(my cake from last year)
So... I'm am approaching my 37th year on this earth. I decided to note 36 random things about me or that I've learned in life. These things are in no sequential order as to their importance. I am going off the top of my head. Let's see what we come up with...
1. Life is about moments: We are taught to chase careers. Events. Goals. Prototypes of romance. Those are all wonderful things. I'm just saying that in between all of the chasing, take a moment for yourself. I learned this lesson on a patio over iced tea at one of my writing spots. I was somber. The air felt amazing. The sky was transitioning from day to night. There was the perfect kind of music coming through the speakers. I was alone with my thoughts. I was rejuvenating. The chase in life can be brutal. Often times, I believe, that some of us are misinformed about different realities on this journey. The chase (even the good ones) can wear you down. I suggest taking a moment every day where you do something that appeases your senses. It really doesn't cost that much to have iced tea on a deck, patio, or balcony of a coffee shop. Walks are free. Sitting in the car and listening to a 4 minute song is not that hard to do. Reading over your morning coffee can take you to another place. We are so busy chasing what we are taught is life, that we stop listening to life itself. It has something different to say to us all. Take the moments to listen. Then, maybe, just maybe, those moments will lead you to path God (not society) intended for you.
2. Adele is one of my favorite works of art: Naming the post 36 makes me feel like I am pulling an "Adele" because she names all of her albums after numbers. I say Adele is one of my favorite works of art as opposed to artists because I think that the totality (at least what I can see) of Adele is beautiful. She is physically stunning to me. Her voice is amazing. Her songs are not always something that you may bop around to, but I honestly think they are timeless pieces. I love her personality. I love her humanness. I am not obsessed with her. Nevertheless, I am very fond of her.
3. Relish (take in life): At some point, I started watching life as I drove around (while keeping my eyes on the road). Sometimes, we are in such a rush to get from one place to another that we miss out on the things around us. I live in the center of a lot of mini towns. They all have something special about them. There is this one town that I love to go to just for the scenery on the drive. I actually ended up working in that town for a time and I would take note of what was around me every day. Often times, that helped me to unwind from the day. Slow down and take in the beauty on the roads of life... because one day you just might miss them. Relish them now. You'll get to where you're going soon enough. ;)
4. Cadbury and Lindt are 2 of my favorite chocolate brands: They have rich chocolate... what is not to like? Caramello bars will always be a fave. I also am obsessed with the Cadbury mini eggs at Easter. Lindt is responsible for Lindor Truffles which are nothing short if amazing! :) I actually try not to eat sweets all the time... but when I do... these are some of my faves.
5. Always be open to evaluation: Even if it doesn't always look like it, I have learned to try and take in the criticism of others. Even if the words are harsh, I try to think on them. I think that it is important to take others into consideration. All we know is all we know. Everyone has a different background. Perhaps there could be room for a little openness. Some things simply must be tossed in the trash. Nevertheless, I like to try and be flexible with others for 2 reasons. 1.) it grows me. 2.) it shows me who they are. If I am out here trying with you and you are still talking trash... I know that the real issue is you. Upon seeing this, I can feel peace if I distance myself or move on. I gave an honest effort on more of your terms. What else is there to say? I may not throw the baby out with the bathwater on that person... but my ears will not be as open.
6. Audie is a family nickname that was given to me: Sometimes, I am Audie Dottie. Honestly, if anyone outside of my family called me that, it would be like some sort of weird culture shock.
7. Granny Smith apples are my favorite apples/fruit: Hands down. There is nothing better than those apples... except Pink Lady apples. The only thing about Pink Lady apples is that they only come out at a certain time of the year... so Granny Smith is the all around fave.
8. Billy Joel is my musical Grandfather: So... when I was younger, I used to have this purple clock radio that I would listen to at night. "River Of Dreams" used to come on and I became obsessed with it. To this day, that song is still like a "lullaby" of sorts to me. Billy Joel's music was always around, but I really became more engrossed with it when I went to college. His tunes are amazing to me and "River Of Dreams" will always be a part of my DNA.
9. Tears For Fears is also one of my favorite bands/duos: I grew up in the 80's with MTV in the background. Plus, I was really obsessed with Roland's hair.
10. Notebook and a dream: So... I like to say that all I have is a notebook and a dream. It's kind of true. I've been carrying around a notebook since I was 7 years old. I've also been dreaming about publishing a book for that long as well. I always talk about how obsessed with candles that I am... but I also have a huge notebook obsession. I LOVE artsy notebooks. I have more of them than I know what to do with. Even though I have a laptop, I still have to pen all of my stuff out on paper. I have always done it like that. Then, I read somewhere that Toni Morrison does that same thing and that just gave me more incentive. I have tried to write one of my books and different stories straight on the laptop... but it feels really inorganic to me. I question if I am being a dinosaur about this, but I feel like every writer has their process. For the time being, I am sticking to working out of my notebooks first.
11. Tyler Perry: I feel like if I am ever to win an Oscar, I cannot give my acceptance speech without shouting out Tyler Perry. Prior to seeing Tyler Perry do what he did with film, I felt that I would never be able to go into film. I was raised in a religious environment, and a lot of times the whole entertainment thing is frowned upon. I can remember listening to my pastor talking about Kirk Cameron and his journey. It seemed to be very narrow and rigid. I just felt like there was no place for a Christian girl to really be able to have a range in the industry so I kind of shut it down in my mind. I already knew who Tyler Perry was because of the plays, but when he started doing film, it really inspired me to feel like there could be a lane for me. Even though I feel that Tyler and I are different these days, I will still always be grateful for how much he inspired me... and who knows... maybe I can still work with him someday.
12. Be true to yourself. Always.
13. Your journey doesn't need to make sense to everyone: Life speaks to us all in different ways. We are all unique and we all have our own unique path. Some advice is universal and some is not. It's kind of impossible for anyone to speak on a situation that they are not well versed in. Yet, somehow, so many of us allow people to speak into our lives when they have not clue about walking the journey. Stop allowing people to try to normalize what is unique in your life. Everything does not need to be and will not be understood by everybody.
14. I have never been drunk before... and if I was (because this has been debated)... it was only once.
15. I smoked my first cigarette because I was upset about a guy (and because I had this need to not be so "perfect"): I went from raging to feeling like I was floating on air. I tried some more after that but it really was not my thing. I still crave them from time to time... but I could never bring myself to buy a pack of cigarettes. It's just not that deep to me.
16. Fiona Apple is one of the many loves of my life.
17. I think that Samuel L. Jackson does not get the recognition he deserves: The man is in EVERYTHING and has a range that is out of this world. I think he deserves more props.
18. Robert DeNiro is my favorite actor.
19. Kevin Spacey is my second favorite actor.
20. I'm secretly in love with Ryan Murphy: He does so many things right... how can I not love him? I have thoroughly enjoyed so many of his projects. We've been walking together through life on and off for about 15-16 years now. I hope we never break up.
21. I don't care about my looks as much anymore: I think that I am beautiful. I am not going to say that I have no insecurities... because I do. I believe in keeping yourself up and all that jazz. When I say that I don't care about my looks as much, I guess I just mean that I am not validated by them. I care more about who I am on the inside. I want people to think I am attractive... but there is a lot more to me than just that. I actually am more flattered when people call me brilliant as opposed to beautiful. Feeling this way is something that just happened over time. Maybe it's maturity. Like I said, this is not about falling off... it's just about not being validated by physical beauty.
22. My 2 minute philosophy: I have said for years that I would rather have 2 minutes of love in it's truest form than a lifetime of something that is not. I don't feel like I was ever the girl who was obsessed with weddings the way that some other girls may have been. Marriage has never not been an option for me... but I took a bit longer to develop in the area of love. I had crushes and such. It took me to about my mid 20's to start to think that love was a beautiful thing. Today, I have become a full on romantic. Where did it come from? Omygosh... Nevertheless, somewhere in the middle of mid 20's and now... I adopted this 2 minute philosophy. It may have been a way to explain the pressure that I was feeling for being single and not taking these heavy measures to "fix" the problem. I think that fact that I was never super obsessed with the event of marriage may have helped me in the long run. I want LOVE! I don't just want to say I'm a wife (I want to say that too... but not without true love). I know that marriage can be challenging. I am not as unrealistic as I feel people sometimes deem me. I just want be married to someone that I am crazy about. It bothers me that some of the people that I talk to (that are married) act like marriage is no big deal... or scoff about their spouse. Look, I'm good on bringing anything into my life that is not fulfilling. I don't need this ring to feel as though I fit in with the women of the world. I think love is something that happens at different times for certain people. Personally, I don't know if I would have made the best wife before now... and I still feel like I may be a bit unconventional in some ways (maybe not). To close this matter, I will leave it with this. When I was in high school, my sociology teacher talked about having butterflies when she would go home and see her husband. She was an older lady. I am not sure if this was her first time being married (for some reason I think it may have been her second time... I could be wrong) but I got the feeling that she had been married for a while. That is what I want. Me and bae may have our issues, but I just want to know that what we have is the real and forever kind of thing.
23. I want to get married on the beach in bedazzled flip flops: I don't really want to have a traditional wedding in a church. One of the reasons for this is because I am super shy and I don't want to say my vows in front of all of those people. I used to want to write out these vows... and I didn't want everyone to hear what I wrote. Plus I love the beach and that is just where I want to get married. I used to say that I would get married and then come back and have a big party that everyone could come to. So... we shall see.
24. I don't have a type: When I was younger, I went through different seasons of being attracted to different kinds of guys. As I got older, I came to just be attracted to the heart and soul of a person. Even when I was younger, I usually liked my friends. I tend to fall for guys that I am comfortable with (I think because I can be shy). I find that there are just people in life that I am naturally comfortable with... and I don't always know why. In any event, I like guys that I can be myself around and who are just genuinely good people.
25. God is my best friend. No matter what, this will never change.
26. My Grandma (and Grandad) has always been the most important person in my life: She drives me crazy at times. We have our differences. However, there will never be another person in life that can take her place. I thank God for blessing me to have her in my life for so long. I hope that she has many more years on this earth. I love her fiercely and so very deeply.
27. Imitation Of Life is one of the best older films ever made. Both versions. They are so good.
28. I am the oldest and only girl of all the grandchildren in my family. And I am tougher than all those boys. :)
29. Baseball is my favorite sport: I am not a sports fan. I repeat. I am not a sports fan. I just really like baseball. We used to play it growing up. I like to sit outside and watch it. I also said if I ever had a son, I was going to try and get him to play it. He can be mommy's little slugger. Now, if he hates it, he can quit. I just really want my son to play baseball.
30. Celebrate yourself: Support is nice. We all want everyone to be happy for our accomplishments. We all (or at least most of us) want people to celebrate our victories and milestones. The sad truth is, this does not always happen. Look, it is YOUR life. It is YOUR dream. It is YOUR milestone. It is YOUR accomplishment or victory. The harsh reality is that no one has to care about YOUR life. I've heard stories about people planning parties and no one really showing up. You get amazing news and the "applause" is lackluster... and perhaps even bitter. It sucks. I know. There are a multitude of reasons for why people respond to things in the way that they do... or don't. Instead of focusing on that, focus on celebrating yourself. YOU worked hard. YOU persevered. YOU survived. YOU are benefiting. Sometimes, the best moments of our lives are best kept to ourselves. I am all for celebrating with others... but I feel that you should have a moment where you take it in for yourself. Thank God for whatever the blessing is and just feel the positivity within yourself. It's really no one's obligation to celebrate anything about you. I know this sounds SO harsh right now... but it is a truth that I see all too often. Learn to congratulate yourself. Take the focus off of others and give the focus to YOUR moment. You worked for it... or it's been given to you. If you would guard your house from a known thief, why can't you do that with your soul? Don't let people rob you of YOUR joy. YOUR momentum. YOUR peace. YOUR positivity. YOUR pace. Protect it... and celebrate the beauty of YOU.
31. Charlotte's Web is one of my favorite books.
32. I have a weird fascination with polka dots.
33. Age is just a number. Aging, however, is a very real thing. Take care of yourself.
34. Laughter is one of the many loves of my life.
35. Death is really going to happen someday: I think seeing all the death around me last year hit home. Seeing legends who seemed a bit magical and invincible made me realize that we really do die. I mean, I always knew it. It just really woke me up... and humbled me in a way.
36. I'm not obsessed with Happily Ever After (in the way you may think): I. Love. Fairytales. Let me say it again for the people in the back. I. LOVE. Fairytales. I always have. I used to love to watch The Brother's Grimm's fairytales when I was in school. I have always loved Disney. The reason that the adult version of me loves fairytales, fables, mythology, and Charlie Brown is because they still relate to adult life. Everyone says:" Life is not a fairytale". When people say that, they have once again, focused on the event and not the journey. Most fairytales are FULL of opposition. Cinderella was a slave. Snow White was stalked, plotted on, and fed a poison apple. Sleeping Beauty had a curse put on her. Simba watched his father be murdered and then was made to think it was his fault. Ariel almost had her voice stolen. Granted, Ariel gave her voice away... but Ursula played on her vulnerability. Walk outside of Disney and the versions of these stories can get a bit darker. It is only at the end of the story, when ALL hope seems lost, that the prince kisses the princess and they live happily ever after. It is only after watching a plot FULL of STRUGGLE that we see some freedom. I find that "children's" tales can hold certain truths that get lost in adult life. The Tortoise and the Hare says: "Slow and steady wins the race"... so why are we made to think that we have to rush through life? You can also apply "The Little Red Hen" to what I said about celebrating yourself. If you want to talk about unrealistic realities... watch a Rom-Com. I love them... but why don't people say: "Life is not a Rom-Com?" I just feel that a lot of tales deal with the subject of good verses evil. Darkness verses light. If you have faith in this life, you have hope that God will bless your life and give you a good end (and I don't mean through death). We struggle with the hope that somehow God will help us to see goodness in the land of the living. How is that different from Happily Ever After? Everyone has their own view. I actually see some tales as being able to be compared to spiritual life in a way. I could go on and on about this as I actually want to start dissecting more fairytales as I go along in life. While I will give you the fact that the Happily Ever Afters could have more diverse endings, I still believe in fairytales... because I believe in the goodness of life. And, maybe, just maybe, I like holding on to a bit of my girlhood too. :)
There is probably so much more that I could say... but this was my random 36 things to celebrate my 36 years. Let's see what I will learn this year. 37 is not here just yet... but she's on her way. :)