Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Happy First Day of Shorts!

As you all might have noticed, I’ve been off social media since Lent started on Valentine’s Day. Or maybe you didn’t notice. Or maybe you’re wondering what the hell I’m talking about since you got to this post through my facebook, where I published a link. To be honest, I’m not actually sure why it’s still possible for me to do that, because I signed out of facebook on my phone and had a friend change the password to my account, but even after the password got changed I’m able to share the posts directly from my blog to my facebook without knowing the password or actually signing into facebook at all. I have no idea why it works. It seems like a defect in security to me, but I guess I’m not really about to complain about it since it makes my life easier.

ANYWAY, I’m off (most of) my social media accounts which is pretty refreshing. But also makes me feel really insignificant a lot of the time. I have moments where things happen to me and I’m ready to open up Instagram or snapchat and share the moment with the world. Or at least the 10-50 people who look at my Instagram stories and snaps. But then I realize that I don’t have Instagram stories right now. And I think, “But who will witness this moment, then???” Obviously I am a total product of the twenty-first century and I need to be constantly validated. #Millennials.

But I’m working on it! I am coming to terms with the fact that I don’t need to share every moment with the virtual world. And that is okay. I will live.

And yet, the point of this blog post is to circumvent that whole process and take a minute to say that it is FEBRUARY and I am wearing SHORTS today because the weather forecast for today has HIGHS IN THE SIXTIES! And when it gets into the sixties I wear shorts! No matter how early in the year it is! Even in Minnesota in March, when people would give me funny looks and my friend’s well-meaning mom repeated to me ad nauseam that, “We don’t really wear shorts in March here, Aleena…” I WORE THEM ANYWAY. Because it was in the sixties! And, apparently, I wear shorts even in February. Because I can.

I often post a picture of my legs the first time I wear shorts in any year somewhere on social media, and since that's not an option right now I’m sharing it with all of you here:

Yes, my legs are very pale (but they're super soft, thanks to the bar of Ledgeway Farms goat milk coffee soap I picked up over the weekend!). Yes, I am wearing shorts and standing on ice in the parking lot.

And yes, it is going to snow again in the next couple of days. And that’s okay (if a little disappointing). But it went into the sixties and I went into my attic to take out shorts from storage much sooner than I’d anticipated doing that, and I am about it.

Hope you all enjoy your taste of spring!!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Growing Up.

In January, I went out to eat with a bunch of people in my extended family. I was sitting at the end of the table near the children (my cousins' kids) and one of the little girls started asking me questions. It turned out, what she really wanted to know was whether I was married because she could see that I was wearing a ring. But before she got to that question, she started off with. "Aleena, are you a grown up?"

To which I sort of mumbled a lot and shrugged and said, "I don't know!" Which, of course, really confused the five year old. I tried, "Ask me again in ten years!" But that didn't really help either. So I asked her if she thought I was a grown up, and she said yes. Then I decided to survey the rest of the family because I thought they'd back me up.

To my surprise, when I said, "Hey family, raise your hand if you think I'm a grown up!" pretty much all of them did. My mom and Aunt and Uncles and Grandma, my adult cousin, and even my brother! I was like, "Really?!?!?!" And my mom started saying, "She pays all her bills and bought her own car, and she has insurance-" So I interrupted the list of my very grown up accomplishments to say, "Well, yeah, I'm an ADULT. But am I a grown up?!?!" And then ALL of my relatives were kinda like, ".....Oh. Yeah, maybe not." Which is honestly pretty funny.

Then my aunt said, "Getting old is mandatory but growing up is a choice!" And I can't really argue with that. Especially in my aunt's case.

But anyway, flash forward a month and I was getting ready for work the other day when suddenly I was overcome with the realization that I take care of myself. This should be obvious to me (and everyone else). I mean, I'm nearly twenty-seven years old. It's been a while since I had a primary caregiver who wasn't myself. But it still came as a startling realization in that moment. I take care of myself! I have a job that I work at every day so that I can pay my bills. And then I pay my bills! Early! And I go to the grocery store and buy the foods I need to keep my body healthy (and plenty of foods to keep my body unhealthy...whatever.) and then I cook them for myself. And I do the dishes after that. And I can get in the car that I bought and almost have paid off and drive wherever I damn well please whenever I want to. THIS IS ASTONISHING! WHO GAVE ME PERMISSION TO BE IN CHARGE OF SOMEONE'S LIFE, EVEN IF THAT PERSON IS MYSELF?!?!?

It was kind of a weird moment, I guess. But it also felt sort of euphoric. Like, I am capable of keeping a human alive! And I just kept wondering when on earth that happened. Because despite the fact that it's been a while since I had someone else taking care of me, it hasn't actually been that long. Ten years ago I was very much dependent on my parents. In fact, ten years ago I couldn't even drive! And now I am taking care of myself pretty damn successfully. It blows. My. Mind.

That whole moment of wonder made me think of entitlement and empowerment and stuff like that. Which made me think of something that someone I used to work for would talk about; we are all empowered. We don't need to be empowered to do things, we already have the power to do things. We just have to realize that about ourselves. He, of course, meant it in the context of an office and how managers don't need to work on helping their employees feel empowered, but rather should be showing them that they already are empowered. But I think it's true in the real world, as well. We are all empowered and can do whatever we want. But sometimes we don't realize it. And depending on things like our gender and our race, the world can make it even harder for us to realize it (and for us to actually do whatever we want). But just remember; you can do anything! You are a grown up (or not) and nobody can stop you and you're doing great!

So there you have it, folks, all the random thoughts that went twirling through my head when I realized that I am self sufficient and possibly a grown up (but probably not) and that I can do whatever I want. Aren't you glad you invested the time to read all that? Maybe not? Oh well. Here's a Beyoncé song for you because there's pretty much a Beyoncé song for everything but there's especially a Beyoncé song for this blog post.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

On Winter.

It's midwinter right now. Typically, I am not a huge fan, though this winter has been pretty tolerable aside from one week in the middle of January where I thought I might need to curl up into a ball for about three months. But I lived. And it's been slightly better ever since. Potentially because after that week I started using a happy light on my desk at work every morning. Potentially because I've actually been kinda busy, and that always helps a little. Whatever it is, I'm okay with it.

It's nice to not feel like you're in a battle to keep going every single day for months on end.

Take yesterday, for instance; I had to get to the bank and my bank closes right about the same time I get out of work, so after eating lunch I hopped in my car and drove across town to do my banking. It was beautiful and sunny out. My car thermometer told me it was 38° out (although admittedly when I checked my weather app after returning to the office, it said “26° feels like 31°” ... so it maybe wasn't as warm as I thought but I DON'T CARE because the sunshine was warm and glorious!!).  I listened to Beyoncé. On the drive back to work I even opened my windows (and yes, my ears got cold, but I don't care, because for the most part I was comfortable and to be able to drive with the windows down in February and be relatively comfortable brings joy to my soul). It was twenty minutes of deliciousness. It was spring in the middle of winter.

We've reached a point in the year (a couple weeks ago, actually) when the sunset is later than 4:30 here in Hallowell, ME. Which means that when I leave work it is still light out. In fact, because I work at the top of the hill and don't get cast in the shadows of the valley, when I leave work, the sun still shines on me! It is wonderful. It is thrilling.

There are sure to be more snowstorms. And the icy sidewalks aren't going anywhere anytime soon. And it'll be dark and dreary some days. I'll do my best to keep trudging through. I have tickets to a concert in a couple weeks, and a quick trip to DC the week after that. It helps to have things to look forward to- to have warmer destinations to escape to!

Soon enough real spring will be here, and I won't be mad about it. I'm ready.