Off the Mic

Hello, friends!

I have a confession to make.

I am not a very good listener. I like to talk more than I like to listen and wait for my turn to talk rather than processing what the other person has to say and offer.

This prevents me from gaining a lot of  wisdom that I could have captured more easily had I listened. This goes for all things. Spiritual things have to hit me like a freight train in order for me to even notice them, making a still, small voice out of the question for me. I miss out on a lot of good insights in group discussions because I’m waiting to prove my point. I don’t pay attention to nature or my surroundings because my head is in the clouds constantly. I’m not grounded in “reality”, I have no patience for it, and as such I miss the magic of the everyday.

My dad didn’t miss the magic of the everyday, he reveled in it. One of my favorite things he said was that after he prayed, he had to stop talking, take his thumb off the mic and listen. A lot of the time, there would be an answer there somewhere in his thoughts or in his surroundings. This reminds me of something that happened in 2017.

I was at an Al-Anon (the organization for families of alcoholics) meeting place waiting for the meeting to begin. I was an hour early and I started missing my dad and crying and praying. As I was praying, I saw a cat appear out of some bushes, climb up on the bench where I was sitting, and sleep next to me.


This is the cat, and to this day I don’t know his or her name. Regardless of this, this cat was the blessing I needed in that moment. I took my thumb off the mic and I listened. The universe spoke.

I’m not here to say that I should be completely silent all the time, but when the time comes, I should not check out and instead be present. A lot of the time, my own mental noise drowns out a message quicker than the noise around me. I need to work on quieting my mind and being here. It’s not easy being here, and sometimes it’s easier to just check out, especially if it’s a hard conversation. But I think the hard conversations are the ones that need presence the most. This ties into my forgetfulness, I think. If I were more present, I’d remember more.

I’m not a failure for forgetting things, I must keep telling myself. I’m where I am now, and I must keep going. I haven’t come this far just to stop. Someday I will look back on the journey I have taken and think to myself, “that’s a long path, but it was so worth it. I have learned so much. I have been though hard times, but I have risen above what was expected of me, both by myself and by others. I am unapologetically myself. Nobody can take that from me.”

I thank the universe and God for bringing me to where I am. I am here in this moment, in this meditative time. I am a channel for goodness and hope. I am a child of God and the universe, and I am worthy of a seat at the table. Time to take my thumb off the mic and listen.

Love,

Meg

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We Could Be Heroes

What does it mean to be a hero?

I’m listening to my blogging playlist and thinking about just that. David Bowie’s “Heroes” got me thinking and it’s a real question – what does it mean?

I used to think that heroes were these people who were good and pure who rescued people and helped them. Now, I suppose, I am more of a cynic. Some of my favorite heroes in fiction are those who are dragged into it or are morally gray. I find that the virtuous heroes don’t appeal much to me anymore. I think that’s because I’ve found that the world isn’t filled with these virtuous people. Everyone is flawed, everyone has problems. But everyone has the potential to be a hero to someone.

I think that to be a hero, one has to possess one special quality. They have to make a positive impact in someone’s life. Heroes don’t always do physical rescuing, but that definitely could make someone a hero. Do you have to be pure and good to be a hero? That’s up for debate.

There are several people in my life whom I would consider heroes of mine, but I want to highlight one special hero. My psych provider up here is a liberator. She saw a problem and started to take action instead of standing aside or feeding it. The problem was that I was that I was overmedicated and she saw that in me. She knew her stuff and said that she had never seen a dose of one of my meds that high in her entire career. Because of her intelligence, intuition, and knowledge, I am where I am today. I am eternally grateful for her.

I don’t know anything about her personal life save that she likes plants and music, but I don’t think that that is necessary to be a hero. Sometimes heroes are just passersby. She is just one of my care providers up here who has changed my life for the better.

Now that I am coming down lower on some of the meds I’m on, I feel like I’m climbing a mountain and I’ve come out of a thick layer of clouds. The sun is bright, but I can see everything – the trail I’ve climbed to get here, the valley below, the next ridge over in the distance. It’s the best feeling in the world.

It’s also vindicating – I’m not crazy for having feelings that are larger than life. I’m alive, I am human. I’m not afraid to say that anymore. It’s liberating – I can find out who I really am. It’s exhilarating – I am blooming, I am not afraid to live. I was fine all along. I am able to bounce back and not drown.

I got some lab work done today and I didn’t panic or cry. I got out of bed on time. I took my meds on time. I talked with friends. I feel as alive as springtime. I ate a bagel, which was delicious. The proof copy of my poem book comes today. Life is good.

To my provider – thank you.

Love,

Meg

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To not be okay

Hello, all.

I’m currently hanging out in a store while my husband geeks out.

He’s adorable.

I don’t have much to do here but think, and the thought I posed to Instagram is that it is okay to not be okay.

I knew I’ve expressed this thought before here, but it’s important to reiterate often.

I go through a series of bad days at times that often stem from me being cruel to myself. I beat the daylights out of myself for not being perfectly calm all of the time, for not being perfectly here all the time, for not being…perfect. I feel like a horrible wife, friend, and person at times just because I fall short and have bad times. I’m coming to learn that self acceptance is important. I worry that I keep making a massive fool of music on social media. I worry that all my efforts are for nothing. But mistakes will be made. It’s important to know and accept that.

This realization is especially important in my relationships and in running my Golden Apple projects. My husband mentioned today that I’m spreading myself too thin over all of my promotion efforts and that I don’t NEED six million Instagram accounts to promote all of my projects individually. It’s a waste of time. So I have started to unite all of the projects under one big Golden Apple banner with this blog as a hub. This should make me less stressed.

The key mission of the Golden Apple Projects is to help people in as many ways as I possibly can. With all of the promotion I’m throwing out into the world, it’s not going very far and I’m not helping people. I actually feel like I reach the most people through my tutoring, and I want to take that approach – getting to know people individually – and use it with my other projects. I don’t want to just have people who interact with me on a business level, I want to have relationships with them. That would be really cool.

I really want to buy a pair of my own Martin boots that I’ve designed and wear them around town. That would be awesome, especially if I find a place I can make friends. Maybe keep a spare pair in the back of my car.

Things to think about…

Love,

Meg

The Golden Apple Projects:

Music: http://candyfortrees.bandcamp.com

Tutoring: http://wyzant.com/tutors/historynmore

Shoes:

http://goldenapple.shoes

Synchronicity

My friend called me wise yesterday.

We had been on a call and I told her that I was hungry, so she almost commanded me to go eat. I listened. She would later tell me that as soon as we hung up, her supervisor called and she went on an adventure, for lack of a better word, and seemed to have had a very good time. I didn’t understand why that was wise, but if I had to guess, I think it was because I listened to her. I didn’t intend for there to be any kind of wisdom there, but I suppose by listening, I allowed for it.

I’m a firm believer that there is a plan for everything. A lot of times I have no idea what path my actions will take me down, but I do know that there are certain points – meeting a friend, moving someplace – where a grand plan is more apparent. Others, like being told to end a phone call because I’m hungry and sad, are less obvious, but equally as powerful.

I’ve been seeking to make a change for good recently, and what I seek has also been seeking me. That’s evident now. My Nana calls these moments where everything lines up “synchronicities”, and I’m getting better at noticing them. There are simple actions I take sometimes that cause powerful things to happen.

One snowy night, I was at a birthday party in Rexburg, Idaho, and I was not having a good time. I left early, driving through the snow as carefully as I could. That care didn’t stop me from almost colliding with two other students as I parked. I suck at parking. Everyone was okay, and I recognized one of them, a friend of mine I had made a few weeks back but hadn’t seen in a little while. The other was someone I had never met before. The three of us got to talking, and by the time I left Rexburg, I had gained two true friends who had saved my life a few times. They taught me how to trust again after my last awful relationship, and I am so thankful for them.

One of my strong beliefs is that we’re given the things and people we need in the time we need them. My husband arrived exactly when he needed to, for I needed him when I didn’t yet know it.

He’s taught me so much about how to love and how to be a better human. Marriage is a fun thing, but also very difficult at times. I’ll be the first to say that I’m not super great at working as a team, but I’m learning. It’s like sticking two rocks in a tumbling machine. The rocks lose their jagged edges if all goes well and both become shiny and smooth. That’s our goal.

And all because of a synchronicity.

I’m thankful for God’s (or your own Higher Power’s) wisdom. It’s infinite. They know how to guide our lives and know us better than we know ourselves, and know what’s best for us. I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful for the synchronicities that have led me here.

Until next post,

Meg

Stronger

Sometimes I find it hard to write when I’m away from my writing spot, and I sure am feeling the resistance today.

I’m sitting in my car in Anchorage and the sun hasn’t risen yet. It’s around 7:30 and will likely be around 8:30 by the time I finish this post. I’ve got at least two shots of espresso in me and still all I want to do is sleep. I would sleep soundly.

I think I am afraid to write outside of my usual spot in the basement because I now have bad associations with writing in the car. The last time I wrote in the car was when I wrote the the post about “Rebel Rebel” by David Bowie in the parking lot at my old work. Here I am in a parking lot once again, it’s Valentine’s Day, I’m waiting for a friend to call, and I feel hollow.

I’m not yet hollow enough to cry, but I’m getting there. I think parking lots before sunrise are some of the loneliest places I can imagine.

The sky is turning dark blue, the world keeps turning somehow. I want to stop being so scared and be stronger, but my heart is still breaking from yesterday even though I don’t quite remember why my heart was breaking in the first place. I keep telling myself that I should be stronger than I am and beating the shit out of myself when I fall short of my own unrealistic expectations.

I want to leave Anchorage and go back home to the valley where I live, but that’s a long drive and I am not in a headspace where that’s safe. I don’t know how to calm down. I feel a great desire to be stronger than I am, as I have said before.

I beat myself up almost daily for quitting my old job. I feel I should have been able to handle it and I shame myself for not being able to.

I beat myself up for not being able to accomplish simple tasks that take 10-15 minutes for a healthy person to finish. I want to do things, it just hurts in my brain to even make myself move.

I beat myself up for being sad.

I beat myself up for still having waves of debilitating grief over my dad.

I beat myself up for oversleeping or sleeping too little.

I beat myself up for little things that I would give my best friend care and compassion for.

If she or my husband were hurting like this, I would do everything in my power to hear them out and encourage them to take it easy one day at a time. I would encourage them to talk it out with me and tell them to do only what they can and then help when I am needed or wanted. I would make sure that I hear them and make sure they didn’t think they were alone. I would be by their side.

It’s important to me that they are open with what’s going on because sometimes I can’t read them. My best friend is physically far away and sometimes my husband manifests pain differently than I do. So in the same way I want them to tell me what’s going on and keep me informed, perhaps I should listen to what my brain and body need. I need to rest, I know that for certain. I need to be easier on myself. Most of the people around me don’t expect of me what I expect of myself.

I was speaking with a friend of mine who understands what I’m going through. She gave me words of encouragement and said essentially that I’m okay to be where I’m at. I lost my dad three years ago, which is relatively recent. She understands the feeling of it being difficult to accomplish things that are simple to most. She understands me, and that is so important. She makes me feel heard.

So maybe I am strong even though I struggle. I would most certainly think a friend would be were they in the same situation. So why not me?.

Until next post,

Meg

PS. Happy Valentine’s Day. Treat yourself.

Life in Black and White

Me, taken last night.

Hello, gentle readers! Meg again.

I’m feeling far better this morning.

I’m rediscovering my love for photography. I love how it can convey a mood almost instantly. There’s a major difference between the stark black and white, high contrast photos I started taking later in the evening and the colorful ones I took earlier in the day. I lost that love for a bit when I fell into this most recent depressive phase, and it appears that it’s back with a vengeance. I love taking selfies, especially when I’m sad. My husband loves them, too. I think it reminds me that I’m human and actually look good. Taking selfies has also taught me to love my face, which I worry is lopsided at times. I no longer spend a large amount of time picking out imperfections, and instead focus on things I like, like my freckles and my eyes.

I love playing with all of the settings on my photo editing apps, and sometimes the final product is very different than the original. I try not to distort it too much, but at the same time, there’s much to be said for art and surrealism.

Another one of my great loves is writing, and I greatly enjoy bending pieces of reality into things fictitious and surreal. I do that a lot with my poetry. The meanings behind most of the pieces are very autobiographical and real, but they’re so wrapped up in metaphor that they require a little digging to reach. They are angular at times. They are weirder than weird. Consider this stanza.

“Sometimes the memories have teeth and claws

and sometimes so do the hands of children

I’ve done enough wandering on the edge of dark

and balancing on the wire

to tell the truth from nonsense

and to know the times they are the same.”

I wrote this stanza not to confuse, but to make the reader take a step back and ask themselves “huh?”. The poem in full came about while I had Blue October’s “You Make Me Smile” on repeat. That song alone is odd and beautiful, I took that oddity and ran. I tend to write poems or songs when I get a line or phrase that won’t leave me alone. Sometimes the feeling of another piece of art will inspire it, sometimes it will come all on its own.

I was walking back to my apartment from class one snowy day when the line “I was the sun” came into my head and wouldn’t let me go. That line alone was the launch point for Primrose Path, my previously mentioned fifth album. “I Was the Sun” was a two chord protest against the culture at the school I attended, yet most people saw it as a pretty song with pretty lyrics. “I was the sun, but I fell from my place. Now I must dance back to whence I came, I must dance in my own space”, the song begins.

I felt pressured to live in black and white. I was not embracing who I was, I was trying to become like everyone else. “I Was the Sun” was a breaking point for me. Soon after, the rest of the album took shape, and I became known as the girl with the ukulele around campus. Acts of quiet rebellion like that kept me afloat. I left the school as soon as I could.

After that, I felt free to pave my own way. Church became a thing that made me uncomfortable – any church. So I made friends of many faiths, and we listened to each other one on one. I communed with God in my own ways, which included listening to instrumental music and playing the piano on my own. I study the Bible off and on, and I have never felt more heard by God and the universe.

I have been pondering this question all morning:

“Would it help to treat and love yourself like you would a loved one who is going through what you’re going through?”

The answer is yes. If I were my own best friend, there are many things I’d say to myself that I wouldn’t say to myself now. I’d tell myself:

“Take time to know yourself.”

“Your feelings are valid.”

“I hear you.”

“Take it easy. You are okay to take a break if you can’t go further.”

“Don’t break yourself.”

“It’s okay to be happy.”

“It’s okay to cry.”

“Strength is not pushing yourself into a breakdown.”

“Life isn’t always just black and white.”

Life isn’t always black and white. It isn’t. I’m coming to realize that through my experiences with culture and my own brain. I’m not a failure because I make one minor mistake, and life isn’t black and white just because a group of people tell me it is. It’s fine to make my own path. I need to learn to become my own best friend.

Me in color.

Until next post,

Meg

If you’re going to do something, do it right.

Hello, fine readers!

If I’m honest, I’m dealing with what I think are the beginnings of burnout. I haven’t been spending hours of each day posting on B and B. I haven’t spent tons of time promoting it, either. Most of the time I’ve been spending has been at work or with my husband. I wonder if it’s because I have more things going on than normal and I am stressed. That doesn’t mean I’m going to quit the blog – it just means I’m going to have to manage my time better.

Devoting an hour out of my day normally for this is easy. But with my husband around, I want to spend more time with him because I go to work in the afternoons. So it’s getting more difficult to me to budget time for everything. As a result, my desire to write has taken a nosedive.

Am I going to quit?? No. I have goals to achieve, people to meet, lives to touch. My words need to be here, I’m sure of it. B and B is a piece of my heart. Perhaps the posts on the weekends will be shorter and I’ll write more on my “longer” days.

I’m still trying to figure out how to be consistent and not quit when things get hard or when I “don’t have time”. If it’s important to me, I will make time. And B and B is incredibly important to me.

I think my marriage has been teaching me a lot about that. I am consistently becoming a better person because of my husband (and a bit more foul mouthed) because he both inspires me and pushes me. Sometimes I have moments where the gushy feeling subsides and I wonder where it went, but that doesn’t mean I have stopped loving him. At that point, it becomes less of a thing that is felt and more of a choice to be made. And I choose him. He chooses me. He teaches me to be consistent. One of my favorite things he says to me is “If you’re gonna do something, do it right”. I think about that at work a lot and while doing chores. It reminds me to not cut corners. But it can also be applied to marriage – and blogging, for that matter. I hope I can use it in everything, because I’m a person who slacks on everything except for the things that immediately interest me and are easy. And once those things stop interesting me or they get hard, I quit them. Or if I feel like I’m falling into a manic phase, I kill my interest in them.

I’m learning that that’s not okay. I will always be devoted to my marriage, but that doesn’t stop it from being difficult at times. I’m learning to be part of a team instead of just looking out for myself. I love him, but he teaches me how to love better. He shows me love even when I don’t deserve it. I want to be more like him, and I beat myself up for not being on his level. He stops me from doing so.

Beautiful things are difficult to obtain. I can’t take credit for this phrase, some Greek person made it up. But the meaning stands. Good things are worth fighting for, and at times must be fought for. And I will continue to fight for my beautiful things.

I love my husband. I love this blog. I love you.

Until next post,

Meg