Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Category: Feeling

Piqued

 

It was a quiet week – always grateful for that. I slept really well despite intense dreams, the cooler temps and darker mornings made for sleeping in some. We ate dinners at home, made it to the climbing gym and I got a haircut.

I feel like I did a really good job resting up before an overnight camping trip this weekend, 2nd Jimmy Eat World show in a month on Sunday plus traveling for work this coming week. I’m learning that I don’t just need recovery time after highly intense situations but I can build in “topping off” time to make sure my reserves are at their fullest before going into intense or tiring situations.

And now, a few links…

Kyla Roma is just a gem on her site. This post How I Live (Mostly Happily!) with Depression & Generalized Anxiety Disorder is not only an eye-opener about her experience, but also has a ton of links to resources and apps (!!). She writes “I had no idea how much of what I experienced daily wasn’t normal (and was optional!)” She makes the point that we only know the world as we know it, and if we’ve always felt a certain way, how can we know that that way is normal? More importantly, depression can make you forget you ever felt otherwise and obliterate you in its passing. It’s a good read.

“The process of making these books is good for you to help you process each season, appreciate it, and remember the details while also creating something to look back on in the future.” You may not know how much I love the idea of scrapbooking, but this list 10 Reasons To Give Scrapbooking A Chance hits on all the points of why I do. I just want to do it more and more. Journaling, blogging, photographing and scrapbooking. Tell all the stories!

I am continuing to learn more and more about introversion and being highly sensitive. I am not sure this applies to me for business meetings When Introverts Should Avoid Coffee, but in general, I am very sensitive to caffeine. Last weekend I had a mocha and was so wired I couldn’t think straight. Overall, I’ve switched back to tea, sip one latte a week (more for the comfort than caffeine) and avoid straight coffee entirely. Decaf doesn’t seem to matter, but the quality of the coffee does.

I linked to Elise’s blog before. Most recently she blogged her business story (you can read the entire thing here). In the last post, she spoke about her newest product idea, the BIG IDEA, the Get To Work Book. Crazy thing is, it isn’t even in production yet, and she won’t launch till July 2015. Being a paper / planner / Type-A / listmaker I am excited for the product, but more so, I am sooooo pumped she is sharing the process and behind-the-scenes of launching this product. #celebrationemoji

Years ago I wrote about stillness, and how I realized that it was never going to arrive, but instead be something I needed to actively seek amidst the activity of my full life. I think all the time – daily, at least – of TS’s Eliot’s lines from Four Quartets, We must be still and still moving. Being still in the middle of the busy-ness, that’s the goal, at least for me.  Finding ways to breathe and to be here, mostly because without doing that I miss my life.  And as I remind myself, over and over again, I chose this, this manifold set of responsibilities and identities which unfurl, shimmering, piling upon each other, beautiful and daunting at the same time.

The Slipstream of Life. Lindsey continues to break my heart and take my breath away.

Don’t forget to set your clock to “fall back” at 2am Sunday! Bye daylight savings time.

For the Halloween spirit, every year, Cathy Zielske wears a bee costume, and recently posts a video of her dancing as said bee. While the video is funny, the fact that she wears the same costume every year for 24 years is what tickles me. Check out the 2014 Bee Dance.

Lastly, h/t to my friend (and former boss) Emily for this delicious video of Patrick Fugit singing, rock star hair and all. #scorpio #obsessed

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#30daysofdresses – day 26

In where I repeat a dress…

It was bound to happen. I do have over 30 dresses, so my original intentions were good, but man oh man, if this isn’t difficult. Or at least annoying.

I’m realizing that this project would’ve suited me better if I had shared an outfit every day for a month – using it as a jumping off point for my own creativity. Like Sherry at Simply Celebrate, who dresses in the most unique and fun ways, I want my clothes to reflect me and how I feel.

Should’ve started with the feeling of each day and share why the clothes I picked served that purpose.

Instead, I decided to start with the challenge of wearing (almost) all of my dresses and I was pretty excited at the start. Now, I’m pretty excited for this challenge to be over. Haha.

So this outfit felt more creative / liberating since I picked it today based on how I was feeling. It’s one of my newest dresses, I love it so much, and I decided to wear it totally different from day 10.

Boots, jacket, feathery earrings = Total warrior princess.—Dress and jacket are Forever21. Boots are Clarks. Earrings are Kohls.

Day Alone In Pasadena

Monday I had the day off and decided to go to Pasadena alone.

I’m not sure why I wanted to visit Old Pasadena, but the idea popped into my head and off I went. Well, first I had to pick up and return tables from a work event. And I had to drive kind of far in mid-day traffic.

But once I found parking, I was off.

To lots of walking around.

I started near a park and wove my way up past Castle Green and then on to the main drag of shops. I’m always surprised how much of a place is generic – the same stores as anywhere else in the country.

It was hot out, the sun beating down on me as I walked with a fabric backpack on. I stopped at The Juice Farm. Sipped on this deliciousness while I walked around The Paper Source store and past a bunch of other places.

I love the old buildings – the brick and fired stone.

My original plan was to go to Intelligentsia (how cooooool does this place look??) and write and read in the cool darkness of a hipster coffee shop while sipping a fancy latte.

But the public restroom gods conspired against me. Or, I guess, the lack of public restroom gods… because it was hot out I drank a lot of water, then I had that smoothie, and then I needed to pee. Really badly, but there didn’t seem to be a public restroom anywhere. I even walked all the way down back down to the park to try some port-a-potties I saw and they were locked. LOCKED. Port-a-potties with big locks on them. WTF.

I wanted to spend my lunch money somewhere I’ve never been, but the need for a bathroom became the priority. When I did a loop through the coffee shop I didn’t see a restroom at all. I wasn’t that hungry yet so I felt frustrated – here I was trekking all over, trying to figure out where to eat lunch just to use a restroom.

Did I mention it was very, very hot?

With time running out, I stepped into Crepes de Paris, saw they had a restroom, and ordered food immediately. It was pretty much empty, so I had my pick of tables. Ate my egg and cheese crepe with a latte that was unbelievably strong and not worth drinking. I read a book and sat in the quiet.

It was magnificent.

I don’t know why people feel uncomfortable eating alone in restaurants. I find it relaxing and super enjoyable. I read more of The Highly Sensitive Person, stared into space, jotted some notes in my journal and enjoyed the a/c when the main door to the patio wasn’t open.

It started to get late and I was worried about traffic (was about 25m away from home, but in LA that could mean a 2hr drive). And I had one more stop to make…

Vroman’s Bookstore.

Come on, you didn’t think my day alone would include walking, eating alone, coffee, reading and writing and not include a stop in a bookstore??

I kind of wish I’d gone here first – I could’ve just eaten in their bakery and I found a little mall on my walk over that had public restrooms. At least now I know for the next time I visit where everything is.

The store was large and pretty noisy. People talking, telephones ringing and kids roaming around. I felt jittery and uncomfortable from the latte and the heat. I was pretty tired by this point and had a mile walk back to my car.

But I tried to enjoy wandering the stacks, reading the little tags that employees had written recommendations on, and basically satiating myself with books. I was overwhelmed and inspired – I wanted to go home and read and write forever. There were so many books, how could I even get to a small portion of them in my lifetime? I thought about taking notes on the ones that jumped out at me, creating a To Read Later list. I wanted to buy a few but also wanted to save money. It made me miss tangible, paper books in a really deep way.

On the walk back to the car, I enjoyed the late afternoon light, even though it was still hot out. I figured out where my car was and cranked the a/c while I drove home. I didn’t hit any traffic and the rest of the evening was relaxing.

After the chaos last week, I’m really glad I had a chance to travel alone for a day, even though I didn’t leave LA.

When I first read Mae Cheverette’s blog, and how she travels alone, I was so intrigued, her posts pulled at my heartstrings. Then there’s The Noisy Plume’s travels and my own day trip around SF 2 years ago now that I remember so fondly, and the deep pull Alaska had on me.

There is something about being in a new place, walking a lot, observing and experiencing without really having to talk to anyone, that opens my heart up. It feels so luxurious, so new, so silly that it can have that affect on me, but it does. It also feels selfish, but in a really indulgent, put-myself-first way. It’s exactly what Julia Cameron calls an artist date – “assigned play”.

I needed this break from routine, from my neighborhood and from the emotional turmoil I felt all last week. I’m so glad I went. xo

October’s Mercury Retrograde

You all  know I’ve been feeling the retrograde (and the eclipse last week). I thought I would put together a few links in case you wanted to dive a bit deeper into this month’s pause/reflect period. It’s a lot of information to take in so read what you can, take what resonates and leave the rest. xo

Notes of Updating October by astrobarry. (Note: I also love his weekly horoscopes).

October is a month for updating ourselves to the revamped reality which recently downloaded into our matrix….

Put another way, this Mercury retrograde is a chance for more discussing and processing of the past couple months’ developments… with both a modest bit of distance from the most intense in-the-moment feelings and a thoughtful reconsideration of how these developments can be best integrated into whatever personal aims we tinkered and toiled to achieve earlier in ’14. With a dignified Venus in her home sign of Libra through Oct 23, we might finally get some peace, whether in an unsettled relationship or within our conflicted selves, as a result of this retrograde reprise.

Darkstar Astrology shares these thoughts in Becoming Brilliant:

Mercury generally zips between two worlds, or rather, the two hemispheres of our brain. So during the retrograde period it feels like Mercury has gone down into the Underworld. In this realm closer to spirit we become more right-brain orientated. It is dark, so other senses are heightened. We will feel extra sensitive here, psychic even. Everything will seem hyper-real… you will notice things you had overlooked before. This will prompt you to re-evaluate, renovate, re-form, and re-invent. It’s true you might have to redo things, because Mercury will hit the same degree three times, but what this transit won’t let you do is to go into autopilot.

Cafe Astrology is always a good resource. Capturing the overall timeline below – click through to the link to read more specific timing information.

With Mercury retrograde in Scorpio and Libra: This is an excellent period for getting in touch with our instincts, motivations, and “dark” side, particularly from October 4-10. Our society generally doesn’t value emotional communication as much as more rational approaches, but now is the time to explore our more intimate and emotional natures and how these affect our decision making processes. Increased sensitivity, or emotional “radar”, is likely. We should watch that we don’t get into a paranoid frame of mind, or read too much negativity into what others say. Retrograde Mercury periods tend to send us to the past for more or previously hidden information, and while in Scorpio, this is especially the case. Retrograde Mercury in Libra, from October 10-25, is especially slow to reach a decision – possibly painfully slow, as our minds bounce back and forth between the alternatives, finding merits for any and all of them. This period may affect our close partnerships the most. We might rethink old positions and relationships, and there can be a tendency for our observations to be especially idealized. Retrograde Mercury aligns with the Sun on the 16th in the sign of Libra, bringing illumination to our thoughts. It’s a favorable time for processing recent events and ideas, and for beginning to look at problems or issues from a new perspective and with a new understanding. Significant new ideas can be birthed at this time.

How to have a happy Mercury retrograde by the Tarot Lady: “…you want to think about adding “RE” to every action: rethink, redo, renovate, replenish, reflect, relax, recycle, repeat, etc.  This little tip alone sums up the entire mindset behind proactive astrology.”

A long read The Way of Peace by Celestial Space Astrology blog.

And maybe Sorry, You Can’t Blame Everything On Mercury In Retrograde: “…ready yourself for a loving takedown: planets do not make us do anything…In our helter-skelter lives, a better reframe of the Mercury retrograde phenomenon is to feel grateful for this period as one in which we can slow down, become more present, and pay attention to where we can improve in life and business.”

Stay open, stay safe and let me know how you’re doing during this time. Hope this helps. xo

#30daysofdresses – day 11

In where I’m finally feeling better. Ah, relief…

When I woke up on this day, I could tell something had shifted. I still felt anxious but I didn’t feel crushed under the weight of a dark cloud.

Got up, wrote morning pages, ran 2m with Carter, vacuumed the house (again, the fleas) and had one more good cry. Still no idea where the flood of emotions is coming from, but finally showered and out the door, I felt pretty good.

Work was easy – I had to drive really far to pick up some rentals for the work event Friday night and then went to the office. I did work in quiet, alone, listening to Jimmy Eat World and drinking a grande whole milk chai tea latte (these are my weakness lately – not so great for the calories, but wonderful for the comfort).

And I noticed that I felt… fine. Not crazy, not upset, not angry. Just totally me. Normal.

Awesome.

H had to work late, so I took Carter out for a bike ride as the sun was going down. The air was cool, it felt a little grey and chilly, and I was happy. Riding a bike, the dog trotting next to me, the sun light fading – whatever had been dragging me down seemed to dissipate and I could enjoy my life again.

That afternoon, as I waited for my Starbucks, a barrista blew by and said, “I love your dress, it’s so cute!”. Now, after 10 days of dresses, I know this dress is cute, but it’s not the cutest one I’ve worn. Nope. I’m thinking that I finally looked cute – like someone who was happy to compliment, giving off good vibes, and feeling good in my skin.

With H not home, I took full advantage and started watching Girls. Cooked myself a random dinner (whenever H isn’t home, I eat the weirdest combo of things. This night it was broccoli, Italian sausage, black beans and cheddar cheese). And just relaxed. Like, actually felt like I was relaxed.

So yeah – no fast and easy quick, no 10 Ways To Stop Losing Your Shit here… just what my friend Katie wrote in the comments on day 9: “…we’re like waves floating around; sometimes the water gets a little rough but it always passes and we float along again, rocking back and forth. Embrace whatever the water is doing, “just keep swimming” and know soon enough, the water will calm down”

Wise words. Happy Sunday xo.

Dress is Forever 21, belt is off a dress from Kohl’s and sandals are Kohl’s.

#30daysofdresses – day 10

In where I lose my shit…

I look pretty put together in this pic, but this is the day I hit a wall.

Yesterday I mentioned feeling like crap and turning to the women who I admire for support.

After I took this photo, I drove across town for a meeting. The kind of meeting where you wonder why it was planned b/c the people in attendance don’t seem to care much. Or forgot you were coming. Or have to leave early.

It’s hot, and you’re sweating through your dress. Again. And you’re wondering when you get to go back home, but the drive home is a whole other story, because now it’s sweltering in your car, and there’s traffic and you’re gonna sit in some pretty blazing sun traveling west.

I planned to take myself out for lunch after the meeting. Take advantage of the void moon. Try to fill the well.

Found parking, ordered food, took a table. And found I’d made the mistake I often do in public places – I sat near the LOUD TALKER.

Now you could argue that everyone has the right to speak to their table-mate in public places. That I am just being sensitive and overreacting.

And you would be right.

Because I sat there – still completely overheated from the weather and the car ride, a headache pressing on my temples (didn’t realize it then, but I hadn’t had any caffeine the whole day), and now extra on fire from the chili I ordered – steaming with anxiety, trying to read a book…

The woman next to me blab on and on about how she “cried for two weeks when they had to turn down a house in Malibu”. #killme. I texted Stephanie to try and make a joke out of it: accidentally sat next to the quintessential 40 year old Santa Monica mom who won’t shut up about primrose water and full moon yoga.

I moved tables. And then I gave up and left.

Before I even got to my car, the hot tears began streaming down my face behind my sunglasses.

I cried the whole 1/2 mile home, in the garage in my car after I turned it off, in the house on the couch with the dog, and then finally upstairs in my bed. I cried like a torrential rain, a tidal wave. I cried the way toddlers cry when you get the trifecta of a meltdown – hungry, hot and tired.

And I felt sorry for myself. My head was killing me, the day felt like a waste, the $11 I spent on lunch sure was, and why couldn’t I stop crying? Why do I always feel like such shit some days?

I was mad myself. Mad for being sensitive, for not being able to adapt, for exhaustion and emotions and feeling so raw and overwhelmed by the simplest things.

And then I remembered. Highly sensitive person.

Heidi and I chatted about being an HSP – did I identify as one? I had said no, that the term felt weak and a bit much, and I wasn’t that sensitive actually. I was resourceful, practical, tough. None of this needing special treatment BS.

But again, I turned to books and downloaded The Highly Sensitive Person and felt myself come home a little:

The biggest cost to us of being highly sensitive, however, is that our nervous system can become overloadedWe simply reach that point sooner than others.

“HSPs simply process everything more, relating and comparing what they notice to their past experience with other similar things. They do it whether they are aware of it or not.

If you are going to notice every little thing in a situation, and if the situation is complicated (many things to remember), intense (noisy, cluttered, etc.), or goes on too long (a two-hour commute), it seems obvious that you will also tend to wear out sooner from having to process so much.”

Page after page, I could feel the grip I had on myself loosen. Here was someone telling me, assuring me that what I was feeling had a cause, that it was manageable, and the best piece: “To sum it up again, you pick up on the subtleties that others miss and so naturally you also arrive quickly at the level of arousal past which you are no longer comfortable. That first fact about you could not be true without the second being true as well. It’s a package deal, and a very good package”

I can look back over the past few weeks and note many causes – mercury retrograde, the lead up to the full moon, the eclipse that evening, work, events, hormones. And I can list all the reasons why I maybe started to feel better – the release of emotions from crying, the rest I kept taking finally being enough, talking to my therapist, my friends, H…

But whatever the cause of the down cycle and whatever the cause of the upswing… that evening, I finally started feeling normal again.

And thank goodness for that.

Dress is Forever 21. Shoes are Mudd, and no surprise here, think I bought them Kohl’s.

Note: I wrote this on Thursday about my experience on Wednesday. Currently, I am feeling better and I hope you’re having a good weekend. xo

#30daysofdresses – day 9

The little yellow belt is back…so are the boots. Clearly the best $17 I’ve ever spent at Kohl’s.

This dress is my straight forward style – comfy, navy, and an interesting neck and hemline.

That’s it really.

If you’ve been following along, I haven’t been doing so well. As I write this, I’m feeling better, but the start of the week was rough.

But how to explain it to you?

I wake up rested, even happy, to be laying in bed in the dark – the cool desert air coming in, the cloud cover of the westside hiding the sun, and then some thought hits me, and anxiety. Can’t even tell you what the thought is.

Or I feel fine, and decide to vacuum (Carter’s fleas may be the death of me). And as I’m vacuuming, the drone of the motor, the rhythmic back-and-forth, the dog circling me unsure, I start to feel pissed that the carpet sweeper is broken, that I have to vacuum before work, and my mind races through all of these injustices and bam, I’m crying instead of cleaning.

If I could explain it, maybe I could fix it.

But I’m also learning that there’s nothing to fix because I’m not broken.

It just is.

If this dress is straight-forward me, then turning to books is my typical approach to feeling insane. The day I wore this dress I started reading Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. My friend Steve calls her one of my saints. That evening I watched part one of Elizabeth Gilbert on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. Another of my saints. I watched videos of Pema Chodron on Youtube. These women hold up a light when I’m in this deep darkness. Anything to know that I’m not alone.

And I gathered three things:

1. “Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a questions of engagement.” ~Brene Brown

2. Elizabeth Gilbert saying that we have three different voices in our head. The child, throwing a tantrum because they’re exhausted. The older sister, who we think is the voice of our highest self, saying things like “why do you keep doing this to yourself?!” but, Gilbert said, if there’s any of this ::wagging her finger::, that is not your highest self. There is no judgement from your higher self. And the actual higher self she seeks to listen to, which is full of love, grace and support. The voice that says “I love you” and that’s it.

3. Pema Chodron saying that even she experiences times of meditation where she feels like her mind is crazy and the thoughts do not stop. But even if the experience of meditation that day isn’t great, it’s the post-meditation feeling that matters. That her meditation practice “opens more room in (her) mind”.

I wish I had better answers for myself so I could pass them on to you, but all I can do is read, jot down my notes, let the crying come when it does, and be gentle with myself.

 

#30daysofdresses – day 8

The heatwave continues to it’s uncomfortable rule over the city. Luckily, this dress is made for hot, hot heat.

I originally bought this dress for my engagement dinner July 2010 (same trip as this story) and I’ve worn it a ton since then. Again, no bra required, loose and cool to wear, and super flattering.

Plus, the pattern is my favorite thing ever.

I wore this on Monday, and while it was a very successful day of work, I still can’t shake this feeling of major blahs. Or frustration. Or upset-ness.

Whatever you want to call it – it feels unshakable – waking up rested and then the anxiety seeping in as I realize I have to get out of bed and go about my day. Feeling happy and then not. Worrying that I’m not fun, I’m not easy-going, I’m too emotional.

Mercury retrograde, heat wave, full moon, hormones, anxiety, big work event, feeling responsibly for everything, f-ing fleas on the dog, carrying around ridiculous expectations of people who probably don’t even think about me, and certainly not with the knife-cutting precision that I dissect each action I take.

It’s a lot.

I can say that the dress helped. It makes me feel comfortable in my skin. It feels powerful and sexy and comfortable all at the same time. It’s a good friend to have on days like these.

Because I can’t seem to process this enough to articulate it right now, I’ll leave you with Jill’s words from What I Don’t Want To Talk About:

My life rehab started with the simple wish to “be a better friend to myself.” Not to be a better person, not to become successful or accomplish things and make stuff, but to practice maitri — loving compassion towards the self. I have a strong sense that right now that means two things: to accept help, to seek out connection and community, and to be gentle with myself.

Today I rollerbladed 3m alone. I went to the library and carried home an armful of books. I’m writing this blog post. I exercised, got dressed and made the calls I needed to for work. I wrote morning pages and wiped the kitchen counters clean. And during all of that, I felt happy.

And then there’s the overwhelm of emails, the aggravation of the flea problem, the pressure of work events, the feeling like I’m completely alone in all of it. And that I’m being unreasonable (where did I even pick that up?).

I know I’m a better friend to myself than I used to be, but the relationship still hits major bumps in the road. And all I can keep returning to is truly and absolutely doing what I want to do, emotions, feelings, thoughts and all. Loving compassion for myself. Accepting help and seeking connection.

Being gentle with myself.

Dress and flip-flops are both Kohl’s from ~4 years ago.

Futures x10

From the band’s Instagram

The table 3/4 of the band ate dinner at.

Last Thursday night, H and I drove up to Ventura to see Jimmy Eat World play their Futures x10 tour opening show. It was a very hot day, and I’d had an incredibly stressful morning at work, so my mood was quite blah. But Jimmy Eat World is my favorite band, and they would be playing my favorite album, so I had hopes the afternoon would improve.

We found a primo parking spot and ate dinner at Anacapa Brewing Company. It was good, but not amazing.

As we walked up Main Street towards the Majestic Ventura Theater for the show, we walked RIGHT PAST Jim, Rick and Tom from the band while they sat at an outside table eating dinner!

I thought I was going to throw up.

I never bother famous people *ever* but this time I felt justified to stalk them. I just wanted a photo or an autograph, just to shake their hands as say “We love your music – please keep going”. So, H and I stood 50 feet away, watching them like total creeps, not wanting to interrupt (though maybe they shouldn’t sit at an OUTSIDE TABLE one block from the venue if they don’t want to be bothered).

As they got up to leave, I walked after them – they looped into the restaurant and into the back. Were they using the bathrooms or heading out a back exit? Arg. Basically, we missed them completely.

Serious disappointment.

As we stood in line to get inside the GA show, I watched as each band member walked alone, from different routes, right by crowds of people to get onto the tour bus parked in front of the venue. I think I was the only person who saw Jim walk the entire block. Fans were oblivious, staring at their cell phones or talking to each other. My heart skipped watching him, but I didn’t blow his cover. :sigh:

The show itself was good – they seemed a bit rusty, but it’s the first night of the month long tour. (See the entire setlist). The songs from Futures that really rock live still did (Pain, Work and Kill) and the ones they usually don’t play, I understand why. Polaris is seriously in my top 3 but it wasn’t as intimate live as listening to it on headphones. Drugs or Me was really great – I was dreading it b/c it’s so slow – but the new guitar player / background vocalist / keyboard player added so much with his vocals that this song flew.

They hit this amazing rockin’ out stride during Nothingwrong – it sounded amazing and they killed it then. I didn’t realize it till I was writing this, but their first encore included 3 songs from the Stay On My Side EP which came out right after Futures. Duh. It was smart for them to include them right after, a continuation of the catalogue. According to the setlist website, Over and Closer made their debut the other night (pretty cool to say we were there) and Disintegration hasn’t been played live since 2008. Hearing these songs live made me want to revisit the EP. Listening to it now as I write this.

(Also, fun fact which I some how just discovered: Heatmiser, which is a band Jimmy Eat World quotes in the lyrics of Kill: “like you’re favorite Heatmiser song goes”, had the Elliot Smith as their lead guitar and vocals guy. How did I not know this until now?)

We have tickets for the final show at Club Nokia next month. I’m excited to see them play the same show again. It’s awesome we’re seeing the first and last shows of the same tour.

This is the 6th time I’ve seen them live, the 3rd x10 show (Clarity and Bleed American happened over the past 4 years), and the first time I’ve seen them outside of Los Angeles county. We bought t-shirts at the merch table. I spotted them on the street and almost talked to them. And I sang along to every song.

It’s like I really almost am a super fan.

#30daysofdresses – day 4

Or the plight of this little black dress…

I’m realizing quickly that 30 days of my own outfits is starting to feel a little… self-indulgent. It would be silly to think that anyone wants to read about dresses when they come from stores like Kohl’s or H&M, or see 30 pictures of me.

I snapped this on Thursday – it was a helluva day at work. I ended up taking the afternoon off because, like all first world white girls, I COULD NOT EVEN.

So the combo of needing a boost of creative time in between meetings, and the self-consciousness of not wanting to post 30 selfies, produced this photo. And I thought about my friend Nina who takes these awesome self-portraits and a whole world of options expanded before me.

Yes – it’s #30daysofdresses – but more importantly, it’s 30 days of sharing my creativity, my story, of me inside and out.

So that’s where I was at when I took this photo.

I’ve owned this dress for a very long time… definitely before I moved to LA.

When I first moved here and started working at my internship, I had a boatload of new business clothes (thanks mom!) from Ann Taylor Loft and was basically terribly overdressed for the occasion. One day, a coworker said “You wear a lot of black” as if this wasn’t a good thing. “Well, I’m from New York,” I said, because in New York everyone wears black (just look at my Google search). It’s classic, powerful and creates a good silhouette. Plus, people are hardworking, driven, serious – any pop of color, like the crazy teals and neons LA-ers wear – could be seen as not taking things seriously enough. 

And who the f-has time to be all bright and happy when it’s 30* outside and you’re working a 10hr day?

But, I digress.

As I shopped for myself and tried the SoCal style on for size, I started pulling navy, instead of black as my base neutral. I didn’t realize this until Jess pointed it out. Awesome. So what do I do with this black dress I didn’t care much about? Jess suggested I keep it, since it was cute, light-weight and versatile.

Then another 18 months went by and I didn’t wear it.

It wasn’t because it didn’t fit right, or it was black, or that I don’t own black boots (working on that).

It was because the last time I wore this dress, I wore it to a funeral.

It was July 2011 and we had plans to be on the east coast for our two engagement parties (long story). One in PA and one in NY. A few days before our departure, we woke up to a slew of calls on H’s cellphone saying that his granddad had passed away overnight.

I don’t remember the actual timeline of things, if we flew in early or traveled back and forth from PA to NY a few times, but it was such a huge blow to H’s mom’s side of the family – completely unexpected.

His grandfather was quiet, but super warm and friendly, and so kind-hearted. He really was the nicest. He always treated me like I was part of the family, long before H and I were engaged.

And this is the dress I wore to his funeral – the only part of which I remember being in a room where people were giving speeches about him – and we were all laughing and crying. There was music. I hung out with H’s little sister who seemed to know that I needed the company more than she needed me – mostly b/c this wasn’t my family. I felt a little out of place. And I just remember, as everyone wrapped up the speeches and went to move on to the restaurant, people picking up purses and organizing carpools, I started to cry. H hugged me and I remember saying into his chest, “It’s just so sad” because it was.

We’d lost a really good person. I could cry writing this.

Some time later, I remember his daughter, H’s aunt, saying that now when she sees monarchs, she thinks it’s her dad visiting her. And our LA neighborhood is full of monarchs, so now I always think of him too. And of course, when I wear this dress.

Dress is Old Navy. Boots are Kohl’s. Necklace is the shape of an arrow.