Friday, June 29, 2012

Where "Self-Help" fails...

For a while now I've been kinda beating myself up for not having a big group of friends from which I could pick and choose to accompany me to the gym or coffee or a crazy shopping spree a la Sex and the City to buy all of the latest trends. I've always thought it was a flaw (being shy) or that maybe people just don't like me {insert pity-party here}. 
image via Pinterest

Actually, this is not a new place to be for me. As an Air Force Brat I sometimes looked at our moves as an opportunity to reinvent myself...yea, even before Madonna was doing it...and I would tell myself that when we arrived at our next duty assignment I was going to answer only to my middle name, Susanne. I felt Lynn was boring...and obviously my name was holding me back. In my mind if I changed my name then I could change who I was completely. But I always chickened out and when introduced to new people I would blurt out "Hi, I'm Lynn", afraid they would somehow figure out I was an imposter if I said otherwise.

Sue Heck from The Middle, when she changed her name to Suki.
Over time I read numerous books that promised to change me into who I was really meant to be, which I am sure was a table-top dancing socialite who also happened to be BFF's with Jen Aniston, with total disregard to who I already was. Always trying to fix myself whether or not I was even 'broken'...that is the conundrum created by self-help-itis.

via Pinterest
It's as if we don't have enough pressure in this life...pressure to wear the right kind of jeans (Gloria Vanderbilt, of course) and shoes (Reebok's...without socks) in Junior High, pressure to pick the right career path (I'm 41 and still don't know what I want to do with my life let alone figure out what my calling is...I've been listening but have not received a reply yet), pressure to marry the right person and have babies (I remember my dad telling me when I was a little girl that I could be anything I wanted and then doing a complete 180 and saying there was nothing wrong with me being a housewife) we add in the pressure of always striving to be different or somehow better then who we are.

And we are convinced that it is a never ending quest...It can be exhausting...

via Pinterest
It's a fast track to disappointment because, if you're anything like me you didn't wear the trendy clothes in Junior High (nor do you wear them now) and maybe you didn't marry the right person the first {or second} time you perpetuate this inadequacy by reading books or watching TV shows that make you feel like you should be...well, like any one else except you.


So I may not have that many girl-friends or a standing lunch date every week but I do know (after my car broke down 2 weeks ago when it was 100 degrees out and I had a trunk full of groceries) that I do have friends who are there for me when I need them. I also know that I really enjoy an abundance of alone time (call me selfish) preferring to do many activities on my own without the pressure of accommodating someone else's expectations or happiness (none of that "what do you want to do? I don't care...whatever you want to do?" so you pick something only to be told "well, certainly not that...anything but that...").
I'm an introvert and no amount of self-help books or subliminal CD's will change that (I know, I've tried about 100 ways to create a New and Improved Me) and I'm pretty sure that even if there was that one magic self-help book that could change me I wouldn't buy it or even download it to my Kindle. Nope, not gonna do it.

Certainly there are a lot of areas in my life where I can improve. I'd like to work on my cooking repertoire (which I think my husband would appreciate since right now his dinners consist of grilled chicken, rice, veggie followed by grilled steak, rice, veggie with an occasional grilled fish, rice, veggie) and of course I want to work on my writing, photography, editing, running, and spiritual life (I might have mentioned once, or maybe 5 times, that I wanted to make meditation a priority in my life once again).

There's a fine line between pursuing goals or finding ways to grow as a person and falling in to the self-help trap that makes you wish you were some one else (okay, so maybe being a rich heiress wouldn't be all that bad). Our quest to be a better person shouldn't make us feel inadequate or flawed because of specific personality traits. Not everything should be viewed as something we need to 'fix' but rather something we can use to enhance our other experiences.

via Pinterest
These past few days I've been researching the first leg of our Grand RV Adventure. In roughly 4 months we will be pulling up stakes and hitting the road permanently in our RV loving named The Mutiny. Planning long stays in State and National Parks with no electricity and only my husband as company I realize the benefits of being introverted when it comes to seclution. As the weight lifts off my shoulders and the self-blame disappaites like sweat in a tech-tee I find I am comfortable being me.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wallflowers Still Bloom...

While in the midst of writing a future blog post about how I seem to becoming more introverted as I age (as if that is even possible) I happened to enter and win 2 tickets to see attend a 'Live From the Artists Den' private concert and TV taping of The Wallflowers. As thrilled as I was to actually win something, I must admit that my first thought was 'well that's nice but I'm not going'...this being due to my recent 'homebodiness' which has left me with no desire to leave the confines of the RV we now call home.

Knowing how much my husband loves Bob Dylan (father of Jakob Dylan who is the lead singer of The Wallflowers) and the singer-song writers who persevere in a tough American Idol pop industry I mentioned that I won these tickets to him. However, he was scheduled for same day surgery 2 days prior to the concert and decided he most likely wouldn't be up for a trip to the City (San Fransisco). He mentioned this on Facebook where I got a response from fellow blogger and friend Lauren of me & my beautiful mess who said she would happily keep me company.

Lauren is very much into music and lyrics which really does make a huge difference when seeing a band like The Wallflowers. She has an eclectic taste in music so I knew this would enhance my concert experience. Besides, as a fellow blogger I knew that we could make this an adventure with no eye-rolling when I decided to take 4 pictures of our cocktails before we would be allowed to drink them. =)

My Pomegranate Martini sans the fancy glass.
Our little adventure actually started, for my 2 foot wide closet, which I proceeded to empty as I tried on everything I own. You see, the email confirmation stated the preferred attire was Smart-Casual. I admit here and now, I had to Google what that meant exactly. After going through my closet AND the extra clothing stashed in a storage space above the bed (remember, we are living in an RV full-time now), my husband finally offered to 'dress me'. Dark jeans, a black and purple satin top, long black belted cardigan, and my S & M'esque wedges. Not too practical for walking in San Francisco but they added just enough 'smart' to the casual look.

These make me no longer short.

Philz...not just for vegans.
Lauren and I left at 3pm even though the door didn't open until 7pm to allow for a stop at Bare Essentials and Philz Coffee in Berkeley. The hubs and I 'discovered' Philz during Outside Lands 3 year ago when, freezing to death, we found the only hot drink available at their vendor space. Now, whenever we venture to the City, Philz is on our places to stop. It was Lauren's first taste of Philz Mint Mojito Iced Coffee and I think she approved!

The always beautiful Bay Bridge
Some new art along the Embarcadero.
We hit some slow moving traffic at the Embarcadero only to find out the road was being closed due to a huge 4-Alarm fire at Pier 29. Not to be deterred, Lauren took to navigating the streets and found a way around the traffic, through China Town and North Beach to make sure we made it to our destination just in time.

Lauren made friends with the sweetest bathroom attendant ever while I ordered drinks. Bimbo's, where the concert was held, is a retro style venue that is perfect for that up close concert experience. The Wallflowers played several hits from Bringing Down the Horse (including One Headlight) as well as some of their new songs, which were awesome, rekindling my love for the band (of course it doesn't hurt that Jakob is still so dang cute).
Photo Credit: A Beautiful Mess (Lauren)
When I got home and was telling Clark all about it I realized that the last time I saw The Wallflowers at The Fillmore they were filming the video for their song The Difference and tonight they were filming a lucky am I?!?

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