Wednesday, September 17, 2014

You Haven't Seen The Last Of Me

Tap, tap, is this thing on?  Right now it feels like I'm on a big stage all alone with a bright spotlight shining on me.  This space feels so big, it seems so empty and it's absolutely silent.

It's pretty strange being here, but it's oddly comforting too.  It's been six weeks since I've sat in this chair, in front of this computer, typing on this keyboard.  I'm not sure exactly where to begin, and as per usual my mind has a million different thoughts running through it. 

I guess we'll go back to August 4th.

August 4th was my one year blog anniversary.  I let it slip by without even a mention.  I didn't celebrate it or honor it like I should have.  Instead I felt jaded about blogging (I'll get to that), burnt out in general and basically uninterested.  I didn't plan on taking a break, but looking back now it's very clear that things were not moving in a positive direction.

I've thought about this space a lot since my last post on August 7th.  Here's what I know.

I'm not done blogging.  I've gone back and forth a least a dozen times.  Should I stay or should I go?  Initially I didn't want to quit because a year is a long time to dedicate to something and then just stop.  That's not a good reason to keep going though and that won't sustain me long term. 

From there I thought f*ck it.  Towards the end this place felt like a noose around my neck.  It was one more thing to be responsible for.  One more deadline to meet.  The thought of letting this self induced, self created stress go felt amazing. 

It took a while but I eventually came to find myself thinking about the beginning.  Why did I start blogging in the first place? 

I started blogging because I needed to meet new people and to build new relationships.  In the beginning that happened very slowly, but organically.  Someone would reach out via email because they'd read something I wrote and they felt a connection (or vice verse).  We'd write back and forth, privately.  We got to know each other outside of blog post comments.  Those relationships are the relationships that have continued inspite of the fact that this space has been quiet for 6 weeks.  There's substance there.  That's what I came for.  

There's always a flip side though.  For every 1 quality relationship there were 20 built on the "comment for a comment system".  Nobody talks about it, but it's no coincidence that on days I didn't leave comments, I didn't get any either.  And the comments themselves, they felt so lame, like one liners "oh my gosh your purple shoes are so cute".  I'm not saying that every comment needs to be deep and profound, because not every post is deep or profound.  What I am saying is that without the real connection (the getting to know you behind the scenes) it's just not enough.   

I will not allow myself to entertain the "comment for a comment" relationships again.  That is not a productive use of my time.  I will spend time really getting to know the bloggers behind the blogs that I still love and read everyday (even if I've been silent lately).
Aside from building relationships I also started blogging because I wanted to write about life in your thirties without children.  I still believe my demographic is greatly underrepresented and while I haven't done much to change that, I plan on it. 

I wanted a hobby.  Hobby Shannon, not another full time job, learn the difference!  I'm going to work on that one :)

I wanted to explore and get to know myself better.  Expressing myself here has without question helped me to see myself more clearly.  I'm funny (sometimes), I'm loving, I'm smart, and I have something to share.  In my day to day life I feel like I'm very aware of my behavior.  I'm always the first to point out when I've done something wrong or when I've behaved poorly.  It's important to me that I never stop learning and growing as a person.  This space has shown me all the different sides of myself.

For all the good I've seen, it's terrifying to see just how moody I am.  I was raised by a mother who suffers from mental illness so I'm constantly accessing myself looking for signs that I too might be plagued.  I spent a day rereading every post I'd ever written (143), and then I reread them all again.  From happy, joyous and grateful, to overwhelmed, angry and sad.  Seeing the good sides of yourself is amazing, but seeing the ugly, YIKES!  Worse though is knowing that you've shared those parts of yourself with the internet.  What was I thinking???  Why can't I be more censored.  That alone was enough to make me stop in my tracks.

After feeling completely horrified I again started to think about why I was here to begin with.  It's absolutely crazy to share the ugly parts of yourself on the internet for all to see, but it's also incredibly rewarding to find people (on the internet and in real life) who read this shit and still think I'm an amazing person.  I mean talk about complete acceptance.    

I wish I could hid the not so pretty sides and show you only the pretty, but that's not going to happen.  My hope though is that this crystal clear picture of myself will help me make some necessary changes. 

I wanted to be creative and to challenge myself.  Done and done.  I love being held accountable by this space.  I love the 101 in 1001 challenge. 

I guess what I'm trying to say here in a very long winded and round about way is that my absence here has given me time to think about whether or not I've gotten enough from this space in the last year to make it a part of my life for another.  After a lot of back and forth my answer is yes.  For all the bad there is twice as much good and with a few tweaks I think year two will be even better.  I've missed you and I'm coming back for more.  Hope you're all well.  Lots of love.  XO Shannon


Thursday, August 7, 2014

San Francisco, They'll Be No Pictures Of The Golden Gate Bridge Here!

What I learned in San Francisco:

1. I will never live in San Francisco, what was I thinking?
2. I need more weekends with amazing girls like my Yo.
3. Good food is everything.
4. Tarrot card readings are a complete joke.  Direct quote "seriously, that's it"
5. I am not a singer, despite my undying need to sing karoke!

We stayed at the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins for two nights, home of the famous Top Of The Mark.  What an amazing hotel!  The staff was great (even at midnight when we were on a mad hunt for carbs after what I'm sure was one too many cocktails #noshame).  Upgrading to club level was so worth it, snacks, breakfast, cocktails before dinner, yes please.  We felt safe which after walking through the Tenderloin (read the crime section) on accident was everything.  Thank you Mark Hopkins for being such a great home coming.

The view from our 16th floor room.

I had a bit of a trek from the Powell street Bart station.  Taxi service was a joke for a city as large as San Francisco is, but I finally made my way up California St. to the hotel where a bottle of wine was waiting.  More drinks in the club and then dinner at Farallon.

Oysters, one of my all time favorites.  These were so fresh.  
I love dinning with people who aren't afraid to try new things.  Yoli's octopus which was delicious.
Summer bean salad
My lemonfish which I'm pretty sure I could eat day after day.  Sooo good.

My only real request this trip was that we find a karaoke bar.  I haven't sang karaoke in years and I was dying to step back in time for a song.  Nothings changed, I still can't sing, but I'm sure glad I did it!

Remember me mentioning two girls looking for carbs at midnight?  Well we ended up at Lori's Diner for malts, fried food and salad!!!!  What is it about a night of drinking and walking the streets that makes me want chicken fingers and fries?

I was totally impressed with our ability to be up and out of the room the next day after not getting to bed until after 1AM #rally!

We had a bit of a scare on our way to the SOMA food truck park.  Think used needles on the sidewalk from the previous nights escapades.  We never made it to the food trucks but rather spent the afternoon in the first safe neighborhood we found.  God bless you Mission District.

Post-breakfast and pre-lunch empanadas

In our efforts to avoid the "hood" we took the bus back from Mission to 5th street and then walked up to Chinatown

More eating, more drinking and then dinner at Michael Mina.

Abalone for the first time ever, so good.
My perfectly cooked lamb

Saturday was an early night and then more exploring or rather me on a quest to find Longchamp :)

Success, and what I'm sure will be the first of many of these little babies.
I had the best time and am so looking forward to girls weekend 2015 in Portland. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

This Makes That All Worth It.

Flying to San Francisco tomorrow and my assistant getting me an A boarding pass.

A great Thai lunch and discovering Thai tea.

Riding bikes yesterday #sofreeing.

Being married to a man I can pluck my chin hair in front of.

My favorite month of the year starts TOMORROW! Hello birthday month. This is the month I get things turned around and back on course.

Passing my driving test yesterday. Yeah biatches.

A long weekend.

A mani/pedi tonight.

Striping down to my undies and jumping into the pool out of the blue last night.

Waking up today and feeling like everything was going to be ok for the first time in a week, maybe longer.

Meeting Mariah in person next Friday!

This makes all of that worth it. What keeps you going? 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Finally Hitting Bottom

Our den has never looked so beautiful to me.
It's actually a relief because there's nowhere to go but up from here.  Besides, it's not like I haven't been here before.  I manage to meander my way down this round about twice a year. 
For some reason this time around I didn't see it coming.  The descent down wasn't as rapid and dramatic as it normally is.  That's a good thing, I'm learning!  Maybe it's because I'm handling stress better?  Or maybe I'm better able to self regulate?  I don't know, what I do know though is that I still don't know how to take care of myself well enough to prevent this from happening in the first place.  The crash landing is getting less turbulent, but it's still a crash landing.   

I guess I should back up and explain what hitting bottom means for me.  It means that I've managed to get myself to the point where I have a hard time functioning in my day to day.  I still do it, I just have a hard time, a really hard time.  It means that I'm over thinking everything, which means that I have an exhausted and overworked mind.  It means there's lots of self doubt and feelings of inadequacy.  It means withdrawing.  It means drinking too much.  Worst of all it means being way too hard on myself.  I start to think "what's wrong with you, why can't you handle this". 

These are the things I know prompt the downward spiral:  

1.  Taking on too much professionally.  "Yes, I can do that".  "Okay, I'll come in on Saturday." etc. etc. etc.  I've mentioned before that my work ethic largely defines me.  Work is important, it's how I pay my bills and it's what's going to allow me to retire at 50.  I don't need to be an "exceptional" employee to do those things though.  I can be an "exceeds expectations" or god forbid even a "meets expectations" employee at this point.  I've climbed the latter.  In my head I'm okay with where I am professionally but something always keeps me going.  Habit maybe? 

To stop the madness I took Thursday and Friday off.  I wish I could say I wasn't online (but I was) and that I didn't think about work (but I did).  At least I was home though right?  That's a start.   

2.  Over extending in my social life.  This space has opened me up and made me so much more aware of myself.  I know for a fact that my social life is thriving because of that.  I can't explain it exactly but over the course of the last 4 months I've met and connected with so many new people (irl) because of my blogging.  There have been trips to the gym, happy hours, parties, weddings, weekend visits etc.  I don't think I've had any downtime since before the 4th of July.  That's fantastic, but there's got to be balance.

As much as I hated to do it, I had to cancel my plans for this weekend in pursuit of some "stay at home and do nothing time" (see the photo above).  I've been listening to Pandora, trying like hell to avoid tv and social media, cooking (3 days in a row bitches) and sleeping a ton.  I don't feel completely rested, but I'm getting there.     

3.  Being too wrapped up in my iphone, ipad, tv etc.  I mean think about it, when you're perusing the internet for hours on end your brain is hopping from one thing to the next in a matter of minutes.  Shopping online, scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, constant movement, constant stimulation.  When you start taking your phone to the bathroom with you so that you can browse IG, you've got issues.

On Friday and again today I will not touch my phone or the ipad.  I don't want to be connected to anything but me.  And no more taking my phone to the bathroom #ridiculous.

4.  Looking back.  There are times I think I'm petty for not putting aside my feelings and pursuing relationships I use to value.  It gets to the point where I'm about to reach out and then something happens and I'm reminded of why I stay away.  The thing is there's always going to be "something", some kind of drama and for someone who takes things in as much as I do, it's too much to deal with.  I don't stay away because I don't love these people.  I stay away because I love myself more.  Even cracking the door to the possibility of a relationship leaves me reeling. 

The thing is, life is a never ending cycle of ups and downs.  There's nothing to say that you won't relearn the same lessons over and over again.  What's important is that you try your darnedest to improve these areas of your life and that you take the steps you can to make the landing a little smoother each time around.

That's it for today.