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.

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!!

Vocal Lessons: A year later

I realized today that I have been taking my vocal lessons slightly over a year now. It’s been an interesting year and has forced me to really look at what stops me in life.

I love to sing, I truly do. It makes me so happy. I just love music in general, music heals me or comforts me. And I’ve always wanted to sing. I’ve already written about my internal battle with that though.

I’m actually still finding my voice, in all ways. I’m still breaking free. It’s been tiny baby steps though, teeny tiny ones. Before I took lessons I thought just walking into them was going to be enough for me to “unleash” and suddenly I was going to be so confident. But the opposite happened, it was HARDER for me to sing in my lessons, because I was in front of someone else.

I’ve wanted to quit MANY times. Especially after my last teacher left me. But my new one has taught me so much, and I feel like my 3 short months with her have yielded a lot of results. But the teachers that came before her each had their hand in teaching me several things too.

I’ve learned what a complex instrument the voice is. I’ve also learned that singing is a very mental thing. In the end my mind is hindering me most, even still. I can belt a song in my car but put me in class and it squeaks out. It’s not because I can’t sing, but just because my brain is freaking out and not letting me. Bridging that gap between fear and ability is HARD for me. But I am laying down those boards one at a time, inching along.

I thought I’d be across the water by now. I thought I’d have at least shared my singing with someone. But no, I sing a tiny bit in front of Adam but that is even very rare. I still don’t practice in my house because I’m shy for my dad to hear.

I don’t practice, another huge problem. I really need to. For abilities sake but mostly for confidences sake. The more you feel like, “Yeah. I GOT THIS” the better you will perform. AT ANYTHING in life. Singing is no different.

Today I did something I hadn’t done in awhile. I picked up my guitar. I started just trying to learn Selena Gomez’s song, “Bad Liar” because it seemed like it’d be super easy to play, (it is!) but then a part of me is like, “You need to be working on a “Million Reasons” Malinda….” so I pulled out the chords I had printed and started to try to play it and sing. (My dad wasn’t here, btw) Then I just felt like practicing singing only.

So I sang it and recorded myself, then did something out of the ordinary. I listened to myself. Then I did it again. I got so emotional the second time through it I almost started crying in the middle of the song. Because I was just singing my heart out, the way I used to when I was 8 when I’d sing along to “The Little Mermaid” or any other disney or Madonna song.

I sang a lot of songs, I sang non-stop. But I never got the one thing I was looking for, approval. Someone to say “You sing pretty good” or “Maybe she should take lessons” no one ever pushed that part of me. I think it was because I was SO shy and SO introverted they probably didn’t connect the dots that I loved singing and performing more then anything.  I don’t know what it is. But my brain always just told me it was cause I wasn’t good at it…and then as I got older and got bullied it was as if I got confirmation of that fact.

And now I have Olivia Thai, winner of Thai Idol and also former contestant on American Idol telling me that’s NOT the case, that I have a gift I need to share…and I don’t believe her. I want to, I want to SO BAD. But my negativity drowns it out and says, “Bitch, you can’t sing.” The battle I am fighting is mental, it’s not ability based.

I think that’s why that moment made me so emotional. Because I hit the chorus in a “Million Reasons” with full force. Usually between the verse and the chorus I will stop, because she goes into the high notes and sings with so much power. I get scared and falter. But Oliva told me to the practice getting through the song, no stops, even if I mess up to keep going. And I smashed the chorus I could just feel it, it was like my real voice came out. And then I started almost crying. Crying and singing don’t mix well. lol

I have moved forward in this year and forward is all I can ask for. I’m excited to know with more confidence and more practice where I will be in another year.  Will I be posting a video for everyone to hear? I hope so.

Thoughts on everything currently swirling around in my brain

I apologize in advance because this post has no clear cut direction. I have lots of things running through my mind after my voice lesson Thursday, watching Wonder Woman yesterday and watching the livestream of the One Love Manchester benefit concert today.

I am a person who is truly split in two. I feel like two very different people live inside my brain. I watch Gal Gadot portray Wonder Woman and I know that person lives inside of me…the fierce warrior and then there is this other person, a terrified little girl that is afraid to be heard, to be seen. And they are constantly at odds with each other. Most times when I really want to be be brave, the little girl shows up. Terrified, shaking in a corner wanting nothing more then to keep hiding. Go where it’s safe. Maybe there is 3 actually. Because I feel torn in-between them.

I want to cuddle the little girl and scream at her all the same, “WHY CAN’T YOU BE BRAVE?! WHY CAN’T YOU LET SHIT GO?” But obviously that doesn’t help, because the words still wont come out as they should and I don’t shine as I should.

I am an introvert, and I got the message pretty young that I wasn’t supposed to be that way. I got a lot of messages and I built my foundation on a lot of things that weren’t true. So now here I am, a full fledged independent minded adult still believing what I learned decades ago…and still buying into it.

I am the shy introvert but I am a performer too. I want to express so much yet I want to hide. I have tried so hard to make these two sides work together somehow. There is no compromise because the pull of each is so strong. How do I reconcile the past of who I was with the person I want to become in life?

I’ve built too much and come too far with these conflicting houses. There’s a whole city on top of faulty, rocky ground. There is no denying that there is beauty to be found amongst that city. My life has had amazing moments but they seem to be always overshadowed by the bullshit.

There will be no reconciliation of past and present. I’ve tried so hard and its impossible. So I must rebuild.

We need to all start together at the same place and build together, with a love for both of my halves and be reborn like the Phoenix. But leaving behind the bullshit and only taking the best and the good to build with and taking the bad in stride. A new foundation a new city a new me. A person that accepts myself despite everything. I can’t change the past I can simply forgive myself for it and create a better future.

It all sounds good. But we all know change is NOT that easy. Very few people can wake up and become a different person.  But to be honest, I’ve never worked that hard at radical self acceptance. Or my music and my other passions. There’s so much risk in pouring your heart into something isn’t there? Because there is always the possibility of falling flat on your face despite all your best efforts.

My dealings with romantic relationships, however, have always gotten my full attention. Every ounce of me went into situations that were not beneficial or even good for me. For so, so long.

That’s a major difference with my current relationship. He does not deplete me, or take and never give, or require me to worry and wonder and fear. Our bad days are so minimal and small. It’s healthy and happy. I attribute this not only because I’m with a wonderful person but because I have done SO MUCH work to get to where I am today.  But why then do I still let past things bug me? Things that don’t even matter anymore?

I want to walk into my future and I want to become the best versions of every facet of myself. The scared little girl and the warrior both have a place at the table but they need to work together instead of constantly fighting each other.

I don’t know how I’m going to do this. But I am. Because I’m tired of being afraid to be whoever I’m supposed to be.