On Reality Part 1: Waking Up

Friday, January 25, 2013

I think it all started back in May when I got my very first speeding ticket. Yeah, that must've been it.

Just the night before I was bragging to my friend that I had made it 27 years without ever getting a speeding ticket. Oh I had gotten pulled over, but I always sweet talked my way out of it. I told him that the day I get an actual speeding ticket would mean I had lost my charm, and that would be a very sad day.

It could have been because my mom was in the car with me, and I felt foolish for trying my ticket avoiding go-to moves in front of her. Or it could have been that my days of charming my way through life was over, and now I had proof in the form of a white slip of paper from the City of Lehi, UT.

A handful of people would describe me as a dreamer, wanderer, head-in-the-clouds kinda gal. A few have told me that I need to come down and live a real life. I always blew off their opinions because I didn't agree with them. As far as I knew it, I was living a real life. I loved moving around all of time, going on adventures, living pay check to pay check with no concern for the future. I wasn't irresponsible. I wasn't getting into trouble with the law. I had decent jobs and paid my bills.

But this past year has been one big reality check after another. It started to dawn on me that maybe I was kind of living in a dream world. That for some reason I thought I was some exception to trials and realities that other people face.

And it all started with my speeding ticket. A few weeks after that, I got my first cavity. Another day I thought I would never live to see. And as the scatterbrained dentist grabbed some unfriendly tool from the nervous front-desk-receptionist-turned-dental-assistant-for-the-day I thought, "What the hell is going on here?"

My pride had been officially bruised. My go-to bragging rights were moving towards extinction. It almost felt like I was starting to wake up from a long deep sleep. I started to look at my life in a new way and notice just how much I chose not to see. How much I created a dream world to protect myself from heartache.

But guess what? It didn't protect me. Maybe it did for a while, but it wasn't anymore. In fact, I think it made me unable to cope with some things when sh*t finally got real.

It wasn't just the speeding ticket and the cavity. That just got the ball rolling. And now there is a whole other reality that I had been sort of blind to. The good and the bad. They are, but are not limited to, the following:

I am not some exception. My relationships aren't without problems. Love isn't all it takes to make things work. I have the ability to seriously hurt the ones that I love the most, and they have the ability to hurt me. My jokes aren't always that funny. Not everyone likes me. Not everyone cares about my opinions. I will probably never do a pull up. I'm a lot more resilient than I give myself credit for. I can be really happy and fulfilled by myself. Loved ones leave this life without saying goodbye or telling you why. Credit cards don't pay off themselves. Student loans aren't just free money. Calories do count during the holidays. I can't just run away to a foreign country whenever I feel like it. The Doctor is not going to show up in a blue phone box and save me from my life. I can be content without seeing mountains everyday, though I dream of them constantly. Fargo will always be ridiculously cold in the winter. I can still write decent music. I have eye wrinkles. My biggest fears can happen, and I can survive them. Dating, though fun at times, sucks and distracts me from what really matters. People appreciate my talents. People still love me even though I don't live by their rules anymore. And time really is the best healer.

And so here I am. Swimming in reality. And I'm actually quite excited about it. Instead of living in some high falootin' dream world, I am trying to take things just as they are. Accepting life for what it really is and not just what I want it to be.

Now there is something to be said along the lines of creating your own reality, life is what you make it, all that jazz. And I'm not saying that there isn't something to dreaming big and dreaming things into life. I'm talking about something else. I'm talking about waking up. Being present. Experiencing all that there is to experience as a human being. Truly enjoying the good and not being embarrassed or trying to avoid the bad.

And that's what I'm excited about. I'm excited to wake up. I want to see it all. Feel it all. But hopefully I can keep it all within the speed limit.

The Year of the Randi

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

I'll be honest, I have never been so ready for the New Year. And from what I've heard, it's not just me. There was something about 2012 that made us all hurt and grow in ways we never imagined.

For me, this year has been the worst and most amazing year of my life. I have never felt pain and heartache more deeply, but with that I have gained more confidence and assurance with who I am and what I am capable of working through.

To give you an idea of what this year has been like, here are the high (and low) lights of 2012.

*Dealt with three deaths of three people very dear to me. One from illness, one from an accident, and one from suicide. All three different and difficult to deal with in their own way.

*Lost the love of my life. Not by death, but by divorce. But interestingly enough, it has felt a lot like a death. It was a relatively mutual decision, but I was not prepared for how hard and painful it would end up being.

*Lived in Costa Rica working as a Yoga Teacher and Massage Therapist. What a whirlwind of adventure, therapy, and unique challenges that was.

*Due to having to work so much to keep myself financially afloat as a newly single person, I had to give my dear dog Maeby away. I worked full time 30 min away, and it was just too long to have her home alone. It ripped my heart out. She was my dog, my baby, my everything. I wasn't lonely with her around, and we just understood each other. Luckily my friends took her, and I still get updates on how she is, but saying goodbye to her was a very, very hard goodbye.

*Downsized my life from a townhouse to a Subaru, sold my furniture, took everything else to the thrift store, sorted through photos and love letters from a life that no longer exists that I was saving for a future that will never come and threw most of them away. Said goodbye to loved old and new friends, mountains, family, ex-family, and memories that I've known for the past 7 years and moved back home to Fargo.

*Moved into my parents basement as a broken and broke 27 year old.

*Fell in love with Fargo and started to build a life for myself that was mine and only mine.

*I became an auntie to the cutest little girl on the planet!

*Became a published writer writing for The High Plains Reader and ArtsPulse.

*Started writing and playing music again with an amazing musician that inspires me. I haven't been writing for about 6 years, and it feels so good to be creating music again.

*Started doing improv again with the Linebenders, which has been hilarious and delightful.

*Scored a job that I love and will hopefully jumpstart me into a career that I will really enjoy.

*Connected with old friends and have made some pretty incredible new friends. I have been so blessed with the most incredible friends this year, in Utah and in Fargo. They don't even realize how much they have saved me.

As I look back on this year, I am amazed at how much my life and myself has changed in such a short amount of time. If you would have told me all that would happen from last New Years to this one, I wouldn't of believed you. And if I did, I would have anticipated it being the end of me. I would have thought that it would destroy me completely.

But it didn't destroy me. In fact, quite the opposite happened. By some miracle, it has turned me into the person that I have always wanted to become, but never really got around to. As I started to fall out of love with my ex, I somehow started to fall more in love with myself.

I became determined to create the security, confidence, and, like I mentioned in my last post, a sense of home that I got from having a husband for myself. And I'm getting there. I am just starting to get to know myself again and feel happy in my own skin.

And I want to continue on this Randi-lovin' train as I go into 2013. I have declared it "The Year of the Randi." Yes, I recognize the conceit of this title, but I don't really care. I have spent so many years caring so much about what people think and revolving my life around what others are doing and want for me. And ya know what? I'm sick of it. There is a time and place for all things, and this year I'm making it about me, as selfish as that sounds.

I have big plans for 2014 and the years to come, so 2013 is my year to plan, prepare, and heal. Become my best self physically and mentally. Become independent financially and emotionally. And I really can't wait. Most of 2012 has been a fog of confusion and unknowns, and it feels so, so good to have direction and goals that really inspire me.

So here's to a new year, folks. May it bring new challenges and joy, but mostly joy. I know we could all use it.