About a year ago today, I was on my way to Miami to catch Pearl Jam at the start of their 2016 tour.
This would be the first PJ concert for one of my best friends, and when we finally made it to Tampa, it would also be my sisters first PJ experience. Both concerts were epic as always, and both of these girls now have a much better understanding of my passion (obsession) for the band.
If you want to see someone having a religious experience, meet me in the GA section of any PJ show! 🙌🏻🙌🏻
Everyone is always asking me…”what were you doing on a pool table at 7?” My brother used to hang out at this pool hall with all his friends and I would tag along. Whether he wanted me to or not. I wasn’t fond of staying home for a variety of reasons. It was a different time and a one street town no ones ever heard of in Mississippi. Don’t worry, I wasn’t drinking beer, only smoking cigs. 🤘🏻
From the moment Eddie started singing in Hunger Strike, my heart skipped a few beats. His voice sounded familiar to me. What was more, it was unlike anything else I had ever heard in this world. This was it. This was my favorite song of all time! This was the band that would get me through the life I was born to live. The good, the bad, the unspeakable.
If you’ve never heard Hunger Strike, you owe it to yourself:
Eddie Vedder has the ability to sing with a passion that is completely transferable. It’s the kind of music you can feel, not just in your feet, but deep down in the knitty gritty parts of your soul. The parts of you no one else sees. Just look at this man still kicking ass…
Mike McCready has the ability to play guitar as if he were speaking a universal language. If you’ve never seen him perform live, search you tube for any solo performance and I promise that your life will never be the same! Also if you think you know everything about guitar, you know nothing until you’ve seen this man at work.
Jeff Ament makes bass his bitch. He’s been there since the beginning. He’s loyal to the music, the band and everything he believes in. He’s a beautiful musician and an even better person.
Stone Gossard does it all, literally. There’s no other way to describe it.
Matt Cameron isn’t the original drummer for Pearl Jam, but in a way he’s been there since the beginning too with Temple of the Dog, before he was the drummer for Soundgarden. So he grew up in the same family, so to speak.
Today Pearl Jam and above mentioned musical heroes will be inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame, and I couldn’t be prouder or more happy for their success.
It’s like growing up reading a comic book and suddenly that comic book is now real life. A less nerdier comparison might be the way some of you feel about football when your team wins the Super Bowl. I have not yet had that feeling about football, but I’ve witnesssed it and the comparison is pretty solid.
Hopefully you at least know who Pearl Jam is, or after reading this, you now want to!
Feel free to share with me your favorite band and when you first heard them as well. My love for music does extend past Pearl Jam I swear, but today, it’s all about them.
Congratulations Pearl Jam, you deserve this and everything else on the wishlist.
It is a terribly tragic thing; the way a person can become so familiar with abuse throughout a lifetime, that even long after the escape, they fall so quickly back into the darkness at their very own leaping, as if their heart had never been dancing in the light before.
Yet, how beautiful it is to be lifted up everyday by people who know you better than you know yourself. People who see you fall and help you get back up. How wonderful it is, to have someone call you out on your own shit. To remind you of your worth with an inside joke, a smile, a kiss, a text, a rose 🌹. Whatever it is, these people are your tribe.
I guess some of us really do get that lucky. If you are that lucky, thank your tribe and help them back up too.
If you find yourself back in the darkness and you have not found your luck yet, may I take a moment to call you out on your own shit, and remind you how hard you have fought every single day before this one. How your track record of bad days is actually pretty fucking stellar and the fact that you keep forgetting that is the only thing making today even more exhausting.
You aren’t perfect and you don’t need to be. Stop trying to look and act like the rest of the world. For in your imperfections, you are MORE than perfect. You are a work of art, and this life is your very own canvas. A limited edition, by yours truly.
While you may not be able to leave this museum you find yourself bounded to by life’s etching, you sure as hell can paint it any color that you’d like! You can even break down a wall every once in a while and let in a little bit of light.
After all, you do own the place.
When I was a married woman, my life seemed to fit into this perfectly wrapped box. It was a package deal. All inclusive. The corners of that box were dented and rough along the edges, but the contents never changed. I knew exactly what was expected of me, day after day.
The list: Get married ✔️, Finish college ✔️, Establish a career ✔️, settle down somewhere ✔️, buy a house (negative), have kids (negative).
That didn’t all work out exactly as described in the package I purchased. After all, I was just 19 and the whole package was only $50, limo included. “What did you expect..”they say. “It’s Vegas!” Biggest gamble and lesson of my life by far. However, I can honestly say I’ve never been more grateful for such a disappointment.
No, the white picket fence dream was never mine. It was never meant for me, and that’s ok. I know that now. I’ve known that for a while.
Today, I have the best friends you could ask for, a beautiful, warm home to live in, a car that still runs efficiently after 10 years, 2 college degrees ( and the loans to prove it). I’m even blessed somehow with an amazing man who treats me like some form of an endangered species! ❤
I have a great career, one that I’m proud of and one that I could actually retire from. Yes, it’s exhausting but that’s because I actually care about what I do. I’ve traveled some, I’ve grown some. In all calculated aspects, I am pretty damn happy! Anyone who knows me at all knows that I have fought like hell to get here. Everything I have, I have built for myself, from myself.
So why do I feel so lost here by myself? Where am I going? Am I there yet…?
That’s the funny thing about once you get everything you THOUGHT you ever wanted. You are all packed up in the car and you’re just sitting behind the steering wheel with absolutely no other destination. You didn’t actually plan to get this far! You just thought having all of the parts would make the journey complete.
” If I could just get this one job….”
” If I can just ace this last class…”
” If I could just find a place that feels like home…”
” If I made just a little more money…”
” If I found the perfect guy..”
Where the hell am I going and will I even know when I finally get there? These are the questions I ponder. These are the things I don’t say out loud. These are my first world problems. Is everything perfect in my life? Not even close! But then again, that’s what makes it mine.
Truthfully, it’s not really about where you end up is it? It’s more about the journey itself. Who we meet, who we become, what we learn along the way, the way we DO better once we KNOW better.
I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m enjoying the sound of things not meant for me lost in the wind. I’m pleased with my present company, and excited for wherever we end up. I’m actually happily incomplete.
So the next time you think to yourself; ” If I could just lose weight…” ” If I could just have a baby..” ” If I could just do more… be more..”. Imagine you have it. You have all of it. Now what?
None of it will make you anymore complete because most things we think that we need are only souvenirs, or small pieces to the big never ending map of life. Some pieces are huge! Friends, family, heartache, love, loss; everything else,we could live without and end up on the same journey, just a little less distracted by all the What Ifs…
Remember that one time…when you thought your whole life was over?
We’ve all been there at different chapters in our life. Maybe your heart was broken once, or maybe you actually did the breaking. Maybe you lost a business, a friendship or a dream. Maybe the object of what you actually lost was something in yourself you thought you’d never get back, no matter how hard you tried. You felt absolutely hopeless, alone and utterly defeated. Maybe you are in that chapter right now and it’s just the absolute fucking worst. The sweatpants, the messy hair, the emptiness, the interventions … wait, was that just my story?
Nevermind the minor details of what it looks like. The point is that life is messy. All of it! The ups, the downs; all of it is one big, beautiful mess that will break your heart six ways to Sunday. (#silverliningsplaybook)
If you are in that part right now, if this is your chapter and you are drowning deep under the weight of it all, take a deep breath. Place your hand over your heart. Breathe. You feel that?
Turns out, you are still alive! Yes, you might have fell apart for a long minute, but you’ve got this.
There were several blogs on how juice cleanses can save your colon and your life, post divorce struggles with dating (mainly for people who have kids), beauty advice, unrealistic nutrition blogs, save your shitty marriage articles, build the perfect version of yourself because you are the problem blogs, etc. There was no one out there saying :” Hey, I just fucked everything up. I’m completely alone. I have wasted my whole life and I do not have any idea how to start over.” Because we don’t say things like that out loud as a society.
Well, welcome to the club and to a new year into my little portal of the world, Living Out Loud, because “Keepin it Real” was taken.
Seriously, I don’t have any easy answers or a list of herbs you can buy to change your life, but my hope is to help you realize you have all of the answers already within yourself.
Last year, instead of making a resolution I would break, I picked a word to reflect my goals for that year. That word was “Present”. To be actively present in life and each moment of it. Pretty sure I smashed that goal! 🙌🏻 As a result, my bucket list achievements were surprising even to myself. (See previous post from the fall for that update.)
This idea of choosing a word instead of a resolution came from another blogger who referenced the “One Word”project. See the link below for info. and help selecting YOUR own word. http://myoneword.org/pick-your-word/
This is a great place to start if you are at a crossroads in life or just need a focal point.
My word for 2017 has taken some careful time to select. I feel that the word I have chosen is an extension of being present and it’s exactly what I need to focus on this year. To stop beating myself up about those few extra pounds, or not being able to be everything to everyone all of the time. Turns out, I am not Nutella. I am pretty damn amazing though, so my word for 2017 is “Confidence”.
The confidence to know that I am enough and I have always been enough in everything. That’s quite the challenge for me given all of my past experiences. The confidence to say thank you when people say “You’re beautiful!”, instead of remembering everyone who made me feel less than. To accept my success, grace and kindness instead of hiding so often behind the sarcasm and self loathing that has become all too familiar. This is a pretty real struggle for me.
Whatever your struggle is, my hope is that by focusing on my own confidence I can also inspire something beautiful in you. Whether it’s a half smile, a distraction from a bad day, or actually helping you find your own confidence, I’m ecstatic for the opportunity!
With that said, if no one has told you lately. You are enough and I am so glad you are here.
Stay tuned ….
It’s 4am in my Seattle hotel room, overlooking downtown and Elliot Bay.
The city is actually quite still. Minus 2 pedestrians on opposite blocks and one lonely car making it’s way through the rare absence of traffic. There are no longer flashing blue lights from the oversized plasma TV’s across from me or balconies full of people. Just the same dim and reassuring light in every other space.
My black boots are slumped over in the corner, sad and silently mocking me. I sigh at the thought of wearing them around the city yesterday and almost falling twice. These used to be my favorite walking boots with just the right amount of heel. I’ve walked hundreds of miles in them, but it seems they are terribly worn out from my last few trips and so am I. Everything eventually falls apart.
You never really know what kind of shape you are in until you get outside of the gym. Walking 4 or 5 blocks up and down hills causes a swift realization that yes, you did actually gain 25 lbs last year. That actually happened. Several tight corners that I remember sliding through the last time I was here, I could now feel my hips touching. “Excuse me, excuse my huge ass please.”
The good news is that I lost 6 lbs this month so far. The bad news is that yesterday I had 3 steak tacos, BBQ pork chop on a stick, crab Rangoon, divinity cookies, an entire bottle of wine, one beer (not light beer) and a value size bag of munchies, minus the pretzels. I can’t tell you today I’ll do better, because I’ve got plans. Plans to eat. It is a mini-break after all. Go on, judge me.
I actually did buy some ambrosia apples and cherries as well, I didn’t mention those bc that’s healthy! That’s also about $25 here at the Pike Place market. $25 on fruit?! Yes, because I live in Alaska where every piece of fruit tastes like cardboard soaked in a different flavor of Capri sun. So whenever I get the chance to actually pluck a cherry from it’s overpriced, organically grown stem or pierce the flesh of a crisp, ripe apple with my teeth, I relish that opportunity. It’s the little things in life.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Alaska. It’s where I lost myself 3 years ago, where I found myself too. It’s where my non-biological family lives, where my roots are stable and where I’ll grow old and die. Still complaining about the produce situation all the way to my grave. Yes, Alaska is my home and my sanctuary.
Except in January when it’s dark and cold ALL of the time. In January, Alaska is the frozen tundra I need to escape from. Seattle is the perfect city for that escape. It’s just a 3 hour plane ride directly into the middle of a magazine, and lots of last minute deals make it cheap. I don’t have to be real here, anyone with a major credit card and bad habits are more than welcome.
Escape is necessary. I needed to get away from my routine and all of my stuff or I felt like I was going to just lose it.
Losing it is a familiar term for most adults. Losing it is when you don’t want to get out of bed, but you don’t want to deal with the consequences of not getting out of bed either. You are irritable, quick to snap, over caffeinated and sleep deprived. You can’t remember where anything is. Your entire life has become so busy trying to fix everyone else’s problem that your “self” is flat out starved. You’re starving to do/eat what you actually want to for just a day, starving to see the sunset instead of going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark. Starving for sleep, for life, for water. Losing it.
The human body is over 50% water. If you take a glass of water half full and leave it in freezing cold temperatures for just a few hours, it becomes solid ice. If you do the same thing in temperatures too hot with high humidity, it slowly evaporates.
It’s no wonder we are all starving for the same things when we are made up of the same parts.
Embrace your appetite.
Earlier this year, I decided my word for 2016 would be “Present”, as in being actively present in life and all parts of it. The good and the bad. As a result, I believe 2016 has felt like one of the longest and most intense years of my life. If this year were a cocktail, I’d call it Crazy Mary. Yes, that is a Pearl Jam song.
“One night thunder cracked. Mercy backed outside her windowsill.
Dreamed I was flying high above the trees over the hills.
Looked down into the house of Mary.
Bare bulb on Newspaper covered walls. And Mary rising up above it all.
Oh… Oh… Oh…
Next morning on the way into town saw some skid marks and followed them around.
Over the curve, through the fields, into the house of Mary.
That what you fear the most could meet you halfway.”
That last line strikes a true chord in me. “That what you fear the most could meet you halfway.” Whether you are terrified of success or failure, love or heartbreak, what you know for sure and what you know nothing about at all; whatever it is, it could meet you halfway. That’s both a frightening and reassuring statement to consider. It’s like saying whatever happens, it’s going to hurt eventually because it matters… but if you are willing to go for it, if you’re willing to really put yourself out there (balls to the wall), then it could meet you halfway. Isn’t that better than never having it? Never knowing? Living the same day over and over again like a bad Justin Bieber song….for the love, someone change the station!!
Oh wait, it’s you, you have to change the station if you want to experience something new. You may not like it, it could even be worse, but it will be different. Change is good. Change is always good because we learn from it and knowedge is infinite.
I learned a lot this year…. some things I had to learn more than once. That’s just me. I’m very thorough you see. I don’t make the same mistake twice, I like to make it three or four times JUST to be sure ! (As the saying goes…) I’m also very stubborn and I wouldn’t want to be any other way.
With that said… let’s re-cap the 2016 Bucket List
1.) Go to Prom – Check!
Not only did my prom date kick ass, but Salt-N-Peppa were there to help us dance the night away in the proper decade! This was an awesome night and proves some of the best nights are worth the wait.
2.) Road trip in a convertible – Check!
We were so excited about cruising around in the convertible that I never actually took any pictures of the car itself. Note: It was a Ford Mustang and a fabulous addition to this road trip!
3.) Go on tour with Pearl Jam – Check!
What better excuse for a road trip than to follow Pearl Jam around for a week? Alright, alright… so I know that doesn’t classify as actually going on tour with Pearl Jam …but just let me have this one, because it’s probably as close as I’ll ever get!
From Miami to Tampa with 2 of my favorite girls and my favorite band.
These shows were E P I C as always. I love you Pearl Jam! I love you Eddie! #yourbiggestfan
4.) Complete a half-marathon – Check!
Anchorage Mayor’s Half Marathon, 2 hours and 38 minutes. I am very proud of this accomplishment and I’m even contemplating a full marathon in the future. I said contemplating… don’t get all excited just yet.
5.) Go somewhere in Alaska I’ve never been – Check!
Homer, Alaska. Beautiful waters, great halibut fishing and good times all around.
6.) Find a rainbow Eucalyptus tree – Check!
While we were in Maui, I also checked off:
#7: Travel the road to Hana and #8: Visit a new island.
My friend drove the road to Hana for us and I have to say it wasn’t as bad as people make it out to be. However, if you are easily car sick, this is not the drive for you. With that said, it’s a fine ride with the appropriate dose of Dramamine and the right people. That is until you pass Hana of course, and then you are basically SOL in a rented SUV. The previous twists and turns makes what lies after Hana look adorable. We turned around a mile or so away from the Seven Sacred Falls. Some things just belong on a post card! Here’s a bit of what we did see…
9.) Publish first novel – Epic fail. I did not do this for many reasons. Did I finish the book? Yes, I did. I just haven’t figured out if that’s how I want to end. I’m just not done. I don’t know if I ever will be as what’s in this book is all a very intricately weaved web of days gone by and days not yet had. More to come…
I didn’t really have a number 10 this year. I was just going to fly by the seat of my pants and see where things took me. Here’s how that has worked out:
- Started backpack initiative for keeping the homeless warm. Donations have been received to date for this project and distribution is in the works with a local charity.
- Set out to lose an additional 10 lbs, only 25 to go! Yes, I gained quite a bit of weight this year but I’ve also never felt healthier or happier. You win some, you lose some. Not always in pounds.
- Brought my sister to Alaska for the first time! It was so much fun to introduce her to my beautiful world. I love her so much and so glad she got to see where I call home.
- Fell in love. ❤ He’s like Christmas morning. Every time I see him, I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life.
- Let go of toxic relationships. If people in your life are consistently handing you the scissors, cut the chord.
So that’s where I am in Living Out Loud. Where are you? Do tell.
It’s been a great year! I can’t wait to see what 2017 holds.
Life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns…. so “they” say.
One of the major items on my bucket list this year was to find a rainbow eucalyptus tree. Also known as “Mindanao gum” trees, these beauties can be found in most tropical or subtropical areas, including the beautiful paradise where I was so lucky to find them, known as Maui, Hawaii. These trees grow over 200 ft tall and have all different shapes and styles.The colors change with the season just like leaves do in the fall or a girl’s mood from month to month. At first glance, it looks like they have been painted, but when you approach them closely, you can actually see the colors are revealed by the bark breaking off. The thinner the bark, the brighter the colors seem to be.
If you find yourself in Maui on the road to Hana, you can’t help but see these just after mile marker 7. Take my advice and don’t do this in your flip flops…. you’ll go through an entire container of baby wipes trying to get the mud off your feet. Satisfaction mud, bucket list mud, but still…. mud. (http://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/nature-blows-my-mind-rainbow-covered-eucalyptus-deglupta-trees.html)
I didn’t find any unicorns, but that’s only because they are extinct. See for yourself:http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/entertainment/news/a37608/unicorns-are-real-fossils/
If Good Housekeeping says it’s true, you bet your matching cermaic bowls it is. Turns out they weren’t the shiny, magical type of creatures we had imagined….
Well, you can’t have everything.
I very much enjoyed my trip to Maui even without the unicorns. There was plenty of other magical things to see. Waterfalls, sunsets, beautiful fish under water and even the Garden of Eden.
Even if you aren’t chasing rainbows and unicorns, make the most of out the adventures life sends to you. There is beauty in every mile.
I hope your weekend was fun and your night filled with the magic of tricks and treats!
I had my own little party this weekend and I have to confess… nothing makes me happier than cleaning a dirty house after a big party. I know that sounds absurd to most! There was glitter on just about everything. Chips, popcorn and miscellaneous items everywhere. Also, if you lost your wig, tobacco, vampire teeth, shades, underwear …or even your dignity… it is now safely in a box that shall be stored in the garage.
So often we take these things for granted. A dirty house often means it was full. I think of people who would give anything to have a house that full and I feel blessed in being able to clean it up.
I think of people laughing, dancing and being just exactly who they are for a few hours in my living room… and it makes my heart smile. Despite the candy wrappers, the empty bottles, etc. I sweep, and then I go to work and think of people who are praying for a job, any job. I’m lucky enough to have a very good one! I’m lucky to have to set an alarm, to have bills to pay, to have such a busy life full of light and warmth.
This year, I am taking it upon myself to bring some of that warmth to others. We have many homeless people in the city of Anchorage. It always bothers me and I never know what to do about it. Money only goes so far and it doesn’t really help because most of these people don’t even have an ID to go stay in a hotel even if you paid for it. They are stuck in a cold shelter at night (if they’re lucky) and even more cold during the day. So, I have an idea.
What if I could fill a backpack with a few essential items to make getting through the day and night a bit easier? A few dollars sure, a blanket, a warm hat, a pair of gloves, some instant toe warmers after walking outside in the cold all day. Maybe a book to read or something to occupy the mind away from their despair and loneliness, however temporary I pray it might be.
I’m accepting donations and I’ll distribute any that I receive throughout the year.
Remember, it’s not what you got… but what you give. – Tesla
When is the last time you remember feeling inspired? It is rare and far between for me these days. I’ve been drowning in bad politics, media cocktails, numb interactions, work, routine, petty first world problems. I’ve also been consumed with love, friendships, happiness, memories, the fast pace of it all so fucking familiar… so messy. I haven’t really taken any time to just absorb it. To just sit and breathe it all in. We’re so damn busy trying to catch up that we forget to sit down, shut up and just be still in this life we have created. For some of us, that seems impossible. For others, that is completely uncomfortable because it’s not the life we imagined.
It seems there should always be more. Why am I not where I thought I would be? Why am I not better? How can I be more, do more, live more? Expectations can lead us blindly into the land of never enough. There is no value to anything there because there is no gravity of the present. Even if you sold your very soul in a place like that, you’d get only a fraction of its worth. The sooner you let go of what could have, might have… the less you’ve got to lose. That’s not to say you shouldn’t keep reaching for your goals or working towards your dream, but wake up every once in a while and cherish how far you’ve already come. Respect the years traveled. Time is your most valuable currency.
None of us are living the same story, but the struggle I sense is the same. Maybe we fall in love with life and we start to lose sight of the things that kept us so busy before. The bucket list. The goals. The job. So, we beat ourselves up over it and get back to being focused, responsible, boring adults. Yet, isn’t falling in love with life exactly what we are all after in the first place? Isn’t that the very sparkle in the hopeless romantics eye? The universal language of hope, the endless search and reason. We actively seek it out. We listen to all of the songs, watch the movies and read all of the books. We dream of a world so promising that the poetry and lyrics remain damp on our lips as we sleep. Still, we can’t be bothered with the meticulous beating of our own hearts.
When you wake tomorrow, think of what a beautiful thing it is to be alive. Take a moment not to dread that it is Monday, because you are that much closer to another exciting Friday. Each day is so full of potential. Recognize it. Taste your coffee. Inhale and exhale consciously. Daydream. Wonder. Challenge yourself just because you can, with no end reward or list to check it off from. Maybe your challenge is a day without challenges. Maybe you just show up, do your best and the challenge is allowing that alone to be enough.
All I’m saying is, allow yourself a bit of grace when you have earned it.
I’m not sure what to think about all of the news lately from the shooting in Dallas to all of the other many shootings we’ve seen against police and our black brothers and sisters. I’m deeply bothered by all of it, so of course I’ve got to say something.
Before you interpret what I’m about to say in your own way, you should know that I have known and do know several people who are victims of police brutality, racism and prejudice. Yes, some of those people are black. Some of those people are white. Some are Hispanic. None of these people or their families deserved what happened to them.
Here is what I know to be true about current events:
All of this killing is unjust and unnecessary.
All of the shootings against blacks have NOT been by ONLY police officers. It’s way bigger than that! It’s bigger than traffic stops and you tube.
Not all whites are racist.
Not all police officers are white.
Not all protestors are violent.
Black lives DO matter.
Police officers lives matter.
Asian, Muslim, white, Indian, mixed, Japanese, Arabian, Samoan, tan, albino, red, gay, straight, Bi-sexual, transgendered, and human lives all matter! That shouldn’t be a debate if you respect human life.
But… I’m not supposed to say “all lives matter”. Because that is now labeled offensive until further notice, or until something bigger happens and we get distracted by Starbucks cups, Justin Bieber or whatever we are told to hate in the next media brewed cocktail.
Fact: Hate breeds hate. Ignorance breeds ignorance. Neither of these things will get you the results you want.
This is not a time to pick sides and make videos go viral. This is not changing anything. When we combine fear with ignorance, this is what our world looks like. Chaos.
Think for YOURSELF. Educate yourself. Take a look at yourself and be the change in the world YOU want to see. God does NOT have Facebook and something isn’t going to change because you lay in bed at night clicking a share button.