Happy New Year.

I’m still alive, I assure you.

I probably totally jinxed my life just then. Great…

Anyway, Happy New Year to all you lovely bloggers! It’s still cool to say that, right? Sixteen days in?

Sorry I’m so late. Running on CP Time…(Urban Dictionary it.)

I’ve disappeared for a while. No particular reason other than being occupied with workworkwork  and any sleep I can grab and laziness. Do forgive me.

I hope you all had an enjoyable and relaxing holiday season.

My New Year’s Eve was really nothing to talk about. I went to bed early, as I always do when I have to work the next day. Yes, I had to work on New Year’s Day. At 2am. Which meant no alcohol for me. Bummer.

I woke up at 11:55pm on New Year’s Eve, watched the ball drop at midnight, and said “Yayyy Happy New Year. Now let’s go wash my ass and get ready for work, grumble grumble…”

I’m not complaining about job #1 at all. I do enjoy it.

I digress.

So anyway, the 16th day of 2014 and I’m already starting to map out my year. There’s something I’ve been considering doing in the upcoming months, something I think could really benefit my professional life. I’m excited/nervous/strangely confident about the future. Odd, because confidence and I don’t really go hand-in-hand. But hey, let’s go with it.

I’ll tell you what’s up when I have a solid idea of what’s happening.

Oh, and no resolutions for me. I never stick with the things. I mean I do have a general one I try to adhere to every year anyway, and that’s simply to be a better person than I was the year before.

So yeah. That’s my belated New Year’s post.

Something Big.

I forgave my worst enemy today.

Well, former worst.

I no longer have enemies, but…

If I’d ever had to have known an enemy that was worse than myself, it would definitely be this person.

For months after discarding this poison from my life, I’d never felt more free, mentally healthy, and most importantly, myself again.

And I was fine with that. None of that has changed. I’m still in awe of how fabulously life has turned out thus far.

But this person, whom I’d pretty much forgotten about, attempted to reach out to me, hoping to inject more negativity in my life, as though eleven months of torture were not nearly enough.

And they aimed to do that through this very blog, in fact. I got a notification from this person attempting to post a comment under some strange blog name, and once I recognized who they were, I immediately discarded it, not reading more than the first line.

A couple weeks later, here I am. I was discussing something with a friend, and this person entered my mind once again. I decided to reach out to them, to let them know I didn’t read their attempted comment, acknowledging that they probably put a lot of time and effort into the words that, from a quick glance, resembled a short novel.

I, myself, wrote a dissertation-length goodbye letter to them when I left them behind months ago. I’d had a lot to say. This person had a habit of silencing me before my true thoughts could be verbalized. So I packed all my thoughts, regrets, anger, hurt and truths into maybe 20 thousand words. I forget exactly. Anyway.

I’ve reached a point in life where I’m more open to forgiving people and more aware of my own faults and flaws. This person, however, did not receive my recent message so well.

They said they couldn’t forgive or forget my letter.

That’s okay.

Because I forgave them. They never apologized, and never will, because they don’t feel that they’ve done a drop of wrong. And that’s okay too. Because I’m bigger than that. Bigger than them. Bigger than that crappy period in my life with which I’ve now managed to come to terms. And that’s all that matters to me.

I feel…wow. I feel great. I’ve surprised myself at how much I’ve grown. And I’m proud of it. Not too long ago in that horrendously long letter I wrote, I was telling him how I’d gone from feeling white-hot hatred towards them to feeling nothing for them. And now I’m able to say…I hope you do well. I hope all your dreams come true. I want you to be happy.

I feel beyond accomplished at this seemingly tiny gesture because I’m usually not a forgiving person. I’ve acknowledged my mistakes, my oopses and boo-boos. That person was probably the biggest one I ever made. But we live, we learn, we grow, we forgive.

But we never forget.

I’ll never forget the things I endured with that person and that situation, in that particular time in my life. They can never hurt me again. But I’ve learned so much from the situation that in a twisted way, I look back fondly on those times. They’ve made me who I am today. And I can only hope that from here, I’ll keep getting better.

It’s a burned bridge, that’s for sure. But there’s water under where that bridge once crossed.

And that’s enough for me.

The Sweet Life.

That up there’s the basket of sweets which awaited me today on my shiny new (and first ever!) desk. It was the first day of my producing job.

They weren’t all for me, of course. They were placed there mostly for my visiting coworkers, to lure them into greeting “the new girl.” It worked — I received many.

“Oooh that’s a lotta candy you got there.”

“Is that all yours?” “No it’s for everyone.” “Good, ‘cos I’m gonna get me some of that!”

My favorite comment came from the investigative journalist who stopped by, claiming to be investigating the candy to determine if it was safe for consumption as he rummaged for a 100 Grand.

I was a bit nervous at first, but everyone was super duper friendly. Really helpful, lots of advice to offer, plenty of encouraging words for the rookie. I honestly couldn’t imagine being part of a better news team.

More than anything I’m exciteddddd. Lots to learn and I can’t wait to dive right in!

But…not so thrilled about the 2am shift I’m working in 9 hours.

Think I’m gonna have to add “sleep, in any shape or form” to the list of things I’m thankful for.

Wishy Washi.

Just a little DIY idea I’m trying out with my light switch and outlet covers. I wanted to add some personality to them, but wasn’t sure exactly how to achieve that. Painting them seemed too permanent. I did some Googling and stumbled upon washi tape. They seem to come in a zillion cute designs and colors, but I thought something simple would suit my bedroom. I love that you can use them in loads of different projects, the possibilities are endless.

I’ve only got one roll so far, but I wanna stick this stuff all over the place! Craft stores, beware….I think I’m on my way to becoming a washi-holic.

Thanks.

The weather is stunning here today. I can feel a slight nip in the breeze through the warm sunlight. I love this time of year.

I was coming back from the Red Cross a little while ago, driving along with the windows down, unashamedly singing (not well, mind you) an ‘NSYNC song at the top of my lungs, when I thought of how good things are right now. It’s nearly Thanksgiving, so my mentioning of things I’m thankful for isn’t at all misplaced.

I have my good health. The support of my loving and nurturing family. True friends. A boyfriend who loves the shit out of me. A chance to do good things in the community that raised me. Three jobs, after months of unemployment, so I can actually buy some good presents this year. When I wake up in the morning, I stretch. And then I smile. Because life is good.

I know things won’t always be so. Someone once told me that life is like the tides; during the course of the journey, you can experience the highest of highs, while other times you’re wondering how you got so very low.

It’s going to be a sucky holiday season for my family. We suffered a great loss shortly before last Christmas. And it will be tough. But I will smile, and be strong for my family (especially Mother). Because loss is part of life. That’s the way it goes.

So I’ll continue to enjoy this. Make the most of every day. Keep letting my loved ones know how much they mean to me, while disregarding and ignoring any unnecessary negativity that may come my way. I simply don’t have the time, desire, or mental space to entertain it.

I feel awesome today. And in general. About my new opportunities, all the love that surrounds me…and about myself. A stranger called me a beautiful young lady today, so that doesn’t exactly hurt things. I’m thankful for compliments. They make me feel good about myself.

I’m thankful for having food in the fridge and cupboards.

I’m thankful for being able to play Pandora on my tv. It’s so convenient.

I’m thankful for all the times my freshly painted nail polish didn’t chip after leaving the house.

I’m thankful the nice policeman with the flashing lights pulled over that other guy instead of me the other day (not that I did anything wrong, I’m just paranoid).

I’m thankful for having had grandparents who shared their wisdom, craziness, odd sayings, and incredible cooking with me throughout my life.

I’m thankful for the welcome cards I got in the post, signed by the news team at my new job.

I’m thankful for my annoying, beautiful, stubborn, intelligent, obnoxious, supportive sister.

I’m thankful for the new H&Ms that have popped up in town.

I’m thankful to discover I didn’t die in my sleep every morning I wake up. Let’s save that for old age.

Yeah. I’m feelin’ pretty fucking full of thanks right about now. I’m practically stuffed.

How about you?

Make Me Up Before You Go Go….

I wake up in the morning. Pull the blanket from over my head — the top of which currently looks as though a sweet little birdy thought it’d be nice to build me a nest made of unkempt hair during my slumber.

Often my brain awakes before my eyes do. I pry them open. Vigorously rub them, not giving a care to the possibility of pre-30s crow’s feet or the accidental smudging whatever colored substance I usually decide to trim them with once the day’s begun. Because as of now, nothing’s there. I slightly lift my head from the pillow, ever so briefly, to glance at the time. Parting is such sweet sorrow. Five more minutes? Let’s.

I snuggle back into my cottony cushioned comfort, without worrying that I’ll smudge my carefully applied foundation or that when I wake up again, I’ll have to tidy up my raccoon eyes. It’s nice.

Fast forward an hour later and I’m awake, once again. Reluctantly roll my body out of bed. ‘Til we meet again, my friend. Time to do bathroomy-stuff. Since I didn’t wash my face in the shower, I’ll save it for the sink.

That’s where I meet my worst enemy. The mirror.

There they are. All my glaring imperfections. Staring me in my face. Mostly because, well, they’re on my face.

This is too much realness for 8am.

Wash my face, spot treatments, moisturizer.

Now comes the fun stuff.

Primer? check. Foundation? You betcha. Concealer? Well we can’t leave the house without that, now can we?

And on goes the process of highlighting, contouring, powdering and drawing on my previously imperfect visage until it’s transformed into this pretty little painted picture of what I wish I could somehow look like every day when I roll out of bed.

The mirror’s somehow not so frightening now.

Ahh! All better.

Isn’t that sad? That I don’t feel quite content enough in the skin I was born into, to go out in public without this unnecessary routine?

I mean, I tried it. Abroad, one of my exes wanted me to feel more comfortable without makeup. He thought I looked pretty without it. So I experimented with going out for groceries and such a few times, completely barefaced. I thought people would stare. Point, make fun, laugh hysterically at the hideousness of this creature that was me. The humiliation!

…No one noticed.

So I kept it up. And I honestly stopped noticing too. I had begun to enjoy the cool breeze against my naked skin. But when I got back to America, I slipped back into my old, time-consuming routine (20 minutes or less, but it’s still time that could be better spent). It’s a hard habit to break.

I’m actually ashamed of my cosmetics dependency. I know there are plenty girls/women who feel similarly. That they’re simply unattractive in their natural state, and worry what others think. And then there are the girls/women who don’t wear makeup at all, and are perfectly fine with the way they look.

I wish I could be like that.

I mean, I was, for a little while. So perhaps there’s hope for me. I have no problems with wearing makeup. It’s fun, I enjoy experimenting with colors and techniques, and getting all dolled up makes me feel girly. The problem I have is the fact that it seems to be a crutch.

When I’m afraid to walk out my front door nude-faced, for fear of being called ugly, something is very wrong.

I feel free when I’m not wearing it. Not worrying about it coming off when I’m kissing someone, or smudging if I rub my eyes, or sweating away in the 90-degree heat…It’s surprisingly liberating. A liberty that, sadly, I don’t afford myself too often.

It’s a shame, really.

NEWvember.

Happy November, everyone.

I was laying in bed last night and thought, “I can’t believe we’re in a new month already.” Time really does fly. So, while some men are celebrating the 11th month of the year by growing super-cool ‘staches (I’ll stick to my moustache on a…well, stick), I thought I’d make this month a little special myself.

I’m dubbing it “Newvember.” I want to try at least one new/different thing each day this month. 30 days, 30 new things. Nothing too crazy. I’m still saving up for skydiving. Anyway, I’ll do my best to stick to it. (I quit that 31-Day Blog Challenge by Day 10.)

I’ve already started. At the moment I’m covered head to toe (literally — I stepped in it) in specks and splashes of paint. After 10 years of sleeping in lavender-shaded surroundings, I decided to re-paint my teenage bedroom. It’s coming along nicely. I’m doing quite well for a clumsy lefty.

Anyway, here are some of the things I’d like to do, in no particular order.

1. Paint bedroom.

2. Start (and complete) a DIY clothing project.

3. Spend a day at the local park.

4. Get a library card. ( I need to get back into reading, and I don’t have an e-book.)

5. Drink 2 liters of water a day. (Already started, aiming to do this all month.)

6. Cook dinner. (I’m not much of a cook, so this should be interesting.)

7. Redecorate bedroom.

8. Buy mom flowers. (I usually ever do this on birthdays and Mother’s Day.)

9. Go to the gym — and stick to it! ( I’m a bit lazy when it comes to exercise.)

10. Ride along with a police officer.

11. Send a handwritten letter to a friend abroad.

12. See a comedy show.

13. Start a new job!

14. Donate blood.

15. See a play.

Well, that’s half the month so far. I’ll have to think of what the next 15 things should be. Any suggestions?

Good Deeds.

A few months ago, I wrote a blog about a book of 365 good deeds that I picked up from Anthropologie. The link is here:

https://brokeblackandbackhome.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/365-deeds-for-brokie-b/

I got off track and haven’t been doing deeds according to the book necessarily, but I have been doing random ones every now and then. I thought maybe I would, at first, do the deeds in order, but then I had a little flick through the book and realized some, on certain days, appealed to me more than others. So that’s what I’ll do, from now on.

Something I noticed with this book is a lot of the deeds aren’t just about generosity towards others; but also about showing kindness toward myself. I can be quite mean to myself sometimes, so those particular good deeds may definitely come in handy.

I mentioned briefly a few blogs ago that I’d finally gotten my driver’s license, after putting it off for about 8 years due to my dislike of being in the driver’s seat. After having learned that I’d passed, my instructor walked me inside and started getting my license ready to print. He asked if I wanted to be an organ donor. I didn’t even think about it; I said yes.

I’d previously given it some thought and figured if something should happen to me, God forbid, there’s no reason perfectly usable organs should go to waste if I won’t be needing them. So there’s one of my good deeds. And it’s there in bright red letters on my license as a reminder. I also became a bone marrow donor when I was in university; they recently sent me an updated donor card. I don’t think marrow donation is in the good deeds book, but let’s just pretend.

Something else I’ve been wanting to do is re-join the American Red Cross as a volunteer. I started when I was 14 and haven’t been active in years. I attended orientation last night, and I’ll be contacted soon about setting up an interview. I’m excited about this, I’d love to feel like I’m actually helping people who need assistance. I’m particularly interested in helping out with disaster relief and blood drives, but I’d be open to any opportunity to lend a hand. So there’s three deeds right there. Many more to go.

What I Learned From Dating Englishmen.

When I lived across the pond, I found myself involved in a number of random dating adventures. It surprised me, because throughout my four years at university in the States, I hardly dated. I had a few boyfriends, but nothing serious. But it seems like the second I hopped off the plane at Manchester Airport three Septembers ago, I was “involved.”

I don’t know what it is about Englishmen, though. Maybe it’s something to do with their fantastic taste in music. Or the cute way the “R” sound disappears at the end of their words. (Okay, maybe it’s a lot to do with that.) Though, I wouldn’t say no to a charming Irishman. I digress. I met a lot of interesting guys abroad, and some of them turned out to be…well, not so nice. And that sucks. But that’s part of life, part of dating, no matter what side of whichever expansive body of water you choose to reside.

And as much as I’d like to think that not all Englishmen are the same (in fact, I know they aren’t – my best friend is the most lovely Liverpudlian lad you ever could meet), I think the idea of dating them is, for me, officially dead. No offense to any readers. It’s just that x amount of bad experiences are enough to put me off something for good.

One of the main reasons I think I’m kind of through with dating English guys is that the first time I fell in love, it was with an Englishman. It lasted nearly a year. He absolutely shattered my heart into little bloody bits and pieces (I don’t mean “bloody” in that British sense, nor do I mean literally, of course). Something that’s pretty much guaranteed to leave a nasty taste in my mouth, understandably. And since that’s the most recent encounter I’ve had with someone from across the pond, I guess it’s the one that’s left the biggest impact on my decision.

Something I noticed a few times during dates with seemingly nice fellows while I was in between relationships is this odd disappearing act Englishmen sometimes do. I think it happened to me three times throughout my overseas dating adventures. I even sat down and thought one day, “Is it me? Or is it really just a thing?”

I was intrigued. So I Googled it. Apparently it does happen. (Links below!)

One of the commenters from a site I found describes this strange occurrence dead-on. She even gives it a name: “The English Guy Disappearance Act”:

It may happen after a course of several weeks, or several months, but the outcome is inevitable: The man will hit on the girl mercilessly, and initiate all the dates, then act completely smitten and committed to forming a relationship, and go on to discuss future plans, talk about various friends she must meet, and pay her sweet but not overly-done compliments.

Then, one day, he’ll make a date that he won’t keep. He may—may—text her that ‘something came up,’ but only in rare occasions. After that, the girl will probably never hear from him again. He simply vanishes.

Other commenters described how similar situations have happened to them involving English guys, and suddenly I felt less alone. And I certainly felt less faulty, because I honestly thought it was 100% me that was the problem.

One of my disappearing douchebags even had the nerve to email me 9 months later wondering if I were still in the country (I was) and what his chances were of getting laid.

…Really though?

I don’t think I’ll ever understand why they do this, nor do I really care to. Whatever explanation they could possibly come up with does not excuse horrendous dating etiquette.

Anyway, I won’t sit here and detail every bad experience I’ve had with English guys. I don’t even think that would be fair, because 90% of the dating I’ve done in my adult life was while living in England on and off for 2-and-a-half years. So, my opinion is obviously slanted. And this sort of thing probably happens no matter what country a person is from.

I don’t want to write off every English guy in the future if someday I should once again find myself in a situation where 1) I’m available and 2) I’m living abroad. But for now, I think I will.

Related articles:

http://www.datingtips.com/relationships/singles/dating-tips/dating-british-men/

http://www.lemondrop.com/2010/02/24/new-online-dating-site-caters-to-women-who-love-brits/

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What Would You Attempt…

…if you knew you could not fail?

The photo is pretty self-explanatory. That’s a pencil case I spotted in Anthropologie. I always find the most surprisingly interesting things in there. I never thought something written on a pencil case would make me think — really think.

It’s a good question to ask yourself. So, what would I attempt if I knew I could not fail?

1. Travel around the world for a couple of years. The obvious flaw in this plan would be lack of funds, but if I can’t fail, why not?

2.  Become an astronaut.

3. End world hunger. Somehow.

4. Play the lottery, but only when the winnings are substantial. Then, give most of the winnings to charity and the homeless.

5. Eat without spilling something on my shirt (for a change).

6. Swim across the Atlantic.

7. Make my parents get along.

8. Actually finish all the novels I’ve started writing over the years.

9. Create the perfect cat-eyeliner look when doing my makeup. The wings never quite match up.

10. Fall in love without the risk of getting hurt.