Champagne-colored Lies

“Serve me

A glass of champagne

Please, Madam.

Alongside brioche and toast.”

 

I do not care

for green eggs and ham,

But a sober brunch

I hate the most.

 

I smile at my date,

Dressed in a fine Sunday suit.

As he orders a drink

For himself.

 

And after a moment,

We begin to share stories

Of regality,

Fortune,

And Wealth.

 

“London is lovely,”

I gladly confess,

“But the Virgin Islands

Have stolen my heart.”

 

I gesture to my bosom,

Flashing my rings.

The alcohol’s hit me,

So thus the tall-tales start.

 

And so the conversation goes,

The drinks and the food,

Down our throats and

Onto his bill.

 

It is all lovely,

Until we part ways;

Him to his car,

I to a bus uphill.

 

I scrounge through my purse

For just enough coins

To get me back home

Before it rains.

 

But my coins are scattered,

My umbrella is broken

And my cheeks are covered

In cheap makeup stains.

 

Perhaps I did not save

Quite enough tips

From my last humble shift

Serving brunch.

 

It looks like I’ll have

To wait under cover

Before my next date,

A three o’clock lunch.

 

 

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Setting A Daily Writing Goal

Well, it’s 12:20am on what is now June 4th, 2016. Oops. I was hoping to start a daily writing goal yesterday, AKA the 3rd. I haven’t gone to bed yet though, so this counts, right?

I met with a friend for lunch yesterday who was talking to me about how the most successful writers generally have daily writing goals that they push themselves to meet. Stephen King, for example, had a goal for a while to write 1500 words a day. Other writers recommend setting a timer for 15 or so minutes and focusing entirely on writing during that period. I guess at the end of the day it really doesn’t matter how you measure the writing—be it in number of minutes, number of words, number of pages—it just matters that you have a goal.

Naturally, my first reaction to this idea of goal-setting was this: “Oh, I can easily write 1500 words a day! Stephen King did it, so I can too!” Well, see, that may be a bit more of a struggle than I originally thought. I don’t know much about Stephen King, but I can imagine that his life, when he first set this goal, was quite different from mine. I am currently battling a chronic illness, focusing on my music, focusing on my art, and focusing on my writing. Suddenly 1500 words a day sounds as challenging and frustrating as climbing up Everest.

Still, I would like to make a daily writing goal. Goals are good, especially when they are realistic. It has taken me quite some time to really wrap my head around this, because I am so damn hard on myself, but goals are meant not to torment a person but to encourage them!

So if I make a daily writing goal of, say, 400 words, that will probably make writing feel much less like a chore and much more like a relaxed and pleasurable pastime. And just think—whenever I pass this goal of 400 words, I will feel really damn accomplished.

(This goal can always be subject to change. Maybe I will lift the number of minutes or words by a few each week, or switch up between a minute goal and a word goal. However I do it, I want to allow just a little room to find what suits me best.)

So 400 words a day. That is what I will hold as my current goal. Sounds pretty reasonable, right?

 

Wait a second…

I just totaled 411 words!

Boo-yah! Nailed it!

 

Pardon me while I go have a celebratory dance party.

 

As always, Tanya

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Poly-Passionate… Or Whatever

I am a Renaissance Woman.

When I was a little girl, I loved the word “renaissance” because it brought to mind brilliant billowing gowns, stone castles, and portrait-lined hallways.

So, naturally, I feel fancy when I call myself a “Renaissance Woman.” But Renaissance Women don’t really wear brilliant, billowing gowns. Well, they might, but that is not the reason for which they hold the title they do. See, calling someone a “Renaissance Woman” is really just an elaborate way of saying “They don’t know what they are doing with their life.”

That is how I see it, for the moment, at least.

I love to write, I love to paint, I love to perform music, I love to teach, I love to create, I love to dance, and so on. But having all those interests seems almost more like a curse than a gift.

I am a passionate person, but I cannot contain my passion to just one or two things.

Perhaps I am just poly-amorous. OR poly-passionate. Yeah, let’s go with that. “Poly-passionate” sound more politically correct.

I am a poly-passionate person who doesn’t really know what she’s doing with her life. I have no idea what career I will end up holding, or what passions I will carry through the years. But maybe I don’t have to know. Maybe this just adds an exciting twist to my adventure through life.

As I think about this, I am reminded of a favorite TED talk of mine. This talk by Emilie Wapnick is short and sweet and gives great insight into both the curse and the gift sides of being a poly-passionate person, or as Wapnick would say, a “Multipotentialite.” I encourage you to take just 12 minutes to watch it– it’s shorter, and arguably more intellectually provocative than a Netflix binge.

As always, Tanya

 

P.S. Happy first day of June!!

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Whatever- Just Make!

I have used the excuse of “writer’s block” several times over the years.

Now that I have confessed that to you, let’s have an honest heart-to-heart. Is saying that you have writer’s block any more serious than saying you don’t have motivation to get up in the morning? Or is it any more acceptable than saying you don’t know what to cook for dinner even though your kitchen is full of food?

My mind is a kitchen full of food. Actually, scratch that—my mind is a kitchen absolutely overflowing, busting at the seams, with thought-food. I have long been in a love-hate relationship with my own brain. Sometimes it is incredibly difficult to tolerate the five or so thoughts that pop up each nanosecond. I overthink a lot of things, and I have anxiety. Sometimes my thoughts race around one topic, and sometimes my mind tries to attack several intense topics at once. It is a miserable cycle, but it has a very fruitful side. I attribute a great deal of my creativity and open-mindedness to this busy, bustling brain-kitchen.

Thinking in terms of this same analogy, sometimes food storms into my kitchen and I don’t take the time to put it away. Food, or ideas, if you will, need to be organized carefully, only to be pulled out at the right moment and formed into something consumable. Ideas are wonderful, wonderful things—just like those awesome, bags of flax seeds and goji berries you just bought. But if you never mix your flax seeds or goji berries into something pleasant to eat, you might as well have never bought them, right?

As Purdue Owl explains, writer’s block is often fueled by anxiety. I think most artists in general deal with anxiety, asking themselves a plethora of questions like “What should I create next?” “Will it be any good?” “What if it isn’t any good?” “What if nobody ever wants to appreciate my work?” “What if I never make anything good again?” And so on, and so on. Writer’s block can cause one to freeze up before they even spit an entire idea out. This is really unfortunate, but this is, like I said, nothing new. Renowned poet Donald Hall understood this dilemma, as well as it’s simple solution: “As Henry Moore carved or modeled his sculpture every day, he strove to surpass Donatello—and failed, but woke the next morning elated for another try.”

As a writer, an artist, a creator, we just have to make! Write! Paint! Move! Envision! Encapsulate your crazy thoughts! Or, as award-winning film director Joss Whedon put it, “Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it. Saute it. Whatever. Make.” No offense, but you aren’t some human prodigy. Not every first draft you work up is going to be worth sharing. And that is OK! That’s actually good. How are you going to know what is worth sharing, though, until you map it out?

The greatest writers, I think, take their fear and shove it to the back burner. Believe that you do have some good ideas sitting in your kitchen, and be willing to put them to the test. Even be willing to try crazy, strange recipes and concoctions. Eventually—and this is a promise—eventually, you will work up something so enticing that it will be more than worth the seventy tries that it took to get there.

So go.

Now.

That kitchen isn’t going to work on itself.

 

As always, Tanya

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He And I

He and I? We are One.

I say that not to glorify myself

But rather to deny myself so that

The Lord may reign in me, that I may

Be but a vessel of his works, a tool

In his garden.

.

He and I? We are One.

I am made in the image of Christ.

I have life thanks to Jesus.

I am reminded times over

That the Holy Spirit

Is in

ME.

.

He and I? We are One

Because He loved me so much,

He bent down to dwell with me

That I may dwell

In Him.

.

 

I pray that I will

Forever be grateful

For the indescribable

Grace and Love that He

Has given to me.

.

.

As always, Tanya

 

 

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Basic Human Desires

I am a woman. I have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I am aware that this world is full of evil but also full of good. There are many human pleasures in life, most of which fall into the following categories: giving, receiving, food, brotherly love, and sex.

We as humans desire pleasure for all 5 senses- taste, smell, touch, sight, feel. Some argue that these desires are much more than desires– that they are, at times, needs. Why deprive yourself of pleasure and joy?

There are several arguments for and against the above point of view, and I fully intend to investigate them and form my own solid and confident stance. But right now, I just want to pour out the thoughts and feelings I am having, a diverse melting pot in my mind.

My moral side is very much in conflict with my emotional and physical sides. Why should I not enjoy sex and the like for the point of sheer pleasure, I ask myself? In the Bible, God says that sex is to be had between a man and woman who are fully committed to each other under God in marriage. Sex is sacred. I really want to question that though, and to ague with it. But why argue with God? Is He (and his word) not sovereign in my life? I don’t know. What I do know is that I’m 21 going on 22 and I want to enjoy life’s pleasures at this point without holding back.

I have many friends from all different backgrounds and of all different beliefs. Just about all of them have dabbled (to say the least) in sexual activity. My close friend who is a devout Anglican got to second base (and maybe hird) many times with her ex. She  has masturbated for years. But she calls masturbating something she “struggles with.” She wants to stop it because it is not “Godly.” But it’s been a few years and she hasn’t stopped yet. I also have several friends who masturbate and have casual sex very regularly. It’s a kind of “I do it when I want, because it feels good” sorta thing. I even have a former coworker who, when asked if she masturbates, stared blankly at us and said “Well yeah! (duhh) I have needs!) I will note that these people are also into many things like drinking, smoking, and atheism. I don’t think they are the happiest of people.

What about my older sister? She’s never been drunk, never smoked, never questioned the morals our parents taught us. She is 24 years old and has never been kissed. She had a boyfriend once who put his arm around her and somewhat platonically cuddled with her, but that is it. I don’t know if she desires anything sexually that is not within a Christian marriage. But if she does, she hasn’t thought twice about waiting. She keeps her faith at the very top of her moral grounds. That is admirable. Am I a bad Christian? I worry that in questioning all of this, I am running from God in a way. But I’m human, and my desires and considerations are not unique.

More thoughts on this to come.

 

As always,

Tanya

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Peace, For Ourselves

 

It’s been a fight, but what’s new? I have exhausted some weapons and gathered some more, always adjusting to the battle against depression and anxiety. Today in particular I will say I am pretty pleased with my chosen weapons: warm drinks in downtown cafes, yoga, and walking through DC in the rain.

These all make up the cocktail that I really need right now. They essentially combine into a “treat-yourself-because-life-has-been-hard” day.

The warm drinks were great, so was the cafe atmosphere and slow walks through the rain. What really lifted my spirit today, however, was yoga.

I often get tense before yoga, so as a way to try to relax, I prepared a little mantra for my yoga class this afternoon. It went like this:

“Acceptance is all around me”

Acceptance is all around me

Acceptance is all around me.

As I was actually going in and out of positions and breathing deeply in the class, just saying in my mind “acceptance” was enlightening. As my mind wandered, “acceptance.” When I started to feel self-conscious, “acceptance.” When I remembered how tumultuous my life has been, “acceptance.”

And would you believe that this yoga class turned out to be the most nurturing, effective one I have yet attended. (Over a few years!)

When I walk into yoga studios, as much as I want to relax and open up, I come to get tied up in my head with thoughts of anxiety and self-depreciation. You can imagine how good I felt to really open my heart, in a way both literally and figuratively, to myself today. At the end of the class I felt that I had just spent the last 60 minutes honoring myself and allowing myself the luxury of peace.

Peace really is a luxury. Day after day you and I hear tales of shootings and rapes, attacks and so on. We do what we can to have a positive impact on the world, and we try add to the healing of those near and far from us. While we do those things, as good as they are, we often forget to give ourselves peace. And love (I think that the two are not so different).

Consider today, whether you are battling depression like myself, or just going through any normal Monday, presenting yourself with a gift of peace. It could take the form of yoga, but it doesn’t have to. Maybe what your body and mind really hunger for are a few minutes sitting quietly by the window, a slow walk through the neighborhood, or even a chance to mindfully savor a piece of dark chocolate. Each of these is simple but precious.

I do not know how I would get through my days without such simple moments. They open an entire new door to appreciating life.

 

Here’s to you and I giving ourselves more love & peace.

 

As always,

Tanya

 

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