Developing gratitude

We tend to wait until November to think about why we are thankful. But even then, our thoughts are clouded by the gift-giving season. Why wait to develop gratitude?

I have been really struggling with this blog. What voice I want it to have, what audience I want to impact the most, what topics to cover, what subject I should portray myself as the expert of. I spent so much time worrying and judging myself that I didn’t write.

I let ideas come and go. I gave myself excuses as to what was causing me to “not have enough time” to write. I thought, maybe it’s better for me to stop writing until I have “figured the blog’s platform out.”

But, that’s just an excuse. When has anyone really started a creative adventure and had everything figured out? Creative adventures change, detour, fall, fail, and eventually evolve.

Yes, I would love to be a professional writer, aka paid enough to live happily ever after. But, in a way, I only have so much control over that. If I spend most of my time trying to categorize myself, and doubting all the ideas that randomly pop into my brain, then I gain nothing positive.

If I just push myself to word vomit at least once or twice a week, then I’m still growing and nurturing my abilities. It may result in dolla dolla bills y’all. Or, it may result in just another online diary. Regardless, I am thankful for the opportunity.

Thankful that I even have a platform to write to the masses.
Thankful that I have the ability to receive positive or constructive feedback from the audience.
Thankful that I can continue to try to improve, to create and to inspire.
Thankful that I live in a country that doesn’t oppress free speech.
Thankful that I was able to continue my education into my 20s, allowing me to learn even more than if I had been forced to stop while still a young teen.
Thankful that there is potential to profit from this platform.

We tend to wait until November to think about why we are thankful. But even then, our thoughts are clouded by the gift-giving season. Why wait to develop gratitude?

I recently decided towards the end of October to designate a space near my bed where I will write down one thing every day that I am thankful for. It is a practice that my mom started with me when I was in high school & struggling to see the positive. By challenging me (or in my mind at the time, forcing me) to do this, my outlook went from glass half empty to glass half full. It is a challenging practice to maintain, but I swear it works.

It turns out that my idea to promote more positivity & gratitude into my life was on track with others. Recently, I discovered from a colleague of mine that she was participating in the Thanksliving Workbook. This idea is the brainchild of she works His way, an organization that encourages wisdom for women to pursue Christ, serve their families well & use their gifts to bless others. While there are people who have had negative experiences with religion & Christianity, I encourage you to still check out this wonderful workbook. It does not judge, condemn, or pressure. It builds you up, loves you, and strengthens you.

Personally, I was raised Christian. I went to a variety of Christian churches, but spent the most time in the Lutheran congregations. I was also very lucky in that I went to a high school that had us study world religions, morality and ethics. I have friends of different faiths. My spiritual relationship is my own & still a work in progress.

Regardless of my questioning, I still find inspiration in religious services, traditions, texts and individuals. I believe that exposing oneself to a variety of experiences will only make you a better member of humanity. Therefore, I believe the Thanksliving Workbook can be used by everyone & shaped to their own experiences. If you’re interested in using the Thanksliving Workbook, and would also to be a part of a virtual community while participating, leave a comment below and I will get you set up with the private Facebook group that I am a member of!

If you’ve reached the end of this longer than usual post, thank you. It’s your readership that keeps me accountable. Until the next post… I challenge you to write down 5 things you are thankful for at the end of today & share them with your friends & family online! End 2016 on a note of positivity & start 2017 with a new mindset!

 

The “Bite Me” Chronicles Return

For the past two months I have been helping my mom clear out my grandpa’s house and now our own home, my childhood home, as she readies herself for her new adventures out West.

I’ve found pretty hysterical pieces of artwork, toys from all stages of various obsession, and dozens upon dozens of journals.

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After spending hours reading dozens upon dozens of Jelly-ink filled pages dated as far back as 1996, I realized how far I’ve fallen from my writing roots.

Granted, I’ve learned how to spell better since my last school-assigned journal, but other than that I’ve failed miserably at expressing myself post-elementary school years. Writing became an assignment, a chore. It wasn’t something I did for me, it was something I did because I had to.

“When I grow up, I want to write.”
“I want to go to UNC, and learn how to become an author from Sarah Dessen.”
“When I graduate from college, I want to visit Tokyo and teach English there.”

Nothing is more stunning than realizing you’ve forgotten all of your childhood and teenage dreams – the dreams that made you happiest, and true – and are worse off for it.   

I would like to think that my downfall started with the start of puberty. Once I left elementary school, my priorities shifted. Creativity was put on the back burner for tests, gossip, and make-up. I became resentful of writing for “fun” as I was told what to write about and how to write about it for the next 12 years of academia. So, I stopped.

My artistic expression, my self-improvement goals, my “hitting-it-big-as-a-published-author” sized dreams, stopped.

I stopped. My best “me” stopped.

Six-year-old Caitlin could give a fuck what people thought of her stories, of her horrendous spelling and awkward grammar. She felt all of her feelings, and poured them out onto the page. She documented current events. She described struggles and tragedies. She took the time to re-live her day through her words and pictures, because it was important to her. It made her, be.

Once adulthood hits, we all want to become a kid again. It’s easier, right? More fun, carefree. But, is part of the reason why we want to become a kid again because we realize how brilliant and wise we were? How nonjudgmental we were of ourselves and each other? How we could balance being selfless, yet also be selfish for the sake of what made us the most happy? Being a kid, you do you 24/7.

Screw it. I’m going back to being six.

I can’t please everyone. I can’t be afraid of not getting hired at some job because my blog is too this or that. I gotta do me. I gotta make six-year-old Caitlin proud. I gotta lot to release onto these pages.

So, bite me! I’m going to use my First Amendment rights! If Donald Trump can, well, shit, anyone can!

P.S…

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Interpretation: Haiku

My Debut

Two thousand sixteen

My word, my soul is action

Creativity

My Drink Of Choice

Red is the color

My live forever habit

Favorite lip stain

My Chore

I am a writer

Therefore, I am broke yet rich

My spirit is full

My Forever Love

I think you’re Spanish

Your eyes tell me otherwise

You’ve stolen me still.

Me

It’s all about me

No more apologizing

Don’t stand in my way

One Line a Day

After leaving my career aspirations behind to try another path, is 2015 going to continue on a path of wellness and happiness or a new round of struggles and questions?

Last Valentine’s Day, Marty got me a book titled, One Line a Day. He thought it would be perfect for me since I’m so horrible at committing to blogging every day, let alone once a month! (I’m working on it…)

The point is to write one line about your day, per day. It has five spaces on each page for you to write your one line for the next five years. It’s genius, really. So, now that it has been one year since I received this gift, I can start to look back at my lines from 2014.

2015 is already starting MUCH better than 2014, I must say. I’m in a better place emotionally, financially, mentally…but something is still missing.

I have this hole that’s slowly growing inside of myself ever since I stopped regularly frequenting those radio station halls. I go back ever so often to fill in, but it’s not the same. I still have that gnawing in the back of my head that’s telling me if I don’t step up my game soon, I will lose my chance to ever break it into the radio industry.

I could be bitter and blame money as the reason for my departure from radio, but honestly it’s a bit more complicated than that.

Still…that drive, that passion to tell stories, to tell the stories of those unheard, bypassed, ignored…it isn’t being fulfilled. I no longer spend time trying to understand why I wasn’t picked to do this or that, or why I am not being called upon to help on this or that, because it’s useless.  It doesn’t build me. It doesn’t strengthen me. It just gives me an excuse to give up and to stop trying.

You grind in your 20s, that’s what “people” say. You grind in your twenties so you can build in your thirties and you can enjoy your forties. But what if I want to grind, build and enjoy before I’m 40? Is that possible any more? Or is paying your dues now extended by 5 years since the economy went to shit and companies are raking the rewards of cheap labor from college graduates, who are desperate to make it on their own, no matter the physical, mental or emotional cost?

So, how am I going to stand out? How am I going to grind, build and enjoy? How am I going to tell those untold stories? How am I going to fill my one line a day?

My Attempt at a Comeback

A friend of mine reminded me recently that I did not keep my promise in maintaining this blog after it served it’s previous purpose. Kind of embarrassing to be called out, but also incredibly helpful. Since my last post “life” has gotten in the way. I had always told myself I wouldn’t let it distract me from writing – a passion and my cheap form of therapy. I write down reminders and calendar events in my iPhone everyday and I get a bit of a “high” checking off things from my to-do list. So why don’t I make writing a “to-do” — a priority that needs to be done not only for my sanity but for practice, for developing myself, my talent?

It’s never too late to start a resolution. Or a revolution. So here’s the beginning of my attempt at a comeback!

“The going is the goal.” – Horace Kallen