It was a Saturday afternoon and when I initially woke my plans were to find something amazing on Netflix to binge and simply relax. As I started cleaning I realized I had never hung a picture behind my headboard. If you knew how OCD I could be at times you would know that every single morning it bothered me that there was this empty space looking all naked and lonely. Trust that it wasn't from lack of searching, but the problem was I had never found the perfect picture to hang, so I decided to wait until I saw what I was looking for. Well, no time like the present to skip on over to my favorite accessory store and just take a peek. After all it's free to look and I probably won't find anything anyway. This is my internal way of attempting to convince myself that I did not need to go shopping, but who needs that type of negativity in their life??? Off I go!
Twenty minutes later, 4 candles, a box of tea, and one amazing picture in my shopping cart, I was smiling from ear to ear because I knew that I had found the perfect picture after all of this time. It's the little things right? So they say. I have stepped into the chapter of my life where things have to be balanced with purpose. Where is that gonna go? Don't I already own 5 of those? Will it fit in my car is truly the only question that requires an answer, because I will find a way to make it work even if I am doing a tiny bit of hoarding in the process.
There are so many topics we would rather not discuss, and death is most certainly one of them but it's part of a necessary agenda that we all must face. Can we block those uncomfortable discussions and feelings and replace them with thoughts that only bring joy? Sure, but that doesn't change the inevitable doom lingering in the background. Faced with despair, loss of direction on what to do next and the feeling that there is no hope, you find yourself stuck in a spiral of doubt that often times gets much worse before it gets better. If we could erase thoughts like a bad dream it would be an easy task but unfortunately that's not reality.
The one truism in life that I have learned to accept as I grow older is that we are all born into this world, and we will all surely die. What that day is we will never know and quite honestly I don't think it would bring on an amazing sense of comfort if we did. Take a movie for example. Part of the excitement is trying to figure out what is going to happen and preparing yourself for the ending. Would you still watch that movie if you knew the ending in advance? The answer is likely no as it would take away the mystery and excitement and give you nothing to look forward to. And for some the answer quite possibly might be yes, either way we have to learn to accept that everyone has their own way of dealing with the inevitable fate that is death.
You know how the lyrics go, "I gotta feeling, that tonight's gonna be a good good night feel, tonight's the night, let's live it up, I got my money , let's spend it up". We all have a song that makes us feel this way, a moment where we forget everything, let go and just let the vibe completely take over. There are so many different genres of music, Rock, Classic, Gospel, R&B, Country, Jazz, Folk, Rap, Funk Fusion, Neo-Soul, Hip Hop, Reggae, and the list goes on and on. I typically listen to my music at deafening levels, but depending on the mood I sometimes keep it nice and mellow. If you have never shouted "huh" over your headphones then you have absolutely no idea what I mean! Music has a way of speaking for itself and it will let you know just how the song should be treated. Finding that perfect balance of bass and treble will create an unforgettable combination and you have now entered into what I like to call musical euphoria.
I knew the moment I saw them that they were coming home with me as long as the shoe Gods had a pair in my size. Fingers tightly crossed, a hope and a prayer and the mad search begins. As I walked closer, I saw a half size too large, a half size too small and the exact size. I'm serious about my shoes, so I went with what I thought was the perfect size. The moment comes when I need to try it on. Inhale in, exhale out! This is the moment of truth folks. Either my day is about to be ruined or in approximately 36 seconds I'll be skipping through the store like a kid whose mom just allowed them to get another pair of light up sneakers.
After years of trying on shoes, breaking in shoes, loving and hating shoes, I know a thing or two about what works and what doesn't. The fit has to be just right and if my toes are out I usually go a half size down. No overlapping of the toes either, and if I can fit a finger in the back of the heel it's just not going to work. Suede doesn't give very much so the size has to be on point. Leather will stretch over time and that gives me a little wiggle room. There is a fine art to this, so I gotta get it right in order to rock out an amazing pair of shoes. Now that the shoes are all mine, what in the world am I going to wear with them?
Make no mistake about it, every single person on the face of this planet has an opinion and most aren't afraid to voice it, be ostracized because of it, unfriended at the tone of it, or simply looked at as weird, unforgiving and downright rude because you expressed it. Speaking up and owning your voice is a cocky move and you should be prepared for those who just don't and will never get it. So, make sure your skin is thick and your sensitivity meter is turned all the way down, past zero.
What makes a person feel bold enough to say exactly what's on their mind without thinking twice? Some are born this way, with aggression and fierceness so powerful that everyone not only sits up and listens, but they dare not say anything against what you have just proclaimed as the truth. Some are a little meek and take their time finding their true voice, but once they arrive it's like new energy has been lifted and those in the path better take cover, and quick! I hope you're ready because this level of awesomeness is not for everyone.
Ever had a conversation with someone that made you say, hmm I wonder who came up with that saying? Of course you have. There are so many phrases and words in our vocabulary, and we honestly have no idea where they originated from and why we use them. We just know they sound good, and it seems to make perfect sense so it's added to our mental database and used when necessary. That is, until you hear something that fits the scenario, but it just doesn't quite add up so you embark upon a quest to find out why. A conversation with a friend of mine, who by the way is an amazingly talented writer, said, 'That's about as right as rain. You know, one of those idioms I was talking about in my last post'. I said, 'Well rain is pretty awesome, unless of course it is about to ruin your plans, then maybe not so much?' Doesn't answer the question though. So, the light bulbs went off, and we were both kinda stuck with the deer in a headlight gaze. See, here we go again. But what does right as rain mean though? I volunteered to have a go at it, let's see what I came up with!
You're driving along, music is blaring, you are singing at the top of your lungs, life is kinda groovy! For some reason you have this notion that you sound so blissful and angelic that you could have a chance at recording an album and this is finally your big break! You start the song over for the fourth time and hit record, because this time you are singing along! You need proof just in case you bump into a music producer while grocery shopping, but it will most likely only make it to your deleted folder by the end of the day. This is called life, and it's full of moments like this. Whimsical, goofy, silly times when you are allowed to simply be yourself and do whatever moves you. One of the funny, yet not so funny things about life is that it has a strange way of changing the narrative when you least expect it. Nothing at all like a movie where at least there is theme music to warn you when something terribly bad is about to go down. Movies are full of suspense and mystery which is what makes them so amazing. The vast majority wouldn't mind their lives playing out like a movie as long as the ending works in their favor. What if you got to choose your very own theme music and you knew when something bad was lurking around the corner? Would you run and hide until the coast is clear, or would you stay to face that music?
The beginning of most things is a pretty amazing feeling. The start of a new job, moving to a new city, a fresh and exciting relationship, or an amazing blueprint on the wild and crazy plans you have for your life. If you have read my first post, 'Finding Myself' you will know that I have always had a love affair with writing. Picking up my diary to write stories was my favorite thing to escape into, and I really thought I was doing the most with that little lock on the front that never worked! Either way, it was mine to create in and dream up whatever I wanted. No matter how you begin, you can tell the moment that you do, it will most likely be something kinda dope. So you do it, with a little fear and an enormous amount of doubt, but there is this driving force that pushes you to see that 'thing' through. In the end, you are happy you did, trust me.
You've found yourself lost in translation and you seem to have caused an imbalance in your life that is causing more stress than happiness these days. The discomfort is all-encompassing and it's become awkward and downright exhausting to even think about how to maneuver throughout the day with all that is swimming around in your head. (Did you remember to feed the cat?) Thoughts that once seemed simple have become overwhelming. (Should I wear the brown or black boots?) Your relationship choices are questionable, your clothes are no longer in style, and your hair, or lack thereof, is in a constant bad hair day vibe.
In most cases, the majority of people will think you have it all together and that perfection is your middle name. The reason for this is because we don't go around letting people know that is the furthest from the truth. We smile, say hello, get through the day, go back to our normal routines and hit repeat just to do it all over again the next day. Repetition has been said to drive some insane, but it also depends on what you are repeating.
Along with the clutter we create in our cars, closets and drawers we also find ourselves being mentally cluttered to the point where we have lost our peace and sometimes struggle to get it back. You might be asking, 'what tools do I need to get out of this state of mind and semi-weird space I am in?' It all starts with you, and it's actually easier than you think. Make a list of the things that cause your stress and start working to eliminate each of those things one by one. Yes, this includes people! I won't say that it is always easy but the end result is quite rewarding.
Nothing is as complicated as when we get in our way of happiness. We allow our lives to become over-saturated with deep thoughts and overthinking. Not sure who said it, but this is not rocket science so stop making it so hard. Well, unless you are a rocket scientist, then you have the type of stress I won't begin to talk about. Either way, you owe it to yourself to exhale and enjoy life to the fullest.
So you have your list, you've rolled up those sleeves, you are ready to take action and switch it up a bit. Feels good right? As you start to remove the stress in your life, you will feel more optimistic, you will observe things differently, and you begin to realize you were always so deserving of this newfound peace that you will wonder what took you so long. Even if you forgot to feed the cat, you know that Max will be just fine until you get home. Brown or black boots, either way, you will figure it out, you'll look incredible and pose for at least 10 pictures by the end of the night. The mind is extremely powerful, and with it, we can control our thoughts, the energy we allow in, and the stress we push out.
The same people who thought you had it all together before will feel that new energy and peace, and you will feel good knowing that it's real. Once you set the tone to find that peace, everything else after that will hold a different type of weight. You no longer find yourself lost in this place where nothing seemed to jive and your balance was completely off. You are now walking upright and the feeling has never been so incredible. Your aura and your energy start to glow from within and your outward appearance is radiant.
Let's be honest, stress comes, sometimes at the worst times in our lives. If there was a way to reduce it forever and completely we would all be golden. We all have ways of handling unique situations in our lives, It's all a matter of learning what to hold onto and what to let go. Life is forever changing and while some change is good, we always want that constant. The constant feeling of knowing you have it together and everything will work in your favor.
Do your best, realize what matters, keep that list handy, and make your peace the first thing you acknowledge every day.
Wishing you all an abundance of peace ☮️
AJ writes & blogs from her home in Kennesaw, GA with Max alongside as her muse. You can also find her work as a contributing writer at www.groovmagazine.com