Mildew 1402 & What It Taught Me…

…About Treasures / Treasuring / What We Value (#VOWtreasure):

If you asked me a year ago what I would have taken from my apartment if I had 30 minutes to save what mattered, I think I would have had a very hard time picking. I would have wanted all of the clothes. I would not have left without my books. You would have had to pry the flaming canvases out of my hands.

A month ago, when that scenario actually played out (except that I was told nothing was safe to take and I had as much time as my lungs could breathe toxic air), I took two cast iron skillets, a potato peeler, a mandoline, and our boxes of Spanish sea salt–the supplies Kev and I use at least twice a week to make tortilla. I took the rocks we collected from the black stone beach in Iceland. I took the shells I held while I cried into the ocean two summers ago. I took a literal jar of dirt from my hometown that has been everywhere in the world I have since I graduated from high school in 2007. I took the pair of my grandpa’s socks I stole from his drawer years ago and the bear claw and turquoise necklace he gave me. I took the charms my dad gave my mom the year she graduated from high school. I saved the vintage leather jacket my sister passed down to me.

There was so much I couldn’t take of my grandmother’s. I hate that I did not even attempt to save her sewing basket. But every time my heart starts to ache, I can hear her telling me that I did not need something physical of hers–she’s hemmed right into my soul. She told me (in real life) not to shed tears over the loss of my artwork, because she was crying those for me.

…About Choice / Choosing How to React (#VOWchoose):

Pema Chödrön once told a story about a Native American grandfather talking to his grandson. The grandfather was telling the little boy about how sometimes it felt like he had two wolves fighting inside him. The grandson asked the old man which wolf wins. “Whichever wolf I choose to feed,” he said.

We can perpetually apologize, or we can choose to say, instead, thank you. We can feel guilty for accepting help, or we can pay it forward. In times of trauma, we can ask the victim, what can I do, or we can just show up with supplies for bolognese and pour them a glass of wine. We can let the anger loop, again and again, or we can choose to invite it to sit down with us and have a glass of red.

We have a lot of say in what happens to us.

…About Rejecting / Responding & Not Reacting (#VOWreject):

I hope some day all this makes me softer. That I look back on this with more laugh lines because of it. I hope that I lean into the sharp points. That I stay on the mat.

…About How All That Remains is Enough (#VOWnarrow):

Because I didn’t lose my entire life; I lost stuff,
and home is not a noun or a place–it’s a verb.

Check out Linds’ #VOWtreasure, #VOWchoose, and #VOWreject posts


Not So Special: Reflecting on TREASURE

August came and went. Quickly. Too quickly given how little I accomplished.

Though my birth month wasn’t as full as the rest of the year. In higher ed, it’s typically a time in which we prep for the arrival of students and brace ourselves for the insanity of the first few weeks of classes. In my area, we are responsive to the shit storm that usually follows six weeks of newfound independence that lends itself to chaos and trouble.

August at work is a waiting game through the end of October.

At home, I wrapped up a (very easy) summer semester and refreshed on all the necessary supplies and books necessary for my next (and final) year in my program. Josh and I lay low most weekends, trying to restrict our monetary and caloric budgets.

Simplicity is sometimes unnerving. Especially when it comes during what we perceive should be Big Moments. I’ve struggled to write something eloquent about the past month because nothing feels noteworthy. As a Leo I love celebrating (especially myself TBH) so having no updates feels like somehow the whole month was a dud.

Everything was smooth. Everything was uneventful. Everything was so freaking easy.

In the same way many artists believe they thrive off angst and anxiety to produce worthy work (recommended reading about this: Big Magic), I feel like I need to have something monumental in order to write an interesting or inspirational blog post. And there is probably something to that – I doubt this will be a read that pulls at your heartstrings or inspiration.

A few short years ago, I was the girl who had plans every night of the week. I literally had to deliberately practice Hermit Nights to spend in solitude. They were a beautiful respite among a packed calendar, but if I’m fully honest, I have historically felt better about myself when things are busy. I feel productive, interesting, important.

During this time I created a list of things I wanted in a relationship. It was an aspirational list which I never expected to fully manifest. But manifest it did, in the form of Josh. The first thing on that list that I think of, that I absolutely TREASURE, is achieving the desire to feel cherished. Josh cherishes the shit out of me. And likewise, I cherish the hell out of him.

It is in these quieter moments — this quieter life — that I find myself naturally expressing magnificent  gratitude for simplicity. For the ease. For what I once classified as boring. Understanding that all that is  Instagramable may not necessarily be the most valuable things. That afternoons spent in our underwear, lounging on the pullout sofa in front of the tv, sipping too strong of cocktails too early in the day, cuddling but not necessarily talking… this glitters more vibrantly than what pops and flashes.

Not so special has become pretty fucking amazing.

In September we make some decisions — find out what we CHOOSE.

Check out Steph’s #VOWtreasure post

Contractions: Catching Up on #VOWcross, #VOWwait, & #VOWspend

It’s the last day of July, and I haven’t posted since May.

Since then, #VOWcross, #VOWwait, and #VOWspend have come and gone.

I just caught up on Sister’s posts for the past three months, and I found myself nodding in agreement. Had I posted, as often happens with us, I would have said many of the same things, so I suggest you read hers.

I did reflect on our verbs. I even put them into practice. I thought about posting. I intended to.

But the last three months…well, they were something.

I think the best way to describe them is that they involved a hell of a lot of contracting, as Madisyn Taylor phrased it in her Daily Om newsletter that we reposted on the blog. (Also, you should totally subscribe to those emails, because they are life-changing; you can do so here.)

At the end of this year, I anticipating looking back on my One Word for 2018, Narrow, and remembering these contractions. I anticipate remembering the months spent trying to cross more things off my list than I possibly could get done. The time put in waiting for it to be time. The money spent when I would have rather saved it.

But despite this tightening, I think what I will remember more about narrowing is the way these contractions, ironically, expanded me. They flexed muscles that allowed me to cross lines and boundaries in nearly every aspect of my life, inspiring me to stretch and grow more than I knew I could—physically, sexually, spiritually, mentally, professionally. They reminded me about the goodness that can come from the Universe when I just sit and, therefore, trust that some things are worth investing in, worth waiting for. They taught me that sometimes Emergency Funds should be renamed Life Funds and spent in the moments that make you life rich, even if a bit cash poor.

And speaking of things that can be gold, this month, in August, we