Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: time alone

Day Alone – Last Bookstore

Since yesterday was Veterans Day (and work was closed) I took Monday off as well, creating a 4-day weekend (after 4 days of travel for work). It was the perfect way to get grounded.

I did a HITT exercise, gave the dog a bath and then ran 2m with him. I met a friend pretty early for breakfast at Paper or Plastik Cafe (where the “no laptop” pic was taken above – Hi Julie!) and then picked up a weaving Jessica O’Brien made and gave away for free via Twitter (heart the Internet).

Some time that morning I thought about The Last Bookstore in downtown LA – I’d never been. Having the entire day to myself seemed like a good enough reason to go.

The drive downtown was pretty easy with the help of GPS and I found a metered spot across the street. #bonus

Inside it is all sorts of used-bookstore-goodness. There are shelves and shelves of books, grouped in the usual categories, but the endcaps had random assortments of new and used volumes. The tables in the middle held art or coffee table books – the themes not entirely obvious at first glance. There were a bunch of very worn, very old chairs strewn around, some with people lounging and reading. And there were PA speakers set up, with a random playlist going, though I caught some Conor Oberst, which made me super happy.

I walked around for over an hour, collecting a few books that I thought were worth owning. And by worth owning, I mean, books whose pages I may want to write in the margins of. I love reading but I don’t buy books often anymore. In the interest of more open space in our apartment, I gave away most of my books in the past few years – getting our living room down to one bookcase and the bookcase upstairs holding other things besides just books.

But that dry, paper smell of stacks of books? That never gets old.

I drove from the bookstore to a Starbucks. I tried writing some, but my brain felt so overwhelmed with ideas, it seemed blank. After an hour of scratching around, I left to pick up groceries.

At home I unpacked the groceries, biked the dog around the neighborhood, cooked Mexican food for dinner, and pulled the 9 of Cups from the tarot deck: It is a sign to enjoy the abundance of life and to feel each of your emotions as if you had never felt any of them before. See the perfection all around you.

Yes, another day alone. Just like my day in Pasadena last month, it was a much needed luxury of spending time with myself, and creating space to just be.

Perfection.

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#30daysofdresses – day 14

I had Monday off and decided to take the afternoon and go on a little day trip alone.

The best kind.

I wore a dress my mom bought me for my honeymoon. It’s strapless, cotton, doesn’t require a bra and has pockets. It’s pretty awesome.

Read more about my day alone in Pasadena.

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

Piqued

As you know, I launched 30 Days of Dresses this week. Woo! Thanks for all of your comments 🙂

I loved this Complete Guide To Structuring Your Ideal Work Day, especially the idea of brushing your teeth at 2:30pm. While I’m continuously trying to find the right daily and weekly routines that support my energy levels and introversion, this seemed like a great guide for any office worker bees.

Abby Kerr, who ran the INFJ business class I loved (it’s coming back!), has a real knack for linking to amazing posts. Follow her on Twitter.

Abby shared Allie’s post on the care and feeding of new moms. A few of my friends are new(ish) mom and I admit, I had no idea how to help them. And because I love offering help, supporting people and receiving help myself when I’m down in the shit-time of any life change, I felt completely useless as friends to these women. This post will be my reference material now.

Back to introvert’s dreams, here’s a list of things only people who love spending time alone will understand (I think my sister gets credit for texting me this). This is seriously alone-time indulgences and I could spend a month just going through a challenge checking items off this list.

I am loving the National Geographic Your Shot Blog. Animals, nature, culture and gorgeous pics? I’m in.

To follow that up, living off the grid / what people miss about living in the wilderness. This pretty much sums up my broken heart after Alaska.

And finally, Pink Ronnie has reevaluated her blogging / storytelling, shuttered her Pink Ronnie blog and launched The Shoemakers Daughter (tho today the link isn’t working 😦 ) I love her style, story-telling and photography. I would love to take a class with her in person and am book-marking her Life Captured online courses.

That’s it for this weekend. Enjoy xo

See all Piqued posts.

A Day Alone

I’m taking Abby Kerr’s INFJ Business class, and one of the things I’m learning about is recovery time.

How much I need, what tasks require more or less recovery time, and the self-imposed limits I’ve crafted for what is the “correct” recovery time for me (read: hustling / being good enough / work first, play later etc.)

Last week, I didn’t feel so hot. In fact, it’s the most out-of-it I’ve felt in a while. And even after a day of trying to take care of myself and starting to feel better, things were only looking slightly up.

So after two days of this, I decide to call out of work. And thank goodness. The pure relief of not having any pressure, the freedom to do what I wanted, the delight of playing hooky – it was exactly what I needed. I felt better immediately.

I saw my therapist, went to my favorite cafe and worked on my INFJ class, hunted down and rented a costume for a party, ate lunch and read a book at another fav cafe, and then came home to relax.

It was bliss.

And the reason I share this is because I forgot sometimes what I need. And maybe you do too. So here’s a suggestion: I encourage you to take a day for yourself. I know that sounds indulgent, b/c it is. It is not often we are encouraged to take a day for ourselves. So if you can’t go for that, try an afternoon or even an hour in a cafe, reading a magazine or a long walk outside alone. Allow yourself to pick something for you, and go for it.

 

What I Really Need

Received a newsletter from Michele at Hot Love Revolution. In closing, she writes, “So please, get on board with your own needs, even if you’ve been judging yourself for having them.”

Even if you judge yourself for having them.

And I realized that’s exactly what I’ve been doing.

The past few days, I’ve been laying low. I’ve read, exercised, worked on Project Life and journaled. Oh, I’ve journaled more than I have in a while, and soaked up this alone time in all its deliciousness.

I’ve needed this. Creativity and time alone. And then I wrote this:

I am craving living a life a little deeper and more meaningful than the one that exists when I’m running on steam, doing an excellent job at my career, but not spending any time on myself. I do spend a good bit of time on self-care – exercise and morning pages and lowering the bar…

But I’ve lost a drive for something that’s MINE. For my own creativity and for my own expression. I believe in my existence – I believe it matters and I’m doing well by the time I have here – but I feel there could be more.

There could be… ART.

This is not the first time I’ve come to this conclusion.

I keep circling this feeling, this topic, this mood – like a lion paces the border of his fences at the zoo – knowing that he’s trapped.

I do not know what it is that I can offer the world. What I do know is, I need to offer something. I am searching for my place, my community, my own art manifested. Mind you, this all feels like a bunch of BS when it comes to the part of me that shows up dutifully for work every day, but to my soul… it’s there.

And I thought about another blogger, Esme Wang, who’s website has grown in gorgeousness since I first found it and I think, “I have so not turned pro yet”. She’s raised the bar on her own work. It’s sincere, real and creative. And basically, I’m jealous, in the best way. She’s doing it. I’m not.

Energy and hours have brought me to a place where I can take time for myself without judging. But taking time for creative pursuits? For work that isn’t “work”? Creating for the process of it?

Haven’t made it to that yet.

But that’s what I really need.

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How about you? What do you really need? xo