Christmastime is Here (Alternate title: Reflections from Phoenix Sky Harbor airport)

We’re entering the last phase of the year: the Holidays.

I spent last weekend filling in with my old band, The New Waves, doing 3 nights in 3 different cities. It was such an awesome experience to meet the new members and see how much better the guys that were there when I left, when they were “new,” have gotten So. Much. Better. I am also grateful that filling in is an option that I have when Rotel doesn’t have gigs. Band politics are a strange thing.

I’m really grateful for all of my experiences. The first few months of 2016 were so hard for me. I didn’t feel connected to myself, or the people I love the most. I learned what alcoholism is really like to live with. That was honestly one of the hardest periods of my life. What I found most difficult was separating the person I loved from the drunk who did the things that hurt me. It’s something I’m still processing, though it doesn’t consume my life like it did back then. It’s a memory of feelings that comes up at times.

But I was able to separate myself from that person, and from those feelings. And I’ve latched onto much more positive people and vibes and experiences.

I grew up so much this year. And it’s not over!!! There’s still another 5 or 6 weeks of experiences to absorb!

I spent Thanksgiving in Phoenix with my Uncle, and my dad was able to come have Thanksgiving dinner with us yesterday. It was a really good week. I don’t think I’ve ever just spent one on one time with my uncle. There is alignment there. And he actually told me that I’m one of the coolest people he knows. That’s a really cool thing to hear from someone you love.

My boyfriend told me the same thing over the weekend, after he saw me sing with The New Waves. I am so grateful and so inspired to just keep doing the things I love and be around people that I love.

My amazing boyfriend also brought up an opportunity/experience that he wants to take on with me, and it made me feel excitement and fear. More on that to come later. I’m letting it percolate for now.

When I get back to Austin in a few hours, one of my college roommates, who has been traveling the country by herself, is going to pick me up and we’re going to hang out this weekend, eat sushi, do some yoga, go be around water and go bouldering. Then I’m going to join her for a brief leg of her trip as we head to Denver to visit our wonderful college friend who is in med school.

I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am! These are some of my favorite people: they are beautiful and hard-working and full of spirit and love. I am so very excited.

Here is to love, and allowing light come to you during the holiday season.

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Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery/ None but ourselves can free our mind

I have always shied away from talking about politics. My father and I don’t share the same political views, and I’m someone who does not enjoy arguing with my parents, especially since they live so far away. I think that time spent in communication with them should be spent in a loving space.

I’m observant, and try to listen to all sides, but being the soothing and peace-making person I am, I shut out arguing. It’s not something that I do well. I like when people get along. I work with children, and I think the whole “be kind and genuine thing” helps me a lot in my particular field of work.

One of the owners of the kids yoga studio I work at sent out a text to all of her employees this morning. She said that she woke up to her 9 year old daughter saying, “Trump won. There’s terror in the world.” I responded with, “We get to keep spreading love and light. We get to choose not to let ourselves sink. There’s a lot of dark, murky water around us but we only sink if we let the darkness in. Stay afloat and spread love.”

Then I forced myself to get out of bed and drove myself to teach a music class, and I got to do the very thing I had just preached on. Someone at work said she was in a great mood.  She had gone to bed worried that she’d wake up with Hillary as our next president. This was, of course, preceded by “I’m not political, but…” And I bit my tongue. I didn’t feel anger toward her, just confusion. I swore I didn’t know anyone in Austin who was for Trump. Until this morning, and I realized I saw this person often and I genuinely like this person.

I went in and taught my class. I danced around and played drums and read books to a bunch of 4 year olds, and then we ended class by coloring pictures while listening to “Redemption Song.” After class, the same woman who told me how happy she was that Trump was president also told me that part of the reason she was in a good mood was because she knew she was going to get to see me.

Which proves my point even more: We are human first. Where we each stand politically is such a small part of our identities. It is rarely something that we talk about on a day to day basis, at least in my world. I know if someone prefers coffee or tea, beer or wine, what their favorite color is, their favorite place to travel– before I ever find out where they stand politically.

Isn’t it funny that Thanksgiving is in two weeks? It’s such a funny contrast– or, right now, it actually feels more like a test. I’ll be spending Thanksgiving with my Uncle, who lives in Arizona, and my dad, who lives in Florida. I do recall Thanksgivings past, in which my dad and uncle got into it about politics and I would immediately remove myself from the table, refill my glass of sangria, and go find a book to stare at while continuing to listen. I know my uncle and I agree. And I know my dad supports Trump.

But what’s more important than that is that I get to spend Thanksgiving with them. And you know what else? My dad is a great dad. He supports me and my music and he has always just shown me support and love. A lot of fear is coming up in me that Thanksgiving will be spent in a huge argument about the election. I’m probably right. But my dad is not Trump. He just sees something in Trump that I don’t. My love for my dad has to go beyond my fear of what his opinion is. Otherwise Trump wins again.

I have so much fear. Not just about Thanksgiving. I think the past few days, most of us have been glued to our TV’s, computers, phones. Per usual, many of us can’t stop scrolling through social media. But it is gushing with words of hate and fear. Social media amplifies what we already fear.

GO DO SOMETHING. I have felt paralyzed while staring at my phone over the last few days, and while watching the election last night on my laptop, and my stomach keeps turning, but scrolling through facebook is NOT helping. Get off social media. Yes, it’s a place for us to express ourselves. But it’s also very saturated with negativity right now.

Children are listening. They’re watching us– all of us, those who won and those who feel defeated. They will learn how to react to things from us. If they see us crying and staying in bed or putting words of anger malice out, that is what they’re going to do. We’re only going to breed more hate, and nothing will change. He will have won, in more ways than he already has.

Can I just point out that it’s awesome that we had a woman RUN for president, and that she has so many supporters? Especially considering this old gem:

barkhorn_womenvoters1

Yes, this is 100 years ago. But it was also in America. We have come so far. We really have.

Nothing about this situation is permanent. Nothing ever is.

Here’s the cheese. You ready?

It starts with us. It literally starts with you and me and the people we spend our time with, and how we treat them. If you want the world to change, don’t leave it up to our leaders. Lead yourself toward greatness. Be the best you in your given circumstances.

Be a light for others. Being sad or angry about someone or something doesn’t change the fact that it happened, that it exists. Be brave, move forward. Show the people around you how to act like the bad ass civilized adult you truly are.

Act with love, not fear.