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

Did this help? If so, buy me a coffee here and keep the good times rolling!

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Happy

“i’m afraid
i don’t want to be out of control
what if happiness scares me?
she follows me like a shadow
found in drumbeats and embraces and the feeling of
pushing forward
the song i’m listening to flutters
i have fluttered before
i will flutter again
i don’t like it because my happiness comes
out loud
shout it to the heavens
i’m happy and i don’t know why”

For some reason, people have always said I’m resilient, as if that’s something I want. All it meant to me was that I didn’t kill myself when my dad died, when XYZ happened, etc., that plodding on should be applauded. It didn’t mean that I was going anywhere. It didn’t mean I was proud of myself or living for anything.

When I met my husband, all of that began to change. I was living, at the very least, to be able to spend time with him and make sure he was happy. Even when I wanted to blot myself off the face of the Earth, he was there.

When I moved to Alaska, things changed even more. As mentioned previously, two psychiatric professionals took down the notion that I needed to be on hundreds of milligrams of meds a day, allowing me to cut back on my unnecessarily doses. He was the one who set all of this in motion. He was the first one actively involved in my care to challenge the idea that I could be crazy.

With all of these changes, I feel more energetic, hopeful, and happy. The happiness baffles me. It now rents out the space where sadness used to be, and it is almost persistent in its pursuit of me. It’s wild, loud, and feels dangerous. I still don’t trust it, and still confuse it with going crazy. It involves a lot of shouting for joy.

It can be compared to the end of a hero’s journey story where the hero arrives at the same place they started, but changed. It’s like, this is new, what do I do now?

I’ve been throwing myself wholeheartedly into my tutoring, which is awesome. Lots of new music has been made, and this long overdue thing is in the works…

People have been wanting to read my poems in a book for a bit, so I will make it happen.

If you’re happy and you know it, what do you do?

To construct a blossom

Last November, I ran a test design on my Facebook page as a trial run for a shoe line. I ran it live. It took about 20 minutes to paint, and I maintain that painting is one of the most soothing activities I do.

I grew up doing abstract art, and I always wondered if my art was somehow worth less than traditional realism since it didn’t depict anything that could actually be seen. I am terrible at realism. AWFUL. So I pursued abstract art as a way to release and depict emotion.

I didn’t paint often, but it was in one of these one-off painting sessions that I sat down and slashed at a canvas out of sheer 12-year-old rage and came up with Anger, shown below in an Instagram post of mine. Yes, my username is trafficpeanutbutter.

It was pure energy. I wasn’t dead set on it taking any kind of form, it simply.. made itself. That’s how my art works at its best. November was no exception. Here’s how it took shape.

The primordial soup.
Starting to take shape.
Corner close to completion.
Detail of Cherry Blossom.
Cherry Blossom in full bloom.

I was experimenting with new products for Golden Apple and found one that I loved enough to put on the shop! Cherry Blossom Socks are headed your way. Take a look here.

Love,

Meg

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.

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

See (Mago track 1)

Good morning, friends!

That’s exactly what this song is about. From the opening line of “good morning, my dearest”, “See” is about new beginnings and the fairytale phase of love. It’s about feeling comfortable in my own skin in that moment.

I’ve thought a bit about how I’m going to approach this song and this topic. I want this post to be less of an admonition and more of a tale of personal experience. So here we go.

I’m not an “expert” on the fairytale phase, but I do know a bit about it. When it worked and I was in it, it was awesome. That’s what “See” is about.

I would call it a false high. When I wrote this song, I was feeling euphoric. The euphoria would later come crashing down, and I knew it would. So I was determined to cling to the high for as long as possible.

With it came a massive creative surge, and I wanted to cling to that, as well. This might be a bipolar thing, and like nearly all of my creative endeavors, I beat myself up for pursuing it. I’m glad I didn’t kill it – the lines in Mago and in “See” are priceless.

“See” is also about feeling complete and accepted in love and in life. I wrote one of my favorite lyric stanzas of all time here:

“I’ve been through people, people have been through me, but in translucency I am whole, and in this time I am complete”.

I felt worn through and hoped that I could finally rest with the person whom I felt completed me.

Why not end the album there, or put it at the end instead of the beginning, you may ask?

The answer is that it IS the beginning. It sets the stage for a tumultuous, open ended story. And it’s also a breaking point and the beginning of a descent. You know how a protagonist is living their life when along comes a knock on the door and their world is changed in an instant?

This is The World Before, where everything is settled. But it’s also false and subject to violent change.

I say “violent change” because there will be a breaking point later on when I discover that I’m really NOT comfortable in my own skin.

After my dad died, I ran towards anything that would give me emotional shelter and latched myself onto it. It took me awhile to learn that that was bad. I felt comfortable and beautiful and safe for a time, but when things inevitably went south, my self esteem plummeted. My mental health plummeted. Whether it was me or thing or person that I clung to that ended my clinging, it turned into a form of self harm in hindsight. Especially when I would kill it on purpose. Eventually it stopped hurting as badly as it should have, but I developed an unhealthy fear of rejection. My relationships with friends and family weren’t healthy, my mind wasn’t healthy.

I was terrified of being alone. As a result, nothing grew in a healthy manner because I was so afraid of losing it. I couldn’t be by myself for more than three or four hours, and if I was, my mind began to tear itself apart. But I didn’t know what was even going on until after I started writing Mago. I had a hunch in the writing process, but nothing would happen until I met my husband (who accepts me in my entirety) , and it took starting this blog to begin accepting myself. It’s a wonderful thing.

The time which inspired “See” went south. But it was the beginning of a journey. Setting this down in song was a powerful experience and kicked Mago into high gear. It is also one of my only love songs that I still love after a year and some. Plus, it’s beautiful! Take a listen here.

Until next time,

Meg