I Want It All And I Want It Now.

Wildflowers Unscripted Writing Challenge Day 25: My Vices

So I realize I have done an abysmal job of keeping up with the very writing challenge to which my blog’s name is attached. I suspected that would happen. But, I didn’t want the month to end without me at least trying one more time. Plus today’s topic fits pretty perfectly with where my mind is. So, there’s that.

“I love how you’re already planning another event before the first one is even done. Lmao.”

That’s what my best friend said today on Gchat when I explained that I had secured a venue for an upcoming DC Bloggers Brunch. (Get excited, DC people.) I’m three days away from what is the largest event I’ve done on behalf of Twenties Unscripted. And, what do I decide to do? Start planning another event.

In my mind, Saturday is done. At least all of the important details. Now we just have to get there and not royally screw up the entire thing. In my mind, I have done everything I had to do and now I just have to get there and see it come together. So, naturally, it’s time to start thinking about what is next.

Or is it?

My number one vice is that I am one very impatient being. It is that very vice that has me itching to get to the next event before I have even seen the fruits of my labor for this one pay off. In theory, I should be focused on what I’m performing on Saturday night and how much Chardonnay I’m going to consume after the night is over. In actuality, I’m now preoccupied with the next event.

My impatience has stung my relationships, punched my self-esteem and forced me to abandon shopping carts in stores where lines are too long. My impatience has caused me to snap at people and doubt myself when I don’t see something immediately pay off.

I want it all and I want it right now. I have always been that way. I want the world and everything that comes with it in sixty seconds or less. But, let me explain. Because, I think there are a lot of people who want the world and don’t want to work for it. You’ve read my stuff. You know I have less than an iota of respect for people who don’t work hard. So, I want to do the work. But, I’m still a product of the microwave generation where I think the ROI is supposed to be this immediate present that falls into my lap after I’ve done the work. And, life has this way of reminding me often that it does not just happen like that.

More often than I let on to others, I have giant and bone-crushing doubts about what I’m doing with this blog. Am I doing the right thing and why am I even doing any of it? What is the ultimate payoff? Those are the questions that tango around my brain and those are the questions I poured out to my best friend earlier today.

“If you enjoy what you’re doing right now, then it’s for the right reason,” she said as I spilled out my writer woes.

She’s right. Sometimes I forget that the reward of things isn’t always in the form of accolades or money or bylines. Sometimes, the reward of things is the very comfortable and content feeling I get from coming home every night and spilling out my thoughts. Sometimes the reward is knowing I have a space to always fall back on, whether my day is amazing or horrendous. Sometimes the reward is the very thing you have, not what you ever expect to yield from it.

I still want the world. I want the stars and the moon and the sky. There is a lot I want to do in this life. Maybe that’s why I’m impatient because I always know there is more I could accomplish, more I could see, more I could conquer. But, there isn’t a point in having the world if you can’t quiet your mind long enough to enjoy it.



Please Define “Single And Ready To Mingle”

Wildflowers Unscripted Writing Challenge Day 8: A new/different city

I credit the city of Plano, Texas with teaching me how to be single.

I know what you’re thinking. Where the fuck is Plano, Texas? But, let me explain.

Two years ago I moved to Texas for work. I knew it would be an eight-month stint there and the move came at a much-needed time in my life. When I got to Plano, it was as though some ominous cloud lifted. I could see clearly now, the rain was gone, all that good stuff. During those eight months, I learned how to actually be single for the first time in my post-grad life.

Of course, saying I “learned how to be single” begs the question of what does it actually mean to be single?

That’s why I hate the term “single and ready to mingle.” I feel like that term should only be reserved for drunk sorority girls in college bars. Outside of that context, it just makes my skin crawl.

Being single means something different for every person who takes on that relationship status, which is usually each of us at some point in this life. While I lived in Texas, I learned how to fend for myself. I learned how to go out alone and talk to complete strangers. I learned how to quiet my life and focus on the things that mattered to me. I worked out. I started this blog. I worked a shit ton. I spent entire weekends alone. I cooked (well…on Sundays.) I rid my life of all the boy craziness that too often plagues it. And, maybe some of that sounds mildly depressing, but it was the definition of being single that worked for me.

We put a lot of pressure on people in relationships, but we also put pressure on people when they are single. We forget that each person defines the word and, more importantly, the lifestyle, differently. Single doesn’t have to mean ready to mingle. If you want to date multiple people, fine. If you have zero interest in dating anyone, fine. If you want to go out every weekend with your friends and imbibe adult beverages, awesome. If you want to stay in every weekend with a new book, also awesome. Single is whatever you choose to make it. You just have to make it work for you.

Plano, Texas was where I learned how to define my version of single. In some ways, that time in my life was the happiest and most zen-ed out I have ever been. I miss it. I know it would not be the same if I went back now. And, I have learned how to be content with where I am at this point in life. But, Plano, I miss you. Because you taught me how to be single. And, just with that, you taught me a lot.



A Relationship Will Magnify, Not Mask, Your Insecurities.

Lists for twentysomethings are somewhat of my guilty pleasure. I always cringe when yet another one pops up on my timeline or news feed, yet I typically can’t resist reading them, even when they are littered with stale and recycled advice. Yesterday I stumbled upon “The 20 Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make In Your 20s” from Elite Daily. Like most lists of this ilk, there were things I both agreed with and disagreed with regarding the supposed gems of wisdom. Number 19 stood out.

“19. Thinking that this is the right time to fall in love…”

Even as someone who constantly advocates for being single and figuring your shit out, I don’t agree that it’s necessarily a mistake to think your twenties are a good time to fall in love. Perhaps it is a mistake to harp on finding love or to align yourself to arbitrary romantic timelines. But, when people fall in love is not a one-size-fits-all equation. Hell, it’s hardly a conscious decision at all. I have friends my age who are engaged and friends who enjoy being single. Neither one of these groups is inherently more intelligent, mature or self-aware than the other.

What is a mistake, however, is believing a relationship now, or ever, will somehow save you from yourself. I know. That sounds beyond cliché. But, we all see people do it every day. Total train wrecks who go and join themselves to a person thinking that partnership will be the panacea for their unfulfilling career, mounting insecurities, mountain of debt and every other issue they have. Instead, it does the exact opposite. The issues you have yet to sort through and deal with are only magnified, not masked, when you enter a relationship.

Maybe that is where number 13 in the Elite Daily list comes in:

“13. Blaming anyone else but yourself for anything in life. Hold yourself accountable for everything. At the end of the day, all you have in the world is yourself — so go hard. Don’t look to anyone for answers and instead of making problems, create solutions…”

It is my sincere hope that it does not come as a surprise to you when I say you actually have to work on being a better a person. We all do. It’s not something that just happens. It is not merely a byproduct of getting older. It is instead the result of a lot of hard work and reflection. We have to dig through our baggage. We have to not only want to be better, but we have to consciously and proactively work at it every single damn day. We cannot dump our issues on another human being and expect them to repair us.

It was right around this time two years ago that I started seeing a shrink. My life had just imploded for a host of different reasons so I was willing to try it after a friend’s recommendation. Since then, I’ve gone to therapy on and off. I’ve also been writing three to four times a week and that has been my catharsis as well. Did you think this blog was purely for your entertainment? Of course not.

Sitting on a couch for fifty minutes and pouring out your thoughts isn’t necessarily the solution for everyone. Don’t fret; I’m not going to go all Freud on you tonight, at least not anymore than I already have. But, we all owe it to ourselves to find that channel that does work, independent of another person. We owe it to ourselves to face our demons head on and come to grips with our very imperfect and scar-ridden lives. We owe it to ourselves to sort through our mess. Figure out our shit. Work on ourselves. Sleep easy at night because we are happy. Whole. OK with the mistakes we’ve made and the wounds we’ve amassed. And, at peace with the lessons we have learned from it all.



Quit Waiting For Happiness To Fall Into Your Lap.

Tyece Wilkins 2
See? Happy.

31 Day Writing Challenge Day 28: “A time when you were happy”

Last night, I hit a palpable dating slump. These dips happen on occasion, unexpectedly, as I’m going about my life just fine when I realize that there’s still something missing. And, not only do I realize it, but I also harp on it. Zero in on it. Scrutinize and question the gap. I don’t know what incited yesterday’s pit; it wasn’t anything memorable. But, it happened.

I screamed to the ceiling three consecutive times. I poured a glass of wine, texted my best friend that “I hate dating and I quit” and went on a bit of a Twitter rant about how I don’t have the stamina to date (which is part truth.) I felt like a piece of shit–a single piece of shit, that is.

I decided to sift through my small CD collection until I found Joss Stone’s 2007 album “Introducing Joss Stone.” I listened to it uninterrupted for the next hour, the music serving as both an intoxicant and mild confidence boost.

And, then, I was happy.

I read a quote yesterday that said, “It was like she could only enjoy things in anticipation or as memories.” I find myself guilty of this life modus operandi many times. It’s as though happiness always eludes us because we’re either anticipating it or reflecting on it. But, we rarely let ourselves sink into the pillow of a good moment. Then, it’s gone and we are bliss fiends waiting for the next best thing.

We mistaken happiness for these monumental life moments. We’re always waiting for the right person. The better job. Our big birthday. We’re always leaving our own happiness up to external circumstances, a dependence that is the shortest route to disappointment. Because, there are people who found the right person. There are people who got the better job. There are people who celebrated that big birthday. And, you know what? Some of those people are still unhappy souls with their own set of issues.

All of these small yet beautiful moments are sweeping right past our anticipatory eyes. Waiting for happiness doesn’t make us any happier. It actually makes us quite miserable.

I unplugged and put on Joss Stone last night because I was tired of feeling shitty after all of ten minutes so I was determined to crawl my way to a better mental space. To a certain extent, I can’t control my dating life or meeting the right person, so why expel my end-of-the-day energy into getting all worked up about it?

Happiness isn’t something that is bestowed upon you. It isn’t this sparkly dust that falls on your pretty little head. Happiness isn’t something that happens by default or as a result of specific experiences. Happiness is something you have to fight for every single damn day. Some days you’ll win that battle and some days you won’t, but you still have to fight it. Happiness is something you have to trick yourself into. It’s a feeling that you have to take complete ownership of, lest you spend your life as some debilitated damsel in distress waiting to be loved.