Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Link

I will be working on making this transition as simple as humanly possible, but in the mean time, you can check out my newest entries on the new blog until I report back in with all the good blog-switchin' deets. Love y'all so much, and genuinely appreciate you sticking with me. In the long run, this is all gonna be so amazing... and I just can't wait to see you there!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The End is Nigh

Well, folks, after a lot of introspection and planning, I've decided to absorb the gonnas as a subsection in my new blog. Yes, they will always exist, but where they were once the biggest part of me, they are now just another facet of the crazy life I lead.

I made this decision quickly, but it was based on months of feeling like I couldn't write anything anymore. Even in the brief moments of spare time I had on rare occasion, nothing came out right; nothing came out me. I realized one day that the reason nothing gelled was because it started getting harder to ground everything in the gonnas. Not everything fit, and that's when I thought to myself: "Who says it is supposed to?" I'd boxed myself in, and decided I wanted out of it ASAP.

So in the next couple of weeks, I'll make the switch to the new blog. I'll provide any information you need as readers, and will make the transition as smooth as possible. I'll still be here writing, actually more so than I have been in past months. Things might look a little different, but change is a good thing.

Maybe I'll even be funny again!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Midnight // NYE 2012/2013 // The Avett Brothers
Ah, it's that time of year again when all us bloggers recount whether or not we stuck to our guns and actually completed our resolutions. As you know, this is a blog about getting things done........ so here's hoping I haven't royally screwed up and completed, say, ZERO of my resolutions.

At the beginning of 2013, I resolved to do only slightly more than a handful of things. Here's the entry, but if you're not one to muck about in archives, here's a quick recap of the list:

1. Be a better adult.
2. Stay a better friend.
3. Have more patience and understanding.
4. Overcome MORE fears.
5. Be even more efficient.
6. Accomplish all my little goals in between without resolving to do them.
7. Just be.

Wow. Lofty goals, January 1st Rachel. Talk about setting high expectations for myself. Never one afraid to fail, I normally push further than I should. Let's see how I fared, shall we?

1. Be a better adult.

I am by no means a model adult. I may not even be a mediocre adult, but I have damn sure come a long way this year. I've learned so much about reliability, and even more, how to BE reliable. I've learned to keep running, even when I'm knee-deep in heavy Carolina clay, knowing I have to reach the other side. I've taken jobs I didn't want, left jobs I wanted to continue, and doubled-down on school and work, putting my social life lower on the list than in years past. While I've mentioned I'll always be a "family/friends first" kinda gal, I finally figured out how to maintain that moral of mine while accomplishing great things and being responsible. I even have some money! .......... for now.

2. Stay a better friend.

I am a yo-yo better friend. There are periods of time in which I have a LOT of free time to spare; others where I barely have enough time to eat and sleep, let alone make some phone calls. I could do a better job, but I think I haven't slipped TOO far back into yesteryear when I was always not such a great friend. Better to maintain than fall behind, even if I wish I could've hit this one out of the park. There's always next year when I get out of my Master's program!

3. Have more patience and understanding.

Oh, lord help all of you. Whereas I have gained so much of this in the career arena in my life, I admittedly have lost a lot of it in the personal domain. I'm sorry if I've been snippy or bitchy, perhaps spacey or annoyed, but I have poured all of my patience and understanding into over 100 kids. They need it most right now, and I am going to work very hard to squeeze some of that patience over to my loved ones in the coming year. Now that I know HOW to be patient, I have to learn how to BALANCE that patience. I have to understand others in the ways I always hope they understand me! But hey, I hope my students can at least attest to the fact that I almost never lose my temper. And when I do, they know weird things like town hall meetings will occur.

4. Overcome MORE fears.

Thanks to my newest project, 26 Gonnas for 26, I have definitely been visiting this resolution time and time again in 2013. I've sung publicly at karaoke bars; I've gotten back into modeling and ENJOYED IT; I've publicly and privately let go of toxic relationships. There have been a lot of fears I've conquered that aren't even on the 26 for 26, which brings me to...

6. Accomplish all my little goals in between without resolving to do them.

Yeah, I know. I skipped 5, but we'll get to that'n. Six and four pair well together like a good cheese and a fine wine, ya heard? There were so many moments this year that I found left me feeling so bold, so brave, and so utterly proud of myself. Overcoming fears, some of which I didn't even know I had, was a lot easier in 2013 than in the past. Maybe it's because I was so successful at resolution number one, but pushing forward into the unknown was just not as horrifying in '13. I'm not saying it wasn't sweat inducing to call my favorite co-workers ever to tell them I was offered a new job, and I'm not saying it wasn't horrifying to meet, learn, and teach over 100 strangers in the middle of the school year... but I am saying that it was exponentially less disastrous than it would have been a year ago. And you know what? I found out I'm a lot BETTER at most of the things I'm scared of than some of the things I feel "safe" doing. What's more is I didn't feel the urge to tell anyone about these things (well, until now). I didn't feel like I had to make a list, at least not publicly. I didn't feel like I needed to have support to overcome my fear, something that is altogether new for me. While there are still some giant hurdles like flying and singing in public without a cheesy backup machine that WILL require a little hand-holding, learning to go solo into fear this year is what got me over the need to publicly resolve to accomplish every tiny morsel my brain cooked up.

5. Be even more efficient.

Welcome back, five! You tie into resolution one pretty well, sir. While I believe there's always room for improvement when talking efficiency, I truly figured out and utilized it this year. If you remember, I started to see some vague progress in this field when I resolved to be efficient in 2012. This year, though, I really FOUND efficiency like it was the god damn Lost island I'd been screaming about returning to. (Lost reference anyone? Anyone?) I am much more organized than I was a year ago. I even have plans for further organization, some I utilized earlier this very week. I used to shy away from changing my methods for better ones for fear they'd be worse; now I trust my instinct and know the HUGE list I have for improvements will all work out, and they will all be better, 100 fold.

7. Just be.
Herein lies the crux: how can I just be if I always see so many things I must resolve to make better? Is it possible? Or must the two forever be at odds? I like to think I've just been a little more than I was in 2012. That's not to say it has been a meditative, peaceful-as-fuck kind of year. Actually, it was pretty hectic... but there are some things this year I have let go of that I wouldn't have DREAMED of getting past 365 days ago. It's hard, being forever anxious (medically), finding out how to just be. And even though I didn't complete this goal, I'm happy to say that over the past three weeks, things have been falling out of the sky and into my lap in regards to what I need to finally, truly just be. I've been finding answers to questions I've had for a long time, and I've been finding inspiration, reinforcement, and even new standards for myself I will not budge on... ever. And that, ladies and gents, is what I believe the first step to just being is: being yourself.

I'll be back after the first of the year, hopefully with amazing tales of New Year's festivities, a list of resolutions, and... drumroll... big news about the blog and its future.

Have a magical transition from 2013 to 2014! I'll see you on the other side ;)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Number 13

13. Finish writing a book with C.

At the end of May, C and I sat down over glasses of (one of) our favorite wine(s), and she asked me one of my favorite questions any one person can ever ask:

Will you write with me?

Specifically, she asked me to help her write a particular story she was burning to tell. It was a true story, but she planned to change names and embellish, making it what we dubbed faction (fact + fiction). So with the doors open, candles burning, and our planners wide open, we made a way to find enough hours over enough days to finish a book by the end of 2013.

The deadline, while unrealistic to some, was good for us. We both needed the pressure of a due date, but we didn't need to feel so pressured that we caved and gave up. Giving the book as a gift for Christmas was a perfect reason to finish, as well as a solid goal to work toward.

The process began pretty regularly: Wednesdays after work, there we were, writing and editing. We quickly realized that since it was her story, she should spend the week writing, and our time together would be spent editing and adding whatever I thought would be helpful or funny. We pedaled along pretty quickly with a title and 15 single-spaced pages before life interrupted.

Between our vacations and family get-togethers together (she's J's sister), we had events to tend to separately as well. She was embarking on a new journey of competitive running, while I was balancing my work and school. It started to look like someone was conspiring against us and our words, but somehow we still always found a way to meet. In some instances, we had to move the time; others the day. There were even some missed weeks here and there, but somehow we found ourselves in the dead of fall, 30 single-spaced pages in.

At the beginning of November, I was in full-blown new-job mode. On top of that, I had to balance a full load of grad classes. Inconveniently, Thanksgiving found its way into our schedule as well. We saw each other only twice that month, a striking difference from the normal 4-8 times a month we had seen each other since living in the same town. I felt horrible, not only for abandoning C, but for abandoning our book. It was our baby.

December rolled around, and shortly thereafter, I got an email from C.

"IT'S FINALLY DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

I knew she had been writing, but the last time I'd seen her, our little novella lay in the 30-something range. The piece she had just sent me was 20+ pages longer..... and all that was standing between releasing the book to our friends and family was my editing every single word with the same diligence I'd had in prior months. The only problem was I also had hundreds of papers to grade AND two giant projects due in less than a week. Shit.

In a zombified stupor, I got through all of my work duties and all of my projects. I started editing until my eyes bled, but it still took me three days to finish revising the final pages the way they deserved. I rushed over to C's house four days before her departure to the Great North where she'd be delving out the first round of the books on flash drives to the family. It was close, but somehow, we did it. And after all was said and done, we ended up with an 83-page novella.

Writing this little book taught me a lot about a lot. I had to learn to be ever-so-reliable because the success of C's story depended on my editorial skills. I had to learn to be patient because quality work takes time, despite my need for instant results. I had to learn to let go of the reigns because this wasn't my story, this was C's story. I had to learn how to work as a true professional team for the first time in my life because no one else has ever treated me as a professional equal before.

Our book might not be Gatsby or War and Peace, but it IS a labor of love (and a little Sedaris-y if I do say so myself). It is one of those gonnas we all talk about doing, and damn if we didn't actually do it.

I am glad I got to help my friend tell her story, but most of all, I am glad to know that with a solid friendship, anything is possible.

If you're interested in reading our little tale, I have a PDF version ready and raring to go! Email, as always, is imgonnadothatgirl@gmail.com.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Taking a cue from the lovely Kacey, I'd like to take a break from my regularly scheduled blogs filled with (oft-negative) venting and life-coaching (from myself?) just to write a nice, thankful, happy entry. I suppose it would have made more sense to ensure this coincided with Thanksgiving, but to hell with it all! Everyone tried to skip right over one of the most scrumptious holidays this year anyway...

AH, negativity abounds already! Stopping, turning around, and heading back toward Positiveville.

Yay! Happiness is fun!

I really enjoy having positive arenas on the Internet to run to as a safe haven on bad days. I don't particularly know or care if that sounds strange because I have met some of the best people via (mostly) positive places like Tumblr and Blogger. It's nice to have a community full of people who love the same things you love, write about the same things you do, and support and love you without even meeting you. They see the raw nerves you bumble out onto some digital paper and still want to get to know you. How cool is that? I wish more people would embrace the positive community that DOES exist on these endless pages of web.

Speaking of, one of my old co-workers is doing it up successfully and creatively in the Big Apple. She writes a blog all about love, her addiction to it, her journey to overcome that addiction, and her relationship with the city. She recently featured me, along with many others, on her blog (another example of the Supportive Internets), allowing us to vent to a person from our past or present romantic life. Here's that entry; I'm the fifth one in the list!

Building off of that entry (so you should probs read it), I just can't further explain how thankful I am for my partner. I've written about that gratitude often, though not too often, as I like to keep most of our life private. But without him having my back, even on my shittiest of days, I don't know how I'd get through such a trying time in my life. Without him coaching me from the sidelines, yelling "Get back up, sports fan! You're not done yet," I would be weaker, less brave, and apt to quit. Even when I don't want to tell him he's right because of my bulldog-level stubbornness, I know he's the one person who has the same intensity to help me succeed in my self-proclaimed need for evolution. At the end of the day, he's the man I dream up ridiculous Vines with. That's that shit I DO like.

While some aspects of my job are... less than stellar... I so enjoy my students. They are hilarious, smart, and much more intriguing than half of the adults I've met over the course of my life. Even if we have a bad day, they are so astute; unlike most of us "grown-ups," they are ready and willing to apologize, move on, and still have a professional relationship. I hope they all keep that openness in their hearts as they go out into the world because it will get them so far in life. I can't wait to watch them grow up; I hope I can be a mentor to them for as long as they need me!

It's really pleasing to finally see a career path (or rather, paths) I can maintain and find happiness in. For a long time, I thought a lot of me is what needed to change. It's only recently I realized that while I do have to work on aspects of myself like my impatience and hot-headedness, a lot of what I saw as a schism in myself was just the void from never knowing what I really want to do for a living. For a long time, I had shut out my dreams and desires because everyone, from complete strangers to my friends and family, had dictated what "success" looked like. But now that I've stopped focusing on them and prioritized myself, now that I've gone through the career-wringer, finding out what fits me and what doesn't, what my strengths are and what I could use some help with... I see myself a little more clearly. Weird how we define ourselves through external things, only to realize that if we pay a little internal attention, we can find a wealth of clarification.

There's a lot more I'm happy about, like being able to spend copious time with my family over winter break, being able to afford heat in such a cold winter, and my new gym opening at the time of the year where I can use it the most. I could sit here all day and wax poetic about the positives in my life, but I have to return to the stressful, strenuous life of an always-tired, always-working, full-time student AND teacher........

LAWD HAVE MERCY ON MY SOUL! And please, try to remind me not to be such a Negative Nitwit Nancy.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Number 21

Open Letter to the Toxic Ones

Dear You,

I don't know how to begin this. By writing instead of telling, am I engaging in the coldness of passive-aggressiveness I hate so much? Perhaps. I really just can't contain what's been on my mind so much over the last 2... 3.... er, 5?... wait, maybe longer........... years.

This has been a long time coming. Maybe I'm too sensitive for my own good, but after a long, somewhat-objective look at the state of things, I think I might be a little justified and that's enough; I don't need the totality of 100 percentness.

I am a giver. I always have been. Of course I take, but I really do find a joy in giving. I have told many of you over the years I wish I'd fall into a lot of money somehow so I could spoil you rotten. I have given even when my body has fought me. I have given when you have betrayed me. I have given when you have given nothing back. And until now, that's all been mostly okay because we were young. But here we are, on the door of adulthood, and the scale of give and take is still uneven. I'm still drowning in a sea of sadness, created with the waters of unfulfillment.

I thought time would solve things. I thought I would never have to point out the lacking pieces of our relationships because surely, with just enough time, wisdom, and experience, things would even out. I would feel less and less like my soul was being sucked from me, and start to feel like pieces of it were starting to be poured back in, even if it were as slow as molasses. But time didn't do the job I thought it would, so now I'm faced with doing it myself. I should have dealt with the task from the start, and now that I have to, I'm not sure how to do it at all.

It's not everyone. It's not all the time. Even those of you who are guilty don't do it on schedule... but it does happen. (Hell, I've written about it before. More than once.) It's not a delusion, as much as I wish it were every day. This has happened as long as I can remember, and it continues to happen, despite my internal wish for things to change. But I guess you can't bring forth change without saying or doing something, so this is some kind of bumbling, probably awful start.

I know I'm not perfect. I've done things wrong, I've shut people out, and I've been inconsistent with contact. And while I take personal responsibility for my faults and my own selfishness, a lot of my behavior over the years has been a reaction to yours. That doesn't mean I don't need to work on things, but I would love it more than life if you worked on your things, too.

First things first: I confess my sins.

1. I have made grave mistakes in friendships over the years. Most of them I made when I was younger, but I made a handful of horrid ones in my older life, too. However, the mistakes I've made have made me the grown-up I am today, trying my damnedest never to do them again and wishing, wishing, wishing you all would stop making them as well.

2. I DO shut people out, namely you, because when I consistently have expectations shattered or unreciprocated, it's easier just to bow out and guard my heart. I sit back and find people that do seem to want to give as much as me, who want to meet those expectations, and wait for the rest of the group to catch up. The only problem is, these people never do. And every time I give them a chance, give them the opportunity to live up to my expectations, they break my heart all over again. It's too much to cry every night about another forgotten call or text, another birthday missed. It's for my sanity that I pull away long enough to regroup and heal.

3. Mostly my inconsistent contact has to do with outside factors. I move a lot; I work very hard during the school year; I have graduate school to finish; I have to save my money. But you all also need to remember something I have ne'er argued and always confessed: I hate the phone. It brings me some anxiety, and it's just an annoying form of contact. But there is a small part of me that thinks some of that anxiety, which didn't begin until later in my life, comes from the inconsistency I've learned to expect in return.

Second things second: I explain.

1. You are not reliable. I know that sounds awful, and I'm truly sorry, but you aren't. You can be good people. You have been there in bad times and good, but not really on a constant basis. If we make plans, you often are late or cancel last minute. It would be okay if it were for something important or understandable, but when you just decide to bow out because you've found something more fun or are just too lazy, that's rude and insulting.

2. You don't care. I say that in the most general sense. You don't care about my life if it doesn't involve petty, pretty, easy things, but more bothersome is that you don't care about your own life. You don't care if you succeed, if you will have enough money for bills, if you find a job you love, if you find your own happiness, if you won't be too hungover to make the appointment we set a week ago. You don't care about finding yourself or finding the whole version of that self. You don't care about anything except initial satisfaction, often found in booze, drugs, gossip, or shallow bullshit. But I care. I care about everything, and I need my friends to care, too.

3. You turn it around on me. On the occasions I HAVE said something, my past has been thrown in my face. That's to be expected, I suppose, but those who have known me long enough can see the evolution I have made. And you know what? It's old. It's not effective. I know where I am well enough that the argument is invalid. We're talking about the people we are now, and the better people we should become. We're not talking about some dumb ass girl from two or ten years ago.

4. You don't understand. You don't understand the time constraints and responsibilities of adulthood, let alone the effect the intricacies of an individual has on both of them. For example, I have a problem with the fact you call bullshit on my health when I have cried and tried and worked and fallen and gotten back up about it over so many years. You haven't sat with me during a tachycardia attack, walked in on me crying on my floor in visceral pain, listened to me on the phone as I breathe for dear life, or felt the heavy weight of the fatigue I carry every day, yet still push through. I also have a problem with the fact that you don't respect my calendar, as if I'm an asshole for wanting to and making plans well, well in advance. If you make plans for something a week in advance, even then may be too late. I hate I can't be there for you, but if something is important enough that you would like me to be there, make sure you send me a reminder as soon as you think of it. You need to understand my health. You need to understand my calendar. You need to understand everything, and how everything changes when we're adults. With that understanding will come a respect that just isn't there with us right now. What the hell is friendship without respect?

Third things third: I'm sure I have done every single one of these things to you in my past, and for that, I am truly sorry. But I have been on a journey to wholeness for a very long time, and I cannot be whole by perpetuating this bad behavior myself. It has mostly ended for me, but I will say right now: it ends for me all the way today. However, that also means I can't surround myself with people who will not end the cycle themselves. I need to feel whole instead of drained, happy instead of constantly heartbroken. I need to be able to be the full me, and I can't do that unless you do the same.

As I mentioned when I wrote about this before, I've been mourning over this whole change for a really long time. Now I see the only way I can truly move on from my grief, and hopefully see a few of you there on the other side, is to set the truth free. I still love you, Toxic Ones.

Hoping you'll join me for the ride,
(it's gonna be a real honest, but fulfilling one),

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Hi... Meet Me!

You think you know me after reading this blog for years, and you're probably right. There's a lot more about myself you might see in my words than I can in the mirror... but lately I've been having to learn that as often as people tell you not to defend who you are, it will take them less than a second to turn around and make you do just that.

Luckily, I've been on a new path of self-discovery. Over three years ago, I figured out who I was. Now, I'm figuring out not only how to deepen that person, but how to live as that person in a world that doesn't really want individuality, no matter how many times it says it does.

I've talked about being unapologetically you, but I forgot that constantly saying sorry isn't the only way you do yourself a disservice. Always being angry and offended because you have to defend who you are every day is another way to quickly squash your self-esteem and progress.

Since I'm trying with all my tiny might to stop letting people give me shit for being who I am, let me remind you of exactly what people are telling me to hide from the world.

I am observant. This is often confused with being "ultra sensitive," but I suppose that's the price I have to pay for always noticing the small things. I can sense people's moods, hear changes in their voices, know what they really mean and try to play off as a joke, and see the glances they exchange. For a long time, I thought I was being an asshole and just projecting my wild imagination on people. However, I recently realized that people simply don't like to get caught. They like to be able to get away with shifty behavior. Most people live their lives by being secret assholes; some are even 007-level bastards... so when I call them out on their behavior, they turn the tables on me for diversion. It's okay. I get it now!

I have high expectations. There's some bullshit, pink, curly-cued meme floating around the Internet about "not being high maintenance, just having high expectations..." but the two are not interchangeable in any way, so it's when the latter occurs that I have to defend my expectations. But hey, these things should honestly be common practice – I'm just not afraid to continually say so: I expect people to treat other people kindly; I expect people not be racist/sexist/etc. assholes because it's the incorrect reaction to other humans; I expect people to understand one another as being mere mortals with many flaws; I expect other people to put in as much as I do, and to ease up when one of us can't. I expect a lot, but I also believe in the ability of everyone to meet those expectations.

I am vulnerable. I have always chosen my vulnerability, though I've often had to defend that choice. I believe in being open, in saying sorry, in crying, in letting people in. I choose all of that because it makes me stronger than everyone else. I have walls upon walls of steel-like strength from all those times people took advantage of my vulnerability, but if I'm crying, I often have to defend those tears like they are some sign of weakness. I wish people knew the courage it takes to be an open nerve, but it's yet another thing unworthy of defense funds.

I am different. I have invisible disabilities. I care so, so much about everything and everyone because I have a heart full of compassion. I am able to do a lot of stuff other people cannot, but also limited in many other "everyday" ways. I love things most people deem unimportant. I need time, love, and a home, but not a house. I need loyalty in a way that can drive most people away... and even if it's all weird or out of place to others, it's what lies within me. All of the big and little things that piece together my odd little puzzle should never be put up for negotiation, so I'm tired of finding myself in the midst of a battle for whether there is a "rightness" in being me.

There it is, dudes and dudettes. I know the project of "myself" will always be an evolving, living, breathing thing, but even on the days when my features become inconvenient, I couldn't and wouldn't have it any other way. And just like I said I would stop saying sorry so much, I'm going to stop defending just being Rachel as well. I will change as we all do with time, but it will never be at the suggestion from an outsider that who I am inside just isn't good enough.

Hoping everyone finds the courage to let go of the anger and give into the joy of just being yourself. I know it'll take some time for me, but I also know I can do it.

P.S. If you've been missing me, I blog (anonymously) on the regular about my new job. Email imgonnadothatgirl@gmail.com if you want the link!