Space Mountain

For Damary

When I was eight years old, my dad and I stood in line for Space Mountain, at Disney World, for THREE HOURS. I remember the waiting area vividly. All the stars, all the people… We got up to the very point of getting on the ride and I said no. He tried to get me to go, but I was adamant and stood up to my father. I was petrified. So, we walked right out the door and outside.

Thirty years later, I was back at Disney World with the family. This was my “relaxing vacation”, a time to unwind after a bunch of wrenches thrown at me simultaneously. A new furnace, sewer backup and descaling of pipes, new car, new loans, new job, pivoting my business and loads of new responsibilities and to dos that won’t quit and keep getting larger and more frightening… I tried to see this trip as a blessing, to see the world like a kid again, like my nephews and my niece, the magic and all that. I am not a Disney World kind of vacationer, even though I’ve come to love roller coasters. Too people-y. I also do not deal well with other adults’ anxiety. Then I feel bad because I know I don’t deal well with their anxiety. Anxiety creates anxiety.

Families are funny. We may get annoyed with each other, snap sometimes, and then move on five minutes later and it’s all ok. Most of the time we can just accept the quirks that make up the people we love.

It’s so hard to see your parents getting older. Somehow they’re seventy, having trouble walking. Mom has those purple bruises on her hands like Grandma did. When did this happen? Sunrise, sunset.. (I don’t remember growing older-when did they?”) I see it in the kids too. Seems to have happened overnight.

I always remember when my irritations are high that we aren’t going to be together forever and someday I will desire to have them right here, doing whatever they’re doing that’s pissing me off (and I am well aware of my many quirks that bug the hell out of them too). This is my anxiety, my guilt. I am so scared of the thing that will eventually and undoubtedly happen. So, I pray. I pray so much for their health and protection, that we all get to stay together for as long as humanly possible. I’ve had morbid thoughts on this since I was a little kid. Thinking this may be the last time we kiss each other goodbye… It’s just my mind. Anjelah Johnson does a whole skit on this. I fully connect with it. At least someone else gets it. So, turning quirks and acceptance into gratitude is not new to me. Doing this in the middle of a herd in Disney World is another matter.

Then I looked at my phone. My friend called a few times and asked me to call. The next text shook me. A friend of ours had passed away. She didn’t want me to find out on Facebook. There I was, crying at Disney World. Just like the kid next to me crying for not getting what he wants. It’s different but the same, really.

My heart was so heavy, trapped in a swarm of sweaty irritated humans. I had to be present at the same time because my niece ran up to me at that moment all excited about her big debut on stage with Belle. In the midst of shock, heartache, and incomprehension, I knew I had to be present and just be grateful. That’s all we can do.

I knew, in a way, that was honoring her. For all the people who leave us, all we can do to truly honor them is to enjoy, be present, and be grateful.

I thought of my friend’s face. Here was a soul so beautiful, fun, lively- here yesterday and gone today. She was young. I wasn’t even that close to her, but we had JUST had an amazing time out to dinner recently, laughing and sharing stories. My heart went out to my friends, who were family with her, truthfully. Her son. I hated that I was so far away and couldn’t comfort them. I couldn’t wrap my head around this. All she had left to do, to give, to be…

Of course this made me look at my family and just want to hold them all so tightly and never let go.

A work colleague of mine recently lost her sister. She said how hard it was to not have that daily conversation, as she was used to talking with her on the phone everyday. She feels her presence still and sees the signs, the God winks. Those winks speak loudly. She said, “I just need to learn our new language.” I thought that was beautiful.

Where my head went next was all those silly fears I was worried about in my day to day tasks when I got home. All the things I had to do that I was resisting. Being more visible in the business sense. Writing. All of the things. And it all became so stupid and so small. The videos I have to do because my brand expert is making me… became really small when I pictured my friend’s face. Here one minute and gone the next.

I usually thank God for my problems. Because if I have problems, I’m still here and that’s an amazing thing. It puts it all into perspective. I’m no stranger to being slapped in the face with perspective. No one is. Life throws us unfathomable jolts, and we gain perspective. But how long do we hold onto that before we get sucked back into our own little bubble? Our own little world with the problems and narrowed vision?

These jolts tell us we are not invincible. We are not promised tomorrow. I know, I know— we all hear it, we get the quotes, people say it all the time. Yeah, it’s common knowledge. But it doesn’t hit you the same as something like this smacking you in the face.

I am well aware that I take time for granted, knowing this truth that we are not promised tomorrow, thinking somehow that we defy mortality. I think I have all the time in the world to write that book, to do this and that…
I vow to take better care of myself for her. She was so young. What am I doing? I can do better. Why am I the last priority on my list? I won’t take it for granted.

So, thirty years later, my seventy year old dad and I were trying so hard to make Space Mountain happen. It was closed for most of the day. I had no idea when I was young that it would be a once-in-a-lifetime decision. Nearing closing time, it opened up and we darted off to again stand in line and wait. Oh, that waiting room! Vivid detail locked in my memory. As we chatted, I looked at this man, knowing this was the last time he, or I, would be here. I thought of the rest of my family. I was leaving a day earlier than the rest of them, because I was shooting a wedding. The fear that everyone I loved was going to be on the same flight, apart from me, was looming in my mind. I thought of my friend, struggled with a dark scary spiral of thoughts, wanting to hold onto my family as tightly as I can, knowing it’s all out of my control. I remembered the movie Parenthood, when the grandma is talking about how some play it safe with a merry-go-round. Nothing. Boring. The ups and downs of the roller coaster is real life. That is truly living. I prayed a lot that day. I have never been one for God’s will over mine. I’m continuously learning that one and continuously struggling. Why some things work out for some people and don’t for others— I don’t think it’s our place to understand. Just trust. Faith. Let Go and Let God.

The fear and the darkness can really get to you. But, then… it was time. Just as we were stepping to that pivotal point, we had the biggest smiles on our faces, both of us little kids. This is what it’s all about. Getting on the ride and enjoying it while it lasts.

Be grateful. Let Go. Trust.

XO,

Lisa

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Lisasophy

There’s a lot to say about silence.

Big Sisters Are Jerks

My big sis is turning 40.  No idea how we got to this point. Our parents were having "Over the Hill" parties at Camp Dearborn, like, yesterday. How are we are there already?

So, upon wrapping her gift, I started reminiscing. By the way, I am so proud of this gift! It had to be good for the big 40. I got her something for every decade that had a part in her big 40 years.
--70's- cool sunglasses that are the size of my face.
--80's- We used to fight over this one mixed cassette tape. I ended up with it somehow, and her old tape player. 
-- 90's- some of her favorite movies from that era. (Side note: "She's All That" is still a bunch of bullhonkey. You put glasses on a beautiful girl and she's supposed to be the ugly duckling. Cray-cray. We always teased her about that one, but she loves it.)
--2000's- a Life photo book on how that decade changed the world.
--2010's - leggings (because I honestly believe that they are the best thing from this decade).

So, going through all those cassette tapes, I remembered when we were moody teenagers escaping into our deep dark selves just listening to music with candles and shit. (Remember Shakespeare's Sister's "Stay"?) Oh my, memory lane. 

So much time spent on feelings feelings feelings! At times, pining over someone stupid, yes. Big sisters are jerks. You are figuring out your newly growing interests in the opposite sex- more so than the previous Kirk Cameron or New Kid- and a big sis is your biggest bully. You then realize that's never going to change. Your biggest bully is going to be with you your whole life. The only bad thing about someone knowing every single thing about you is that there is someone that knows Every Single Thing About You. (And that Kirk Cameron poster would always fall in the middle of the night and scare the shit outta me. Do you remember his best friend was "Boner"? I feel like that wouldn't fly today). The pre-teen years came with some real winners for me. "I'll never find someone like William Baldwin from Backdraft!" Then came Ross, from Friends. She'll remind me of it for the rest of my life. Then came the serious real-person crushes in high school that were an advanced heartbreak. One dude that I crushed on had this model girlfriend the entire four years. I remember her laughing at my pain. What an asshole. ;)

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I call this her "Ronald McDonald Hair Phase"

I call this her "Ronald McDonald Hair Phase"

However, if someone were to really hurt me, I do believe she would cut a bitch. She always has my back. That's the thing about big sisters. That love-hate contradiction starts when you're toddlers and carries through well into adulthood. I believe older siblings teach us humility, resilience, how to laugh at ourselves (because they already are laughing at us anyway), and how to stick up for yourself when it really comes to that. They designed the crazy line- when people finally cross it and you get to go haywire. They teach you to toughen up-- 'cause it gets a lot worse! Ha! There will be bigger, darker difficulties to overcome. We are better equipped to  deal with those difficulties because of these bullies. (Note: I am not advocating for bullying here. I am very anti-bully. I do believe it’s a different matter in reference to siblings.)

My sister and I have this thing with ninjas. We started this when we were each going through arduous hardships with other people, realizing that our circles needed to be a bit pruned. They remind us that no matter what, we have each other's backs. We don't live super close to each other, so it's a symbol for cutting negativity out of your mind, out of your life. I keep a tiny ninja figurine in my purse. Just seeing it when I'm dealing with an idiot, makes me smile and  helps in detaching from that person's behavior. I also imagine us drop-kicking the doof. 

(Speaking of toys in my purse, my nephew gave me a figurine too, and so did my friend's little boy. Some dude saw these in my purse the other day and asked if I have kids. "No." From the stink-eye he gave me, he totally thought I was a creeper. Looking back, I probably should've explained. I'm a fricking busy woman. Oh well.)

I still have celebrity crushes. Lately, it's been Phil Dunphy. I don't care what you people say. That guy's awesome.

Happy Birthday, sis. You're still my favorite person to tell stupid Lisa stories to...

Have a Silly Monday,
Lisa

"I DO TOO LIKE YELLOW!" What I Learned From a 5yr old

One weekend I was back home, hanging out with my sister, bro-in-law, and the kiddos, reveling in some cozy at-home time. The kids must've been razzing my nephew, Joshie, 5yrs old, because all of a sudden he yelled, "I DO TOO LIKE YELLOW!!!"  "What's happening?" asked the adults. "She's saying that I don't like yellow and I do!" fumed Joshie. He was TICKED. The anger amplified by the minute. We adults snickered at the ridiculousness of this. They said something parental, which I don't remember, and Joshie moved on.

I thought to myself, wow, how often do I do that too? I'm probably doing it right now. Holding onto things that don't matter at all, really? My situations don't ever FEEL ridiculous, of course, because adults deal with heavier issues, but it still is the same thing when you get down to it. 

"I DO TOO LIKE YELLOW!"  Very much like the key phrases:

  • "Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?"
  • "How important is it?"
  • "How cheaply am I willing to sell my serenity?"

These quotes help when I find myself over-analyzing or obsessing over a situation out of my control and not giving my energy to the present moment, or what really matters. My thoughts can drift to past conversations, situations as unfair as all get out (narcissists are everywhere here in adulthood! You deal with one and ten more come out of the woodwork!), the woulda coulda shouldas...  Resentments, memories that barge in uninvited, caring about what other people think-in any way, other people's words or behavior, a misunderstanding, a complete misconception of me- or my work, or a flat out untruth, etc. How often am I bellowing out “I DO TOO LIKE YELLOW!”, deep down, subconsciously, instead of letting go?

At that time, I noticed the correlation with Joshie's anger and some floating feelings of mine, stemming from my boss, company politics, which then expands into a downward black spiral of national politics, and maybe some intrusive unnerving memories of an ex-headcase that comes with random instigators once in a while, trying to get an uprise of mental anguish from me. In such a case, I feel like God is the adult and I am the child, and He’s telling me, “It doesn’t matter. The point is that you are out of that situation. Focus on what’s important- what’s in front of you.”

This correlation is also pertinent to interactions with family members and friends. And again,  politics- any situation out of our control. When you feel like people just don't "get it", or, in Joshie’s case, don’t “get you"-- even if it's your circle, your tribe, the ones who should above all others "get you"--- and you have to defend yourself... You really don't. Ever.

I have a wise old friend that always reminds me, "You know the truth. God knows the truth. That's all that is necessary."  I never thought that I needed those words as much as I do. I've always considered myself one that doesn't care what people think. But that emerges for all of us in a deeper sense everyday. There will always be cases where we have to practice this logic. Detach. There are people we come into contact with daily that will just never "get it".  Their behavior and words could really get me seething... Or I can detach from it completely and cut that string. It doesn’t have to affect me. 

We expect our families to truly know us. But, do you know of anyone who actually feels this way? Me neither. We are human. It can feel comfortless and isolating, but that's all a part of it. It's why we need God so much (or whatever you deem your Higher Power to be), and why it's imperative to strengthen that spiritual relationship continuously.
 
Because I am a sucker for quotes, I will also lay down these well-known gems:

  • "Never waste time on people who are committed to misunderstanding you."
  • "Be a good person, but don't waste time proving it."

Now, when I find myself upset or holding onto something that I need to let go of, when I have this awareness, I hear Joshie screaming "I DO TOO LIKE YELLOW!!!"  And I am aware that I am being silly, and I move on.

Silly Monday to you,
Lisa

Did you like this post? Tell me a trick or quote that helps you to detach and let go in the comments below. Please share this post and subscribe below to receive this silly blog in your inbox twice a month.

"Boss Lady Brain"

Over sushi with a friend, I was recalling all the stupid shit I've done because I have so much going on in my head. It's like having five hundred and fifty tabs open on your computer at all times. That's what it feels like, in the head. So, instead of "pregnancy brain", this would be the correct term for entrepreneurs--and moms-- alike. My friend is both. I don't know how she does it.

"Boss Lady Brain". Because life is chaotic and that's how the remote control ends up in the freezer.

Being a boss lady, you are making decisions all day long. While you're working on one project, five hundred To Do's pop up in your head for other projects. Your day planner is full. No white space. Post it's are on top of post-it's, which are on top of your actual To Do list, because you have no more space to write. I have NINE organizational tools/planners (digital and old-school),  just for To Do's, in different areas of my business/life/artistic endeavors.  It's messy. 

Ambition is not a bad thing. Having a lot on your plate because of ambition is a good problem. Be grateful for this problem. It means you have passion(s), which is good, even if they all come with their own amount of stress.  But, "boss lady brain" is a signal. 

This is when you know you need to slow down: 

I have bought gas, got in my car, and drove for about a half hour before I realized that I never put the gas IN the car. 

I forget to eat.

I have gone to a meeting, locked my car with my keypad on my key-chain, then lost my keys somewhere in that building. This lead to hiring someone to make a key for my car on the spot, realizing everything on that key-chain that pointed to my address-- with my house key included!, changing locks, getting new business keys, and oh yea- my key to my fire-safe is now missing. I had to get my passport for my photography business on a quick deadline, and my birth certificate was in that fire safe. Not a relaxing week for me. 

Years ago, I was watching a movie with an ex-boyfriend. Because of the five hundred tabs open in my head, I had asked him to rewind the movie because I missed something. I was scolded. (Let me just say that I feel that most of the time I can be fully present when I am with loved ones because we all need that quality time. It is essential. I have things that I do to "turn off" and be fully present.) But sometimes, you open your email when you shouldn't. Sometimes, it takes just five more minutes to "turn off".  He called me flaky, ditsy, etc. Boss ladies aren't any of those things. They are warriors. They are Boss Ladies! It is an amazing superpower to be master of all the balls in the air. Boss ladies have three million more things on the brain at any given time than the average human. If we give way to "pregnancy brain" as understandable, we can have some compassionate understanding for these warriors too.

It is assumed that everyone knows how much it takes to run the back-end of a business, to being creative, or even being a mom. They don't. They don't know the million things that are on your plate to run your business life, your creative life, your social life, your spiritual life, your healthy life, your family life, your love life. No one truly knows but you. It can be frustrating and lonely when people just don't get it. 

(Just while writing this post, I had to write down three things to learn on newsletters and site design/marketing, and four To-Do's for my business.)

Then, add creativity on top of it! The artist's mind is moving even faster. I can be watching a movie, and hear something that would make a great drawing, or a great article, etc. It never stops. In conversations, in just taking a walk... It rudely interrupts, like a disrupting toddler pulling on your shirt, screaming "Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom!", that you simply cannot ignore. "Interrupting Toddler" is what I name my artistic inspirations. I am so grateful for them at the same time and I love that toddler. However, sometimes, it's such a gentle whisper and won't even finish the idea before it runs away. Those ones can't be re-called for the life of you, so you better have one of your nine tools with you to write it down before it vanishes into the black abyss. So, sometimes I have to hit rewind on the movie. But, that one minute that I took to write down an idea- that art piece was in two different art galleries this year- so I'm ok with that.

The key to "boss lady brain" is your own awareness. When you need to "turn off"-- to avoid burnout, including mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion. When you find yourself with "boss lady brain," it is a signal that you haven't taken time for yourself. This is not a luxury. It is essential. You can't give to others when you are depleted. The aim is to take time for yourself regularly, even schedule it, BEFORE the burnout hits. (So, when I  drive onto expressways by habit instead of where I'm actually headed, adding more time to my already crazy schedule, I know that I am already off and I'm headed into the danger zone of burnout.) "Mindfulness"- practice everyday. Find quiet time. Get in nature. Take a bath with calming music. Exercise. Yoga. Play with children. Meditate. Say a favorite quote to shush everything to healthy perspective. Bring yourself back to the present. SLOW DOWN

I never intended to mix my business with these blogs, but this case is different. I will be sending out ways to "Overcome the Overwhelm" in my photography newsletter. I find that it helps brides and grooms, mothers, and even seniors in high school. I will be sending out many helpful tools on this topic throughout the year. Even if you only have five minutes, there are things you can do to reset your "boss lady brain".  Even if you don't have five minutes- I will give you my favorite quotes to repeat to yourself. You are welcome to subscribe here.

What silly things have you done because you had "boss lady brain"? You are not alone. I get it.
What's the #1 thing that you do to slow down and "turn off"? 
Tell us in the comments below. 

Do you know an amazing boss lady? Please share this! 
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Have a Silly Monday,

Lisa