Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Blog #60: TGI 4 Day Work Week

Probably my favorite part of having a three-day weekend is that it precedes a shortened work week. Okay, that's not true. The best part is totally having three days off in a row, but only working four days after that is nothing to sniff at either.For me, it really meant that I got an actual weekend instead of just one day of rest. I see clients on Saturdays for my internship, so I generally don't start my weekends until Saturday night. So, how did I spend my extended holiday weekend?

Doing pretty much nothing.

I'm just being honest. I went to bed at like 9pm on Friday. Yes, 9pm. On a Friday. And I was OUT. I slept hard until it was time to get up and get to work for the day. Saturday night after I got back from internship I watched Baby Mama on TV while I cleaned my apartment. Thrilling.

Sunday was the real "holiday" of fun for me. I had brunch with a favorite of mine at Granite City. Their brunch buffet is TO DIE and I also splurged on the bottomless mimosa. There was so much deliciousness it nearly blew my  mind. I walked around Zona Rosa the rest of the morning with about a 3 month food baby taking residence in my belly. I used my eye for style to help my friend do some shopping, and accidentally ended up with a few things from Forever 21 myself. If I wasn't supposed to buy things, then WHY DO THEY HAVE SUCH CUTE THINGS FOR SO CHEAP? Anyhow, friends love to take me shopping with them because otherwise they don't feel like they can spend money on themselves. I need to have friends with me to stop me from spending too much money on myself, so it's a symbiotic relationship.

Sunday's friend festivities continued when another favorite of mine stopped by and we headed out to see The Hangover Part II. For the record, it is basically the same movie as the first one, only about 4 times more offensive, if you can believe that. I guess if it's not broken, don't fix it. I still was doubling over from laughter for most of the movie. Well, doubling over at times, and at times covering my eyes or turning my head out of the sheer discomfort of it all. More food followed that (though I thought I would never eat again after my big brunch) and then we settled in to watch an episode of Archer at my place. For the record, that show is so irreverent and ridiculous. I highly recommend.

Monday I had nothing to do. It was a surreal and fantastic feeling. I tried to go to the pool but it just wasn't sunny enough to make dealing with the local young ruffians worth it. Then, I was going to stop by and visit best friend as she packed but decided to wait until I heard from my sister in law about a possible visit with my baby nephew. While waiting, I accidentally fell asleep. A nap. I actually got to take a nap. Anyhow, I did wake up and head over to my mom's, where this guy soon joined me:
I'll give you a moment to clean up your melted heart from the floor. Mine is in perma-melt from the 2 hours that I got to spend playing with him.

And on that note, I'll leave you for the day. Hope everyone had either a momentously eventful or a gloriously uneventful (like mine) long weekend!

(PS: Margarita! Thank you so much for your kind (and so well constructed!) words. Blogger commenting was being weird when I tried to reply so I figured I'd just do it here. I'm so glad someone other than me enjoys my rambling!)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Blog #59: We're still here.

So the world DIDN'T actually end Saturday, nor did the rapture happen, nor did we blow ourselves up. (I REALLY appreciate Harold Camping for giving me an excuse to share that internet classic again)

This is good news because I've been putting a lot of effort and energy into grad school with the assumption that it was a long term benefit that would outweigh all the short term costs. It would be such a waste to have the world end before I could get done. I was counting on the apocalypse a little bit though with my food choices Friday and Saturday. I mean, if the world is going to end, it's not going to end before I eat a lot of Chik Filet and Pretzel M&Ms, okay?

Enough about all that. I have a short list of fun things because my blog has been much heavier than I ever intended lately.

1. Thanks to Groupon, I had my first experience with Smash Burger today. Let me just say - Delicious. I must be low on iron or something because I had been flat out fantasizing about a juicy hamburger all day.

2. Pinterest. Where has it been all my life? What did I do before I knew about it? It's taking my fashion obsession to a whole new level.

3. Shuffleboard. To continue the idea that my boss is the coolest, he has started a shuffleboard tournament with our management team. He named me "Uber Shuffleboard World Series Commissioner". I'm still a team member, and yes it is a conflict of interest. But as the Commish, I say it's okay. My rulings will be strong but fair. I get to do things like randomly interrupt a game and make up rules like "you must sing "I feel pretty" before every time you have a turn". I'm pretty sure I get to add this to my resume when all is said and done.

4. I'm still working on building a fashion resume and considering starting a daily outfit blog. It's going to take some time and a better camera. Stay tuned over the next few months though. I'll probably start by posting a couple of outfits here.

5. THE AIRBORNE TOXIC EVENT!!! At first I was thinking I didn't have a 5th thing but then I remembered I went to this concert last weekend and it was one of the most amazing nights of my life. They were excellent live. Anna, the viola player, is the COOLEST. She's my new girl crush/style icon.  Mikel, lead singer, came out into the floor at the end and signed autographs and I SHOOK HIS HAND AND GOT A PICTURE WITH HIM. I love him. It's love.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Blog #58: In case the world ends tomorrow.

I've had several ideas of things I wanted to blog about but haven't really sat down to think them through enough to really flesh them out. However, as we are coming up on the possible end of the world tomorrow, I thought I would take some time to get to this one.

On Grief Counseling:
It's not uncommon for people to ask me how I can stomach hearing so many sad stories and seeing so many broken hearts at my internship without becoming depressed and hopeless. I usually come up with some perfunctory response like "oh, I just try to create boundaries" or something like that, but the real answer to this question is longer and more complex.

Don't get me wrong. My heart breaks at least 3 times a week (usually more) for the people I have the honor of walking with in their grief. Parents who have lost children, children who have lost parents, wives who have lost husbands, husbands who have lost wives - they all are broken and hurting from this earth shattering and incredibly unfair event in their life. I get to meet them where they are and, at their pace, guide them through the process of grief. In doing so, I share some of their burden.

So, how can I do this without losing it? It's not about some intangible strength or trait that I have. It is a conscious effort & committment to self care. To me it breaks down into two categories.

1. Boundaries and Self Care. I have to create and maintain separation between what I do inside the doors of Solace House and what I do everywhere else. I treasure my commute as "transition time". I will listen to silly music or just plain good music in the car. I find things that I have fun doing & that make me feel good and I make time for them. For me that includes styling my clothes for the week in a fun way, spending some time before bed watching some shows from my DVR, and doing my very best to make time for my friends and family. Some of these seem like very silly, trivial things - and they are. The point here is that it's okay to enjoy & take part in silly trivial things ESPECIALLY as a way to decompress after dealing with much bigger, heavier things. Additionally, I do my very best to take care of my basic needs like getting enough sleep and eating nourishing foods. Surviving on coffee alone just to get more hours of work in does no good for anyone.

2.Letting go and knowing my limits.  If a client comes to mind when I am not in my counseling role, I will say a quick prayer for them and then move on. It's an important part of self care in counseling to keep a boundary on how much responsibility you take for your clients. I acknowledge that I have limits and that there is only so much I can do to help those who grieve. They are going to hurt, because that's what grief is. It is pain. It is natural, healthy, and normal to feel pain when you've lost someone important to you. I can provide a supportive and constructive environment for them to feel safe in expressing their pain,. I can teach them coping and soothing skills to use when the pain is especially difficult. I can even help them find a sense of completeness to their relationship with their lost loved one through a narrative of his/her life/death. I can not make their pain go away.  Trying to take on that responsibility would only lead to failure.

Letting go, and taking some time just to take care of myself are two things that are slightly counter intuitive for me to do without feeling like I'm half assing it or being selfish. However, as someone in the mental health field, I understand that if I don't do those things, I won't last. I will burn out and then I won't be of help to anyone. It's similar to what adults are told in that 3 minute safety speech when they get on an airplane. If the person next to you needs help with their oxygen, by all means help them - AFTER you make sure your oxygen mask is on. You won't be much help to anyone while you're gasping for air yourself.

Also, since the world is going to end tomorrow and calories don't matter anyway - I'm totally going to drown my sorrows in ice cream and pizza all day.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blog #57: Little Victories

Thanks, Matt Nathanson, for the blog inspiration.

Life is a big undertaking, and I'm the type of person that always has a full plate. I don't want to make up my mind, I want to try everything. My life experiences "eyes" are bigger than my life experiences "stomach" so to speak. Like a kid at a buffet, I've filled my plate up and don't have room to fit it all in.

I want to be a counselor, a fashion blogger, a world traveler, a journalist, everything. I don't want to make up my mind. I want to be a grad student and work full time and have an internship but still do social fun things outside of that. But. There. Is. Not. Enough. Time. In. The. Day. Or even the week. Can I get the internship hours I need and still have time to make new friends, go away for weekends, and enjoy a concert or an occasional girls' night out without feeling guilty and irresponsible? Balance is not my strength. Priorities are stressing me out. Growing up is hard.

So, because growing up is hard and life is a big undertaking, it's easy to feel like I'm fighting a losing battle. Big victories don't come easily or often, that's why they're called big victories. In order to be motivated to keep working for them, I choose to celebrate and get by on little victories. I finished the semester and hopefully with another round of A's. Little victory. I'm learning to be more on top of paperwork and phone calls at my internship. Little victory. I'm taking a little trip to Austin for the weekend. Little victory.

Eventually, they'll all add up to a big victory, and I can move on to the next item on my plate.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Blog #56: Isn't it fashion?

I am having the most fun "shopping" in my closet. Unfortunately, that's lead to a few incidences where I've accidentally shopped n other places too and added, probably needlessly, to my wardrobe in the past few weeks. I want to take pictures of my  outfits and post them so that I never have a day of what my friend Erica calls "wasted pretty" but I lack sufficient hardware. By that I mean I lack a quality super camera and tripod and remote with which to take pictures of myself. I'm working on that though, because I've recently started a new journey of sorts with fashion and how I see it in regards to self care and I woudl really like to pictorially document my ideas. Would anyone be interested in a fashion journey blog of sorts show casing my outfit choices for the day? Please let me know. Also, does anyone want to sell me an awesome camera for cheap?

You know what one of my favorite things in the whole world is? Seeing a little preschool girl who picks out her own clothes. Why? Because preschool girls do not care about matching or style rules. They wear what they like and what makes them feel pretty regardless of social definition of style and fashion. So what if they want to wear their Christmas dress with neon orange and yellow striped tights and pink cowgirl boots? None of it matches, the season is all wrong, and the proportions don't make any sense, but that little girl smiles because she feels beautiful. I've been really into fashion blogs lately, and it's added a whole new appreciation for the orignality of style. I look at some of these gorgeous ladies and what they're wearing and whether or not I think I'd ever wear it the way they do, I see that they are smiling like a preschooler who picked out her own clothes and feels so pretty in them. It's taught me to be a little less snarky about others' outfit choices. Granted, I still for the life of me can not see why people wear things that are so blatantly unflattering when there are options that would suit them so much better... but I'm mellowing out a litte.

I'm going to take inspiration from that approach in my own style. I'm a little old to really be able to pull off orange and yellow striped tights, but what I mean is that I'm going to start taking a few more chances with my wardrobe. I want to be a little less conventional, and I want to find a way to wear some pieces that I bought for special occasions that I haven't gotten to wear since. I've been holding on to this pair of metallic strappy heels since 2008 because they are gorgeous and I love them, but I think I've maybe worn them twice since the formal event I bought them for. Today, I found a way to mix them with bright yellow that really makes me feel pretty, even if it is a little loud and different. Who cares, right?