What Am I Doing?

Hello, all!

My husband is on his way home from work and I’m trying not to sleep. Evening naps are very strange because I have the strangest dreams when I nap after about 3 PM. It’s almost 6 PM, so naps are not an option. Knowing this, I’ve decided to spend the waiting time doing something I have neglected – writing here.

I was talking to the amazing Stacey from LittleCatchUp.co.uk about blogging and creating content. I told her about how I struggle with creating content because I feel pressured to make it good. Her reply was “Remember anything you write can help someone.” That helped immensely. I seem to have forgotten about the power of touching one person.

I have written countless times about the power of touching one person, and that’s something that I need to remember now more than ever as I am marketing Sockesthesia Custom Socks, my sock company. I have realized that the best connections I make in business and in life are forged one on one, not in large batches or even in a group. All of the orders Sockesthesia has had to date are custom orders. None of these custom requests look alike. That says a lot about the nature of the company and how individualized I want it to be. The power of reaching one person is immense.

Awhile ago, I set a goal to touch one person’s life every day. One person, that is all. If I can do that and that that alone, I have had a successful day. Lately I’ve been going away from that goal and wanting approval from the masses. It’s not gotten me very far. My interactions one on one are the most fulfilling I have. There are few things more important than someone who needs a kind word or a good action. I love my tutoring for that reason. I get to touch more lives than I realize, perhaps, and it’s one of the most rewarding things in my life.

In the end, I think it all comes down to love and kindness. I’m not the best at these all the time. I’m human, and I’m working on it. The love we share to the world and our fellow beings is honored and often returned in kind. It’s worth it to go the extra mile for people. They’re worth it.

You are worth it. You’re worth so much. You are known and loved by God and the universe. You are lovely. Keep being yourself.

Love,

Mago

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Bashing My Head Against the (Figurative) Wall

Hello, friends!

I’ll be honest. I don’t know what to do here anymore. I feel like I’m bashing my head against an emotional wall when I write, so that’s why I haven’t been here for a bit. I don’t like doing the advice column type things I’ve been writing, and I haven’t been doing a ton of interesting things. I feel like I’m everywhere at once and can’t focus properly on any one thing.

I think this feeling is a long time coming. I have been cycling through multiple projects and it’s difficult to keep track of them all. It’s strange that I have never encountered it before, though. I’ve found a way to possibly blend my fiction with my poetry, which is good, at least. But with my two (or arguably three) more business-y ventures, it’s difficult to keep track of them all. I’ve been wanting to record a sequel to Mago for awhile, but seeing as that hasn’t happened yet, let’s file that under “pipe dream” for now. I need to do more Candy For Trees things this month, seeing as there are people paying for that. I also need to write a score for my friend Amy’s wedding.

Then there’s my tutoring, possibly my favorite business venture. I think I could prepare more for the lessons, but I don’t know if that’s a human thing – never feeling prepared enough. I love my students dearly, and they bring me great joy and fulfillment. I’ve tutored for 199 hours, so after tomorrow when I have more lessons and reach 200 hours, I’m going to increase my hourly rate to $25 USD/hr. I don’t have any lessons today, which is unfortunate.

I can work my tutoring harder. I need to work hard even when it’s a crappy day or I feel sick or I am sad. I’m bad at that, and that’s not good. I need to fortify myself and just do things.

My socks!

Finally, there’s the scariest venture of all – design. I’ve been designing a ton of socks for people close to me, and even though I know they will turn out okay, the waiting game always makes me super nervous. I have dreams about getting my own pair of socks in the mail and they’re not always nice dreams. They’re made here, and I love them. I don’t like that they don’t come through me first, though – I want to be able to do quality control so that I know for sure that customers will be happy. They make the socks for me using my design and then ship them to those who order them, making it so that I don’t have to carry an inventory. It’s cool, but when the time comes, I want to carry an inventory of my own and sell in person. I’ve asked those who purchase or receive a pair of socks to photograph them and put them on social media. I’ll regram anyone who posts! Mine get here Wednesday.

Also, my friend gets home from Sweden in under two weeks, and I made her a surprise.

I love all of my projects. My book may end up being the death of me, though, but that’s a story for a different day. Maybe someday I’ll feel better about this madness, but for now, I’m just rolling with it. I need to do more designs today…

Love,

Mago

Independence Day

These last few days have been weird, and it’s seven minutes until my favorite holiday begins, Independence Day. Independence Day has always been significant to me as it’s the one day where it’s officially acceptable to eat, swim, and blow stuff up on the same day. In Texas, there’s a lot of that going on on the Fourth of July, and my mind honestly didn’t get past the pool, the underwater fireworks, and the tasty ribs and peach cobbler.

But now that I’m in Alaska, I am far away from Texan pomp and circumstance. There aren’t many places where you can swim that aren’t inside a building, and it’s super dry, dry to the point that fireworks will likely start a forest fire. No joke, the valley where I live has been smoked out like nobody’s business. The sun rises a hazy orange. Now that I’m away from Texas, there’s more room to think. My husband was watching a livestream wherein the streamer read off the entire Declaration of Independence and then proceeded to make some interesting points about it. John Hancock, the man whose signature has become synonymous with bold signatures everywhere, was the wealthiest man in the colonies. He was fed up with the British and their shenanigans, and so he signed the Declaration in the way he did as a way to say, “yeah, I’m here, I know it, screw you and your ways. Come at me if you can.” According to the livestreamer, this inspired the other people present to put their names on the document, too.

I’m not the world’s most patriotic person. I am not in favor of a lot of the things that politicians and the media are up to nowadays, but I have to say that the Founding Fathers got it right. Yes, some of them owned slaves. Yes, some of them were kinda slimy at times, and no, most of them were not the pious Christians some would believe. They were products of their time, and their time had some amazing ideas. They were not perfect and their personal lives are cool, but their ideas are where they shine to me. Because of them and the people who fought to back them up, I’m able to write this today and not get thrown in jail for criticizing the government and organized religion. I’m able to think freely and speak freely. I’m able to believe what I believe. I’m able to do what I do. Yes, I know some politicians are slimy. People are greedy and selfish, but the organization of it all is sound, and I’m thankful for the systems that are in place to keep people where they should be. I’m thankful for soldiers, who do what many can’t to defend the country. I know some people don’t agree with all of the causes that the United States is involved in and I know politics are a mess. I’m right there with you. But I’m thankful for the nation and how it is set up and how it works, not for politics and mudslinging. I love where I live in Alaska, and I wouldn’t trade the nation for anything, no matter how crazy things get. I’m thankful for debates I have, I’m thankful for when I learn new things. I love y’all!

Mago

Quirky

Hello, all!

How many of you have been called “quirky” before? I know I have, and I have been giving it some thought. I’ve always heard quirky directed at me as a label, and I honestly don’t feel like it fits.

The way I like to describe myself when I need to is that I am eccentric. Not quirky. Quirky to me conjures up an image of the characters Zooey Deschanel has played. I like Zooey Deschanel as much as the next human, but in the films and shows I have seen her in, many of the characters are very feminine, very naive, very sweet, and do things in a manner that other characters don’t. They are weird in a socially acceptable way, a way that’s cute.

Image may contain: 1 person, on stage, standing and outdoor
Our first kiss at our wedding. I wore a red dress, breaking tradition.

I’ve been called sweet, naive, innocent, a cinnamon roll, the whole bunch, and I will own all of those. But when people talk to me, they find that I am overexcited about things, very intense, and have interests that some other people don’t, which makes it difficult at times to find my people. I like to wreck traditions whenever I can, which sometimes pisses people off. A lot of the ways I am considered cute are acquired tastes, and as such, I think that some people use quirky as a way to describe me because they can’t think of another way to say it that wouldn’t sound harsh. I use eccentric because it’s the one word that describes most of me, which conjures up images to those who know the term of odd uncles working out maps in attics, or something of the sort. It also reminds me of elliptical orbits in astronomy, but that’s beside the point.

Then there are the people who are like, “you’re not eccentric!” These people usually are my friends who understand my personality and interests well, and they think that I’m insulting myself. Then there are people who openly agree that I’m weird and know that me calling myself eccentric is not an insult. I love both kinds of people and friends.

Labels don’t make you who you are, especially the labels that others place on you. It’s also important to not rely too heavily on the labels you use to describe yourself, as you are subject to change as a human being. You may find yourself growing out of one and into others. Labels, to me, are also summaries, quick ways to tell the world who you are. You are more than a summary.

Thank you for reading!

Love,

Mago

How I Lost My Soul, or A Fine Absinthe Adventure

Hello, friends!

The cocktail in question.

Sorry to double dip with posts, I was feeling inspired. I have made myself a cocktail of rhubarb simple syrup that I made last night, gin, and some grape juice that we had laying around. Every time I drink I feel the opposite of how I feel with caffeine, like the world is moving 3 times slower instead of three times faster. One such example of this crazy slowdown feeling was the time I had absinthe.

Absinthe was illegal for nearly 100 years due to the fact that it was believed to have some bad things in it. It became legal again in the States in 2007, but I am forbidden from ever drinking it again. Let me tell you why.

My husband and I were in the liquor store one time heading back from a sushi date and we came across some Absente absinthe. My husband was drawn to it because the packaging had Vincent Van Gogh’s face on it, I was drawn to it because I had heard it tasted good.

Absente Absinthe, the very bottle that caused this mess.

It did taste good, like black licorice. I got around to trying it after trying Rosé wine and one of those tiny bottles of Fireball whiskey (which has been proven to have some weird effects when given to me by itself, let alone with absinthe). It was very strong, but soon it got worse.

No, I didn’t get sick, no, I didn’t black out. Yes, I did start sobbing because of something that made perfect logical sense at the time. I had lost my soul.

In reality, I didn’t lose my soul. For some reason I became very concerned with the fact that I didn’t feel spiritual at that time and feared that the alcohol had robbed me of it permanently. Translated, I had lost my soul and couldn’t find it. So my precious husband had to hold me as I screamed and cried about the state of my immortal soul. What’s funnier is that I hadn’t given a single care about the state of my immortal soul for several months before that night, going on a year. I don’t often worry about the afterlife, but this greatly concerned me that night. I think what happened was that I made an attempt to access my spiritual side as it is most often amplified when I consume caffeine and I must have thought that alcohol would do the same thing. It didn’t, and it was all I cared about at the time. It seemed like the most important thing in the world.

I would later have absinthe a second time by itself and that time I did not lose my soul. I started crying about one of those orange wind socks that I had passed leaving my cardiology appointment the day I had absinthe the first time. My husband reportedly had to spend three hours talking me down from that one.

Moral of the story, friends: Never let me have absinthe. I don’t care if someone is threatening you with harm of any kind. Do Not Do It.

Love,

Mago

Heat Wave

Hello, friends!

Image: Medium length Space binder in Retro Galaxy
The style of binder I got, courtesy of Shapeshifters.co.

It’s been in the mid 80s Fahrenheit these last few days here where I live in Alaska. I got my new chest binder yesterday during the hottest day yet, and before yesterday I have never been able to say that I have fought cloth before. Luckily I won the battle.

For those of you who don’t know what a chest binder is, it’s a special undergarment used by people who wish to make their chests appear more flat in a manner that is more safe than, say, Ace bandages, which will end up hurting you in many ways. Ace bandages get tighter with movement, and they can end up messing with your chest and even end up cracking your ribs! Not a good time.

I will likely not wear my new binder for a very long time today just because of how hot it is for me. An extra layer in this weather is very uncomfortable and possibly dangerous. I keep remembering the scene from the first Pirates of the Caribbean where Keira Knightley’s character goes outside in Caribbean summer weather dressed in 29427525 layers and passes out.

****

Soooo I got sidetracked taking pictures of the random beautiful things that grow in our yard and twisted my ankle coming up the driveway yet again. If it’s not one thing, it’s another, I swear. I got some really cool pictures of the lilac bushes that line the driveway, though.

The flowers are starting to die, but smelling them as I came up the driveway is one of the highlights of this summer. I also made a sweet discovery with the help of my husband and our roommate:

Rhubarb.

The picture is kind of terrible, but this is a rhubarb plant. The stalks turn red and you can make all sorts of tasty treats out of them. Mixed with sugar, rhubarb tastes like a Smarties candy. It was around midnight when we harvested a stalk and I stewed it in sugar and ate it ALL without giving anyone else the chance to try….whoops. I will definitely make more and possibly give others a chance to eat it before I gobble it all up for myself. It was delicious.

Now I’m sitting in bed with my ankle up while my husband naps next to me. It’s hot, it’s almost two in the afternoon. Many Latin American countries take afternoon naps around this time, so what he’s doing definitely makes sense to me. I might join him when my caffeine wears off. It will do so shortly.

You can feel free to call me a wuss for melting in 80 degree F/20 c weather, but when it comes to cold and anyone from Arizona comes up here in the winter freezing their buns off, I will say “I’m sorry, welcome to Alaska.” I am so glad I live up here. I have always wanted to live someplace as cold as this, and Idaho school was my training ground for that.

I am very, very excited for winter, mainly for two reasons. The sun is more reasonable in the winter in my opinion, and I can wear all of my long sleeved button downs AND my favorite coat without melting. I have a favorite coat, you probably have seen it if you have been following B+BD for awhile.

Here it is again. I love this coat so much. I always wanted a coat like that, and I got one this past winter. I cannot wait to wear it again. We got it from Burlington Coat Factory.

I suppose that if I had to pick a defined topic for today’s post, it would be something along the lines of “things I love” or “things I’m grateful for”. Those are always good things to write about.

I’ve found myself getting caught up in sad things again recently and have been operating from a place of frustration, not of wonder. I’ve been super jaded and frustrated. I have been thinking that the universe isn’t out to help me anymore, it’s been out to punish and to harm. I’ve been losing that sense of hope, if I’m honest, and I feel mentally like I’m back in this past December. I worry that I don’t do enough, that I’m not learning fast enough, that I don’t deserve to be happy, that I’m a failure, that I’m unlovable, that, at the end, there’s no hope for me. My husband got frustrated with me today because he notices things I don’t and made an observation that I was sad because I wasn’t doing anything. Not that I wasn’t being helpful or wasn’t being happy or productive, it was the absence of doing that was hurting me. I was not even being. I was existing at best, and my mind had already set off on some pretty dark paths.

A note: Dear friends, although I was (and kind of still am) very sad, I am safe from harm of any kind.

Both of us have noticed that the absence or presence of doing is the deciding factor as to whether I am being or existing. A lot of the time, being leads to thriving, and most of the time thriving means happiness.

I’m very scared about how sad I have been, and like we have been saying, it’s tied to the act of doing, doing something, anything, regardless of how enjoyable it is. I don’t think that doing is an act of distraction, it’s more an act of self care and at times, catharsis. I am the kind of person that does not do well with excessive free time. Take this with kindness, God and universe, take it and run: I want to be busy, busy to the point (especially with my tutoring) that I am stressed in a good way, that I’m motivated to get out of bed early, that I don’t get to spend a lot of time letting my mind run free into dark places. My husband is the hardest worker I know. I want to work as hard as he does on my various projects.

I define good stress as a stress that motivates and doesn’t shut me down. It’s a sign that I have things that are good in my life that require work to turn out well. It’s not a sign that I have too much on my plate like I once believed, it’s not a sign of burnout, it’s not a sign of “OMG, I’m going crazy.” It’s not that at all. So long as it’s healthy, it’s a sign that I have things that I’m looking forward to that require effort. I’m coming to realize that effort is a wonderful thing. It leads to rich results.

Speaking of all this effort business, I’m going to be hovering around the blog for a bit building some history pages. Here’s the first one. One on Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia will be up shortly!

Much love,

Mago

Wit’s End

Hello, friends!

I have been fairly upset today.

I’ve been pretty much down for the count these last few days and as such, the kitchen went to heck. I started crying as I cleaned. This wasn’t because I am upset nobody helps with it. I love cleaning the kitchen, it’s one of the ways I stay sane. It’s that I’ve been putting a lot of effort into cleaning the kitchen and nobody bothered to even check the sink filters because they started to smell bad. I know they appreciate what I do, they tell me so, but it hurt to see my fellow inhabitants neglect the kitchen.

To be honest, I don’t know why I’m so upset about a frickin kitchen. I think it’s because I’m frustrated with the pain and everything, so I’m an emotional wreck. I love the kitchen and a little mess normally wouldn’t bother me, but this sent me over the edge. I’ve been doing what I can for self care. I slept in until noon today and that felt nice. Cleaning the kitchen in some ways is self care. I like having order in the downstairs area of the house. But I’ve been laying down a lot, been drinking a lot of water…well, more water than usual, and trying to mostly take it easy. I want to be okay again, though, and it’s frustrating that I can’t be. I’m also frustrated at the fact that I’ll have to go through the same bull next month unless there is something that will kill my cycle completely. I feel like a cornered animal .

If I am honest with you, if there’s a way to safely remove all of the organs that allow me to reproduce permanently, sign me up. It has been making me very angry when people hear about this and they say something like, “what if you change your mind in 10 years?” I have a letter to these lovely individuals:

Dear people who say that,

First and foremost, my husband I do not want children that are biologically ours. If I end up having to remain on my meds, even a low dose of a few of them will harm a fetus. Even if I am able to come off of them, we still don’t want biological children. I, for one, am terrified of being a parent, and we have other things we want to do with our lives instead of having little ones of our own. That being said, were we to want kids, we would adopt, meds or no meds. I have zero problem with this plan, and the capacity to reproduce would not be missed.

Second, I am 22 and seem to be semi-permanently exhausted. I have been this way since the age of 16, and it gets worse as time goes on. So I love kids in very small doses. Being around small children for more than about an hour causes me to be so tired that I will need a nap that probably will last 2 or more hours. In ten years, I will be 32. If I am exhausted to the point where children wear me out now, what in the name of this green earth do you think will change between now and then? I will be more tired, right? I thought so.

Because of the above reasons, it is highly unlikely that we will want our own children. Please quit trying to tell us otherwise, and kindly step off.

Sincerely,

Me

Bottom line, I’m absolutely sick of this nonsense. I am tired of dealing with my cycle that takes up two or more weeks of each month. I’m sick of this rollercoaster. I’m sick of trial and error, guessing and checking. I want to be okay again. We’ll see on 1 July..

Love,

Mago