Muddy Paws

10f1bb6c-ec3e-4269-84d5-b695236529a6

If the people who love me were to read that this post is about how to be okay when things aren’t going your way, I’m sure they’d suggest I try stand-up comedy.

I’ve never been the type of person that can easily go with the flow. I’ve always attempted to believe that I am and people just starting to get to know me see that I am. Although, the ones who truly know me, know that at only ten years old, I was given a map of Disneyland and proceeded in drawing out a route of where we would go and in what order and time-frame. I panicked anytime my parents had strayed off-course, I spent the entire day staring at a map bossing my parents around. My Dad has been hesitant to hand me a map ever since.

I also only rode one ride that trip, Autotopia. Why? Because it had gas pedals and a steering wheel, I was in control.

Now that I’m in my fifth month of pregnancy, living with my fiancé and our roommate, and taking care of two dogs and a cat, I feel there is very little control in my life. I can’t stop my little one from moving around because it’s tired of my laptop laying on my tummy. I can’t control whether or not the dishes get rinsed off or crumbs swept up. And I sure as hell can’t control when one of our dogs has her puppies (please, I’m begging you, have your puppies already)! 

I’ve spent the last few months absolutely pissed off when I go to do the dishes and end up having to let things soak because food is baked onto the pan. I would look down at the floor to see it covered in muddy paw prints, only to sigh and say to myself “I just cleaned this!” At this rate, I was in for a huge wake-up call once I have a baby making a mess of what I had just cleaned. Actually, I still probably am.

But, I’m learning.

I’m learning to appreciate the muddy paw prints because without those, there would be no dogs. I look at the kitchen floor and see artwork rather than dirt. However, there does come a point when this particular artwork becomes dirt and you just need to give the pups a clean canvas to paint.

I’m teaching myself to be grateful for the nights I lay awake next to my fiancé because he is snoring and I cannot sleep. This works for about thirty seconds before I’m shoving him to move his head. By two in the morning, if I have not yet fallen asleep, off to the sofa he goes! I am pregnant, after all and my baby needs to sleep. Without the snoring, there would be no fiancé. And I do sleep better next to him.

When I focus on how many different things are not going my way, I become a person that even I don’t want to be around. And that’s not really possible, I’m kind of stuck with me for the long haul. I can spend my days being annoyed by all these things out of my control, in turn, making annoyed by how I’m acting and thinking.

A shift in perspective is what I needed. A new book written about life and its struggles, reminding me that grace is something to strive for rather than perfection. The ability to forgive, the ability to do something for someone else, the ability to wipe up the coffee-stained counter, and the ability to love muddy paws.

When you look at life like the artwork it has the potential to be, life becomes brighter. Sure, a sink full of dirty dishes may not be a very beautiful painting, but the act of turning up the music and washing the dishes so your overworked fiancé has time to relax, is a beautiful poem.

I’ve never been good at poetry.

Strive for grace, that is how to be okay when things don’t go your way. Strive to see beauty in the daily things, to look not only at how something appears to you, but how it may appear to others.

To me, I see a messy floor.

To our dogs, they see a yard in which to run and play.

-Elizabeth

Advertisements

10 Simple Ways To Find Happiness

5ddfe60c-becb-419d-96d3-d5e850e65f43

The dress that I’m wearing, which shows off my cute little 4-month baby bump (if I place my hands on the right part of my tummy), helped in me receiving a compliment from my fiancé today while he was home for lunch. “You look pretty, your dress matches your tattoos, you look like a flower child.” I tried my best to smile and say thank you, showing appreciation. Although, in my mind all I could hear was, “there’s a giant hole on the side of your dress you still haven’t fixed yet.”

I smile. I say thank you.

In my mind, things first have to be perfect before I can be successful at anything. Literally, anything. Before I can start doing yoga again, the bedroom must look like Pinterest threw up all over the place! Before I write my blog post, my office must look like Pinterest threw up all over the place! Before I can routinely keep the kitchen clean… you get the idea. I compare my life way too much to Pinterest, all in the name of Inspiration. 

However, I’ll be totally honest with you. Right now, I’m writing this blog post using two pillow cases covered in dog hair as a desk. My cat is currently passed out on top of the Budweiser beer pajama pants I made my fiancé buy the last time we went to Wall-Mart (I’ve been wearing these pajama pants to bed two nights in a row, tonight the third). On my nightstand, which I’ve been dying to replace since I moved in here, sits a plastic orange cup half-full of watered down coffee (my third cup, don’t tell my doctor). To top it all off, there’s piles of dirty laundry scattered around the floor as I got to separating them late in the day, even though they all need to be cleared so that a giant tv-stand turned baby closet can fit in our room. I’ve got less than 10 minutes to accomplish that, it’s not getting done. Oh, also, my dress still has a hole on the left side.

I’m content, even though my coffee is not in a Pinterest-worthy coffee mug and my posture from sitting at a pillow-desk is killing my back.

So, how does someone find happiness amongst the mess? How do you smile while sitting in a room full of quiet children’s toys when your little one has decided to play with the one toy you forgot to take batteries out of? Well, I don’t have a clue. Obviously, I still think I can get away with taking batteries out of toys and not being found out. My baby isn’t even here yet, okay? It’s still practicing how to survive in a metal show’s mosh pit within the constraints of my own body. It’s got the kicking down.

I do, however know how to find happiness amongst the messy floor of my bedroom that I share with my fiancé, two dogs, and a cat. I can give you hints as to how you can still smile while the dishes pile up over the sink and onto the counter. Sure, I may not always remember these things myself, I’m not perfect! But, when I do remember, I’m much happier with myself (and my life).

1. Simple Gratitude

I’m naming this one “simple gratitude” because it literally only takes about 5 seconds to accomplish. Stop for a moment and pause, look around at the life surrounding you. I can hear my fiancé walking through the front door, my cat is perfectly curled up on the bed, and I have a pile of clothes on the floor all destined to go to charity. The sun is setting and I can see snow outside my window.

My favorite time to do this is when I’m making coffee in the kitchen early in the morning. Just randomly, throughout the day, remind yourself to be thankful for this wonderfully messy life.

2. Slightly More Complicated Gratitude

This takes a bit more thought, but not too much more. Take some time at the end of the day, or beginning, and write out 10 Things you’re grateful for. When I do this regularly over several days, I can easily see my mood improving. It can be as simple as “the sun was shining, I drank coffee” or, as meaningful as, “I’m engaged!” Whatever you’re grateful for, write it down.

3. Enjoy Some Drinks

Do you love coffee? How about tea? Whatever (non-alcoholic) drink you enjoy, make it and enjoy it. Incorporate it into your daily routine! Being pregnant means I can only have one cup of coffee each day (ssh, I definitely did not stick to that rule today) but, I enjoy decaf as the day goes on. Adjust, improvise, but make it apart of your daily ritual or routine. Give yourself something to look forward to!

4. Make Each Day A Cheat Day

Don’t make yourself (and your body) sad by denying it the food it wants! Especially while you’re pregnant. More Cheetos and donuts, please! No, instead let yourself have a little bit of what you want. A donut a day keeps the depression away! (No? Oh, well, I’m gonna pretend.)

5. Challenge Yourself

The last few days I’ve spent feeling sorry for myself. It’s been no fun and it caused me to cry for an hour last night, which was also no fun. I hate crying. Feelings? Ew. Gross. No. Anyway, I started challenging myself today. Can’t ever seem to catch up with my laundry? Well, I must have too many clothes. Get rid of as many as possible! Blog not super successful, yet? Well, it’s probably because I haven’t written anything. Challenge yourself to accomplish something fun, yet productive!

6. Take Photographs

I quite enjoy writing the word, photograph. It’s begun to feel kind of antique and vintage (which saddens me because I’m only 24). Take photographs of daily things happening, find your happiness in the moment. Today, it was while I was reading a book on my bed (actually, just before writing this). My cat was trying to chew on my book and when that got him lightly booped on the head by my highlighter, he began attacking my highlighter. I got frustrated easily. That is when I realized, this could be a cute and happy moment if I let it. So, I took a photo of him chilling by my side as I read my book. He looks cute, and I’m not frustrated anymore.

7. Change Your Perspective

I just realized this one while writing the advice for number 6. It’s true, though. Sometimes, you have to change your perspective. Which, in all honesty, is kind of what this entire posts boils down to, isn’t it? Instead of looking at the things that need to be worked on, things that need improvement, those problems still in search of solutions, look at the things that are okay. Yes, my room is a mess and not my ideal “I’m a blogger and my life is perfect” room. Honestly, that’s a goal that isn’t in the slightest bit realistic. Although it’s a mess, we painted the walls white so the room looks cleaner and brighter (not to mention bigger). It’s quiet in the house right now, perfect for tackling a spur-of-the-moment writing project. My bed is comfy.

8. Less Is More

This is something I’m trying to teach myself, as well as get my fiancé motivated to learn. While this whole approach is wildly popular right now thanks to a certain series on Netflix, that’s not where I’m going with this. I get stressed out when everything is cluttered and there’s a lot to look at. Probably partially explains why my parents’ home was always so stressful growing up. But, I’ve noticed the less I have, the easier it is for me to think. So, whether that’s throwing your shit in a box so it at least appears to be organized, or it’s fully subscribing to the whole minimalist lifestyle, less stuff laying around means a clearer mind.

9. Talk About It

I took a break from writing this because my fiancé didn’t stop in our room to say hi to me. Obviously, big mistake when there’s a pregnant woman involved. When I went out to the garage he barely talked to me. He was, of course, in the process of loading up random pieces of furniture and appliances we’ve somehow collected for free and hauling them off to the dump. No amount of logic stopped my hormones from being sad, though. As him and our roommate moved things around and began accomplishing things, I sat there in the garage beginning to look like a sad little broken-hearted puppy. He wanted to know why, he wanted me to talk to him. I didn’t have a response, I didn’t know why. So, I ran away to our room and let him continue what he was doing.

He came in and asked, again, what was wrong. Still, looking like a puppy who had just gotten in trouble for chewing on an expensive pair of stilettos, I told him I didn’t know. He thought maybe he did something wrong, to which I reminded him that if he did something wrong I would let him know (hello, pregnancy hormones + southern roots = I am now my mother and I’ll tell you everything you did wrong). We talked it out a bit and I realized I actually just felt guilty for not helping. Even though there was no way I could possibly help get an oven into the bed of a truck.

10. Allow Yourself To Be Happy

When I’m alone, just me, myself, and I, there’s no problem in the happiness department. I can feel happy, excited, anything. However, when other people are involved (or anything outside my control, really) I struggle to feel happy. It’s not that their presence doesn’t make me happy, it’s just that I am so used to people disappointing me so badly, that I shut down. I don’t want to be disappointed. Therefore, if I’m numb, I won’t be hurt. Right?

In reality, I end up just hurting myself by robbing myself of even a possibility of a happy moment. My fiancé shed a few tears of joy when he heard our baby’s heart beat the first time. I kind of just looked at him like, how do you cry? When he felt our baby kick his hand, he got all excited. Whereas I was more like, this is awkward and uncomfortable and I have another human inside of me right now, what the actual fuck? Excuse my language, but that’s reality. I don’t know how to allow myself to be happy about having a baby and starting a family. None of this happiness stuff is normal to me, I can’t process it! In my mind, I am happy. I just, at some point in my life, shut down the parts of my brain that connect being happy with the physical emotions of happiness.

So, do yourselves a favor, learn to experience happiness!

-Elizabeth