Movement of the Progressive Sense

I almost hesitate to write this, because every time I start documenting my progress I seem to fall of that productivity wagon. This time I’m determined to make it stick. After years of cycling through that start/stop process, I’m hoping that this is the time where I just continue on; bypassing that dreaded stop altogether.

I suppose it is only logical to start from the beginning, and by that I mean the most recent “start” I embarked on. Otherwise this would be a dreadfully long post, and nobody wants to sit through all that, least of all me. Continue reading

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We Can Love If We Want To

The time I spend on the internet is much more limited than what it used to be, because I have other things occupying my time now. Do I miss my time online? Sometimes. Then I see articles that make me realize my time spent enjoying real life moments are far more valuable. Granted, most of my real life is occupied by work and school, but I take joy from the little things because that is sometimes all we can hope for sometimes.

Recently it has come to my attention that numerous people think love is no longer attainable for the younger generations. Articles such as this one and this one seem to think that we have ideals too high to make love work. I’m not going to sit here and bash the articles or the people who wrote them, because the truth of the matter is they each have valid points.

Love is complicated in different ways than what it used to be, but there are still some similarities involved. Those similarities mainly reside around the fact that love takes work. Period. It’s a two way street, and both partners need to work together in order for a relationship to sustain itself. It’s called give and take for many reasons, and I believe that is the real reason relationships fail time and time again. Of course there are other factors involved, and I’m not discounting those. But these articles are basing results off of life aspects that can be fixed.

Perhaps I’m not the person to be writing this, seeing as how I am nowhere near being in a relationship let alone a serious, long-term one, but I think that is why my opinion can make a difference. I’m not being biased because I’m so in love and I’m not being hypocritical after suffering through a bad break up. I’m seeing the real deal for what it is, or at least I’m trying to. So what if I’m not sure whether or not marriage is my endgame? I’m not going to put a pin in the hopes of those around me just because something might be not be for me.

The point of this post is to address some of the little things that might make a relationship last. They’re simple fixes, and it all focuses on paying attention.

Don’t text you partner when they’re in the same room. That’s just ridiculous.

Unless there are other people in the room and you’re using the written word as some form of artful foreplay to be completed at a different location then just don’t do it. Speak. It’s why we were equipped with the gift of language. Use it.

If you’re letting finances rule your life, you probably weren’t ready to be married in the first place.

It’s a sad point that I believe holds validity. You don’t need to be 100% financially secure to be married, but having a plan helps. A lot of people are not ever going to be set for life, but if you’re letting arguments over money take control over the love you share with your significant other I believe that is a sign right there. Just wait for a bit. Find that stability you so obviously crave, and then move forward with the rest of your life plans; such as marriage and children. Hell, even throw in that white picket fence if it’s in your cards. Just do you, and make sure the timing works.

My point is that yes we have complications ahead of us, but that doesn’t mean we are ill-equipped to handle love and/or marriage. It just means we have obstacles to get over, which will make the journey that much sweeter in the end. If you’re a romantic don’t let discouraging articles deflate your sense of self. You’ll find someone, and maybe they won’t be everything you ever dreamed, but they’ll love you and you will love them.

I think that’s the point these articles might have been trying to make. We all want love, we just aren’t always the best at looking for it in the right places.

~Johana Spade

Apologies Are Not Necessary

It’s funny how I feel the need to justify my writing. I’m practically apologizing for being human and making mistakes anytime a person finds even the most minor of flaws within my creative works. Hell, I’d probably do the same thing here on my blog. It doesn’t really make sense. I should not feel the need to make excuses for something I put so much effort into, because the fact of the matter is the person is trying to help me. Have I mentioned that I’m terrible at accepting help?

Maybe I should rewind.

Recently, I gave my mom the first two chapters of a novel I wrote. This novel has gone through a series of edits, and I finally got to the point where I decided I was going to redo the entire thing. I gave my mother a copy of the renewed draft, so even though it’s way different than the previous one it is still rough. When I came over for dinner with my family, my mom asked if she could write on it. I don’t know why I took it so personally, but I began to feel bad that I had given someone something so unpolished. I shouldn’t feel bad. I’m sharing. She asked to see this, because she’s proud of me or whatever. I don’t need to make excuses. I know this. Yet I do it anyway.

It’s a side effect of me constantly thinking my writing is sub par. I need to break this habit, because I don’t need to be perfect. Comparing myself to others is not going to do me any good, because how boring would it be if everyone wrote the same.

This is where I make a point to start finding the beauty in my style and owning it. Because I’m never going to be anyone other than myself.

~ Johana Spade.

Help & Poetry

I’ve been feeling pretty down in the dumps lately, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Then it came to me. As the weather started to turn sour, so did my mood. It’s one of those things where you begin to find it harder and harder to get out of bed, and you start putting off tasks that would normally be a quick job. That’s been me lately, it’s really a wonder I’ve been getting anything done.

The reason for this is because I’ve had a flare up of S.A.D – season affected depression that is. Sometimes I forget that I suffer from it, especially when last year I was so busy that I really didn’t have time to be alone with my thoughts. It didn’t hit me as hard as it is hitting me now. I’m posting this here because I want everyone to know that they are not alone. They don’t need to feel bad if they are having troubles adjusting, because it happens to a lot of people. Especially here in the Pacific Northwest.

In fact, the other day I wrote a poem that I would like to share. It depicts of how I feel whenever this comes around, and I’m betting people can relate.

You can feel like you’re choking
Suffocating on air
Your lungs could burst
But really who would care

Your feelings are fleeting
Your heart might be ice
Because you don’t have the will
To even play nice

You really wish you could feel
The way that you used to
You wish you could just see
The light instead of blue

But most of all the thing you want
Is for your heart to beat
Instead of breaking and pulling taut
Because you can’t stand that

Obviously it’s reflective of the funk I’m in, but that’s neither here or there, because really the reason I shared that was to give tips to those who might feel the same way. Some of the techniques I have found useful for this empty void in my chest are as follows:

  • Music. Listen to something upbeat, something to get your body moving and blood flowing. Sad songs aren’t going to cut it, because while they reflect your mood perfectly it’s only going to drag you further into your funk.
  • Write. It doesn’t matter what. Silly little poems, notes about the weather, how you’re feeling. Anything. Write it down.
  • Draw or color. I’ve hauled out my coloring books, and the color I place onto the paper really helps me cheer up a bit.
  • Eat. Make your favorite food, or just something simple. Being down in the dumps is no reason to let your health follow. Stay healthy, because your mood will improve.

Hopefully this at least helps somebody out there, because I really do know what it is like. There are people out there to support you, and you are not alone.

~Johana Spade.

 

We Deserve Equality

After being bedridden for the better part of  four days due to this damn stomach virus I have, I feel that I have a lot of catching up to do. I’ll spare you the gory details, but you’ll just have to know that I’m still not feeling well. Which means that this post might be a bit loopy and very short.

That’s it. That’s my whole post.

No, I’ve got a bit more juice left in me.

After miserably rolling over and seeing the date something pinged inside of my brain. I didn’t know what alarm was being triggered, but I knew I would find my answer online. First I checked to make sure my homework for the day was done, and then, when that didn’t yield any results, I came over to wordpress to see if I could find my answer here. Today’s prompt helped me remember.

As much as I wanted to write some long, thought out post about inequality, I fear that my time here is going to brief today. Hopefully no less powerful though.

Inequality is something I have seen a lot of in my life. When I was younger I saw it, but I did not understand it. A few key facts about me are that I am the youngest child and the only girl.  I was treated differently than my brother’s, and I am not sure if it is because of the younger aspect of that previous statement or the fact that I’m a female. That’s a story for another time though.

Inequality in society is based off of unequal opportunities presented to different individuals based off his/her gender, race and ethnicity, as well as social class. Other factors can be involved, but those are some of the main ones seen.

Inequality means that not everyone is being paid the same. That some people out there are being promoted quicker just because they have a different gender, race, or social class. It means that clothing for men is cheaper than clothing for women. In certain states, inequality means that an unstable mother can gain custody of the child over a stable father simply because she is the mother. It means that because of a person’s race they are being persecuted more swiftly and harshly than those around them. There are so many examples of inequality out there in the world, and yet still they remain unseen to a lot of the population.

It’s going to take a lot of people to stand up against inequality. To let people know that we won’t stand to be treated like anything other than people just because the color of our skin is differently, we make less money, and/or because we are of a different gender.

We are all people, we all have the same human rights. I’m tired of inequality saying that that’s not true.

Let’s do what we can for equal rights, because the world deserves equality.

~J. Spade

 

Life Stressors

The weekend is here, and I am certainly not ready for it. Most people probably just squinted their eyes at that sentence, because who isn’t ready for the weekend?

I’d like to say that I have my reasons to feel like this. While, of course that’s true, I do have reasons; my reasons aren’t quite sound. That tends to happen when I bring this feeling on myself.

My stress levels come from the fact that I’ve put off my homework for far too long. In my online schooling I have assignments due practically every day, with my tests happening on Monday’s. That means that my weekend is usually reserved for finishing up assignments and studying. Well, this weekend I not only have to “finish up” assignments, but I have to start them as well. Talk about stressful.

It also happens to be a scary movie night with a few friends. So I have to do my homework sometime before that. This post is really just another form of procrastination. Or maybe we can call it brain exercises; I’m working up to actually doing my homework.

Now that I’ve gone off on a tangent, I can get to the real point of this post.

Since my days recently have been filled with school, cleaning, networking, and job hunting I’ve been feeling a little run down. In order to spruce myself up, I’ve taken to devouring books and watching Halloween-esque movies. Writing is usually a great way for me to wind down, but lately I feel like a zombie every time I try. At this point I have so many ideas written down on paper, that they could probably make up a story in and of itself.

My question to anyone who reads this post is how do you unwind? When your days are long and your nights short, how do you keep your levels of stress manageable?

I’m not the best at stress management, so I’m genuinely curious. I tend to just push it to the side and hope it will disappear. The build up of stress is usually much worse than the small amount of stress it started as originally.

What do you do on your days off in order to rejuvenate yourself?

~J. Spade

Knowing the Truth

We live in a world of self awareness, and that self awareness is brought forth because we assume to know our own self worth. In some cases that self worth might be more focused on the lack of, which really happen to be just lies we’ve spun to build up walls. After all, we know who we are or who we can be, and yet all we see are the flaws that take up the day to day. These flaws that we only perceive ourselves to have is because we are stuck in a loop of comparing our worst days to somebody else’s best. That is not fair to anyone.

We see our bare selves and we pick at it, and we see someone’s day-face and decide that we need to be like that all the time. It’s unhealthy, and it distorts your own view of your day-face.

I’m guilty of this, and we all are on some degree.

As a strong “love your body” advocate I feel like a hypocrite every time I look in the mirror. My mom used to tell me I was my own worst critic when it came to any of my creative works, but I don’t think she realized how much my critiques bled over into my daily psyche. Nothing I did or wore was ever good enough. While I’m getting better, those moments of self doubt still leave me bed-ridden and sad from time to time.

I find it ridiculous, all of it. Because I know I’m not really all that ugly or fat, but I still feel those things as many of us do. Why we feel the need to put feeling to these words that really are only descriptive I will never understand.

I wish it was easy to stand up and face down those societal molds and say things like, “Yes, my love handles might be a bit more prominent than what the media deems ‘normal’ but that’s not me, because it doesn’t show that I can paint and write and that helps make me who I am.”

Okay, so it’s a bit easier to say than I had originally accounted for, but I want to be able to say it and feel it with every fiber of my being. I want my words to ring just as true in my mind as they do in the air.

Our self awareness should just become awareness as we realize that all of us have day-faces that we hide behind. As I sit here with my top-knot of a bun, sweats, and spot-treatment mask of a face, I need to understand that this is not my ‘red-carpet’ look. Therefore, comparing this behind-the-scenes look to some A-Listers glammed up persona is not going to do anyone any good.

Except maybe the 1/2-gallon of peppermint ice-cream I bemoan my troubles to at the end of the day, but that’s beside the point. I’m also just using this moment as a shameless promotion for my favorite seasonal treat, because I am so happy it’s here.

Back on topic though.

The next time you see a picture of a celebrity all dolled up with thousands of dollars worth of makeup and clothes, just know that you’d look just as fantastic under the same pampering. Even if you can’t bring yourself to think that’s true, just knowing that someone out there would think you’re beautiful might be enough to do the trick.

And if that isn’t enough, then maybe the proof will lie within the meme.

~Johana Spade

 

The Buck Stops Here

I somehow simultaneously expect too much and too little from society as a whole. Moreover, I know how bad society can be, and I keep hoping against all else that it will change. Instead of the change I’ve been wishing to see, it only seems to be getting worse.

Yes, how incredibly fascinating that I’m yet another unspoken activist hidden behind the confines of a keyboard and a pen name. Dreary, really.

Back in the old days, that long three years ago when I was still young and naïve, I applied for the Miss County pageant. Let me amend, I was in the Miss Pageant. Circumstances lead me to not trying very hard, because all the platforms offered to me just seemed so contrived. If I was offered another chance, I’d have a platform I could work with; one that I would want to strive towards. Alas, that cannot be, so I’ll simply have to rehash these would be memories at a later date.

As I was saying, the potential activist inside of me does not quite have the means to make the change happen that I wish to see. I am so sick of the high horse people ride in on. What good does it do to tear people down?

I’m not saying this because I can’t handle hate – anonymous or otherwise – I am saying this because I can. I’ve dealt with my fair share of ridicule, and I’ve grown from it. It’s actually gotten to the point where I am quite indifferent to the insults slung my way. I am not, however, indifferent to the crude behavior taking place everywhere else. Say what you want about me, because I can handle it; it’s everyone else that worries me. Because there are so many people out there who can’t handle such abusion. And no one should have to handle it.

It’s everywhere: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. Whatever social media site you’ve dabbled in the so called ‘haters’ have also forayed into those grounds. I have not been on WordPress long, but I’m sure that it receives its fair share of bashing. Excuse me if I’ve used the word fair too lightly. There is nothing fair about someone being slammed for stating their thoughts.

I do suppose that the haters use that as a defense too. “I’m just stating my opinion,” they’ll say as the write out a contemptuous review that not only berates a person for his or her words but somehow threatens and abuses all in one go. And there is the difference. I wouldn’t mind if people were merely sharing their opinions. It could range from “I don’t like this” to “I love this” and social webbing would already be a safer place. It’s the ones who feel the need to throw in the threats of death, wishes of disappearance, and the criticizing of morals and appearances that bring haters to a whole new level.

I ask again, why? Why would anyone think they are so high above the rest of us mortals that it is okay for them to think this way?

Growing Up

Getting older means that you take on more and more responsibilities; you have to care for yourself and for others. If you’ve ever spent any time as a designated driver (DD) then you know that it is akin to parenting or babysitting. There is something wholly uncouth about being the only sober person amidst a mass of drunkards; especially when you’re in a fairly large city.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends and I am glad I could be there for them on their big day and help out; but holy crap can drunks be difficult to handle. Mainly when there is a large group of them. There is nothing more taxing than a group of eight or more drunks each getting ideas in their head, because as the DD you are bound to be pulled in a million different directions trying to wrangle up the lush’s.

Of course, there are different levels to each person. One person might be content to follow you around all night because they “love you sooo much”, whereas another might just want to go make out with someone and you’ll be damned lucky if they mention anything of the sort to you. So not only do you have to search out your friends in the dark, but you have to look for shadows of themselves behind the silhouette of the partner they have chosen. It can get somewhat awkward out on the dance floor, because more than half of the people out there are sucking face and you’ll be lucky if you can see your friend at all.

As a DD you’re not there to snub out their fun, you’re simply there to give them a safe ride home. But shit, is it hard to make sure they get home safe when they’ve all scattered like a bunch of flies at a barbeque.

You’re bound to hear the same story at least ten times, with spastic embellishments that can only make sense to those with inebriated brains. You’re going to get annoyed, your feet will hurt, and the music and smells might just give you a headache. The selling point would have to be the fact that you’ll probably spend more money than you had planned on by buying your friends birthday drinks, and sadly none of those drinks were even for you. It can be frustrating, but hopefully the drunk birthday girl or guy is kind enough to drunkenly declare how grateful they are that you did this for them.

A few tips for surviving a night as a DD would be:

  • Set your guidelines early in the night when they’re still coherent enough to understand them.
  • Don’t plan to leave the bars early. Chances are they are going to want to close it out, and if you had planned to go home early your annoyance level will be through the roof.
  • Be firm, but understanding. They’re drunk and you are not. Don’t be a pushover, but don’t be a party pooper either.
  • Have fun. Yeah, you’re surrounded by a bunch of drunk, horny fools, but that doesn’t mean you have to be angry about it. Laugh, enjoy the embarrassing shenanigans that everyone is partaking in.

And most importantly:

  • Take detailed notes. It’s all going to be worth it when you’re reacquainting your friends with all of their drunken shenanigans.

 

 

Yours Truly

~Johana Spade

Phobias

Phobias are very strange things. One second you can be perfectly content, happily reading away at some novel, and the next second you can spot that one thing that brings you terror and you can’t focus on anything else. Continue reading