Some Odd Benefits & Ways to Let Go

 
Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash

If you've been reading my blog for the past 6 months or so, you know that I've been working through some anxiety & depression issues.

One of my problems is that I feel like I have to be in charge of all the things. I am the Life Manager of Life. Everything is my responsibility, all the time.

There are a lot of reasons I can come up for regarding why I am this way, but for now, just know that I am that way.

So one of the things I am working on is letting go

Letting go of actual responsibilities, of preconceptions, of negative behaviors towards myself, just letting go.

And it has had surprising results. 

Maybe it makes sense to other people, but it's truly kind of shocked me.

For instance, we cleaned out our garage. And subsequently we had a large pile of stuff to donate to a local charity/Goodwill-type shop in town. As we were packing the car, Hubs said "Oh and don't forget to get the statement so we can submit it for our taxes next year."

This is something that feels like it got shoved on my plate at some point during our marriage without me realizing it. I did actually succeed in submitting these things one year...out of nearly a dozen. But it's not something I ever really cared about or wanted to be responsible for, and part of me resented the (seemingly) flippant way this was assumed to be my responsibility.*

Immediately I felt...anxious? annoyed? worried? Idk, something that didn't feel good.

I didn't want that responsibility and I didn't trust myself to rise to that responsibility.

So I took a deep breath, and said "Babe, can this be something that you take control over? Since you mentioned it, I assume it matters to you, and I haven't done a good job over the past few years with this. I think with the new tax laws itemizing isn't as important anyway, but regardless if you want this can you be in charge of keeping up with it?"

And he said "Um okay, sure." 

And then about two minutes later he said "You know, it's probably fine. It wouldn't make that big of a difference...I won't worry about it."

Which is exactly the decision I had come to, but I don't think it would have been as casual as if I tried to explain that myself versus just handing it off to him and him needing to weigh the responsibility versus the reward.

And this is a really small thing, a throw away conversation in the day-to-day habit of marriage.

But it felt big. 

That's part of anxiety and depression, for me- things get distorted. The weight and responsibility feel magnified, and I'm not good at prioritizing them logically.

I'm also not good at...separating things asked of me from my personal worth.

Not sure if that makes sense, but it's the best I can come up with. I wanted to say yes, because I wanted to help my husband. I wanted to be responsible.

But I knew...I have failed at this multiple times in the past. And to be honest, I don't want to expand energy in that direction. Inside myself, I just don't care about this thing.

So when he asked/reminded me about the statement, I thought through all of that in about 30 seconds. 

Literally as soon as he asked I had the thoughts of a) wanting to help Hubs and respect what he cares about, b) wanting to be responsible, then the reality of c) I failed at this so many times, I'm crap and will just fail again, which lead to d) Hubs is just going to be mad when I fail and I am signing up for a fight at this very moment, and also in there was e) fuuuuuck I do not care about this why should I have to care about this?!? 

I guarantee you that not all of these thoughts are logical or fair. And even if they are somewhat valid, probably not to the extreme that I felt at the time.

So there is a little insight into the way my anxiety works.

But really, the main point here is that I overcame that. And it was simple.

I never, ever, ever imagined it could be that simple.

And yes, part of me was annoyed at both my husband and myself that he dismissed something I had been feeling guilty and stressed about for years in the span of 2 minutes.

But again...I'm letting it go.

Because instead of holding on to a petty "Well that's not fair" attitude, I now get to feel a) validation that I was right to begin with and it wasn't worth spending energy on, and most importantly b) self-pride that I passed on responsibility instead of tasking myself with something that would cause me a lot of personal anxiety (logical or not, it's a fact). 

*annoying reminder because I do have guilt issues and the Internet is bad at looking at the big picture: I love my husband and he loves me and we have a great relationship. I use examples with him because he's the person I'm closest too and therefore naturally he's around while I work through my issues. It's not his fault if he does not know or understand my mental state all the time- that's one of the many things I'm working on, explaining instead of expecting people to understand my thought processes and feelings (since literally no one in my life had any idea about my actual thoughts and what anxiety/depression was telling me). 

Asheville, NC: An Anniversary Trip

Way back in the fall Hubs & I went to Asheville, NC. It's a favorite destination of ours, as it's where we went on our baby-moon too.

Only problem? It's always raining when we go! We just have the worst luck. However, there's still lots of fun stuff to do. Mainly...eat and drink. And hike. At least, that's what we did.

We rolled in around lunch time, and dropped our bags off at our AirBnb. Then we hit one of the places that was on every must-visit list in Asheville- the White Duck Taco Shop. We visited the R.A.D. location.


We got the salsa sampler/trio- all of them were good, but I have no idea what they were called. Would recommend, though. For tacos, Hubs got the Jerk chicken and Korean bbq with kimchi; I had the Bangkok shrimp taco, and a Cajun shrimp and grits taco. I saw one review/complaint that these aren't "authentic Mexican tacos." Um, no. And that's okay IMO, because they weren't advertised as such. The Cajun was by far our favorite, and then I'd probably say the Jerk chicken. The kimchi wasn't really our jam, but some salsa from the sampler made it fine. I'd definitely go back and try more. 

We ended up downtown and visited the Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar. This place seemed like my dream...but it didn't quite live up to my expectation. It was a bit overcrowded, which isn't the fault of the management or set up, but I felt rushed. It wasn't really possible to just browse the books, and also there wasn't a super apparent order of the books. Plus it was mostly used books that were going for 20+$. Sorry guys, I'm not a collector. I'm still in the bargain hunting stage. Just a little crowded and pretentious...but GORGEOUS. 


And it's basically illegal to go to Asheville without visiting some breweries, so we started fairly soon. Our first stop was Green Man Brewery. Unfortunately, I cannot remember what we got. I got some kind of cider, because truth be told...I'm not a huge beer fan. So I tend to stick with choices like ciders, ginger beers, or sours. Believe they had tours but we just didn't time it quite right, or decided to enjoy our drinks instead. We sat on the outside area upstairs, and thankfully they had good heaters so it was enjoyable even with the cool, almost-raining weather. 


Next we visited the Wicked Weed Funkatorium. This is Wicked Weed's location dedicated to sour and funky beers. Guys, it was LOVE FOR A BREWERY! Soooo good. Apparently they also have a menu but I was so hungry that I just grabbed our waitress and said "Hey can we get those chips that everyone else has? Oh they come with crab dip? Great!" And it was as delicious as the beer. So 100% would totally go back, I could spend all day there. 



Next we visited Bahrimi Brewing Company. It was probably my least favorite, but it really wasn't bad. Just crowded and weird seating arrangements. Also they didn't have their own cider so the only option was the one I had already had at Green Man's. I opted for a Jack & Coke instead but after drinking beer all day it was way too strong for my empty stomach (guys we walked a lot and the chips and crab dip from the Funkatorium wore off quickly, OK?). The food was really good- like several places in Asheville, their menu changes to use local ingredients depending on what is available in season so I can't remember exactly what we got, but I remember both of us being happy with it. 

For breakfast the next morning we hit up another place that was on all the must-see lists, the Biscuit Head. It has a jelly bar, guys. I got the Cajun Benedict. TBH...it wasn't as amazing as I wanted. But, it was good and it lasted me over a 8 mile hike so no complaints. And if I was trying to save my biscuit to taste all the different jellies, it probably would have been better. My coffee was also lackluster, I think it was the Carmoolita maybe? Just not as Carmel-y as I expected. But hubs got the Maple Bacon Latte and it was so damn good. The jelly bar was also amazing and I should have just ordered a few extra biscuits to really take advantage of it- and let me tell you, those biscuits are HUGE. We started out with bananas foster, sour cherry, and sweet potato chai jellies. But we went back for more and I can't remember- but one was something like peach and thyme? Something with an herb in that that I never expected but was so refreshing. I would go there every weekend- although we did have a 30-45 minute wait so be prepared. But totally worth it. Some things were out of this world and others were fine, but nothing was bad. 



Fully fuled up from our big breakfast, we headed to Pisgah National Forest. We decided to hike the Looking Glass Falls loop because it had a waterfall. However...we started on the opposite side and Hubs had no faith in me at all and really thought we were going the wrong way for like 3 hours. It was finally sunny and we got quite warm. Even though the leaves had already fallen off the trees, it was beautiful and we had a great hike. We even saved a family who got lost- towards the end of the hike a blonde girl, maybe early 20s, literally popped out of the woods asking if we knew how to get to the parking lot. Her group had apparently gotten lost and she sat on the ground crying for 20 minutes, because it was getting close to sunset and she thought she was going to be stuck there all night. Her dad did not seem as concerned- but the fact that a group with 2 ex-Marines ended up following a former soldier out of the woods Hubs chuckle. Ah, sibling rivalry. Overall it was a great hike, and we did eventually find the waterfall...although it was anti-climatic. We hit up two others on the way out though, that were much closer to the paths and absolutely breathtaking.



After this we went back to our AirBnb to shower before dinner. Can we take a moment and gush about AirBnb? This is our second time using it in the Asheville area and I love it. Our place was super cute, a little basement area, and had everything we could need. It was minutes from downtown and the Blue Ridge Parkway, so perfectly situated. Best part? For 2 nights we paid around 175$...hotels in the area can cost 200-200$ a NIGHT. Swoon.

We then went to the Bavarian Restaurant & Biergarten because my hubby loves German food. TBH...I do not. Just not my preferred cuisine. We were wary because some reviews mentioned that they ran out of food and sometimes the wait was long. Both of which turned out to be true, even though it's a little hole-in-the-wall. They were out of schnitzels by the time we arrived. So we both got bratwurst. The German potato salad wasn't the best I ever had, but Hubs liked it. He actually loved everything, for me it was "meh." But again...to be expected with me & German food. And the pattern continued for dessert. Sadly, my black forest sundae was lackluster- which was a disappointment because Black Forest anything is basically my favorite on earth. However, Hub's apple strudel was friggin' delicious. Plus the beer was great. Hubs walked out looking like the happiest man on earth, so ya know. It was worth it. 

I am hoping to go back this summer and take Babycakes. I have great memories of the Blue Ridge Mountain area in general from childhood; I would go on vacation there every year with my maternal grandparents, and have paternal family members up there also. Can't wait to build memories with my little one there too!

Prompt: Good Habit to Develop

(prompt found on Debbie in Shape via Pinterest)


A good habit that I am trying to get into...there are actually several!

But one of them is to put my clothes up sooner. I am pretty good about keeping clothes washed and dried, but then they sit around in baskets forever. There are two negative effects of this.

1) My clothes end up super wrinkled. TBH, I already end up covered with dog hair from my two monstrous, shed-y dogs. I don't need to be messy on top of that and look 100% bedraggled!

2) I end up rushing around in the mornings and starting my day off negatively because I don't have what I need to get dressed for the day.

We've come to realize in our house that my husband's thing is dishes. He doesn't care about literally anything else, as long as that is done.

Mine is laundry. It drives me freakin' crazy when there are no clothes, or dirty clothes are laying around on the floor/in front of the washer because the baskets are full of clean clothes that just haven't been folded or put up.

So, I'm making it a point to have all of my clothes put up. The other night I stayed up until 10:30 doing this, which is late for me! I made Babycake help me put up her clothes, and then after she went to bed I finished folding mine & Hubby's clothes. Then I put all of mine up.

And the next night I was in bed by 8:30...because all the chores were done and I was tired and I could.



Show Us Your Books: February 2019


Is it just me or is January seriously the LONGEST month of the year?! It must be, because I read way more than normal, so let's talk BOOKS!


Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
I actually wrote a legit review on Goodreads, because my feelings were too much for this review. Basically, I understand the mixed reviews on this book. Some parts made me stand up and cheer and scream "YES!" And some parts made me go "Hmmm...making it sound a little easier than it actually was for me."  Definitely depends on your personality and place in life on how amazing this book is. Also, I am SO OVER the super long sub-title/whatever the crap it's called.



                                  Church of Marvels by Leslie Parry
This was a completely random grab that caught my attention while I was looking for another book on on the library shelves. It was an interesting puzzle, some parts of which I didn't figure out until way later than I probably should have. It was fun read but also super sad and touching in some parts...recommend for the right person. If you like multiple perspectives and how they tie together, along with the lives of outcasts, go for it. There are some dark and very sad, physical parts so please be ready.



Dreadful Company by Vivian Shaw
This was the second in a cute but creepy series about a human who is a doctor to all types of beings/monsters from horror stories. I hadn't heard of all of these creatures, but they were described well and I liked the story overall. I like that Greta is a very capable protagonist, but not necessary a perfect one who does it all herself. A lot of her personality is based around the way she treats those around her, whether sentient beings or not, and I like that trait being so central and positively viewed. It's kind of like cozy Halloween-ish type reading that's hard to explain but a fun and unique read.



This is the story of the daughter of a serial killer, who eventually becomes a suspect in a murder trial herself. I really enjoyed this and kind of quickly gobbled it down. Afterwards I noticed some slight things that others might have issues with, like (highlight) too many red herrings and some random facts there's no way I think we could have gleamed from the overall story. However, I'd totally read more about these characters because they were all kind of ridiculous. I didn't see the end, maybe I should've but didn't...it wasn't unbelievable but it wasn't my first guess. Honestly there was so much going on that I kind of wish I could have gotten more backstory on all of them.



Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan
Pretty sure someone on the link-up shared this, and thank you. It's super moving and I teared up a bunch of times and read it in just over 24 hours. The subtitle is "the 12 hardest things I'm learning to say," so each chapter is a different hard thing. Like, Tell Me More-No-Yes-I was Wrong-etc. The author was raw and honest and selfish and supportive and loving and I felt it.







I wanted to like this book more than I did. It was actually kind of reminiscent of As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner, because it went from various points of view and some I really liked and others I kind of hated. It was hard to keep up with everyone, because the book also jumped in time as well as from person to person. We meet one sister as a twelve year old and then later meet her sister as a forty-year-old, and I just wish the chapter titles had included dates (and possibly times) along with the names. That alone probably would have bumped it up to four stars for me. But again, parts of it were super intriguing and it's great to have more Native voices writing, The idea of writing specifically about modern/urban Natives specifically makes a lot of sense in today's world and could fight against stereotypes, so that's really appealing. For these reasons I'd read him again because he clearly has an interesting story and the ability to write in a way that is enjoyable and education for me. That style just didn't make up the entire book, but the variety is impressive in it's own right.



Honorable kinda-DNF: 


I also randomly saw this on the bookshelf, and grabbed it since I love the Wizard of Oz! But...and I sound so old, it was so long and dense and the print was so small that I had to stop. I'd definitely consider going back to it when I am a) not in class, and b) not struggling through a ridiculous sinus cold that makes me need large print.






What have you been reading lately? 
Link-up & let us know!
Life According to Steph

Passion is Overrated (Does this Mean I'm Old?)

 Photo by Jose Aragones on Unsplash

I can't get on Pinterest or Facebook lately without some supposedly inspiring graphic quote about passion and fulfillment.

And quite frankly, I'm calling bullshit. 

I'm all for some passion in life. Really, I am.

But being passionate about everything all the time is just chasing burnout.

Be passionate about...what you are actually passionate about. Is it books? Is it movies? Is it your job? Is it your lover? Is it your family? Is it your faith?

If so, great. But it does not have to be all those things. 

Passion does not have to be in all parts of your life, all the time. 

I'm gonna use myself as an example, because this is my blog and I'm the one talking.

I like doing crafty things. I really do. But I have friends who are literal craft masters. Like, they do Pinterest worthy parties for their kids. And that's great for them. They have fun and enjoy it- and, they are stay-at-home-moms. They've built lives that allow them time to fulfill that passion. And sometimes it kind of makes me sad because I don't do nearly as much crafting as I used to.

However, I have a job that allows me to take mile-long walks at lunch or do homework or read. I've already decided what really matters to me, and made those things happen. Why do I make myself feel bad for not having other passions that match people around me?

So I'm going to go against the grain with my unsolicited advice.

Good enough is good enough

Stop chasing passion. 

If it's there, it's there.

Wait a minute. Pause. Look at your life.

 What parts don't make you nervous and stressed? What part leaves you feeling refreshed? It's probably not even the part that you are encouraging...but it likely should be.

Follow your passion, but don't waste your life chasing passion in general.

Self-Care: February 2019 - Home

 
 Photo by Nathan Fertig on Unsplash


I posted a few weeks ago that I wouldn't be doing any goals or resolutions for the new year. If 2019 was going to be about anything for me, it would be about restoration.

One reason I was nervous about this is because I am a person who likes to do things. I'm usually doing 2-3 things at a time. As I write this, I'm also working and watching a Netflix show. For years, I've hand goals and objectives that I felt like I must accomplish. It was always one thing after the other, with not long in between.

So I was nervous about not having a plan, because...what would I do? 

Apparently, right now I am getting my house settled.

So far this year, I've probably already organized more than I did all of last year.

I was constantly being driven crazy by the shoes piling up by the door. Both because they look messy, and because they were hard to vacuum around...a big problem since we have two shed-monsters. We have a coat closet right by the door, and I managed to do a little bit with that by hanging a shoe organizer on the back. But that only works for my smaller shoes, not my boots or my hubby's ginormous shoes (seriously guys, he literally has bigger feet than anyone we know). So I finally broke down and bought a shoe rack, which fits into the closet. TBH I wish I spent a little bit more and got a sturdier one because I did not take into account the weight of hubby's giant hobbit shoes, but it's still a massive improvement. My entryway is much neater and I am more likely to vacuum because I'm not fighting around shoes, and we aren't digging through a pile of shoes at the bottom of the closet anymore.

I also re-arranged my bedroom a bit. I switched the dresser from our guest room/office into our room- it's white and our furniture is cherry, so that's a bit weird...but it is more functional because the one I was trying to use is older and starting to break down. It just makes more sense for the newer one to be used most frequently, since no one is using the other one at the moment.

When we first moved in to the house, around 5 years ago, we set up one of those "command centers" you used to see all over Pinterest. It's actually really helpful, but- Hubby & I each have a little pocket folder that often overflows with paperwork. It's supposed to be where we put mail for each other, like if I check the mail I can throw my stuff away and put his in there for him to go over later. This does not happen. It's kind of become a catch-all place for any paper that we might want to keep. But we don't clean it out so it looks ridiculously messy- but I cleaned mine out! It looks so neat and only things I will need to access in the next 1-3 months are there (now just have to encourage Hubby to go through his...).

Next I cleaned off our kitchen counter. We have this little area that ended up with several little jars holding random bits of...stuff. In theory it was supposed to hold pens & scissors, because for some reason I need those things a lot and that is a central area in our sort of open spaced home that makes sense. But lots of other things built up there...so I threw half of it away, put half of the remaining things where they actually belong, and ended up with one jar left- with only pens and scissors. Clutter free for the WIN!

And perhaps the most important...I bought a centerpiece!! For some reason, this just screams "actual planned, peaceful adult home" to me. Our kitchen table is another place that has a tendency to get junky fast. It's a fairly long rectangle, and we only use one end of it. So the other end gets filled with...junk mail, baby wipes and toys...literally anything we lay down when we first come out of the house. I bought a runner years ago, but it was a pain to clean around and moved too much...I never gave up on the dream, though, haha! I had wanted a centerpiece box for a while but never got around to it. I went to Marshall's and found several trays and succulents. Actually went back and forth to Michael's also, which was within walking distance, like a crazy person. After about an 40 minutes of trying to put something cute together with individual pieces and stay under budget, I reminded myself to keep it simple. I purchased a tray and some pre-styled greenery. Not super unique, but looks great anyway. And it keeps the runner from sliding around. I'm hoping that we've matured a bit and the fact that there is something on our table will make us stop piling crap there.

The kitchen chairs also finally got those little pads on the bottom so a) Babycakes can push her chair out easier and get down herself, and b) they don't make a noise and scratch up our floor. I'm a little worried these will collect hair more (again, shed-monsters) but...I need to vacuum more anyway so I'm working on that.

Oh, and I cleaned off the counter in the main bathroom/Babycake's bathroom. Thankfully, she is doing awesome with potty training so some things can are slowly going away- baby wipes, small training potty, etc. It's nice to have some room back. 

I managed to get hubby to watch Marie Kondo on Netflix and he is willing to at least give it a try in the garage- for some reason this is the area he always worries about. So that will be happening soon.

Other areas I might try to touch up soon include- bathroom closets (still have Babycake's baby bath/etc that she hasn't used in ages), Tupperware and junk closet. These are all things that really won't take long but will make a huge difference.

I'm not putting deadlines or anything on these, but this is where my mind and body are going without encouragement so I'm just running with what feels right for the moment. I could probably analyze it and make some grand conclusion about symbolism, but action is feeling better than thought at the moment...so I'm going to just congratulate myself and enjoy the peace these changes are giving me.