Yellow Nice to Meet You

2017 has been a hard year full of a lot of lessons, pain, and heartbreak. I lost 3 dogs and my Godson, was in a major car accident, injured my back, and had a setback with my autoimmune disease. But this year was also filled with a lot of travel and new opportunities. I was able to take more trainings, learn new ways to teach, roadtrip multiple times, explore Europe, get a new tattoo, and travel with one of my best friends.  I’ve learned a lot about myself this year and even though I’m very happy to see it coming to an end I appreciate what the year has shown me. Here are just some of the lessons from 2017.

You are not required to like everyone.

 You don’t even have to have a reason for not liking them. Not liking someone or not wanting them in your life does not make you a bad person.

You’re going to lose a lot of friends in your 20’s, but you’ll find the ones that will stick with you for life.

As you start to really come into your own you’ll find you have a lower tolerance for bullshit and fake friends and “when it works for them” friends. Some of the people you’ll lose you may really be sad to lose-but overall you’ll be better off-even in the moments where you miss their craziness.

Love isn’t everything.

It’s great, sure- but it’s not the end all be all. You can be a whole person even without being in love. In fact you SHOULD be a whole person whether or not you’re in love.

 If you want to eat it, just fucking eat it.

What you put into your body is your business. If you want to eat a mozzarella ball like a damn apple, have at it. But like, also eat green things now and then. You can even put mozzarella on it! Practicing moderation is one of the kindest things you can do for yourself.

You’re probably not as weird as you think.

Literally everyone is fucking bizarre. You’re probably just as normal as them…maybe a little weirder, maybe a little less weird. Just embrace the weird.

Read the fine print

 Read your terms and conditions, your contracts, your rental agreements, read the tiny little lines under the fine print, etc. BEFORE you sign or agree to anything. You’ll save yourself a lot of trouble and potential embarrassment should something happen and you could potentially save yourself some money if you have to relay back to that information.

 Allow yourself to have a European adventure (or some other place) and maybe a side of romance too.

Oh! And bring the friend that’s going to push you outside of your comfort zone along. Trust me- it will lead to some pretty epic stories.

Don’t look for people to fix you, look for people who will stand beside you as you fix yourself.

You don’t need people to tell you that you need to be fixed or to try and do it for you. You need people who will be there to hand you the pieces or the hammer or a screwdriver (cocktail variation accepted). You need the people that give you space when needed, but know when you need a good shove in the ass and a night out. You don’t need someone to hold your hand unless you’re on a metaphorical tightrope (or a real one I suppose) and are losing your balance. Make sure the people you surround yourself with are the ones that don’t try to control you or manipulate you-but allow you to make decisions (even the dumb ones). That’s how you learn.

Forgiving someone is not weakness; hating them is.

It’s okay to sleep in sometimes!

Caffeine doesn’t always cut it. In a world that never shuts off, it’s okay to take some extra time to catch up on sleep. Your body and brain will thank you for it.

Take all the pictures you possibly can

You never know when the last moment will be. Allow yourself to document anything and everything that made you smile or laugh, feel good.

Loss is ridiculously painful

It hurts beyond words and it never makes sense and it feels like the world is ending. And in a way the world has ended-it’s not the same world that you knew. Don’t try to ball up the pain. Let it come out in a healthy form that helps you.

Being a Godmother is nothing like in Cinderella.

 It’s surreal and slightly scary knowing that you may potentially inherit a tiny human. But it’s also the greatest feeling in the world to know that someone has that much faith in you that they would trust you to raise and care for the most precious human in their life.

Even bad years have a reason

The harder years show you who you really are and how far you’ve come and how far you have yet to go. They fucking suck ass, but they teach you so much about yourself.

 Having an incurable autoimmune disease is not a death sentence it’s a wake-up call.

When I first got my diagnosis I was only able to look at the nail in the coffin. Two years and 3 intense treatments later I’ve come to realize that being sick doesn’t mean I have to be sick. It means I need to appreciate the life I have and am creating. I’ve taken this time to do things I never thought I’d do again like go back into ballet.

Your body is going to change.

My almost 29 year old body is nothing like the 22, 24, or even 27 year old body I had. This body aches a little more and is in pain a bit more often than it used to be. It doesn’t bend as much now and I don’t contort like I used to. But this current body has a lot of new battle scars and even when it’s achy or tired I know it’s strong.

Cherish your challenges.

This is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned. When my life looked far from happy, I thought that it wasn’t fair that I had to experience so many difficulties. I wished that I would wake up one day and problems would just disappear. But the more I hoped for having a magic wand, the tenser my challenges have felt. Now I understand that sometimes the shortest way is to walk through the fire and stay open. Don’t close your eyes. Look around and see what the challenges are meant to teach you.

 Very few people truly know what they’re doing in life.

It’s an illusion that most people have life figured out. If you sat down and really talked to people at any age, you’ll discover they’re just as insecure or unsure of themselves as you feel.

 Fake it till you make it.

If you don’t know how to do it – learn it. We’re all capable of learning as we go. Be confident in your mistakes and in your growths.

Do things alone.

Go to that movie alone, eat at that restaurant by yourself – doing things alone helps make you feel more comfortable with yourself. Learn to enjoy your own company.

 Be with yourself as you are without having to change anything.

The first time I heard this was a couple of years ago in a yoga class. It’s one of only a handful of phrases to stick with me from a class. We spend so much time trying to force ourselves to be different or better or skinnier or faster or smarter. We never just take the time to pause and be with ourselves the way we are right now. I’m not saying don’t continue to work toward your goals. But take a moment to make sure they haven’t changed or to verify that you aren’t there yet. Take a moment to appreciate you for you and to just be.

 Talk to people when you’re unsure or feel alone.

There were so many time this year where I felt like I just didn’t know if I was making good choices. I knew they were the right choices for me- but it seemed like everyone else was going the other way. I questioned everything- especially my teaching style. I was having auditions that seemed to go great- amazing feedback from students and teachers and potential employers. But then I wouldn’t hear back or the place would go with a teacher who taught fancy party tricks. It made me question whether people wanted yoga or if they wanted cirque de soleil. And usually right around the time I would feel like giving up I would talk to someone or someone would talk to me and I realized I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t the only teacher out there who found these fancy poses dangerous or unrealistic. I wasn’t the only one teaching in a different way or feeling out of place.

Trust yourself enough to fall.

You won’t break. You are more resilient than you think.

Believe in the beauty of your own words.

 A blank Word document, an empty journal, or that notebook you bought for your own poetry. Type. Write. Scribble. Press backspace or crumple up drafts if you need to. Just don’t be afraid to let your voice be heard

 Society isn’t in charge of your happiness

I’m about to be 29 and I’m not married and I don’t have babies. I don’t have a steady 9-5 and I freelance to make a living. Society looks at this sometimes and raises an eyebrow. What they fail to consider is that they’re not in charge of my happiness and well being. I am.  I’m not married because it isn’t something that I need to do to feel whole. But do I let it define the progress and realness of my relationships? Absolutely not. The same applies for kids.

When I decided to quit corporate, society’s fears were projected on to me time and time again: How would I afford my rent? What about health insurance? How would I get steady work?

The fact of the matter is that if you want it bad enough, you’ll figure it out. It’s as simple as that.

 

Our lives are a series of events.

Events that change us, challenge us,break us, heal us. Events that cause chain reactions and explosions. Some of us face abuse, divorce, death. Some of us face fame, success, popularity. Some of us face everything in between. Each with their own lesson, their own darkness, their own beauty. Every event creates a part of us and destroys another. Constantly building ourselves to the person we are in this exact moment. As humans we try to protect ourselves. We look too far forward or stay stuck in the past- guarded and shielded. What I’ve come to learn is that we have to experience the now. We have to shed the layers, allow old wounds to heal, embrace who we are, and allow change to happen when it needs to. It’s never easy. Life is never easy. That’s what makes it exciting. ..

XO,

Andie

 

2017

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Cheers to Another Good-Bye and a New Hello.

Holy shit it’s the last day of December and 2016! Seriously – people weren’t joking when they said time flies as you get older. Anyways, it’s once again the time of year when everyone reflects on the past year and possibly at what they’ve learned. 2016 , for an overwhelming amount, seems to have basically been the shit stain of the decade. Let’s be honest it’s been a pretty rough year in a lot of different areas. You know the ones…politics, the disaster called the presidential election, basic human rights,drinking water, Bowie, AND Carrie Fisher…I mean seriously 2016?! 2017 if you even think about taking Betty White or Angela Lansbury we’re gonna have some issues.

To be honest ,for me, 2016 hasn’t been horrible. It’s been challenging and interesting and  definitely a year of struggles and lessons learned. For the last two years, maybe 3, I’ve done a combination post for my birthday and what I’ve learned in this 27th year of life as it begins to come to a close. So, here it is, unfiltered and a bit scatter brained.
No thanks, I don’t want to. Is a perfectly valid reason not to do something. 
I’ve always been the “yeah sure” person- whether it’s helping out by subbing or taking an extra shift, or going to all the things my friends ask me to go to, or even doing something I maybe didn’t want to do. This year I’ve gotten a lot better with the word “No”. I’ve learned to enjoy my alone time and to allow myself those downtimes. And on top of that I’ve finally figured out that I don’t need to have some extravagant excuse or reason to validate it. “No.” is a complete sentence.

Burning bridges is stupid and a really crappy way to conduct yourself professionally. 

I had a very interesting situation occur earlier in the year regarding this. In the heat of the moment I really wanted to just burn the bridge and say everything that I truly thought. But at the same time I knew I was coming from a place of anger and distrust and that burning a bridge may light up the way and cause a stir or reality check but it also burns the bridge. So, I kept my mouth shut, let myself cool down, and took it all with a neutral demeanor. I mean once a bridge is burnt it’s pretty hard to build it back up again; so why not use the bridge for its actual intended purpose? Leave places with your head held high. It’ll be better for you in the long run.

But it’s 100% okay to leave a situation if it’s not right.

I made the mistake of staying in the aforementioned situation longer than I should have because I felt obligated to. I didn’t want to hurt anyone or inconvenience them, but by doing this I hurt myself. I turned down some offers that could have really opened doors for me and started me on my path even sooner. Don’t stay just to keep from rocking the boat. If something isn’t right, change it or leave. Just leave with dignity.

 It’s totally possible to do a 180 and change everything about your life if you really want to. 

If you don’t want to be something, somewhere, or doing whatever you’re doing, you absolutely have the power to change your life. Make your life one that you’re proud of. It won’t be easy and the challenges will test you and you may even change the end goal several times. But it’s totally worth it to find and become the best version of you.

Trusting your gut will almost never steer you in the wrong direction.

 99.9% of the time, your gut knows what’s up. So trust it. And if your heart, head, and gut actually agree on something you bet for damn sure you better listen because it’s probably going to be life changing.

Nobody’s life is as good as their Instagram.

Everyone retakes their selfie, uses that one “perfect” filter, and posts pictures only when their brunch looks flawless. Essentially this is just the modern day “grass is always greener”. But let’s be real their life isn’t as amazingly pristine as you think it is while you’re mindlessly swiping on your phone. We have this crazy desire and need to constantly show ourselves off as flawless and it’s just not true. There is only one definition of the word perfect that I like and it’s the adjective. It defines perfect as “complete”. As a person we are whole and complete, we have these little quirks that are unique to us and amazing imperfections that help to mold us and give us character to make us complete. But we get to this version of perfect by having not just good days, but bad days too.

Nothing is permanent. Even the hardest, scariest things pass.

I was at my physical a few weeks ago and for the first time in ages in the depression column I was able to mark down a 0 for the symptoms. As someone who has suffered from both suicidal and severe recurring depression it’s rare that I don’t have at least a few symptoms or feelings that fall under the depression category. But for the first time since I can remember I honestly feel ok with life and I’m pretty sure it’s because I’ve learned to understand that nothing is permanent (not even my tattoos are totally permanent as ink fades). I’ve made it through some dark storms and found the pretty field of sunflowers and just as quickly as I find the field another storm can start and end. It’s all a cycle. And when we can learn to appreciate it and not be fully petrified or attached to one part of it we can sail through a little easier.

Laugh and live in the moment more often than not.

Life is not meant to be taking so incredibly serious. Yes- there are serious issues and bad things happen and we should be concerned. But we have to remember to enjoy life too. Live in the moment and stop dreading the future or regretting the past. And we have to remember to laugh because sometimes shit’s so ridiculous that that’s all we can do. At the end we all end up in the same way- so take time to enjoy the ride. Be silly, be sweet, be sassy. Be you.

Where there’s a will there’s a way.

I’ve heard the statement a million and one times and I thought I knew what it meant. Turns out I so didn’t. Changing careers and focuses on my life created a stack of new obstacles and barriers to get through. One of them was how to continue to grow as a new yoga teacher. Trainings, workshops, and the like aren’t exactly free and most are insanely pricey. Sometimes you luck out and find someone who gets the reality of how expensive it all is and offers a discount and any help possible to get you where you want to be. But you have to do the work to get there. Occasionally that means living off of Cheerios and water for almost a month so you can put all the grocery money aside to pay for a mentorship program. Sometimes it means taking a third job, working 7 days a week, and going from one job to the next, and taking any last minute paying gig to make that extra cash to afford private sessions, workshops, and the next program that screams out to you. It means foregoing that urge to splurge on a new pair of boots or that chic new dress at Express or deciding not to go to the city for a pop up concert or going out for drinks. You start to prioritize and find what is really important to you and you make it happen…somehow.

Life was never meant to be fair- it was meant to teach you, challenge you, and shape you.

Shitty things happen to people who don’t deserve shitty things happening to them. But these people are some of the most courageous and open minded individuals you will probably ever meet. For instance, I have an amazing friend who recently had her first baby. He’s basically the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. My jellybean wasn’t born with all of his genes though and can’t breathe on his own. For the past 3 months this beautiful little family has lived in the hospital. Nothing they did caused this to happen. My friends and my jellybean are some of the strongest fighters I know. They prove to me every day that no situation is too dark or impossible and even though they may not feel like it this entire situation has made them stronger and so tight knit as a family. The coin here goes both ways though- sometimes not so good people get exactly what they want. They just know how to play their cards right (like the president-elect). It’s a lesson in life- a super sucktastic one but one none the less. However- you can’t let one or the other overwhelm you or fully define a person. Take it all with a grain of salt because each person has their own story you can learn from.

Love comes in many different varieties.

Some love comes through playing pranks, having snowball fights, and bickering like an old married couple. Other times it’s getting a rental car, driving two hours in the opposite direction than you’re supposed to be going, letting your friend cry into your hair and accidentally eating some of it while you meet your nephew for the first and possibly last time all while picking up conversation like it’s been 2 days since the last time you saw each other instead of 4 years. And sometimes it’s through a handhold or hug that goes a little longer than the norm. But it’s all love.

When the universe wants to get a message to you it will find a way…

and when the first 5 times don’t sink in it will literally slap you in the face with a “do it ya dummy” scenario like running into a certain person in a super random airport when you’ve been spending the past few weeks weighing a certain decision you have to make.

 

Be selfish.
 Yup- I said it. The big S word. Do it. You’ll thank me later. You have to put you first because if you’re not ok how the hell do you think you’re gonna help anyone else? Being selfish in certain parts of your life is ultimately the most selfless thing you can do.
Travel doesn’t always mean an exotic location. 
Yes- it’s awesome when you get to travel to a foreign country but you can also learn and grow and gain experience just from traveling in the country you live in. This was the first year since 2012 that I wasn’t able to travel outside of the country. However, I got to travel to several states I had never been to like Massachusetts and see Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. I was also able to travel to Illinois- a place I haven’t been since I was 9 months old! I met people who have had a huge impact on my life during those trips and if I hadn’t taken them who knows what direction I would be going in.
Being comfortable is safe; but it can get you stuck.
When you get too comfortable you stop trying, stop pushing, stop evolving. We have to have a level of “discomfort” in life in order to want to continue to learn and grow and succeed.
Birthdays are important!
Ya hear me Liz?! It’s important! I’ve always loved having a birthday and celebrating it and this past year has just made me appreciate them more. Not everyone you know will celebrate their 28th birthday or 39th birthday or 70th or even 1st birthday. It’s heart breaking and at the same time it’s a comfort to know we don’t live forever. But appreciate every birthday you have even if you don’t think it’s a big deal because somewhere in the world there is someone praying to get to that age you’re turning and someone else who will never see it. Even if it’s not one of the “big” ones acknowledge that you lived for another year and appreciate it.
I really have the best friends a girl could ask for.
I mean I already knew this but this year just continued to solidify this for me. 2016 was filled with transitions and my best friends have stuck by my side the whole way. They’ve lifted me up and encouraged me; they’ve punched me in the gut with hard facts and told me to shake it off, take a shot of whiskey and put my big girl pants on. They never let me take the easy way out and are always there to help pick up the pieces if I fall and break a little.
Learn to be ok with who you are, who you were, and who you are aiming to be.
Pretty sure this one’s a lifer. But we have to learn to like ourselves and be ok with us. No one was given the best hand in this card game. But when you can start to appreciate yourself and where you currently are you can learn how to expand on your positive attributes and not to let something you feel isn’t great about you become an obstacle you can’t pass. I was an extremely extroverted, creative, nerdy, and hyper kid. And somewhere along the line life happened, I went through things, I grew up, and I stopped liking that about myself. I built this shell around me to protect what was on the inside and it worked for a little while- until I stopped growing and just felt numb all of the time. It wasn’t really until these past couple of years that I started to bull doze the walls down again and let these parts of me see the light of day. I’m still fairly quiet and shy at first as I’ve learned to observe and understand my surroundings. But it’s nice to finally start to feel ok with myself.
Cruise Control is your best friend.
You think I’m joking- but seriously you try driving close to 9 hours in one weekend without it. My foot and my ass both agree that it’s probably the best invention ever. Plus the looks I get when people see how I sit using cruise control keep me entertained on the drive.
Your soul mate may not exactly be the person you marry.
Fact: In many cultures mate means friend. Our soul can refer to different parts of us; mind, emotion, and intellect. So; with all of that it could be said that our soul mate is someone who connects strongly in one or more of those areas. For me, I’m pretty sure my souls mate is my bestest best friend. Don’t get me wrong- I love her but totally not marrying her. Our minds just happen to be on the same wave length, we both connect strongly to emotion in different ways which benefit and strengthen the other, and we keep each other on our toes creatively and mentally. She “gets” me in ways that others don’t. It’s like one of those “you wouldn’t have to say anything but they’d know exactly what you were thinking things.”
 
Listening to our heart, even if it looks ridiculous from a logical perspective, will never fail us.

I’m still really discovering who I am and learning to listen for myself. As we grow up we have a million voices of influence jiggling around. But, sooner or later we have to find our own voice and start to make decisions. Some people will listen to just their hearts, others just their heads, some their guts, and some all of the above. But we have to remember to always take into account what our heart tells us. That’s where our true passions are. And occasionally what our heart says may seem a little crazy. So far, all my best decisions in life haven’t made sense. From the outside perspective, I’ve probably looked like a mad person with my choices. But there was this inner voice saying, “Even if you don’t know how exactly it’s going to turn out, all is going to be okay.”

We all have this inner voice; we just need to remove the distractions that hinder us from hearing it, and most importantly, find the courage to listen to it and act on it.

Be like a dog

Be loyal and faithful. Forgive and Forget. Live life to the fullest. Take naps. And always be excited for what’s coming next.

Enjoy your final day in 2016 and I’ll see ya’ll in 2017!

~A