Quiet Time

I’m not always great about finding time to do the things I love. For whatever reason, they tend to be the first things that get pushed by the wayside when I get busy.

Writing is one of those things. And in some ways, as you can tell by my more inconsistent posting, it’s fallen a little by the wayside.

Part of that is genuinely time. As I promised not long ago, my schedule is dramatically changing. While I’m still writing and creating, it’s taking different facets. I’m also juggling a few things at the moment that will all hopefully shake out soon so that they don’t all have to be juggled at once because one of them will take off. But until then, my time is even more limited.
So I’ve had to get smart about the free time I have available. I’ve had to learn to combine certain things I enjoy doing to make sure I’m always getting the most out of every activity. And that has meant combining two things I love that I don’t make enough time for right now- exercise and meditation time.

I know it’s the norm anymore to bring music with you to workout or run. It really can help pass the time. For a long time, I’ve enjoyed listening to podcasts, stories, audiobooks and lectures while working out. It keeps my imagination stimulated while I get my sweat on.

KIDquiettime11 2But lately, I’ve been in a bit of stimulation over-drive. For good reasons. So I’ve had to shift my focus. Now, when I’m running or lifting or yoga or whatever-ing, I leave the music at home. I don’t even bring my phone with me. I don’t want the distraction. I want to just enjoy the sights and sounds for a short period of time and let my own thoughts take over. Those thoughts, as I know from my (unfortunately sporadic) meditation, like to run wild. But as long as I breathe and keep a mantra, whether it be “just to that car” or “I feel good” or “I trust myself” or “don’t look weak to the passersby,” I can get through it. And when I get back to my apartment and I finally start letting the world back into my headspace, I find I’m much calmer and more in tune and in touch with what’s going on around me.

Plus, sometimes I even say “hi” to another runner. Or pet a giant loveable dog named Hero and have a conversation with the owner because I was open and not distracted by my podcasts.

That being said, I still love my podcasts.

But too much of a good thing, even imagination stimulation, can be detrimental to your mental. So don’t go mental. Be sentimental. And get quiet.

Not super proud of how I ended this but, heck, it’s been a while so cut me some slack.

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Femoir the Podcast: Creativity – Show Notes

brainThe latest Femoir: The Podcast episode is up! Check it out here or on iTunes!

I talk about my Kurt Vonnegut picture, doing taxes, gardens and irises, right brain vs left brain, ad agencies, and my love Kevin Hart.

And that’s it for this week.

Hope you enjoy friends! And tell a friend to become a Femoir friend!

The “Just Kidding” Weapon

When I was growing up, we had one particular rule I remember my parents implemented right about when I was a tween that irked me at first. I later realized this tiny tweak made a huge difference on not only on the type of humor I like and create, but also the type of person I’ve become.

What, say you, was this small but significant rule?

My brother and I were not allowed to say something mean then follow it up with “I’m just kidding.”

mean faceWe had to implement this rule because we were doing just that. We were yelling at each other (usually I did the yelling… my brother was more precise and cutting with his words and I just yelled loudly and incoherently most of the time), and we’d say something like “You’re stupid!” then follow it up with “I’m just kidding!”. We’d then act like somehow by saying we were kidding it made it ok and the other person was overreacting or had a bad sense of humor.

When really we were not kidding. We meant to insult the other one.

I found my parent’s rule to be worthless at first. I found it to be limiting and started convincing myself they, too, had bad senses of humor. But they were relentless in their enforcement of it and it didn’t take too long before I just stopped the insults because I knew they were meant to be insulting. I had to get more creative if I wanted something to actually be funny. I realized that by pretending something was “funny” when it was really just mean, I was being lazy and I was being vicious. I never want to be either of those things, so I just stopped.

Years later, as I attempt to make a professional career out of “just kidding,” I make a solid point to make sure my humor (hopefully) reflects positivity and happiness. I want it to only be used as a “weapon” for situations where tensions are high and people need to be disarmed and remember we have more in common with each other than we tend to remember. I made a concerted effort and a specific choice to back off more polarizing careers and interests of mine in order to focus on humor partially because I love using it as a means to bring people together.

Plus I’m a lot better at selling a joke than I am at selling an argument.

I still hear people do it. I hear people say cruel things then, often passive aggressively, blame the very person they were insulting for “not getting it” because they were “just joking.” I call bullshit. You weren’t joking. You were being mean. So if you don’t want to be mean, don’t say mean things. Don’t try and protect yourself with the lazy shroud of pretending you have a sense of humor and the other person doesn’t.

I have a great sense of humor. I enjoy a good roast and will be the first to make joke’s at my own expense. But if I feel like the intentions behind your “insult” aren’t actually for the purposes of being funny but because you’re being mean, I’ll be the first one to turn on you.

So don’t be lazy. And don’t be mean. Just… be cool. Dawwwwwg.

Cooky Yoga Man

I’ve been talking about getting out of the house more lately and challenging myself at different t-rex yogaclasses (including and especially Yoga classes).

I recently had a substitute teacher at a yoga class that tickled me pink. Not literally. But I have a feeling, had he been given the chance, he would have.

He was a cooky guy.

He started the class casually with a long chat for about 5 minutes about different things that he found interesting. The few of us who were there didn’t seem to also find this interesting. I could tell by the way we all got confused wide-eyes and looked around at each other.

Eventually, he got the class started. He was almost so casual that we had to more or less guess that we were starting. I was front and center and I couldn’t help but laugh. He reminded me of every socially awkward teacher I had growing up. He was a big guy, which means nothing to me fitness-wise, but he really only semi-coached the poses and barely stayed in them. At one point, he even got a phone call so our quiet yoga music got turned into a robotic voice repeating “The phone is ringing. The phone is ringing.” Because that’s exactly the type of ringtone a guy like this would have. I wondered what it was until he simply, casually said, “That ringtone cracks me up,” then continued half-heartedly doing poses and giggling to himself.

I was also giggling profusely.

Even though my traditional yoga workout wasn’t stellar, at least I got a good laughter yoga workout in. Especially on the drive home after the “class.”

Why I Love Online Dating

Because the title of this article is so self-explanatory, let me start with a little disclaimer. I’m biased when it comes to online dating. I have a personality that suits online dating well. I love meeting people and am extremely open to new people and am anal-retentively organized which allows me to make time for whatever I find to be important. So when I decide that I want to meet people and date, I actually make the time to do so and meet a lot more people than the average person and find time for more dates.

Secondary disclaimer: I am currently dating and am all kinds of crazy about a guy I met online. So this article will inherently be influenced by that. But to be fair, I’ve gone on dates with and even dated other men I met online who didn’t make me swoon like current boo. So I’m not totally biased.

online-dating2-1h3togtBut I want to write about my experience only because I feel like people can look so snootily down upon online dating. They act like by meeting people through the internet, you’re somehow taking away from some sort of human experience and toying with the “fates” or something cooky like that.

I disagree. Big time.

I had a great time when I was online dating. I treated it like a game. It was fun and easy. I didn’t take it all that seriously. I didn’t get highly invested in any guy I never met in person. It didn’t matter how much we chatted, I’m a firm believer in meeting in person. If that in-person meeting was too hard, screw it. I’ll go back to the numbers game and meet other people that could be easier to meet. I met lots of people who were fun and interesting who I would never engage in a romantic relationship with, but had a great time getting to know. I made friends and went on crappy dates that I could laugh about later. I went on mediocre dates that I could reflect on and figure out why I had the experience I did. I learned what I wanted and what I’m looking for. And I had a great time just having a fun game-like distraction of chatting with people I wouldn’t otherwise meet in what I considered to be a large online bar.

Maybe it’s because I deal with so much rejection in my own career that I’ve developed really thick skin. Maybe it’s because I just never got that invested in someone I never met so I never let them have any control over my mood. Maybe it’s because I have a friendly and open personality that likes to flirt. Whatever the reason, it suited me to at least try out dating people I met online. I could find time for a coffee. Who knows what will come of it. One coffee I got lead to a really interesting conversation from a guy who was in charge of a huge movie producer’s estate and going through all these incredible artifacts of this man’s life from a 3rd party perspective. A year later, another coffee down the street lead to me meeting a man who I would fall totally in love with in no time.

You never know where this stuff will lead. People take it very seriously. They think there are some sort of rules. I think that’s silly. We’re changing the nature of how we interact. We’re changing the nature of how we communicate. We’re changing the nature of how we interpret and express ourselves in the world. Why wouldn’t, then, we change the nature of how we initiate and experience our romantic relationships?

By getting on a dating website, you’re putting yourself out there. That can be scary if you let it. But you could just treat it like another game. It’s a variation on Angry Birds. Have fun with it. Let loose and be open to whatever it could bring. And if you don’t like it, don’t force yourself to do it. I have a very close friend who I adore who finds herself not feeling good when she’s playing with dating apps. For whatever reason, they don’t suit her. She’s seen how much I like them so she’s tried. But it just isn’t her speed. So I told her to stop! Do whatever makes you happy. Just because it works for me doesn’t mean it’ll work for you.

When I was dating, it was fun for me to go online. I treated it like window shopping. And I like to shop. I like to check out my options and just know there’s something out there. I’m lucky enough to have met someone who suits my needs and makes me have no desire to “shop” online. I’m a satisfied lady on all levels. We have a ton in common and are highly compatible but likely would have never met in “real life.” So we connected online. Then we met in real life. And connected in real life. And now have created a real life romance that enhances all aspects of the other very real elements in both of our lives.

And I have a so-called “dumb” dating website to thank for one of the best things that I’ve got going for me. Take that, internet.

So pooh on you if you’re philosophically opposed to online dating without ever even trying it. If you try and you don’t like, you don’t have to commit to it. Just like a person you met online. So what have you got to lose? Try it already! You just never know!

Also, don’t be an idiot. Always meet strangers in public places and keep friends up to date on your whereabouts until you’re sure they’re not a terrifying serial killer. I went on a lot of dates and only met one certified creeper, so… may the odds be ever in your favor.

 

Femoir: The Podcast – Charisma (Show Notes)

khartIn this latest episode of Femoir: The Podcast (available for free on iTunes! Rating and comments help!), I mention my middle school, my high school, and the book The Charisma Myth.

I also talk about Kevin Hart. A lot. A lot a lot. And I have no regrets about that.

I discuss listening to more stuff on audible.com, reading other interesting books like Arnold Schwarzeneggar’s biography, Mother Teresa, and the value of good listening. I actually recently did a podcast with an excellent listener, Jamarr Johnson, if you wanna check it out.

To round it out, I talk about The Reckoning, tease an upcoming podcast (November 10) all about Listening, and talk more about how charismatic Kevin Hart is.

Earth Day Shmirth Day

I’ve got a thing against today. I’m not a fan. Every year, this day has a weird energy for me. And it has for a long time.

sad-earth-climate-changeGrowing up Unitarian Universalist, this was like the only “Holy Day” we celebrated. UU’s (as they’re called) are big fans of the earth so they make a big deal of earth day.

As I grew up, I started noticing some strange things always went down on this day. I went through a strange period of my life- years- where this day had particularly strange significance that I’m not going to go into here and now but rest assured if I told you the story you’d be like, “Huh. Weird.”

One year I was convinced I got over the strange day and ventured out into LA. That day, I had my newly upgraded phone stolen and very nearly got into 3 accidents to and from an event.

Last year, I thought for sure I broke the curse. I stayed in, had a very relaxed day, and didn’t make any rash decisions. Only to realize I bought tickets for a festival that I had to cancel 3 weeks later because of a different engagement and, despite having bought travel insurance for the tickets, ended up losing $150 of my investment.

I don’t like April 22.

But I’m feeling different about it this year. I feel like last year for many reasons was the end of an era. So far, 2015 has been a whole different experience for me socially, career-wise, and romantically. Some sort of shift took place. I don’t yet know what it is (because are we really ever able to see these things as they’re happening when we only have pieces of the puzzle but no real picture yet of how they fit in?), but I know it’s happened.

So I’m still taking it easy today. And after years of this day having a strange energy around it for me, I’m not looking to tempt the fates. But I do feel like I’m slowly emerging from a whirlwind tunnel that’s been taking place and always come to a head this day. I’m calmer than I’ve ever been about it. And actually genuinely excited and intrigued to see how it will all play out.

I’ll keep you updated.

 

Tax Day

taxesToday is tax day. This is no fun at all. For really anyone. I wouldn’t even say it’s fun for the IRS because it’s gotta be just as stressful for the getting all this information in (even if it’s with money) because, as they say, mo’ money mo’ problems. Luckily for me, for the past few years, the IRS has been taking big chunks of my money, thereby theoretically giving me less problems.
So… I guess I owe them a big fat THANK you. Emphasis on the angry first syllable of THANK.
 Since Taxes are no fun at all, I thought I’d take a moment to devise a list of 50  things that are much more fun than taxes to remind you of how much delight there is to be had in this world. I hope it helps you get through this tough day:
Ice cream sandwiches
Raccoons (at least Rocket Raccoon)
Not getting a sunburn after spending all day in the sun
Sparkly things
Well-trimmed beards
Blueberry flavored coffee (don’t knock it til you’ve tried it)
Hitting every green light on your way home
Text from someone you have a crush on
Falling in love
Funny shaped poop
Dogs. All dogs. Everywhere. Always.
Cats that act like dogs but then are kinda sweet and cuddle with you when you’re feelin chill.
Hearing a kid laugh at nonsense
People taking silly selfies
A really good conversation you didn’t expect (And when do you ever expect them?)
Meeting someone from a dating website only to find out they’re much cuter in person
Having all the right words ready to call someone out right when you want them
When someone at their mundane job is friendlier to you than they need to be
Puppies. Separate from dogs. Also deserve recognition for awesomeness.
Head scratches.
Uncontrollable laughter.
Autocorrect changing your text to something much funnier than you had
Australian accents
Discovering you like something new
Seeing a dog be carried while on a “walk”
Chai Tea Lattes with Almond Milk
A perfectly flipped omelet
Sweet and salty snacks while Netflix binging
Finding the perfect emoji sentence for your conversation
Splurging today
Saving for something awesome tomorrow
Accidentally getting drunk on good wine
Eavesdropping on a surprisingly interesting conversation
Catching up with an old friend
The free feeling you get after cutting off someone crummy
Watching old men fall asleep while waiting for their wives at the mall
Writing expressively with a really nice fountain pen
Getting a surprising number of “likes” on your social media update
Having such a great time in actual life, you forget to update your social media
Stained glass windows
State Fairs
The first day you start to feel better after you’ve been sick
A new outfit you found at a discount that somehow makes you feel like a million bucks
Really bad karaoke from someone who thinks they’re really good
Calling in sick to play hooky with someone you love
Ridiculously fun etsy finds
Driving with the windows down on a beautiful day
Flowers
Double rainbows

Don’t Blame The Joker, baby…

pimp…blame the game.

Comedians take a lot of heat. We take risks constantly and perform in all sorts of environments- hostile and friendly.

But what we risk more than anything is often being honest. Which can translate to “being edgy.” But I’m not talking about edgy in the overplayed “let me cuss a lot and offend everyone here possible” way. I’m talking about in the way that we say something that people really want to laugh at because it rings so true to them, but they don’t want to laugh out of fear of hurting someone’s feelings.

Let me start with saying I’m not a fan of any comedy that hurts feelings. I am, to a fault, a comedy person who likes to bring people along and not hurt feelings. I say  “to a fault” because it sometimes means I won’t be the most memorable comic of the night. I won’t be the person who pissed you off or who shocked you. I’m learning how to make my style of stand up comedy really sharp so I can be that… but it’s a process. And I refuse to become something I’m not just for the sake of being “memorable.”

But I digress. What I was saying was that sometimes, people say things that ring true to them that bring out some issue or problem that they can’t address directly. And oftentimes, they cloak it in a joke.

Now, I could get into a deep philosophical discussion about comedy as a means to an end and as a constant and necessary way of human expression. I would start there and delve further into the nature of political comedy and why comedians, no matter what their intention or actual political leanings, tend to get viewed as more liberal. I could even delve further from there into my own journey with comedy- with my roots and interest in politics and how and why it changed throughout the years.

But I ain’t got time for any of that right now. So I’ll get to the point.

And my point is this: If you don’t like the type of humor somebody spouts, don’t support stuff they do. But don’t demonize them into something or someone they’re not. They’re a person with an opinion. And odds are, they’re testing to see if material will even work and people will be receptive to them. And as long as they’re getting audiences to listen to their opinion, they’re going to keep saying and exploring it further. If they don’t have an audience, they would eventually stop saying it. But as long as they can find support, they’re going to continue saying whatever they want.

And they’re allowed to. A comedians job is to find their voice and to connect with audiences. It’s also part of the description to be an exaggeration of who you really are and what you really believe. The exaggeration is where comedy comes in. It’s the difference between the seasoned pro who spends his set yelling while making the audience scream with laughter and the terrifying amateur who scares everybody in the room and comes across as a crazy person. They’re job is to hone in that persona and that exaggeration. Their job is to sell a style. And your responsibility is to support it or ignore it. They’ll become louder or eventually shut up depending on what you decide.

But it’s not your job to get mad at them for saying things. It’s not your job- or anyone’s- to demand apologies for having opinions. All people have opinions. Just because comedians cultivate an audience to listen to them doesn’t mean they have any more or less responsibility to agree with you. They only have a responsibility to their own voice and to their art. If you don’t like what they say, stop listening. But don’t demand us to stop having opinions.

It’s especially difficult for comedians in a world where everything can be taken out of context and twisted. Context for comedy is everything. And if you take time to pause and think about what was said, why it was said, and how it was said… you’ll be able to have a more honest understanding of the situation.

I think sometimes when something controversial is said or brought up that hits a nerve in society, we should examine why we are bothered by that nerve rather than get upset that we have nerves. It’s an opportunity to define who we are and what we are, not an opportunity to shame someone for expressing themselves.

So don’t hate the playa’s baby. In face, don’t hate anyone or anything at all. Hate is harmful. Love is power. Love them playas and know why they playin’ the game so you, too, can love dat game doe.

Tampon

tamponListen. I’m not gonna call myself a Saint.

But… I’m basically a Saint.

I mean, I changed someone’s life significantly for the better. I made a difference. I showed a major act of kindness without any expectation of reciprocation.

If that doesn’t qualify me, I don’t know what will.

Probably writing about it so everyone can congratulate me on my good deed. Fine then. I guess I’ll continue.

The burden of my new Sainthood is already weighing so heavily on me.

This is what happened. It was a normal day at the gym in the locker room. I had just finished a really Saintly workout, when I went down to grab my things and go feed starving children in 3rd world countries without bragging about how great I am. A woman was next to me in the locker room. I considered giving her a hug just because that’s basically what people naturally want to do with me since I’m such a warm, good person and shit. But instead, I kept my head down and gathered my stuff while praying for world peace.

Then she spoke to me. Beckoned me, really. Because that’s what you do with a Saint.

She asked if I had a tampon.

I hesitated. Only because, as a near-Mother Teresa, I didn’t want to lie to her. I wanted to be honest like my Saintly peers. But I told her I thought so. And then I looked. And I did.

I had an extra tampon.

She had asked everyone else in the locker room for one. But they were all mere mortals. None of them were Saints who plan ahead for something like this. She was actually almost ready to go home and not workout (how easily we lose faith, my loyal followers). But then she asked me. A Saint. And I’m glad she did.

I gave her that dry wad of cotton to stick in her unmentionables to keep her from embarrassing herself and ruining a good pair of underwear. And then I smiled, allowed the halo around my head to glow a little brighter, and floated to my car.

When I got home, I replaced the tampon I gave away in order to prepare for the next woman who may need an incredibly life-changing and generous gesture.

You’re welcome, world.

Love,

Saint Briana of Tampons