Thursday, October 18, 2012

I Lava Closing the Book

This weekend I'm celebrating an anniversary of sorts.

Maybe a birthday?  I dunno, how cheesy is it to say I came back to life.

But to the friends and family who saw me barely make it through the year leading up to last October they might not think it's an overstatement.  I was hollow, hulled out.  I started this blog because I needed somewhere to save the good things so that I could recall them when things were dark. 

I don't actually remember how that all felt.  I know it was there, I have tangible proof of emotional distress, but I can't for the life of me recall what a burden so heavy that it caused me to stoop when I stood was like. 

Last October 20th I sent an e-mail that ended a very bad friendship/relationship/thing for good.  I started using EFT to move past the emotional damage and really worked intensively on rebuilding my self esteem.  It's been a long year since last October.  Sometimes situations feel weird that wouldn't have caused a problem before, I'm regaining feeling and have all of these phantom limbs. 

I've learned how to dream again.  Every corner has another idea or project hiding behind it waiting for me, giggling because it knows I'll be all over it as soon as it jumps out at me.  Last year I thought I had plateaued.  I honestly believed that I had already reached my peak and I would never do anything above what I had already done.  Today I can see clearly that you only reach your peak when you stop climbing.  I wanted to try comedy or join a band and this year I've done both in one move.  I've tried zine writing and video editing and swing dance.  I've become a much better mom.  I've taken the quotation marks out of the word "art." 

I'm still very much a work in progress.  Self worth, body image and all that jazz has been pretty hit and miss but I'm working on my inner monologue and trying to stop negative thoughts before they manifest in negative action.  When I think about what I should do I don't dwell on how I haven't accomplished it yet but instead work on a plan to make it happen.  It's not perfect and my plans usually end up in a dead end of dark chocolate peanut butter cups but any action is preferable to ruminating in the fetal position. 

I am in good hands, though.  The same friends and family members who guided me through before are still my loudest cheerleaders.  I also have been absolutely blessed with a partner who sees my potential more clearly than I do but also understands that I am still recovering from a whole-body heartache.  I'm grateful that we found each other at a time when I was ready to accept such an enveloping and encompassing love because he has really become my quiet harbor and I know I'm safe, no matter what vestigial emotional responses come up unexpectedly.   I'm thankful for all of the foundational work I did all year- hard and trying as it was, to bring me to a place where I could have such a supportive and positive love as his without running and running fast. 

Progress has been made even though sometimes I still passively let things slip by.  I am seeing opportunities and going for them- in just over a week I'll be starting a new job with an organization that will feed into my passion I feel for my hometown in a major way.  This is a dream job and last year I never would have thought I should even bother throwing a resume their way.

So with all of this positive change I am glad to close this chapter of my blogging life.  In the near future I'll be announcing my new blog and casting my net of LAVA even wider.  Thanks for taking this journey with me and I'll see you in my new blog home!

Friday, August 31, 2012

I Lava When It All Makes Sense

Three weeks ago my schedule dramatically changed.  I went from being under-employed (but working three jobs, strangely enough...) to working full time, as well as beginning my first semester back in school in three years.  Basically, my brain's been in a tailspin for the past few weeks.

One of the classes I'm taking is Assertiveness Training.  I've discovered that I'm ridiculously, self-sabotagingly passive in weird ways that I couldn't name before.  It's been on my mind a lot lately, so last night on Twitter and Facebook I posted a revelation: "I am not ugly. I am not inept. I am a woman with viable talent and interests who will take this world by storm, by Jove!" and the response was very interesting.  

I had a handful of people think I had actually been told these things by someone, several "likes," "favorites" and "retweets" and messages from friends thanking me for posting it.  I have a tendency to think I am a sham, that when people realize that I'm actually an idiot they're going to stop caring.  I work extra hard to hide that I'm incredibly insecure, I'll check spelling and etymology before using words and at work I've found that I push myself very hard so that my supervisors won't suddenly realize that I am not qualified to even walk through the doors of the business.  I finally took a break today, my first one all week.  I don't want anyone to see me sitting and not working in case they don't realize I'm on a break and think I'm slacking off.

Apparently this is extreme passivity.  

Last night I shared all of this with my boyfriend and it felt like I finally was able to grasp a solid reason for why I do things they way I do.  It's been frustratingly like one of those dreams where you can see the silhouettes but can't focus on what things are, and now I have a name for my behavior.  With a clear idea of what causes my responses I can begin to work on moving past my passivity, start taking credit for the things I'm good at instead of shrugging them off and learn how to be comfortable with my abilities.  

I am tired of being my own harshest critic. I will no longer be a victim of my passive nature and I am going to work hard to see myself as I really am, a woman of action.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

I do not lava misuse of power for personal gain.

I'm a very proud third generation Central High School alumnus.  I love the school district pretty passionately and I'm always the first to chime in and defend her honor when someone might be slamming CUSD.  I may or may not have been predisposed to fall in love with the Giants when I realized baseball didn't suck because I liked my alma mater's colors so much. 

But there's some real horseshit happening right now in the district.  Looks like Superintendent Mike Berg is getting significant raise for himself as well as four assistant superintendents, which takes money from the general fund- where classroom supplies come from.  The schools are already having to cut way back on supplies as it is.

You know me, I don't get too political very often, and it never comes out on my blog- anything where numbers and money are a huge part of the issue at hand make me very uncomfortable- however, I couldn't let this just sit.  I lava my school district too much.

Please follow this link to read up on it for yourself (read the comments too, they're very telling about how disgusting the whole situation is) and sign the petition to revoke the Superintendent raises. 

And don't worry, I promise I'll be back to my usual blogoptimism in no time!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I Lava Mary-Kate and my Fast-Pass to Hell

Sacrilegious?  I'd like to think it's sacrilicious.

I'm sure you all remember my tribute to Mandy Moore.  What?  No?  Damn.

Well, I've done it again.  This time it solved two problems.  The other telephone nook in my house needed love.  It looked like shit because it had become the catchall for bills, photos I didn't know what to do with, Applebees gift cards... you name it, I had it tucked away in there.

And of course, I had to find a home for my Saint Mary-Kate print from Aurora Lady.

I can't be the only one with the whole "What do I do with this dang art?" dilemma. Like, I order it, I sit waiting for the mail every day, I get it and then it sits because I keep thinking "Oh, Imma get a frame next week." and then the frames all suck because I don't want my beloved piece of artwork to be stuck in something bo-o-o-o-ring or not complimentary for the rest of it's life, right?  So it sits.  I did this with the I Love You Gala Darling original I got from Aurora Lady as well, and it seriously took 2 months to find a great frame.

So anyway, I've had her sitting for almost a month now and enough is enough, you know?  I'd hate to see this become a really dumb cycle to get into with really great art.

So I made an altar for her.  Duh.

What I did (and you can do too!):
  •  Placed the print in a sheet protector to keep it safe!
  • Cut out the shape of my telephone nook with a piece of cardboard- I actually used the backing from another print I purchased last year- a Nikki McClure for my kitchen.
  • Decoupaged the heck outta it.  For this I used all of the cosmetics packaging I haven't had the heart to throw away and some Mod-Podge and glitter.
  • Glued the sheet protector to the cardboard collage of awesomeness
  • Threw a few Mary-Kate quotes on there for good measure
  • Hot glued three of my cutest cosmetics boxes to the backing for added dimension
  • Put Aurora Lady's Cathedral of Rebellion buttons on a ribbon and hung it just outside of the nook. (I got the ribbon from the handle of the Victoria's Secret bag I used to line the cardboard with before I started making the collage)
  • Printed a picture of MK and Mod-Podged it onto a prayer candle.  Added Glitter.
  • Lit the candle and thanked St. Mary-Kate for the Olsenboye dress I was wearing today.

...aaaand for good measure, one more look at my Mandy Moore altar.

Please note that Ryan Adams is under her skirt.  Where he belongs.

It's probably good that I only have one more feasible altar spot left in my house because I'm pretty sure I've offended Catholics and celebs alike with my antics.  And I kinda lava the hell outta that.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I Lava Bicycles

 May is Bike Month.

Photo by Jennifer Emerling

These days there's a month for everything, so I've always blown it off.  Whatever, dude.  I hadn't ridden a bike since I was twelve and the task of getting started now seemed pretty daunting. 

But dang, I've always been jealous of the self-satisfied look on the faces of every bike-to-worker.  The tan and muscled legs of the girls who ride their bikes to the bar.  The cute baskets, the excuse to wear leggings with everything, the ability to cut the umbilical cord to the gas pump, or at least fray it a little bit.  Like I said, hella jelly.

But I have kids.  I live in the country.  I can't ride a bike.  I'm never gonna be able to get over my fear of riding in traffic.  I sunburn.  I'm so out of shape.  I don't even know how to begin.

That's what I bitterly thought to myself every time I saw another cool girl ride by on her cool bike. 

When May was approaching this year I really didn't want to have to pretend not to care anymore.  I asked my dad to fix up a bike I'd had in my garage for a few years that I found in a trash heap.  It was a cute bike.  I used it once in a photo shoot.  Ridden it?  Never.

Escorted by an experienced cool-bike-person who was someone I trusted to see me ride in the way that a baby deer walks, I tried to ride to work.  Tried being the operative term here.  He ended up swapping bikes with me halfway there because it was SO IMPOSSIBLE to ride.  Like, it didn't coast at all and I don't even know enough about bikes to tell you why else it sucked, but it sucked.  No wonder it was in a trash heap.

The next day my mom offered to buy me a new bike to avoid my hardheaded "Gonna do this no matter what what" nature getting me into trouble and broken down... probably at the bottom of an irrigation canal.  I told you, I live in the country.  

If I hadn't had the bike from hell experience the day before my choice at the bike shop would have been very different.  Because my wrists and forearms hurt from the awkward angle of the handlebars, that was a major factor.  It was also way too small for me.  My mom, knowing I'm vain beyond belief, told the bike shop cool-guy I am really image conscious and I quickly cut her off saying "I need something really functional and it needs to get me to and from work without sucking."  

My first bicycling breakthrough, omigod, I ignored my instinct to go for cute or cool. One day on a bike and I'd already become a better person.

The shop had a lot of small bikes, but only two or three medium sized bikes to choose from, so I ended up choosing a comfort bike.  It can handle the unkempt and potholed country roads- my main concern.  It felt good as I rode around the parking lot.  I kind of fell in love a little with the smoothness of pure human power causing me to move. 

That afternoon I went on my first ride by myself out to Kearney Park and I officially became a bike girl.  The way things smell sweet and you can hear birds and wind and hearing my breathing as I'd push myself harder and faster and then coasting and inhaling deeply while the sun hit my arms and face.  
I took a BFF pic with it while I enjoyed my reaching my destination on my first ride to Kearney Park.

That was 3 weeks ago I've ridden 214 miles since.  It's felt amazing.  Even riding on busy streets doesn't intimidate me.  Much. 

I doubt I'll ever be a cool bike girl, but it's always good to have a goal, and anyway I'm head over heels in lava with riding my bike.

Happy bike month, y'all.  If you're not on a bike yet, your excuses are irrelevant.  Get on one.

Friday, April 20, 2012

I Lava 420

Record scratch... What?!

For those of you who know me, you know that I can't even comfortably hold a cigarette for a friend as they duck inside to get something, let alone be here late into the annual stoner holiday proclaiming undying LAVA for it.

So lemme 'splain.

I don't smoke, I actually woke up thinking today was a normal day until about 8 AM when after being at a friend's house at 5:30 AM for a run I got onto Facebook and saw the bazillion 420 posts.  Oh, right.  I didn't think stoners were even UP at 8 AM!

But I also noticed that my dearest friend Aurora Lady had posted a link to her blog in which she had interviewed me about my first zine,  My Drunk Year

I was excited, so far my zine had only been distributed to a handful of close friends who dealt with the wreck that me as I trudged through the experience that led to writing the zine.  The strong response from the people who had read it started to give me a feeling that maybe what I thought was just typewriter therapy actually had a little weight to it.  Then a few nights ago while talking to my amazing friend Yvonne about how many people we know have some substance dependency or another I jokingly said "I should just become an addiction counselor so at least I can get paid for my overwhelming desire to save the world." and then it hit me.  How have I not been doing that all along?

So without really remembering that today would be the day Aurora Lady would be posting the interview, I decided I'd go in to the counseling office at Fresno City College this afternoon.  The timing was just really amazing.  I sold my first zine to a complete stranger in a completely different state, I've had a lot of amazing discussions all day long with friends who I never would have thought would be even remotely interested in reading about my experience and then I found out that 10 classes, or about 33 units more and I would be able to get another associates degree and have my AS in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling.  So you know, some people get doctorates in the amount of time it's taken for me to figure out a career path.  I'm gonna have a wall full of associates degrees, but whatever.  They're like the Pokemon of the academic world.

As I was at the post office mailing out the zine and choking back the tears at how amazing it felt to finally have some sort of direction, it struck me as ironically funny that the day I'd set the wheels in motion to try my hand at a career in counseling happens to be the high holiday among stoners.  Synchronicity.  You know I LAVA the heck outta that, and I'll never forget everything that led me to what I'm hoping will be exactly what I'm called to do on this day.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

I Lava Baseball


I'd be a fool not to.
I am so excited about the start of Baseball season.  It's this swallowing-whole where you can't walk into a restaurant or bar without some game, somewhere playing and everyone is wearing their team's colors and suddenly sports radio is interesting again.  The twitter shit talking, the real life shit talking.  Having common ground with my really sensible and ridiculously brilliant sister.  

And of course, the game itself.  Smart, emotionally involving, impressive and easily accessible. 

Most people are lifelong fans, they started following a team as a kid with their parents or friends and have stuck by that. I'm still in my infancy as a baseball fan, this will be my third season of giving a damn.  

I fought it, my ex husband would dominate the TV several nights a week and I'd groan loudly, complain that it was stupid and go read Twilight or write love letters to Hanson.  But then something clicked.  I think it was the human aspect of the game- hearing an interesting story about a player during a lull in the game that made me realize that baseball has some fascinating people in it, not just meathead athletes. (And oh how I've tried in vain since this epiphany to see football players this way.  Do they have personalities?)  So I started watching with him passively.  

It was early in the season- late April or early May, and one of the pitchers wasn't doing so well, lots of people were questioning his "stuff" and I couldn't help but be drawn into the articles and speculation about what he'd need to do to pull out of his slump.  It became this new thing where I felt that if he couldn't be as great as everyone said he was then I'd feel somehow let down.  I have no clue how that line of thinking worked, but I paid close attention and started to recognize that pitching wasn't just throwing a ball.  What the heck, there's actual mechanics to it? 

Then I started to learn the game bit by bit, and started getting stressed out and tense in all the right moments.  The first time I whooped loudly without realizing it was coming out I knew I'd graduated and I'd be a fan of the sport for life.  The first professional sport I've ever cared about.  

I am obviously years behind everyone on baseball know-how.  I don't have a broad grasp of baseball history or my team's past that I can recall as easily as my own birthday like everyone else I know, but I'm a devoted disciple.  Watching hours and hours of Ken Burns: Baseball, reading books so I can watch the game better and catch the little nuances that I've been missing in my newbie state...all of that good stuff.  If I'm going to enjoy something I want to know as much as possible.  I am still pathetic at talking smack, but my friends Yvonne and Chris have been very generous with their time to help me understand that fine art as well. 

This year I'm hoping to make it to my first major league game- I went all the time last year to the Fresno Grizzlies games because Chukchansi Park is very close to where I live (hey-o for free fireworks shows if people keep their trees trimmed!) but I still haven't been to see my team up close and personal.  I might cry if I don't get to.

I Lava that I was wrong all along about baseball, not only is it a fantastic way to completely lose myself for half of the year but it also proves once again that nothing is set in stone.  If I was wrong about hating all sports, what else could I be missing out on?