A Pep Talk For When You Need One

You’re having feelings. So many feelings. Maybe even too many feelings. And if you’re anything like me, too many feelings feels an awful lot like none at all.

You might be doing that thing where you’re trying to rush the process. You might be fighting against the waves that are crashing all over you and that’s okay. That’s your impulse to stay alive. That’s okay but it’s important to know that you will get very tired very quickly. Can I make a suggestion? Just get the attention of someone else who is on shore. Sometimes just knowing that someone can see you drowning will revitalize something inside of you to focus, stop flailing, and do what you need to do to get to shore. That person might even have a life vest to throw out to you when you’re close enough to grab it.

And you just barely get up on shore and you flop down in the sand–on your back, spread eagle, vulnerable as all hell but breathing is the only priority right now. Your muscles are weak and your throat is burning but even by the time that you catch your breath, you’re in the process of getting up. Because your impulse is to live. Your body wants to keep itself alive despite the ache. Your spirit wants to keep itself alive. Despite the ache.

Yesterday my friend Sherilyn said, “It’s all part of being human to both resist and embrace it.”

Embrace it.

Let me tell you about the ache: It’s a sacred time. As long as you’re aching, you’re in a rare space and you’re going to want to pretend it’s not there. But lean into it. Learn from it. Rip yourself open in this achey time and gather all the knowledge and self-awareness that you can. Get your pay day. It’s part of it. I won’t walk through it without a payoff. None of this is for free. You can’t pay any kind of money for this sort of an education.

And I’m not going to hide my grief from you or anyone. I don’t–you don’t benefit from pretending that everything is fine. I’m not going to hunker down until I feel all better so that all you’ll see in this space is a well thought out, mature, healed woman. It’s for you. All of this is for you. I’m mining gold and I’m passing it out like candy and beads.

You have moved mountains, before, and you’re going to do it again so why not now?


Let’s Check In

Written while streaming the Black History Salute playlist on Spotify.

I parked at the coffee shop, got out of my car, and saw my dear friend, Addy, and his mom  walking to the same place. Now, that’s how you start a week off right. Impromptu coffee with best buddies.

That reflection, tho.

Here are a few unrelated things on my mind, today:

This weekend my friend Darcie and I went to see a play at McPherson College. It was powerful. It was one of those things where it feels very abrupt to just turn the lights on and get released back into your real life. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/ When The Rainbow is Enuf “consists of a series of poetic monologues to be accompanied by dance movements and music, a form Shange coined as the choreopoem. for colored girls… tells the stories of seven women who have suffered oppression in a racist and sexist society.” I just decided to copy from the Wikipedia entry on it because I couldn’t find the right words to describe it, myself.
This play was written back in 1975 and still felt so utterly relevant. There wasn’t a solid plot line to the play as it was a series of monologues and between monologues, music was played. Some of it was older music–like Strange Fruit by Nina Simone but most of the music was current. The majority of it was taken from Beyonce’s Lemonade. I think that was a brilliant choice to help point out the fact that these situations discussed in the piece are not old. I mean–they are. But they’re not over. They also had Lemonade playing in the lobby with an explanation of the relevance of it. There was so much thematic overlap between the play and the album.

I don’t actually know if I was allowed to take a photo but I couldn’t help myself.

I also loved the way they put the stage in the middle of the room and the audience all around. To me, it was a powerful statement that said, “we are here, living among you and for at least an hour, you can’t turn away”. Also, these women were incredible actors. During the last scene, I could hear so many people in the audience sobbing. They laid it all out there and didn’t hold back. I can’t imagine the vulnerability needed to be a great actor.

I’ve been listening to a podcast called Don’t Keep Your Day Job. As someone who didn’t keep her day-job and is trying to figure out how to make that a smart move, this hit me at the right time. It’s hosted by Cathy Heller who has made a happy living by writing music. One of the pieces of advice that she’s constantly dishing out is the concept of the Three Things Approach. That is when you think about your big, ultimate goal, what are three things that you can do, today, to move in that direction. I think it’s a brilliant and practical approach to tackling big projects because doing a big thing is really just what happens when you’ve done lots of little things.
I’ve been applying this to my home life, too. Like, I have a big goal of downsizing… everything. That’s a big task. But today I wrote down three things I can do today to work towards that goal: 1. Make a list of every area that needs to be addressed. 2. Collect boxes. 3. Get all the laundry cleaned (because I’m going to start with cleaning the closets).

The #xoxoselfiechallenge is in full effect on Instagram! For the month of February we’re focusing on different areas of self-care. The hope is that we’ll try out all these different areas and find a way that clicks with us and feeds our soul. It’s different for everyone! It’s not always bubble baths and chocolate. Also, we just announced our first giveaway, today!

Speaking of self-care, have you read this blog post yet?  A Gentle Warrior’s Guide to Navigating the New World: I feel like it has been instrumental in keeping me happy and healthy the past few weeks.


What kinds of things are singing to your soul these days?


Fem Friday feat. Jennifer

This is part of a long series of posts which will be known as Feminist Fridays. Because individuality is at the heart of feminism, I’m going to open up this space to different people to share with us a little portion of their unique journey.
Catch up with previous Feminist Friday posts here.

Ever since I started this series, my friends have been telling me, “You’ve got to talk to Jennifer Randall!” And I put it off for a while because I felt intimidated and awkward because we’ve never met but I’m so glad that I did. Jennifer talks about media, art, age, and beauty in a way that I’d never explored, before. She gives a fresh, learned perspective that we are lucky to get to experience. My conversation with Jennifer has been so good for my soul and I hope it’s good for you, too. I’m going to recommend coming back to this over and over again because, truth be told, there’s just too much gold in here to gather all at once.

Continue reading “Fem Friday feat. Jennifer”

Page 48: A Birthday Party at Hatch Studios

I’ve made a very intentional point to stop saying, “We should hang out sometime” to people that I have no intention of hanging out with. I’d say for the past year and a half or so I’ve done a pretty good job of not tacking that statement onto the end of a conversation that I’m trying desperately to get out of. It’s an easy way to end the conversation right now but it doesn’t serve our future selves. Because you’re just going to have to deal with it again. And we’re just going to have to say, “we should get together,” again. Forever and ever. amen

Life tip:
The best way of ending those conversations? “Hey, it was really good to run into you, today. Have a good one.” Period.

I’ve been working part-time for Hatch Studios in Hutchinson, Kansas for the past four months or so. Hatch is a studio devoted to providing space for people in the community to create art. I’ve been a fan/ patron of Hatch since they opened their doors. I love the whole idea and vibe of the place. And one day I reached out to Lacey, the owner, and told her that I believe in her work and listed off all my skills and asked her if she had any need for me. And lucky, lucky me, she said yes.

My work is all done online. I believe the job title that we settled on was “Virtual Assistant” and I answer emails and help people to plan their parties. But eventually the feelings of jealousy caught up to me. I was envious of everyone else’s parties and decided to just throw my own. So, I hope this doesn’t come off as a marketing ploy but really I just want to give you an idea of what a night at Hatch is like.

I reached out via text message and Facebook and real life to some local people that I like a lot—people to whom I have sincerely said “we should hang out more/ for the first time ever in real life!” As I mentioned before, my birthday is this week. So I used it as an excuse to get a lot of random people together. People that I have only known on the internet, people that I have known in real life but admire, people to whom I am related but we don’t see each other enough, people that I see all the time and can’t get enough of. I set a time and a date and most people said “sure!” And most people were able to make it and it turned out to be so much fun.

Hatch Studios Hutchinson Kansas

So I booked a Wine and Paint class for last Friday night with all of my friends. I instructed everyone to bring whatever they wanted to drink. I brought cupcakes. Some people brought presents. They sang happy birthday to me—okay, this was officially a birthday party and not just an excuse to get rad people all into the same room.

Hatch Studios Hutchinson Kansas

Lacey taught our class and it always strikes me what an incredible teacher she is. She’s so good at identifying potential problems and helping us to avoid them, and providing a lot of information without getting too overwhelming. She’s also really, really, patient. This is probably her most mesmerizing talent. Even when, in the middle of painting, I reminded everyone that there were cupcakes if they wanted one and it ended up turning into a snack break, she didn’t even seem annoyed. If the tables had been turned, I would have been giving so much side-eye at me.

Hatch Studios Hutchinson Kansas Hatch Studios Hutchinson Kansas

So we walked in, the tables were all set up with easels, water cups, the necessary brushes and a pallet. We got to choose any colors that we wanted, which means that even though we’re all painting the same picture, everyone’s finished product ends up looking so different and full of personality. Everyone grabbed whatever they wanted to drink and we got to work. Lacey said some very nice things about me and then walked us, step-by-step through how to awesomely execute our painting. It took about 2 hours and in the end, everyone had a gorgeous painting to hang in their home.

Hatch Studios Hutchinson Kansas

A couple of life lessons that I learned through this experience:
1. It’s natural to really hate what’s happening on your canvas at the time that it’s happening. Through out the whole night, someone (or three or four someones) was saying, “I don’t know about this…” or “oh, no! I’ve definitely ruined this!” But in the end, you have to just keep going with it. Which leads to life lesson number two.
2. Trust the process. Understand that you’re not going to start with a masterpiece. You’re going to utilize a relatively messy method to create a masterpiece and there’s a lot of pride in that.
3. Know when to leave it alone. Otherwise something that could have been lovely is going to result in a big, conjumbled mess just because you couldn’t help yourself from fixing meddling.
4. We’re all going to make it through, in the end, and we’ll have something colorful to show for it. There will also be cupcakes.

So thanks to my friends who came to this fun night. And thanks to Hatch for having us. And thanks, other people, for reading this and for leaving nice comments.

xoxo, lib.