Yelle at the Top of Your Lungs

We don't dance enough. I'm going to go out on a limb and blame it on our high school administrators, the ones that told us we had to stand arm's length away from dancing partners and stared at us, arms crossed, from the perimeter. That, or whatever happened in the 90s where people stopped dancing like maniacs in the 80s. I'm convinced there was no such thing as bad dancing in the 80s. Don't argue that.

I got involved in a dance party recently with a 7yo and a 3yo, and eventually the 3yo yelled at me to stop dancing and just watch her dance. I respect that, so I sat down and apparently couldn't help myself. "Stop ARM DANCING and WATCH ME!" Can't help myself.

I'm grateful to have come from a family that loved to dance at gatherings (we start learning salsa as babies, what can I say?) because it's such a hilarious way to carry your body. It's a full celebration, and sometimes we just need that level of joy. Sometimes when I'm plugging away at work, at my standing desk, I start to bob to my music. My entire office has glass walls, so I'm sure passers-by have caught glimpses of me nodding to music, oversized headphones encasing my head. I'm okay with it.

When I'm at home I listen to a lot of music, and it's mostly electro-pop, I can't lie. I probably listen to it too-loud (I'm one of those), and a fly on the wall would frequently catch me dancing around my place, by myself (it's maniac dancing, not cool dancing). Want some inspiration? Hook yourself up with a Yelle-inspired radio station on Spotify and you'll never look back.

Deep Breath & Sigh

The sound of the word divorce always made me shudder, something I was confident I'd never have to experience. It sounds shameful, it sounds like failure, and it sounds like regret. My parents were divorced when I was young, but the circumstances surrounding their marriage were so unique, that I just knew I would never face the same situation myself. Even marriage seemed pretty far off my radar, until it happened.

This year I went through my own ahhhh! divorce, and it feels really cathartic to write about it. I try to keep perspective when I'm in a tense situation with someone, whether that be a loved one or a friend, and remember that I really care about that person, so don't treat them like a monster. Things were alright before the turmoil, so maintain respect, right? You hear a lot about divorce changing people, and I think, really, it simply highlights our emotions, our reactions that already exist in more subdued ways. On the surface, I remained the same person I always am and I'm really proud of that. I look back on the process and am happy with who I was throughout.

I think one of the hardest parts of my process was the external reaction. The most unexpected supporters came out in response with embraces, solid words of encouragement and love. However, I lost one of my best friends in the process, which still stings. It's hard to understand how we affect others, and how a personal separation can have a resounding effect on a third party. I'm finding peace with that; I can't control anyone but myself.

People sometimes respond to the news that I went through a divorce as if I've just told them I'm in a cult or I've just gotten off a spaceship. Quiet ... shifty eyes ... oh.

Do I think I got married too young? I've gotten that question a few times, and it's particularly insulting. It always surprises me when people think there must be some singular thing to "blame". I got married young, but not too young. I loved that person dearly, deeply, wholly when we got married. We had an incredible time together as a pair. We were really happy a lot of the time ... just not meant to be husband & wife in the end. That's okay. It's a sad thing to think that we can't change -- the entire world around us is, and if you change, and paths diverge a bit, I think the recognition in that is a great thing. It's an adjustment, certainly, but I'm embracing my new path as an opportunity to recognize who I am at this stage in my life (FYI, I think I'm pretty cool). I shudder when I hear "true love comes once in a lifetime" -- that's a pretty desolate outlook for people that have lost loved ones for a whole variety of reasons. I think we're capable of love in so many forms, so many contexts; it changes and we experience it in different ways throughout life (hopefully, maybe).

I know a lot of people in really incredible relationships, and while I don't know if I'll ever marry again, I think a deep connection to another person is a beautiful thing. I think a deep connection to yourself, or to your friends, is really wonderful, too. I have friends getting married this Fall after over two decades together - super amazing. Both of my parents have been very happily remarried for two decades, longer than their first marriage lasted, and that's awesome. I have also witnessed some really tense pairings, where the social stigma and complicated nature of separation prolonged a pressure cooker of hostility. I think there are healthy ways to recognize when something isn't going to work, and also healthy ways to recognize when something can be worked through with really valuable effort. I've seen most couples go through periods of struggle, and it's incredible to see the resiliency in those partnerships.

I overheard a conversation in a line the other day between two folks talking about a friend of theirs. "I hope she gets married someday." I get it, we think everyone's on some grand quest to get married -- but, maybe not always. My mom used to tell me you can't fully love another person until you learn to love yourself, and I really love that. I think that can make for a really incredible partnership, where both parties recognize the value in their partner, independent of themselves. It's really great to be around people that are confident in their path, I think it makes you more excited to tag along.

Excuse Me

I find myself telling people I'm busy a lot. It's an excuse by pure definition:

ex·cuse (verb) ikˈskyo͞oz/

  1. attempt to lessen the blame attaching to (a fault or offense); seek to defend or justify.

Aren't we all busy? There isn't a day I couldn't speak those words honestly about how I'm feeling either professionally or personally. Highlighting your own crammed calendar SCREAMS my problems are more important than yours. It's difficult, but I'm trying to remove this excuse from my repertoire. I'm finding the whole show exhausting; just answer your emails, girl!

Beyond emails and business small talk, I find myself excusing my recent lapse in consistent exercise quite a bit, my indulgences in food I know I simply shouldn't eat. Why is it so easy to lie to yourself, the only person that really knows what's going on in your head? There's something so beautifully illogical about the way we function mentally.

I'm changing my ways and embracing my inner Nike (the Roshe is my favorite athletic shoe, after all) - just do it. So, I will.

Entertainment-ware

I'm a fan of estate sales. By fan of estate sales, I mean I'm obsessed with digging through other people's junk. As a child, we'd travel to Latin America and my mom would always make friends with strangers. Her love for everyone was clear, and contagious. Somehow we'd end up in someone's home, meeting the entire family over a generous meal, warmly welcomed for a glimpse into their existence. Their living spaces were so them.

These experiences were invaluable. They taught me a true appreciation for spontaneity, and for my fellow humans. People are genuine, people are good. LJ has always seen that in others.

I think it ruined my sister and me, because we'd always tag-team slumber parties and delicately thumb through our friends' rooms. There was always something really cool about seeing how folks lived beyond school, work. I loved the episode of Parks & Recreation where you get to see Leslie Knope's house and she's really a hoarder. So great.

I went to a talk last year during Modern Atlanta week, the dude that started Apartment Therapy was speaking. I never thought about the meaning behind the name of that site, but it made sense when he explained that he would travel to apartments, consulting with folks on their personal story and how that linked with their decor (therapy first, then decor). I love that. My space is so indicative of who/where I am right now.

When I go to estate sales, there is typically an epic selection of entertainment-ware. I love to see the glamour of the ultra-fancy homes of those that were in their prime in 1960s Atlanta. A glass for every occasion. My family immigrated on both sides at first or second generation, so there are few family heirlooms beyond jewelry (travel-light, valuable!). I love vintage goods, perhaps because I never grew up with them. That, or just the fact that the greatest feats of typography occurred before our time :) Glassware is #1 at the greatest estate sales, and I feel a rush of love when I spot a Fire-King mug in an unfamiliar hue.

Mindy Lahiri

Go ahead, laugh at me for writing an entire blog post about Mindy Lahiri, but she's speaking to me these days and I can't help it. I have a Mindy problem.

I've never had a ton of gal pals. My relationships with guy friends have always come easier, because, well, there's a lot of strangeness to me, and apparently I'm less offensive to them. The women in my life are really incredible and I appreciate those relationships so much -- for some reason, though, they're fewer, shorter, and farther between. I'm sure a quick trip to a therapist could sort that out :)

I've been watching The Mindy Project since it started, but last Saturday morning, sitting in bed, ripping through work on the computer, and binge-watching old episodes, I began to appreciate bubbly Mindy Lahiri in a new light. Prepare yourself for a super intellectual, definitely not-crazy in-depth analysis of a silly fictional character(maybe not fictional, she IS Mindy Kaling, right?).

Alright, not really. It's pretty simple:

I realize it's a TV show and this is not a 24-hour reflection of this character's life, but she works a lot. She socializes with folks from work. She spills her personal guts to her co-workers, and they have really incredible relationships because they're family, too. She has ridiculous dating stories, has a hilarious relationship with food, but genuinely loves herself for who she is. She embraces her insecurities in comedy. She does whatever the fuck she wants most of the time, never at the expense of others. She has a lot of guy friends. She dresses really well. She's constantly looking for reasons to celebrate. She's basically my spirit animal.

I did something that felt really silly this weekend and bought a book written by Mindy Kaling. I've been in a reading funk, and this is the first thing that has excited me to read in a while. I think my love for Mindy all ties down to her being incredibly independent, but wildly appreciative of the loving and supportive relationships she has outside of herself. You're never lonely when you love being with yourself so much, and I think we all need to try to get there.