renovate

[ren-uh-veyt]
verb (used with object), renovated, renovating

1. to restore to good condition; make new or as if new again; repair.
2. to reinvigorate; refresh; revive.

What would you renovate if you could and how would you do it? Your blog? Your wardrobe? Your house? Your health? Your life? Have you ever tried to remake yourself?

How was it done and how did you feel? Did you have to strip away the exterior to find the foundation of who you are? Did you find it at all? What did you keep and what did you discard? And what do you build in it’s place?

Asking for a friend.

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it’s thursday

Snapseed

What’s new in your life, friend? Anything at all?

Are you surrounded by blessings that are past due for counting?

What would it take for you to start counting, if you don’t yet, already? What keeps you conscious of the count, if you already do?  How do we keep the things most deserving of our focus in the forefront of our conscience instead of fading into our peripherals, becoming one more thing that we’ve taken for granted?

These are questions I ask myself.

What keeps your perspective in check?

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perspective check

Part of what makes maintaining a blog difficult (for me) is figuring out the story I want to tell. The harder part is breaking it down into bite-size posts that are easier to digest.

You didn’t come here to read a book, but there are facts that are relevant to the story and I have a hard time gauging how much I should squeeze in. For example, if I write “my dad died about two weeks before my 13th birthday,” I feel like there should be some context around that.

There’s a story there, but it’s too big for this post, you see?

All you need to know in this instance is the fact that he’s no longer with us and I’m his only living child, therefore the settlement checks that he would’ve received for the passing of his father (some asbestos case, I don’t know much about it) all come to me. The checks are few and far between and they’re really not much, but it’s nice that I get them.

Leslie is my cousin-roomie.

She’s my second-cousin if you want to get technical and I’ve rented a room from her for close to two years now. They say it’s hard to find a good roommate and that’s true. It’s even harder to find a great roommate and we’re blessed to have that in each other. One of our favorite nights of the week is Wednesday because it’s our pre-established wine night and One Day by Matisyaho & Akon is one of our favorite songs because we’re both dreamers.

Sometimes a few of our girlfriends here in the neighborhood will join us and we’ll talk about boyfriends, husbands or singleness and whatnot, other times it’s just the two of us and we’ll imagine the futures we want, lifting our glasses to toast to our dreams until there’s no more wine to pour.

One day, one day, one daaay

Sometimes in my tears, I drown

But I never let it get me down..

We’re motivators to each other some days and bad influences on others. We encourage each other in the good times and keep the wine flowing through the bad, and we’ve had our fair share of both. I’m not going to put her business out there but one of my most common “one day’s” revolves around finances. There’s so much that I want to see and do but I haven’t made the most responsible choices over the past few years so it’s difficult to do them.

A big thing for us both is travel.

We talk about it all the time and it’s our most common “one day” but we rarely  do it. It came up again last week, though, and we determined that the people who are out there doing the shit we want to do probably don’t have their shit together the way we imagine they should just because they’re out there doing it, you know?

Maybe they’re broke as f***.

Maybe they decided that the experience of life was more valuable to them than some ever-fluctuating number in a bank account somewhere that supposedly determines how much we’re worth. Maybe it was as simple as setting a little cash aside and calling up a friend to say “Hey, we’re past due, where do you want to go next month?” and then they pull out their planners, put pen to paper and then just f***ing do it.

I was pretty broke over the holidays which is as frustrating as it sounds.

I got a call from a lady named Sherry about three days before Christmas. Sherry works at a law office in Texas and said they mailed a check to me for my dad’s share of the settlement for Papa Jim’s asbestos case. The check was returned to their office so she was calling to make sure they had the right address. I was frustrated with Sherry because she actually called me last August to say they’d be mailing the check then and asked for a good address to send it to, which is where I live currently.

Way to stay on top of things, Sherry.

Anyways, it’s the Wednesday after New Year’s and Leslie and I are caught up in one of our “one day” conversations when she mentions a co-worker invited her to Canada. She says at first she said ‘yes’ without hesitation because the plane tickets are stupid cheap and the Airb&b looked great, then she remembers she’s taking Spanish this semester and decides she shouldn’t miss class, so she says ‘no.’

“You can’t miss Spanish!” says Arielle, her co-worker, with obvious sarcasm and a laugh.

Leslie’s impression of her makes me laugh, too.

I say to her “you’re dumb, you should go” with a tinge of envy inside.

I’m part French-Canadian and this should be my trip, too, but it’s a “one day” opportunity right in front of her that she could make happen, so I set my jealousy aside and I’m thrilled. She needs to do this.

I drunkenly extend my hand to her and say something along the lines of

Leslie, I don’t know how much this check is going to be, but I may never get anything else from my dad again. I can’t waste it on something basic like bills,” with a slur.

I’ve got to do something special.”

Her eyes widen with agreement and her head shakes ‘yes.’ She points her finger right at me, like she’s calling me out.

That’s right, man. You totally should.”

“I’m broke right now” I start to pledge, “but if there’s enough money on that check to make it happen then you can miss Spanish, we’re going to Canada.”

She shakes my hand, the deal is done and the wait for the check is on. Just like it has been since August..

Sherry.

Too make a long story shorter I’ll spare you the details of the wait for it to come.

Imagine a 26-year-old millennial who’s down on her luck marching to the mailbox with thoughts of “God, please let it be today” and that’s basically me for two weeks. Income from a few other sources had been held up for a while, too, which is also as frustrating as it sounds, so it was a relief to feel the drought lift when I finally got paid this past Sunday from a non-profit that I do some work with once a week.

I don’t do it for the pay, but still.

I check my email the next day where I see a payment I wasn’t expecting and it’s more than I thought it would be.

I’m relieved.

I kick back on the couch, put my hands behind my head and let my eyes gently close because I need to stop and think.

I soak in the gratitude of the moment and it’s richer than anything I’ve felt in a while. I pray and I tell God “thank you,” but I’m not thanking him for the money, although I’m grateful for that, too.

I thank him for making me wait.

I’m so thankful.

I think about how it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important to you when you’re comfortable where you are or have more than you think you need. I think we curse when we’re broke or when we think that we lack, but I think we have more than we see.

I think about the irony of life.

I think about how I’ve been so cash-starved for so long (or so it feels) and I think to myself of all days, the check is probably in the mailbox today.

I unfold my arms from behind my head and take a deep breath. I’ve made this walk before only to return empty-handed time and time again, but I’m unusually confident this time. Deep down, I know it’s here.

And there it was.

We’re going to Canada.

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every new beginning comes from

Hey there,

It’s been too long, friends.

To make more sense of this post I would recommend reading the one that came before it if you haven’t already, which is basically the first part of the telling of my most recent break-up.

I didn’t mention his name the first time around, but I’ll go ahead and call him Max.

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Max and I didn’t talk for about a week after Zaxby’s. Partly because I was a complete shit show of emotions that night and I was embarrassed to see him after that (I have a hard time crying in front of other people) and partly because I didn’t have much to say.

Which is kind of how I feel right now.

I could go on and on about the complexities of our feelings for each other compressed into two months time and how that unexpected connection became a wrecking ball of emotions that shattered me from the inside out, because it did. And I wish I could say that Max was a selfish prick throughout the timeline of our relationship and he completely f***ing played me so my feelings are justifiably his fault, but he wasn’t. And they’re not.

And I don’t care to go on and on about it because it’s over and I’m not as sad about it as I used to be.

Truth be told we’re both in places of renovating of our lives and it’s truly hard to be in a relationship in the midst of that process. A good renovation means cutting yourself open, laying yourself bare and removing everything but the foundation so you can find out what you’re working with and strengthen it if you need to. Sometimes you find the foundation is weaker than you thought and there’s an infestation of insecurity that needs to be dealt with in some spaces before it’s ready for company.

Otherwise the ground caves in, there’s a witness to your undoing and there’s collateral damage along the way because you brought someone with you for the ride. I don’t think either of us wanted that for each other so we ended it.

It was a little sloppy and it took too long, but we ended it.

There’s not much of me that thinks I’d ever want to re-explore a future with Maximus for reasons that I don’t care to mention here, but I do wish him all the best. I can look back on what we had and know that it was something we both needed at the time. I can’t speak for him and I can’t say whether he got what he needed out of it or if he even knows what that was, but for me, it taught me how to open up again, and I needed that.

Letting Max in was the initial undoing of the walls I’ve built over time. It was the prelude to an all too necessary, painful but blessed demolition. An inner-revolution that I never saw coming washed over me like a storm.

You can’t prepare for this stuff. All you can do is acknowledge it when it’s happening, find your bearings and hang on for dear life.

It’s beautiful.

It’s as beautiful as you allow it to be.

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some other beginning’s end

I sincerely hope that how we ring in the New Year isn’t a foreshadow of what’s to come, because I spent my countdown face down in a trashcan on a family friend’s couch while my sister-in-law and the handsome bartender held my hair back.

5! 4! 3! 2! *insert the sound of me hurling my guts out here*

It was fun, though.

Oh, I drunk-texted an ex, too. *insert face palm here*

It wasn’t anything long term or serious when we dated, but it was one of those rare occasions where I let myself really like someone. I don’t know what it is with me and relationships. Either I’m completely guarded and there’s no outlet for a connection or I let myself feel too much too fast and the outlet explodes because there’s too much electricity.

It’s easy to feel down on yourself when a relationship doesn’t work out, like there’s something wrong with you, you know?

Doesn’t mean it’s true, but it’s easy to feel that way.

The break-up was a two week long process that was finalized right in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, which f***ing sucked. He initiated the ending of what was the beginning of something great at a Zaxby’s, of all places, while we were still waiting on our food to get to the table. I asked for a to-go box and then ugly cried in his truck on the way home.

I tried to hide it, but I couldn’t. He tried to talk about things, but I couldn’t.

We pulled into my driveway and I got into my car, intentionally leaving my dinner behind. I pushed ‘repeat’ on an instrumental song I’d found that week because tears are better with a soundtrack. I fixed my eyes in the direction that he wasn’t because I couldn’t bring myself to look at him, and then I drove away. I’d left something at an office I was working from at the time and decided the 15 minute drive to retrieve it would be a great place to let my tears loose.

I was the hottest mess I’ve been in a long time that night and I didn’t think I was going to be okay, but eventually I was, and today, I am.

Transformation tends to be an uncomfortable process and it often comes in ways we wouldn’t choose on our own, but the renovation has to start somewhere and they say that every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end, which is where we are now.

What would you end to make way for new beginnings if you could? Or is there an ending to let go of that you probably should?

Peace and blessings to you all, let’s live well this year.

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12/27/17

It’s 31° outside in Choctaw, OK, which is where I’m typing this now.

My aunt and her husband have some land out in  the country with a hot tub that overlooks a gazebo and a pond. It’s beautiful.

The hot tub is set at 103° which is more than enough to keep me warm. There’s a small line of sweat that forms above my upper lip and steam emanates from the part of my body that dwells above water. I love the steam. It weaves in and out of my fingers as I punch each and every little key that forms each and every paragraph you’re reading. Sigur Rós is playing softly in the background and the only thing that steals from the perfection of this moment is the fact that my laptop battery is at about 10%.

Otherwise, it’s magical.

I posted a selfie from here about an hour ago because I’m kind of self-absorbed like that. I like the “likes” and the fact that a handful of photographs makes my life look cooler than it actually is. That’s a big part of why it was so hard to keep up with the last few blogs. It was less about sharing and more about image. I wanted people to think I was intellectual and deep and it was exhausting to keep up with.

Each post took about 4 hours too long to write. Ridiculous, right?

Renovate is refreshing for me because I don’t think anyone even reads it. It takes me about half an hour to throw down a few sentences and it’s great.

I wish I had more of a point to this post in particular, but really, I just wanted to write in an atmosphere like this to see what I could come up with. I don’t know if I have any readers and I surely don’t know if you’re writers, but if I do and if you are, then my point would be this –

Go find something beautiful and write from inside of it. It’s magical.

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merry christmas

I started a sentence or two and erased them because I’m struggling for words this evening but I feel like I should write, so here I am. Does it feel like Christmas where you are?

Or did it? Wherever you were?

It’s cold where I am and I’m lonelier than I’d like to be. Singleness takes a hard toll over the holidays and I feel like it gets harder with age. Scrooge makes more sense to me at 26 and I relate to the guy. How do you fight bitterness without three ghosts coming to save you, though?

Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and I had a great Christmas. We stood around a pool table covered in gifts, dips, desserts and torn wrapping paper and told stories that made us laugh and smile. I specifically remember thinking at one point “there’s no place I’d rather be today,” and I meant it, but for as warm as we’d made it inside of that barn I still couldn’t shake the cold.

How do you get warm when the cold is inside you?

Sometimes I feel like I’ve been losing my ability to connect with people or like there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to. That sounds mean but it’s true and I don’t know where it comes from or how to fight it. That’s what got to Scrooge, though, whatever it is. I know it.

It’s like a cancer, I can feel it. I don’t know how to kill it but I don’t want to let it take me.

Writing for a cure. What works for you?

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12/21/17

Ground zero.

At least that’s what it feels like sometimes. But truth be told no matter where you are in life things could always be worse. I had a well paying job a few years back and I quit in the Spring of ’16. I almost wrote “I had a really good job a few years back” and then I remembered why I left. F*** them.

Maybe I’m stubborn. But it did pay well and I do miss that. I don’t miss selling my soul for it, though, and for as shitty as life feels in some moments I still wouldn’t go back.

I’ve almost caved a few times, but more on that later.

If you care to know why I left then you can read about that in the one post that’s left of starting point ● which is the blog that gave birth to Renovate, somewhat. I titled that post “do it scared.”

I’ll be honest with you, though, I still can’t bring myself to read it. Isn’t that ironic? I think there were a total of five posts (I know, I’m pretty consistent) and I can’t read the other four, either. Not right now. The author of starting point ● seems like a completely different person most days and I often feel so far removed from her. Her optimism, her drive, her passion for adventure and the unknown. If the passion was fire it’s now a flame, and only just barely.

But it is still there. A small flicker of light to illuminate the Renovation in the wilderness that is me.

Here’s to new beginnings, here’s to a new start.

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