Perfectly Average

Howdy! I hope everyone is faring well in the fourth (?) month of quarantine. I felt compelled to go into more detail about something I mentioned in my last post, the concept of feeling comfortable being completely average at something.

While some people have had more time on their hands the last few months, I’ve seen some amazing things. People spending more time writing, drawing, sewing, singing, all of the arts and crafts! I think it’s amazing how talented some people truly are. I feel like I’ve seen so many perfected arts lately that some days I almost accept that everyone else is amazing and gifted but me. Candidly, it makes me feel bad about the content I want to create. Now please let me say this, there is absolutely nothing wrong with sharing the talents you’re amazing at! Take those high quality photos, blow up Instagram and Twitter, make a video about it on YouTube, start your own shop on Etsy! Everyone should be able to express what they’re great at. With the utmost sincerity I say kudos to the shining talents of the world, your crafts brighten the lives of many, please continue to do what you do!

Getting back to the topic, I went to Furman University and started out as a vocal performance major. I was fairly ‘talented’ in the small town I’m from, getting leads in musicals and getting a great deal of praise from the church community I was brought up in. It seemed only natural when I graduated high school that music would be my next step in life and lead me to a successful career. I made it precisely one year and two days into my vocal performance major before promptly marching to the dean’s office right after music theory and switching to English. I felt like a failure, but I knew I would never be as good as my peers in the program, I didn’t feel like a good fit. Now, was I bad at singing? No. Do I still enjoy singing now? Absolutely! Will I ever launch an extremely successful musical career? Not a chance, and that’s okay. I don’t have to be an opera singer to feel good about singing. YOUR HOBBIES DON’T HAVE TO EQUATE TO A FULL TIME PROFESSION, SIDE HUSTLE, OR FAME FOR YOU TO LIKE THEM AND BE GOOD AT THEM.

It has taken me years to come to terms with this concept, and it’s something I still have to tell myself daily. We tell children and students that they’re special and gifted because they’re above average and we train them to want to be the absolute best. We have TV shows and competitions worldwide promoting being a winner in your field, all of this drama to prove you’re ‘it’. In a world where the population of over 7 billion, I promise it’s okay to be average at something and still feel passionately about it. Take some time to paint even if your art isn’t the Mona Lisa. Sing along to that song even if you don’t sound like Ariana Grande. Dance around the house, try to pick up sewing, bake something new for dessert, and work on that new crafty storage solution for your home! It’s okay to be imperfect and it’s okay to continue your craft knowing you probably won’t ever do it perfectly. So what if your Instagram pic of your homemade fire pit doesn’t look professionally done? It’s not professionally done, it still looks fine, and you had a blast doing it! Be proud of what you accomplish and more importantly, take joy in where your passions lie. The same rules also apply to us average folk about sharing your craft. You can share what you do if you’re proud of it! There isn’t a bouncer on social media that’s going to come take your content away because it’s not the number one thing out there. If sharing what you create makes you happy, don’t wait for perfection, share it when it feels right.

You are amazing the way you are, and there’s beauty in being average. Doing something imperfectly still gets you a lot further than if you never did it at all. Don’t be afraid to do what you love and love what you do. I ran cross country in middle and high school and I never made the varsity team. I still went out every day and improved to meet personal goals and I enjoyed the sport. I love writing so I wrote today. It’s not perfect, but it makes me happy. I encourage all of you to do something today simply because it makes you happy.

Stay safe until next time!

Finally

So, this feels like a fairly weird time to pick back up on my writing considering everything going on in the world right now. That being said, with more free time than I’ve had in years, I think it makes sense to try and add some structure back to my life. On the topic of writing again, I’m finally going to do something I’ve always wanted to do. Please don’t immediately laugh at what I’m about to say.

I’m going to write about myself.

Now, dear reader, you might have read that last sentence and thought to yourself sarcastically “wow, okay, groundbreaking”. As simple as it sounds, I have a really hard time doing it. Everything starts out fine and dandy, I’m just ticking away at my keyboard a million words a minute and then a maelstrom of hatred swoops in. Without fail, I start sweating a little bit mid sentence. I’ll read back over what I’ve written about myself and feel like fake and a phony and just delete what I’ve been writing. I don’t know why this is such a predictable cycle when I try to write like this, so let’s take some time here and explore why I feel this way in case anyone else can relate. I mean, I hope this isn’t something most people feel when they try to take part in a hobby, but have an inkling I might not be alone in being my own worst enemy when it comes to creating.

Obviously, I started this blog years ago with the intent of creating written content again on a regular basis. I just had the honor of having poetry published in a book, and I was feeling the pressure to keep writing. This endeavor lead to a collection of short posts from a book of writing topics I purchased to help me improve as an author. To be quiet honest, that’s something I forced myself to do in order to justify actually creating a blog complete with a cute little logo (shout out to my sis). When this blog was just an idea, I thought at first that I would just write about myself in a semi-poetic light and that it would be fabulous. I’d be like Jenna in MTV’s awkward or a blogger turned vlogger with hundreds of people instantly relating to how I think. That my writing would be effortless and I would feel amazing. I chickened out. Desperate to find an excuse to post my writing publicly, I picked up the aforementioned book of writing topics to give me a rigid schedule and structure. I essentially assigned myself homework that I didn’t want to do. Right now as I type this out sitting on my living room floor, I feel extremely silly. As an adult, I assigned myself homework that I didn’t like and faked getting joy out of it all to avoid doing what I wanted to do because I was scared.

For some reason, I feel like this type of writing right here is cheating. I feel like me just typing out my thoughts and expressing my viewpoint is fake and shallow. Why is it that I can write a poem about a rock and feel accomplished and mature, but I write a paragraph about what’s on my heart and mind and I feel like a little girl scribbling in a diary I keep stashed under my mattress? Weirdly enough, I don’t feel like it’s bad prose because it’s hard for me to do this. The actual act of writing in this stream of consciousness type style is actually the most natural thing in the world for me. I’ve written most of this post in about 5 minutes after I talked myself up in the shower for 30 minutes while listening to my favorite playlist on Spotify. I think this is part of the reason I feel like it’s cheating. All through school and university studying as an English major, I felt like I wasn’t doing something write unless it was hard. Maybe it’s because I feel like if it comes naturally to me, there’s no way in hell it could be something worthwhile or good. Maybe it’s because it’s so much easier to take criticism when it comes to a topic someone else picked. For example, who cares if poeticgurllll2345 doesn’t like what I wrote trying to describe a childhood memory in the third person? It was an assignment so if you don’t like it, it’s just because it was a weird topic, no skin off my back. If you don’t like this type of post tonight, maybe you would get bored in a conversation with me. If you think this post is silly and childish, maybe you’d be the person that chuckles under your breath at my ideas. This feels harder to put out there because there’s no buffer, these are my unfiltered thoughts. No perfectly chilled water from the Brita in the fridge, this is cold ground water straight from the hose in the middle of summer. This is how I think, this is me.

One thing I always joked about is writing an autobiography. A novel describing my life experiences bursting with heartache and humor, joy and pain, all artfully curated into a breathtaking work. See, even typing out that sentence makes me cringe. I’m editing this post write now and I just highlighted this whole paragraph to delete it. Who in God’s name am I to think that I’m interesting enough to even write one blog post about, let alone a whole novel?? But these feelings are why I’m challenging myself to not challenge myself. To just let myself write, not assign myself tasks for the sake of putting words on the page.

Please be warned that I have no idea how long these posts might be or what topics I’ll cover as I explore the freedom I’m allowing myself to have now. My train of thought is more like a 4 way intersection on a 6 lane highway with crosswalks, a bike lane, and the traffic light stopped working. The madness is the method here and I don’t like to focus on one topic for too long. There are too many wild things in life and I get excited about them easily. If you’ve stuck around this long, pretend the cookies you accepted on this webpage were homemade with love from me. For those of you just skimming TL;DR: allow yourself to do what you want. You’re not a selfish monster if you want to write about your own experiences in your own blog! You’re not a monster for wanting to try something that you know you’ll be imperfect at. You’re not attention seeking for wanting to try something for fun. Explore your interests because they interest you! Not everyone will have a million followers, but everyone can enjoy a platform where they feel good about the content they create.

Please everyone stay safe out there and remember to be kind, it’s free. Ta ta for now!

Renewed for a reboot!

Howdy everyone! So to be cliche and also make grandiose and generalized blanket statements, 2020 is insane and I’ve had a lot of time at home lately. I’m sure there are many people who are in the same boat right now. Out of all of the craziness, I think I’ve actually found the inspiration to start writing again?

This has been on my mind for a while as I’ll sit at work on break and just start sorting out lines of poetry. Sometimes I feel inspired while driving, gardening, or even cleaning and just start creating dialogue or paragraphs in my head. To cut the fluff, I think it’s time to try and write more regularly again. I don’t think it’ll be as structured as weekly prompted posts, but I also don’t think it’ll be another year plus some change before I post some poems or little descriptive snippets and ideas.

If you’re still here and reading this, thanks for sticking around! You don’t remember even following this blog? Totally fine and honestly it seems like a lifetime ago that even remember sitting down to write. I hope everyone is staying safe and here’s to getting back into a hobby I can say I’ve missed and am cautiously optimistic to gingerly venture back into!

Update time

Happy Sunday! Thank you for stopping by! I know I promised a blog post sooner than this, so here are some updates.

Back at the end of last year, I was inspired to start writing again, as I had a poem published in a collection. My goal at the start of the year was to write every day to help encourage creative writing and publish a post at the end of each week. As this has gone on, I’ve learned a lot about how I like to write, and about where my priorities in life are. I’ve had quite a few changes major changes in my personal life since January. I’ve gotten engaged, started wedding/elopement planning, lost a grandparent, had my fiancé continue his education, and adopted another cat just name a few changes.

I’ve also made some changes in my lifestyle, trying to be more active, cooking and meal planning, trying to be more involved with friends and family. All of these things ,however, take time away from my writing. Currently, with how busy my life has become, these weekly posts feel like homework. I don’t want my hobby to feel like a chore that I have to add to my checklist like laundry and dishes.

I’m glad to have gotten back into writing, and this isn’t an end to my exploration of writing. I’m just going to be taking a few weeks to refocus and recharge so these can be something I look forward to doing again.

Thank you for your support during this experiment in language, I will be back shortly! To quote the beloved Tigger, “ta-ta for now!”.

Textures

Happy Sunday! I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday this week! I know I certainly enjoyed a day off in the middle of the week. I got to stay in with my fiance and my cats, so it was a good day. I’m still working back up to longer topics with all of the other improvements and changes I’m trying to keep up with in my life.

The topic this week was a fun little exercise with descriptions. The prompt was to take a texture word and than give it human attributes with the example being “grainy voice”. Here is what I came up with:

  1. Cracked – cracked heels
  2. Pitted – pitted skin
  3. Firm – firm arms
  4. Ragged – ragged fingernails
  5. Silky – silky eyelashes

While this was a shorter prompt, it took me a little longer to come up with more original descriptions that don’t sound cliche or overused. I love prompts like this, but hope to get back into some longer passages soon. Thank you for stopping by, and I’ll see you next Sunday.

Reflections

Hi everyone and happy Sunday! I hope you’re all doing well. Today I’m going to do things a little differently and not give you much of a preface, because I’m going off-prompt today. The title of the writing prompt, “reflections”, gave me the perfect excuse to write about what was on my mind.

As you may have read by now, I’m engaged to my wonderful fiance, Alex. We’ve been dating since the fall of 2016 and we’ve been engaged since February of this year. We have a disgustingly loving relationship that makes me feel like I’m living in a Hallmark movie.

Lately things have been crazy in our lives. Alex has gone back to school, we both work full time jobs, we have the cats, both of our families have had some emergencies this year, not to mention trying to plan our wedding. Things are stressful, which comes with the territory of being an adult. To give you some relevant backstory, I’ve struggled with the incredible anxiety/depression duo with everything that’s gone on in my life. I’m very lucky that with some work and support, these issues are now few and far between.

The reason I’m telling you all of this to allow for some insight into my reflection today. Because today started out like any other Sunday. I made sausage, eggs, and biscuits. We had breakfast over coffee and with cartoons. We were about to get ready to head out to run our errands for the day. As I was getting up, out of nowhere I hit a wall of sadness and anxiety.

One second I was getting off the couch, and the next I just started crying. I wasn’t even sure what was wrong, I just felt so overwhelmed. I started to try and work things out, make sense of why I felt that way. Alex came over and hugged me while we talked through the tears. After a while, I was able to work out that I had just taken on too much. I had taken on too much and I was tired and anxious. We worked out that the best thing to do was for me to stay home today, take things easy. I would get a hot, relaxing shower and slowly work through the time sensitive things on my to do list at home.

His response to the situation I described is what I haven’t been able to stop thinking about all day. Just two of the reasons on a nearly infinite list of why I love this man. When I started crying, he immediately gave me his full attention. He wiped my tears, held me close, and he listened. He let me talk through how I was feeling and listened patiently to the parts that didn’t make sense. He validated how I was feeling, but he didn’t stop there. The second thing he did was taking action. While I was taking a shower and trying to relax, he cleaned the entire kitchen and cleaned out the cat box. These might not seem huge, but to me, these actions meant everything. While I was so anxious and exhausted, he took it upon himself to help and make things better. I felt a weight lifted when he took these tasks off of my shoulders. After I had that weight lifted, I was able to spend the rest of the day doing what we talked about: getting things done little by little, but mostly resting.  I feel much better now.

I know this sounds a little cheesy, but I truly hope that if you’re reading this you have someone in your life that cares like that. Someone that listens and helps make you feel valid, but also takes it further than that to show you how much they care. I just wanted to take some time to share this reflection, as this really means a lot to me. Maybe if I share this it’ll help some people take better care of someone they care about.

I hope everyone stays cool this week, with the summer heating up, I’ll be back next Sunday with the regularly scheduled prompts.

 

Out of the Window

Happy Sunday! I hope everyone is enjoying the summer so far, even with the intense heat. I don’t know if it’s the days getting longer or increasing need for a vacation, but this felt like such a long week. I swear to you, it felt like Friday on Tuesday, which is the worst to realize I still have 3 more days until the weekend. On top of all of this, my desire to write has been at an all time low. For the post tonight, I sat waiting for motivation to strike me for about 2 hours. For 2 hours I sat on the couch with my pen and notebook just watching the cats lick themselves and fall asleep. How do you overcome the extreme lack of motivation when it comes to your hobbies? I would love any tips or tricks!

The writing prompt that I FINALLY completed, was to look out of the window and set the scene, so lets dive right in!

I look out onto the balcony and below to the pool. Tonight is exceptionally dark, not a single, shimmering speck can be seen. The sky tonight is shrouded in clouds with the only sources of light coming from the clubhouse and the illuminated pool. I open the door to the balcony and the moment I’m outside, I hit a wall of heat and humidity. While I’m taking in the shift in climate, I notice the sound. Insects and amphibians seeming to sense my arrival all cry out to create the fortissimo of the summer night choir. Standing in the sticky air listening to the fauna around, I’m brought back to my childhood.

I’m standing barefoot on the huge, covered porch. The cool concrete is hard but smooth under my little feet. I would sit with my mom on the porch in the night air, listening to the symphony of nature. Rocking in the big, wooden chair, I would eventually succumb to my heavy eyelids and drift off. I had my eyes closed as I came back to the present. Now, back on the balcony looking at the choppy water sloshing in the pool, I can still hear a rumble of distant thunder. As I turn to head back inside I close my eyes for just a few heartbeats, taking in a deep breath and the sense of being home that I find in the night air after a summer storm.

I hope you enjoyed this short descriptive scene. I know I switch my style and prompts up from time to time. I’d love to hear back from you about what writing you enjoy the most from me! Thank you for taking the time to stop by, I’ll see you next Sunday!

Overdone Phrases

Happy Sunday! I hope everyone has been able to enjoy the weekend. Alex and I were lucky enough to be able to spend the day with my dad and grandmother out in the country. It was hot, but the day held fun and the very important element of excellent southern food.

So with a belly full and a day well spent, I chose a shorter piece tonight to be my focus. The prompt was simple, to come up with new similies when given some that we are over familiar with.

“As busy as a bee” becomes “As busy as a freeway during rush hour”.

“As strong as an ox” becomes “As strong as the undertow”.

“As clean as a whistle” becomes “As clean as a model home the day of a showing”.

“As light as a feather” becomes “As light as a single layer of tulle”.

I love little creative prompts like this because as I continue with my writing, I know that in some cases I will want to use ideas or phrases that might have been touched on before. It’s a good skill to learn to be able to take an idea and adapt it to become something new and creative. Thank you for checking in this week, I’ll see you again next Sunday.

Stolen Identity

Happy Sunday! Glad to see you all again, or see you for the first time. This week I went through a crazy cleaning spree which was exhausting, satisfying, and MUCH needed. Who knew that two people and two cats could make such a mess?? Not to mention, with the weather heating up, the cats are both shedding so our apartment has some little fuzzy tumble weeds rolling around.

As far as the writing sample this week, the prompt was simple. I was given the title “stolen identity” and told to write what I was inspired to write with that theme.

I was running late for the second time this week as I rushed down the crowded stairs, trying not to barrel into too many people as I headed toward the gates. I pulled my wallet out of my bag and swiped my card to allow entrance. As I pulled my bag back over my shoulder, my strap got caught in the turnstile abruptly pulling me to the ground and unfortunately right into the person coming through behind me. We both ended up on the ground, the contents of our bags both mixed up and spread out around us.”Fantastic”, I said as I  continued to sputter out an unintelligible string of curses and apologies while trying to gather all of our things.

I looked up at the stranger to make sure they were okay and to offer them their belongings I saved from the ground, but I froze when we locked eyes. I was looking at a damn near perfect imitation of myself. We both had blue-grey eyes, were about 5’6″, had mid length ombré hair pulled back in a messy bun, were wearing the same jacket, and she even had the same pair of glasses I had worn for my passport photo 5 months ago. To try and break the trance I was in, I looked down at the mess of cards and keys in my hands, only to have my breath catch in my throat. There were two ID’s, both my picture and name listed on them. As I sifted through the cards, both hers and mine all bore my name. 

Before I could even begin to react, the snatched the items that she had been carrying with her out of my hands and took off running. Still stunned, I tried to pull myself up as quickly as possible to follow suit. “HEY!” I shouted, angry and scared as I tried to gain on my doppleganger. She clearly knew where she was trying to go and I was having a hard time keeping her in sight. I rounded a corner just seconds after she had and ran head first into the largest man I’ve ever seen in New York. I’d lost sight of her. I frantically looked around trying to pick out the jack and messy bun from the moving crowd. I looked to the left and saw man playing guitar, to the right a family was trying to give directions to someone speaking a different language. I looked back to the left and I finally saw her as she boarded the subway car seconds before the doors slid shut. She turned around to glare at me as the train started moving. I started to run towards the train pulling away, but I stopped as it picked up speed. “What do I do?” I said to myself, trying to process what had just happened. I turned around to find a train schedule, I had to be at the station when she got off. If I couldn’t find out more about her, no one would believe me and even worse, no one could help me.

I love setting scenes like this. I hope it was as fun for you to read as it was for me to write! Everyone stay cool this week, and I’ll see you again next Sunday!