Sometimes Being a Grown-Up Means…

Being (genuinely) happy when good things happen for other people.

Using a lint roller to look more presentable.

Learning from past mistakes.

Not wishing that you looked like someone else, were someone else, had someone else’s brains, body, bank account, job, etc.

Eating your vegetables.

Being flexible (and this has nothing to do with yoga, but more to do with giving and taking.)

Being fifteen minutes early (not late) for work.

Wearing sunscreen.

Not always having to get your own way.

Being honest about your flaws, and either embracing them or changing them.

Giving up on always being right.

Putting up with people and/or things that you don’t like (with a smile.)

Paying your bills (on time.)

Overlooking others faults and trusting that they’re probably just trying to do their best too.

Admitting when you’re wrong (and apologizing.)

Remembering your loved ones birthdays.

Giving up your seat on the train, bus, etc. for an elderly, disabled, or pregnant person (happily not grudgingly.)

Making sure to eat breakfast in the morning.

Not blaming other people for your problems.

Taking care of yourself emotionally and physically.

Flossing.

Drinking responsibly.

Going to work even when you don’t feel well.

Respecting other people’s time.

Listening (really listening) without thinking about what you’re going to say next.

~The End.

Picture by: http://thebottomoftheironingbasket.blogspot.com/2010/10/best-kind-of-juggling.html

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This One’s For The Girls…

“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”

― Madeleine Albright

Women tearing down other women isn’t a new phenomenon or anything, and if you’re a woman then you have probably experienced this at least a time or two in your life.  It got me thinking, though…

What is up with how some women tear each other down?

Personally, I just don’t get it.

Here is my version of a case study:

A few years ago I worked at a salon where there was an equal ratio of women to men.  I had a man for a boss, and before I was a real hair stylist taking my own clients, I apprenticed mostly under all men.  Now here is the thing that I noticed over the course of three or so years of working there, the salon became somewhat of a “boys club.”  So, what does a “boys club” mean anyway?  Basically, it’s when men form their own alliance within a workplace that consists of both men and women, and have each others back no matter what.  It made for an interesting dynamic, and the strong boys against girls attitude became palpable over time.

It bugged me.

Big time.

It kind of reminded me of a book my mother read to me when I was little…

C'mon can't Sister Bear play?

It didn’t bug me because I felt left out of the “boys club,” no that wasn’t it at all, it bugged me that the women in the salon didn’t have the same attitude as the men had toward one another.  In fact, it was the total opposite.  I’m not saying that all the women who worked there were out to get each other, but I am saying that there were definitely some that were.  In particular, there was a ring leader or two who actively did try to bring other women down to get ahead.  It came in many different forms, such as telling the boss blatant lies, talking about other female stylists behind their backs, all while simultaneously smiling to their faces. The situation became toxic, especially when other women who wouldn’t normally be so catty joined in on it.  Unfortunately,  I’m embarrassed to say that there were times when I got sucked into it, too.  The kicker of this story, is that each time the women behaved this way to each other, the boys club’s alliance only strengthened.

When I look back at this, I think it’s kind of sad.

I should probably note that I’m sure there are also men who try to knock each other down to get ahead, but while on the topic of women in particular, I thought I’d give you an example of something that personally happened to me.

I don’t want to get into too much depth about this, but recently I received a very passive aggressive email from another woman who felt the need to reprimand me, which opened up this topic for me all over again.

Why do some women feel the need to tear other women down?

Personally I don’t get it.  But I do think as women we should try to build each other up, and not tear each other down, don’t you?

C’mon ladies…

Even Princess Leia agrees...

However, if you happen to find yourself the victim of a venomous woman talking smack, you can always keep this in mind…

'Nuff said.

~The End.

Photos courtesy of Amazon.com, geyserofawesome.com, and bluntcard.com

The Best Advice I’ve NEVER Received, But Wish I Had…

Are you ready?

Get over it.

So, I thought I’d do a sequel to the post I did a little while back called, “The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received, and tell you a little about a lesson I wish I had learned a lot earlier.

Before we begin, I’d like to get a disclaimer out there right off the bat.  The goal of this post is not to be insensitive to any people seriously suffering from any clinical disorder, or dealing with obvious life situations that this sentiment would be considered unsympathetic to.  However, this post is a reflection of my own meandering thoughts on the topic, and nothing more.

With that…

Let’s talk about get over it for a minute.  It sounds a little like tough love, doesn’t it?  Well, that’s because it is tough love, and tough love ain’t easy.  Sometimes it’s difficult dole out that kind of advice, because you don’t want to hurt someones feelings.  On the receiving end it’s not any easier to hear it, because you might feel that your feelings are being dismissed, or like you’re not being understood.  Overall, it’s tricky ground to tread either way.

For me, I think that if someone would have told me to get over it in different situations throughout my life, I would have been devastated at first, but I do believe it might have been the best thing for me to hear in the long run.  The reason being, that sometimes when you’re in the midst of a situation it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s also very easy to get stuck in the tunnel for years and years not being able to see your way out.

Now, I’m not saying that if someone says get over it that it will act as a magical snap of the fingers to fix all of your problems.  No no no no no.  That’s not what I’m saying at all.  What I am saying is that sometimes you need to hear the truth, not be coddled, or have advice sugar-coated, to finally have the tools to begin the journey to find that light.  You feel me?  It’s not an easy quest, though, and I sympathize with anyone beginning it.

Just to give you a specific example of an experience I’ve had (P.S. I absolutely hate talking about this), was when I went through a bad break-up that lasted entirely to long. I spent years (I’m not kidding) exhausting my friends talking about it, probably draining my mother harping on it, and basically letting it get in the way of almost every aspect of my life.  It was totally ridiculous. To be honest, I wish someone had given me a swift kick in the arse, and told me to get the hell over it.

I’ve had other experiences as well that would have qualified me to hear get over it, and I’ve also been in situations where I’ve wanted to tell someone else to get over it.  Although I don’t think that I ever actually have.

The moral of this story is that sometimes it’s good to hear what you don’t want to hear.  It’s not fun, and it doesn’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside either, but that’s not the point.  The point is, sometimes you need someone else to point out to you what you might not be able to see yourself.

~The End

I Resolve To:

A New Years Resolution in October?  I think yes!  Every year I make a New Years Resolution and I try really, really hard to stick to it.  Just to give you an idea, some of my resolutions in the past have been: to go back to school and finish my degree, stop drinking pop (or soda whatever you’d prefer to call it.  I’m from Michigan, we say pop), start exercising regularly, start a blog, and start reading directions (because reading directions is one of the banes to my existence.)

So, this week I got to thinking about what my resolution will be for next year.  Typically l start to come up with an idea a few months in advance, so once New Year Day comes around, I’m not scrambling to come up with something on the fly.

Care to fill in the blank?

As ideas started coming to me, I couldn’t help but think~ Why do we wait until January to make these resolutions?  Why not start now?!

I had never thought of it that way before.  I’m sure by January 1st I will have come up with other ideas as well, but for now, these are the resolutions I am going to start today…or maybe tomorrow, because some of these are really hard.

5.)  Limit writing posts on Facebook to once a week, and keep them benign.  Also, sign onto Facebook once every few days, and nothing more than that.

Well, I have learned over the past few years through my tumultuous relationship with Facebook that no matter what you write, someone has an opinion, unless it’s something really harmless like, “Hooray!  I’m getting married today!!”  Then, what can someone say?  There is no leeway for it to get personal.  I vow to stop writing anything on Facebook that could be misconstrued in any way, shape, or form, today!  No matter how meaningless I think what I’m writing is, if there is any part of me that has hesitation about it, then it doesn’t go up.  Period.

Also, get off Facebook already!  God, what is my problem?  I am always saying how annoying Facebook is and blah, blah, blah, yet I continue to go on every day.  Not anymore.  I will not go on Facebook more that once every few days, as to avoid the Facebook burn out.

Wow, I feel better already!  Don’t you?

4.)  Quit being so hard on myself.

I am by far my toughest critic.

For example~  “Why did I get a B?  I could have gotten an A.”

Or…

“If I don’t make the Deans List again this semester, than that means I suck at school.”

Or the one I am famous for lately…

“I’m getting a wrinkle on my forehead,  why the h isn’t this wrinkle cream working?” <-Said with great despair.

Why would any normal human being think these things?  I hear myself saying them, but it doesn’t register that they’re irrational.  I mean, now that I’m writing it down I can see it, but why when I am in the moment do I not understand that?  Whatever the reason, it’s clear I have to stop the destruction now.

3.)  Stop cutting my hair.

This picture is giving me anxiety...Yikes.

You all remember what happened the last time I cut my hair, right?  Somehow every time I do it, I seem to think the result is going to be different.  Isn’t that the definition of insanity?  However, the next time I go to reach for the scissors, I will get an imaginary slap on the wrist.

That’s it, no more cutting my own hair, and that means bangs, too, missy!  You got that?

2.)  Stop trying to map out the future.

I’ve noticed that I am always thinking ahead.  I am always planning for a worst case scenario, or looking into the future for what it might hold.  Most of the time this makes me feel like I am going bonkers.  I vow to start taking a breather and just living in the moment more, instead of planning for what’s coming next.

Now for the last one, also known as the most important one…

1.)  Start seeing the glass half full.

Half full or half empty? You decide.

Well, this is going to be a tough one.  In fact, I’m not entirely positive that I can actually stick with it.  I know it sounds a bit cynical to admit to being a “glass half empty” person, but I don’t look at it that way.  The way I see it, is that I am realistic.  Matt is the dreamer, and I am the voice of reason usually.  However, I admire his outlook on life.  He is a very positive person, and he is not afraid of his dreams.  He’s also not afraid of failing.  How many people can really say that they’re not afraid of failing?  Yeah, Matt’s pretty awesome.  That’s why I married him.

Anyway, I heard a Steve Jobs quote right after he passed away, and to me, it pretty much summed up Matt.  The quote was, “Stay hungry, stay foolish.”  I’ve decided I want to be more like that, foolish, because although being realistic can protect you from disappointment, it doesn’t enable you to take the kinds of risks that pay off big time.

So, what are some of your New Year’s Resolutions?

~The End…

10 Songs That Shaped My Life…

10.)  Love Shack by The B-52’s

“Tin roof…Rusted…” <–C’mon who doesn’t remember that?!

I fell in love with this song at the ripe old age of 8, and it is my first memory of hearing a song, and feeling an intense urge to bust a move.  This song sprung a barrage of made up dances between me and my childhood best friend, and I always, and I repeat ALWAYS had to do the “Tin roof…Rusted part,” or else I got really p’o-ed.  Just ask Bekka Parker (she was my childhood bff.)  Anyway, recently my brother heard it on satellite radio and he had to let me know, because I think he, along with my whole family, remembers when my friend and I would make up dances to it, and demand that they all watch us dance around like little freaks.  I think they’re still scarred…

Ummm...cowbells as an instrument? Brilliant!

Listen to it and see if it makes you wanna shake your groove thing…

04_-_love_shack_-_cosmic_thing 

9.)  The Sign by Ace of Base

Just a few short years later when I was about 11 or 12 “The Sign” came onto the scene.  I remember I was at the roller rink for a birthday party, and I heard this catchy pop melody playing from the jukebox, and thinking, “What is that glorious pop music I am hearing right now?!  I must find out!”  Someone informed me it was Ace of Base’s “The Sign,” which instantaneously put me on a mission the second I got home, to pop a cassette in my boombox, and try to catch it on the radio so I could tape it.  Once I finally recorded it, I must have listened to it a hundred times.

However, my love affair with this song quickly ended, when my dad tried to get me to sing it for an audition for Star Search a couple of years later.  I remember thinking that the song was soooooo old, and I felt so dorky doing it.  I ended up not going for the audition, and I couldn’t listen to the song for years after, because it reminded me of my adolescent awkward self trying to sing “I saw the sign, I saw the si–i-i-i-i-gn…I saw the sign…and it opened up my eyes, I saw the sign.”  Actually I can’t even think about it now, because it’s giving me the creeps!  Awkward!

But I still love the song!

"Life is demanding, without understanding." <--How profound...

Wanna hear it?  Listen below…

04_-_the_sign_-_the_ultimate_collection_(box_set)_(cd_1)

***Disclaimer:  I promise after this next one, I am done with all the cheesy pop music.***

8.)  Genie in a Bottle by Christina Aguilera

“I’m a genie in a bottle ba-bayyy, you gotta rub me the right way hon-eyyy…”<–Ahhwhat?

Yeah, she really said that.

So, I had to put this song on the list because when I think of being a teeny-bopper, I think of this song.  I used to sing this song in my 1994 white Ford Tempo, with the volume all the way up, and had no idea what these lyrics meant.  I honestly thought she was talking about a genie in a bottle.  Ummm..duh!  Straight up though, this song makes me think of my youth.  When I hear it, memories of belly baring shirts, over-highlighted hair, pink lip gloss, and poor imitations of Christina’s riffing, come flooding back…in a good way.

Back when Christina was Christina and not diiiiiirty X-Tina.

Wanna listen to X-Tina wail about a genie in a bottle?  Have a listen below…

01_-_genie_in_a_bottle_-_christina_aguilera

7.)  Both Hands by Ani Difranco

When I moved to New York for college when I was 19, was when I became all artsy-fartsy.  It’s also when I discovered Ani Difranco…also know as…ANI (said with great awe and enthusiasm.)  One of the first friends I met in NYC was playing around one night on her acoustic guitar and played “Both Hands” for me.  I remember hearing the lyrics, “I’m recording our history now on the bedroom wall, and when we leave the landlord will come
and paint over it all.”  This song always gives me a nostalgic feeling, and makes me think of my first year in New York.

Love her.

Wanna experience pure brilliance?  Listen below.

02 Both Hands

6.)  Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel

“My heart goin’ boom, boom, boom…”

This song defines my early 20’s.  After finishing school in New York, and feeling a little lost, I moved back home to Michigan for two years.  During that time, I put myself through cosmetology school, went through a bad break-up, and decided to move back to New York to pursue acting again and to try working as a hairstylist.  I just remember listening to this song over and over in my car when I was getting ready to go back to NYC, and being moved by it.  I don’t know how else to explain it.

If you ever go through a transitional phase in your life, discover this song.

This song will change your life.  Listen to it below and see for yourself…

Solsbury Hill

5.)  Gypsy by Fleetwood Mac

So, basically I am obsessed with Stevie Nicks…the hair, the long flowy dresses, the knee-high boots, the black-rimmed eyeliner, etc.  She’s no classic beauty, but she’s awesome.

This song reminds me of the second time I moved to New York, and the tiny little room I moved into.  You could seriously only fit a twin bed (barely) in there, and a little dresser.  I used to listen to this song over and over again.

A couple of years ago, I went to see Fleetwood Mac in a concert at Madison Square Garden, and Stevie sang this song.  She was amazing…naturally.  She said Gypsy is about finding love and about friendships.  This is what Stevie said about it: “Lightening strikes maybe once, maybe twice… that means one time in your life you find a very good friend, and maybe if you’re incredibly lucky, you might find a second. It all comes down to you, means but you have to look very hard.”

Love you, Stevie.

Seriously, how freaking cool is she?

Experience a little Stevie in your life…

04 Gypsy

4.)  Defying Gravity from the musical Wicked

Okay, so you all knew a quintessential theater nerd couldn’t resist putting at least one show tune on this list.  Really though, this song is phenom.

When I think of this song I think about coming to terms with leaving a bad job situation.  I had worked in a salon for a while, but over time, it became clear that it was not working out how I hoped it would.  It was disappointing, but I knew I had to move on.  I was scared to take such a risk, though.  I had put in a lot of time and hard work, so it was devastating to realize it was falling apart.  On top of all that, I was just feeling like I wasn’t good at anything.  It was kind of a low point, but I knew it had to get better because it couldn’t get any worse.

Right around that time, my Grandma Barkoff ended up passing away, and I went home to be with my family.  While I was home, I knew it was time to cut the strings with the job situation.  It took a lot of courage, but I finally left the job and moved on.  I ended up finding an amazing job soon after, where I felt appreciated and finally recognized for my talents.  It was the best decision I ever made.

And thus, “Defying Gravity” became my anthem.

P.S.  You know you’re a theater nerd when nothing pumps you up more than a show tune.

"I'm flying high defying gravity."

Get lifted.  Listen below…

11 Defying Gravity

3.)  Is this Love by Bob Marley

This song hands down reminds me of when Matt and I were falling in love.  On our second date he took me to a G Love concert in Central Park.  I remember he waited with me in line for almost an hour to use the gross porta-potty, and while we waited there we heard “Is this Love” by Bob Marley.  I said, “Oh my God, I love this song,” to which he replied, “Me too.”  We then had an awkward moment trying not to look at each other, because we were both probably thinking the same thing, which was…Is this love?

Bob the legend.

Wanna find out if this is love?  Listen below…

13 Is This Love

2.)  Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes by Paul Simon

“People say she’s crazy, she’s got diamonds on the soles of her shoes.  Well, that’s one way to lose these walking blues, diamonds on the soles of your shoes.”

Oh Paul Simon, what can I say?  You speaka my language.

It was hard for me to narrow it down to just one Paul Simon song, because he is my favorite artist of all time.  There is something so completely beautiful about his lyrics and his ability to string melodies into them.  Recently I was a Barnes and Noble and got really excited when I found a hard-covered Paul Simon Lyrics coffee table book on one of those 60% off sales.  I snatched it right up, and have every intention of displaying it on my coffee table when Matt and I finally have a real apartment soon.  I love him and I love this song.

Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes reminds me of when Matt and I first arrived in Grenada.  We listened to Paul Simon’s greatest hits album like it was out J-O-B.  This song was the perfect song to listen to after coming to a tropical paradise from the bitter cold of a New York winter.  It’s got sort of a Caribbean flair to it, and will always remind me of when we Matt started his medical career.

Wanna be soul-mates with me, Paul Simon?

Have a listen for yourself…

13_-_diamonds_on_the_soles_of_her_shoes_-_greatest_hits

1.)  Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

To know this song, is to love it.

I first heard this version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow probably about ten years ago.  It was playing in the credits at the end of a movie, which I can’t remember what that movie was now.  I absolutely loved it, and I have loved it ever since.

When I met Matt I found out that he loved it, too, and it basically became the theme song of our relationship.  It was playing when we got engaged, I walked down the aisle at our wedding to it, and we also had our first dance to it, too.  We both just absolutely love it, and maybe that’s because we both love Hawaii, and this song reminds us of paradise.  Either way, it’s a beautiful song, and in my opinion, the most beautiful ever.

Brother Iz is the bomb.

Listen below…

14_-_somewhere_over_the_rainbow_-_what_a_wonderful_world_-_facing_future

~The End

Photos courtesy of blog.ctnews.com, amazon.com, freecodesource.com, worleygig.com, blog.needsupply.com, eightoclocktwilight.wordpress.com, rockhall.com, musicstack.com.

Would You Rather…

Be stranded on a desert island with your 4 worst enemies?

B*tches might make your life miserable, but then again, maybe you'd start to like each other after awhile...

Or be completely alone?

And lose your marbles like this fool...

Would you rather be alone and rich?

Leona Helmsley was so rich, but died so alone that she left her fortune to her dog. No, I'm not kidding.

Or be loved and poor?

Are you really poor if you're rich in love?

Would you rather live a long life but never find true love?

Can you ever truly be fulfilled if never loved in return?

Or live a short life but experience passionate true love for 6 months?

Can anything really match the feeling of being loved? Even if it's in exchange for a shorter life?

Would you rather be able to fly?

Just think, you could go anywhere in the world you've ever wanted to go...

Or be able to read minds…

And you could know what everyone is really thinking...but maybe your feelings might get hurt if you could...

So…

Tell me…

What would you rather?

On Taking Criticism….

So, apparently I have a lot to learn.  For starters, taking criticism.  I have to admit, I have never been good at accepting a sharp critique.  Anyone with me on that?  I could be wrong, but I think you have to be a really strong person to be able to allow someone to give you an honest opinion about something you really care about, and to be able to sincerely accept it with an open mind.  Sure it’s easy to receive judgement on something you could care less about, but when you have truly put your heart and soul into something, and someone doesn’t like it?  Well, it hurts.  It kind of feels like someone is bursting your bubble, or like someone decided to bring around a cloud to rain on your parade.  Now I know how Barbra felt.

Almost like she's saying, "Please, for the love, don't rain on my parade!!!"

Today, I got some critiques back from my classmates in a Writing For Young Adults class at the college I attend online.  I was anticipating the feedback all last weekend, because I knew that early this week I was going to get the verdict from my classmates.  The class is set up to be a workshop environment where each week a new student submits a few chapters from the novel they’re writing, and your fellow classmates honestly critique it.  Now, I probably set myself up for disaster because as some of the feedback started rolling in early Monday, I felt like nothing could bring me down.  I had some positive feedback, where one classmate even compared my writing to Judy Blume (which totally made my life, because I basically love her, and read all of her books growing up.)  I was feeling really confident, and even started fantasizing about the Pulitzer Prize that I might win one day.  Okay, so that’s really awkward, but if I’m honest, I think I did actually wonder at one point what the requirement for a Pulitzer Prize was.  Hello, delusional!

Later this afternoon I cheerfully signed on to the forum for the class to check if anymore feedback had come through on my novel, and BINGO, one new message.  Hooray!  I was extremely excited to receive the rest of my feedback, that would confirm my Pulitzer Prize writing future.  However, much to my chagrin, it was not positive at all, it was downright, devastating.  It was from a classmate, and she criticized everything about my piece.  This b*tch went cray cray on my baby (my novel) and destroyed everything in its path, from my use of parenthesis, to the main character whom she called “dry.”  P.S.  That character was basically modeled after moi, so I was a little offended.

I spent the next hour on the phone with my mother going off about her. I used an array of tactics to cut her down the same way in which she had done to me, (e.g. saying things to the effect of, “Hasn’t she ever heard of a prologue before?!  It’s like she’s never read a freaking book before!  She must read effing Harry Potter!” <–Btdubs, no offense to anyone who like the Potter-inator…I was just angry when I said that, and JK Rowling is amaze.)  So anyway, I basically just went off about it, until even I got sick of hearing myself talk.

After my rant was over, I thought about what I was really upset about.  I was let down.  I had a moment earlier in the week when I had received such positive responses that I felt like nothing could touch me.  My ego was hurt because someone didn’t like my work, and because I had put my full effort into it, she told me her honest opinion, and maybe some of what she said had some truth to it.  I retaliated by cutting her down to make myself feel better, but it didn’t make me feel better, it just made me feel worse.

It made me think of a quote that I once heard that says, “Whatever you do, don’t
congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your
choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.”  The part about congratulating yourself too much, is apparently the part that I need to take note of in the future, and obviously something I need to work on.

Also, something to remember for the next time…

I don’t know if accepting criticism will ever get easier for me, but I do know, I am going to work on it.  Apparently I haven’t exactly taken my own advice.  To those of you who have read, “Stuff I’ve Realized Recently,” well, you all know what I’m talking about.  Perhaps in some ways I really have stopped caring less about what people think since I’ve gotten older…However…

Maybe there are some things, no matter how old you are, what you proclaim to the world in a blog as gospel, or how much you say you don’t care what people think, are always going to sting and trigger something in that little place inside you, until you learn the right way to just Let. It. Go….

The End~