Let’s face it // Mondays stink. Or at least we typically expect them to stink. That is why, every Monday, I post seven positives from the previous seven days of the week as a reminder of what I have so that the week starts out on an upswing. There is much truth in the belief that happy people attract good things, so it is important to start the week out right. Sometimes it’s the more grand, but other times, it’s the simple things.
1. Home Visit. At the beginning of last week, I visited my friend who recently had back surgery to bring her some food and Christmas presents for her and her daughter. She is the type of friend who would take a bullet for her loved ones and not expect anything in return (I hate this analogy, but for lack of a better cliché…). It’s challenging for me to find ways to repay her because she’ll often act like she doesn’t need anything even when she does, like in this instance. She reminds me to do more for my friends and to find ways I can reach out to people who would never otherwise ask for help, as receiving it without having to ask has to be one of the best feelings one can garner out of a true friendship.
2. Making a Murderer Marathon. America’s fast-growing obsession with true crime murder mysteries since the series Serial came out (heck, since the OJ Simpson trial was aired) seems sickening on the surface. Though I can say, as a person who has a serious aversion to anything violent and extreme empathy for the family and friends of victims who are affected, it isn’t the gruesome details that are so intriguing but rather the incomprehensible means to which our government figures reach their conclusions (often false ones at that) at various stages of an investigation. This new Netflix original series is not just a true crime murder mystery, it is also social commentary that couldn’t have come at a more poignant time. Not only do we still live in a world where racial injustices occur, but we also live in a world where discrimination rubs elbows with socio-economic status and educational background. This documentary comments on the judicial system and its stagnancy, welcoming a dialogue and movement for growth — more dissection and transparency in a system that prides itself in its strength and fairness. There are too many stakeholders in and out of the courtroom wanting a suspect faster than the truth, which results in manipulation, false confessions, narratives catering to stereotypes, and the tampering of evidence. Regardless of whether you side with the prosecution or the defense’s side in this case, my hope is that this documentary will not just fire people up but will also instigate true progressive change.
3. Christmas Eve-Eve. If you know my family, then you know how big a deal Christmas is, and if you know my family, you also know that Christmas Eve is as big a day as Christmas is (well, at least by nighttime). So Christmas Eve-Eve is more like my true eve before the holiday. My “bourbon buddy” invited me to imbibe and pre-festivate (new word – I like it) with him before we left to see our families this holiday. I met him at this fantastic bar downtown, where he knew most of the bartenders and a man played mostly bluesy versions of Beatles songs. After this man packed up his guitar, “bourbon buddy” and I joked about how we can’t help ourselves if a Michael Jackson song comes on. And of course, it did (and then it continued to, as he put in a request for more – ha!), and true to our promises, we got down to MJ. After a while, we switched gears, and he taught me how to two-step, though, I have to admit — I was pretty terrible, though getting better… It felt so good to let loose and even better to let loose with someone who doesn’t mind losing some control and having fun. Meeting someone who I can be myself around is important to me, especially because sometimes it takes a good while to let that guard down and show my true self to new humans after being hurt time and time again. Lately though, I’m finding it easier to do that because the right people will show me right away that they are okay with ALL of me and the wrong people will show me right away that they aren’t (WANTING this is new to me).
4. Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve began well by waking up late, well rested and happy. I drove to my parents’ vacation home on the lake in a neighboring town and met them right before we sat down for an untraditional table of my mother’s spaghetti and a couple of glasses of good wine while catching up with my sweet family. My twin sis spent this holiday with her husband and his family in Minnesota this year, so things were a bit different than the norm (I’ve had her since birth!), but it was nice none-the-less to spend it with my parents and younger brother. As we wound down the night and watched “It’s a Wonderful Life,” I couldn’t help but feel just that; It IS a wonderful life.
5. Christmas Day. Even though my twin sis was not here on the official day of Christmas to celebrate with us, she was with us in constant text messages (families who aren’t as close — yes, we are ridiculous). Of course, that was aided by one of my cherished stocking stuffers; the selfie-stick. My brother and I used it to include our separated sister on the day’s festivities by taking pictures and sending them to her. We also had her and her husband’s dog with us to help us feel like we had a piece of them with us. We lost our family dog this year, so having theirs around during the holidays was a soothing surprise. …And, even though I no longer have that Polish boyfriend (one of the few of my ghosts from this blog’s past – eek!), I am thankful I learned how to make Pirogies from scratch because they taste awfully perfect with our traditional Norwegian meatballs. I spent a large part of Christmas making them — after eating my mother’s Norwegian Monkirs for breakfast of course. Family + food = good holiday.
6. A Saved Saturday. Even as an adult, the day after Christmas can be a letdown. I spent most of the day walking in circles in my pajamas and socks, grazing on sweet things, and questioning my mortality. I completed a couple of books that I had abandoned as the school year started and wondered why I had even started them. A little health scare (I’m totally fine – Web MD is an asshole) kept me awake too long, so I chose a random new podcast to listen to on my phone to quiet my mind. As a firm believer that sometimes the universe conspires to work in our favor in mysterious ways, I fell in love with Lea Thau’s series “Love Hurts” in her Strangers podcast. I felt like she was using her voice to tell my story… or at least one similar to mine. There’s so much I was able to draw from this, that I almost feel like this deserves its own post, but I will say that the biggest things are this: I am not alone. I have plenty of faults, but not connecting is NOT because of some major internally threaded flaw. I am a Ferrari. Ha! Okay, before you roll your eyes, let me explain. Lea starts the series interviewing men who rejected her, until one episode when one of her guy friends suggested she do one about her rejecting him. He uses the metaphor of a Ferrari vs. a Camry and that sometimes men just want a simple Camry (nothing wrong with a Camry – they are quite practical). Okay, wait, I’m not done — no eye-rolling yet. I’m not comparing aesthetics, only that I have “a lot of power under the hood.” There’s a lot of passion in me, and it’s going to take an interesting man who appreciates all that power to want me and for me to want him. It’s a difficult match and one that will take some time to find, but I’m not alone, and I am not upset about being single — I am so excited about the man in my future who will want me and appreciate all of that intensity and complexity that is me because when I find him, it’s going to be SO GOOD.
7. Second Christmas Sunday. After my sister and her husband returned to Texas from Minnesota, they joined us at my parents’ vacation home for our second Christmas. I mostly received presents for my first European trip this upcoming summer (under-the-clothing fanny-pack, universal plug adapter, cash, etc.) and a few fun surprises as well. Without kids in the family yet, we still feel a little spoiled by our parents. But even more so than the gifts, we feel spoiled by their love. I always feel lucky, but something about the holidays multiplies my gratitude for having such a loving family. I hope you felt that love during the holidays, too.
I hope to inspire you to reflect on all you have to be grateful & that your week brings you even more positivity + balance + bliss! Feel free to share your seven with me as well / or even just a couple!
Have a wonderful week!