentally, she made me realize that I am young, and more importantly, I am alive.

I have so much to be thankful for, and so many people in my life that I can go to for love and support. I have a great sense of humor and two working legs, and while I fight I fight for me and for my OWN dreams. That is beautiful.

And I dunno. She made me sit down and shut up to the reality of the beauty of life. And it is beautiful.

I walked out of that shop with my blanket with a humbled perspective and soothed ego and sense of being. I legitimately believe that this woman, in five minutes, told me exactly what I needed to hear, and changed my life.

So, after this life lesson, I decided to go eat lunch. It was good. I was simple. I took pictures.

Afterwards, I kept walking. I walked around this entire small Historic District. It was mainly empty, but the people were nice. I totally made a new friend, too.

I walked into this cute little grocery store, and there was this 6 year old chilling with his aunt. This little boy decided I needed a friend, and showed me his toys and invited me to sit down and eat lunch with him. So I did. His aunt just smiled and went about her business, and when the little boy’s dad showed up I was super awkward in introducing myself to him. ‘Cause it felt weird. Like, I’d want to know who my kid was hanging out with and I’ve literally never been in town before. I shook this guy’s hand and just sort of stuttered through a self introduction about not wanting to be weird (TOO LATE.  CONGRATS MEG YOU’RE AWKWARD.) He told me I didn’t look like a creeper. I bought soap and left, fam. I hope this kid gets a story when he’s a teenager about how he invited some blonde chick to have lunch with him.

I’ll never forget you, kid. Godspeed.

So. Another life lesson. Don’t be awkward. It makes it worse. (ha.ha.ha.)

And also? Don’t take yourself so seriously.

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Vietnamese Food and Old Town Alexandria!

One of my favorite things to do, as we all know, is to take solo trips to places and just spend days taking pictures and eating good food. It’s not fancy, it doesn’t have to be expensive, and I can go at my own pace and do whatever it is I want. I mention this again because I got my friend Melissa into the grind! We went to Old Town Alexandria in D.C. and took a day to just take our time and really enjoy ourselves looking like tourists despite having lived in the general area for awhile. I’m pretty sure at some point she said, and I quote,

“OMG Meg your lifestyle is insane I love it you’re the bestestst you’re so talented.”

This is 100% a real quote.

Pro tip: Don’t be afraid to look like an idiot. It’s worth it.

Here are some of my personal favorites from the trip! Lots of pictures, not a whole lot of narrative for this post. But as a general sum-up, here is a printable map of the city taken from their website: MAP

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The thing about Old Town is the fact that it’s super duper old, and that it’s also right next to the Vienna/Alexandria Metro station in D.C. so it’s easy to park here, wander around and then take the train into D.C. If you haven’t been, I would deff recommend a day trip. The majority of the city is oriented around Kings Street, where there are a bunch of shops and restaurants. This leads straight to the water which is a whole other thing. Along the water there are trails and art studios. there are museums and historic houses along the way, but in all honesty I haven’t been in any. I have too good a time wandering around the city and popping into the shops. There are some really pretty vistas near the courthouse closer to the water.

Old town has this sort of aura of being scholastic and classic without trying. Think old money Washington, D.C. You walk around, and you find yourself unconsciously slipping into this casual saunter with nowhere really to be as you walk by in your tall leather boots and peacoat, coffee and camera in hand. The crunch of the leaves on the street contrast with the slow drip of traffic from the street and you are glad you found free parking. You smile and wave to the driver of the Audi as you cross the street and follow the flow of people to the pubs and restaurants. You pass by the hub-ub of Kings street and find a nice side street and find a Vietnamese restaurant called Bahn Ami. Inside the flooring is hardwood and management only accepts one credit card per table. Tea is unlimited for 3 dollars. You don’t know what kind of tea it is, but it is good, and you have two cups. Also, they know how to marinade their pork chops. You don’t know how they do it, but they do it well.

Old town is one of those places that I find myself returning to, and I really don’t mind it at all. I’ll probably go back soon. It’s all very romantic, to be honest. Like the whole old town area has this sort of romance to it. The rest of Alexandria is meh and is an apartment complex disaster, but this part? this part is nice.

The Deal with Pumpkin Patches

Hello.

I, like many, many other individuals out there, adore the seasonal pilgrimage to local farms and country lanes on the pursuit of locally grown produce.

I guarantee that through the entire month of October you were all informed on all platforms of social media that your friends, family, and that one weird girl from high school you still follow cause it makes you feel better about your life, have made the trip to a pumpkin patch. These photos and status updates will include, to some degree, a photo of themselves in a reasonably fall outfit (while it is still 78 degrees), a slightly disgruntled and bored looking partner, and one or two images of the produce. See below for examples.

 

Now. You, like many before you, may be wondering what exactly the, “big deal” is with these goddamn squashes. It’s not like anybody on earth wants pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread in July. It’s literally just the months of September-November. So. What’s the deal with these gourds.

I have a two fold theory.

  1. I blame LLBean. It all begins with marketing. Imagine- you’re back in elementary school. It’s the end of August. School is going to start soon. What’s this in the mail? A catalog for LLBean? Sashaying their wares in front of your eyes? What’s this? A well priced and long lasting back pack and lunchbox? Warm winter jackets? But most importantly, images of happy families doing outdoors activities including hiking, pumpkin carving, bonfires and overall smiling? Oh, that makes sense. School = LLBean = new backpacks = fall = leaves = pumpkins = family activities and overall sense of seasonal contentment. Remember, you’re still imagining you’re a kid at this point so stay with me. So you get this new backpack and maybe you’ve got a new fall jacket for school. You look just like the kid in the catalog! That’s so wild! Your mom is starting to pull out the fall decorations, and your house is filled with the smells of various baked goods, and the banister on the stairs is covered in this multi-colored leaf garland. Dad starts spending more time outside in his beanie doing lawn things you don’t particularly care about. Things are going swell, you’ve got that freshly-cleaned school and new pencil smell in your nostrils and you’re off to do that learnin’. (Stay in school, kids.) Awesome. Next thing you know you’re off to the scholastic book fair, and what’s this? A fall festival? Best thing ever! You get to bring home a volunteer slip to mom, who whips up some rice crispy treats and some leaf garland to bring to the festival. You skip into class and show your teacher, who smiles and tells you to tell your mom, “Thank you.” Karen’s mom brought plastic forks. Nobody likes Karen’s mom. Right, so you skip off to the fall festival. It’s everything you could hope it could be. There’s candy and games, and there is even a pumpkin carving contest! You won!  Golly! You grow up a little bit, and the fall festivals morph into more Halloween-centric activities. You hang out with both your family and friends, but in separate doses. Your mom still likes doing more crafty-baking things, and frankly you like eating so you’re on board. Your friends and you like to do things solo, but you’re like 12 so your parents are skeptical but allow you to run free at the local orchard and pumpkin patch to go do whatever it is that you do. As you get older things change but also fundamentally remain the same in regards to this transitional season. The trip to the pumpkin patch becomes less of a family outing so you can win the pumpkin carving contest again, and more of a trip that you and your friends pretend is for the nostalgia. Ie, you’re in college and, “Omg, remember when we went to the pumpkin patch as kids? Like, we should go again just because. Lol.” And you go. You and your friends go to the pumpkin patch and pretend you’re in the 5th grade again, and you pick out the ugliest gourds you can find and go home and carve them on the back porch with cider and boxed wine somebody had in the back of their pantry. This continues every year. Then, next thing you know, you’re in your twenties. You haven’t done a lot in terms of decorating this year- work has been wild and you literally don’t remember what you’ve done for the past two months. You pull on a jacket, go out to get the mail, and what’s this? No, literally what’s this you never signed up for catalogs. After the initial shock of getting junk mail, you look again.
    It’s an LLBean catalog.
    You flip it open.
  2. The novelization of pumpkins keeps their industry alive. Nobody wants a winter squash in July. It’s gotta be a government conspiracy to make sure that the farmers get subsidized.

On Midnight: A Free Form Thought Free Write

There’s a mist on the wind as she crossed the street to the 7/11. She wondered why the streets smelled old on this deserted road and why the five dollar pad thai she ate earlier that afternoon still resided at the back of her tongue- a mix of coconut and forced pleasantries as she tried to explain her lack of shoes and her lack of direction. The shoes were easily explained. She had lost her shoes in a bet miles south near Tuscon. The bet was whether or not she could….

She wondered what it was like to be a ghost and then rationalized it might be slightly less lonely as ghosts at least get programs on the Discovery Channel and Destination America. What would it be like to be a ghost, hounded by the future that didn’t give a damn about the peace and tranquility of a past best left behind…? Theoretically incredibly unpleasant.

Chapter 1: The discovery of midnight

The thing about magic is that its most potent 3, maybe 4 times a day. Dawn, noon, dusk, and midnight. Transitional periods where light and time change are fixed points in which people change and react. It’s not really understood if people change in a response to the ebb and flow of time, or if time changes in response to the ebb and flow of people. It might be both. Who knows. Noon is the iffy one because the only thing that really changes are how people talk about it.

“It’s already noon!”

“Better start lunch, it’s noon”

“There’s so much I want to do this afternoon”

In reality, time is what you make of it so the transition from action to inaction is of little consequence. But what is of consequence is the shifting of midnight. People change at mi

From a young age (greek for dusk) wasn’t sure whether or not it was her mother that taught her that time was a transitional entity which controlled her magic, or if she was the one who molded time.

It’s possible it was both.

Memoirs of a Millennial Chapter 3: Mindfulness for the Anxious Millennial

I’d like to take a moment to talk about something that might sound a bit spiritually-wishy-washy to some people but is something that I legitimately has helped my own life and I think/know can help other people.

I’m going to talk about Mindfulness.

mind·ful·ness
ˈmīn(d)f(ə)lnəs/
noun
  1. 1.
    the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
    “their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”
  2. 2.
    a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

Essentially, Mindfulness is about taking a fucking moment to breathe. Let’s face it. Right now we are all scared, anxious, and a little overwhelmed. And that’s OKAY! But what is even MORE okay is taking a minute to just relax. And not just a Netflix binge watching party relax, but to ACTUALLY be at ease with ourselves, our lives, and our time. That’s the hard one. I think think we all have a weird sense that we aren’t allowed to be that relaxed in our lives. Like, there’s always something we can be doing to be improving something. Why is it that when we find someone who is truly at peace with themselves we can’t help but throw a side eye and be like, “Really? There isn’t ANYTHING you could be doing right now? Bitch, please.” I also think that’s a lot of jealousy and envy. We envy those people. We wish we were that chill.

But here’s the secret that I’ve found in my ripe 23 years of over thinking. You don’t have to be that chill in order to be Mindful. You don’t have to just sit there and allow life to pass you by or you don’t have to be some, “feather in the wind.” You can still be assertive, powerful, and dominant WHILE being mindful. The mindfulness is just to help lower your blood pressure and make you even more aware at how boss you really are. 

The moment you accept that you are off your own path, that you are unhappy, that you are unfulfilled, is the moment you begin to heal and move forward. I think there’s a misconception that in order to be happy you have to force yourself to refuse certain truths in your life that you feel. Like it is shameful to admit that you are unhappy, or sad, or angry. So you suppress it and convince yourself that, “hey! it’s not that bad! It could be worse! Other people have it worse. Someone just dropped their toast. I didn’t drop my toast. ” Well, I think I’ve come to understand recently that it’s OKAY to admit to yourself that even though conceptually you know it’s ok and not the worst thing in the world if you drop your toast (RIP), you’re still bothered by the fact that you dropped your toast.

The problem lies in people who never move on or forget or take the time to miss their toast. It’s okay to be strong and tough, but it’s also okay to be emotional vulnerable because it gives you a chance to be strong and tough again. I’m not saying it’s cool to wallow in self pity or never-ever-never eat toast again ’cause that one time you were traumatized that your dropped it. I’m saying that it’s cool to feel disappointed and, “aw shucks” that you dropped your toast. But then be like, “ok cool I have more bread,” and make another slice.

It’s all about taking a second to actually acknowledge how you really feel and to be honest with yourself. Nobody else has to know. But at the very least, be honest and kind to yourself.

This goes for larger things in life as well. Like a job. A real life thing. Ok, so you have a job. You hate this job for whatever reason. You spend your time telling yourself, “I am grateful for this job, I am paid, these are the positive things about this job.” And that’s good! Being grateful is A+ life material. Optimism is hard and being grateful is too sometimes. But! You can be grateful for an opportunity and to realize it’s not the thing for you.

There’s a Taoist concept that I read in, “The Tao of Pooh” (AMAZING. Legit changed my life.) called, “The Block”. Essentially, if you are a square, there ain’t no way you can try to fit or change into a circle. You cannot change who you fundamentally are. If you feel out of place or that you don’t fit, you don’t have to try to change to fit there. This is the kind of nonsense that our 1st grade teachers taught us. I know. But as we grow up I think it’s important to realize who we actually are, and to not try to fit in some job or box that we obviously are uncomfortable in. We don’t operate well when we feel so uncomfortable. We aren’t as great as we could be.

In this job scenario, in this job you hate. It is okay to one day REALLY acknowledge the fact that you are unhappy. To actually take a second from being grateful to realize that, no, in fact, you are not happy. You are not balanced. You are not living your true potential. For the love of God, it is OKAY to be grateful for an opportunity or a job, but to realize it isn’t for you. When you realize that you are unhappy, it’s kinda incredible the release you feel because you can stop pretending and can take steps forward to finding a job you DO like. To becoming a person that you want to be. Mindfulness makes us take a second to be honest and to live in the moment enough to realize things as they are.  It is not bad that you hate your job. It is not good you hate your job. It just is. When you realize that, you can move forward! But it is up to you to move forward. Nobody else is going to do this for you.

You can transform yourself into whatever YOU want to be, because you are being true to your true nature. If you want to lose weight or pick up a habit or a skill, you are changing yourself under your own derision, and therefore are listening to your true self. You are paying attention to what makes you happy. And that is Mindful. 

 

ALIVE

I wake with the story of my life ringing in my ears, a dream barely forgotten, and a pulsating of anxious energy. It is raining again this January morning. The sun weakly smiles through clouds of intermittent thunderstorms relieving me of the damp that has settled into the soles of my feet. The rain is not lead. Yet for me it is not peace. It is a call to stillness and silence that weighs my restless mind to soil. I am anxious about the future. this endless rain does not soothe but rather ignites the desires that have rooted in me and pulls me up and forward with the knowledge that my physical body can only move so fast. It is exhausting.

I woke this morning dreaming of whales. I looked at a website and it contained such pointers as, “emotion, creativity, breath of life, compassion and solitude.” I am an emotional creature dependent on the encouragement and touch of others. solitude frightens me. yet I will not pretend that a breath of creativity has swept through my body like spring. I feel as I once did. I am listening to the style of song and the style of art that is simplistic at its base and exudes a melancholy joy and appreciation for the least expensive pleasures available. I say melancholy, but perhaps that isn’t quite right. It is a joy that is not forced, it is a realness of experience and attitude that is not dripping in excitement and money. But is has waves of a reality burdened by price tag and desperation for interaction. Desperation that clings beautifully to people.

I woke this morning with a need for air.

I woke this morning with a need to feel alive.

Memoirs of a Millenial Chapter 3: Don’t let go of what’s important

I’d be lying if my aspiration in this life is to inspire people. But I’d also be lying if I said that I want to live this life unnoticed.

You know what gets me? It’s that people have to do things, “ironically” for them to feel as if they are worth while.

Example, “ironically” liking anime. “Ironically” enjoying makeup or fashion. “Ironically” writing poetry. “Ironically” becoming an artist.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the fascination with irony is a defense mechanism to protect what is actually important to us. The greatest defense for passion is to pretend that that passion does not, in fact, exist. Yet the ignorance of this passion and the undermining of it’s importance does not make us untouchable Gods.

It makes us fools.

What is so wrong about giving a fuck about something? In 8 years I might look back at this whole blogging thing and think, “HA. Holy shit I was so pretentious what the fuck. What a whim of living in your 20s.”

But why does it have to be? Why should I have to anticipate feeling embarrassed with this whim of mine? Why is it that in order to actually feel something, we hide that real emotion under a thick, heavy, suppressive layer of sarcasm and cynicism and call it authenticity? That’s not authenticity. That’s cowardice. I may be a coward, hiding behind these “essays” I barely proof read which are riddled with cliches and wit. (Or so I hope it appears witty.) But, I don’t want to be.

You can’t let go of what’s important. Those things that make your skin crawl and your heart beat and make you feel like sin- those things that make you  lust for life and for people.

I think, once you’ve allowed yourself to feel that passion, it might be time to find something to be truly passionate about.