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

Advertisements

On Goals

Hello, all!

I don’t have many qualms with the world at present or much to say that immediately comes to mind, but I do want to write. I hope you’ll come along for this freewrite!

2000-P Maryland Statehood Quarter

I remember looking at a coin once that had a building I had never seen on it when I was very small. I asked my grandmother (who was with me at the time) where that building was. This turned out to be the Maryland state quarter, so she explained that this building was in Maryland. I asked her if I’d ever get to see it, and her answer was something to the effect of “maybe”. I tucked that memory away, not quite remembering it, not quite forgetting it for the next 15 and some years. It came to my attention one afternoon when I was walking around Annapolis, Maryland and I looked up at the State House. In that brief moment I realized that I was seeing the building I had wanted to see when I was small that day with the coin.

Image result for unalaska on map
Unalaska, the town in question.

A few years later, I was fed up with the Texas heat and craving wintertime, so I announced to my family that I was moving to Alaska as soon as I could. I had a town picked out and everything. I was pumped. Those dreams fell by the wayside about a year after that after I really went to school and focused on other dreams, like songwriting, which I would discover a year or two afterwards.

That was over a decade ago. I also realized today that I have been songwriting for a decade. That mark passed last month (May). I wrote my first song to get even remotely popular in May of 2009. This also means I have been playing piano for ten years, as well. I remember that because I wrote that first “good” song a week after sitting down at my aging keyboard and finding I could play what I heard. One of the loops on GarageBand at the time got stuck in my head, so I sounded it out on piano and sang along with the notes. This is the original recording, also the first “good” recording I ever made. I didn’t look back, and I still record everything.

When I was 12, I made a goal to record an album in a studio in much the same way my idol Sara Bareilles did. I ended up achieving that goal by the time I was 14, along with my other goal of writing a book. So for a time, I thought I had accomplished everything I needed to accomplish in life and that therefore it was okay to drift aimlessly. I didn’t want to make any concrete plans because I was afraid they would get thwarted and ultimately abandoned. I was afraid of failure so I failed to start. What I didn’t realize at the time (and didn’t realize until recently) is that a lot of time, goals can take a long time to take shape and that’s okay. Goals can take even longer to be achieved, and that is still okay. My goal at one point was to graduate college in Maryland. After that was a mystery. I had no other plans. It took finding my husband to finally get kicked in the butt hard enough to make some solid goals. These goals have led me away from my original goal of graduating college for now, but they have instead led to some better goals – having a good marriage, running and building my tutoring service, losing weight, and raising our lizard baby.

It takes time for things to fall into place. If I can get anything across today, it’s that. I left Maryland and its goals in favor of bigger things in Alaska, but I didn’t know that upon leaving. All I saw was that moment.

We are given what we need in the times that we need it, and dreams really do come true. Be patient with yourself, others, and the universe.

Love,

Mago

In Disassembly

Before we begin, consider subscribing to B+BD for $5 USD monthly for cool extra content!

It’s nighttime here, yet night has not entirely fallen. It’s this kind of eerie twilight where day desperately tries to linger.

Here’s a graph from timeanddate.com showing the daylight times for my hometown here in Alaska. As you can see, we’re getting ready to receive the most amount of daylight we will get all year on 21 June. I think it’s safe to say that this extreme influx of daylight has been messing with my sleep schedule. For example, it’s 11:35 PM and every damn human in this house is awake and alive. My husband and I live with two roommates who are basically family to us.

My husband is a few feet away from me playing some kind of first person shooter game. I have Lana Del Rey in my ears and so I can’t hear what he or his friends in his ears are saying. I’m caffeinated up and ready to rumble on my own projects.

My cousin said that she admired how I could set my mind on things and just do them. I released the first full length Candy For Trees album and shared with the news with her. I would argue that I’m the opposite of what she said. Everything creative just happens to me and the hardest work I do is assemble the miscellany I have created, sometimes from over the course of years. I lack discipline, and I’m not fond of that about myself. This blog is one of my greatest feats of consistency I have ever accomplished, and even then I am not perfect at it.

My biggest feat of consistency is the time I wrote 365 poems in a year. I wrote every day for the act of writing, and my work SUCKED. But because I put myself through those paces, my work got so much better. I was able to look back on the project and see that I honestly didn’t like the schmaltzy rhyming poetry I had written and that breaking free of the rhyme was essential to progressing in my craft. This honesty with myself allowed me to continue and get better, honing my own style rather than imitating the Romantic poets I so admired. In disassembling what I had made simply for the act of doing it, I was able to get farther than I would have otherwise.

I also think that Byzantines and Button Downs has made me a better writer, and being semi-consistent with it has been beneficial beyond measure, both with regards to practicing my craft and in terms of self discovery. I try to write something – anything – every day, whether it is poetry, one of my many stories, or blog posts.

Why don’t I write every day consistently, you may ask?

I think it’s because I’m afraid of failing, writing something that -gasp- sucks. I forget so easily how writing just for the act of doing it improved my skills and how I can always revisit the crappy writing later and build on it.

Here is an example of one such reconstruction:

The original.
The rework, 2015.

The theme remains the same, but they are quite different stylistically. There are pros and cons to each, but in the end it’s up to personal preference.

In the end, it comes down to self improvement, dedication, and perseverance. I don’t have those down yet and I was a lot better at them when I was younger, but that doesn’t mean that I am a failure. I just have stuff to work on.

So if you feel like you are stuck in the first assembly phase, you aren’t alone. I think we all should take it one day at a time (seriously, that’s some of the best advice I have ever heard) and do what we can today, in this time. In my limited experience, I’ve found that it’s about making time for consistency, not necessarily having it already on hand.

What are you working on? Let me know in the comments!

Love,

Meg