“Start Today” journal update and Life Coaching!

A few days ago I learned from Rachel’s instagram that she was going to start a Life Coaching program. It is not one-on-one. She made it clear in her video that she literally has no time to do that, and even if she did I know darn well I couldn’t afford it!

It’s been roughly a month and a half since I began using my “Start Today” journal. I can easily say it’s been an overall positive experience! At first trying to remember which 10 goals I had chosen was tough. But a month and a half later I finally have them totally memorized.

In itself remembering what the 10 goals are is a big deal, think about it! My own brain couldn’t easily recall the top 10 things I wanted to do in life. Each one of these items is super important to me, but I had never put them in front of my face enough to actually remember them. They’d come in and out of my consciousness like flashes, here and there I’d think, “Wouldn’t that be awesome if…” but that was it, after it’d be forgotten. Not anymore!

Listing 5 things I am grateful for is also really wonderful. It becomes challenging when you are pissed off or in a bad mood. I sit their brooding over whatever upset me and then I force my brain to think positively. But after I finish I tend to be every slightly less grumpy.

I do have to admit one thing though, I haven’t been perfect about doing it every single day. There are some days when I have missed it either when I was sick, I kept putting it off and forgot…or I was just in a terrible mood and was laying in bed lamenting. I always start back up though. Why? Because Rachel teaches that imperfection is ok! What matters most is that you RESTART. Don’t let go of it just cause you messed up once. This is what I always have to remind myself, because I am a perfectionist. I hope I don’t miss another day from this point forward, but if I do, I know I can start again.

Life Coaching with Rachel Hollis

A few days ago I learned from Rachel’s instagram that she was going to start a Life Coaching program. It is not one-on-one. She made it clear in her video that she literally has no time to do that, and even if she did I know darn well I couldn’t afford it!

Even still I was thinking, “Oh god, it’s going to be like $100 a month or something”. Because if you follow this space, like I do, you know that these teachers charge A LOT for their info. Courses can easily be in the hundreds or thousands of dollars. So I braced myself and looked at the price. The personal life coaching, which is basically 2 hours a month, is $39 bucks.

That felt do-able. That felt like a realistic thing. I pay $9.99 for Apple Music and $14.95 for Audible every month. How about paying monthly for something that might actually help me move the needle forward in my life?! So what, that works out to $20 an hour? To get guidance from someone I feel really resonates with me? That feels like a bargain.  I pay more an hour to the person that does my hair.

So I bit the bullet, I signed up. Still skeptical mind you…still wondering if this money could be better spent. I have to say, yesterdays session felt COMPLETELY worth every cent. Rachel is just so genuine and raw and imperfect. I freakin’ love imperfection because I struggle with perfection so much. I love anyone who goes out into the world and says, “I’m doing this, I don’t know exactly what I’m doing..but I’m doing it anyway!”

I’m not going to break down what we learned or what our homework was. I’m going to wait until next month and let you know how/if what I learned helped me, what I implemented and what I possibly didn’t get rolling on. To be continued…

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! 

Starting my “Start Today” Journal

Write down your dreams. Write down your goals. Visualize where you want to be in life. Doesn’t like EVERY SINGLE self help guru say this in one form or another? But do you do it? As a self confused self help lover, my answer was a (sheepish) no.

Write down your dreams. Write down your goals. Visualize where you want to be in life. Doesn’t like EVERY SINGLE self help guru say this in one form or another? But do you do it? As a self confused self help lover, my answer was a (sheepish) no.

Oh, that’s not to say I have never written down my goals. Quite the contrary, I’ve done journal entries visualizing my fabulous soon-to-be life, I have made several vision boards, listened to countless meditations and as aforementioned…read LOTS and LOTS of books. But to no avail a gratitude or goal practice never emerged or stuck.

I recently came to the conclusion that accomplishing “things” was not helping any of my larger goals. Climbing that small hill (i.e. running a race, taking voice lessons, etc) did not create any momentum in my life. I started to ponder this really deeply for a few days. I came to the conclusion that the problem stemmed directly from the way I process the world. My thinking. 

I’m not going to go into that right now, because we want to get to the journal before the spring equinox, but just know there is A LOT to unpack there. (Isn’t it that way for most people?) So I decided for this year, as in the 12 month period after my birthday, not the calendar year, I was going to heavily focus on my thoughts, perceptions and emotions. 

That’s kind of tricky. You can quantify pounds lost or money saved, but how to do quantify your negativity? I guess you just have to go by your baseline happiness and how many crappy days you have vs bad days…I still really don’t know.

I found Rachel Hollis on a COMPLETE Audible whim. I had no clue she had a book on the best sellers list, or this huge following. Audible suggested the book for me, I read the description and though, “Ok, I’ll give this a shot.” What I love about Audible is that if a book sucks you can return it and get your credit back…which I have done for MANY a book. lol

That book is, “Girl wash your face” and it skyrocketed to one of my favorite non-fiction books EVER. Right next to The Alchemist, Big Magic and Eat Pray Love. READ IT if you’re into self help books or just need a good kick in the pants about living your best life. But yeah, I still wasn’t writing down goals or anything after I read it.

So I followed Rachel Hollis on her socials and bought a few more of her non-fiction books on audible. She’s really fun on instagram. Anyway, recently she started selling her “Start Today” journals. She is apparently going to sell them every quarter with limited designs. 

But I, Malinda, am HIGHLY skeptical about buying self help peoples products. They all promise to jump start this or change your life with that, um, I can’t even remember to fill out a simple daily calendar?? I was like $24 bucks for a journal? Nope, nope, nope. 

And I didn’t buy it, the came out, sold out and them came out again and I still didn’t buy it. But then Rachel did something I found to be REALLY cool and different from ALL the other self helpers out there. 

She has a podcast, which is also awesome btw, called The Rise podcast. In one of the episodes recently she read the ENTIRE prompt that is in the journal before you start the daily writings. She gave away the entire thing and said, “You don’t have to buy the journal, just use a blank piece of paper if that’s all you have…” So she basically gave away the content in the journal, free. I don’t know, for me that gave it a little credibility. She was truly championing the action of writing your goals and gratitude everyday and not just her journal.

If that was a marketing ploy, let me tell you it freakin’ WORKED. That gave this ole skeptic a little more faith in it. I was like, “Ok, $24 bucks plus shipping…I can swing that” 

So, everyone, I sat down yesterday and went through the initial writing exercise to find my 10 goals, it took about an hour and then I filled out my first page. You start with 6 things you are grateful for today then you write down your 10 dreams then you narrow it down to 1 goal. YAY FIRST DAY DOWN..now to keep it up.

I had even set my alarm last night 10 min earlier then normal so I could get up and write my stuff in my journal. BUT then, I was rudely awakened at 3am and had a hard time falling asleep, not going into that one. *eye roll* I knew in that moment there was no way I was going to be in the mood to wake up any earlier and do this. I set my alarm back to its regular time and (eventually) fell back to sleep.

But, when I woke up I was like, “I can’t throw in the towel! My goodness this is technically day two and I’m already going to not follow through. (I mean technically it was like day 1 because yesterday was day 0…which is even worse!) So I grabbed the jornal and threw it into my purse before I left.

Then, when I got to work I sat in my car for 8 extra minutes and filled it out. *breaks out into applause for self*

I am proud of that!!

Day 1, er 2, whatever: I am not a morning person. I am actually a terrible morning person, actually I’m pretty bitchy, esp when I don’t get proper freakin’ sleep! Making my mind focus on first gratitude and then goals was a really STRANGE feeling.

It made me realize that I basically NEVER actively think about either. I am just concerned with traffic, lack of sleep or work crap. But pushing my brain to this other realm that I hardly visit (gratitude and goals) was eye opening. I was thinking, “Wow, I really do NEVER think about this stuff” It was like an espresso shot of positivity for my super negative “morning brain”.

I’m determined to stick it out and see if doing this practice yields any fruit. The journals have 90 days worth of pages so my plan is to STICK WITH IT at least for the 90 days. Really commit to it and just see if anything happens, see if there is anything to this practice like all these self helpers say.

I will continue to write updates as the days go on. I will be very candid but even if I think it’s waste of time by day 20 I am STILL going to stick with it the full 90 days, to give it a fair shot. I must say I was pleasantly surprised with the mental wake up call it gave me this morning though, I wasn’t expecting that.

Here are some links if your curious about Rachel Hollis or the journal.

Her Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/msrachelhollis

The journals have their own instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/StartTodayJournal/

Here is the podcast episode where she gives you the journal prompt:
(It’s the episode on 11/26/18)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/rise-podcast/id1245763628?mt=2

Here are the journals themselves with a snazzy video from Rachel:
https://www.thehollisco.com/p/shop

(Pic is from the start today journal instagram)

I lack creative follow-through, currently

As a kid up until my early 20’s, I was able to freely be creative. What I mean by that is I wasn’t afraid to try to learn or do new things, creatively.

Examples:
– I crafted a stable for my barbie horses
– I created a map of of the Lion King “world” complete with pride rock and bad lands
– I took up making my own animation cells by painting with acrylic paints on plastic
– Making my parents friends kids do choreography I created
– Painting in general
– Learning how to do basic HTML code (This was the late 90’s people)
– Taking a web design class
– Learning photoshop
– Learning to do myspace layouts, doing them for friends
– Had a steady blog for over 8 years

I never thought twice about doing any of these things. I never worried about, “Not being able to do it” I just did them. But somewhere in my early 20’s this ability started to fade. I think the whole Myspace layout thing was the last thing I remember doing without worrying about how I would be perceived or feeling like I wasn’t doing something, “Good enough”.

Coinciding with my first full-time job, I feel I pretty much lost the ability all together. What came next was lots of half baked ideas that I didn’t fully follow through on. Some I did more then others, but I never pushed anything to the max. I also never shared what I created with a lot of people. Sometimes, but it was rare.

A few examples:
– Bought a guitar but never mastered it, I still want to master it!
– Bought FL Studio but never learned to use it
– Took voice lessons but was too afraid to practice in front of people
– Have tried to restart my blog COUNTLESS times
– Paid for this wordpress and barely use it

My creativity is like a car that is unreliable and starts only occasionally.

I have analyzed this to myself many times. I used to sit there for an hour just trying to pinpoint the moment I lost my ability to just CREATE. I found several, but even discovering those moments has not helped me jumpstart the damn car and keep it running. I’ve even written about it here a few times.

I did something that has been on my to-do list for over a year yesterday. I sat down and actually wrote down my reasons for wanting a blog (and IG). Like I forced myself to sit there and really say, “What do I want to say? What is my message? How can I do this?”

That was SO HARD.

It was also a little scary.

Why? Because it was going past the, “I want to” point. Going past the, “Let me just invest a little money into this and maybe that’ll make me commit” point. Things become a lot more real when you sit down and say, “I want to do this, now how can I make this happen.”

And yeah, this is basic, chapter one self help book stuff. “Write down your goals and plans”. I know that, but doing  and knowing are very different animals. (BTW, I love self help books..so no shade there, just pointing out I don’t act on their advice enough.)

Another thing that has REALLY stifled me, and that I’ve also wrote about several times. Is being authentic online. If I share x do I have to share y? Do I have to be a complete open book? Do I have to post about fun stuff always to not feel like a bummer. But if I post fun stuff am I going to seem frivolous? I try not to worry about how I will be perceived but that’s hard, especially for someone that needs to do some heavy lifting in the confidence area. Writing everything down really gave me clarity and showed me how my IG and blog would work in symbiosis but showcase different facets of who I am.

So I am going to share with you what my plan is. Why? Not because I’m trying to make anyone care about what I’m going to do… but so I can have some accountability. Also, it’s my way of putting it out to the universe that, “Yes, I am ready to commit to my creativity again!”

My blog is going to be my overall sounding board. It will be more about my life with some interests possibly sprinkled in here or there. As I have mentioned here my biggest struggles are loss (losing my sister and mother) and confidence. Also I feel like a blog post is a better place to share a new experience, i.e. trying skincare for the first time. I mean, you can share anything on a blog but this is my plan for my own.  I want to update it at least every Sunday and Wednesday.

My instagram will be more fandom-centric. I collect various things like Funko Pops! and t-shirts also, as you figured by now, I love Disney like crazy. It will be a place to showcase my fun and fandoms. I want it to reflect all the various things I love.

Obviously both of these will cross pollinate. Also with time this plan may totally change, but this is the skeleton I am going to work with right now. This is my plan.

OMG I have a plan! Do you know how exciting even that is?! It’s a loose plan, but a plan nonetheless!

The original title of this blog was, “I lack creative follow-through” but I added the “currently” because I know I have it somewhere in me. From reading my many self help books I know that the language we use about ourselves can really set the course for how we act. Even though I have been trying to restart this car permanently for nearly 10 years…I still have faith I can get her up and running.

How Taylor Swift has helped me through life for nearly a decade

A note about me: I was born loving music and lyrics. In 4th grade I sang, “Take a bow” by Madonna to my then beau to show him how his on again off again “love” was making me feel. Lyrics and music have and always will be important to me.  Taylor put it best..

“People haven’t always been there for me but music always has.” – Taylor Swift

My life story runs parallel with a living, breathing soundtrack. I could tell you my story better in songs then I could plain words. But I’m going to try and do it with both. This is the story of us, Taylor and I.

“Love Story”
I didn’t have my license yet because I was afraid to drive. I’d love to tell you I was a teenager, but I wasn’t. I was in my mid-20’s still terrified. I’d started my first full time job, which was night shift (12am – 8:30am). My father used to have to drive me to work and pick me up. He would listen to KIIS FM as he drove me. Whenever “Love Story” came on he would put it louder. Honestly, I didn’t pay attention the first few times. I was deep into Dilla and hip hop and this country sounding song was NOT in my wheelhouse.

But one night, I listened, I actually listened to words and I totally fell in love with it. The way Taylor wrapped you into that story..I could feel it. I was born and raised on Disney Princesses and fairy tales and this song just GOT ME.

“You belong with me”

I didn’t know who Taylor was before Love Story and I wasn’t quite hooked yet. I went on YouTube and watched the video for, “Love Story”. I was a cute and sweet, everything you’d expect. But then I clicked on the video for, “You belong with me”… I was never the same again.

In that 3 minutes and 49 seconds a swiftie was born. The shy dorky girl being ignored for the gorgeous one, wanting the guy you like to know you’re alive, being looked at as the friend BUT in the end, the dork won. He wanted her…he wanted her!! I literally watched it OVER AND OVER. This Taylor girl..she got me, she REALLY GOT ME.

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“Fearless”
I could literally almost tell you exactly what day I first saw, “You belong with me”. It was April 22nd 2010. Do you know WHY I know this fact? Because I said, “I have to see her live!” And I looked at Ticketmaster and I had JUST missed the Fearless tour at Staples Center by a week! I was crushed, heck, I’m still crushed about that. I missed her by a freakin’ week, are you kidding me?!

“Tim McGraw”
This was before streaming services, I went and bought the deluxe edition of, “Taylor Swift” and “Fearless” on iTunes. And let me tell you, Mrs. “I’m not a fan of country” knew (and still knows) every word. I also bought any song she made outside of her albums like, “Crazier” from the Hanna Montana Soundtrack. I couldn’t get enough of the emotion, the lyrics, oh the lyrics!! Country or not I didn’t care, she told stories that felt like MY stories. She got me and that’s not often a feeling I have.

I also watched every single video she had made, over and over again. “Picture to Burn”, “Change”, “Tear drops on my guitar”. And I had to learn everything about her, how she came up, her story. I could do a doctoral study on the history of Taylor Swift from memory. “Did you know she was one of the youngest song writers ever.” “Do you know she had a development deal with a major label and they didn’t want her to sing her own songs so she turned it down?” “Did you know Big Machine didn’t even really exist when she agreed to be signed to them?” Anyone who has ever dared to come at me with, “Taylor Swift has no talent” has been taken to SCHOOL. Miss me with that nonsense.

“Run”
The only George Strait song I know by heart is, “Run”. And that’s because Taylor covered it at a George Strait tribute and did a phenomenal job. I still get verclempse when I think about how she asked him for advice about performing in a stadium and he told her, “Just do it for about 25 years and it’ll feel real natural.” Oh how far my girl has come.

So anyway, back to “Run”. I went into a long distance relationship with someone that lived across the country. This song was the theme of that relationship, because in that moment all I wanted to do was run to him. I listened to “Run” literally over and over again just dreaming about going to him.

“Mine”
Later on in 2010 I did the impossible, I got my drivers license. I cannot express how scared I was (and still sometimes am..) to drive.  I did it because I couldn’t keep making my dad taxi me to  and from work, the guilt became worse then the fear. The ONLY thing I did love about driving at first was blasting my Taylor Swift music and singing at the top of my lungs driving to work at 4am. (I was on “day shift” at that point.)  That was in early September of 2010. At this very moment Taylor occupies 4/6 CD slots in my car.

“Mine” came out shortly after I got my car. I had missed the beginning of the other eras but for Speak Now I was ALL IN. I even remember, “Mine” leaked the day it was supposed to come out and I refused to listen to it until it was officially out. That video…I still love that video. *Puts hand in the shape of a heart* The bridge of that song, I want to cry just thinking about it! Even though the lyrics were based on an idealized relationship vs a real one, I don’t care! “Cause I remember how it felt sitting by the water / And everytime I look at you it’s like the first time”

The first time I ever drove on the highway alone I had, “Change” playing. Because conquering driving was a major wall that fell down for me. Yes there were times in my life I purposely made Taylor the soundtrack to certain moments.

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“Speak Now”
First came, “Mine” then the announcement of the “Speak now” album. I preordered it from Target, I was ready! Right before it came out another crazy thing happened. I went to Louisiana and finally met my boyfriend at the time. I remember on the plane listening to Taylor the entire way, particularly, “Love Story”. When I got off the plane I felt like Taylor running through the field. Have you figured out that I am a hopeless romantic and highly emotional being yet?

Right after I got home, the album came out. My Target pre-order actually didn’t come before the album released so then start the long standing history of me buying an album in both physical and digital copies because HELLO I wasn’t going to wait to hear it!!!

“Enchanted”
I was rightfully obsessed with Speak now. “Do you know Taylor doesn’t share the writing credits on this album with anyone?!” Guess what happened shortly after the album came out, a tour was announced. I was still SO SALTY about having missed Fearless, there was no way in hell I was missing the Speak Now world tour.

Except one small thing… no one else I knew was into Taylor Swift. Like, no one. Maybe they liked a song or two but they certainly weren’t going to pay to see her in concert. What was I to do? I guess I had to go see her alone.

The thought of traversing Staples Center alone terrified me. But seeing Taylor live was bigger then my fear. I just wanted to experience her live, alone or not.

August 24th 2011 I saw her and it was everything I wanted and more. By that time my long distance relationship was obliterated and I was onto different avenues but my love for all these songs was unaffected. And I cried…and cried and cried. I could care less that Justin Beiber was the special guest, Taylor was amazing and everything I was hoping for. That night was surely sparking. I only wish I had been with a group like a lot of girls there, so I could make cool costumes and share that joy with someone. 

And I have went on to see Taylor 3x alone, Ariana Grande 1x alone and Beyonce alone too. I have seen so much amazing talent because of my willingness to go by myself and Taylor opened that door for me.

 

“Dear John”
“I’m shining like fireworks over your sad little town”. Anyone who has ever seen the Speak Now DVD can envision those fireworks as they read that line. The relationship I was in crumbled and Taylor was with me every step of the way. Her lyrics nursed those wounds. Dear John was like an epic poem I could write to so many that had held my heart at one point or another. If you’ve been there, you get that song.

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“Safe and Sound”
My parents bought me a cat in the 4th grade, his name was Michelob. And I had him for 22 years. I lost him around the time that Taylor’s song for the Hunger Games soundtrack came out. My heart was and is still so broken over that loss and this song helped comfort me when literally NO ONE could understand. A cat is not a cat, this cat had been with me most of my life. “Just close your eyes/ The sun is going down / You’ll be alright / No one can hurt you now/ Come morning light you and I will be safe and sound” It was the first time I ever dealt with loss in my life, that song helped me through it.

“Begin Again”
2011 was the year that my current boyfriend and I started hanging out. My heart was still pretty fragile and we took things slow. Begin Again came out and once again Taylor was singing about my life. Here I was trying to trust and give my heart to someone new after it had been so crushed. But if Taylor could do it….

“Come in with the rain”
I had been obsessed with come in with the rain the moment I heard it. I need to stop saying that but, it’s the truth. It wasn’t a radio single but it was a Malinda’s car single for sure. But that guitar…

I had always wanted to play guitar. When I was in H.S. I wanted a guitar because I loved Michelle Branch (another singer songwriter). But I never got one…I just never did it. But hearing the guitar in, “Come in with the rain”,  “Superstar” and “Breathe” became my obsession. And it was shortly after I saw the Speak Now tour that I finally bought my first guitar. I always say, “Michelle made me want it, but Taylor made me do it”

 

“Treacherous”
The anticipation for the release of Red was insane. She was doing this thing where she was releasing a track a week and I could barely stand it. When the album came out I was blown away, HOW did Taylor get my life so well?

Literally there were nights when I followed my boyfriend home from a night out. I still hated driving but I’d drive to see him. “Two headlights shine through the sleepless night and I will follow you, follow you home” Also the Red album showed my then non-boyfriend just how much of a Swiftie I was.

I was at his house the morning the tickets for the Red Tour went on sale. Sweating and freaking out, because I just had to see Tay again. Once again I was going to see her alone but by then I was fine with it.

Treacherous was also the first FULL song I learned how to play on guitar. There was a girl on youTube that would do Taylor tutorials for the new Red songs the moment they were released. I went back later and learned songs from other albums, but “Red” showed me I could actually play.

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“State of Grace”
I always said that the opening of State of Grace makes me feel like I’m flying. It sounds like dizzying exciting love. It would be in my top 5 Swift songs for sure.

Depending on how long you’ve been a Swiftie you may remember Taylor Connect. The message boards on her website. I mean, of course I was on them! After the Red Tour tickets went on sale the did a lottery for Taylor Connect users to get pit tickets. I entered and I WAS SELECTED.

I was sitting in a booth at The Habit (a burger place in Cali) and I looked at my boyfriend and said, “I HAVE TO GO HOME AND BUY THIS TICKET!” Because I was convinced if I tried to buy it on the phone it would malfunction and I would lose this golden opportunity. Have you figured out that I’m a SPAZ yet?  My computer did not blow up and yes I got my Red Tour pit ticket for $150. You read that correctly, $150. Taylor has always been so good to her fans.

The day of the Red Tour I was A MESS. Pit is GA and I was convinced I was going to get stuck behind a massively tall person. I was there before the doors opened for Staples center and I RAN to the floor. I got a spot on the runway and did not move for hours. I didn’t eat, drink or go to the restroom I stood there and held my spot on her catwalk.

This is why the Red tour DVD not being released still makes me sad. Because that night WAS MAGIC. I have never been and probably will never be SO CLOSE to her. GUYS SHE IS REAL! She is amazing, she is everything you can imagine. Her opening song was State of Grace and I still know where she jumped down the stairs, some of her coreo and the way she walked, her fingers for “2 fire signs, 4 blue eyes” …the black hat she threw into the crowd. I remember it all…all..allll too well. That was August 19th, 2013, my life changed a lot shortly after that.

“The best day”
I cannot listen to, “The best day” I just wrote out that song title and tears started coming out. If you are not familiar with this song it’s a sweet song Taylor wrote to her mom on her Fearless album, hence, why it’s to painful for me to ever hear.

My mom had been fighting an illness for 10 years called aplastic anemia. Due to battling the illness and complications from the side effects of all the medicines she took my mom passed away on March 5th, 2014, a week before her birthday.

My mom knew I loved Taylor, when I got my guitar she told me, “What you’re going to be the next Taylor Swift?” Honestly in the moment I took it as sarcasm, but now I hold that comment so close to my heart.

When the Wonderstuck perfume came out my mom went to Macy’s and bought it for my birthday, she even got the patchwork gift with purchase bag for me. I wear my Wonderstruck perfume whenever I miss her.

Both my parents took me to Staples Center the first time I ever saw Taylor live. They dropped me off and picked me up. I remember jumping into the car with my Covergirl tour merch bag after the concert and excitedly telling them how amazing she’d been and how she was EVERYTHING I’d imagined.

I didn’t know it’d be the last of my birthday’s I’d spend with her. But for some reason I’d opted for an at home BBQ that year and asked her to make my favorite foods. My boyfriend bought me a guitar case for my birthday and I have a picture with her smiling as he surprised me with it. I went back to Safe and Sound, I was very, very lost.

“Superstar”
My sister didn’t know a lot of Taylor Swift. But she knew, “Superstar”. She knew why I loved that song…and so many others. My sister was my best friend, she was my only true best friend. But my sister couldn’t handle losing my mother.

My sister was born with a congenital heart defect and had health issue her entire life. But somehow, she still carved this AMAZING life full of adventure for herself. But just over 6 months after my mother died, I lost my sister too on October 1st, 2014. The day before my birthday. It was the 1-2 punch from hell.

My sisters musical love was Duran Duran but she TOTALLY understood my Taylor obsession, she got it because she was the same way with them. She didn’t like country at all but she’d always let me play Taylor in her car. I remember when the Red album came out and I played her, “All too well” she knew without saying who that song was for.

One of the last text messages I have from my sister was a picture she took in a Dr’s office waiting room. There was someone in there wearing a “Red’ rubber tour bracelet and she wanted to show me. My own Red tour bracelet took on a much deeper meaning after.that. She also bought me Taylor shirts for my birthday one year.

The night my sister passed away we went to a a karaoke bar near U of Penn. (My sister passed away in PGH and my dad and other 2 sisters were there.) One of the songs we sang that night was, “Highway don’t care”. Probably one of the few pure country songs I know, thanks to Taylor of course.

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My sister, mom and I watching The Little Mermaid

“1989”
I don’t remember anything making me very happy that year. There was so much loss and sadness in my life. To be honest with you, all of it hasn’t gone away. I’m not who I was in any way shape or form. I just cried a lot, went to work, came home laid in bed and cried.

I am not over exaggerating that the release of “Shake it off” was one of the first and only things that truly brought me a fragment of joy. That and went my boyfriend took me to Disneyland after a long dry spell for a belated birthday were the ONLY things that made me even temporarily happy.

1989 was one of the only lights in all that darkness. I’d even feel guilty when I’d smile or dance to it. It became my lifeline to joy because it took my mind, if even temporarily off the hurt I was trying to live through. If I ever did meet Taylor I’d tell her 1989 saved my spirit in my darkest time, just by being made…for giving me something to ease that unfathomable pain.

Blank Space”
The thing about loss is that it shows you how finite your life is. You don’t have endless time, so it began to push me to try and stretch myself despite the heartbreak. Even if it was driving to Manhattan Beach for a women’s symposium, running a 5k  or dying my hair red. I just started trying to stretch.

I’d always wanted to take vocal lessons but never did. I was born with a clef palette and have a speech impediment but as fate would have it (and as I mentioned) I LOVE singing. I always felt that vocal lessons were going to be a waste of money for someone with a voice like me. But at this stage of my life, despite all those internal demons saying, “Don’t do it!” I did it anyway.

I have never been more scared of anything in my life, and I wasn’t that great especially because of stage fright. But I kept going and going. The first song I attempted to learn was “Blank Space” then “Style” then “All too well”.

Blank Space was really when Taylor started to grab the image projected onto her by the media by the horns. It was the first glimpse we had at how she could use those bricks to make her castle. I pity anyone that ever dissed that song because they didn’t understand it’s satirical value. I was trying to take control of my own image too.

“Shake if off”
Mean girls aren’t just reserved for high school and they aren’t reserved to girls either. At work I was miserable because on top of the aforementioned loss the person I thought was my closest friend turned out to be a frenemy. Work felt like a battle ground for awhile and I would listen to Shake it off over and over again on the way to work AND at work to remind myself that haters were gonna hate, hate, hate and I didn’t have to play into it. Music really does give me strength and healing and courage and everything else.

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Wildest dreams”
Since the very first 1989 tour date in Tokyo I was waiting to see the Wildest Dreams/Enchanted mash up live. I saw it in a YouTube video and I started crying because it was so perfect. Two of my favorite songs delivered so amazingly.

Wildest Dreams was instantly my favorite songs on 1989. I learned it on guitar, I tried to learn to sing it in voice lessons. When the video came out I went to Disneyland wearing my Taylor shirt. Once again, she had captured that feeling of fleeting love so perfectly. I knew that feeling so well too. Maybe it was in the past, and I know it’s long gone but, that song just made it flood back.

I recorded the audio of the mashup on my phone at the concert and tried not to cry too hard when she did it. The 1989 tour was another bright light in my world that was still pretty dark. I always say death is like a film that forever alters the way you see life and even the beautiful moments are tinged with sadness for the people that can’t share them with you.

But the 1989 tour left me with more hope then I walked in with. Taylor doesn’t understand how healing her speeches are, how much she connects to the audience. I remember once in an interview they asked her what super power she’d want and she said, “A Healer”. I wanted to make a sign for the concert that said, “Taylor you ARE a healer!!!” But I doubt, even if she did see it, she’d understand that I was referencing some random interview she did.

“Out of the Woods”
There was only one bad thing about the 1989 tour. I was sitting on the floor and someone stole my light up bracelet before I got to my seat. And let me tell you as a swiftie I was LOOKING FORWARD to this bracelet! I literally felt like every person in that arena had a bracelet in Staples Center except me. I was really, really sad about it. I wished bad karma to whomever had stolen it off my seat. So that was August 25th, 2015.

Flash forward to the 2016 Grammy Awards. My boyfriend got invited because one of his friends worked on Kendrick Lamar’s record, “To Pimp a Butterfly”. I was so excited because Taylor was nominated for album of the year and they were going to be in the same building!!!

They walked the red carpet and he saw Joseph Kahn, I was so jealous. Then he said that as the filed into the auditorium there was a table…piled high with Taylor’s light up bracelets! Why? She was opening the Grammy’s with, “Out of the woods” and brought them for the Grammy audience. He grabbed about 5 and brought them for me. (Not to mention he was feet away from her as she won her Grammy and did her bad ass acceptance speech.)

I honestly still can’t believe my fortune. Especially with how I was still feeling,  I just needed that reminder that magic still existed in the world. I got my bracelets 5 fold and someone the universe had fully made up for me being sad about it at the concert. Taylor Swift is magic even when she’s not trying.

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“Welcome to New York”
Once again spurred by the need to reclaim my life I left my job that had made me miserable after 8 years. I found an amazing job at an NPR station. My first day of work I remember driving in morning traffic. This was a new experience for someone that used to drive to work at 4:30am, I was used to empty roads and this was chaos! (Chaos in the mind that someone doesn’t like to drive much.)

But, I put on “Welcome to New York” and it reminded me of the enormity of this great journey I was embarking on. It was all unknown and crazy, but a step in the right direction That is exactly what “Welcome to New York” embodies, starting something new, not knowing what to expect but you know you’re on the right path. Subsequent mornings “Welcome to New York” (and all of 1989 would lift my spirits as I sat in morning traffic AND at work when I was nervous at my new job.  I started that job on October 7, 2016.

“Look what you made me do”
We didn’t hear a ton from Taylor in early 2017. But I was still stanning for her and happy that she was getting a break from the relentless public eye. I’d rather her take all the time she needed for herself then keep pushing and being unhappy.  I have never been more proud of her then I was when she gave her court testimony. It was BAD ASS (no pun intended). And her Time Magazine cover with the other silence breakers was by far my favorite magazine cover/interview she’s ever done.

But when she came back with LWYMMD and RECLAIMED her narrative I was in awe. I hated being on socials seeing everyone talk crap before LWYMMD, about her. The stupid snake emojis would infuriate me. But Taylor doesn’t need my defense, Tay has got her own back and she took her image back and minted it! And once again, the song was on repeat and helping me get past my own hurdles. “But I got smarter, I got harder in the nick of time / Honey I rose up from the dead I do it all the time” 

I can’t say I’m as far along as Taylor, but I’m trying to be reborn again myself. Trying to adjust to the new normal in my life now, I’m really bad at change. Also I’m still not as confident as I’d like to be but watching how strong and happy she’s become gives me the strength to keep fighting for joy too. Not worrying about what other people think of me is my #1 goal in life. Even writing this my brain is saying, “People are going to think you’re crazy…” but I’m doing it anyway. 

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“New Years Day”
I had lived at home my entire life until January of this year. Another reason why Reputation just feels so right in this moment, because it’s Taylor really striking out and L-I-V-I-N-G. It’s not easy to leave the place you’ve always known, but with my mom gone things just weren’t the same anymore…I guess it was just time. So I spent this New Years Day at my new house with my boyfriend in Los Angeles. The first month it was hard, I kept thinking of the line from, “Never Grow up” where she says, “So here I am in my new apartment / In the big city, they just dropped me off / It’s so much colder then I thought it would be / So I tuck myself in and turn my light night on”.

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Cause one day I’ll be livin’ in a big ole city…

“Delicate”
The relationship I am in now is so different then any other one I’ve been in. For so many reasons, there’s a perfect Taylor song (or several) for every past person that’s ever had  my heart. But it’s always a good sign when the happy songs remind you of the person you’re with.  And if “Dear John” or “All too well” remind you of someone run as fast as you can! 

I’ve never been serious enough to live with a boyfriend before but I’ve never been with someone that really understood me for me. We’ve been together 6 years and I’ve never been happier or felt safer with someone. One of the first places we ever met up was a dive bar… I’m not kidding. 

Even though I think the Swift fandom wanted a sweet romance video for “Delicate” what she got was even more powerful. She’s happy cause she gets to be herself and this person she loves actually sees her for herself too. It took me years to actually fully show myself because I was so afraid of being hurt, do to what had happened in the past, delicate reminds me of those first few years when I was really starting to show myself. I’m still working on showing myself to the world however.

“Dress”
I know “Dress” is Taylor’s song but honestly it could be my song too. Because as I keep saying, Taylor writes my life.  “Flash back when you met me / Your buzz cut / And my hair bleached / Even in my worst light, you saw the best in me”

We didn’t meet under the best circumstances, I actually liked someone totally different. But we stood friends for a very long time. He saw me at my worst, my darkest, my dumbest, and yes he saw the best in me. And I really did wake up just in time, because if I hadn’t realized what was important in a partner I probably would have made different choices and missed out on him.

My favorite line on the song, nay, on the ALBUM is, “You left your mark on me, a golden tattoo”.

Because I not only think of him, but for some reason I think of my sister and my mom. I think of how much they influence my life and the lasting tattoo they will forever have on my heart. Love leaves its mark on you, and it is a golden tattoo which can never be erased..even long after someone is gone.

“End Game”
I am now a week away from watching the Reputation Stadium tour in Pasadena and once again I cannot wait. Concerts are my church it’s where my soul is healed where I feel like I belong, amongst all the others there that just get it. We scream, cry, sing and dance it is freedom and it is beautiful.

And for the first time in my Taylor history, I won’t be going to this concert alone. My niece got her ticket after me though…so I’ll still be sitting alone. But, I look forward for the opportunity to enjoy the pre and post concert glow with someone. And I will once again bawl my eyes out next to people I don’t know, happily. 


I often can’t really verbalize WHY I love Taylor so much when people ask me, and this is why. Because we have such an amazing long history together, she has meant SO MANY things to me over SO MANY years. I know I don’t know her, but she’s left her mark on me too. I will probably be a Swiftie for the rest of my life. She’s amazing and has helped me through my darkest times and helped me to express all the joy and love I’ve experienced too. If you actually stuck through to the end of this, I thank you for taking the time.

I will leave you with my second favorite Tay quote:

“If you’re lucky enough to be different, never change.” – Taylor Swift

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!!

Big Magic

My mom passed away the week before her birthday, so, today is her birthday. It is never as bad as the day she passed away, but I’m still sad. It makes me wish I could still celebrate her birthday with her…the things you take for granted when you don’t know any better.

I’ve been feeling very disconnected and jaded. I couldn’t even finish books when I was devouring them before, because I was so indifferent. You just feel like you’ve heard the same thing 200 times. Especially with self help books… I couldn’t even finish one. I had 5 audible credits to use I and I kept returning every book I bought. Even if I started out liking it…eventually I just couldn’t stand it anymore.

One book had been nagging at me to hear it. Oddly enough it was a book I had already read when it first came out, “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Even with that book I was hard set on not buying it…because it obviously didn’t work the first time. (Say that in a sarcastic tone to mimic the voice in my mind.)

But, all week last week it persisted. So finally I was like, “FINE, you win brain…I’ll use a credit on the book I already read and OWN.” (It is currently in a box like half my shit…which is really annoying but that’s a tale for another time.)

So I listened, and instantly I remembered why I loved it so much the first time. It was just everything I needed to hear, again. Maybe even more so now. I’m not going to sit here and review the book point by point, what really matters is that it got me to write again. My last post was a product of reading that book, and realizing that my creative self is dying to get out. So, I promised myself I’d work on being creative more. Using that long dormant part of my brain.

A few things happened, including today. (I got recognized, twice, at work for my efforts.) That give me the sense that I am on the right path. So I’m going to follow that curiosity. I don’t really know what that means, because there are several creative things I love doing…but I just need to do something to feed my soul…it’s starving.