Jenn’s 2013 Good Stuff Jar

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In preparation for 2014, I’ve asked my friend Jenn (who you should know from the derby experiment) to write about her favorite New Year project, the Good Stuff Jar. I think this is a rad idea, and I’m looking forward to making my own jar!

Last year around this time, I was looking at Pinterest a lot for work.  I don’t particularly enjoy using that outlet because it seems like it’s designed to make me feel like a failure.  I mean, come on, Pinterest Fail exists because some of the projects are so absurdly difficult or completed by people that are like, professional fucking crafters or something, that us lowly bedraggled working moms can rarely get the same results.  I’ll admit that there are probably some exceptions to this rule of “FailTerest” but they seem only achievable with limitless time and limitless money.

And then I saw this idea: The Good Stuff Jar

The idea is simply to write down a happy moment and stuff it in the jar. You then read the good things on New Year’s Eve to help remember all the fun stuff that happened over the course of the year.

I think that this resonated with me because 2012 had a lot of upheaval.  My best friend moved away, I broke up with my girlfriend at least 3 times, I started 2 new jobs, our in-laws decided to move in with us full time … on and on.  So, when I was about to start a brand new job in 2013, this seemed like a way to document what I hoped would be a year of positives.

And it was.  My jar is full of tiny folded pieces of paper and I can’t wait to make the new jar.  I think there will be two this time…one for public consumption and one for just me.  This is the first Pinterest project that I’ve been successful at completing and frankly, it’s the best one I’ve seen on their yet.  Let’s take more pleasure in the great things that happen and this is a simple solution to do that.

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The Madness Comes and Goes

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So it’s been a few more days of minimal social media time. It hasn’t been half bad. True, I catch myself attempting to check Twitter several times a day, but I’ve been helpfully yet irritatingly thwarted by Tweakdeck crashing repeatedly. In the time I’ve been away from social media, I’ve done a lot of actual socializing. I don’t want to brag about it or rattle off all the people I have hung out with because that defeats the purpose of this experiment.

I’ve gradually peeked a little more at my social media sites but have kept my commenting and posting to an absolute minimum. From a quiet distance, I am watching other people live their lives online and share their ups and downs. I have a pretty low tolerance for most of the noise online, yet I still have a lot of room for caring about people’s tragedies. Someone I haven’t actually talked to in several years recently lost her child and has been talking about it a little bit on Facebook. She’s getting support from her friends and family there. I’ve pondered whether I should send her a note of condolence or just remain quiet. Nothing I can say will bring back her son, but maybe it would help her feel less alone. If there’s any great reason to use social media and networking sites, I think that’s one.

I’m also in the midst of researching more places and ways to teach yoga. My husband and I have been pondering whether/when/how to move to San Francisco, and if we do move, I will need to find work there. The idea is a little daunting, but I do think I have a lot to offer as a yoga teacher, and I’m determined to find a way to keep doing what I do best no matter where we live. That requires finding a way to make my teaching pay a lot more than it does right now, but I’ve got a few ideas as to where to start.

Oh, and mercury retrograde has finally ended. I never put much stock in stuff like that before, and I still don’t know what the heck to think of it, but I do know the past month has been totally discombobulated. So whether it’s a real thing or psychosomatic doesn’t matter as much as the fact that it’s ended, and I now feel prepared to lay the groundwork for moving forward.

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If a Tree Falls and You’re Not on Twitter

Snorting some of that Pixydust.

It’s funny how no one misses you on the internet. It’s a weird thing to admit, but if a tree falls and you’re not on Twitter, no one cares if it makes a sound. Granted no one cares about most of the digital content we consume on a daily basis. We all kinda go numb to it on some level, don’t you think? We binge on bad news, celebrity gossip and the salacious details of other people’s private lives. We consume media in much the same way that I used to eat sugar as a child — by the spoonful and straight out of the bag. Social media is intellectual Pixy Stix, and what I’m looking for is like … Avocados. Let’s stretch this metaphor beyond its reasonable limit and say I would like to experience and create the intellectual equivalent of the farmers’ market online. I would like to live in a world where digital content is not just soundbites whizzing through space at the speed of your next nervous breakdown. I know our society is geared toward doing things quickly all the time. It was hard to just slow down today, and after I relaxed most of the day, I felt like the most abominable slacker. But I just don’t think most of us are capable of fully processing information and experiences at the rate we feel compelled to take them in, which is interesting. I guess that’s how evolution works — we are always reaching for something just beyond our reach.

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I Will Only Tweet This Once

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Hello there,

I’ve decided to do an internet experiment. You know me and experiments, especially where the internet is involved — I can’t help myself. This time is special because it’s a disappearing act. For the next few days, I’m going to take myself off the internet as much as possible. This isn’t forever, nor am I committing to even a shot period of total digital abstinence, but for a short while, rather than being on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr all the time, I’ll be interacting with people on the physical plane. You know, like my husband and our friends. And instead of doing my writing on the computer where I am constantly tempted to Google something or message someone or share my every thought, I’ll be writing in my notebook. Longhand. The way I fell in love with writing a long time ago, and the way I still think most clearly.

Meanwhile, I’m letting my pre-scheduled blog posts run as planned, and they’ll be automatically sent to my social media profiles through the wonder of WordPress plugins. And because I don’t know how long I can go without telling The Internet what’s on my mind, I will also write each day about the things I’ve been doing on my side of the screen, in “the real world,” as they say.

For example, today I worked on this dress-making project with my mother-in-law (Chuqui) and her mom (Bueye). That’s them in the picture up top.

I decided for no particular reason that I wanted to make a dress. Chuqui helped me pick out the pattern and the fabric, and we started sewing the other night before dinner. Attempting to finish the dress today, we realized it was a lot smaller than it should’ve been. I usually wear between a size 8 and size 10 (curvy girls, represent!), but because the pattern looked small we cut the fabric for a size 14, and it still didn’t fit. We had no idea what we did wrong, which is why we had to call in the expert. Bueye has been making beautiful things all her life,and though she doesn’t do seamstress work anymore, she appeared to enjoy putting her skills to work and showing us young chicks up.

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I don’t have any lesson to share from this. The dress still isn’t finished, nor do we know what we did wrong exactly, but Bueye helped us fix the darts so my boobs look even and add a pleat so the back will close. I got stuck with a few pins in the process, but I also got free coffee, lunch and a sewing lesson out of it. It’s better than what I would have gained spending the day on Tumblr. (Sorry Tumblr, I love you and all, but I think we have a productivity issue.)

There are lots of other things I’ve been thinking about, but the noise in my head these days is just too much. Being on the internet 24/7 has made me feel trapped by the news cycle, to use a cliche. Especially in the wake of the Texas legislature’s assault on women’s rights and the Zimmerman verdict … I’ve been feeling sortof powerless and sad, and the constant flow of information doesn’t help with that. So, I’m gonna step away for a while until I feel like I have my head on straight again. And I don’t know how long that’ll take. I hope it’s quick because I want to get back to talking with everyone and having a grand old time. But you can’t rush these things, so it’ll take as long as it takes.

Oh, and I will still teach the online yoga class and respond to e-mail because I do want to hear from you and interact with you on a human level. Just not in the intensely public format of social media right this second.

Thanks for understanding.

xoxo~

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Weekly Assignment: Get Yourself Discovered

You may be a special snowflake, but from a distance, all snowflakes look the same. It's up to you to show the world what you've got.
You may be a special snowflake, but from a distance, all snowflakes look the same. It’s up to you to show the world what you’ve got.

When I was a kid, I had this idea that writers were supposed to get discovered. My favorite poet, Emily Dickinson, was “discovered” after her death, as I understood it. Models and actresses were discovered, I thought. Musicians, too, spent their days perfecting their craft in local bands and dingy night clubs, waiting for some producer big shot to notice that they had something special and sign them on a multi-record deal and international tour.

Nope. Turns out, that’s not how it works at all.

This week, do something to get yourself discovered. You may have a really fabulous talent and a passion for your art, but if you’re not reaching out to other people, don’t hang your hat on the hope of “getting discovered,”

Here are a few things you can do to get started:

  1. Volunteer: I still teach some yoga classes on a volunteer basis because it helps me reach new people and become a better teacher.
  2. Email your 5 best friends: These are the people who know you best and support you no matter what. Email these people individually to explain what you’re working on and ask them to support you by sharing your work with others.
  3. Show off: That’s what the internet is for, guys. Post some selfies on Tumblr, humble brag on Facebook and Twitter, and of course, post links to your beautiful work everywhere you can.

Finally, keep in mind that the process of discovery is very rarely a single “Eureka!” moment. It takes a long time to find your right people and hone your message for them. To the rest of the world, it will look like you just sprung up over night, but you and I both know, you’ve been working toward your particular greatness all your life.

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