I’m doing good, I’m on some new shit.

(If you remember back before I started half caring about SEO when all my post titles were T Swift or FOB lyrics, you a real one.)

This was gonna be a can’t-believe-I’ve-been-a-fake-blogger-for-six-years anniversary post on June 20th, my lil’ website’s birthday. Then, it was gonna be a Happy Half New Year post on July 1st, where I publicly declared my mid-year intentions. Instead, we’re somewhere in the middle, like most things in life.

I’ll admit, I’ve been having a hard time. I know we all have. 2021 has brought me life and loss and possibility and many opportunities to absolutely fucking spiral. The last six months have been a series of financial ups and down. Some months, I was picking up any shift possible to make up for limited hours and weeks of quarantine. Some months, it was such grueling, horrific work that it didn’t feel worth the obscenely good money. Outside of work, I felt like nothing. I would have to coerce myself into doing anything else because I was just like to my core exhausted. I’ve been feeling on the brink of panic, easily swayed over the edge by something nonsensical that I should be able to handle.

And you know what? I am manifesting my way through that shit. Not to be all ✨🔮, but I really want to give myself credit for that.

One day I just woke up and it was time. I finally made the CV I’d been dragging my feet on for four years even though it felt painfully spare. I needed someone to give me experience and I found a non-profit university to let me volunteer (arguably too much of) my time in exchange for something to put in my “Relevant Experience” column. I spent my limited free time writing cover letter after cover letter, hustling in any way possible. I got my substitute teaching license because I couldn’t see how anyone would hire me for what I really wanted to do, but I started applying for adjunct professor jobs nonetheless, beginning with one that I was least-qualified for because it felt so far out of reach that it weirdly felt low risk. It was the one I expected the least from, so of course, in the cosmic way of the world, it was the one that hired me.

To be fair, I do still be panicking and I do still be crying. I only ever seem to have enough free time to fix one part of my life at a time. I spent all my time applying for jobs, then panicked about my body and spent all my time working out, then panicked about how I haven’t been writing and spent all my time and money submitting to lit journals and trying to figure out wtf I’m gonna do about this book. Now that I’m actually starting to teach, it’s just been sporadic attempts of juggling each of those things. I can’t tell you if I’m doing anything particularly well, but I’m doing them and that has to be something.

I have decided that I’m trying to make this a season of contentment. (Is it too Christian millennial woman to say “season?”) My problem is that I like cut and dry change. Impulsive, life-altering decision, then deal with the aftermath. Light your whole life on fire and start over. But not everything can be that, and biding time until the drama of the next big thing to tear it apart is no way to live. You gotta give credit to the slow burn. The ability to plant seeds and wait for things to bloom. I’m grateful to myself for her little hustle, and for the partner and the job and place in life that allows her to ease into new things. I’m grateful for the grumpy little part of her brain that tells her it’s never enough because that’s what keeps her grasping, trying to move forward, daydreaming about the life she wants. But I’m also grateful for the quiet new voice reminding her that this is it, her only life, and this messy part of it matters just as much as the part she is trying desperately to create for herself.

So anyway, what brought on this corny little life update? A series of events. A week ago, I woke up and immediately shattered my jar of back up instant coffee that I save for when I’m out of regular coffee. This is fine. I have plenty of coffee. A couple days ago, I woke up and immediately shattered my coffee pot full of water. This is fine. I have a carton of iced coffee. Today, I’m out of that. I look on maps and see there’s a Starbs only 4 miles away that I’ve never been to. The drive is pleasant, super deserty, and I’m singing–like, really singing–along to Kesha’s “Praying” (as you must, when it comes on). The song ends and I start it over. Guess what? The Starbs is not a drive thru. It’s inside a Safeway. Reader, I am braless in boyfriend’s old tee shirt that is now pajamas, my hair in the wilted bun I sleep in with my growing out undercut exposed, his shorts because I didn’t want to go upstairs for mine, and birks. It’s bleak. But it doesn’t look like I just happened to show up in public in this. It looks like this is just how I dress.

I buy instant cold brew and almond milk and I drop the almond milk and it explodes. I have to shamefully pick it up and bring it to an employee and tell them what I’ve done and she’s so nice to me about it even as I hear them page for a “wet clean up” in aisle 3. I buy my things and then still get Starbs because I want coffee now, obviously. The barista is a sweet angel wearing jeans even though I order something that they’re out of and she comes up with something new and I say “Whatever you think is good!” and she says “You don’t seem like a picky person!” and makes me the drink and tells me to try it in case I want something else. And it’s great! I tell her so. I realize she’s grateful that I’m not being mean to her about the sign that warns of supply shortages. You know who would be this nice to a guest in this situation, I think? ME. And she’s being nice to me because I was so nice to her. I get back in the car. “Praying” picks back up where I left it. I start it over and sing again. I actually sort of like this outfit, by now. Not that I look cute, like, that is out of the question. But I have this feeling that I’ve had sometimes lately, and each time I do I’m kind of surprised by it. I feel good even though I didn’t do anything to make myself feel good? How is this so?

And then I’m hit like a big dumb lightning bolt that OH, I think I kind of like myself?! And I’m so shocked that I am dumbfounded! It’s not a feeling that I never have, it’s just that when I have it I can’t identify why it feels so good. I’m so soft with everyone else and I so absolutely bully myself. I would never treat anyone the way that I treat me. I am capable of manufacturing things to feel good about. I put on a cute outfit and actual makeup and it’s like look, she found a disguise! 10 points of serotonin for her. She accomplished something she’s been trying to do for weeks! She can have little a self love, as a treat. Being nice to yourself is more than skinny influencers posting photos in which their stomach skin folds in a slightly less flattering way. I think sometimes it can be like watching the world’s ugliest dog competition. You find yourself defensive of the winner. She’s so ugly that she’s actually sort of cute! When things get hard, I’m astounded with the things I am capable of being proud of. Who else is gonna cheer me on like this?!

Lately, I have broken so far through the other side of how I thought I had to live my life that every little thing feels like a gift, and I accept these gifts because my big dumb goofy self deserves them. That’s how I’m feeling today.

(Is this entire website just an elaborate cry for help lol stay tuned)

The offensive outfit in question.

Anyway, love you bye!

xx, Tab

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