The Morning of November 12, 2019

Let’s be honest. We all have a criminal background to some extent. Recent events have me longing for a fresh start, new leaf, clean slate, etc. So, I must confess… I spilled the coffee.

Having looped in only a small handful of friends at the time, I have decided to share the full, unfiltered story, as recapped the afternoon following the incident.

A bit of background information:
I work on the 6th floor of a large corporate building.
The 6th floor has two refrigerators for employees to use.
The 1st floor of the building contains a coffee shop.
The coffee shop offers punch cards.
You receive one free coffee after purchasing ten.
On occasional Mondays, the coffee shop offers two punches with the purchase of one coffee.
On Monday, November 11th, I purchased a venti cold brew. For the two punches, ya know?
On Tuesday, November 12th, something bad happened.
On Thursday, April 16th, I’m coming clean.

Here we go.

Email to person that shall go unnamed.
Yesterday, I didn’t finish a coffee I got from the coffee shop, so I put it in my giant purple tumbler and stuffed it in the fridge.

I planned on enjoying it today.

Fast forward to this morning.

I went to the break room to put my lunch in the fridge.

I got slightly irritated at how full the fridge was…

So, with sass, I shoved a few things around to fit MY container on the shelf.

Pleased, I shut the fridge door.

Two coworkers walked in as I stopped to fill my water bottle.

One opened the fridge door.

There was what appeared to be brown gravy leaking all over everything.

My first thought was, “WHO is the psycho that brought GRAVY to work?”

My second thought was, “I wonder if I spilled it when I aggressively pushed things around to make room for my lunch…”

Both coworkers started to frantically wipe up the gravy.

Coworker #1 said, “This is coffee.”

Coworker #2 said, “Who puts an entire open container of coffee in the fridge?”

Coworker #1 said, “Clearly someone who is not very smart.”

Overhearing this dialogue, I am:
Simpsons

Coworker #2 said, “Well, whoever it is will have to claim this purple mug sooner or later.”

My third thought was, “I will be throwing that tumbler away immediately.”

All of this happened so quickly, and it was so early, and I was so grumpy, I did not know how to respond or act. Obviously, I should have said, “Oh no, that’s my coffee! My tumbler lid broke!” Or perhaps, “I inadvertently caused every single layer of that problem. I apologize.” Instead, I learned that no matter how badly you want to disappear or rewind, you just can’t. You just can’t. You also can’t be a coward. I know this now. 

If you take anything from this story, it should be this: I have had great success being a total idiot.

It’s okay if you have, too. Own the chaos. Chances are, it will make someone, somewhere laugh a little.

P.S. I waited three days to throw that purple tumbler away.

P.P.S. I tried bribing my brother to do the chore for me.

xoxo,
Ciarra

 

What’s in your glass?

This morning, at work, I went into the break room to unload my breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, post-lunch snack, and emergency Larabar (hunger strikes when you least expect it). In the 25 years that I have been using a refrigerator, what happened next will shock you as much as it shocked me. I managed to hit my funny bone — the ulnar nerve — harder than ever before. The type of abrupt and unexpected pain that makes you instantaneously question your own life expectancy. After letting five-too-many curse words slip, I stood up to distance myself from that evil, inanimate object.

I walked to the water/ice appliance to get amped up on hydration and resume my morning plan of attack. Next to our water machine (does anyone know a better term for this? I smoked my elbow on a fridge and I’m having a hard time with vocabulary), there is a coffeemaker and the usual fixings — sugar, cream, straws, and a half-consumed packet of hot chocolate mix. On the hot chocolate mix, I read:

“As much calcium as an 8oz glass of milk!”

I don’t know if it was the painful pulsating sensation coming from my elbow or the lack of sleep the night before, but this made me scoff. I thought the packet should instead read:

“44% of your recommended daily sugar intake in one, lousy cup of chocolate-tasting water!”

In my mind, I was actually thinking this packet contained your entire daily dosage, if not more, but I did my research and it is in fact 44%…

The reality is, this packet was half-consumed because the other half was poured into a cup of coffee, which can very well be an enjoyable and slightly more exciting drink than plain black coffee. I AM NOT ONE TO JUDGE! I ate an unreasonable amount of ice cream last week.

Although the packet’s design and content is a simple and unsurprising marketing approach, this experience triggered some reflecting.

This packet of hot cocoa clearly woke up on the right side of the bed. Rather than focus on the negative, this packet highlighted the [maybe] one nutritional perk amongst its ingredients. Instead of openly addressing the hefty amount of sugar it contains, or the pimple that will undoubtedly show up on your forehead two days after consumption, this packet put its best foot forward. Sounds like society’s approach to social media, right?

The point I want to make is this:

We don’t have to be that packet of hot cocoa all day every day. It can be exhausting… the truth is, life is hard sometimes. Sometimes, you:

  • Miss a deadline at work,
  • Don’t call your grandma back,
  • Say f*ck after busting your elbow on a kitchen appliance,
  • Bust your elbow on a kitchen appliance, or
  • Just feel plain grumpy and don’t have the energy to address the root cause.

Ooooooh, how dare you! How dare you be human, having mood swings and making mistakes. It’s okay. You are perfectly flawed. And you have to be you for the rest of your entire life. So be nice. Ice your elbow. Drink hot cocoa if you want to drink hot cocoa. Laugh at your own pain, stupidity, and mistakes. All you can do is try to do better next time.

How to Be a Tough Mother F*****

I traveled to Illinois to visit some customers yesterday. Running on about two hours of sleep, I was up and dancing around my bathroom by 3AM (to tame my lion mane) and on the road by 4:45. If I could fairly express the level of “W-T-F” chemicals/juices rolling through my veins, I would. But I can’t. Just know that if I could describe my mental state in these early hours through a flavor, that flavor is.. black licorice. I was tired, more tired, and perhaps a liiiittle emotionally unstable.

I went into my first meeting with poise and optimism, but quickly learned of some unfortunate news regarding one of the C-level gentlemen and his deteriorating health. As the story unfolded, and more details emerged, I was seconds away from being Jess Day from New Girl, choking up and trying to swallow the ball in my throat while maintaining eye contact with the man speaking so that he could at the bare minimum, see the empathy in my eyes.

Afterward, I reflected on what just happened, and I thought, “I am SUCH a weak, little girl.” I felt embarrassed, knowing I couldn’t get a grip on the raw emotion leaking out of me. I felt out of control.

Guess what happened next?

This entered my life:

Be the person who cares.
Be the person who makes the effort, the person who loves without hesitation.
Be the person who bares it all, the person who never shies away from the depth of their feeling or the intensity of their hope.
Be the person who believes–in the softness of the world, in the goodness of other people, in the beauty of being open and untethered and trusting.
Be the person who takes the chance, who refuses to hide.

Be the person who makes people feel seen, the person who shows up.

Trust me when I say–be the person who cares. The world doesn’t need any more carelessness, any more disregard; because there is nothing stronger than someone who continues to stay soft in a world that hasn’t always been kind to them.

There is nothing more courageous than showing your heart to everyone.

Do you know how it feels when you get a paper-cut and someone walks by and sprinkles salt right on it? Or stabs a bow arrow through your right foot — the foot that you’ve had surgery on already once before? Or throws acid into your face?

Whether or not there is intent, people metaphorically do that sometimes. It’s part of life.

In reality, no one has ever targeted my foot with their bow.. yet. (But I really did get salt in my own paper-cut during an afternoon chip-and-salsa fiesta, and it felt like acid…)

Simply because you have the expectation set in your own mind that every person is good, this does not *poof* it into reality. You can want it all day long, but sometimes you will face disappointment. But that’s okay!

Don’t let the world make you hard.

Let the good bring you happiness, and let the bad bring you experience, wisdom and strength.

Good, bad, ugly, or beautiful — every little bit will add more perspective into your life.

There is nothing more admirable than a person who is soft despite the life curveballs that would make most turn cold, hard, and unreachable.

So, you want to be tough?? Show your heart to EVERYONE.

There is nothing more brave, tough, or undeniably rebellious than showing your heart to everyone.

This is a figure of speech — please keep your organ covered and inside of your chest cavity.

xoxo

No one is you. That is your power.

While listening to a podcast this morning and getting ready for work, I was kindly reminded of that gross, painful, and paralyzing feeling of insecurity. It emerges as a lump in the back of your throat, a pit in your stomach, or a sudden rush of adrenaline on its way to protect you from the approaching danger, when the reality is, this lump, pit, or “danger” is uniquely a direct result of the thoughts you have fed yourself — thoughts that 9-times-out-of-10 lack any credibility.

If you made it through that run-on sentence, you’re doing great and I believe you should keep going! The next segment is going to push you over the edge. You may also land in the middle of the Pacific ocean, but rest assured and float comfortably — help is on the way.

There is always going to be someone smarter than you.

There is always going to be someone braver than you.

There is always going to be someone further ahead than you.

There is always going to be someone funnier than you.

There is always going to be someone kinder than you.

There is always going to be someone more attractive than you.

Thinner than you, stronger than you, sexier than you. Always.

 

Do you know what is pure magic, though? What the flotation device, on its way to rescue you, is?

No one is you. That is your power. 

You are you. You are enough. You are not what the voices in your head tell you when you look in the mirror, when you have a pimple, when you don’t fit into your jeans like you used to. You are not what the voices in your head tell you when you look at your bank account, when you put yourself first, when you say no to an opportunity you know you should say yes to. You are not what the voices in your head tell you when you compare yourself to others in any way, shape or form. Comparison is the thief of joy.

Insecurity can be the vehicle to a garden of self-pity and unworthiness, in turn resulting in a lifetime of unfulfilled dreams, avoided opportunities, and worst of all, rejection of loving or being loved.

Feeling insecure at times can also be the fuel that accelerates your personal growth, so perhaps like most things, it’s okay in moderation.

One antonym of insecure is secure. (GASP!) The definition of the word “secure” is: to be fixed or fastened so as not to be lost. This obviously applies to your shoe laces or your safety harness on a roller-coaster ride, but let’s for a moment apply it to our confidence. Our courage. Our belief that the best version of ourselves is yet to come and it’s our daily duty to keep reaching for it.

Fasten your confidence belt/harness, and remember that no one is you. No one is *insert your first, middle, and last name*.  Literally no one. And it’s magnificent.

Please, the next time you are feeling insufficient, take a second to think about what the root of that unworthiness is stemming from. Actively give effort to modifying the way your brain responds to certain elements. Be thoughtful in the type of people you expose yourself to, and have the strength to walk away from poor relationships. We’re living on borrowed time, and although it sometimes drags on like the final hour of work on a Friday afternoon, life really is short. And there is no other you. What you bring to the world is enough. Don’t lose joy over anyone incapable of appreciating your value. Be painfully, beautifully, and drastically YOU!

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How To Cut Corners: A Step-by-Step “How Not To” Guide

When I seek out a common trend among the last few weeks of my personal life, I have to be honest. I have been cutting corners. In addition, this is not a tutorial, rather it is a highlight reel of my experiences–perhaps the theoretical equivalent to a sauce pan tumbling down a staircase.

The concept of “cutting corners” can be applied fairly broadly, but the intent here is to share the cause-and-effect of recent happenings in effort to potentially prevent minor catastrophes in others’ lives.

The following stories will be presented USA Today-style for dramatic effect, because you and I BOTH know that being dramatic is not normally my thing (wink face) and I like the idea of announcing, “I’m making headlines, baby!”

 “Woman electrocuted by her own load of laundry.”

We’ll start small with this one. Upon transferring a large load of colors to the dryer, I looked at the box of dryer sheets on the shelf and thought, “I don’t wanna.” I proceeded to start the dryer, walk away, then get quickly distracted by my excitement to go clean and cut strawberries, because when I cut strawberries, what ends up happening is: I cut the stem off; I eat the berry; I cut the stem off another; I eat that one too, and so on.

When the time came to fold the laundry, I popped open the dryer door and reached right in to bear hug as many articles as possible. I instantly felt every hair on my body stiffen, and I walked to my bedroom to set it down. When I reached into the pile in search of a shirt to proactively hang up (before it wrinkles, and I hate how wrinkly it looks, so I throw it away and give up on clothing altogether), I FELT THE STATIC SHOCK RUN THROUGH MY BODY! People, I felt it on the tips of my ears!

When I realized I indeed survived the electricity storm, I laughed and ran to the bathroom to see if my hair had turned into Albert Einstein’s. Unfortunately, it didn’t. But on the topic of hair…

“Woman turns half of her head red velvet cupcake-colored, then pays $400 to repair.”

I went grocery shopping a few weeks ago, and the idea of changing up my hair color entered my brain. I thought about calling a salon, scheduling an appointment a couple of weeks out, but thought, “I don’t wanna.”

The powers that be summoned me to the hair dye aisle. I have never once tried dyeing my hair on my own, however, being deeply submerged into the mentality that “I’m a grown woman and there’s nothing I can’t handle,” I purchased some temporary red hair dye, thinking I would just *tint* the ends of my hair and see how I feel about having a little bit of red in my hair, given it is naturally brown with a few strands of auburn.

Drum roll, please!

Before you start empathizing and trying to imagine my sheer panic throughout the progression of these pictures, don’t. This was my own doing, and wow, was it a learning experience every step of the way! Between the correction phase and the final color fix, I dropped a juicy $400, but the lesson is priceless: some things should be left to the professionals–cavity filling, blood work, hair dying, etc.

“Woman, home alone, toe stubbed to death on larger-than-life wall mirror.”

I recently purchased a large, sleek and shiny new mirror for my bedroom wall — one that doesn’t lean against the corner, rather it is to be hung on the wall, so you can get a full view of your toes all the way to the tips of your frizzy messy bun. This mirror is huge, and if I had to guesstimate, it weighs around 400lbs. Given my excitement to get it hung and on display, I realized in the moment I had failed to buy proper hardware to hang it…. properly. Upon considering a drive back to Menard’s, I thought, “I don’t wanna.”

I dug through my giant toolbox (a ziplock of nails alongside a hammer and screwdriver that I borrowed from my dad), and decided I had EVERY part I needed to get this bad boy installed. I want to say the only word to describe the final product was “sketchy,” but we got it done! Is there anything I can’t handle?

About three weeks later, I stood in the doorway of my bedroom and thought, “What a waste of time it would have been to make a trip to the store for proper hanging supplies. That mirror looks flawless.”

The other night, about 20 minutes into a deep slumber, I jolted awake to my worst fear of living alone: a serial killer had busted down my door and was en route to my bedside. I crept out of bed slowly, thinking of how far away from my kitchen knife set I was, and stubbed my left toe on a sharp piece of furniture I did not recall putting in the corner of my bedroom.

The mirror fell. Because the nails could not withstand the weight any longer. Who called that?! Thankfully, the mirror was in pristine shape and no glass was shattered. In fact, the only thing that shattered was my self-confidence in defending myself. That serial killer would have laughed in my limping, toe-stubby face.

Think about the little corners that you cut in effort to save time and ensure you live the most convenient life possible. It can’t always be worth it. I am living proof.

As I alluded to earlier, these examples have a theme.

The cause: “I don’t wanna.”
The effect: Red hair, an electrocution, and a straight-up near-death toe stub.
The takeaway: DON’T CUT CORNERS!

I want you to do as I say, and not as I do. Tell your friends. Tell your future daughter(s). Skip the self-checkout and tell the cashier at Target, too.

Thank you for reading. 🙂
Ciarra

P.S. my hair is healed and healthier than ever. Next time, I’ll skip the red velvet cupcake and go straight for the milk chocolate.

Field Researchin’ for.. Infinity

Do you remember those research projects you were assigned in high school? The often dreaded “pick a topic-conduct field research-then write about it” types of projects?

You thought you had gotten away from that stuff, huh?

Well, I have an assignment for you.

While out on an errand-running adventure last weekend in the midst of the dark, rainy hours, I unintentionally but thankfully and naturally conducted a bit of “field research” myself.

With bags in both hands, I made a beeline for my car, which, given my tendency to park 450 yards away from the store entrance, felt like a steeply ambitious and rather foolish attempt at dodging the raindrops.

About a half of a yard in, I witnessed a woman stuck in the middle of the parking lot, sitting in a scooter that had stalled by either a sick twist of fate or an overdose of moisture. Along with the assumed pressure she herself was likely feeling, a big, buff Dodge Ram had impatiently snuggled up right behind her adding some pressure of its own for good measure.

Rather than puddle stomp right past her, I thought “maybe I can push her in the scooter…. I mean, I DO do CrossFit so…” *hair flip, just kidding*

Well, I tried. I couldn’t push it, but I did keep her company while we brainstormed other solutions! She had a basket full of flowers, which she proudly announced were her yearly Mother’s Day gifts to herself. With her segue into motherhood, I probed for more details. She has twelve children total, seven of which have been adopted.

I quickly realized I was in the presence of an angel on earth.

I regret not asking for her name, but when we finally made it to her vehicle, I was both blessed by her verbally and physically. I unloaded her flowers and hugged her, and believe me when I say I love a good hug with a sweet stranger! Not knowing her name added a bit of whimsy to the experience, too.

As I slowly made it to my own car, pretty wet and pretty cold, I grinned and thought, “This is simply field research on my lifelong project of being a good person.”

My thoughts escalated into “What if we all worked on this project together? What would the world be like?”

I did not write this as a personal flex, because I’ll be the first to admit that I need help. I need daily reminders and perspective that we’re living on borrowed time, in the constant company of wounded souls who need kindness and love and understanding just as we ourselves do. I need constantly active discipline to not think only about me, me, me.

How do we focus on living more selflessly, when we’ve been conditioned to be go-getters, out here in a dog-eat-dog world, seemingly surrounded by others who continue to level-up in their life pursuits?

I honestly don’t have an answer. But I have a feeling it starts by being a good person. There is enough evil in the world, so help that friend. Sacrifice some of your time. Donate a little bit of money. Surprise a stranger with kindness.

I am motivated by teamwork, so let’s take on this project together. As my college professors used to say, the final write-up should be “as long as it needs to be.”

Let’s get out in the field and get to work!

Thanks for reading,

Ciarra

That feeling that feels…feely.

I had a moment tonight. Shocking, I know, given everyone all around the world has at least 54 moments a minute. I rolled around in a mud puddle of grace all day long, coming through on all of my intentions for the day. I was buzzing for good reason. Between having the windows open inviting all of the spring air into my freshly-cleaned apartment and getting my suitcase unpacked within the same day of homecoming, you can imagine having a front row seat to view the sunset on my evening run was almost too much for my little brain to process. Much like that run-on sentence. I am glad it’s over.

As I was about to sit down to eat my freshly-caught salmon filet, I whipped out The Instagram. I scrolled through a few posts, but gave up when an idea sprung: my carb-of-choice tonight (aside from asparagus) will be merlot!

I once again got situated at the dinner table (translation: walked back to the counter where I stand and eat dinner most nights), I felt the onset of a gross feeling. You know… that feeling that feels feely. I was as shocked by this feeling as I was by my complete bewilderment at what it was from. Like, did I black out for a second? Have I been robbed? Is my name even Ciarra?

I ate about four bites of salmon over the course of 15 minutes while I retraced my steps, thoughts, sips, blinks, and breaths. I honest to goodness wondered if I had simply-but-suddenly recalled a terrible memory and my body was working through absorbing it.

Well…. I did recall a terrible memory. Two, actually. The other night, I had a dream. I was madly, wildly, and hopelessly in love with a man who, if I recall properly, was handsome and talented. I had not foreseen my fleeting infatuation with this individual coming, so I will have to report back on the root cause of all of this. The man in my dream was the same man that appeared on my Instagram feed (2nd terrible memory), being affectionate with a girl whom I’d imagine is simply his study buddy, nail filer, stamp licker, or shoe shiner or something. Whatever, they are cauuuuute!

So what happened in my brain, I think, is I felt a brief pang of territorial jealousy–the grossest, stinkiest feeling I can imagine as a single woman, given my track record. (*subtweet). This is not a feeling I’ve faced in terms of romanticism in a couple of minutes (or years? Is someone counting for me??). This little devil of a feeling almost stole the joy right off of my fork and out of my stemless wine glass.

What happens in the human body when a debilitating feeling is held in? I am glad you asked. The feeling turns into a metaphorical seed, and that seed grows to the size of a mid-July watermelon, just weighing you down and making you feel like you’re more full than the house of the 19 Kids and Counting Duggar fam.

The person in the dream and the picture was….. Charlie Puth. I’m giggling as I type this. I am not a closet fan-girl. I do enjoy his music. I do also weigh at least 3x that of the hunnie in his picture.

Now that that is in the open, I can be serious for a moment. You know the feeling you get when you cut someone off while driving? Or don’t respond to a text from a very close friend for 24+ hours? Or know for certain that you fell short of an expectation at work? Or ate a meal as if you are actually expecting quadruplets?  If you don’t know the feeling, I have led you about 1,028 words astray, and I apologize. You should go.

I think the only way around these feelings is by acknowledging them. But when I say acknowledging them, I don’t mean seeking public affirmation that you are indeed a good person, although your actions of late would indicate otherwise, just so you can let someone else provide validation for you so you don’t have to go to the trouble. I mean acknowledge them  w i t h i n   y o u r s e l f .

In other words, own it. You felt jealousy? Own it. You felt guilt? Own it. Regret? Join the club. We have wi-fi here!  What gets in the way of us feeling pure joy sometimes is our own self. It takes awareness and intention to uncover yucky feelings, but you have to weigh the price with the benefit and listen to the little, incessant voice chirping in your ear.

I just can’t imagine that burying unpleasant feelings longterm can have a solid outcome. I also can’t imagine an average, very non-famous individual feeling real, personal jealousy toward a celebrity’s significant other. Like, at what point do I get to throw a beer across the room and say, “I DREAMED THAT WE WERE IN LOVE!”

Face your gross feelings. Give them the attention that they’re dying for, and then give them a flick. Use your middle finger, because I think science would indicate that the middle is the phalange with the most flick power. You’re not a bad person for feeling bad things. There’s a chance that a million of us are feeling the same, yucky thing at the very same time, but society indicates that we should feel ashamed for feeling them. So, we sip our tea and act like we are living in a perfect, little globe. Let’s stop doing that!

Thank you for reading,
Ciarra

 

 

My sunflower, my momma bear.

I woke up today. That is so much more than about 150,000 others can say. If you’re sniffing through this article, you are the lucky one, too!! The truth is, my ceaseless gratitude is blatant plagiarism. I would have SO been expelled in college had I pulled this theft on an assignment! I have morphed into this positivity essential oil diffuser, dispersing optimism into the air via a fine vapor that gently absorbs into your body, frankly whether you like it or not.

This attitude and outlook on life has been a massive part of my upbringing because of one key component: my mother. You might notice a sunflower tattooed on my right forearm. Tattooed. Permanent. Forever. AND ever. I haven’t made this type of commitment since, hmmm, 24 years ago when I came into this world. Thanks for the assist there, mom!

What I want to share has a lot to do with what I think of when I think of my mom and/or any sunflower strolling down the street.

When I look at my mom, I see strength. I see a woman who has faced such terrible degrees of loss in her life, yet still exults in the pure joy of waking up in the morning. I see a woman displaying the type of positivity and zest for life that makes your neighbor need a nap. It’s an organic, contagious energy.

When I look at my mom, I see a woman who would donate her entire physical vessel if it meant giving another person the opportunity to look at a sea turtle or do a 1000-piece puzzle in a poorly lit dining room.

When I think of my mom, I think of the night she kidnapped me from my hospital room, only to take me for a 10-minute wheelchair ride from one side entrance to the other, cafeteria cheesecake in tow. I think of the spontaneity that comes out of her mouth, and the way she keeps a crowd laughing and uplifted without a finger of effort. That’s the kind of person I want in my corner.

When I imagine the woman I want to be, I want to be the woman who rises to the occasion. If there’s an opportunity to sleep on a crappy, uncomfortable recliner parallel to my own daughter sleeping in a hospital bed, count me in. Because that’s the kind of woman who doesn’t just feel love, she expresses it through action. That’s the kind of woman I want to be.

When I look at the pain my own creator has endured, I feel as though I’m standing on the lip of a volcano, looking down at what could come. I am inspired to make the world’s best lemonade out of the world’s most rotten ginger root. If a human being can bear a child, birth a child, and lose that same child some time later and still have the drive to wake up and face her life, then I am convinced we can do just about anything. I mean anything. Except walk on water. Or go to Target without spending $100+.

My mom once made a joke about me favoring my dad more than I favor her. Emphasis on the joke. Looking at the hand I’ve been dealt in terms of parental figures, I couldn’t choose one over the other even if the ice cream market’s existence depended on it.

When I look at my mom, I feel an overwhelming amount of empowerment. I think “WWTD?” (what would Tina do?) and it’s game on. I’ll tackle whatever hand I’ve been dealt with determination, whimsy, and gratitude. You should, too. For example, if you stub your big toe, be thankful you have a big toe to stub. If you say something silly (hourly occurrence for the Wagner chicks), be happy you have a tongue to pronounce the series of words that make you wish there were a fireman’s pole within arms reach so you could swiftly make your exit. There is always a bright side, and while some find that perspective exhausting, it’s all that we know and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

When I look at my sunflower, I see healing. I see a reason to find the strength to carry on. I see the beauty in overcoming. I see myself thirty years from now, loving on my grandchildren and reminiscing on the time my mom and I visited my own grandma, playing cards and laughing until we all needed a doctor. I’ll be looking back on the day my mom pushed me around in a shopping cart at Walmart as a 21-year-old adult. Or the night I cried for hours, begging my mom to sleep next to me because my heart was so broken I didn’t know if I would wake up the next morning. And that’s exactly what she did. I’ll vividly recall the days we felt pure joy while eating stale omelettes from the hospital cafeteria, knowing full-well that the eggs were not in fact eggs at all. They were likely some sort of liquidized cardboard, obviously with a sprinkle of pepper.

Mom, I love you. I love that you gave me your smile, your bunions, your humor, and a first name that most always gets mispronounced. I love that you give every thing you have with nothing expected in return. I love that you face fear as if it is just another friendly stranger, when the rest of us want to crawl in a hole for a few weeks until we have no other choice BUT to face it. You’re a sunflower, and I can only hope to bring light into the world like you do one day.

Some X’s, but mainly O’s,
Your favorite daughter

 

BUY THE BELT, ALREADY!

Let me set the scene for you. You’re a 24-year-old, averagely sized, healthy-in-the-thigh-arena, adult… if you will. You prefer to wear jeans that a mouse could NOT crawl up the leg of, hypothetically, if the environment presented the opportunity. The modern jean market is saturated with the type of fit that’s fit for a 10-year-old who lacks the free reign to eat ice cream whenever she wants (Unless her parents own an ice cream shop all while she’s growing up… @mom @dad). What I mean is the thigh-to-waist ratio is a little off. So, you sacrifice the snug comfort of a tight-waisted pair of jeans in order to squeeze yourself in, although a dance, or a wiggle/shimmy/90s-aerobic-bouncing-squat is still 100% required to get ’em on.

This 24-year-old is me. If you’re a woman who also prefers to avoid the mouse thing, you know what I’m talking about! If you’re a man who feels this doesn’t apply because you have no fear of mice, read on. I’m almost done with the jean fixation. If you’re a person who simply doesn’t wear pants, please reach out to me privately because I’m interested in a lifestyle change.

With a skewed thigh-to-waist ratio comes a daily struggle of the fear of exposing an area of your body most don’t in any given common daily activity. Except plumbers, I guess, if you’re into stereotypes.

The solution would be to buy a belt. Or a different pair of jeans. Or wear long shirts for the rest of your life. But for the last few years of my adult life, that’s been too easy for someone like me. I prefer to take the most illogical, resistance-filled path in life. I also measure my maturity by whether or not I own a charcuterie board. And whether or not I can spell the word charcuterie. I aged at least five years by swiping my card at Target yesterday. As it turns out, you can buy wisdom!

Here is the kicker. I BOUGHT A BELT!!!! I understand this means very little to any one of you reading this, but there’s a message that I taught myself by finding a cute little black belt for $8 on clearance. I promise the message is NOT about pants. But I will tell you, my life was changed by this belt.

Think about the little things in your life that you’ve been putting off. The things you wake up thinking “today is the day I knock this out” … and then you don’t. It could be as dreadful as filing your taxes, as consuming as cleaning out your closet, or as simple as responding to a freaking TEXT.  Seriously, I need to get my sh*t together on that last one.

What is holding you back? Time? Capacity? Fear? Doubt? Shame? Do you not have a closet? Is that why you can’t clean it out? Because you don’t have one?

Just – DO – THE – THING. Take the trip. Send the email. Say you’re sorry. Get rid of the nasty, dusty clutter. Get a tattoo (if it’s meaningful and you’re not under the influence). Break up with your significant other (just kidding, but if you need to, then now’s the time). Get a dog. Get one for me, too! Name him Harvey.

Or, if you’re like the old me, living a life full of lower back draftiness, buy the belt.

We subconsciously fill our days with unnecessary fear or dread associated with a certain thing. And then, it comes to fruition and we realize we wasted some really precious time not feeling the joys of life. And trust me, I know about the joys of life. I had a staring contest with a deer on my way home tonight. I think he even winked at me.

Speaking of precious time, thank you for reading. Go get that thing knocked out. WRECK IT, gently. I believe in you!

XOXO
Ciarra

“if you r reading this it’s too late”

Last Sunday, I made an emergency trek to the store for a basic and common household item I was running low on. My wine rack, which provides shelter and support to four wine bottles at a time, was down to three bottles. Three.

I had zero intention of having a Sunday-Funday-Drink-Wine-And-Nap-Day, but ask any OCD-fueled individual and they will concur — you cannot equally proportion three of anything within four plots. The options were: drink a bottle or buy a bottle. Talk about finding yourself wedged between a rock and a hard place!

I threw on my winter coat, slid out the door, down the stairs, and into the damp. I rounded the corner to my garage, and came to a screeching halt at the site of something that gave me the equivalent to the combined feelings of accidentally stepping on your puppy’s paw and calling your significant other by your ex’s name: a sweet, soft, infant rodent, huddled against the building, frozen to death. It is a cruel, hard world.

Obviously, I called my dad immediately. I asked him if he’d support my decision to take Nibbles, the mouse, into my kitchen and thaw him out in the microwave. Apparently, that’s not how freezing to death works. You cannot rewind that Netflix show,  “undo” that typo, or recall that email.

Understanding my own endgame: a restocked wine rack, I hopped in my car and turned on some Khalid, who dropped the words of “And all the things that I know, that your parents don’t,” and all I felt was a burning responsibility to call Nibs’ mom and break the news to her. WHY couldn’t he have just burrowed in the snow for warmth, or knocked on my door? I have a spare bedroom and room for at least 208 Nibbles + friends.

After I got past the selfish confusion around what transpired leading up to Nibs’ downfall, I made it to the store and felt ready to dive into my fermented grape hunt.

Realizing I was ignoring my own desire to go to the bathroom, I made my way into the stall to fetch a sense of relief whose very existence I was questioning at this point. I looked up from the task at hand, and read, “If you r reading this it’s too late” written in chisel-tip Sharpie on the door of the stall.

Honest, I about gave up on humanity right then. I felt so bombarded by societal misfortune that I pondered the price of a ticket to Mars. Though a part of my soul felt that perhaps this was written with a lack of sincerity or due to the exposure to some depressant-like drug or by a big Drake fan, the reality is, it’s far too likely that a poor, suffering soul wrote this in a time of darkness and surrender.

I wish with all of my being that I could seek out this individual, seemingly left-handed by the upward angle of the text, and wrap her up in a hug so tight she’d forget her pain.

The lack of time and space between these two “encounters” gave me a Whiskey-stiff dose of reality and grounding. It drives home a key point in a book I am reading, “Resisting Happiness”, that suggests everyone is fighting a hard battle that we know nothing about.

The idea that every single beating heart is struggling through something, whether it’s an ant trying to carry a heavy blade of grass up to the entrance of the anthill, or a 24-year-old girl struggling with loneliness, rejection, confusion or an all around “f*ck it” mentality, is beyond my own words. We cannot just think, “that’s the dog-eat-dog world we live in.” It’s a testament to the fact that something is missing. Perhaps something as simple as kindness. Understanding. Open-mindedness. Empathy.

Neither myself or you reading this can solve world-hunger, chronic depression, or midwestern tundra temperatures. The perceived problems are far beyond one being’s own power. BUT, the mere fact that life is messy provides an opportunity for each one of us to act upon it. I don’t care if you tip someone an extra dollar, shovel your neighbor’s snow, or offer a freaking smile to a stranger. Just do it!?! There’s no one holding a gun to our head forcing us to act with selflessness or pure kindness, but we should be holding our own metaphorical standard-raising-weapon-of-choice to our body part of choice… this is getting wordy and confusing. Just be a kind person. I am talking to myself, and I’m talking to you. Your mom, my mom, and both of our grandmas would want the same.

Be kind, be gentle, and don’t exhibit a lack of regard to any person in your life. Please also don’t let your wine supply get below a level of comfort!

Thank you for reading.
Ciarra

 

When Single Girls are Left Alone…

When I started my first job out of college a few years ago, I found myself with a newfound, overwhelming amount of freedom.  I often wondered, “What do adults do after work?” given I felt no pressing desire to spend life after 5PM with my nose in a textbook.  I’m proud to say after nearly three years of research and case studies, I can answer that question with confidence. We adults wear onesies and eat sushi with our roommate, find logical reasons to treat Tuesday’s 5PM as if it were Friday’s 5PM, and vacuum incredibly straight carpet lines.

With that said, the curiosity never ends. After excelling in one area of your studies, it’s only natural to proceed to another. Last week, in true Ariana style, my brain was like, “Thank u, next” and I challenged myself to explore my own thoughts around romantic independence.

This next bit of research is raw and should provide overt evidence to anyone out there looking to understand the hamster wheel that is a single woman’s brain. The subject is yours truly, of course.

So, what goes on in that brain?

  1. The most affection I’ve received lately was the Target cashier’s hand brushing mine while he handed me my receipt last week. Decent frequency.
  2. “Woohoo it’s just me, myself, and my high standards, my imperfections, my lukewarm tea and I. Solo ride until I cry.” Is that how that G-Eazy song goes?
  3. Another friend engaged… Well I am engaged, too. To Netflix, beer sampling, and squatting. Is it really that different?
  4. Maybe if I expose myself to a new crowd of people, I will expedite the alignment of fate. OUR fate. Ugh, we sound so cute together!
  5. Am I crazy? I might be crazy.
  6. I should organize my Q-tips…Elicit some tranquility in the evening.
  7. Hey Siri, is organizing Q-tips a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder?
  8. I could just go to bed..
  9. Well shoot, it’s only 7:30.
  10. Will I sleep on the left or the right side of my bed tonight? Or the middle? Or upside down? This is liberating.
  11. Sideways it is.
  12. My feet are cold… So is my heart. I’ll put on some socks.
  13. This Ed Sheeran song is catchy. “The club isn’t the best place to find a lover so the bar is where I go.” Do we even have clubs here?? Club sandwiches, for sure.
  14. I’ve been told healing from a breakup takes time. It has only been like 31 months since the split of Branjolina. I need more time.
  15. I wonder if Ed Sheeran is still healing, too.
  16. He’s probably writing a song about it right now.
  17. I could balance my checkbook.
  18. I haven’t written a check since March of 2016.
  19. My succulents are looking a little thirsty.. I bet they think the same about me.
  20. Honestly this is just too much responsibility. Artificial plants are the way to go.
  21. I’m sure Target has a decent selection.
  22. Cashier hand-brushing… round two BABY!

 

If at any point you sensed sarcasm, always go with your gut. I’m just playing.

(Kind of)

Thank you for reading 😀
Ciarra

 

12/09/2016

I recently purchased a digital copy of a book geared toward self-improvement (also known as self-help, self-code-red, self-dear-God-please-wrap-your-arms-around-me), which reminded me I own an iPad from 2013. After digging through my Miscellaneous Drawer–keeper of all things practical, like a lonely “L” Nike sock, a dry erase marker, a red tie from when I dressed up as Donald Trump, and a used brake fluid corrosion test strip–I found my iPad charger and much to my delight, it is still working like a charm…thanks @Apple.

I felt compelled to explore. After all, it IS my personal property, and God knows I barely remember what I did a week ago, let alone two plus years ago. I opened up the Notes app, and rediscovered a little reflecting I composed shortly after a mini vacation. If I haven’t lost you yet, take a look!

“I flew to St. Petersburg to visit my other half and celebrate her birthday last Friday. Having booked the trip on a whim only five weeks in advance, you can about imagine it felt like Christmas Eve leading up to takeoff. 

On any given day, I am a very passionate girl. To be honest, it gets annoying being me sometimes. Cheap Merlot, new sushi huts for dinner, bubble baths, freshly grilled chicken nuggets– I am easily excitable. 

Is this a bad thing? The more I love life, the more life loves me. Even if it’s all in my head, it is so much fun. 

Back to my story. I was at the airport around 4 P.M., maybe one Southern and Coke deep, and I chose to sit in an empty row of seats because my social skills were in hibernation. After getting settled and pulling out my book, a sweet older couple joined me in my personal bubble torn up about where to sit. After offering to relocate so they could sit next to each other, they decided a Ciarra sandwich sounded good for dinner. How did I get so lucky?

We talked and talked… and talked some more. Born and raised Iowans that reside in Florida four months of the year to avoid the tundra, they enjoy golf and sunscreen 365 days a year.  After 72 hours of resonance, my hindsight is telling me I should have gotten their FL address so I can be a frequent flyer this winter.

Although the content of our conversation was nothing but casual fun, I couldn’t help but feel sad after. I mean heavy-heart-and-a-little-hopeless sad. Alice said she spent her whole life working a job she didn’t love waiting on the day she could retire. WHAT. 

While discussing our roots, she told me four times in a row where she was from, and it broke my heart. This woman has finally reached the point in her life in which she can travel and explore and live, and she has a short-term memory that has given up on her. Having known her for 27 minutes and counting, I am nothing short of certain this beautiful human being deserves the world.

Crying was not in the itinerary for this mini vacation. The Merlot that followed was. The thinking that accompanied my sadness was huge. We are here, in this world, living and breathing and making choices that eventually make us, RIGHT NOW. People, wake up.

For those of you saying the words, “It’s almost Friday!” day after day, please forever stop. Please stop living for the future. Please stop waiting in anticipation for this destination happiness. Please don’t wish your life away. It makes me sad and a little nauseous.

Right now, in this moment, we are doing things that will shape our next moment, and the one after that. Life is just a bunch of moments. So what if there is a little challenge and struggle? If you don’t take on this life willingly and with resilience and determination, you might as well be a gray blob on the Fairly Odd Parents, eating gray porridge for breakfast every morning. Boooooring.

Take this invaluable lesson that Alice has given me, and make time for life before you lose your health and ability to do so. If this means a 3-day trip down south to avoid the polar vortex or dedicating a day to watch Christmas movies that remind you of your childhood, just do it and love every minute of it. Though time is on nobody’s side, our best defense is living to the maximum. Your awareness, proactivity and diligence will keep you young forever, or at”

Guys. If you were as shocked as I was at that curveball of an unfinished sentence, you are not alone and we’ll get through this together. I read this after settling in bed for the night, and to say I was SHOOK is an understatement. You know how it feels when you hold in a sneeze? What was I thinking?!

I considered finishing the sentence two years later, but I couldn’t. It reminded me that life happens. Short and sweet. We get distracted, interrupted, or flat-out lose interest, and that’s okay. All we can do is keep rolling with the punches, and give some love to Monday-Thursday while we’re at it!

Thank you for reading,
Ciarra

 

Needles, Chocolate Pudding & Wisdom

I recently spent 141 unbroken hours under medical surveillance, where we did several pleasurable experiments with my blood, brain, arteries, and spinal fluid. The need for these activities was identified one Friday evening, when an MRI revealed several small-but-fresh lesions on my brain. Before the doctor addressed the age of these spots, I thought “Huh. This explains a lot: Me mistakenly calling an Aloe Vera plant a Neosporin plant, me thinking “breech” was a child’s name rather than its position during birth, me driving away from the gas station with the nozzle still lodged into the tank, etcetera.” Unfortunately, these spots have only been a resident of my hot air-holder for a few weeks, so the cause of the mentioned events remains a medical mystery, as do my brain lesions.

Although I would much rather toss around light-hearted jokes about the traumatic hospital stay I experienced, I’d like to share some stories that filled me up with wisdom. My hope is that you steal some of it without actually enduring the following.

Let’s talk about facing fears. Facing needles and facing fears.

On Night 1, I had to turn my head, close one eye, and hold my breath as a vial of blood was taken and an IV placed. My past experiences with needles usually ended with me getting dizzy or putting the phlebotomist in a choke-hold. I was thinking “Ok…the foreign object in my arm is temporary. Maybe they’ll pull it out tomorrow.”  And THEN, they slipped me some meds that sent my headache on a weeklong vacation to Mykonos and made my heart and toes warm. The warm toes paired with daily blood tests ended with me watching the needle with both eyes open by the end of the week. Victory is mine.

On Day 2, I learned a new word: angiogram. My survival crew was going to cut into my groin area and use a catheter to shoot dye into my bloodstream so everyone could take a gooooood long look at the situation to find the perpetrator that sent blood clots to my brain (a felony in my opinion, btw). First of all, the pros: more toe-warming meds. The cons: possible heart attack, bleeding out, and making my mom and I disconnect hands as they drug me into the surgical arena. I had to go Full-Blown Coach Ciarra on myself, whispering “show me brave, show me tough” repeatedly, while blinking rapidly to disguise my silent sobbing.

On Day 6, I sat upright in my bed, smelling the coffee in front of me while waiting for it to cool. Honestly, the last thing I needed at that point was a scorched tongue. How would I taste my chocolate pudding with burnt tastebuds?? My mom brought me a latté to distract me from the terror scheduled for 12pm: the lumbar puncture. Something I would compare to maple tree tapping. At 9:40, a knock at the door indicated it was time for me to ditch the coffee and flee the country. The doctor arrived early. The procedure brought me physical pain I did not even know existed. I don’t want you to pass out, so I’ll leave you with this: I wish a lumbar puncture upon nobody, not even the people that choose cats over dogs. Important to note: spinal fluid is clear, like vodka.

Takeaways: Face fear with both eyes open. Feel all of the pain. It’s a sick way to level up in the game of strength. 

Let’s talk about identity crisis. Maybe not quite like Bruce Jenner pre-sex transition, but close.

For the last 1.5 years, I’ve eaten, slept, and breathed fitness. Like take the stairs 18 stories although there are two functioning elevators, park two miles away from the door, eat spinach and Brussels sprouts daily for the fun of it kind of fitness. It is the king of my values, (second to faith, family, and brushing my teeth for two full minutes twice daily). Guess what the first no-no added to my list of daily activities was? MOVEMENT! I couldn’t even go for a walk around the floor in my butt-cheeks-fully-visible gown. To an average human, horizontal television absorption all day could sound thrilling. To me, it sounded nauseating. Mainly because I am used to Netflix where there are no commercials.

Living with chronic goal-setting syndrome, my daily tasks typically consisted of exercising, eating clean and getting a high dosage of sleep. Having instilled that lifestyle into my heart/brain/soul, it’s been a difficult transition into what feels like doing absolutely nothing.

On Day 2, I woke up thinking “I am broken.” I reminisced on my lifestyle leading up to this speed bump and how I tackled every day like the beast I had worked so hard to become. Then, I decided to adjust my goals. I couldn’t go to the gym, prep chicken and veggies, or sleep diagonally on my stomach in my queen bed at home, but I could drink tons of water, stand for a few minutes every hour, and think about all of my blessings when I got discouraged or sad. Those all feel like they lack complexity being three weeks removed, but in the moment, they were just enough to fill my cup and make me feel accomplished. Plus, I am not broken…I am in repair.

Takeaways: Have adjustable goals. Don’t put all of your Identity Eggs in one basket. Cut yourself some slack. 

Let’s talk about humility. Like, the opposite of the way I felt when I peed my pants at Karate practice in the third grade.

On Day 2, after transitioning to a room in the Neurology unit, I went to get up and go to the bathroom, only to be asked to remain lying down as I was on bed rest until further notice. Having the world’s smallest bladder, I wondered what humiliating challenge lied ahead. Turns out, there’s really not a great way for females to use bedpans, and 11 times out of 10, you will end up lying in your own urine. There is nothing uncomfortable about it, except everything. If you’re like me and stuck in Ciarra’s World, you need to take a biiiig step back and understand that a little bit of urine exposure is better than causing a health catastrophe while on the toilet (See below).

After my Angiogram around noon, also on Day 2, I was assigned six hours of horizontal lying, after which I could stand up and use the restroom if I felt ambitious. Well, news flash, Ambitious is my middle name, also sometimes spelled A-n-n, so when 6PM hit, I buzzed in my nurse, Ian, and proudly announced to him that I would be standing up to use the restroom, meaning: no bedpan needed, thankyouverymuch. I stood – wobbled to the bathroom – sat – handled things – stood again – got very lightheaded – heard very loud rock music – my vision went black – my body got hot – I felt like I was 396lbs, and I fainted and fell into the arms of my nurses.

I came fully conscious back in my bed with sweat dripping from my entire body and the nurses fanning me. My mom stood next to the bed and pleadingly said, “This isn’t a deal breaker, Ciarra. You’re okay.” Meanwhile I thought, “This is a deal breaker. I told Ian I was going to do this and I failed. He’s never going to let me pee on my own again. Also, did I wash my hands??”

Ah, the humility of fainting, failing, and peeing on yourself. We’ve all been there.

Takeaways: Don’t let anything discourage you. Let failure and embarrassment fuel you.

For the first full 23 years of my life, I’ve felt pretty untouchable, dodging health challenges like a parkour athlete dodging the sidewalk. Nothing has brought me down off my pedestal quicker than an unexplained brain injury. I am so grateful for the support I received throughout, and I’m incredibly lucky to have a full recovery waiting for me somewhere up ahead, along with lots of blue skies and the best days ever.

Thank you for reading,
Ciarra

Failure. It’s for the birds.

While driving home from work one evening and listening to a song exclusively fit for a solo pity-party, I reflected on the major happenings of the nine hours prior. I tackled a handful of tasks with confidence, assertiveness and intention. I squeezed in a few laughs and even practiced discipline by refusing a generous cupcake offer.

I also managed to let a ball drop — I might even say the ball crashed, broke my grandma’s hip, caught fire and burned down a village. Though the several successes I experienced throughout the day went unrecognized internally, the one less attractive situation was not received well by the bully-like voices in my head (that I think just lounge around sipping tea all day waiting for my imperfections to drop a new single). My initial thoughts were something like, “How do I take two steps forward and then one step backwards? It seems I am getting nowhere.”

Mid-reflection, I witnessed an eye-opening event involving a complete stranger (The stranger was a bird – a sparrow, perhaps a petite robin, and for the sake of this story, a male).

While keeping both eyes on the road, I watched this poor bird flap its wings harder and harder and get absolutely nowhere. He didn’t stand a chance in the strong winds. He literally stayed in the same spot for what felt like an eternity, despite putting in his best effort. While witnessing this bird fail publicly, I suddenly felt a strong surge of empathy. Here is a bird, simply trying to get from Point A to Point B, flapping his wings at full capacity and failing.

 

Haven’t we all been there?

 

Failure. It’s the ugly, annoying and unwelcome creature that sneaks into your agenda without a formal meeting invite — like the gnat that crash lands in your ice-water the moment you go to take a sip.

Instead of ceasing the flapping, surrendering the fight, and falling dramatically to his death, this bird kept at it. Though the wind pushed him backward, he persevered because he had a goal–perhaps a worm-related goal. A goal is a goal.

My brief moment of bird-watching reminded me that life will not always go the way I want it to. There are going to be days full of strong winds. There are going to be public failures. There are going to be steps backward. And that’s OK. Fail humbly. Don’t succumb to the strong winds. Put a death grip on your confidence and keep on flapping.

 

 

I Don’t Need Your Wings to Fly

Sometimes, running into an ex has the emotional impact and drowning anxiety equivalent of the aftermath of a diversified, 21-hour-long holiday binge. I’m talking buttery mashed potatoes, piles of slowly cooked ham with pineapple, some hearty green bean casserole, fruit salad with more whipped cream than all the caramel macchiatos in the world, finished with a few “samples” of every dessert on the table…twice. Wishfully thinking, the two extremes would come together and cancel each other out. Since this is real life and two wrongs don’t make a right, I’ve gathered some data around the similarities of the two circumstances (from myself–a very reliable source) and come up with a less-than-bulletproof-but-more-than-waterproof plan that will help you get over these feelings.

Chances are, after you’ve either eaten for a day straight or unexpectedly run into a human being you wish nothing but the best for but also wish to keep out of your line of vision for, like, maybe forever, you’re going to relate to the following.

Similarity Number One: You have a weird taste in your mouth.
Perhaps you were not expecting the flavor of green beans to overstay their welcome just long enough to start mingling with the cherries from the pie. Perhaps the words you are holding back are not sitting well with your cottonmouth. Either way, it’s weird.

Similarity Number Two: You can’t decide if your stomach can handle another bite.
This isn’t the first piece of pie you’ve ever enjoyed…But it’s so good. You know what it tastes like and your stomach is physically and metaphorically full, yet your tastebuds are eternally unsatisfied. Friendly suggestion: drink some water and you’ll be just fine with time. Don’t take another bite.

Similarity Number Three: You could really use a nap.
Naps solve everything. A quick power nap will provide a significant benefit on your physical well-being, in turn boosting your emotional well-being (This means no negative thoughts, dawg.)

Similarity Number Four: You keep envisioning the “No Ragrets” scene from We’re the Millers in your head.
It has been said you should never regret something that once made you smile. What’s the protocol on regretting something that once made you cry? Or so full you keeled over? Let’s collect some data around that.

Similarity Number Five: You’re quick to forgive.
The abundant amount of corn piled on top of your mashed potatoes hurt your belly and caused you discomfort, but they had genuine intentions at one time. You’re emotionally intelligent enough to know that if you hold a grudge or write a passive-aggressive blog about it, you will not be taking the high road. Life is all about taking the high road, so forgive.

Now, for the not-bulletproof but definitely waterproof plan: Take a deep breath and hold it in to the point of exhaustion. You’ll be amazed at how quickly reality sets back in. This near-death breath-holding should remind you of one very important piece of the puzzle: you are alive, living an unpredictable and wild life taking everything one encounter at a time. No single moment can define you. Don’t make Mount Kilimanjaros out of crawfish chimneys. Do whatever it is you have to do to get grounded again and hold onto what you’ve learned for the next meal (or encounter).

God speed!

Ciarra