Happiness

It has been more than 8 months since I’ve written. Needless to say it’s been busy. Left the corporate world (again) and on that search for something new. Ryan moved back from Chicago and in with me. There was Coachella, a trip to Florida, a handful of shows and many good times. A few tough times too. I have also slowly launched http://www.ThatGirlLA.com – a personal concierge business that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, but was finally inspired to actually do. My friends have always had faith in me that I could do it, but being the stubborn control freak that I am, I had to do it on my own time. I really wanted a name and Ryan helped me come up with it in a casual conversation. He didn’t even know that he was the one who finally pushed me to do it for real. I saw this quote & instantly thought of him:

“Happiness is waking up in the middle of the night, and feeling the heat of the person next to you. You turn around and see them in their most peaceful, innocent, and vulnerable state. They breathe as though the weight of the world lays on anyone’s shoulder but their own. You smile, kiss their face in the most gentle manner so as not to wake them. You turn back around and an involuntary grin forms on your own face. You feel an arm wrap around your waist, and you know it doesn’t get any better than this.”

It’s like someone took the words right out of my brain….

little ones…

There are two more little men in my life that have found spots in my heart and one of them I haven’t even met yet! The adorable little Oskar has slept in my arms and threw up on my neck, but that little boy has won my heart over and over again. My dear god daughter Lila has become a big sister to handsome little Kellan, and thanks to the internet I’ve been able to at least feel like I can watch him grow too. I want to add these two boys to my “Dear…” posts. Posts, thoughts, messages and such that I want them to be able to read when they get older so they know just how much they mean to me. I don’t know how much I’ll be able to see them so I want them to be able to say they learned that from “auntie Kim.”

It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these, but I hope that in the midst of reading these you’re all reading some of my other posts because I’m always writing from the heart. I’ve written when I felt stubborn or sad or mad or inspired or vulnerable – all of them are real true feelings and that’s one thing that no one can take from you. It’s comfortable for me to write because sometimes in moments I can’t get what I’m thinking from my brain to my mouth. Sometimes it’s because I want to watch what I say and make sure that I really mean what I say. And sometimes I speak too fast and soon regret what I say. Whether you grow up to be more of the former or the latter, remember that you have to own up to your words. I can already compare to how things were when I was growing up – writing notes and calling friends on the phone – to now when people often choose to text or email over speaking on the phone or being in each other’s presence. I have no idea what it will be like when you get older. One thing you have to promise me though – no matter how you choose to express yourself to others, stay true to yourself. Be honest, but be polite. Be strong, but not pushy. Be compassionate, but don’t get walked on. No matter what you say, good or bad, just own up to it. That in itself, even when it’s something bad you say, holds more respect than anything because accepting your faults is incredibly admirable. It will take some time to get to this point, I’m 33 and I’ve finally been able to get to this point recently. Be patient with yourself and with others, but remember that it’s OK to be frustrated or impatient here and there. Just don’t let it over take you.

You are all going to experience so much, good and bad. I, along with your parents, are going to try so hard to keep the bad things from happening, but we won’t be able to. We’ll feel like we could’ve helped, but honestly it’s a lof of these trying moments that will make you stronger and help you as you face more difficult situations. You are all so lucky because you all have such strong, loving and amazing parents that I’ve been so lucky to call my sister and my friends.

I love you all and remember that I’m always here for you too. XO

lovey dovey material, proceed with caution

It’s been over two months since I’ve written. What have I been doing? Living life & falling in love. 2011 was an amazing year. I started the year by finally embracing my birthday and I feel like that started a great little habit. I paired that with a “I’m not going to care” attitude – not about the people I love, but about the little things. I was going to be “selfish” and do what I wanted to do and not care what other people thought of said things. I had a blast. I saw over 30 shows, vacationed to new & old cities of the U.S., spent quality time with friends & family and finally after 32 years, really let my guard down.

I’ve had a handful of friends tell me in the past month that they want to have a year like I had last year. That is one of the biggest compliments I can get because it was just because I decided to just live. And I feel like that attitude finally brought someone into my life who’s made me feel things I’ve never felt, do things I’ve never done, say things I’ve never said and believe in things I’ve never believed. If you were to tell me a year ago that I’d be this open about the man I fell in love with, I would’ve bet the farm. All those things you hear about love, whether you believe it or not, you just can’t understand it until you find that person who gives it its real definition. I love our story. I have to believe that fate played a little part in bringing us together. We worked in the same building for years. We knew each other existed and we both noticed each other. A random night out brought us to the same bar and that night we learned each other’s names. A few months later fate made its second play and on my very last day of work when I wasn’t even supposed to be having lunch at the water garden, we ran into each other at the lunch spot we both frequented. Information was exchanged and that’s when social media made its little contribution. For 6 months the only things we knew of each other was what was posted on our Facebook profiles. It kept us curious, but that was it. That curiosity would compel him to invite me to parties and it was that curiosity that made me finally go to one of them… but it was his going away party. He was moving to Chicago. I went, I bought him a drink, we talked for a little bit and parted ways. A few comments and “likes” over the course of 5 months gave me the go ahead to ask if he was going to the music festival that I was going to in Chicago. Labor Day Weekend, we met up, hung out and before I knew it I was falling for him.

After years of being in unemotional relationships, casually dating – if I can even use that strong of a word – I got to the point where I was fine being alone. I have amazing friends and a loving family. I could do what I wanted and didn’t have to answer to anyone. Why did I need a guy? That’s the thing I learned – I didn’t “need” one. What he ended up being though was my perfect. He makes me want to be a better person. He accepts me for me. He supports me. He makes me laugh. He inspires me. He holds my hand and makes me feel like no one else exists in the world. He’s everything I never knew I wanted and even more. We don’t know what the future holds, but I can honestly say I’ve never been so happy and am excited for 2012.

Familia

It makes me sad when people ask how often I get to see my family because it’s not enough. Yes, there are constraints to being able to see them – schedule and money mostly – but that doesn’t make it any easier to justify. I am way more of a busy body. I enjoy being busy, seeing new things, experiencing life adventures, making memories with friends, learning more about the world… all of that and more. That’s just me; I need to be stimulated more often than not. That is a bigger part of why I’ve chosen to stay out in L.A. for now (& I say for now because since I never thought I’d ever leave Boston, I can never say for sure where I will end up.)

Of course I think about moving closer to my family. My parents are still young, but I’ve already reached the age where I want to take care of them – make sure that they are staying healthy, not stressing, enjoying the peaceful island life. My parents have done so much in raising me. From the basics of clothing me, putting a roof over my head, feeding me, educating me and providing – to the more complicated raising like life lessons; teaching me to be independent, strong, resourceful, hard-working, and self-sufficient.  Anytime someone compliments me, in my head I turn and thank my parents. It makes me proud to have parents who came from another country, barely knowing the language or how anything worked over here and raising four kids. Everything I do now is to try to make my parents a fraction of the proud that I am of them. I still do things for myself; I enjoy myself and fulfill the life experiences that I want to – but when I really think about it – those experiences are things that I’ve set out for myself because my parents taught me to set goals and achieve them, no matter what they are.  I think about how selfish and unappreciative I was when I was younger. Going through that phase where I wanted nothing to do with my parents, thinking that I wanted to break free and be on my own – that I didn’t need them and wanting them to just leave me alone.  It breaks my own heart to think that I ever didn’t appreciate them, even if it was on the surface. I know that I will never be able to give back to them to make up for all that they’ve done for me – but now that I think about the possibility of having my own children, I think about these things. I want to be able to have the type of relationship that I have with my parents now. I consider my parents my friends, people I turn to when I need them, people I trust, and people I respect. I want to be able to teach my own children all that they’ve taught me, plus what I know now.

That brings me to my family here in L.A. – the one thing we have in common is that we all have “broken away” from our family for one reason or another. Whether it was a job or a dream, we all ended up living pretty far from our family. We have all come together in random ways – co-workers, school friends etc. – but now they are my family. The family that I love; the family that I was able to choose for myself. Everyone in my “chosen family” brings something different – something that I cannot imagine my life without now.

The boys in my family are exactly what you need in brothers – protective, hilarious, caring, strong, “good guy” types that you are proud to show off to any single-lady. They are the ones that will drop anything and come running when you need them. Whether it’s to help move furniture, have a few drinks because you had a tough day at work and just don’t want to think about the world around you or to hop on a plane to get away because some guy screwed you over, you can count on them for exactly that. But I need to give a little ode to the ladies in my family because I’ve always been a guys’ gal. I’m the tough cookie who didn’t need or want girl friends because they were catty and dramatic. I didn’t have time to deal with emotions. But that’s because I didn’t always have girl friends like these…

Elizabeth’s sense of adventure and her go-getter attitude is one of the first things that I was attracted to when we met back in Boston. She is one of the strongest people I know, especially when she forgets that she is. She is humble, caring, silly, smart, and giving with a beautiful soul. She gets me like no one else does. She has a presence about her that makes everyone in the room want to know her, be her friend or marry. There will never be enough words or time to explain how she has affected my life. She is the one I share everything with; she is the one I turn to when I feel lost, frustrated, afraid, happy, excited, nervous, contemplative. She is my best friend soul mate.

Beth is one of the smartest people I know – yes, with her career; she knocks it out of the park and makes it seem so easy. But when I say smart, I mean in life. She understands people and human nature like no other. It’s an incredibly rare trait to be able to be so insightful. She is able to pinpoint things and explain them in ways that only the most brilliant can. She helps you remember the important things or reveals things that you are too caught up to realize. She is so caring, beautiful, real, honest and hilarious! When she’s around, it’s like the sun is always shining and you feel so safe knowing that no matter what happens she’s there to protect, support and make you smile.

Megan is a perfect example of real. In a world of expectations and judgment, she has broken away to prove that you can have anything you set your mind to without sacrificing yourself. A self-taught photographer and mother, she is able to balance a business and a family in such a way that would make anyone jealous. Her talent that she was able to find after breaking out of the corporate world brings so much joy & memories to her friends, family & clients. I love that she is the same Megan I met working at the bar in Amherst. I love that she doesn’t pretend to be the typical suburban mom that never swears or is so polite and meek. I’m not saying she isn’t polite – I just love that she is still the same person even with all of these changes and all of the pressures around her. She is a constant source of love for me – someone that I think about daily & often. She also has given me one of the greatest gifts – a beautiful god daughter – who I am so lucky to be able to tell her all of the amazing things about her mother when she gets to that age that she may not want “anything to do with.”

Christina is my source of release. When I’m feeling beat down or helpless I’ve never liked to go to anyone, but in the short few years that we’ve become friends she has become that friend that I just need to vent to. I never realized just how healthy it was to do that. She’s the friend that when I admit to doing something that I’m not happy about, she doesn’t just say “that’s OK” she explains why I did it in a way that just makes sense. Yes, everyone needs that friend that makes you feel better about things, but I can’t really put into words how she takes her knowledge of you and puts whatever you’re going through into perspective that makes you automatically feel better. She’s funny as hell and is always the cheerleader. You know you have someone special in your life when you go two days without seeing her and you miss her.

Kyra is like a breath of fresh air. I have a soft spot for her because I feel like for many years she has put everyone else first and now is her time to shine and do things for herself. She’s sort of the little sister that I’ve never had and I mean that in a loving way. I see so much potential in her and it’s like she doesn’t have any idea. People may see her crazy costumes and ever-changing hair accessories as attention seeking, but I see it as fun loving and an appetite for life. She brings out the fun in every day things. Who else would make a trip to Whole Foods or renting a U-Haul more fun than a trip to Disney World?! Her carefree spirit is so inspiring. But underneath the feathers and sparkles is a sensitive, warm-hearted, supportive, loving and beautiful young woman with the world at her fingertips.

I know this isn’t the first time I’ve talked about the ladies in my life, but as someone who has always surrounded herself with masculine energy, I’m so very thankful for these strong, amazing women who have let me into their hearts, taught me so many important lessons and showed me that I can embrace being me and the woman I have become.

life choices

Not being a spring chicken anymore makes me think about some of my life choices a lot more – well, probably because I’ve lived longer to have made more choices – but I was thinking about them in general lately and what the means for the present and future.

Growing up I always assumed that I would be in MA forever, raising a family in the small town that I grew up in and that everyone I knew then would be in my life forever. I made assumptions that we’d all be doing the same thing all around the same time – boy was I wrong. I think that one of the biggest life changing decisions I’ve made so far is to move across the country when I had the opportunity to transfer when I was working at Yahoo! I remember that plane ride, have never been outside of the country besides Canada, Jamaica & the Bahamas, on a one-way flight to a city I barely knew. I had no idea what was ahead of me. I had no idea if I was going to love it or hate it. I had no idea if it was going to love or hate me. I had no idea how my relationships were going to change. I feel like I have a lot of stories. People tell me a lot that I should write a book, but what would I write? Just a bunch of unrelated stories of my life? How does it all come together? I’ve been reading Common’s book “One Day It’ll All Make Sense” and our lives couldn’t be any different, but the learnings and insight are like the same. Understanding things that happened many years ago now as an adult. Realizing why things happened. Coping with losses and appreciating gains. Learning from the past to help you with current and future situations. Knowing that even though we’re wiser now than we were back then, we’ll still make mistakes.

I think about some of the choices I made in my life, big and small, and wonder sometimes if things would be different if I had made a different choice. Would it be a big effect or a small one? Would it make a difference at all? Did it shape who I am now or was it not going to make an impact at all? There are some choices that I know 100% changed my life – some very small, some longer drawn out choices. The girl that I slowly let into my life – now one of my closest & dearest friends that I could not imagine my life without. The slow and gradual loss of friendships – that the only thing left are memories. The 5 days I took to leave one job for another. The two months I took to move on from a disappointing relationship. The 5 minutes I took to decide where to go to lunch. The last minute decision to just suck it up and go out instead of staying in. All of these and more have left me with beautiful memories, heartbreaking stories, tough defeats, proud victories, and potential exciting futures.

I’m excited to see what kind of other life choices I’m going to make.

feel this

In an extremely short period of time, my world feels like it has turned upside down and right side up. I’ve felt things that I’ve never felt before. I’ve said things I’ve never said before. I’ve done things I’ve never done before. I don’t know what to do with myself. I was cleaning up my email tonight and found myself reading emails that strangely enough I don’t remember writing – I mean I DO, but reading them after the fact felt like I was reading the words of someone who actually was in touch and aware of who she is and who she was. I said things that were very insightful and things that if I had known years ago, I wonder what relationships would’ve happened and which ones wouldn’t. I normally feel uncomfortable tooting my own horn, but the fact that I was able to pinpoint faults, recognize them, verbalize them, understand them and learn from them is a feat that I’m proud to have overcome. It’s definitely in its infant stages, but I already feel more confident.

Of course with a success, comes a failure (in my world.) I feel like I’ve somewhat lost control of my feelings. I’m much more aware of them, but have become so overwhelmed by them. I’ve always been that tough cookie – usually only crying at movies or shows that were written specifically to make people cry. I’ve always been able to take my feelings – look at them in the face, deal with them in record time and move on. As of recent there have been feelings that I just can’t battle. I can’t escape them and I’m afraid of them. I just hope that in some time, I can look back the way I did tonight and be proud & confident.

Aye Dios Mio.

expectations

I talk a lot about the struggle I have with balance – the walking contradiction that is I – but that usually comes when there’s a situation or incident that highlights that part of my personality. There’s another thing that I have a struggle with and that’s expectations. Expectations of myself, my friends, my family, the every day people I interact with and even of strangers.

I’ll start with the “light” type of expectations. I expect people to have common courtesy. “Please” & “Thank you,” respect for personal space – those kinds of things. You gotta love when you open the door for someone because you see they are carrying a bunch of bags or something and they walk by you like you don’t exist. Or that person sitting next to you on the plane who doesn’t even try to stay in their allotted space. Is it wrong to expect more from these people even though they don’t know me?

Lately I’ve been feeling a little, for a lack of a better word, dumb. I’ve been in this new job for 3 months now and I’ve definitely learned a lot about the business, what the purpose of my role is, what needs to be done to succeed in a short & long term basis etc., but because I’ve been used to working a certain way when I was in advertising for 9 years, I’ve had a hard time setting the expectations for myself. I can’t expect to know everything or every answer – but for some reason I do. One part of my brain is like “relax, you’ll get the hang of it” and the other is like “if you aren’t comfortable by now, maybe this was the wrong move.” These kinds of thoughts start making me feel insecure which starts trickling into other parts of my psych. Why is it that I can’t set realistic expectations of myself when it comes to work?

Last week I was told another story about an aunt who has a history of lying, disrespect and selfishness. Nothing really surprises us anymore when we hear stories about her. She’s not a responsible mother, she uses her many successful restaurants as a front, a way to get people to do things for her. Every one of those restaurants have closed or filed for bankruptcy. I’m not trying to make this a bash on her thing; I’m just trying to set the tone here. We will never put anything past her – she’s borrowed money from my parents a handful of times and have almost never paid them back (of course my parents should’ve stopped lending her money after the 2nd time) but I just heard that she used a long lost sister’s visit to the U.S. as a way to get publicity for herself in the city she lives in. I watched the segment on the news – she was crying, telling the news reporter just how she’s been wanting to reconnect with this sister for 30 years – all while plugging herself & her business. Of course we know the real story – how she avoided my mother & other aunt for weeks telling them she can’t see her b/c she’s traveling. Got mad because she was caught in that lie. Turned things around trying to blame other family members for her “distrust” in the family. Blah blah blah – but to see how she took this situation to benefit herself was really disgusting to me. Because of her history and clearly how we know she can be, was it naïve of me to expect anything less of her?

I love my friends – many know I consider them family – the family I was allowed to choose myself. I am truly lucky to have them in my life. It’s fair to say that I will drop whatever to help them or do something for them, but it’s because I WANT to. I want to be there for them and help them when they need me. It makes me feel good to help, that’s just me. It could be as easy as a pick up from the airport or help them shop for something specific. Or more difficult like talking to them about a serious issue in their life and helping them see all sides of things. In return though, I expect them to respect me and do the same for me – which they do… but there are a few times that because of the incredibly close relationship that those mutual expectations are shot to hell. Even when you’re used to me doing something like driving, I’d still like to be asked out of consideration instead of assuming. I can take some of the blame for this because I am in fact almost always driving or making the plans or providing this or that – but that doesn’t mean you can’t practice common courtesy with me just because I’m a close friend. We’re all adults now, but like I’ve mentioned before, in that weird “in-between awkward” adult age where there are a lot of things we’re too old for and a lot that we’re too young. I am all about people having fun, getting drunk, being silly – whatever – but I have absolutely no patience for people who get so ridiculously wasted that all of their sensibility is thrown out of the window. I’ve had my drunken moments and even do things totally sober that could be considered immature (dress in crazy outfits and dance for hours on end,) but those things don’t offend or hurt others. I don’t care if you get so drunk you make out w/ that 18 year old, or end up on the bar taking your shirt off – I’m the last one to judge & the first to tell you the next day that it’s OK, but do not be rude to me or treat me like I have no brain or think I’ll forget. Get drunk, have fun, live life – but don’t lose respect for others, yourself and your friends. I know it makes me sound like a mom or Ms. Uptight McTighterson, but is it really that wrong to expect your friends that are in their 30s to act like adults?

I’m always telling people to have fewer expectations so you can be pleasantly surprised rather than disappointed… but sometimes expectations are valid. They help you stand your ground with your beliefs and mold how you live your life. I catch myself saying “oh I shouldn’t have expected that because now I feel disappointed,” but in reality if I didn’t have some of these expectations I would just be a lame dancing penguin getting walked all over. No bueno.