Thursday, January 26, 2012

Quintessential 90's Girl

I woke up feeling a little plaid today.  Perhaps it's due in part to the fact that two of my best girls and I are always reminiscing about the days of our youth.  Or maybe it's because none of us have grown up past 1997.  Whatever it is, I came to my desk and promptly created an essential 1990's playlist.  Poe, The Cranberries, Lisa Loeb, Concrete Blond, Garbage.  Ya - I could go on and on.  Something about today's chill reminds me of those 1990's movies when the sky is dark and the moods brooding.  I guess in 2012 we'd call that Emo or Hipster mentality.  But I like to call it 1992 Security Sweater Day.  When I was growing up, I adopted a sweater from my older sister.  It was over sized in every way and hung from my body like a drooping flag on a still day.  I loved that sweater and felt that it protected me from the scary world.  My mother wanted to trash it because I literally wore it every single day.  Oddly enough I have a brown one ridiculously similar which hangs on the back of my desk chair year round. Some things never change and now that I'm all grows up, Mama can't hide it. 

I started thinking about why the 1990's seemed so great and why it seems necessary to relive with girlfriends.  Well, I came to one conclusion.  Youth.  It was a time when we started discovering things like our own tastes in music, our own sense of humor, and of course what we found most attractive about other people as a response to our changing bodies.  And now as we age, we see those iconic images as a staple of what made us who we are today.  We became Gen X, once thought to be a hopeless generation of losers and bleak thinkers.  Now we one of our own is the President of the United States.  And if you are a Gen X-er reading this, you may be thinking "When did I get so old?"  I ask myself that same question every day.  However, there is a sense of pride that comes with being a 1990's girl.  We experienced a lot of shit, man!

A recap! (seriously abridged)

1990 - Nelson Mandela was freed after serving  27 years in prison and the first Gulf War was started. Tim Burton's "Edward Scissorhands" revives Johnny Depp's acting career.
1991 - Jeffrey Dahmer is arrested and the Jerry Springer Show is launched.
1992 - Nirvana becomes wildly popular with "Come as You Are" and Whitney Houston drives us all crazy with "I-eeee-I-eeee-I will always love yooooou"
1993 - World. Wide. Web., North American Free Trade Agreement, and Walker Texas Ranger premieres.
1994 -Former president Ronald Regan tells the world he is suffering from Alzheimer's disease, Rwandan genocide begins taking the lives of millions, Pulp Fiction welcomes John Travolta back to popular culture. 
1995 - The Oklahoma City Bombing as a result of domestic terrorism causes the U.S. to pause in fear while the movie Se7en freaked us all out.
1996 - France ceases its production of nuclear weapons.  Fiona Apple comes on to the music scene and movies Scream, Fargo, and Trainspotting  give us all the chills.
1997 - Titanic.  Wasn't that the only thing that happened?
1998 - The Monica and Bill scandal brings a whole new meaning to "I have this stain on my dress" while Britney Spears, Back Street Boys, and Dawnson's Creek make us want to vomit.
1999 - IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD.....not.  Sadly....Columbine happened.

That's just the tip of the iceberg.  Thanks to the interwebs you can find loads of interesting historical facts ranging from politics to pop culture.

"I can't believe it was that long and I have memories of watching as opposed to something happening so early in your life that you hardly remember it" says Julie Shelton.

All this to say the 1990's were prime years in my life.  A time when I witnessed things that I had no idea would change and influence my adult thinking.  If I could take a hot tub time machine back to 1992, I would love to tell 15 year old Carrie so much.  But probably it would end up sounding a little something like this:

"Hey, Carrie. It's's you. I mean, I'm you...I'm Carrie. Never mind just listen. A lot of stuff is going to happen in the next 20 years so don't freak much. No they haven't found a cure for cancer or AIDS but there are a shit ton of newly discovered diseases that will blow your mind.  By the time your reach 34 you will be separated from your husband, living in a one bedroom apartment with your cats, your next door neighbor is a unicorn and you have a mountain of student loan debts.  But you go to Italy and you have some awesome friends. Don't be afraid to cry, always remember your address, and never date guys with blue eyes. I tihnk that's all for now. Oh and don't worry about Robert Downey Jr. He's going to make it out of this".


Monday, January 9, 2012

'Scuse me? Is That a Smile?

OK people. It's a week into 2012 and already I am experiencing the level 10 come-aparts of others.  Already?  Seriously?  And the message following the come-apart is usually "This is starting off to be a bad year".  Give it a chance!  For the love of god we haven't even had a month.  Just take a deep breath and relax.  Everything is going to be okay!

I know the promise of a new year seems daunting to some, exciting to others, and the rest of the world is like "who gives a shit...happy new...fuck it".  I tend to fall in the excited category.  And I've made some strides to give myself a one-up.  As of J1 mornings  have started with a little self help, self motivation, self love.  As I'm drying my hair, I've been listening to great music and speaking out loud to Carrie.  The message?  It goes a little something like this:

"You are the most interesting woman in the world.  You are talented, smart, beautiful, and you have a knack for finding the good in each day.  What you give is transforming and unforgettable.  The kind meant only for the brave.  And you are so worth it." 

The wind from the blow dryer or a fan helps with dramatic effect.  It's best said wearing a touch of glittery lip gloss. I feel a little ONJ Xanadu circa 1980.  Magic.

I tell myself this until I believe it.  Until I breath it, eat it, taste it.  And it works. Because let's face it, if you aren't telling yourself, who will?  Just get your shit together and start it off right!  I'm only saying this because I have to remind myself on a daily basis that things aren't so bad and I have people surrounding my life who remind me just how beautiful anything can be if you have a sense of humor.

And while we're on the topic of humor, take a moment to observe people who can't seem to laugh at themselves.  It's remarkable, but typically those individuals don't laugh at anything.  They are rarely seen smiling and can't take anything lightly.  They are the sad and the lonely and find if difficult to make friends because there's nothing to share, nothing to give, nothing to gain. Yuck.  If I got my feelings hurt every time my friends made fun of me I'd be the nervous hospital.  They are assholes - and I love every second of their humor.  And my dearest?  My hero? My role model?  Yes, I'm talking about my sister.  She's the worst!  Most of the time we are together, talking, Facebooking, Twittering, Skyping, etc., is spent making fun of one another.  And it's a blast.  We laugh until we cry; until we can't bare to speak and we literally just have to disconnect for a moment.  No hurt feelings - why bother with that?  We're simply pointing out the comedy in our own and each others  human error. 

I'm feeling a little preachy.  Look, I'm not trying to say I have the market cornered on getting over it.  In fact I spend a lot of time in my head dealing with emotions and fears, but more than that I strive to find the better.  It's out there and it's available if you choose it.  And making that choice is scary and vulnerable.  It's easier to hole up and hide form the world.  It's not easy walking in with your head held high and proclaiming "I'm here.  I'm fucking sad as hell but I'm here by god.  I'm here".  

I'm not changing the world, I'm just changing my mind.  Are you sick?  Are you dying?  Are you living in 3rd world squalor?  Then relax and take a step back.  Learn to laugh at yourself because I guarantee someone else is.  And it's probably me and my friends.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Bring Me Life. Bring Me Love. Bring me Truth.

2012 is here.  It's a new day, a new beginning.  The start of a new year is the internationally observed recognition that finally, we get to start over.

I celebrated the new year with an old friend, Julie, and another friend, Alex.  None of us were sure what we wanted to do but somehow made our way to a rather uninhabited bar and sat outside, toasted, hugged and collectively sighed in relief that finally we can start making things better for ourselves.  The scene was a bit like a chick flick as we were bundled up drinking whiskey and talking about the changes we'd like to see in our lives for this year.  The night was long and the three of us shared deep feelings, hundreds of laughs, and of course some tears.  But we never really discussed our resolutions for the new year.  So, as I was heading to sleep I began pondering some things I'd like to tackle in this year and, as part of the promise I made to myself when I started this blog, I want to be honest.  I want to be open and own my thoughts and my feelings.  I've listed some things I want to really, with all my heart and soul, work on as I move forward.

1. I will learn to not take on the guilt of others.  If I have done something to hurt someone, I will take responsibility for that, apologize, and move on.  But, for the first time in my life I will aim to recognize and shake off the unnecessary guilt laid on me by someone else whose will I am not fulfilling.  I am allowed to say no.  I am free to disagree and let someone else deal with that on their own terms and not feel guilty.  I'm done with carrying the hurt feelings of someone especially when I'm being asked to do something I strongly disagree with.  And I will learn to live with the consequences of standing up for myself.  I'm worth it.

2. I will trust love that is freely offered.  I've been gifted to share my life with some of the most amazing people in the world.  They are constant.  Always there.  Never failing.  Even if they can't always be with me in the exact moment I want them around the most, they are always in my heart.  I'm so glad that I have allowed them pass the gate, through the guarded part that is most vulnerable and scary.  But they are there and I will continue to trust them and not always question their why.  They are because....they are.  Trust them, Carrie.  They've never given you any reason to not trust them. This is truth.  Live in it.

3. I will trust my own instincts.  They are usually right.  Call it a gut feeling, a sixth sense, or female intuition, but I know when I know something.  I don't have to justify it or ignore it any longer.  And I don't have to be sickened by it and over analyze it.  Acknowledge it and accept it.  This is the part when I get to tell myself "Listen to your heart and walk through it with your head".

4. To thine own self be true.  I will learn to be okay with the emotions I feel.  I will not apologize every time I cry and I will never stop saying "I love you" to the wonderful people in my life.  I will love myself and the life I've lived and the life yet to come. And I will strive to remind myself every day: You are not a joke.  You are not alone.  You are not losing.  You are not lost.  You are not stupid.  You are not unworthy.  You are not invisible.  You are not unlovable. You are you.  You are smart.  You are talented.  You are love.  You are loved. You are here.

And those are my resolutions.  I do not aim to become the most attractive, most talented, most famous person I can be.  Rather I aim to be the most self realized person I can be at this very moment.  The one I dream of becoming.  The one who understands how beautiful and real each moment is - the happiness and the sadness.  It's happening to you right now.  Just live it.

I recently spent time with my sister who happens to be a mentor and friend.  We talked about the hardships of the passing year and our ambitions for 2012.  I was looking at an image that has always been rather unsettling to me.  It's an image of three swords piercing a heart.  This card has haunted me and caused a physical reaction any time I have ever seen it.  She said "Carrie, let the pain in.  Feel it.  And then let it go. Let the holes left from the swords be filled with cleansing water.  Without knowing how badly it hurt, we can't know how good it feels on the other side".

So there.  I've faced one of my deeply personal demons.  And now I move forward.

My motto for 2012: Bring me life. Bring me Love. Bring me truth.

And the winner is.....

Blessed Be.