Overheard in Transit: little girls talking about love

TRUS_tail_adult

-On the bus

Girl #1:

“The first time I used the ‘L’ word with my current boyfriend he didn’t say it back, but said ‘thank you, I am not quite there yet’ and I was like… do you think it is a place you might eventually get to? and he was like ‘yeah, I really think so’. The funny thing was I was totally okay with that… I mean I went home that night and was just totally weirded out with how okay I was with him not loving me back just yet. I mean… I totally would have expected myself to cry myself to sleep if I had imagined that response… but I didn’t… and I mean it turned out okay because he totally reciprocated a few months later.”

Girl #2:

“Yeah? I can’t even…. how did that happen?”

Girl #1:

“Oh, like, he told me in sign language while we were stargazing one night.  How amazingly nerdy cute is that.  He is so romantic but in like… an unconventional way.. or that is what he calls it anyway. Unconventional. He made me a mix tape.”

– Real Conversation Overheard on the Bus*

Ah, amore.

Overhearing conversations between barely twenty-something undergrads on my daily commute is one of the perks (and pitfalls) of working on campus. I listened to the conversation documented above with an air of satisfied smugness. I know so much more than you do in matters of the heart, I thought to myself. Yes, you seem rather sure of yourself and seem to have exit strategies and conversations all planned out and aren’t afraid to use them, I thought… and stopped. Well shit.  Who am I to be all judgy and holier-than-thou, when I myself am petrified of the prospect of having to have any sort of conversation with anyone about my feelings or status within a relationship. Heck, I have problems even having those conversations with myself.  How do I feel about the people I am seeing, do I even like them? Are they worth having “the talk” with? If not, why am I spending time with them at all?

I am pretty lucky.  I have never had to be the one to say “I love you” first…with the exception of one person. No, they didn’t say it back right away, but they totally reciprocated months later. Years later they slashed my heart into tiny pieces, set them on fire and blew the ashes into the wind, leaving me a pitiful person with hollow eyes and an empty chest. Erm… maybe a bit dramatic but sometimes you need to be a bit dramatic to show the full scale of what happened, right? It has been years since that day, in fact this blog was born of that event. And thank goodness for that. Because of this blog, and many, many, MANY other people , places and things I have built a new heart to beat in my once vacant chest. It is strong, giving and happy…but haunted by my previous heart; the spirit of which lingers within its atriums making it flutter with fear at the prospect of being broken.

But.

I refuse to live in fear, or make decisions based on them… I mean, how tragic would that be?

Pretty. Effing. Tragic.

Instead, I think. A lot.  I have spent thousands of dollars on developing my critical thinking/ observational skills why not attempt to use them? I ask myself questions. I refer to previous relatable incidents and outcomes and try to develop strategies for all possible outcomes.  I try to prepare for the worst all the while hoping for the best, knowing that I will be able to survive whatever happens.  Knowing that as long as I retain and work through things in a way that reflects my healthy sense of self worth, I will be okay.  NOTE: All I ever needed to know about self worth I (mostly) learned from the Joy Luck Club. If ever in need of a reminder, read it, watch it.  Just get it in you.  “She doesn’t like ice cream”** is my self-worth mantra.

But back to the girls on the bus.  I am curious what lays ahead for Girl #1, her unconventionally romantic boyfriend and clearly desperately jealous Girl #2.  I wonder if she will retain her level of cool and keen sense of self worth where matters or the heart are concerned. I also wonder wonder what they are going to do for Valentines Day… “It is so totally dumb and over rated… but I still want to have like, a date or something on the day… but I totally wouldn’t be upset if he didn’t surprise me with a giant teddy bear and a bouquet or roses…or whatever.”

* This went on for the entirety of my trip and included many other specifics of the ways of Girl #1’s unconventionally romantic boyfriend. Lemme know if you want the low-down; Cosplay is a huge part of their origin story.

** I want to make it extremely clear that I LOVE ice cream… just… watch the movie if you don’t get it. Or email me.  I can talk about this movie all day.

Erica Says Relax: The time I gave Floating a try

the pod

When working hard to achieve your goals (or just make it through the week/month/day) it is important to take pause and refuel the engine.  Have a little relax time.  I have had my head down for the past few weeks continuously working and thinking of ways to get the things that I want (one of which I have revealed here: find home).  After countless hours spent searching and thinking of ways to find (and afford) a home I will be happy in I experienced a total burn out.  I got frustrated, I got cranky and I got tired of it all. None of these things were going to aid in positive results, so I stopped. I took pause and started to think of ways to de-stress, de-clutter my mind so I could get back at it, refreshed, renewed and ready.

I had heard a lot about sensory deprivation floating tanks from one of my co-workers, so I thought I would give it a shot.  I mean, how can you not when you are told that someone felt “reborn” after the experience. So, I did it. I booked myself in for a late session last Thursday evening with moderate expectations.

I walked through the door into a room flooded with the soft pink glow of Himalayan salt lamps, I already started to feel a bit more centered.  I was led to the pod I had booked and was told the general order of operations, what to expect and all the rest.  After the attendant had left, I disrobed, showered and got into my pod.  It looked like an igloo of sorts on the outside, much bigger than I had thought it would be (roughly 7ft long and 5ft wide).

Lights.  The pod I had gave the option of having a series of different coloured lights cycle through as you floated in the salt heavy water.  I found the lights kind of distracting so I shut them off… which is super out of character for me.  Here I am in a tiny enclosed space full of water and I turn the lights out…I should have been terrified (hello? water ghosts?), but I wasn’t. I floated in the dark for around twenty minutes trying to clear my mind (and maybe even fall asleep) but my brain wouldn’t shut off.  It was nice and warm in the water, my body felt totally relaxed, I almost achieved sleep…and then it happened.  I got seasick in a tiny pool of water.

I felt that I had begun to spin out of control, I no longer knew which way was up.  Opening my eyes to find my bearings was of no use, being in total darkness.  I felt around the edges of the pool for the light switch and started to panic when I couldn’t find it.  I needed to get out immediately or be sick in the pod.  After a few moments I found the light switch, opened the hatch and jumped out of the water.  I was drenched in slippery salt water, completely naked and in desperate need of something to vomit into.  The mesh wastepaper basket wouldn’t do, nor would the shower.  Luckily there was a (very short) robe near by to throw over my naked body before I darted across the hall to the toilets. I made it.

After drinking water straight from the tap I walked back to my pod still feeling disoriented and queasy. I thought about getting back in (having 20 minutes left of my session), but decided against it. I showered and dressed myself and left. I told the attendant that I was cutting my session short due to seasickness; apparently I am not the only one this has happened to which was kind of comforting… I guess? In spite of my experience I would recommend floating to those seeking relaxation.  I mean, it was quite relaxing until the sea sickness hit.  I am not sure if I would try it again (maybe leaving the lights on would help?)…I may just need to stick to more traditional methods of relaxation like massages, aromatherapy steams and the good old fall back (and favorite): nyquil induced sleep. But for the sake of backups and research, what do you do to relax/stay focused/ unwind?

Little Voice

You know that little voice in your head? Or maybe it isn’t so much a voice but an uneasy feeling floating in the background of your thoughts, keeping you from committing to something 100%. How do you approach that voice/feeling? Do you listen to it? Let it rule your decisions?

How do you know you can trust it? Or even better yet, do you?

This weekend has been excitingly full of possibilities.  Picturing how all of my stuff will fit in prospective apartments. Imagining myself walking through new neighborhoods to gather groceries for dinner, reading books in new local coffee shops, meeting new neighbors. Yes, that is right. I am in the market for a new abode. And yes, this is one of the goals that I have set for myself this year: find home.

After multiple viewings, and after multiple forms being filled to apply to live in these places I would return home and begin to have second thoughts. Maybe this isn’t such a good idea.  Maybe now, like right now isn’t quite the right time yet. It was that little voice, that uneasy feeling trickling into my thoughts like cold water into a warm bath, cooling my excitement.

Normally I would shrug off this feeling and chalk it up to fear of the unknown, of big changes.  But.  I can’t this time. Is this little voice trying to keep me planted because I am comfortable where I am? Because all of my stuff is in the spot I like it in? Or is it something more than that? Is it my gut telling me that now isn’t the best time… that something better is in the works if I just hang on a little bit longer?

How can you really tell the difference? Intuition or fear… which is it?

You make lists. A damage report of sorts.

What will you be giving up vs. what you will gain.  Strategies for possible future catastrophes. After that, it is all pretty simple.  You total up all of the data you have collected and see which bears more weight… things that are essentially the fruit of fear that won’t have much effect on your future (i.e. “I won’t be able to hang my scarves the way I like”) or undeniable reasons for caution (i.e. “I haven’t saved enough cash in case of an emergency”). After tallying it all up, your results still aren’t clear, you can always flip a coin… or my favorite… ask a magic eight ball what to do.  Having something taken off of the table always helps to point me in the right direction. That is how I get to know what I really feel about something.  Disappointment or indifference. That is what it comes down to in the end.

In this case, I ended up “getting” both of the apartments that I applied for… which was great!(APPROVED!)  Even more great was feeling as though I had made the right decision when I turned them both down. I had originally set out to find a new home by April… and that is what I think I should stick to.  By that time I will be more secure, by that time it will just feel right. One of the places I said “no” to today very well could have been home in a pinch, but I am not pinched.  There is something better out there. That is my intuition talking.

Yes-ness.

YES - Glitter

I am sitting at my kitchen counter while broken chords of Elton John’s “Sad Songs” played on an out of tune piano creep underneath my door, trying to think of ways to keep that overall feeling of “YES” alive. Yes, I can achieve my goals, Yes, I have enough energy to keep fighting for them, YES, I can withstand what ever song may follow Mr. John’s (destroyed) little ditty*.

I am not going to lie, it was a little hard to feel saturated with yes-ness as I sat at my desk today.  It has been super busy since we returned from the Christmas break, as such I have found little chance to get away from my cubicle… and let me tell you, my cubicle is not exactly one of the most inspiring pockets of the universe to be in. Maybe I should put a plant in there somewhere…

I guess what I am hoping to figure out here is how to keep motivated during the not so fun part of working towards what I want.  The hours spent behind my desk are not exactly gratifying… don’t get me wrong… I don’t hate my job in the least, but I can think of so many other things I would rather be doing.  Problem is, I wouldn’t/couldn’t/shouldn’t be paid for doing them; since I am not independently wealthy, the sad truth is I am just going to have to suck it up and work at something I am not in love with so I can do the things that I do love. But here I am again, getting caught up in the problem at hand rather than the solution.

Motivation. Yes. Yes-ness.

My yes-ness is waning in the harsh environment created by my impatience. I want it all, and I want it now.  I know I am not alone in this expectation; instant gratification is surely one of the overarching themes of our time. But how do you stay motivated when things are taking longer than you thought they would [and you feel like you are running out of time and you are sitting at your desk wasting away in front of a computer screen while your dreams slowly wither and die] <end>/ drama.

Adlai Stevenson said that “A wise man does not try to hurry history. Many wars have been avoided by patience and many have been precipitated by reckless haste“. I think that this should be my motivational mantra (for now). It is quite calming, don’t you think? I can avoid future troubles by slowing down and thinking out my actions/next step instead of rushing into them (as I have been known to do).  That is surely something to chew on while I am thinking up outrageous capers/plans in an attempt to combat my fading motivation.  It is a call to take a step back and look at the whole picture when motivation fades.  Take a moment and remember what I am working towards…that yes, I have made it a few steps closer. And if that doesn’t work, I have these lists to fall back on:

How to Stay Motivated and Accomplish Anything – Forbes

How To Keep Yourself Motivated When You Aren’t Feeling It – Tiny Buddha

How to Stay Motivated – LifeHack.org

Hold On – Wilson Phillips (because why the heck not?)

What are the makers and breakers of your motivational flow? I would love to hear your tips and tricks!

*It was the Doors “The End”, thanks, for that Piano Man

On Getting What I Want

My Five

The new year is an expanse of water that I have just begun to dip my toes in; acclimatizing to the temperature and psyching myself up for the long swim ahead. I have chosen a rather ambitious course to swim this time around, meaning,  I have set some pretty big, time sensitive goals for myself. I am not worried per se about completing these goals, I am however, really thinking long and hard about how I am going to realize them.  But that is half the fun, right?

As I size up the goals that lay ahead I have chosen this little quote to ruminate on: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” (thanks for that, Jim Rohn). I think this is going to be huge.  I mean… it makes sense, doesn’t it? Silly as it may be, I have never really thought about the effect that the people I have chosen to surround myself with have shaped my life. But, I mean… if you are going to spend 30% of your time with someone who focuses on problems rather than solutions, you are eventually going to succumb to that type of thinking.  Spend 50% of your time with someone who is content to spend their days on the sofa watching others live their lives, chances are you will do the same. There is no pressure…well maybe that word is a bit strong…there is no immediate inspiration to do better. Even if the remaining 20% of your time is spent with a highly motivated individual who gets shit done, chances are you will just end up feeling hopeless… reaching towards your goals while tethered to your couch and ineffective thinking.

My tag line for this year is “Victory”. I am going to need to be inspired, driven and effective in my actions to earn this “tag”. Resolution to make this happen? Surround myself with people who support this vision. I don’t mean I am going to recruit a round-table of yes men people, or ditch the friends that I already have.  I mean that I am going to redistribute my time with the people I know, and reach out towards those that share my vision and interests. It is time to round up a posse. Last year I learned the value of reaching out for help when it is needed; I fully intend to utilize this knowledge and reach out for opinions, advice and constructive criticism as I fumble my way towards what I want.

So there it is.  What do you want from this year? What are you doing to make sure that you achieve your goals?

One large pin boat, please.

hlollabatar

It is late and I am hungry… ravenous is probably a better word. The only thing that could satiate this hunger is thousands of miles away.  A Pin Boat (large, of course).  The best sandwich I have ever eaten in my life (thus far) from the Hlölla Bátar in the city center of Reykjavík.

Soft on the inside, and warm and toasty on the outside.  The bread used for this sandwich is perfection.  Sturdy enough to handle the warm sauciness of the filling without falling apart; delicate enough to let whatever filling you have chosen shine.  My favorite: the Pin Boat.  Thin layers of roasted lamb on a bed of red cabbage (yeah… I know, but it was amazing!), crispy onions and that special hlölla sauce.  If this sandwich were human, I would marry it… I don’t know how that would work…I am suffering from sandwich withdrawal.

It is still kind of late, and I am still hungry.  Maybe a little more than ravenous now after revisiting memories of this hot little number. I am trying to think of other, more attainable options that would satisfy; but nothing comes.  Only the sweet, sweet memory of the last boat I had. It was dark and cold, but that sandwich was warm and tasty.

What do you eat when you know you can’t have exactly what you crave? I am on my way out for a burger that I just know will be sub-par.  What else can a girl do?

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year
Happy New Year! Yes, that is meant to be a look of determination…(creepy!)

Yes, maybe a bit late to the table on this one, but I am okay with that.  I started out wondering what I should say about 2015. Will it be any different than any other new year? Can I change/ do anything at all to make this year better than the last? Is there a point to any/all of that? I guess my line of thought wasn’t overly cheery, but hey… my Mum says it is totally normal to be a little down over the holidays (Mums are always right).

In order to gain some insight I had a look at my last New Year inspired post (from way back in 2013) and felt a lot better.  My hope for 2013 was to gain clarity on what my next move should be.  I wasn’t expecting all of my dreams to come true, I wasn’t expecting the best, brightest year ever but I did feel that the fog was lifting and that is nothing to sneeze at. 2013 was a scary year. I started to change my thought processes; picked up skills to sidestep/ completely avoid my predisposition to tunnel vision.  It was a year of hard work.

I went MIA for most (if not all) of 2014 so I will tell you a bit about it here. This past year I learned to fight.  Really. Fight…. and I think I won. Last year I realized my dream of finally graduating from university.  I did it in spite of incredible odds, personal struggle and multiple heart breaks. I learned that reaching out for help when needed is not a sign of weakness, but of strength. I finally crossed the Atlantic, and I did it on my own. I met amazing people, and saw little bits of one of the most beautiful places on this earth.  2014 was a year of realization of old dreams and desires that have given birth to new ones for coming years.

So, 2015.  This brief review of New Years past has made me realize that things do change, I can change and make my future better.  I know I can, because I have.  It is shocking to realize how easy it is to forget our victories in life, to let them bow down to our failures.  I think that is what I want from you, 2015, I want to look forward to and celebrate the victories that lie within you.  I vow to learn from my mistakes (of course) but I will no longer dwell on them.  This year is all about victories, big and/or small.

Wishing you all a victorious (and all together glorious*) year.

Love,

Erica

*Sorry, I couldn’t help myself!