Saturday, March 22, 2014


I remember when I was in my second year of French in high school and we were practicing our vocabulary and conjugation. My teacher would ask us a question in French and then we would have to answer in French in front of the whole class. I remember getting asked "Are you lucky?" and he neatly prefaced the question with "All things considered." I remember answering that I was.

But as someone who doesn't believe in luck, I don't think I can say that I see myself as a "happy-go-lucky" kind of person. I might be more the type who "presses my luck" maybe, but lucky, no. I'm blessed to have a job, a family, a place to live, a laptop to write these posts on. I'm blessed that a few people even still take the time to read this blog.

I was just in a minor car accident this morning. And sure enough, one of the other drivers said we are "lucky" to all be OK. Of course I am happy no one is injured. But I don't feel lucky at all about it. My stomach is completely turned, my left foot feels like it is asleep, and I spilled coffee all over the interior of my boyfriend's car (he says I was lucky I wasn't driving my car). As someone who has been in a good amount of accidents, I don't feel lucky. I commute every day and of course on the one weekend I am out driving to Los Angeles, I get in an accident. I had considered not going to L.A. and doing all my errands instead, but of course I convinced myself I had to go. If I had just run my errands I would have a clean house, a clean to-do list, calories would be burned off, and I wouldn't be sitting here questioning my luck. In fact, I would probably feel pretty darn lucky to have had the time to get everything finally done.

But I should know better than to believe this Sliding Doors version of events. I mean, who is really able to get everything done? When you work full-time and try to balance it with the rest of your life, you seldom feel so lucky to successfully say you have accomplished everything you set out to do. And that's what gets me down sometimes. I hold myself to the standards I set which includes a long list of goals (running a half-marathon, losing 15 pounds, paying off credit card debt, writing a novel, contributing to other publications, etc.). When I look at what I have done and compare it to where I want to be, I don't feel like I am doing enough (there isn't enough time to train, I need the money for my sister's wedding, I am too tired to stay up and write, I don't know how to contribute, etc.) It's in these rare, bleak moments that I feel like the most unlucky girl in the world. Yes, I know it all sounds so silly and melodramatic. I even know it is not all true. Sometimes the person who might seem the luckiest can possibly never even feel that way about themselves. 

So this is how I choose to look at things: God in all his mercy and knowledge has spared me from being injured, he has provided me with an income, the body I have, the people I love. Sometimes we aren't going to see His ways and methods as preferable or easy or fun, but there is a reason behind it all. When we find this reason agreeable or His methods easy and fun we call it "lucky." But we don't want to talk about the other side of the coin. I could sit here and blog about shoes for every post, and I could probably do it well, but that's not what life is all about. Sometimes you have to indulge in the darker moments to really learn, to truthfully answer that when all things are in fact considered, you come out blessed; or better yet, you come out being yourself. 

Right now I am the writer who missed a writing retreat because of a car accident. I had with me a bag of nail polish to gift my writing friends and now someone else will be lucky enough to get it. This week I got a lotto ticket for St. Patrick's Day, but I didn't win any money. I had my first fortune cookie ever, and the fortune was kind of lame, or so I thought. I am blessed to have the money to indulge in Starbucks a couple of times a week and to buy my makeup from Nordstrom. I didn't go out Monday to drink green beer, but I was able to stay in Saturday morning to write this blog post. Since writing was on my to do list anyway, I can say I did get something done, which might be the silver lining/pot of gold under the rainbow. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Stitch in Time

I had a conversation with my boss last week about the type of writing I have been doing for my day job. We both agreed that I am not writing too many hard-hitting journalistic pieces (or any at all). I do tend to enjoy a nice style, arty piece (which admittedly, can be fluffy). 

I got to thinking about my career, and as I looked back over it, I wondered if I had spent all these years not really writing those meaty, soul-wrenching stories that win awards. It seemed to me like I produced a lot of pretty pieces during the day and worked on the gut-wrenching stuff in my spare time (that I don't have much of) and therefore doesn't show up as often. Since I will be turning 30 at the end of the year, I really want to start digging in when it comes to good writing, both at home and at work. 

The truth is, sometimes pretty things can bring about some of my best writing. These objects allow me to talk about the deeper issues at hand in a way that is more comfortable to me. Case in point: the new shoes above from Charlotte Olympia. The Shear Delight collection made me think of my previous job, where sewing and stitching were a part of my daily life. 

I love the metaphor of using stitching to talk about time. We often refer to time as a fabric, and our mere moments are but stitches, piercing the overall form. Sometimes I think in my 30 years I haven't pieced things together the way I should have. It's tough to remember that there is really no "should," no pattern. It's hard to keep in mind that we are all just ateliers, making something one of a kind with our bare hands. We have a sketch of an idea, but fabric can pull and tear; alterations might need to be made. There are some days I wish I could just cut out of the whole continuum, and stretch the fabric over to begin anew. But that's the difference between life and fabric. 

Maybe the best course of action is to keep in mind the moments we wish we could replicate again and again, the perfect touches, the shiniest details, or maybe it's to vow to move forward, and finish what has been started. It is my hope and my prayer that I am able to finish despite snags and imperfections. It is my goal to keep working until the shapes I have sketched out become vaguely realized. And even though I might make some miscalculations, it is important to summon the strength to measure twice before making another cut. I worry so heavily sometimes about making that final cut that I forget beauty can be present in the process, and even the mistakes. 

Here's hoping that whatever you are creating right now, is starting to come together, flaws and all.