Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Speaking of Faith

Tonight I was at an event that I host each month. I got on the subway home, got off, checked CTA Bustracker to see how long the bus would be for my transfer...11 minutes. I sat down to wait. I played solitaire on my phone. The bus came, I got up, got on and got off at my stop only to realize that I had left my favorite bag, the one my best friend had given to me as a Christmas gift many years ago, at the train/bus stop with all of my things for the event and.....my wallet.

I checked the next bus arrival on my phone. 25 minutes. I walked the nine blocks as fast as my legs would allow me to go - my calves on fire, burning (of course bustracker was off, the bus went flying by me five blocks in). As I walked I cursed myself for not thinking. Of checking out the cute boy with the guitar strapped to his back instead of paying attention. I prayed "please God, please let someone be a good Samaritan." And...I cursed myself some more. I cursed myself for not paying attention, for being lost in other thoughts, and then I begged some more. Every time I cursed and begged I heard a voice saying "have faith." I replied, "I want to." I want to have faith, but I live in a city where something in such plain site could disappear in seconds, not moments. I got to the train/bus stop and there....more than 10 minutes later sitting in the same place was my bag under a bright light. No one could have missed it. Complete with wallet and all it's possessions.

I splurged for the six dollar cab ride home, exhausted from the emotion of it all. I thanked Him and in reply, I heard "Have trust. Ye of little faith."

It's time to listen again. To have faith again. To trust and know that He will never let me down, even as I go through this period of seeking. He is the one who's always got my back.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Shwew!!! I survived the weekend with sister1 and husband. It was a true whirlwind, but fun and I do love them. I can say that I am thoroughly exhausted! I can also say that I had a vodka martini slip and told my brother-in-law that I was really hurt by sister1's comment to me....he couldn't believe she said it.

Sister1 and I spent more than half our lifetime as practical strangers. She is seven years older than me and hated life so much that she didn't want to participate in mine for fear of remembering her hell. As a little girl, Sister1 was the only babysitter I would allow near me. I fondly remember a time when the babysitter couldn't get my pj's on, so Sister1 came in and told me to jump up and down on the bed to get my pants on. She was also the only one who could feed and hold me. Throughout the years we became more distant. I followed my path and she wanted to get away from all of us as fast as possible.

She did have her great moments like when Sister2 was supposed to take me to a movie and then stood me up to hang out with her friends. Sister1 called and asked if I wanted to go to the horse show. I was thrilled. She was, despite it all, always there. Sister2 never really supported me in all the things I was involved in, but Sister1 was always there. In my early 20's, Sister1 and hubby moved closer to my college town and I began going to their house for dinner. It's like having a new friend and discovering who they are. It took a few years, but since then we've been very close. We've helped each other become better people. We make time to visit one another....but something has changed.

The hardest part for me with my sister is that she is so closed minded. This weekend was Pride fest and I knew there was no way I would take them or even consider introducing them to "the girls" (read: boys). Both of them are so anti-gay and I think it's more because they have never met one or opened their heart to one to understand rather than simple disdain. It's easy to be afraid of the unknown. Sadly, "the girls" are great people and good friends to me, and disheartening that they will probably never meet these friends. It's ironic, too, because sister1/hubby both say that they are Christians and yet they are so judgmental. I believe it's our job to love everyone, open our hearts to as many people as possible - to spread the love of Christ - and He will do the judging. In turn, we'll be judged on our ability to walk the path.

My sister even chooses to judge me. Somehow she makes me feel like I am an irresponsible kid who knows nothing, and, of course, I understand that only you can allow someone else to make you feel this way. Without a doubt, I'm positive that if my life were on a track with some kind with financial stability, a house, husband and child that she would not do this - or make me feel this way. Yet, I have to learn to get to this place without these stabilities. Much like my father, there is a sense of disappointing her. I really need to let it go. Let go of how I think people think of me, how I think they will feel about my choices and start living for me - without abandonment.

I have daddy issues. My sisters and I all do. It's interesting and sad that sister1 has so much disdain for my father, yet she is the most like him, and becoming more so everyday. He is a challenging man, always has been, and even more challenging as he becomes a grumpy old man who doesn't feel well. She is starting to mimic some of this behavior....at the ripe old age of 43. He was a dictator of some sorts growing up but a great problem solver who, despite not listening any other time, could, if need be, really listen and help you mull over important decisions and problems. His heart, while often selfish, was mostly in the right place - but more on him later.

I worry most that sister1, after years of avoidance, will never fully rectify with herself these issues of hatred, dislike, fear and annoyance for my father. Instead she continues to carry them around, becoming (unaware) more and more the exact mold of him. That's a long lifetime and a heavy burden. She is so clearly angry and unhappy, almost the "victim" - like my dad - in life. I don't know how she can carry it around with her day in and day out, moment by moment.

Sister1 is lucky to have her hubby. He is the best. They balance one another. He is always loving, fun and upbeat, even when she's a kill joy. The one thing she and I have in common - we're really good at beating ourselves up.

I've chosen to deal with my "daddy issues" and find a way to interact with him that makes our time together far more enjoyable. I wish she could do the same, but she gets pissed every time I give her suggestions. If she chooses to carry this hatred in her heart for a lifetime, there is nothing I can do. I simply pray that she will find peace. If she is unable to do so I fear that it will forever alter our relationship. With that said, I have become very adept at one-sided relationships, especially with family. I always cater to them and they never want to hear the truth of what I have to say, so I keep it all inside...festering away until one day I explode. It's not worth it, and so God, instead, gave me the idea for Finding Epiphany.

I won't often "beat the bible" here (it's not really my approach), but it is important to understand this side of me in the hunt for my Epiphany, and even yours. I am a person of faith - and you can determine whatever that higher power is for you - for me it's God. I also believe in the power of energy, aka the universe or karma - that there is a balance. It's easy to have faith in one aspect of your life, but when all of it seems out of whack, you want to try and take control rather than just live in the moment and have faith, or allow the universe to work in your favor. The one thing I know is that God has a plan for me, for each of us, that is greater than we even think we're capable of achieving. You have to keep your eyes, ears and heart open to be lead and then act.

Faith is not easy, nor for the faint of heart, but it works when you can let go. There in lies the trick...stop trying to control and let go. For me this blog is a release of thoughts and emotions clogging up my flow of faith and the positive energy around me. Allowing those thoughts to swirl around in your head can make you crazy. It reminds me of when I was a little girl and had a bad dream. My parents always said that if you say what the dream was out loud that you'd never have it again, and they were right. I want peace of mind and personal fulfillment in this short life. Unfortunately, we have to carry the baggage with us, but we don't have to unpack it.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Home is Where the Heart Is

It's official. I definitely need a new address; a new fresh, untainted with memories space. Something with new life and energy.

This is hard to say because I love my cute apartment (the nicest in a somewhat shabby building - my friends scoff at shabby - what?) The building is over 100 years old. It's city living. It's got character and class you can't find in modern buildings, or rather flat-converted homes. I do love it. The benefits are that it's the nicest, renovated apartment in the building and the rent...man I've grandfathered in. It's unbelievable what I pay for a place in this location (then again building reflective, I suppose). My apartment even has a little den which I use as my home office. And the location....is perfect. So why move?

I adore my neighbors but they're all considerably younger than me. Not a bad thing but I'm getting tired of the pot sifting its way through the walls into my closet making all of my clothes smell like I just jumped out of a used bowl (I have stock in Febreeze) and also my stairwell, which always has the strongest air freshners I can find. Sure, I've talked to them about this, but really what pot-smoking 25 year old is going to listen to me, or even care? They are nice guys and very kind.

The other problem: the music. You know, if you have a house on an acre of land play your music as loud as you want, but don't rock us all out. It's exhausting having to tell the adorable, sweet wannabe rapper and the bowled-out-of-their-minds students to turn the fucking bass down again and again. And I swear I'm not becoming old and boring, it's just that I'm over those days and....I have RESPECT for my neighbors. Crazy concept, I know.

Don't even get me started on my landlord! I once thought him an adorable Irishman I was dying to get my hands on and now I realize he's just crap! I had been asking him for EIGHT months to come fix things and he didn't. Of course, I, like an idiot, continued paying rent. Instead a lovely gf offered her husband's handy skills to come help me out. I took them both out for pizza and when I took out the expense from my check, I was sure to include the $60 "labor" charged - also known as a small bender at the pizza place. Now he's on it again. The one thing, the ONE thing he has to fix he hasn't done in a year and I'm definitely withholding the money. It's just bullshit!

It's just time. I've been in this space for 10 years and it's hard to let go. Every woman remembers her favorite "I'm a single and fabulous professional" apartment. This is mine. I started my business and a new life here way back then and it's the first time I haven't moved every year (which I did from 18-27 and more than once a year while in college). I've settled here but is it worth it for its current benefits? I do long for a nice place like my friends have, but those kinds of places in the city, and the space I'd need, are definitely TRIPLE what I'm currently paying in rent. And forget about buying. Anyone got 600 grand? It's crazy. One thing that I love and will miss most when I leave one day (it's inevitable) is my tree. I love my tree and, yes, I call it MINE. I look out on it each morning and in the fall the sun hits its orangey-golden leaves and catapults the warm color into my living room. It really makes me smile.

I do long for a house. A house on land that isn't infested with urban wildlife (aka rats) that I can have a garden on; have a dog who can run around and where I can play my music as loud as I want. I do long for the kind of life and space I grew up in, but if I'm staying in Chicago, I ain't moving to the burbs. It's too hard and almost all of my business is in the city anyway. Plus, I don't need a car living here....except for those terrible winter days when you're desperate to hit the grocery store. That's a long fucking four-block walk when the sidewalks aren't cleared!

Maybe it's time to be with other 30-somethings...For now, I've got to stick here (money and all) but I'm making myself over, one day and one blog post at a time and it will come together this year. Kitty and I are happy for the meantime - she's definitely claimed this as her kingdom. Besides, who knows where I will find myself in the next year?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Good Day

Today was a good day. For the first time in a few weeks I was focused and got a lot of work done. The immediate results were probably not what I hoped for and I still had to deal with some difficult people (why are some people just....SHITS?). I'm sure the push came from the fact that family are coming in town tomorrow and I only have so much time, but I needed it. No matter where it came from.

The real question is: how am I going to deal with the sister who told me that I have such a strong personality that she doubts I will ever find anyone to compliment me? It was, without a doubt, the most hurtful thing anyone could ever, EVER say to me. She has gone from a favorite, and good friend, to a very angry, incredibly conservative person who clearly doesn't think about what she says before she says it. Her daddy issues are far deeper than mine. But I will get to that sooner rather than later.

And of course, there's a flirt who needs to be dealt with....


Hamster on a Wheel

Do you have those mornings when you get up and don't want to go to work? I've been having those a lot lately.

I know that I'm good at what I do, but I just don't think I love it anymore. The marketing industry has changed so much with the Internet and social media. It's different in good ways and others bad. It's not the same as how it was when I fell in love with my career. I feel the entire face of my industry has changed and while some of it is fun, most of it isn't. Most of the time I feel like a hamster on a wheel.

Since I started my own business it's always been an ebb and flow - work comes and goes. Every morning I swing my legs out of bed and jump off a cliff. There are no guarantees. It's stressful. You have to pay extra for taxes and health insurance....don't even get me started. At the end of the day I pay more out than I have to live on. It's depressing. Then again, most people don't do what I've done as a single or without a trust fund or family to invest. This has been all me and I'm tired of fighting alone.

I've always enjoyed working for myself, managing my time and having more freedom - although I can work seven days a week. One can say I like being the boss. There is a certain amount of control there. That I can control my career rather than have it decided by a potential pink slip - that is the reason I went out on my own in the first place, I was tired of the pink slip. Mostly, I enjoy the management and decided a few weeks ago that, until I figure out my next steps in life, I have to continue what I'm doing and change the structure of my business. That means outsourcing, which means I'll make less, but at least I know someone who enjoys certain elements of this work will get it done with joy and excellence. I can't say I have either of those at the moment. One thing at a time....

Now, I want to do anything but work. I'd rather watch Oprah, movies on Lifetime, write. In fact, this blog is the one thing I can't wait to get up and do each day.

I think it's mostly the doubt, the not knowing which direction my life is going. I still have tremendous faith that I will be led in the right direction, but it's hard. I've always believed that if you're doing what you're meant to then it comes easy. Life comes easy. It's not easy right now. I feel overwhelmed by it all and that makes me want to escape, rollerblading and sitting lakeside every day, all day (suppose, to meet my physical health goals, this is a good thing).

I always wanted to join the ranks of those who run, but with terrible knees running is literally pounding the pavement, and my joints, to shreds. Rollerblading is awesome cardio and, in the city, a mode of transportation. The best part is that I can take a break, sit along the lake watching the sailboats, or lay on my back listening to the sound of waves and watching the clouds pass by. I want to enjoy my career as much as I enjoy this.

Diane* and I have yet to discuss the next tasks regarding my Top 10 Things That Make Me Happy list. She used this same approach to find her new path in life and her guidance is priceless to me. I'm hoping that it will help sort out the plethora of thoughts in my head, calm me and give me the strength to take one more risk. In the meantime, I have to let go of how I think everyone else around me will feel about the decisions I make for my life and make them for me.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Saying "No" Doesn't Mean I'm Boring

I love having fun. Love IT! Who doesn't? In my case...I can't say no. "No, I have to go home" are words that don't seem to exist in my vocabulary, or at the least momentarily disappear at key times. Of course, they do make an appearance, like when someone is trying to get me to stay out and spend too much money, or following a romp in the hay that I've suddenly regretted, and immediate fleeing is required. It's not like I can't say it, it's just that a lot of times I have real trouble saying "No".

Yesterday is the perfect example. I attended a luncheon with a friend -we'll call him The Mayor (He knows everyone and I mean everyone!) - and we headed to the bar following for a few drinks, which turned into a bender, which led to a cab ride to the West Loop neighborhood and sitting on a patio until Midnight flirting with some cuties....I could have been home and back to work by 3p, I could have saved money and done something productive at home, but uh huh, nope, I said "yes" to the glasses of wine and the adventure that followed.

Maybe it's the wine...it...always...starts with the wine. Now, I didn't get drunk last night, and although I question it some times, I don't have a drinking problem, but I definitely should have spent my day in a better way. The wine is something I turn to for relaxation, but I HATE to be drunk. No doubt I would have slept better last night and not feel like complete crap today (not read: hangover, just tired). Some greasy fast food breakfast sounds awesome right now, but that's not going to help me on the "getting in shape" front. I don't regret the fun I had yesterday (well maybe just a little) but what I need to figure out is why I can't stop myself.

I've always left it up to friends in the past, who have more self control, to say "we're going...NOW", but I can't seem to say it myself. It's like I need someone to call me on the phone and check in, drive by and throw me in the back seat or an alarm to suddenly go off on my mobile to snap me into reality. It's like...I need someone to care about me more than I do.
I would have stayed out on that patio until this morning if I could have...I bet. Or worse....I could have gone home with a flirt!

I know that married people always seemingly want their days of single freedom back, and I should embrace mine, right? After all, I'm exercising my right to stay out late with some flirts with no one to answer to, no kids or husband at home. Maybe, just maybe, you think I'm nuts, this is not a big deal at all and I should stop kicking myself. Maybe...or maybe I have been so stressed out over trying to figure out my life, et al, that when fun presents itself I over indulge myself in an attempt to runaway, clear my mind - any other excuse I can come up with. Wow, sadly, I've been doing this for years....

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Step One: A List (the first of many)

The one good thing about knowing a lot of people is that one of them has gone through exactly what you're going through, and has survived to be the one person to hold your hand through it. That's Diane*. My fabulous Harvard JD turned professor gal pal.

We met about 10 years ago while in a performance group together. You can't not adore Diane. And the best part is, she used to live in her head like I am living in my head. Thoughts fluttering all around giving way to self-doubt and a desire to runaway from it all (no one's jumping off a bridge here - but headed back to my hometown for safety doesn't seem like a bad idea). Here's the difference, she conquered and came out the other end with the life of her dreams.

Since she moved to the west coast, Diane and I really haven't spoken as much. Thank goodness for Facebook. What a life jacket to friendships around the world! Friends who once seemed lost are found, and I can read what Diane is up to everyday. It's great. So, when I called her unfortunately it didn't seem we had too much to catch up on...(Facebook), but I dug my heals in and told her.....my truth.

I mentioned she's been through this, right? The gal had a phat job at a Chicago firm, an adorable condo, quit it all for the west coast where she knew no one, is a law professor on track for tenure, found her amazing life partner, a dog and hopefully, soon, a bouncing baby. She had a lot to say to me, and I'm sure there will be more to come, but for now, the list....

Diane's first recommendation to me is to create a list of 10 things that make me happy. 10 things! That's like a list of 1000 cut to 10. I'm guessing that eating chocolate chip cookie dough while sitting in a hot bath or a glass of wine (or three) after a long day isn't going to make the list. Along with the fact that I could lay by the lake for hours in the shade just watching the clouds. On with it...

The 10 Things That Make Me Happy (in no particular order)

  1. Music
  2. Writing
  3. Consulting/teaching
  4. Yoga/Rollerblading
  5. Animals
  6. Traveling
  7. Volunteering/helping others
  8. Connecting people
  9. Entertaining
  10. Being creative - sewing, etc.

I can say I do much of this already (because it makes me happy! duh), but deciphering it to find the answers I am seeking is another thing. This is the first step in reclaiming my life and finding my epiphany.

What's on your list?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Finding My Epiphany

This is my truth. At 36 yrs old I am a blessed woman - single, living in a fabulous international city, but not generally happy with my life. I am lost. Like a lot of people, I am a seeker. After a lifetime following, what I feel to be, other people's expectations on my life, I'm searching for where my life should be; where I want it to be.

I am broke (told you this is my truth), and when I mean broke I mean a load of debt from various culprits (clothing not withstanding) and starting a business, which I'm not even sure I want to do anymore. The marketing industry has changed so much and I just don't know if it's for me, but I'll get to that later. Moreover, I'm single. I realize that this is mostly of my own doing (a plethora of stories on the way), but I'm through with it. It's time to be honest with myself about myself and with those I love.

I'm through with the fear of just about everything in life. I'm tired of looking at the skidmarks life has left on my roadway; memories of all things shitty in my past and not remotely reflective of who I was back then, and clouding the vision of who I am today. If you knew me back when, I was so.....audacious. Nothing could stop me and now....I'm literally hitting my mid-life crisis before midlife! Like I said, I'm seeking. I'm seeking my own personal epiphany on life, love and career, and boy do I have a lot to accomplish!

I'm ready to become the individual I am meant to be - happy, find my "the one" and a career that I LOVE! More importantly, I'm ready to take the chances required to make all of these things happen. Are you with me?

Are you feeling lost? This will be therapeutic, not just for me but for all women (and men) out there searching for their true purpose, truth in life and true path. It is an epiphany by the best definition and it covers every aspect of my life and being (and possibly yours).

Why a blog. I am a writer. Always have been. Whether it was diary(s) as a kid, poems depicting heartbreak and the overall torture of being a teenager, or song lyrics and writing a lot for my career - I love to write. It is my therapy, and since I felt journaling all of this might cause my hand to shrivel up and die, I chose a blog.

So, take this ride with me. Over the course of the next year I will:

  • Lose a few L-Bs(tone up) and KEEP it off. No more yo-yoing
  • Find my "the one"
  • Discover the career I am meant to have
  • Uncover the root to all my "screwedupness" and openly challenge the ones I love to take this journey with me
  • And pursue my passions
I hope that you will find in this blog the strength to seek and find your life and truth with me. After all, we're human. We travel in packs. We need one another.

Who am I? Just call me Epiphany.

This is my epiphany, and yours. We are all an epiphany in the works. I have faith in my epiphany, and so should you. I choose to remain anonymous because while this blog is about me, I know that so many people can easily relate to my daily challenges, reflections, inspirations and....epiphanies. We're on the road of life together. No one walks alone.


PS Only a very small number of people know who I am. To protect the innocent, and to preserve the likes of any relationship I might care to retain during my honesty purge towards epiphany, all names are either "in code" or changed completely.