38

I have been thinking about my 38th birthday for the past 5 years. Ever since I lost my sister the day after my 32nd birthday. Here I am, on the cusp of my 37th birthday and it becomes more and more ingrained in my mind.

I have been thinking about my 38th birthday for the past 5 years. Ever since I lost my sister the day after my 32nd birthday. Here I am, on the cusp of my 37th birthday and it becomes more and more ingrained in my mind.

My sisters last year of life was her 37th year, pretty much. Her last birthday was on August 20th 2014, when she turned 38 and she passed away October 1st 2014. She didn’t even get 2 months of 38. My birthday is September 30th.

So hear I am, about to start my 37th year, the year that was her last. So, I look at my life and my mind goes to that place, the inevitable place of, “And if this was my last year, would I be satisfied with my life?”

That was one thing about my sister Mercy. She lived the fuck out of her life, because she NEVER took for granted the time she was here. She wasn’t supposed to make it past a few months old, so she lived accordingly. But the question I have for myself is…am I living accordingly?

I was born relatively healthy, especially in comparison to her.  But I have always waged a deep internal battle of dissatisfaction with who I am. That, however, is not to say that I haven’t worked on this actively and consciously.  I’ve been trying to turn this self-esteem boat around since I was 25.

My 25th year was one of my hardest, until I hit 2014 that is…but at 25 my world was flipped and I had to make a very hard choice. The choice was that being alone was better then being with someone that was destroying me. To love myself, more then the person I thought I loved. It seems really easy now, but I remember how devastating it felt at the time. But literally, walking away from that mess was the BEST decision I have made in my life. It was the first time I was my own hero, or in the words of Pretty Woman, I rescued myself.

And since then it has been a slow and steady learning and reckoning. I have learned SO MUCH about myself and my life. But to be honest, I was still never 100% happy with myself, I was still traversing rocky territory…and then I lost my mom and sister.

It threw me and it threw me hard. I didn’t revert to any of my past mistakes but I had a whole new mess to contend with and reconcile. I have walked slowly through it watching it go from unbearable to just heartbreaking to lonely. I wasn’t in a great place before I lost them, now I feel like I’m in another not so great place with even more baggage.

But what about the work? The learning and the self introspection? I can’t discount it, I know so much now about loss and pain but on the flip side I know the value of celebrating the fact that you get to live another day. Do I always remember that? No, I’m still imperfect, flawed and very human. You don’t walk away triumphant from loss one magical day, you walk away and realize you have to learn how to traverse LOTS of new, scary terrain.

When I first lost them I thought I’d reach a moment of clarity. I’d wake up one day and it would all make sense. It doesn’t work like that. The gaps in my heart will never fill, the pain I feel when I see their pictures will never go away. And I will never stop wishing that I could just talk to them one more time.

But that takes me back to 37. To this upcoming year of life I am about to live. Though I have done the studying and have been seeking knowledge and endless guidance. I must admit, there is something I haven’t been doing much of.  The work. The hard labor it would take to really begin to confront my own terrible, harsh, self opinion.

The work looks like me being disciplined with myself about eating better or going to the gym. It looks like me playing my guitar and taking voice lessons again. It looks like me doing a lot of things I currently don’t do. I have a lot of reasons and excuses why i don’t do these things. Some days life just feels to hard or draining or sad to do anything more then sit and spend another evening on my phone.

But, the question is do I want to turn 28 next year and feel exactly as I do now? Exactly as I have felt for many, many years. Maybe before I was thinner or had less bills but I have never been fully happy or accepting of who I am as a person. I love so many other people in my life unconditionally, but I cannot offer myself this same kindness. I don’t do things that make my heart happy often enough. I’m not doing the work. I even know what the goals are now, but I am still not pursuing them.

This is my New Years Eve, this is actually way more important to me then Jan 1st ever could be. Did my sister squander 37? No, my sisters crazy ass up and moved to West Virginia at 37 because that’s what my sister did! She did whatever her heart called her to do no matter how ‘effing crazy all of us thought she was. That is how she LIVED her life. She L-I-V-E-D it.  

Don’t read this as me being a fatalist and thinking my life won’t extend past 38. Though, it is not my choice when I leave this earth, I fully know that. But I just feel this is my personal call to action. This is my brain saying, “You have done so much already but now it’s time to take it all the way”.

I wanted to write this as a private journal entry to myself at first. Why? Because I feel like I have said I wanted to change so many times, and I never have. So if you don’t call your shot…no one can see you fail. But I’m calling my shot right now. This is going to be so hard, I know it is and that’s why I have been avoiding it.

But I’m not going to squander 37 or 38 or however long I am given. I’m tired of it. I want to push to be the person I truly feel I am on the inside and the person I was meant to be. I’m not even 100% sure who that is, but I know I sure as hell won’t find out unless I actually do the work.

I feel like I am dragging myself through life right now. Life is living me. And though many amazing things that have happened to me, I still feel like I’m not enough. This comes out in a lot of ways. My appearance, my actions and even more importantly my non-actions. All the things I don’t do because I fear judgement or failure.

I vow to change, and I promise you 37 will look and feel unlike any other year that came before it.

Setting my sights on the future: My experience with Warby Parker

I had looked at Warby Parker frames online before and they also came highly recommended by my co-worker Kate. Their prices also seemed REALLY reasonable. So I decided to visit their store in Glendale, CA.

Let me start of by saying that my vision is pretty bad. I wear glasses every waking hour…unless I happen to be wearing contacts or taking a photo. So you’d think that I would have put a lot of thought into an accessory that I’m wearing constantly… you’d be wrong.

I have been putting off getting a new pair of glasses, literally (this is not an over exaggeration) 3-4 years. My last 2 visits to the optometrist have been shitty.  I had to separate doctors that were rude and left me feeling pretty crappy.

I literally didn’t like my glasses from the moment I picked them up with my prior optometrist. I was trying to get something, “different” but somehow I picked a frame that did not go with my personality/style. For the next 3-4 years I had glasses I literally hated, this didn’t make me feel good in any regard. Maybe I picked them in a hurry because I just wanted to get it over with?

 

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So alas, every year would pass and every month I’d say, “I’ll do it next month, I’ll make an appointment next week” and time would pass and I still wouldn’t do it. But then, 2019 rolled around and I’m REALLY trying to make some changes in how I feel about myself. And this terrible accessory/necessity on my face did NOT fit that bill.

So a few weeks ago, I was sitting at my desk and I said, “F*ck it” and I picked an optometrist simply based on them taking my insurance and being 1 mile from my work. I am happy to say that my experience with this doctor was GREAT. She was super nice and even explained why the visits can be difficult for me. Because my vision is pretty bad it’s hard for me to decipher the nuances when they are trying to pinpoint the prescription. The, “Is 1 or 2 better?” part. That other doctor I went to just made me feel inept because it wasn’t easy for me.

SO, battle 1 was complete. But now onto the war…finding glasses I actually LIKED.

I had looked at Warby Parker frames online before and they also came highly recommended by my co-worker Kate. Their prices also seemed REALLY reasonable. So I decided to visit their store in Glendale, CA.

I found two frames I loved at a base price of $95. Hallie and Oliver were the two designs I settled on. I have NEVER owned two pairs of glasses at the same time but if I was really got to look at this as an extension of my style..then I needed options!

The “Oliver” frame is a smaller frame with a low bridge fit (it does come in regular too) and even though polycarbonate lenses come standard with Warby Parker, because of my high prescription, I had to opt for “high index lenses”. This was basically to insure that the lense wouldn’t be thick and stick out of the frame a ton. That was only $30 extra.

The “Hallie” frame I picked was much larger however, so even a high index lens wouldn’t have been enough to keep the frame thin. So I had to get a “Ultra high index” lenses. That added an additional $130 to the base price. This really gave me pause, especially because you only need one pair of glasses. But I really am set on feeling better in my lenses and less stuck, so I bit the bullet and bought the Hallie frames as well.

This is where things…get a little strange and where my Warby Parker experience took a little dip.

So I pick the glasses, they do all the measurements I pay for them and walk out the store. Super excited that I FINALLY did this! They send all their glasses in the mail, so I didn’t even have to worry about coming back to pick them up. They took all my info including my email and phone number. (Remember that for later.)

We were sitting next door having dinner at Shake Shack and I looked at the account of the card I used because it happened to be a new card. There was no charge, not even an attempt at a charge or a verification of the card. I thought it was strange but shrugged it off, at my job we wait to charge CC’s until a certain point in the day. SO, I thought maybe Warby Parker had a similar system. I happily ate my chicken shack and didn’t worry about it.

SO, we go to Target after and at some point I look at my email and I have an email from the Warby Parker store saying that my card was declined…huh? It’s literally a brand new card. They had already closed at that point but said that I could call tomorrow and give them a new card. I said ok, but I was still bummed, I thought this task was FINISHED.

So the next morning I look and the store opens at 11am. So at 11:15 I’m calling the number that is given for the Glendale store. Only..it sends me to corporate. There is NO way for anyone to call the actual store. Whomp whomp.

Oh, with my email they said they made me an account. And I had even logged into that account when I was sitting in Shake Shack. So, the guy I get on the customer service line asks me for my account email and I give it to him. Then he says, “There is no transaction on here do you have another email?” I said, “No, that’s the one I gave”

Guys my transaction DISAPPEARED into thin air. This lovely man even went transaction by transaction at the store and couldn’t find it. He found the prescription they had entered on my account..but NOTHING else. So poof, my order was gone.

Luckily the lady who had emailed me from the store had mentioned the style names in said email, because I would have NEVER remembered which ones I picked. After like 20 minute search the guy said we could just place the order again on the phone. So we did just that and he was even nice enough to give me a $30 credit for the wackiness.

I know a lot about CC transactions and charging CC’s because that’s what I do all day at work. Guys, that transaction, for some reason was never entered. My card was also never charged initially, because if it had been and had ACTUALLY declined the transaction would have still existed. There was nothing wrong with my card, they lost the transaction somehow at the store and then blamed me. (??) If the order would have went through they would have had my number to call me too.

Ok, so back to the phone order. I get the email confirming my order with an ACTUAL order number (didn’t get that before either) and then to my horror I realize the guy selected the wrong style of frame!

Warby Parker has a HALEY and a HALLIE frame. So when I said Hallie he selected Haley. I even told him the frames I wanted were blue! DOH. So I had to call Warby Parker right back, again, and get them switched.

Finally after the second call..the order was placed! *does happy dance*

I placed the phone order on Super Bowl Sunday February 3rd and I recieved my glasses this past Tuesday on February 19th. They said the longest they’d take would be delivery on the 22nd, so I was ok with that.

 

So how do I like them? I have to say, I love them!! Through all the hoops it was so worth it to finally do this for myself! This is a very strange form of self-care and I am so here for it! I no longer groan when I see my glasses and I would happily give my old pair a viking funeral.

 

So through all that, how do I feel about Warby Parker?

Even though I hit some strange bumps in the road both of the customer service members I spoke to were AMAZING. They were so sweet and very apologetic. I have a feeling this isn’t a common occurrence and more then likely you wouldn’t have to deal with that hoopla if you went to a Warby Parker store. I’ll go out on a limb and say I was the exception not the rule.

The only other thing that kind of sucks about getting them in the mail is that if they need to be adjusted, and mine do, you either have to take them back to the store or another place that sells glasses that’ll adjust them for you.

With all that said I would totally buy glasses from Warby Parker again. I think their frames are stylish and super affordable. Especially if your prescription isn’t as strong as mine, they’re really inexpensive too! I can’t wait until my Haliee’s are adjusted so I can wear them! But my Oliver’s have been awesome too.

2019 is already a better year

No, I’m not being overly optimistic, even though it is January 1st. This is already a fact, because I went through so much tumultuous terrain in 2018 that I have laid the groundwork for a much smoother 2019.

No, I’m not being overly optimistic, even though it is January 1st. This is already a fact, because I went through so much tumultuous terrain in 2018 that I have laid the groundwork for a much smoother 2019.

In 2018 I moved away from home for the first time in my life. I’ve mentioned before my issues with change but this had a lot of emotional aspects attached to it. Both in why I moved out and where I moved into. To rehash it all would be moot, but I’ll just say things did not feel “settled” until the very end of 2018. I’m starting this year very much “settled in” and comfortable with most of my living situation. Also, my relationship with my dad has improved drastically from last year at this time. There are still a few question marks lingering in the air, but won’t there always be? I flipped my life UPSIDE down when I moved and it took me a LONG time to stand back up again.

The fact that I pretty much won’t have to deal with any of the same problems that made 2018 so difficult already puts a put of plus signs on 2019. I wanted to create and start things, like this blog or instagram but I was always so emotionally distracted by other crap. It’s HARD to be creative when you don’t feel good about things, or when you’re in a bad place mentally. I fully understand that creativity is an antidote to those things..but I just couldn’t bridge that gap often enough to make it a true remedy for my sadness/worries.

Maybe it just wasn’t my season to create, it was my time to deal with other things in my life. Never feel bad if you don’t have the emotional clarity or strength to create. Because I surely couldn’t bring myself to do it often enough.

I didn’t wait until January 1st to start working on 2019. I actually started around October of 2018. I didn’t exactly successfully participate in Rachel Hollis’ “Last 90 days” challenge BUT I did start actively working and thinking about my goals. I knew I wanted to get healthy in 2019 so I asked for a Nutri-bullet, things like that. But writing my goals has really been great. Reminding myself EVERY SINGLE DAY what I really want to accomplish in life is SO helpful. I’m so glad I didn’t wait until Jan 1st to start. Not that there is anything wrong with that, that’s my usual M.O. too. But I just feel more solid in my direction this Jan 1st then I have in others.

I’m going to really work hard on my self confidence this year. Harder then I’ve ever worked before. I’m going to work on building relationships outside of my current ones (i.e. get more FRIENDS). Like I am just so TIRED of feeling bad about myself or deficient in some way. Like I am truly SICK of it! I’ve never felt that way before.

I always said, “I want to feel better about myself/more confident” but I just kept hoping it would magically come to me. Or that by completing certain goals or by getting X or Y it would happen. Nope. And late last year I figured it out, I really just need to change my perception. I need to remove, destroy and rebuild the entire way I ingest the world and I need to just be MYSELF in it. With no care on how I will be viewed or what others will think. I need to stand in the truth that is myself and just know that that IS enough. So that is my journey and ultimate goal for 2019 and beyond.

The first goal I write in my Start Today journal every single day is “I am unapologetically confident”. And beyond any other goal that is my biggest. Because I know that is the KEY to all my other goals. Every. Single. One. It beings with the self.

“Happiness is an inside job” – ??

I really want to share my journey with people. Because I know it’s not going to be easy and I think that is so important to say. People make it LOOK so easy. Then you feel like shit because you feel like you  SHOULD be ____ (happy/confident/etc) and you AREN’T…therefore, “something is wrong with me”. That is where my mind tends to go anyway. 

I miss journaling. I miss having a record of the things I’ve done. I miss posting the fun stuff too. I just miss writing. I remember with my ancient blog someone called me materialistic because I used to love fashion and shopping. I have always been afraid of that. Granted the world is TOTALLY different now and everyone on the internet could be called “materialistic” at this point. So even in starting this blog, I was always fearful of being seen as shallow or materialistic. 

You know what, I’m not. No matter what I post and anyone that REALLY knows me. Not some rando internet person knows that fact. As you can see like 15 years later and that statement still angers me. (lol) Because it’s just so far from the truth. So I want to share more of the light stuff in my life too.

Instagram, facebook a blog..it’s all curated. Just remember that as you browse the internet. I will never write about certain subjects here…because I don’t want to. But it should be obvious after skimming a few posts that my life can be beautiful and sad and everything else. I just hope you remember that, for EVERY person you scroll by. Stop comparing your life to others, I’m going to work on stopping too…ok?

I just have so much HOPE in my heart for this year. I really do. And that is NOT the case normally. Normally I  stand teetering on the edge of the year praying it won’t be terrible. Ever since 2014, I have been afraid of life…I’ve been afraid of the “unknown” disaster waiting to knock me down. But going on my 5th year of having lost my sister and mom I’m finally starting to have some faith that things don’t always have to take a turn for the terrible. Even if they do, I know I have people that love me to hold me back up. I know that somehow I will come out the other end of it. 

One thing I will say about 2018, with all it’s uncertainty…Adam was my rock. At the beginning of last year I was SO afraid of what moving in would do to our relationship. I was so afraid it was going to kick up the dust and show all these hidden fault lines. But it was nothing like that. 

Our relationship only got 100x better and stronger. And for that I am so grateful. I am so glad I was completely wrong and every fear I had about us was unfounded. 2018 allowed me to see just how amazing he was and how beautiful what we have is. 

So yeah, 2019, lets do this! 

Past vs. Present

I’ve had this blog almost a year now and it’s really been a struggle to pick a sold direction for it.  I think I finally figured out why. I spent hours trying to analyze why all of a sudden having a blog was SO difficult for me when before it was really easy.

I used to have a livejournal (but seriously who didn’t?). I wrote in it religiously for years!! Sometime’s I’d do multiple updates in a day, I posted everything I did, every single day. Every issue or problem I had, into the journal it went. But that was a long time ago…and I was a different person then. And therein lies the problem, I was trying to figure out how, as a so-called adult, I could just as easily lay my life out there for all to read again but also post fun stuff too.

Ok, at this moment, I am struggling to write this. I literally want to stop and delete everything, this is my current internal monologue:

“OMG they’re going to think I can’t share my feelings anymore cause I’m afraid now”

“People aren’t going to get this at all…you’re just confusing them, just stop, seriously”

“You’re making it sound like you’re never going to write about your life. That’s not true either! “

“Now they think you have voices in your head and you’re crazy, great, just GREAT”

So I apologize to the one person that might be reading this who is very confused. But, THIS IS WHAT I HAVE BEEN STRUGGLING WITH (as far as writing goes) for the past YEAR! This stupid, “All or nothing” mentality. Either you’re going to lay it all out there Malinda or you’re not going to write anything.

My mind tends to swing very negative. And a personal goal of mine right now is to really focus on joy and the things and people in my life that make me happy. And honestly that’s what I truly want to write about. But that internal voice also says:

“If you only write about things that bring you joy you’re being frivolous and fake”

“If you only write about good you’ll be pretending your life is perfect”

Perfection and I have a deep dark history, and I don’t want to meet perfection again, it’ll cut me down and make me miserable. 

So what is the point of this? What conclusion did I come up with?

I need to stop worrying about what anyone thinks!!!

I wrote that in red bold letters for myself more then anyone. But seriously, my God it’s exhausting to constantly be worried about how you’re being perceived by the freaking universe. THAT IS ONE OF MY BIGGEST ISSUES. Heck, it might BE my biggest issue.

If I want to keep some topics close to my chest and write the hell out of others, I will do that. If I do 20 posts about Disneyland and t-shirts and my latest funko binge, then good for me. And if I have a week where I’m depressed and missing my sister/mom/old life/anything else that makes me emo. I will do that too! 

Livejournal was literally my only escape and connection to other people outside of the abhorrent relationship I was in at the time. That’s why it was such a lifeline for me, because I felt like I couldn’t tell people IRL the horrible shit I was going through…so I told a bunch of strangers to get some form of support and compassion

1. I am in no way shape or form in anything that even resembles that now. 2. I actually have people IRL to talk to and seek comfort in even when times do get tough. So, it really makes sense that I can’t write the way I used to…because I’m not the person I used to be. 

So I’m just going to let the writing flow as it wants to. Because overall the thing I do know is that I miss writing so much! I’ve wanted to write so many times, but then the above dialogue would ensue. I was only able to break past it a few times here and there and actually get something down here.  

I still don’t have a crystal clear set direction as far as what I may post. I do a lot better when I don’t have creative boundaries. I really want to share the stuff that makes me happy and maybe even some of the things that make me sad. So that’s what I am going to do.

Do you know I just had the urge to just write, “I apologize this post has been all over the place..” NO, I don’t apologize. My brain is all over the place, so my dang post is too. Welcome to my blog!!