Saturday, December 29, 2012

What I learned in 2012 - by me

Well, would you look at that...
Another year is over, and here I sit - staring at the old computer screen - thinking about the last 366 days. (It was a leap year after all)
We watched the Olympics, saw one of the craziest Presidential campaigns since Hamilton V. Jefferson way back in 1796 (OK, I'm sure there were one or two over the last 216 years, but Hamilton made up a pen name to being controversy about Jefferson - kinda feels the same to me), and we saw a lot of violence that led up the the world not ending.

And a few movies came out too.

Personally, this was a good year. In the last 366 days my life went from OK to scary, to down right terrifying all the way over to getting published and sunshine with rainbows.

Taken by my husband earlier today. See. Rainbows. (c)

But life is like that, if you let it be. 

I'll admit, I'm bad about this blog. I WANT to write more, but times is of the essence and between writing, editing, more writing (of a different nature), child rearing, husband rearing, and working out - it seems when night falls I look towards my couch to watch a bit of the old boobtube before crawling into bed to read a bit. 

There have been topics I've wanted to come on here and rant about. (There are always things I would LOVE to rant about) - it's just the time factor. That said, I have time now, so hear I am!

In the last 12 months life has built itself into something I didn't expect - me, like so many others, get these images squared away in my head. Like my "picture" of L.A. involved preschool, teaching yoga, and I don't know what else. Those were the two big things I saw happening. With my son in Preschool I would have more time to write, to work, to meet people - but it hasn't happened, and now it won't, at least not like that. Just like yoga won't happen for a few more years, and while you may be thinking "Aww... poor Aryn." please don't, because I love it.

Having no car has taught me how to walk father, how to stay home longer, how to rely on myself in a city that has been deemed "unwalkable" by so many. Staying at home, has showed me what I want. You see, in Cleveland I went out - A LOT - but here I can't and/or don't want to. 

"Well, that's great because L.A. is so expensive you can't do anything, Aryn!" <- 2012="2012" an="an" and="and" are="are" at="at" be="be" but="but" child.="child." city="city" d="d" div="div" do="do" don="don" drop="drop" home="home" husband="husband" i="i" in="in" involve="involve" is="is" lie.="lie." many="many" me="me" much="much" my="my" nbsp="nbsp" out="out" rather="rather" t="t" taught="taught" that="that" the="the" there="there" thing="thing" things="things" this.="this." this="this" to="to" with="with" you="you">

Will it always be like this?
No. One day my son will be 16 and the last thing he'll want is to hang out with me, and only me, at home. But right now I'm his best friends and the love of his life - what would I skip that?

Being secluded has taught me that I can be just that, secluded, and not be the crazy woman. Yes, there is social media, and yes, I have some human contact (I'm not crazy) but most days I write, read, watch, play, hike, dance and sing - and it's perfect. 2012 taught me that too, it showed me "me" and then it taught me what I like and dislike about myself, and has encouraged me to work on changing that. 

I have also learned the people who don't live here in L.A. have a very bad opinion of this city. OK, not ALL people, but a majority. They believe the hype on the news, think the gas is over 5 gagillion dollars a gallon, the roads are always in gridlock and kids are being turned onto drugs and prostitution on every corner. 

This is B.S. and it annoys me to no end. 

Los Angeles is a wonderful city, you just have to be smart - like you have to be smart everywhere. In Cleveland there were good and bad neighborhoods, good and bad schools - just like here. But people would rather believe those rags in the check out line than believe someone who walks the streets of this town. 2012 taught me that I need to ignore these people and I need to thank them at the same time, because these lies they believe about Los Angeles keeps out the naysayers and those with the big old chips on their shoulder. They believe what they need to, and I know what I know. 

2012 taught me to forgive myself and those around me, who may don't deserve my forgiveness, but I need to hand it out for my sanity. 

2012 taught me to stop thinking everyone is staring at me - because they are not - and if they are, so what? I am me, I talk to myself in the car, I swear to much, and most days I don't wear makeup because the one person I want to impress with my looks thinks I'm hot already.

2012 taught me that the best feelings in the world are: wet sand between your toes, hugs and sticky kisses, having someone say "I loved your poetry", and reading a good book.

2012 taught me that good friends come to you when you need them, sometimes in person, sometimes in small groups on twitter and facebook. Compiled of women who root you on, ask if you're OK and tell you it will be alright - without ever meeting them in person - and that is OK, because friends are friends. The end.

My next goal is to tackle 2013 and I have begun my list. They are not "New Years Resolutions" because those never work - they are simply my objectives, ones that I will work hard to accomplish. Here is what I have so far:

-Finish editing my new book, get it to beta readers, and get back into the query trenches
-Submit more poetry to magazines, websites, newspapers, etc.
-Yoga, running, swimming and dancing
-One big old container garden

Like I said, these are not resolutions - these are the things I have been working on that I want to work on even more in 2013. Resolutions always end the same, the bar is raised too high and then you can't reach it.

In 2013 I will live by these reminders. 

But I still have a couple days left of old 2012. Out of everything I have learned this year, 2012 has taught me that I both deserve to have what I want and what I need, and also what I dream about, including the Pegasus. 

There are more than enough people in the world who will remind you of everything you have done wrong, and everything wrong with what you want to do. They'll say "I told you so" with lightening speed, and add phrases like, "You're being selfish.", and "One of these days you're gonna realize I was right all along." and of course "You'll regret it." So be the one, concrete, voice in your head telling you to trust yourself and love yourself. Because without that, you'll get nowhere.

For me, 2012 was about growth, change, and forgiveness. It was the perfect platform to launch me into the next part of my life, and has made me want to stand on the edge of a cliff and yell to the heavens, "Bring it! Because, this time, I'm ready!"

And in closing, I wanted to pick one song for 2012 and I choose this. "...home is whenever I'm with you..." (you know who you are, and I love you to pieces.)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


It's so cold,
my son told me
it was 62*
and I agreed

things change so
in a
what once
was warm
is a frigid storm
cold & chilly

Others laugh
its not cold
they tell me
sure it is
I say, it's
just like
you know it
to be
I once survived -17*
back then I would
have laughed

now I bundle

now I know different

now I've changed

but that's what
we do
molded by
outside of our
realm of

outside of

it shapes us
morphs us
molds us
and plays,

mama, it's cold outside
I know buddy
I'm cold too.

Friday, December 14, 2012

'Tis the season!

'Tis the season.

When I was a child, Christmas was the most amazing and most difficult time of year - all those presents sitting under the tree, and not allowed to touch them till the 24th... torture. There were a thousand other things happening, but my mind my was caught in a tractor beam, and it leads to boxes of all shapes and sizes wrapped in colorful paper, trimmed with bows, and inside there were dreams, adventures, and sometimes clothing (ick!).

As an adult, establishing my own family Christmas traditions, I find my mind floating back, desperately trying to remember those other thousand things that happened. I remember: cookie baking, a candle lit Christmas Eve where we sang carols, pasta (pasta and more pasta), meeting up with family and friends (which rocked because it meant more toys!). With each day I remember more, like how we opened the gifts from our parents and grandma (who lived with us) on Christmas Eve, and then, on Christmas DAY, we opened everything from Santa (that I'm pretty sure we didn't really deserve, naughty list and all...). I also remember midnight mass, and getting yelled at because I suggested our Parish should hire someone to be like cigarette girls who would walk the aisles with trays filled with life saving mana and chips of salvation. (It was for all those C&E Christians - Christmas & Easter - people who only showed up on said holidays. At the time I was a good little girl and went each Sunday, now the C&E's have be beat by leaps and bounds).

As a child, Christmas was important because it was family, and Santa, and Toys (of course.)
In my teens, Christmas was important because it was family, and gifts, and a school break that allowed me to go to the movies and hang out with my friends.
In my twenties, Christmas was important because of gifts, and I got to go drink a lot with my friends.

And now in my thirties, Christmas is important because of family, tradition, my son - his toys - Santa, and even more family.

What I take from all these Christmas', traditions, and memories, is what I want to give my son - every day. I want him to enjoy the excitement of gifts, and the pure joy of love. That's what this is all supposed to be about, isn't it? We get to show an emotion we may have problems expressing on other days. We are allowed to express it with gifts, food, and drinks - we are permitted to show those around us that, yes, we do care.

So I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, a Happy Kwanzaa and a Happy Winter Solstice. We may not celebrate exactly the same way, but that doesn't mean I want you to enjoy any less. Let all that other stuff that gets in the way, slip away, and love those you love.

Hugs from me to you!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Keep on going December!

So, I did it...
I finished the first draft of a new book, and let me tell you, after working on the same one for 3 years - change is good.
Now I'm editing and rewriting - some places need to be fleshed out, others need to go away - but I'm happy about all of it. I've had people tell me how much they hate editing, but honestly, I like it. I like pulling the manuscript apart, and putting it back together. I like adding whole scenes, and creating more depth to characters.

Sitting here thinking about last month, I'm actually proud of myself. Yes, the 30 day yoga challenge fell apart, but it was because of an injury, and not because I quit. Now it's December, and I'm back at it. Things are sticking, and I find I don't want to quit. When the voice in my head says, "Yeah, but you could be sitting on the couch watching a terrible movie on netflix." I tell it to go away, and get back to what needs to be done.

I've been lost
I've been confused
I've been angry
I've been sad, scared, and lonely

I've been a lot of things - but I've never believed in myself enough to try harder and harder each time, so it gets easier and easier over time.

I've spent a lot of time punishing myself because I didn't do this, or I did do that - and it's such negative behavior. If you're still alive means there is still time to do things. To try new things, to go to new places, to have the life you dreamt of when you were 16 years old.

No one said life would be easy, and I can't say it will be either. All I can say is that understanding you can't, don't and won't know everything is a good first step. Others include, "Just because it happened to your friend/family member/coworker/neighbor, doesn't mean it will happen to you." & "Life is just as long as it is short. For all those thing you don't do, because you don't have time to do them. Know you have too much time on your hands, which means you're just using that time in the wrong way."

But most of all - love yourself.

I'm not stopping - that's the point of all of this. Never give up November had brought me to December and I plan on building up steam so I can plow into 2013, and use the momentum to keep on going.

When I was a kid I had too many dreams to count
When I was in my twenties I had too many beers to count
Now I'm here and I want the mirage I've painted in my head, and you only know part of it. I'd share it all, but I won't lie, part of me is terrified if I tell you - if I type it out on this screen - it won't happen... I can't have that, now can I?

All I can do is be like all the other girls and boys, and send my letter to Santa.