Let the Boldness Begin. @Stratejoy #Season4

Super pumped fantastic.
Doing dances of happiness and joy.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg in the sea of excitement about being able to ANNOUNCE that for the next six months I will be writing weekly over at Stratejoy!  (And then I became a real writer.)  I am joining five other kick ass women as we write about our journeys “conquering our Quarterlife Crisis through inspiration, clarity & authentic happiness.”

I know the competition was intense.  Six spots for over 50 applicants wanting to share their stories; stories that are real and inspiring.  I get to share mine, and I am so ready to make ya’ll proud. (I’ve taken to speaking with a drawl.  You can blame “Friday Night Lights” and country radio)

I am also going to OWN it, rock it, and boldly run head on into HUGE LIFE ALTERING JOY.  I cannot wait to begin.  I keep telling people that I am beyond excited to see where I will be in six months; because I honestly have no idea what my life will look like.  The first step is a revisit to the drawing board.  I see some lists, charts, and bubble-brainstorming in my near future.  YAY!

2011: Proceeding with Boldness.

Last year, it was about balance.  A self-instituted weekly grounding was my way of forcing myself to slow down and spend sometime learning to be ok alone. 

It was the best possible resolution for where I was last year.

This year is about Being Bold.

I want to live a vibrant life without fear.
I want to meet challenges head on.
I want to feel in love with my life, not because I’ve been lucky but because I’ve gone out and claimed what I want. 

  • I am going to make the first move.  Especially when I am feeling that old hesitant, meek, self-doubting CRAP start sneaking in. 
  • I am going to ask for what I want.  In relationships.  In my job.  I am going to start asking because what’s the worst that could happen?  I could get a no.  I should be more comfortable with the possibility of rejection.  Rejection doesn’t mean I suck, in fact rejection means I have tried for something.  I am going to start looking at rejections as gold stars of boldness.  I can learn how to take rejection, dust off, and seriously move on.
  • I am going to take more risks.  Be more spontaneous.  The best possible moments of 2010 were the unplanned ones.  It was spur of the moment trips.  It was changing plans because the wind shifted.  It was risking opening my home to 6 bloggers and spending a day under a fort sans-makeup.
  • I am going to figure myself out even more.  Isn’t that the root of boldness anyhow?  REALLY loving myself.  Really believing in myself.  Getting my validation and worth from myself.  I am going to BOLDLY LOVE myself.  Bold love, bold love, bold love. 

What do YOU want to get out of 2011?

And November rolls in.

November is shaping up to be my new favorite month.  Why you ask?  Cause it’s NOT October.  Recap:  October was hard.

However, November?  November is going to be fabulous.  Between some days off work (Holler Veteran’s Day, holler), Thanksgiving, getting into a routine again, and having some time to breathe… I have high hopes.

November is going to be about moving forward.  Away from October and poor choices.  Away from failed relationships.  Away from being so busy I felt like I was drowning.  Away from being SO overbooked that I turned into THAT person that flakes on things and people and love because I am overwhelmed, exhausted, and cranky.

My mantra this year was supposed to be “Balance”.  I’m reclaiming that.  I’m finding my balance again. 

I am READY for the 7th, when it gets dark early again.  I am ready to hunker down in my new apartment (and show you how it’s shaping up).  I am ready for reconnecting with family and friends who also had a crazy stressful October.

What are YOU excited to leave behind in October? What’s coming up that you are super stoked about?

Lying in the back of the blue boat, humming a tune…

Something about the weather makes me want to curl up and get lost in music.  I start carrying around my iPhone playing music at all times– skipping through songs until I find exactly what fits into whatever mood I’m in.

Lately, I’m all about the Weepies. 

The Weepies come on when I wake up, they sing me into consciousness.

Gray, quiet and tired and mean, Picking at a worried seam, I try to make you mad at me over the phone.
The songs float into the shower with me, keep me company as I recount last night’s dream… where is the line between dream and nightmare?  I just know I feel– unsettled.  There is definitely something unsettling about dreaming of his body next to mine, again.  Missing someone still who doesn’t even think about me, that’s no fun at all. Dislike.  Water pours over me.
Red eyes and fire and signs, I’m taken by a nursery rhyme
I want to make a ray of sunshine and never leave home
I wrap myself in an oversized towel.  Carry my phone with me to pour myself coffee.  Pet the cats.  Feel grateful that they are unconditional lovers of me; even if I’m hardly ever home.
No amount of coffee, no amount of crying
No amount of whiskey, no amount of wine
No, nothing else will do
I’ve gotta have you, I’ve gotta have you.

The Weepies hang out with me while I get ready for my day.  My hair an unruly rats nest and my face with amazingly adorable blemishes that always appear when I’ve been anxious– cause that’s all I need really to go with the anxiety, sigh…  stupid rogue face with your stupid signs of my internal state.  As if the nail stubs that were once my nails weren’t sending the necessary message without your help.
The road gets cold, there’s no spring in the middle this year
I’m the new chicken clucking open hearts and ears
Oh, such a prima donna, sorry for myself
I commute now.  Sipping my coffee.  Singing along.  Feeling mostly grateful for the new time to myself in the morning.  Thirty whole minutes with my thoughts.  I don’t spend that much time checking-in with myself.  It can be a blackhole of anxiety lately.  Better to just nod to my internal self and keep walking by.  I’ll talk to her when I have time to really listen.  Today I turn up the music to drown out the thoughts.  Today I have more pressing things to attend to: a friend with a broken heart who is too far away to hug, a conference to prep for, and I’m hungry.  
But green, it is also summer
And I won’t be warm till I’m lying in your arms
Grooveshark is the first thing that gets turned on as I settle in to my chair in my office.  My music feels like it circles around me in a bubble of perfect warmth.  I check-in with friends.  Sip more coffee.  Contentment replaces my anxiety and I begin to work.
I see it all through a telescope: guitar, suitcase, and a warm coat
Lying in the back of the blue boat, humming a tune… 

October has been Freaking Hard.

My nails are little stubs of sore; tried and true way to gauge my stress level. (hint: high)

Fall is still my favorite time of the year, I swear it is, but I need to adjust better.  I need to get from treading water to feeling calm in the water.  I am completely overwhelmed.  I need more sleep and more coffee.  (Ok.  That’s a lie.  I would probably explode if I had more coffee.  I’m no Nico.)
And it’s not just me.  The sads seem to be going around lately.  So many people are overwhelmed and disconnected.. and just barely getting through the day.

So here’s how this is going to work.  I am going to tell you why I’m stressed.  Then I am going to counter that with some things I am grateful for and some things I am going to do to stress less. I will have a minimum of one more thing I am grateful for than stressed out about, because there is nothing better than a reminder that the good still outweighs the bad, even when life is crazy hard.

Why I am a Basketcase:

  • Moving.  Until last night, I couldn’t walk in my living room because my couch was in pieces.  This may have made me cry last night.  It has been insanely NOT relaxing to come home after work.  My home is my refuge.  Alternatively, my messy, disorganized, full of boxes, apartment is the reason I had a stress migraine yesterday.  
  • Moving II.  As with any move, all of a sudden there are about 10 different storage, electrical, organizational problems that require shelves and bins and those over the toilet-cabinet-dealies.  What this translates to is money.  Money for things I don’t particularly want to spend money on, but as point 1 explained, not being organized and living in boxes is making me MISERABLE.  
  • Our GENIUS Governor.  My state is full of idiots; but the winner of the idiot contest is Arnold Asshat Schwarzenegger.  He line-item-vetoed a hell of a lot of programs Friday night; programs that effect children and families.   The cut also means 15% of my agency’s budget.  That’s 2-4 jobs.  My job isn’t safe.  Here’s what I wrote for our advocacy flyer about it one of the programs he cut:

Funding for CalWORKS was included in the budget to protect working families who rely on subsidized child care while working towards self-sufficiency. The Governor’s decision to blue line Stage 3 CalWORKS child care unnecessarily creates increased unemployment and dependence on cash aid during a recession. The child care subsidy is available to working parents who also contribute towards the cost of child care through mandatory parent fees. The program is wrongly framed as welfare and misrepresented in an effort to distract from the negative consequences to working families.

  •  Not taking time for myself.  I haven’t.  I haven’t spent a night home without plans in the past two weeks.  And, at the current rate my next “Night Off” isn’t for another 2 weeks.  Something has to give.  Or I’m going to LOSE MY SHIT.
  • Los Angeles.  I am supposed to be going to LA this weekend.  It is one of my friends birthdays, and I had every intention of going, but then I moved.  Now the idea of driving down to LA is giving me an anxiety attack because it requires two things I am running low on: time and funds.  I could probably sleep all weekend.   I should probably sleep all weekend; but we’ll see.  I have this people pleasing part of me that HATES disappointing people.  And there is more than one person who would be disappointed if I don’t show.. and my brain hurts. 

 Ok, now that that is off my chest.  What’s good?

  1. I absolutely LOVE living next door to Clarke.  He’s the best guy friend for a reason you know.  I love it not just because he does thing like wire my internet and put things back together, but I like that when he left my place last night he said “Ok, see you tomorrow.”  Cause we will.  It’s nice.
  2. I have TWO amazing friends coming over tonight (with wine) to help put the home-y touches on my place.  It’ll be so great and really needed.  I am so freaking grateful for friends who hear me when I say I am drowning and they swim out to me.  I feel so loved on by them.  
  3. My friend in LA love me too, and they’ll understand if I don’t make it to LA this weekend.  Next month will be infinitely better for travel.
  4. Did you know that I have (at last count) SEVEN people flying in to the Bay Area to hang out with my for FOUR days on New Years Eve?  I mean, seriously.  Knowing that something THAT epic is on it’s way is enough to put a smile on anyone’s face.
  5. Monday Night dinners with the Grandparents.  I love them SO much.  For reals.  Bonus is the fact that Grams is on the last season of Gilmore Girls so we can make references to Friday Night dinners and giggle while Grandpa rolls his eyes.  Love.
  6. Next week I am going to a conference for work, where I’ll be presenting a workshop on something I am super geeky about.  Yes, this is an added stress, but more importantly it’s three days away in a quiet place and I can totally catch up on sleep.  No commute needed.

Action Plan.

  1. I am not going to Los Angeles this weekend.  Instead, I am going to rest.  Organize.  And start next week rested and ready to go.
  2. I am going to plan a trip in November that will make up for this one.  I will bring the birthday boy extravagant late-birthday gifts that will make up for my absence. 
  3. I am going to drink wine with my girlfriends tonight and start making my place feel like home again.

Ok, your turn.  What’s stressing you out?  Tell me all about it, but don’t forget to balance it out with a gratitude list.  Deal?


      How’s your heart today?

      How’s your heart today?

      There is a cardiologist in California who asks this question to his patients at every appointment.  It appears to be a pretty standard question, but it is actually a super personal question if you think about it.  In a cardiologist’s office this question gets to diet, stress level, exercise, and amount of sleep.  However, if you’ve ever watched an epidsode of House, you know that people aren’t always the most honest in the doctors office.  To really get at the true status of a patients heart, a cardiologist runs stress tests.  The way your heart responds under pressure is the most accurate picture of your heart’s health.

      Stress brings out the truth about your heart’s status; but not just our physical heart.

      It’s so easy in daily life to put on the facade of being great.  When everything is easy and peaceful, we can convince ourselves and others that the state of our hearts are double-rainbows and unicorn happiness.  But what happens when your life gets hard, complicated, and messy?  How do you respond?  And what does that say about the state of your heart.

      I’ve always considered myself to be super open; to a fault perhaps.  My best friend once said that one of my weaknessess was not protecting my heart.  I didn’t mind though, I wore my heart on my sleeve with pride.  Convinced that anyone in my life deserved privleges to all of me. 

      In July/August, when I was waiting for test results from my mom’s colon cancer diagnosis… I shut down in a lot of ways; and I wonder now how much that says about the current state of my heart.  My not-talking feels like it is me being closed off from people; something I am not particularly happy about.  Maybe my heart isn’t as open as I thought it was. 

      So, here’s what I decided: there is a part of me heart that is deeply afraid to rely on most people to understand the complexity of the pain that I carry with me, but I’m understand it.  The “stress test” I went through this year told me that my heart has grown to be protective and selective, but that doesn’t mean I am avoiding anything.  If the issue with my mom’s cancer was JUST cancer?  I would have been fine; but it wasn’t.  The diagnosis required a quick and magnified focus on the relationship I have with my mom.  The painful parts.  The parts I don’t talk about 99% of the time, because talking about them hurts like hell.  This is a part of me that is not meant to be shared with everyone.  However, there is no part about the pain I carry that isn’t known by someone else.  Everything about me is not known by everyone; and that’s ok.  Sharing everything with everyone is probably a good thing to grow out of.
      So, the status of my heart?  Still working.  A little less open perhaps, but still known.  And hopeful.  Definitely hopeful.  There are some new walls up, sure, but I 100% trust that the right people will have NO problem getting through them at all.  Status of my optimism and faith?  Fully operational.
      How’s your heart today?

      The Blahs.

      I’ve written before about how I am not good about being sad.  I’ve also vlogged about it.  Talked about it.  Meditated on it.  Made a pie in the shape of a sad face.  But I was still SUCKING at being sad.

      But then Sunday happened. 

      What made me blah?  In a nutshell, a horrible, no-good, very bad, date.  It shook my belief in the idea that someone is actually out there for me.  I mean, if THAT GUY is what I am working with?  Kill me.  And then I might have decided it would be a good idea to email an ex (not THE ex, but the one whom I call Spencer.  The one who got out of an even longer relationship when I did last year) and ask him for reassurance.  Which worked at first, but quickly turned into a crying fest on my part when he answered questions like “Are you still seeing that girl” honestly and affirmatively.  FUCK.

      Usually, after a Sunday like I had, I would have planned my whole week full of social engagements and jaunts into the city; to avoid, to distract, to get over.

      But instead, I decided to just be sad.  I didn’t talk to anyone.  I curled up on the couch and watched two amazing movies.  I wallowed.  I drank tea.  I didn’t try to make myself feel better.  I didn’t watch funny movies to laugh– I watched what my netflix has labeled “Sentimental Independent Movies”… and I might have cried some more.  And I was okay with it.  For one of the first times in my life.  I was totally content being not-happy.

      And today I feel a little better.  And that’s all I need; a little hope. 

      And maybe, just maybe, her heart needed to be broken.
      broken and shattered and stomped into pieces.
      then she could finally look down at the pieces,
      and study each once and spend some time
      getting to know
      the person she’d become.
      and when she finally had all the pieces back together again,
      a little crooked, a little jumbled
      but sealed firmly with love
      she’d realize she was more beautiful than ever.
      because this time,
      she would love herself.

      New Book for a New LIfe.

      Not surprisingly, I write a lot.  Not just here.  I’ve had this journal for over a year.

      It’s full of quotes, letters never sent, notes from sermons, lists about life, and gratitude lists.

      It got me through this year.  And I think it’s time it was retired with its full pages and broken binding.

      Today I got my new journal.  I think it’s beautiful and perfect for recording 25.  What do you think?

      Time for new quotes and new lists.

      Speaking of New
      I’ve never done a give-away before.  But I think I want to try it out.  If you’d like a fancy shmancy keeper of thoughts, here’s how we’re going to do it.  I am going to be giving away a journal from Barnes and Noble like mine.  So I can have a twin out there in the world writing their beautiful thought down too.

      Opportunity the First: Leave a comment with YOUR favorite quote at the moment.

      Opportunity the Second: Tweet about the giveaway, come back, and comment with the link!  Oh, and tag it with @habbala so I can track your tweet.

      Simple enough?  You have until Saturday 8PM, pacific time.  And I will announce the winner Monday June 10th.


      After work today I am driving down to hang with my loves Jimmie and Anthony.  To say I’m excited is an understatement.

      Whenever I’m about to visit, Jimmie calls and asks me “what i’m doing this weekend?” and I always make up something boring that I’m doing, “Just staying in I think, catching up on some reading.”  It’s our thing.  And it makes me ridiculously excited.

      My car is all packed up and ready to go right after work, and seeing as Kyla is taking a road trip soon too, I thought I’d tell you about my preparation for today’s driving:

      A balance between sweet, salty, and chocolate are key here. I always have a cracker of some type, past faves include Wisecrackers, Wheat Thins, or Goldfish.  For this trip, I went with the goldfish, cause his sunnies?  Totally LA.

      Next, we have your candy.  I like a fruity option and a chocolate option.  I always always always have chocolate covered raisins and this trip I also got some sour patch watermelon things.

      Just remember that while you’re driving, similar to when you’re in a movie theater, you don’t want to have to look at what you’re eating.. like Jelly Bellies. I love Jelly Bellies, but I don’t want to accidentally eat a buttered popcorn one while cruising down the 5, cause I will gag, swirve into the median, and die instantly.

      Now, after you have sugar coated you’re teeth, you’ll probably want something less bad for you to munch on.  Maybe some nuts, maybe a stalk of celery if you’re crazy or maybe you should just pack some apples.  Apples are always good, and BONUS, they kind of brush your teeth a little bit when you eat them.  (True story, eating one after coffee lessens the staining potential)

      I got my water.  A lot of it.  Hydration is KEY.

      Sidenote: I bought this bottle with the full intention of finding a snarky sticker to cover up the running part, like “napping” or “puppies” or “muffins”… but now I actually like running.  C’est la vie.

      Next, we have you’re energy drink du jour.  I know there are a lot of Red Bull fans out there, but I’m a Rockstar girl.  I have been since college, I will die with one of these suckers in my hand.

      These are so important when you start getting sleepy!


      • I just got my little AUX jack thing, so I will be rocking out to my iPod WHILE CHARGING IT.
      • I have my free trial of my Sirius radio still, that’s going to be lovely.
      • My friend Paul lent me some lectures on CD from The Teaching Company. 30-minute lectures on the lives of famous people.  I’m kind of excited about this.  When I was driving to and from Irvine a lot, I would always head by the local library for a book on tape cd.  It’s free, and makes the hours in a car wizz by.

       Now it’s your turn.  What are your tried-and-true Road Trip tips?