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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Ghosts

Today I went to an industry event hosted by a company I used to work for. It was the job I had when I burned my life to the ground at 28 - luckily the one with great health insurance.

I go to this event every year and it's very much like an alumni reunion; many people like myself walk through their revolving doors, do their time, and leave with experience you can't get anywhere else. I took a buyout from this company in 2011 and was able to take a year off. While I found it a stressful place to work, I'm very grateful for the experience, professional and personal. It's been incredibly helpful in the current iteration of my career.

I went to the restroom after lunch. When I looked in the mirror I had a jarring moment in which I didn't recognize myself. Not sure how many people have read here long enough to remember that one time I lived in a fully-furnished bungalow in Folsom (the cutest house) and walked by a mirror and thought there was someone in my house. But it was me. I didn't recognize my own reflection. The year after I got sick it was so creepy. Imagine waking up one day and looking nothing like you used to. I could walk by people and they didn't recognize me. My own ex-husband didn't recognize me once at the post office. It was so. fucking. strange. It was liberating and alienating all at once. I drank because feeling like a ghost in my own life made me crazy anxious, and the only way I knew that worked in getting rid of that anxiety was drinking. It worked until it didn't, anyway.

Today, in the large bathroom on the 3rd floor at Sacramento Convention Center all by myself, I had that same moment, and this time with 5 years, 6 months, and 11 days of sobriety under my belt. Looking at myself in the mirror, my eyes glowed as blue as my shirt, my hair looked like an actual haircut, and I thought of the tidbit I heard earlier in the week, "you're 40% more attractive than you think you are." I saw myself how others must see me. It had that same feeling of not recognizing myself, but without the anxiety. The anxiety was replaced with the pride of how hard I have worked and hustled* and scrapped and ground myself down to get to today. I love the woman I have and continue to become.



And right after this, I ran into my old boss from that job. He and I used to butt heads a lot, but in the end I think there was a mutual respect for one another. It was great to catch up with him and it felt very full circle. He said the same thing everyone else I ran into today said, 

"Wow, you look fantastic! And happy!"

* I've changed my mind on hustling (#17). You gotta hustle, always.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Strawberry Jam

I made strawberry jam today. This isn't a big deal in and of itself. Jam, woohoo. It struck me that as I was making it that it's been at least SEVEN years since I last made jam or canned anything. It took my breath away.

I feel like my life was stolen from me for the past seven years. I didn't have my health for a good part of that, and it was all I could do to get up and go to work everyday. This summer I finally pulled out of the abyss. I can honestly say that I am now above ground. It took a long damn time to get here; it's about fucking time.

I can honestly say November 2009 until July 2016 were my life's Dark Ages. This summer has been about rediscovering the joys in my life that I have missed out on during said Dark Ages. I will look back on that time and gape in awe of how I managed to keep trudging. I feel like I simultaneously had the notion to give up on life yet something inside me was fighting tooth and nail to make things better. It seems contradictory to say that, but it feels right.

After my parent's divorce, my mom just gave up on her life. She waited every day to die. There was no joy in her life. Watching my mom go through her stroke and doing a shit ton of work around my family issues since late winter/early spring has helped me understand that the journey of giving up on your life is not my journey. It is not my burden or baggage to carry. Nor will I carry it for her any longer. That is what snapped out of me in July. What was modeled for me is what I did for almost seven years, but all the while my inner self was trying incredibly hard to make things better. It didn't give up. Thank goodness for Urban Girl Scout.

I've had so much fun these past six weeks. I've been creative, adventurous, brave, rejected, and humbled. I've been working on Halloween and Christmas/holiday art projects. I've been sewing clothes. I asked neighbors to clear out my backyard for me instead of keeping my blinds down so I don't have to look at it. I've been making, packaging, and selling soap. I planned out some landscaping projects and purchased supplies in advance, including plants. I've been going to the gym in the morning before work, and taking cold showers. I've been working on house projects. I've been using my toolbox everyday.

I've got busy living.








It beats the hell out of waiting around to die.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Tomboy Soul Co

Hi all! I've been meaning to put up this post for a while, but have been shying away from doing it. There is something really thrilling and completely frightening about crossing a threshold. But that's how we grow - pushing ourselves to grow by crossing threshold after threshold. Suiting up, showing up, and doing the work.



The Tomboy Soul Co online store is now open. My goal is to list two new soaps each month (including restocking those that sell out - there are a couple I can barely keep in stock because they sell out at work so quickly!)

I hope you'll pop on over to check it out. XO

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//existential angst portion of post//

I have been asking myself why it's been so hard for me to put this little shop out into the world. I've had it ready to go for months and hadn't pulled the trigger until recently, and even then, I did so in secret because a friend was selling my soaps at her pop-up shop and my interim website (www.tomboysoul.com) was printed on the back of them. Even though it was semi-secret, I've already had a couple orders, so the Universe isn't allowing me to hide. Now that I have the packaging/shipping thing squared away, the only thing holding me back was fear.

I'm not afraid of what people think about me/the store/soap/etc. I'm not afraid of fucking up or making something people don't want. Not even close. I'm afraid of where I eventually see this going, and it's a bit all-consuming. I know once I open the door, I am saying yes to something larger than myself. And while seemingly overdramatic, the fear is that once this is out in the wild, it is going to have a life of its own. After all, future tripping has always been my favorite pastime.

It's not just about soap.

When I was thinking about a name for my company, I knew I wanted something that encompassed me and my personality and could be used for more than just soap. And from that, Tomboy Soul Co was born. I'm currently selling only soaps under this label, but I continue to have a vision that this is more than just soap. I'd love to talk about it more, but right now it's still incubating. All I know is that there is this idea that's bigger than me brewing, and in this lifetime I'm just the vessel for its creation.

Stay tuned.