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“At least I hair good!” – The title of my forthcoming memoirs.

It’s weird that yesterday morning I wrote about leaning into the whole Imposter Syndrome thing and then later I experienced a moment where I received several pieces of criticism (from more than one person) about something I thought I was really good at.

So…um…am I the person I was complaining about yesterday? Did I somehow achieve overconfidence as the least confident person the planet? Is that…like…a magic trick?

Look at Kim! She of terrible body image and low self-esteem! Watch her develop too much confidence for once in her life! How did she do it? Was it slight of hand? Was it invisible wires? Is she just…MAGIC?

To say it hit me kinda hard is an understatement. I’m not confident about many things. I found myself thinking yesterday, This must be how those bad singers on American Idol felt. They walk in convinced they’re going to win and then BAM! Simon Cowell shuts them down.

Is Simon Cowell still on that show? Am I dating myself?

Anyway. I’m trying to get past it. My first method was to eat ice cream and since I’m like 95% vegan you can IMAGINE how well that went over in my tummy. NOT WELL AT ALL. It looks like I had too much confidence in my digestive system too. FOILED AGAIN.

Some of the criticism I was able to kinda talk myself through in the sense of just a misunderstanding on my part. Like two people see things the same way, but I’m thinking that way is expected and the other person is not. And I’m pretty sure it’s something I can rectify if I just take more time to complete the task to begin with. So it sucks, but not anything that makes me doubt my confidence.

But some of it was basically, “This thing Kim does is really bad!” and meanwhile I’m taking the same thing home and bragging about it to my husband.

And that basically kept me tossing and turning all night and now analyzing everything I ever do that I think I do well.

Do I suck at introducing new runners to trail running?
Do I suck at amplifying voices of importance from marginalized communities?
Do I suck at empathy?
Do I suck at talking about boob sweat?

I mean, it’s one thing to find out people think you’re good at that thing you think you’re terrible at…but the other way around? THE DAY YOU WROTE ABOUT IMPOSTER SYNDROME? That’s embarrassing. I mean – REALLY embarrassing. How long has this been going on? Me thinking I’m great and others thinking I’m terrible? I NEED MY EMBARRASSMENT PILLOW TO COVER MY FACE TO MY OWN MEMORIES.

(If you’re new here, the embarrassment pillow is the thing I cover my face with if something embarrassing happens to someone on TV.)

Luckily, I’ve been in a decent headspace the last couple of months so this isn’t sending me down the spiral of self-loathing and depression that I’ve been known to stumble into after a “bad day.” I’m trying to be practical about this in coming up with resolutions (I wish I could write it off as just one person’s perception, but it was echoed in a few ways by others) that will help me do better and maybe look at my work differently. Obviously the ice cream was a cry for help, but for the most part I’m trying to be practical and solve the problem.

I mean – I didn’t cry which is HUGE for me. I wanted to…I WANTED TO SO BAD…but I kept my shit together and spent a lot of time last night really thinking about how to be better.

It just sucks. I never really looked at myself as being overconfident about anything. So not only does it suck to know that I am, but it sucks to know that I didn’t even realize it so now I’m questioning my judgement about a lot of things.

Anyway – this post had no point. Other than to remind everyone the importance of paying compliments to people when you think them. Last night a friend told me my hair was looking really good lately and I almost cried. I NEEDED THAT TODAY! AT LEAST I HAIR GOOD!

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A Simple Thanksgiving.

I would like to say that I forgot to post yesterday (DAMN YOU, NABLOPOMO!) because we were traveling or had tons of family in. But the truth is – we had the most simple and laid back Thanksgiving in the history of all Thanksgivings.

This is the year of the BIG family gathering (they do it every other year) with Donnie’s family in Louisiana but we decided several months ago we wouldn’t make the trip. We had several other travel plans in November and early December and we weren’t looking forward to more. But, we also knew we might get one day with E as he works retail and our chances were better to eat with him, if we stayed home.

So! E came in after work Wednesday night and then left Thursday night so he could work Black Friday.

We went out about 10am Thursday morning to do a few casual and quick family pictures with a tripod. Nothing fancy, it only took about 20 minutes, just enough so that we’ll have some pics for the Christmas card and so I’ll have a recent group shot in case E’s dreams come true and he gets a job offer as soon as he graduates in May.

(Let me know if you have any job openings for a Mass Communication major! Preferably NOT in Alabama!)

(Preferably to HIM, not to ME, of course.)

Since the majority of our family doesn’t eat meat, and since Donnie decreed he doesn’t even like us buying it (I’ve always kinda felt the same way, honestly) then we had no Turkey to fret about. I try to eat mostly vegan but I didn’t want that to eliminate things like Mac-n-cheese or creamy mashed potatoes from the meal, so I basically cooked TWO dinners, one for me and one for them. I did order two of the “THEM” dishes from my friend, but the rest I did myself! And it turned out lovely.

I also achieved my goal since we only had 5 people at our 8 person table – of getting all of the food on the table with us! I’ve never done that before, we usually serve in the kitchen. But this was nice! The food was all right there and it made a killer pre-meal photo.

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I even timed everything but the saffron rice perfectly. That was not ready in time but I made so much other stuff I didn’t worry about it. Everything else was hot and ready all at the same time! Score!

We chilled out for a bit after the meal and then headed to see Fantastic Beasts as a family at our favorite theater in town – the one with the full recliners. It was LOVELY. The guy next to me fell asleep and snored a bit, but other than that? LOVELY. It was just a sweet movie with some amazing glimpses into the different magical world in the USA. I loved it. It was exactly what I wanted – more to love. And it felt much more like JKRowling creation than Cursed Child did – not that I didn’t like Cursed Child – but this movie just felt like a seamless part of the her world. I felt HER in the movie, you know?

So we didn’t travel. We didn’t have any out-of-town guests (E doens’t count as he has a room here) and we didn’t cook a turkey. It was the simplest Thanksgiving ever and it was also just lovely. I love my family dearly and one of you mentioned in an email discussion about our problems with Wesley that sometimes you have to “circle the wagons” to protect your own. I’ve been feeling that more and more lately, that we are building our own safe places in our family and it’s just a great feeling to have a day full of just that.

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Faith.

The night of the election (this is actually not about politics, believe it or not) we were driving a friend home who we had given a ride to an election night event. We were all discussing empathy and Donnie casually mentioned not having much and I heartily disagreed. To which he replied sincerely to my friend, “What empathy I have, I learned from Kim.” He continued with something else along the same lines and I did my best to hold my shit together and not start sobbing in the back seat of the car.

It wasn’t just that he paid me such a sincere and wonderful compliment, but he did it to a friend and in front of our kids. My friend knew how special that was, she even brought it up a few days later. It was one of those moments that really broke the daily grind of our life and reminded me: Oh yea, we really do love each other.

I’ve tried to keep that moment in mind lately and when I think wonderful things about my husband, I share them. He was talking about something from work yesterday and I told him that I’m so in awe of him, even more than when we first met, and I was pretty in awe of him then. He responded that he’s in awe of me and that he doesn’t see how I do it all some days. It was a lovely moment of us giving each other truly heart-felt and sincere compliments and I was reminded yet again – I would not survive without him.

We’ve had our share of challenges over the past year. And while it seems like I dump all of my personal shit all over the interwebs, I truly don’t. I only share MY shit, but our family, our kids especially, the challenges around those people I simply dance around. Some of you have reached out to me when I’ve asked for guidance with Wesley, so you have some extra insight, but just know that my husband and I have had to be each other’s rocks in ways we never were prepared for when we exchanged vows.

I remember thinking a lot about that when I kept having miscarriages, and when my Dad got sick. You know – in theory – that you’re going to have to be there for each other on the dark days too – but you don’t know how that’s going to look. While I struggled this last year with my depression and anxiety and when I finally got help, Donnie rose to the challenge. And every challenge along the way (as there have been many in the last year) he has risen with me. On the days I am weak, he steps forward and grabs the reigns. And now that I’m stronger…on the days he feels week, he let’s me take control. We recognize each other’s limits and help each other when we can.

2016 has sucked for everyone, it seems. And our suckage is not any more than anyone else’s. But the beautiful, sparkling, silver lining is that we’ve both really awaken to how much we need each other. We’ve stopped the chaos and set aside time for each other even when we had so many other things that needed our attention. We’ve recognized that if things are crumbling around us, we can weather the storm if we have each other and so we’ve doubled down on our relationship and put more into it than we ever have before.

The last month has been really challenging and I think of all of my Christian friends who face trying times and have Faith that God has a plan and sometimes I’m jealous about that. I’m jealous that they can calm their worries with scripture and prayer. But I’m not jealous for long. Because I remember my faith in humanity and my love for my husband. I have faith that he and I can survive anything as long as we have each other.

And for that, I’m the most Thankful.

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Choosing Who Makes Money Off Of My Clicks.

I write a lot on Facebook and sometimes over here, about how much I avoid clickbait or inflammatory media. I’m not just talking about political nonsense, I’m talking about ALL of it. The article that is going to tell me exactly how I’m ruining my kids? That article is a piece of crap because really it’s just 2 paragraphs and most of it is a quote from a real study that said NOTHING about ruining my kids. The article bashing one candidate because their running mate is a creationist. The article that can not BELIEVE the actions of those celebrities. I avoid ALL of it. I try to A) Only listen to NPR which might lean left but at least is non-profit and B) Only give my eyeballs to media sources I don’t mind giving money to.

Because your eyeballs are money. And articles about celebrity affairs are making more money than articles about the refugee crisis. And that’s because they’re getting more eyeballs.

I’m not saying frivolous media doesn’t serve a purpose. I read a ton of “What to expect?” articles about my favorite TV shows. But I’m saying – right now – our online world is terrible. Giant media groups makes gobs of money basically repackaging someone else’s content and putting it under an inflammatory and click-baity title. Enjoying the periodic frivolous article about cats is now part of a giant problem where AMAZING journalism is getting pushed under the rug because Amy Schumer said something about her boobs.

(I love Amy Schumer. That’s not the point.)

How would our online world look if EVERYONE stopped giving their eyeballs to click bait? Or, more importantly, what if we focused EQUALLY on high quality journalism and reporting. Because – let’s face it. Biased media makes more money than non-biased. And that’s because it creates clickable headlines that pull people in, whereas balanced reporting is dull and boring.

ALL of us complain that too much media is bias.

And yet, we are the problem.

There is a lot of good reporting out there. My world was forever changed by Nikole Hannah-Jones’ reporting on Fair Housing for ProPublica. Why is that not taught in our history classes? Why did I get to the age of 40 without every realizing that red-lining was a REAL thing that happened and created the ghettos? Why do we focus on a few key Black History figures in February but we never discuss how Black Americans were screwed over with refusal for home loans? How did I not know about George Romney – who basically pushed to desegregate neighborhoods by using the “ask forgiveness later” method? (He was not forgiven.) This was a POWERFUL rabbit hole to fall down into when I started reading one day. And my the money from my eyeballs went into pockets supporting real journalism, and not repackaged content with a clickbait title.

I read the Mother Jones piece about prisons the day it came out. I sat in bed and went through the ENTIRE THING. And yesterday? Our government announced the ending of the privatization of prisons. But you know what? That piece? Only made $5,000 in ad revenue. That’s it.

So, what do we do? Well. I try to focus on giving my eyes to long-form journalism and avoiding shitty clickbait. But I also donate to Mother Jones and ProPublica. Because I used to pay for a newspaper subscription and why shouldn’t I use that money to support high-quality journalism online?

But mainly? We have to quit clicking the terrible aggregators. Mother Jones broke down their situation and how to support their efforts. But the clickbait? It’s doing so much more than just creating a world where “real” journalism is unsustainable. Click bait is also building a divide in our country. Inflammatory political headlines are why people say things like “I just don’t understand how you can vote for that person!” because the only headlines they click, are the ones spotlighting the terrible things that person has said or done.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I don’t agree with any Trump policies no matter how much I dig. I’ll be honest. BUT – I do see that if people ONLY read the terrible things about Clinton and none of the other things, then they’d be just as terrified of her as everyone else is of Trump. Terrifying and Inflammatory articles get clicks. Boring articles about successful policies do not.

So I’m making a concerted effort daily to NOT click on the inflammatory headlines. Even if they help reinforce my beliefs. IT IS HARD. They’re so alluring! But I try my best. Instead I subscribe to long-form journalism and I listen to NPR which is non-profit. Does it all kinda lean left? Yeah. I guess. I’m not sure there’s real “unbiased” media anytime or anyplace. But at least it’s non-profit. That’s something in today’s media.

Imagine if we all tried to avoid clickbait. What would our media sources look like then? Would news become boring again?

I wish.

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Going Towards The Light

Recently I stumbled upon knowledge of old gossip in one of my communities. You know, the “Did you know that 15 years ago those people you love and respect did this?” kind of knowledge. It was a weird moment because I wanted to immediately hit “rewind” and unlearn this tidbit. I spent a lot of time thinking about, “Why? Why do I wish I hadn’t heard that?”

First and foremost it’s because the Zoot of yesteryear, the one responsible for that chapter full of shitty behavior, fears that people who love her now will someday the same experience. “Did you know that back in the late 90s Zoot had a hedonistic wave that destroyed small villages?” Ugg. I couldn’t run for President y’all, the skeletons would just start falling out in waves.

So that’s definitely part of my distaste for gossip, I can too easily imagine being on the damaging end of that scenario. But also? I was intrigued by the fact that I didn’t soak it up like I used to. Coincidentally, I also had a phase where I would seek out gossip. WHAT? So-in-so did that? Really? TELL ME MORE. I ate it up and I loved it. Now? Not so much. I spent some time dissecting that and I think a lot of it is because I don’t hate myself as much as I used to, so I’m not needing that validation from other people’s misery. “Oh? They did that? Good. I don’t feel so bad about the stuff I did.”

Kinda like how I used to hide smoking from everyone I met because I didn’t want them to know I did that terrible thing. But then if I found out they smoked? It was like angels in heaven singing. YAY! I’m not the only idiot!

I also think a friend on twitter summed it up well: I don’t have the energy to care about gossip any more. The more I thought about the “new” information the more I realized, “Wait. I think maybe I knew that story afterall.” I think I had actually been privy to that gossip before, but the part of me that has no energy for grudges, just wiped it all away.

But mostly? I just think we should all be able to be who we are TODAY. I don’t think I should have to know all of the demons from another person’s past. Why would I want to? The older I get, the more I realize that we are not the same person every decade. At least hopefully not. And most people I know are spending time trying to better themselves in some way, so why would I hold their past against them?

So…I’m going to just allow myself to forget. Kinda like I did last time, I guess. And just be happy in the knowledge that I’m not a Gossip Girl anymore. I don’t seek it out. I don’t thrive on it. I don’t need to know the faults of others to ignore my own. We are all complex – full of light and dark – and I’m going to just be the moth and stay in the light of all of the souls I meet.