The day David Bowie died, I took the day off of work.
I work for myself, so it sounds more dramatic than it actually was, but I hope it communicates the extent to which I loved Bowie. I grew up listening to the full Bowie catalog, but truth is I never really liked the song Under Pressure. I think Vanilla Ice ruined the baseline for me. So whenever it came on I tuned it out, I just waited for it to be over and move on to the next song. Until today, and I realized, Under Pressure is the anthem America needs right now.
Last year was a dark Christmas, we were all anxious to get out of the misery that was 2016 and then Donald Trump was elected President and it left many of us wondering what new hell have we entered into. And now that 2017 is coming to a close, we’re more familiar with this new world that is Alice’s LCD laced wonderland. Tension is high, civility is low. Humanity has wins like the fall of Harvey Weinstein and the election of openly transgender people to public office and government positions. Yet, the heartbreaking loss of life due to acts of terrorism like the mass shootings in Las Vegas and Sutherland Spring Texas, the vehicles that plowed into crowds in Spain and New York, leaves us watching the pain and suffering rise, wondering if a tweet will set off a nuclear attack while ordering avocado toast for brunch.
It’s bleak. Despite all the good, there is all this bad and the pendulum continues to swing violently back and forth. Not to mention that the troubles of Americans still hardly compare to those in war-torn countries, so lets all choke on a slice of perspective pie before bitching about the post office or parking this holiday season.
When I finally listened to the lyrics of the song, I felt it outlined our current social environment poetically. Showing us the woes of humanity, only to give us the one real solution that is universal and stands the test of time – LOVE.
Yup, act in love. Live in love. Be love to those you’re compelled to hate. Give love. Love is the release valve.
So, Under Pressure is my new anthem to keep me accountable for my part in this thing called life.
The pressure is real. How will it be dealt with?
Remember a few weeks ago when I shared my first “Journey to The Moth Stage” post, where I shared my dreams of telling a story on a Moth stage, and I wouldn’t give up until I did it. Well, I went back to a Moth StorySlam two weeks after my first Moth Slam and was called to the stage.
I thought it would take longer
My master goal is to get to The Moth GrandSlam stage, and that only happens when you win a StorySlam. I knew the story I was going to share wasn’t a winner, but I still wanted to put my name in the hat. Also, I want to say that my admission of my stories strength isn’t self-deprecating. I’m quickly learning what makes for a winning story and I’m sure I have one in me, just the one I shared on November 21 was not going to be a winner. However, it did land me somewhere in the middle of the story-tellers pack. So, I’m happy it was at least entertaining.
The topic this slam was REVELATIONS, and I desired to share my spiritual journey and revelation about religion and my decision to become a confirmed Catholic. I wrote out my story, revised it, rehearsed it in the shower, and had a nervous breakdown in my bed in the midst of reciting it to Dan the night before. But despite the tears and anxiety, I was determined just to put myself out there, to put my name in the hat. Basically, there is no glory or growth staying in a familiar place, and damn it I want to get a story on the Moth Radio Hour (someday).
Once upon a time, I would publish monthly playlists on this here blog. Well since May, when wedding planning went into overdrive, I stopped posting playlists but didn’t stop creating them. Then in August when wedding planning went into hyperdrive, I stopped creating playlists because I was focused on creating the playlist of music that would be played at the wedding. So now that I’m finally married, I have an aptly named Finally Married Playlist. I’ve taken the two unpublished playlists, Dada Movement and Dusty Pages and compiled them into one 3 hours and 17 min long playlist with a few bonus tracks starting from God Only Knows – our first dance song.
If you listen to your local, national public radio station, you’re probably familiar with The Moth. Specifically, The Moth radio hour, an hour worth of curated stories from people’s lives that entertain and inform us all about life and the human condition. Each story is a true story from the storyteller’s life and what they share can be humorous, emotional, heartfelt, but basically always leaves you feeling a little more connected to humanity than you did before – or at least it does for me. I love listening to people’s stories. I love connection. So I really love The Moth.
I’ve fantasized about being on The Moth radio hour, but it’s a long road to get there, and it starts with StorySlams. The Moth hosts StorySlams in various cities across the country that are centered around a specific theme. Storytellers then coming to the event put their name in the proverbial hat and destiny decides whether they will share that story or not. Each story is judged by random people in the audience, and the winner of the night goes onto a GrandSlam where they compete against other StorySlam winners. The stories that get onto The Moth Radio Hour are curated from the Moth Mainstage, which is another level of The Moth that I assume one gets to by winning a GrandSlam.
It’s a journey, and one I am ready to embark on. I’ve been called an oversharer. I definitely identify as being a writer. So why not! Last night I attended my first Moth StorySlam. I crafted a story around the topic of control, and then decided it wasn’t good enough to perform – so I just went to observe. Since I was a newbie, I felt just getting a lay of the land would be good and I’m so glad I gave myself the grace to try and then know when I may be out of my realm. Well, after listening to fabulous stories, and not so great presenters of stories, and stories that weren’t even on topic – I have COMPLETE confidence that anything I write is worthy of my name in the hat. And really, I can only get better with each try. So I’m going to keep on trying.
When you attend a StorySlam, slips of paper with a question around the topic is on the chairs, and people can write a two sentence story around the topic to toss into a box. Last night the topic was “Control, ” and the question was, “When was there a time you felt you had lost control.” I wrote four sentences that outline the story I’m going to share below. The host read my slip of paper, the audience laughed, and she ended by saying, “That’s not a two sentence story, that’s an existential crisis.” I loved it. But her saying it was an existential crisis was sort of the reason my instincts said to not share my story because it didn’t feel like a story, it felt more like an essay.
Later in the evening, Dan and I ran into a few of the people who were also at the StorySlam, and I had confessed which slip of paper was mine. They burst into laughter and astonishment in being able to relate to my life existential crisis and encouraged me to share my stories – because it seemed like I could tell a good one.
So without further ado – here is my story around the theme of “CONTROL.”
(please note this is the first and only draft)
I have expensive taste. I always have. Ever since I was a child and didn’t understand what monetary value was, I would go straight for the most expensive item on the menu or want the fanciest toy in the store. My instincts point to the finer things in life; so I really enjoy looking at Net-a-Porter. This habit of mine is one part dream casting/manifesting and one part just plain window shopping – here are a few of the items I’ve saved for my someday closet.
I love the vintage look of all these dresses. One of my goals for 2018 is the wear a vintage dress at every Thinkspace Gallery opening for a year. It’s a fun creative way to express my style, and I have somewhere to go to rock my finds. Obviously, these dresses aren’t vintage, but they inspire what I’ll be on the hunt for.
In the past two years, with all the wedding planning, Dan and I haven’t gone on as many adventures as we would like to take. So when we were invited to a wedding in Napa this year, we went full road trip status. I splurged on a new vlog camera and we made sure to make time for some roadside attractions.
Here is our Napa Adventure recapped:
I’m not a big party girl. Well, not anymore. And for my bachelorette party, I had no desire to head out to Vegas or get wasted bar hopping and dancing into the wee-hours of the morning. I’m just not that person. Just as unique as weddings are to each bride, so is their bachelorette party – and my bachelorette celebration was an amazing, relaxing, euphoria spa day at Glen Ivy with my sister, mom, aunt and two of my five bridesmaids.
Here is my Instagram caption highlighting the day.
Yesterday, I turned off my phone and unplugged from the noise. Celebrating with my wonderful sister, bridesmaids, mom & aunt – we enjoyed a Glen Ivy spa day to the max! My favorite experience was soaking in a 102° hot tub and then dunking myself in a 62° freezing bath. It was invigorating. I need that in my life. It’s a shock to the system and now I get why Tony Robbins plunges into ice cold water every morning.
We enjoyed saunas, a green mud grotto experience, a private hot tub next to our cabana. I’m pretty sure we had the same cabana the RHOOC lounged in too. We definitely had a VIP experience thanks to my amazing sister aka maid of honor. I just want to do it all over again, every Monday, from now till forever. Don’t think that is going to happen, but a girl can dream.
Now I’m going to take a shower, and at the end rinse off in cold water.
This post is a placeholder since I intend on posting photos of the day tonight. My little accountability/ motivation. I’m so zenned-out right now, it’s ridiculous. For as stressful as this wedding process has been, the amount of love and gratitude that fills my soul is overflowing and abundant. 💖
I will beat the shame game by owning my journey.
Whenever I visit other blogs, I’m inspired or motivated to work on my own. Then when I’m on my blog, tinkering with widgets or brainstorming new content ideas, I start to look at my past content and want to hide it all. I have this itch for a fresh start. And just a few moments ago, I was reminded why I shouldn’t start all over again, and I should start owning my journey.
Blanket Fort Adventures is my longest blog relationship. I’ve been sharing my life online since 2003 under different names and on different platforms. And although an early adopter of blogging, the inconsistency in my online identity meant I was never in one place long enough to build up a readership. But Blanket Fort Adventures has been around for a while now, since December 2011, and the topics discussed, the focus – it’s been all over the place. In 2017, an unfocused blog / purely online diary is a total faux pax. How do you grow that? Well, I’ll tell you it’s flipping difficult. So while in the midst of re-strategizing BFA, I scrolled through my Bloglovin profile looking at the visual inconsistency, the weak blog titles, and what caught my eye was all my road trip posts.
My cross-country road trip. My dream trip that I planned and executed in October of 2014. I went to the category all the posts are housed and just scrolled through all the adventures. I smiled. My eyes were wide, and I admired the woman in the pictures. I admired myself. And that doesn’t happen very often.
After listening to a dozen or so interviews and Ted Talks with Brené Brown I’ve come to realize, I carry around a lot of shame. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always had the gremlins in my head saying I’m not enough and I’m not capable. As an adult, I combat them with daily affirmations and a bunch of other coping tools, but those gremlins are still pretty strong on a day to day basis. Especially since I started planning a wedding.
As I looked back at my old road trip posts, at the bad graphic design and fuzzy photos, I silenced the gremlins of shame and decided to own my journey. My journey in blogging, relationships, career, life — everything. I’ve exposed parts of my journey, and I shouldn’t feel ashamed of it. I shouldn’t hide it in the pursuit of perfection either. I am who I am.
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
― Brené Brown
The best thing for me to do now, for my blog and myself, is to come to a place of acceptance. I can pursue general self-improvement and creative growth with out it defining a lack of who I am. Yup, really have to work on moving out of a fixed mindset and into a growth mindset. So, I’m not hiding it. I’m not hiding my countless attempts at a weekly Friday series with different names and formats. I’m not hiding the countless, “It’s been a while since I’ve blogged,” posts. I’m not hiding. My mistakes are exposed, so we can ALL learn from them.
Thank you for letting me share my journey with you. My imperfection. My shame.
p.s. I can’t help but feel a little silly to be having this deep reflection and dialogue with myself because of an analysis around my blog. But, it is a safe way to express a much deeper self-examination I’m experiencing. Because perpetual self-doubt and shame is nonconstructive and poisons the potential greatness that life possesses. There is a war between light and darkness going on outside of us, so we have to beat the battles within to win the war for love and light.