On Being Self-Aware Part II: A Micro Post

I’m a sucker for a personality test. I love knowing more about myself and building skills, acquiring tools to better interact with those around me. I’m painfully self-aware. But this description by Gretchen Rubin is both simple and spot on.

Not a self-starter? That’s me!
Can’t meet my own goals? Yup.
Moves swiftly on other’s deadlines? Dear Lloyd, did she write my story?
That makes me an Obliger.

Sadly, what I also recognize is that this means I don’t take care of myself the way I should (shocker). That I focus more on the needs and wants of those around me, so much so that I forget or run out of time to do the things I want, or even need, to do to just decompress. I burn out. And fast.

Check out what Gretchen has to say. It’s a great way to identify your type, identify those around you, and begin to change the internal dialogue that helps us move past our own issues with rules and begin to change the habits that hold us back from happiness.

Click Here to spend a quick 18 minutes on your personality type!
What personality type do you identify with? Was this eye-opening for you or did you already know this about yourself? How do you want to use this knowledge?

On a Visit from Comparison Cathy: A Micro Post

I have body aches today. Not the kind that come from sleeping in a weird position, or great sex, or fatigue. They’re realization body aches. Body aches that say “Now you know…”.

Thanks After School Special Body Aches
I compare myself. I’m very hard on myself. Every annual review I’ve had tells me I’ve gotta cut myself some slack. I see other people who seem happy, it’s like they know who they are, they have really cool back stories, and they’re just generally a lot more cooler than me.

Today, I realized that doesn’t matter
Yes, I’m a little slow on the uptake. No matter how many times I tell anyone that they are who they are and no one can take that away, a quiet whisper in my soul says, “That doesn’t apply to you. You must do better.” That whisper? She’s a bitch.

Someone once told me it’s because I think I’m better than everyone else. When I look at myself honestly in the mirror, I would disagree. Because deep down, I don’t believe I deserve anything in this life.

And in come the questions…
The more I compare myself to others, the harder it is to find myself. I’ve lost sight of who I am. That’s not something unusual. But seriously – like do I like cereal? Do I like to go to the movies? Do I like pedicures anymore? Do I like sports? These questions are real questions I’m asking myself. What’s my purpose? Where am I going? What am I doing with my life?

And if I keep chasing after someone else’s brand of awesome, eventually, I might lose my own awesome all together. It’s not a big awesome, but it’s mine; and I’d like to share it.

How have you pulled yourself out of that conversation with Comparison Cathy? What would you tell her if she came for an unexpected visit?

On Home, Personal Finance, and the Self Talk

Hey Friends!

How did you like the micro-blogging I’ve been doing lately? It’s been pretty freeing, making me feel connected but not overwhelmed. Sometimes, I feel like I have to be nothing but inspirational here and that just everyday boring stuff is just not… well, interesting enough. But, ultimately, this blog was built for me, with the added hopes that I could help others in the process.

Today’s Anthem: “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten
Anthem’s are back, baby! Call me a sucker for a good pop anthem. This year, I’ve determined not to put up with shit. No lies, no bullshit, no unnecessary drama. It’s time for a little simplicity, a lot of productivity, and a back to basics approach for me and my family.

Death & a Road Trip
My grandma died. My boss let me take some time to help my dad wrap up some things in Ohio. We were expecting be gone about a week, but it turned into two full weeks and a day. My mom was able to fly in for the funeral services, but she had to finish up her last two weeks of work. Aside from the obvious sadness over losing a loved one (she was 83 and lived a pretty interesting life), it was actually fun and educational. I saw family that I haven’t seen in 10 years and I learned a lot about my grandma, about my dad’s side of the family, and antiques. I’m glad I was able to be there for my dad, and the road trip was an awesome adventure I never expected to get with my dad. Pretty cool memories.

An Unexpected Return
Since coming back from Ohio, I’ve tried to get back into a routine. And I’ll admit, I had hoped that once I got home, everyone would be so appreciative of me and have missed me so much that it would be like heaven for at least 24 hours. I was sorely disappointed when it felt as if I’d never even been gone. I’ve been struggling and there have been life circumstances that have caused additional stress for me, so I’ve tried to really sit down and go inward. It comes natural to me, which is a good thing, in my opinion. But the downside is that, while sitting inward, I’m also judging myself. Why can’t I do this/that for them? How can I improve myself so everyone else it happy? What have I done wrong to make them unhappy?

Do you see the pattern? Going inward for me is as much about figuring out where the emotions are coming from as it is about beating myself up over things I cannot control. It’s the people pleaser in me sitting me down to lecture me about all the ways I should have been meeker, smaller, skinnier, friendlier, wealthier, calmer, patienter (like that new word?). But as a people pleaser, I know that I end up working so hard to make others happy that I unintentionally lose myself. Like, lost lost. Not like lost and then find. But like lose myself to the point that I have a very difficult time going back to figure out what is was that made me ME in the first place.

When Self is Ready to Talk
So in 2016, I sat myself down and said, “Self. What’s the one thing that you can do that will move you forward? What’s one thing you can manipulate to get in a position of success? And what’s one thing that you can remove from your plate that will relieve your stress and allow you to practice that whole ‘accepting help from those who love you’ thing you have a hard time with?” Surprisingly, Self was ready for this conversation.

The one thing I can do that will help me feel like we’re moving forward is minimize our financial chaos. Which coincidentally is also what I have the power to manipulated in order to create our version of success. So I got back online with my ‘friends’ J$ at BudgetsAreSexy.com and Crystal at BudgetingintheFunStuff.com. I say ‘friends’ because I don’t actually know these two, but whether they realize it or not, they’ve been quite the inspiration to me (and in case it’s not clear – I HIGHLY recommend both of their blogs!). I read a few of their recent posts and reminded myself that my finances are fluid and it’s up to me (US) to make the changes and sacrifices necessary to get where we want to be. So I rebudgeted, I put my foot down, we’re on a half cash spending plan, and we’re watching every penny that goes out. It’s exhausting, but I can already see a change in our spending habits. And I’m STOKED!

The last thing was the hardest because it involves a) recognizing I’m not REALLY in control of anything, b) I’m not unbreakable*, and c) I definitely need to accept and ask for help. Especially from my partner. I have this broken switch in my head that allows me to overwhelm myself then wonder why no one’s helping me. Then when I realize I never asked, I get too embarrassed to actually ask and it cycles out of control. So we instituted a To Do list. I know, simple right? But it’s what helps my husband plan his days and it’s working brilliantly! Doctor’s appointments, dinners, groceries, kid’s snacks… we’re working together to develop priorities and when we need to implement together, we do. But now when I go to work, he works at home managing the household and it’s all starting to work again.

I always rabbit trail, don’t I?
I guess this post went in a different direction than I expected, and Goals will happen the next time I write. But this feels like an important post. Like someone needs to hear that even though we know we’re awesome**, we’re still people. We’re still strong, independent, and talented women people. Even when, or maybe especially when, we stop and realize that we need help. Whether it’s from a partner, a friend, our family, or our employer. Everything good that has come my way lately, even when the good was born of painful change, it came because I stopped for a second to breathe and asses where I could handle what and where I needed a little help.

What do you struggle with when you finally have that Self discussion? What do you like to grab control of when life is in chaos?

Thanks for tuning in, friends. And lasting this long. WHEW! What a long one!

Much love,
Mel

*Unbreakable is my second favorite M. Night Shyamalan movie. This idea that everyone in this world has a nemesis, an arch-enemy that is opposite of them in almost every way. But that each one of us has a weakness that will devour us. Watch it. Seriously. It’s a whole ‘nother blog post.

**This sounds conceited, I know. But again, this year, I’m not putting up with anyone’s shit, including my own. I know I’m a hard worker, I’m talented, I’m clever, creative, and a good fucking mom. I’m a bitch, a smart ass, an intelligent fighter for humanity. So yeah. I’m pretty awesome. And so are YOU. So at some point we just gotta own it and use it to make a little good in this world. So. THERE.

<3

On Stuff: A Micro Post

Are you tired of the Micro Posts yet?

Too bad. ­čśë I’m still in the road but I’ll have some wonderful updates for you when I’m home.

Today, I want to mention stuff. We’re organizing the contents of a home that was built in the 1800’s that has a rich and deep history. So far we’ve found books from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, news clippings and historical family research… Even a mechanic’s and a doctor’s ledgers dating from 1890 through 1914, complete with names, services, and charges! I mean… hello HIPAA!

While it has been an amazing experience thus far, and the history we are unearthing is breathtaking, I can see the burden of stuff on those left behind to sift through it. It’s amazing what we can accumulate!

I’m looking forward to showing off to my kids some of the turn of the century gadgets, tools, and machines my dad gets to bring home with us. I hope they’ll be able to digest the ┬ámagnitude of history they’ll experience.

I’m sad that we won’t have such rich history to leave to our kids, and yet happy that we’ve chosen experience over stuff (more often than not). But most of all, I takeaway a profound respect and awe for my family, their ability to appreciate the work of our fathers’ hands, and the nostalgia that comes with the kitchen table.

Much love, friends.

On Growing Up: A Micro Post

Did you ever have that moment where you realize that what you grew up believing either was a skewed version of the truth or a perception based on your own surroundings? It’s weird being in a place, so far from home but filled with family, feeling like you’ve just met them all over again.

Also, never have I realized how die-hard desert rat I am until snow fell. Brrr…