Sunday, December 21, 2014

Kintukuroi- More Beautiful For Being Broken?

I've been going over this post in my head for quite some time. Forgiveness and healing have been on my mind for a few years now. I started this blog as a way to express myself and to sort of chronicle this journey of healing I'm on so that I can sort it out.

I haven't been writing much lately because I haven't wanted to deal with the part of the journey that I'm on. Every time I look at myself, I see gaping bloody wounds and disfiguring scars, and it infuriates me. Anger is all I can feel these days. I'm so angry about the past, the experiences I've had that people should not have, but I'm mostly angry about the way these experiences have affected me and the way my life veered off course because of them.

But I recently came across something that really has me thinking. It's the practice of Kintsukuroi. It's the practice of fixing broken pottery with gold or silver lacquer and it's based on the idea that something that has been broken, has experience and history, and is more beautiful because of that history. And the pottery really is more beautiful.
So I have started to wonder if it is possible that I am more beautiful because of my experiences. In some ways, I definitely am. I am capable of empathizing with far more people than I ever could have otherwise. I am also capable of greater sympathy than before. I find it so much easier to stand up for myself. I no longer hold on to people who do not value me. I don't feel like my value is based on how many guys are attracted to me or having a boyfriend any longer. It has also sent me down this road of learning journal therapy and eventually teaching others. 

The parts of me that are not more beautiful are where I am dwelling though. I have not been able to drop my guard. My weapons are always ready and my armor is always on. I don't know how to forgive or to trust anymore. I don't have real relationships anymore. And of course there's the anger. Deep inside, I know that feeling anger is a good thing. There was a time when I was completely numb and there was a time when the thirst for any kind of feeling seemed like it would bring on complete insanity. So feeling anger is a huge step in the right direction. It's exhausting though and usually just makes me shut down. Hence, the lack of writing and my being stuck for so long.

The hope I have right now, is that I will learn how to retrain my brain to focus on those good things that have come out of all of this. The bad things need to be addressed and healed but it is going to require a change in thinking that is a whole journey in and of itself. And one day I will see gold and silver instead of wounds and scars.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Missing Writing

I miss writing. I miss writing so much! For some reason, whenever things go wrong, my writing is completely stifled. And things are going wrong right now.

My internship finally turned into a full time job. I was so excited. I was finally in a position where I could get on my feet. Then my boss was fired and they hired someone new. My new boss is terrible. He's an elderly man who I believe to be either racist or sexist. He has three mixed race women under him and the way he talks to us, especially me is incredibly disrespectful. He doesn't know any of the processes and won't take the time to learn them. He is also trying to scapegoat one of my coworkers and me for things that are going wrong, that we have no control over. So now, instead of looking for apartments, I'm scrambling to figure out how to improve my resume and find a new job. I'm back at square one.

More than likely, I'm going to have to tolerate this for awhile because it is going to take me time to find a new job. Plus, I haven't learned nearly as much as I had hoped to by now and I'm worried it's not enough for a new job, so I'm also scrambling to increase my knowledge in a very short time.

My level of frustration is high and finding words these days is very difficult.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Action & Growth

The word for this year was supposed to be "growth". The frustrating truth is that it should have been "action", just like last year. As much as I accomplished last year, I was nowhere near being in a place where I could step back and focus on growth the way I wanted to. Much more action had to be taken. I found an internship which I turned into a job. I bought a car which I am paying off. Now, I need to buy furniture and find my own apartment.

I'm not denying the amount of growth that happens when you take major steps like these, particularly when you were afraid of these kinds of steps not so long ago. However, the growth I was more interested in doing this year was healing. I wanted to start learning to forgive and trust again.

But growth is growth so I've decided to go another route. I haven't been writing much. I've been completely stuck, which is part of the reason some of that growth I was looking for hasn't happened. Writing is how I navigate. It's my candle in my darkness. Lighting that candle again is where I need to focus. In order to unblock, I've decided to complete, The Artist's Way. For years, I've heard great things about this book and how it helps unblock creativity. Plus, I tried doing "Morning Pages" a few years ago. You can find that attempt herehere, and here. I couldn't handle it then. It stirred up so much stuff that I did not want stirred up. Even then, I could tell that I was running. Unfortunately, healing often hurts more than receiving the wound did. I'm still very resistant to the process but now that I can understand why I'm resistant and the power that this process has, maybe I can push through this time around.

I've also signed up for two poetry classes. One is the class I took last year, ModPo. It's been four weeks and it's been so great to see that I have progressed since the first time. I have a deeper understanding of many of the poems we've looked at so far. The other class is a new one for me and started last week. This one is supposed to be pretty intensive. We'll see how it goes.

Action will continue in full force. It must. I do have to take care of my creative soul as well. I've been neglecting her for too long.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

What Do I Want?

For about a month, a temp was working in my department at work. He took an interest in me. He couldn't seem to figure me out and asked me every question he could think of to try and make sense of me. Most of the questions were easy answers for me but as he got more comfortable with me and realized I wasn't going to be offended by his questions he started asking more complicated questions and delving deeper. Then on his last day he asked me a question that I couldn't for the life of me answer. He asked, "If someone were to ask my future significant other what I was to him, what would I want him to say?"

I hadn't realized before that, how abstract the concept of a long-term relationship is to me. It's not just significant others but friendships as well. I know that in the past I chose to love the people that I loved because some I had just grown up with and I held on to the history that we shared and some because I had no self worth and having them in my life made me feel like I had value. I never pondered what I was to them and what kind of person that made them. That's not really important when you just want to feel like someone wants you. Now, I do know my value and am trusting my instincts. I no longer need anyone's validation to feel worth something. But I haven't thought about putting into words any kind of expectations I have for people in my life other than they must treat me with respect. Of course, even that has different meaning to everyone and I'm not even sure that I can define what it means to me.

Quite frankly, I have no idea what kind of people I want in my life. I spent too much time just taking what I could get and now I don't know what I want or need.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Quote: Will Self

"Always carry a notebook. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea forever."

-Will Self

I've got the carry a notebook part down. Now to actually use it more often. I carry a traveler's notebook that I love. I haven't been using it to it's full potential though.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Quote: James Victore

"You have no friends, you have no enemies, you only have teachers and you need to learn from these people." 

-James Victore

This quote is just what I need to help me with the things that are going on at work. The reason I took the job is because I knew if would be a good learning experience but I was hoping for more of an accounting and financial education. It hasn't been what I bargained for but maybe it still has something to teach me.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Escapism

I have not been writing much lately because I have been practicing escapism. I have been trying my hand at other forms of creative expression during this time but the reality is, I'm doing that because I don't want to delve deep to find the words I need right now.

I had been thinking a lot about forgiveness and healing. If you read this blog then I think it's pretty obvious that I have a lot of both to do. The problem is that healing a wound hurts more than receiving the wound. When I think about all of the things I've been through that need healing and all the people I need to forgive, I become completely overwhelmed. I can't even focus on one thing at a time because it is all so intertwined and I don't know how to make any kind of order out of it.

I think I may be on the verge of finally forgiving everyone that I need to, except my parents. But I am no where near healing. I see gaping bleeding wounds and disfiguring scars whenever I look at myself. I see how my view of the world has been completely altered. I no longer have the ability to trust because there has not been one single person who has not violated the trust I gave them. Even though I can now see that what they did was because of their own tragicness (that should be a word) and really had nothing to do with me, the damage is already done. In the case of my parents, the damage they caused led me to being in the situations I was in with other people. Situations that most likely would not have happened if I hadn't been taught that my instincts are always wrong and that I have no business expecting to be treated with care and respect.

So, I'm practicing escapism. It won't last long though. Being stuck in a rut is very frustrating to me as I have been working so hard to move forward. It's only a matter of time before this running away that I'm doing doesn't work anymore and I go right back to facing my problems. Actually, I think that needing to write this post means that time has already come.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

52 Lists Project- Week 7

Week 7 ~The Things That Make You Feel Healthy: Mind, Body, & Soul~

Writing
Exercising
Cooking Healthy Meals
Hiking
Feeling Sore After a Workout
Noticing Beauty
Drinking Enough Water
Long Hot Showers
Glowing Skin

I really want to complete this project so it's time to get back on it.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Quote: Henry David Thoreau

"As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives." 

-Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My Prison

My hopeless prison
My fortress of exile
Built with my own two hands
To block out pain
To hide my shame

My tragic armor
My plate of anger
Crafted out of bitterness
To shield from exposure
To guard against judgement

My worthless weapons
My steel of terror
Forged out of fear
To fight off abuse
To fend off violation

They were all a lie
All deceitful tools
These walls built to protect
This armor worn to defend
These weapons made to repel
They all betrayed me
Turned against me with malice

The walls collapsed around me
They became my tomb
Burying me alive
Leaving me to rot and fester

The armor locked around me
Trapping me inside myself
Forced to relive the pain
And wallow in the past

The weapons turned on me
Lacerating my mind
Shredding my heart
Impaling my soul

My fate, my conclusion
Sealed in a tomb of my own making
Doomed to walk in fear
Bleeding out within my armor
Chained to the pain of the past

Creative Commons License
My Prison by Porcelain Lotus is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Admission Time

I have to admit something. I am very lonely. I seem to be a complete outsider here and haven't managed to make any friends since I've been here. I have met some incredible people but no one that I can relate to or whose belief system matches mine. No one I could simply go out and have fun with either.

I thought that I had made a friend a while ago. I mentioned him once. We got along so well but he was only interested in dating. When he realized that dating wasn't in our future he decided that he no longer wanted me in his life. The part I don't think I have talked about is that he came back into my life, apologized profusely, and explained his actions. I agreed to give him a second chance expressing very clearly that we could only ever be friends and he agreed. Except he was a completely different person after that. He was inconsiderate and disrespectful. When I confronted him on it, he refused to give any explanation and told me my thoughts on the matter were bs and to get over it. That was the last straw for me and I haven't spoken to him since. He was dating someone at that point and I firmly believe that the way he was treating me was to show me that I am replaceable and expendable.

Unfortunately, the whole episode has made me leery of meeting new people. I have had quite a bit of drama with relationships lately and I'm pretty weary of it. People who I thought were life long friends abandoned me when I was at my lowest point, every guy to ever come into my life turned it upside down and ripped me apart, and I really don't trust any member of my family, not completely anyways. I'm just tired of it. I am worth so much more than this.

However, that still leaves me in a state of loneliness. I either go out and meet people risking more of this, or I remain alone. For awhile, remaining alone was just fine with me. Now, it irritates me to no end. I guess that means I'm ready to try again. I hope that is what it means anyways.

The good news is that I finally have a car. My aunt found one that was a good price and had really low mileage on it. It was in great condition and I knew that there wasn't going to be another deal like that so I jumped on it. Now I have a cute little car and can actually go places. So, now I just have to figure out where I want to go. There are drawbacks to living in such a big city. But, maybe I can finally get the ball rolling.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Overwhelmed

I have been super focused on make changes in my life for the past few months now. I've been shopping for clothes, creating and using a planner, taking better care of my skin, budgeting, trying to exercise more, trying to write more, and trying to embrace other forms of creativity. Until about two weeks ago. I kind of hit a wall and couldn't figure out what the problem was. Why am I not working towards what I want so badly?

Well, I finally figured out that I am trying to make too many changes all at once. I am trying to break all my bad habits and create a bunch of new habits too quickly. I became overwhelmed and my brain just stopped. So, now I have to figure out how to step back and go about this much more slowly.

The problem is, I am a big picture person so it is very hard for me to see the individual steps and even harder for me to have the patience to take them. It feels like the end result will never happen. I'm sure everyone feels like that at times. But for me, I feel like I have been in the same spot for years so this very slow moving is agonizing. Plus, to top it off, I really have no friends here and not much freedom. So, there is very little fun in my life. I really am emotionally exhausted with no rest in sight.

The only chance of fixing the freedom part and possibly the fun part is to get my own car but my finances won't allow that just yet. So, I remain overwhelmed because there is too much to fix and no way to fix it.

I'm not sure yet what my new plan will be. I don't know what I should be focusing on.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Quote: Mick Ukleja & Robert Lorber

"Reflection is looking in so you can look out with a broader, bigger, and more accurate perspective.” 

-Mick Ukleja & Robert Lorber

Thursday, April 24, 2014

I pirouette in the dark
I see the stars through me
Tired mechanical heart
Beats until the song disappears
Somebody shine a light
A frozen battlefield in me
Somebody make me feel alive
And shatter me

 "Shatter Me" -Lindsey Stirling ft. Lzzy Hale

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Quote: Omar Khayyam

“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, 
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit 
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, 
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.” 

-Omar Khayyam

My First Tanka

Caught in a wind gust
Maple seeds- twirling, swirling
A beautiful dance

Children's eyes widen in awe
God's gift of wonder to them

I've read a lot about Tanka poetry but never seemed to come up with a decent one. This one I like. My childhood love of "helicopters" was rekindled a little while ago when I looked out the third story window of where I work and saw a bunch of small ones dancing in the wind among the trees. I wish I had had my camera.

Monday, April 21, 2014

52 Lists Project- Week Six

Week 6 ~The Ways In Which You Can Love Others~

Random Acts of Kindness
Compliments
Words of Affirmation
Loyalty
Standing Up For Someone
Standing Up To Someone When They Are Wrong
Provide Comfort When Needed
Sending care packages to soldier or refugees
Penpaling with soldiers or imprisoned missionaries (I heard about an organization that helps get letters to people who have been imprisoned for their religious beliefs, I just have to find it again.)
Volunteering

This was supposed to be posted last week but for some reason I felt completely lethargic all week. I didn't have the energy to do anything. Plus, because of that lethargy, I wasn't in a very loving mental space.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Quote: Victoria Moran

“A simple life is not seeing how little we can get by with—that’s poverty—but how efficiently we can put first things first. . . . When you’re clear about your purpose and your priorities, you can painlessly discard whatever does not support these, whether it’s clutter in your cabinets or commitments on your calendar.” 

-Victoria Moran

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Update On My Femininity Journey

You might remember from this post that I am trying to reclaim my femininity. I am pretty frustrated at this point. My main focus is strengthening my body and increasing my flexibility. Neither of which is going well. Now that I am working 9-5, I am finding it impossible to get everything I need to get done after work, which includes exercise. On days that I don't exercise I find myself still with things I want to get done when it is time to go to bed. On the days that I exercise, that problem is so much worse. I can't seem to figure out how to solve it. Other people do it. I wish someone would tell me how.

To make matters worse, my flexibility isn't getting any better either. My hips and my hamstrings are so tight and no amount of stretching is helping. My lower back and between my shoulders blades are problem areas too. I'm assuming that the problem is something beyond tight muscles but I don't know what or how to find out. I'm looking for a chiropractor that has a good reputation and is affordable. That is an unlikely combination though. Still, I know that making sure that everything is aligned properly is the best first step I can make. After that, a full body massage to loosen muscles and release toxins is probably the best second step.

Something that is going well is updating my wardrobe. Overhauling your wardrobe is always going to be difficult and take time, but it will happen if you keep at it. So far, I've found 2 A-line skirts (my favorite shape), 2 wrap dresses, a shirtdress, 2 cardigans, and a crop cardigan. It's definitely a good start.

I have to remind myself to be kind to myself during this time. I've only been on this journey for a few months. A few months isn't long enough to undo 20+ years.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

52 Lists Project- Week 5

Week 5 ~What You Are Grateful For~

Writing
Creativity
To Be Out of a Bad Situation
To Have a Second Chance
Sunshine
The Stars
Purple Flowers
Family Willing To Help
A Job
Good Health

Another short list by some standards. It wasn't that long ago you could've asked me to make this list and it would've been blank. So, compared to where I came from, this list is huge. Also, I don't know what it is about purple flowers that has me so mesmerized but I am loving them.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Six Word Saturday

Spring is much more beautiful here


Spring has finally arrived! It is so nice to finally be out of the cold. Back during autumn, I talked about how it wasn't as pretty here as it was back home. However, spring is much prettier here. The blooming trees are amazing and the falling petals are beautiful.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Purple Flowers

Creeping over walls
Trees blooming purple flowers
Beautify highways

On my way to work there are these wall-like things (I forget what they are called) on the sides of some parts of the freeway. The trees behind these walls have the most beautiful purple flowers that hang like grapes. Those flowers hanging over the walls make what used to be either a tedious or treacherous drive into something that actually gives me peace. Peace is needed when driving in Atlanta because it seems like everyone has a death-wish. I thought of this while enjoying those flowers and simultaneously trying not to get hit.

Monday, March 31, 2014

52 Lists Project- Week 4

Week 4 ~Your Current & Future Goals & Dreams~
Current Goals
Increase Job Skills
Be Working Full Time
Have My Own Car
Have My Own Place
Get A Dog
Future Goals
Graduate College
Get a Master's Degree
Get My Biblio/Poetry Facilitation Certification
Get My Journal Therapy Facilitation Certification
Start a Biblio/Poetry/Journal Therapy Facilitation Business
Get Married
Raise a Child
Write a Sonnet
I honestly can't believe that I am putting "Get Married" and "Raise a Child" on this list! Just a couple of months ago I would have said that neither were things that I wanted. Anyways, the current goals are the things I am working on so that I can get back on my feet. Most of the future goals can't happen until I am working full time and saving money. As for writing a sonnet, that is my ultimate writing goal. I want to do it right but I have such a hard time with iambic pentameter, or any meter really.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Quote: Louis L'Amour

"Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on."

-Louis L'Amour

Now if only I would start taking this advice.

Monday, March 24, 2014

52 Lists Project- Week 3

Week 3 ~Things You Should Be Proud Of~

Achieving Dean's List Status
Every Poem I've Written
Continuing To Pursue My Education Against All Odds
Moving To Atlanta
Making It Through Multiple Abusive Relationships
Taking The Journey To Reclaim Myself

Now this might seem like a very short list, but they are all huge obstacles I've overcome or am working to overcome.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Story of a HSP

The Story of a HSP (Highly Sensitive Person)

Check out this great artwork about highly sensitive people. Every time I see something about highly sensitive people, so much of it describes me. I don't know if there is an actual diagnosis for this or if it's all anecdotal but it is certainly something I want to look into. Besides what is on this canvas, I've also read that highly sensitive people can be really sensitive to some foods as well. I can feel the caffeine in decaf coffee and I react very strongly when my blood sugar drops (I'm not diabetic or any other medical condition that explains that). Maybe it's because I'm just highly sensitive.

Friday, March 21, 2014

No Time For My Creative Self

Let me start this off by saying that I am so grateful to be working again. I feel like I'm actually doing something worthwhile again plus it is allowing me to finally work on some things that I have been wanting for a very long time.

It has been detrimental to my creative self though. My creative self begins waking up at around 10 pm. I can feel her start to stir. The problem is, that's when I need to head to bed so that I get enough sleep for work. I have to wake up by 7 am and it usually takes me awhile to fall asleep. Stifling my creative self has been hugely damaging in the past and I don't see how that isn't true now. Fortunately, I was working on creating my life organizer for quite some time which was enough to sustain her. Now that all that is left is a few finishing touches, she is screaming for more.

I can't figure out how to remedy this. If she doesn't want to write until nighttime and I don't have another project to work on yet, I'm stuck. I have plans for a creative outlet journal but it is going to cost me money that I don't have to get the supplies together. So, I'm wondering, those of you who are night owls like me, who's creative selves don't wake up until late, how do you balance that with a day job?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Experimental Budgeting System

I thought I would show you what I came up with for my budgeting system. First I made a monthly budgeting spreadsheet on Excel where I broke down my spending into categories and subcategories. I give myself a budget for each subcategory that I think I will need that month. I also put in what I actually spent and keep track of the difference. Here's a picture of last months spreadsheet.
It's hard to see so I'll try to explain. The top left is my projected and actual income. The top right is projected and actual balance (income minus expenses). The tables underneath are the categories and subcategories with projected cost, actual cost, and the difference. The red is where actual cost was higher than the projected cost (oops!). The table on the right second from the bottom is the total projected cost, total actual cost, and the difference. The bottom two are my checking and savings accounts balances at the beginning and end of the month. I want to make sure that both balances are going up instead of down.

Now to keep track of it when I'm actually shopping, I came up with this.
Since I am using the transaction register that came with my checkbook, I'm debating whether I need the top section of this. It seems redundant. But I'm keeping it for now because I don't carry my check book with me. It might be good to have that information with me. The second section is what I'm focused on though. These are the subcategories that I will likely be out shopping for. The middle is where I put my budgeted amount for each subcategory. I don't shop for each subcategory every month. Then the last column is where I can track how much I've spent. I don't go shopping a whole bunch so I figure that three spaces is more than enough. I usually shop only a couple of times a month if I can help it.

My whole planner system except for the Goals section is done and printed. I printed two months worth and will be testing it starting in April. I wanted to use the whole month the way it was intended to be used. If I am satisfied then I will print 3 or 4 months at a time on much better paper. I hate how you can see through this paper. I'm really excited to finally have it done and ready for a trial run!

Monday, March 17, 2014

52 Lists Project- Week 2

Week 2 ~Your Greatest Comforts~
Hugging
Cuddling
Tea
Puppies
The Sound of Water
The Sun on My Face
Big Sweaters
Knee High Socks
Good Books
Journaling
Men’s Cologne
Sandalwood Candles
This is the second time I've mentioned cuddling. Touch is incredibly important to me. I imagine it will be brought up frequently as I make these lists.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

52 Lists Project- Week 1

Week 1 ~Words That Touch Your Soul~
Love
Respect
Honor
Loyalty
Desire
Touch
Kiss
Cuddle
Writing
Poetry
Friendship
Passion
Adventure
Nature
Expression
Safe
Seems like a short list but these days I'm pretty focused. Besides, really how many words have such meaning to you that they touch your soul?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

52 Lists Project

Last year I did the March 2013 NaBloPoMo challenge. It led to some revelations about myself and what direction my life should be going and was the beginning of some major changes in my life. The theme had been "Risk". Since my word of the year last year had been action, it seemed like a great way to access what actions I should take and how much I was willing to risk. It worked big time! This year I wanted to do another challenge that might help me with my word of the year which is growth. I found the 52 Lists Project and thought it would be great to try. If nothing else, I will learn more about myself and, if I download each list sheet, end up with a lovely momento of this time in my life.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Bullet Journalling

This is the system I'll be trying while I try to get my own pages printed. It seems like a great way to corral everything into one spot. If it works really well for me, then I might have to incorporate it into my system.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Arc Pink Quilted Organizer

I decided to keep pushing this organizer thing through even though I don't know how to print my pages off. I figure that can be the last piece of the puzzle and I can have all the supplies I need ready for when I do figure it out.

I went to Staples today and bought an Arc notebook, 1 inch discs and the Arc punch. I had only intended on buying the punch but I saw that the notebook that I wanted was limited edition and the store was almost out. I wasn't going to let them run out of what I wanted. So, I bought the pink quilted notebook. I fell in love with the quilted notebooks and originally wanted the black one. I didn't like that it was shiny though so I went with the pink. It's a beautiful soft pink that is feminine and cute but not childish.

It put me over my budget though. I am annoyed by that, but I have to acknowledge that I'm still figuring out this budget thing and investing in myself is worth the money. Next month, I am budgeting for the other supplies I'll need. It probably won't be until April that I get it all finished up, especially if I end up having to go to a professional printer.

I don't have my pages but the notebook came with lined pages that have a place for a title and a date. While I work on this printing issue, I'm going to use what I have to begin pulling all the stuff I have all over the place into one spot. Whenever I need to write something down, I grab the nearest notebook and write in that. Now I have multiple notebooks with all this random information in them. So, I'm going to sort through that information, put what needs kept in my new organizer and toss the rest. Then I can assign those notebooks for specific things instead of catch-alls. I need to train myself to put specific information in specific places.

Forgive the crappy photography but I wanted to show you what I will be working with.
 The flash made it look shinier than it is but I couldn't capture the quilting without the flash.
Here you can kind of see the paper that the notebook came with.

Despite all the problems, I'm really excited to see this finally starting to come together!

Oh, and I think there's some legal thing that says I have to tell you that I am not affiliated with Staples or any of their products and I bought these things with my own money. I think that's all I'm supposed to say.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Making A Life Organizer... Again!

In a recent post, I talked about my need to create a budgeting system. I've come up with something that I will be testing out for the next few months. But in my desire to maintain my finances, I found my desire to maintain other areas of my life rekindled. I want to create a life organizer. Not only would I be able to keep my budgeting system with me, but also all the other things I'm always trying to keep track of. If you read this blog, you might remember that well over a year ago, I created a planner template. You can read about it herehere, and here. I was never able to finish it because I couldn't afford it. I still love the Arc system at Staples but while I do think it will eventually pay for itself, it gets expensive really quick. Now, I can put it in my budget.

I feel the need to turn this planner into a life organizer because I feel like so many of the pieces of me are floating around and I'm constantly trying to catch them. I see a life organizer as a way to pull those pieces into one place. That's my hope anyways.

I modified my original template a bit and added the part of my budgeting system that I want to carry with me.

I've been working on developing morning and nighttime rituals. I've been reading about how creative people need times of the day where they are operating on auto-pilot. It supposedly frees the mind for creativity. The concept makes sense to me so I've been trying to turn these rituals into habits. Then I came across The Flylady and her control journal. She suggests putting your routines into your control journal. I thought it was an interesting idea  so I am putting them in towards the front of my organizer.

I'm also working on creating a gratitude section. I have such a negative attitude and I'm tired of it. I want to change that. I saw this incredible gratitude mandala here and I want to make my own on a regular basis. I had already put a Blessings line on the daily pages so I could write down something good about each day. At the end of each month I plan to list the blessings that I wrote each day and then make my own gratitude mandala. The goal is to remind myself of all the beauty and simple pleasures in this world and hopefully change my attitude.

I need to put an ideas section in it as well. I should be able to buy already made sheets for that. However, I will probably get annoyed by the last of uniformity and decide that I need to make my own to match the rest of my organizer.

I can't figure out how to print out the pages though. I want to do half size pages so that my organizer will fit in my purse. So, I either need to be able print 2-sided pages on landscape but neither of the printers here will do that, or I need to find precut half size sheets and print on those. I don't want to cut them myself because that always seems to turn out wrong somehow. So, at the moment, even when I finish creating the pages I still won't be able to do anything with them. There's always something in the way.

Quote: Annie Dillard

"If we listened to our intellect, we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go into business because we’d be too cynical. Well, that’s nonsense. You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down."

~Annie Dillard

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Beginner's Budgeting Attempt

Now that I'm finally working again, I need to start working on the life improvements that I haven't been able to work on because they required money. The problem is that I have a huge list but I'm only working part-time. So in order to do the things I want to do, I need to watch my money like a hawk. I was incredibly fortunate in the past. I was making plenty of money for my lifestyle and didn't have to be very careful. Now, I have to be extremely careful. I've almost created a plan, I'm stuck at one part though. I'm a bit nervous about how implementing it into my life is going to go once I complete it.

The first part of my plan is to keep track of a monthly budget and actual spending. I found an Excel template that I really liked, except that I found it difficult to personalize. So, I just made one inspired by the template I liked. I've taken Excel classes so I know it well enough that making a template is pretty easy. However, that is the only easy part. Figuring out the numbers was a huge pain and I'm pretty sure that they are going to have to change as the months go on. I plan on printing it at the end of each month so that I have record of it and can track how my spending changes over time.

I am also religiously using my transaction register that came with my check book. It's a great way to keep track of how daily spending affects my bank account. Every single debit and credit gets logged in that thing.

The part I'm having trouble with is how to keep track of my budget when I am actually shopping. I've broken down my budget, giving myself allowances for things like clothes, toiletries, and groceries. But I haven't figured out how to keep that budget on me as well as keep track of how much I've already spent on each thing. I hope that made sense. How do other people watch their budget when they aren't at their computer? Do they just print it off and keep it with them? Or do they have a separate sheet that tracks spending and categorizes it?

Once I come up with a solution, I'll be on my way to hopefully having a budgeting system that works for me. I'm a bit stuck at the moment though.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Six Word Saturday

I'm so tired of the cold


Ironically, that last time I did a Six Word Saturday, I was talking about how great the weather was. But the last couple of months have been brutal. Between the polar vortex bringing temperatures down to single digits, a snow storm, and an ice storm, I'm exhausted. One of the reasons I moved to the south was to experience warmer winters for a change. That obviously didn't happen. It's been colder here than back home. I don't need it to be hot. I'm happy wearing sweaters, boots and coats. I just would like it to be a bit warmer and to stay that way for awhile.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Broken Email Link

In my frustration, I forgot to post about this when I first noticed it. The "Email Me" link I used to have over there ---> stopped working. Well, the link worked but Windows Live stopped updating. So, if any of you tried to email me and I didn't respond, my apologies, I never received your email. I'm working on fixing it but I really don't have the tech skills I need for this so it will probably take a while. In the meantime, I'll just post my email address in its place. I know that is pretty inconvenient but it's the best I can do at the moment.

Thank you for understanding.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Quote: Chris Abani

What I've come to learn is that the world is never saved in grand messianic gestures, but in the simple accumulation of gentle, soft, almost invisible acts of compassion. 

- Chris Abani

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Quote: Isaac Asimov

"I write for the same reason I breathe- because if I didn't, I would die."

-Isaac Asimov

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Truth About Writing

Baring my soul
Displaying my tears
Placing my essence on the page
For all the world to see
Pen to paper
Scrolling script
Traces of my heart
Dripping all over the page
To tell my story
To be remembered
Changing the world
One poem at a time
Sharing my words
Incomplete and unrefined
I'd rather be imperfect
Than to be nothing
Desiring to share a piece of myself
To create my legacy
Time to open up another vein
And bleed

Creative Commons License
The Truth About Writing by Porcelain Lotus is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Shared at:
Imaginary Garden With Real Toads: Open Link Monday
Poets United: Poetry Pantry #188

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Quote: Ayn Rand

"I started my life with a single absolute: that the world was mine to shape in the image of my highest values and never to be given up to a lesser standard, no matter how long or hard the struggle."

-Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

I wonder if my life would have been different if I had been taught this. My whole life I've been taught to conform and change in order to fit into the tiny box that society has created for us all. If I ever have children, I will make sure that they learn this as children instead of as adults, after wasting too much time trying to be someone else.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Quote: Rhonda Byrne Hero

“Whatever circumstances you were born into, whatever family life and education you had or didn't have, you came here to make your dreams come true, and no matter where you are now, you are fully equipped with everything you need to do it.” 

– Rhonda Byrne Hero

I must admit to having doubts about being fully equipped with everything I need now. Maybe other people are, but I still have too many scattered pieces of myself to put back together before I'll be ready to claim this. I'm getting closer and closer though.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Moving Towards Learning

I'm in a time in my life where I have the possibility of massive learning available to me. Everything I do can be a learning experience. So, I've decided to really focus on learning the things I've been eager to learn for quite some time.

First off, I bought two books regarding journal/biblio/poetry therapy. I never did receive responses to the emails I sent to the certification programs asking for advice. I can't even get on one of the websites lately. That freaks me out because it makes me think that something happened to the organization and I might not have the chance to get the certification I want from them. Of course, there are plenty of other possible reasons that their website is down but I always seem to go for the worst one. Ignoring my worries, I decided to just keep moving. I have a whole list of books saved on an Amazon wish list so I went through and picked the two that I thought would be the most educational for the beginning of my journey. I intend to study them like I would if I was in school and get as much out of them as I possibly can.

I also want to study the people who inspire me. I got this idea from Shameless Maya. She talks about it in this video, How to be Great! and this blog post, Study the Greats. I started thinking about how little I know about the people whose work has inspired me. That is unacceptable. You can't really know the work without knowing the person who created it. A while back I wrote about how encountering the work of Frida Kahlo and learning her life story completely changed my life. You can read that post here. Really, coming across her work and life story was the beginning of so much of what my life goals are now. But she isn't the only person who I have been inspired by in one way or another. I want to know as much about them as I know about Frida. To start off with I will be studying Emily Dickinson, William Shakespeare, and Anias Nin. Besides just knowing more about the people who have inspired, I can't help but think that seeing how any hardships they faced were turned into something beautiful, will help me focus on turning my own hardships into something beautiful.

And finally, I am trying to learn as much as I can at my new job. I landed an internship in the accounting department of a local business. I think that this is an incredible opportunity to learn the behind the scenes of a business. I am pretty sure that I will end up being self-employed and I need to learn anything I can about business before that happens. Obviously, self-employment is different than a growing corporation but there are certainly parallels. So, I want to learn everything I can.

Ok, that was longer than I intended so I will stop now. Besides, my mind needs to go back to absorbing as much as it can handle.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Friendships Are Rubies

Friendships are rubies
The rarest of all the gems
To forever be cherished

Friendships are rubies
Only fools would throw away
Such sacred and precious jewels

Creative Commons License
Friendships Are Rubies by Porcelain Lotus is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Quote: Alice Walker

“In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.”

-Alice Walker

Monday, January 13, 2014

And I'm Back To Being Frustrated

I've hit a moment of frustration. I just started a new job. Finally! It took 4 months to find this job and then I waited around for another month until it finally started. It's only part-time and I could really use a second job but I'm happy to finally be working again.

However, I hadn't even been working for week when my aunt and uncle decided that they wanted half my paycheck to cover room, board, and use of their car. Typically, that would not be unreasonable. I'm frustrated in this case because they told me that when I moved here, they would take complete responsibility for me, cover all my costs, and let me borrow their car until I get back on my feet. This job is a part-time job and in no way indicates that I am back on my feet. I'm still in the hole and they know this. So, by expecting payment now, they are going back on the commitment that they made to me. I'm further frustrated by the fact that I am in no position to argue. They could kick me out at any time regardless of what commitments were made. Obviously commitments aren't that important and can be changed at any time. There is something about my family. They make big commitments to you but you can never be sure if they will follow through. Next time, I'm getting it in writing.

Don't think that I planned to mooch off of them or that I'm not grateful for what they have been doing for me. I planned to slowly start covering my costs while I paid off past debt. Once the debt was paid off then I would have worked with them to cover all my costs, start paying them back and move out when money permitted. I just don't like how all of this went down.

I'm also extremely frustrated by my lack of a personal life. The only people I've met are people from church, people online, and people from work. So far, I haven't related to any of them. I thought that I had made a friend for a little while but he decided that he wasn't interested in having me in his life if I wasn't dating him. Friendships are such valuable relationships and I will never understand why guys are so willing to throw them away if the friendship is with a woman. So, I'm back to being friendless and having no idea where to meet people. I've always made friends at church, work, or school. Now that I don't have those as options, I'm at a loss. I thought about joining a class but now it looks like money won't permit that. How do people make friends when they have no money to do anything and the places that they can go, don't have anyone who is friend-material?

Ok, I'm sure you all are tired of me venting, plus this isn't making me feel any better, so that's enough for now.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Quote: Bjork

"There are certain emotions in your body that not even your best friend can sympathize with, but you will find the right film or the right book, and it will understand you."

-Bjork

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Quote: Rumi

I wonder how many times my heart will have to be broken before it finally opens again.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Quote: J.R.R. Tolkien

“A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities.” 

-J.R.R. Tolkien

Sunday, January 5, 2014

It's all I have to bring today (26) by Emily Dickinson

It's all I have to bring today (26) by Emily Dickinson

For the longest time, I couldn't figure out Emily Dickinson's poetry. I would read a poem over and over and get nowhere. The best thing that ModPo class I took did for me was teach me how to read her poems. Now not only do I finally get to enjoy them, I can really relate to many of them. I actually wonder if we might have had quite a few things in common.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Emailing My Future Self

At church last Sunday, they had us do something that I thought was a really great idea. They had us write down what God has done for us in 2013 and what we are still waiting for in 2014. They had us put the list in an envelope addressed to ourselves and they are going to send it to us at the end of 2014.

I love the idea but I didn't have the time I needed to sit down and really think about it. I really wanted to do it with a more thought out list. Then I found EmailFuture.com. It's a site where you can send an email to yourself in the future. So, I wrote a better list of what I want to happen in 2014. I think 2013 has been covered pretty well here so I don't feel like I need to rehash it. I set up the email to be sent to me on December 31, 2014 at 11:45 pm. That is the latest time of day that they allow.

I hope it works. I think it will be so fun to be able to look at that list and compare it to how things really ended up.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

My Plan For Growth

Since my guiding word of the year is growth, I decided that I need to come up with a plan to get going in that direction. Of course, I don't know where this is all going to take me but I have a few things I'm doing to start the next part of my journey.

First, I'm trying to get in contact with people involved in the journal therapy certification programs to get some advice on how to gain the necessary experience and background knowledge I need to get into the program. I'm not sure what would count as qualified experience. Hopefully, I will hear back from them and will then begin working on implementing their suggestions. If I don't hear back from them, I will just have to stick with reading books for the background knowledge and looking for volunteer opportunities for the experience. I'll be doing that anyways. In order to get into the program I have to finish my degree as well. I am looking for a job that is stable enough to help me pay for school.

Of course, reclaiming my femininity is still a huge priority for me. It is about taking the way I am changing and feeling on the inside and expressing it on the outside. As long as I continue seeing the same person, who was so lost and confused, in the mirror everyday I will always be stuck. So, I am making regular exercise and daily stretching part of my routine. Having a body that is strong, limber and flexible is part of my definition of feminine. I firmly believe that it is the years of anger, tension, and bitterness that have made my body so stiff and weak. That stuff gets into your bones and hardens every part of you. Since I am slowly releasing it from my heart, I need to release it from my body as well.

Another part of reclaiming my femininity is improving my posture. I mentioned in a comment on my I Want My Femininity Back post, that I realized that my posture showed my past desire to be invisible. Since I no longer feel that way, my posture needs to change. It's not an easy thing to change though. The muscles are ridiculously tight and have already been trained a certain way. The stretching that I am doing is loosening up those incredibly tight muscles and posture exercises are retraining those muscles, hopefully. I want to be careful with this though. I used to know a girl whose posture was so good that she seemed robotic. I do not want that. I want to stand with ease and confidence. I want to walk tall and gracefully. I don't want to sit so straight that it seems unnatural.

In the same comment I just mentioned, I say that my current wardrobe shows my past desire to be invisible as well. It also shows my lack of self-esteem and lack of desire to put any effort into myself. My beauty routine is the same way. So, every month as long as I'm getting a paycheck, I'm going to buy one or two new clothing items to start overhauling my wardrobe. I am going to develop morning and nighttime rituals to better care for my skin, hair, and teeth. My look needs to show that I do care about myself and be an expression of who I really am.

I also intend to start reading more. I used to read everything in sight when I was a child, four and five books at a time. I lost the love for it during high school. Being forced to read books at ridiculous speeds while still trying to have enough time for the rest of my classes, made reading stressful and exasperating. I never really regained my love for reading again. Now is the time. Few things can teach you more than reading. Hopefully, it will improve my writing as well.

I think I should make a vision board. I've never done that before but I've heard so many good things about it. Having my goals right in front of me where I can see them instead of just thinking about them might be helpful.

So, that it my starter plan. I'm sure things will be added and changed as the year goes on but I think I'm headed in the right direction.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Guiding Word of the Year

Something I decided to start doing every year is come up with a guiding word for the year. My guiding word for 2013 was action. You can read my post about that here. Since then, I've done very well accomplishing that, if I do say so myself. I decided to pursue journal therapy facilitation, I moved across the country in order to get out of a bad situation and in hopes of more opportunity, I've started exercising regularly, I'm working on my strength and flexibility as a start to reclaiming my femininity, and I've taken a tax class to add to my education and in hopes of a job. Quite a bit of action I would say. So now that the new year is here, it's time for me to come up with a guiding word for 2014.

My guiding word of the year is:

Growth


In 2014, I need to expand on everything I've accomplished in 2013 and make sure that all my efforts don't go to waste. I don't want to end up stalled again. I intend to keep walking this path that I have chosen and to keep getting better.