The Wuthering Heights Edition

A few years ago, I began collecting editions of Emily Bronte’s novel Wuthering Heights. Some were gifts from family and friends and others seemed to find me on their own.

My co-worker Kayla brought me this special treat that she found at Barnes & Noble!

Ain’t she a beauty?

Wuthering Heights

 

Here are some of my other favorite editions:

Reading Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte

 

Wuthering Heights Editions

 

More Wuthering Heights Editions

 

What books do you collect?

 

 

 

Next Chapter

For the last year and a half, I’ve felt stuck on the same chapter in life. And then I realized it was my fault. Being alone used to terrify me, but I’ve grown to love it. Here’s how it happened:

Thanks to wise advice from a friend who asked a simple question:

“What are your tangible goals?”

 

Once I realized all my goals to this point have been things I couldn’t control, I started letting go of my guilt for activities like sleeping in, enjoying a drink, binge watching Netflix, not catching up on work at home, skipping the gym, not being married or having kids, etc.

This is my alone time.

I spent so much time being disappointed in myself for not doing all the things I thought I was supposed to accomplish before bed, the end of the week or the end of my 20s. The more I let go of these internalized, every day “failures,” the more I found myself creating a routine that actually made me happy. I started focusing on what I wanted to do without forcing the activities I felt obligated to do.

My alone time also allowed me to focus on new future goals — the tangible ones.

Drink tea every night

What tangible goals have you made for yourself in 2017?

 

Tangible goal technology break

Holiday Greetings From Your Chiropractor

I see my chiropractor for an adjustment every other month or so to keep my migraines at bay, and we spent the 15 minutes with the usual small talk. But he is one of the lucky ones with an excellent memory who remembers specific details from our last conversation.

“Didn’t you mention that you were writing a book? How is it coming along?”

“What’s the novel about?”

“What other stories do you write?”

Right before Christmas I finally checked my mailbox and found a holiday greetings card from his office, and you’ll never guess what it said:

Holiday greeting card from my chiropractor

At least I know I can count on my chiropractor to hold me accountable for writing my book!

Walking Art

I’ve always been a little jealous of artistic people whose aesthetics are as creative as their minds. You know the ones … edgy make up, multicolored hair, layered outfits that shouldn’t look as fabulous off the hanger as it does. I see them as walking advertisements for their creative brand.

My hair is my thing. It’s always been long, frizzy, curly and out of control. There have been so many times that I wanted to do something crazy like chop it off or bleach it blonde, but I never had the guts. Even going to a medium cut left me craving for my long hair again.

But this year sucked, you guys, so I decided I was done wishing and daydreaming. It was my turn to advertise the colorful, crazy ideas floating around in my head.

And so it began …

Blonde tips

First, I bleached my tips. Yes, I actually let bleach touch my hair for a solid 50 minutes.

Straightened colored hair

Then it was time to straighten and style.

Thank you to my friend who Photoshopped this creepy photo of me into Harley Quinn. Guess I know who I’ll be for Halloween next year!

Harley Quinn hair color

Yes, the style of color was inspired by Suicide Squad’s Harley Quinn. I regret nothing.

 

Merry Christmas hair

It was a very merry Christmas and happy New Year, indeed!

 

The end!

 

Don't show it to me. I have no time for recreational reading until June."
- Rory Gilmore

Rory Gilmore for Halloween

This year for Halloween I decided to go as Rory Gilmore, complete with a Sylvia Plath novel and a poor fan’s DIY Luke’s Diner mug!

Rory Gilmore is the ultimate bookworm with a passion for knowledge and journalism. I like to think that I was definitely a Rory in high school.

Rory Gilmore Outfit

The Rory Gilmore Halloween outfit.

Prepping for Rory Gilmore\ 90s hair part down the middle

90s straight hair

Luke's Diner mug Gilmore Girls

Rory Gilmore props

Rory Gilmore props.

Rory Gilmore posing with coffee

Rory Gilmore drinking coffee

Outfit with 90s hair

Rory Gilmore

Rory Gilmore diet

Rory Gilmore Halloween

Rory Gilmore Halloween costume 2016 complete

 

Life’s Illusions From Both Sides Now

Image via RollingStone.com

Image via RollingStone.com

The older I get, the more I listen to Joni Mitchell.

The more I listen to Joni Mitchell, the more I realize don’t know what I thought I knew.

* * *

Here are two different versions of Both Sides Now to fit whatever type of mood you’re in today.

 

“Bows and flows of angel hair and ice cream castles in the air
and feather canyons everywhere, I’ve looked at clouds that way.
But now they only block the sun, they rain and snow on everyone.
So many things I would have done but clouds got in my way.

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now,
from up and down, and still somehow
it’s cloud illusions I recall.
I really don’t know clouds at all.

Moons and Junes and ferris wheels, the dizzy dancing way that you feel
as every fairy tale comes real; I’ve looked at love that way.
But now it’s just another show. You leave ’em laughing when you go
and if you care, don’t let them know, don’t give yourself away.

I’ve looked at love from both sides now,
from give and take, and still somehow
it’s love’s illusions that I recall.
I really don’t know love at all.

Tears and fears and feeling proud, to say “I love you” right out loud,
dreams and schemes and circus crowds, I’ve looked at life that way.
But now old friends are acting strange, they shake their heads, they say
I’ve changed.
Something’s lost but something’s gained in living every day.

I’ve looked at life from both sides now,
from win and lose, and still somehow
it’s life’s illusions I recall.
I really don’t know life at all.”

– Joni Mitchell

My Language of Quiet

Me not impressed with Las Vegas.

Me not impressed with Las Vegas.

My co-worker and I are the same age and always joke about being the “old farts” in the office as we will both be turning 30 within a month of each other in 2017. It was suggested by another co-worker that we go on vacation somewhere to celebrate. I love to travel and explore new places, so I considered it, until my two extroverted co-workers shouted “Las Vegas!”

This was just another moment where I had to question myself: “Why am I such an outcast?” I prefer silence over chatter at work. My nerves are on overdrive when my boss assigns me a speaking role in a meeting without any details of what to say while my other co-workers can “wing it” without any preparation or practice. Now I couldn’t even agree on Las Vegas. Everyone is supposed to love that place.

Here I was, preferring a place of seclusion, such as my parents land up north that they recently purchased, or the solitary Yorkshire moors in England, or the breathtakingly beautiful Alaska. Las Vegas was the last place in the world I wanted to visit again. My one-night stay in 2010 was enough for me to know it wasn’t my kind of city. I couldn’t justify sitting in a casino to just watch others gamble away their money. There was no way I’d gamble even a dollar to lose on bad luck.

Photo courtesy of QuietRev.com.

Photo courtesy of QuietRev.com.

There is this cultural ideal in America (and in most of the world) that extroversion is what people should strive for: at our jobs, in the classroom, with our friends and romantic partners. Extroverts are known as the more “likeable fellow,” as author Susan Cain puts it in her book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.” But what’s so wrong with the introverts? The answer, you will find, is nothing. We are just programmed a little differently, and you need to learn to respect us, too.

“Quiet” covers every aspect of introverts vs. extroverts from biological to cultural. Susan Cain has written a section for everyone: parents, teachers, children, lovers, scientists, psychologists and anthropologists.

quiet people

Photo courtesy of PlayBuzz.com.

Since high school, I have forced myself into being more extroverted over fear I’d never succeed in life without an outgoing personality. Over the last 15 years now (man, I’m getting old), I’ve worked myself on overdrive to be the best extrovert I could be for the sake of my career, friendships, romantic partners, and good grades.

I’d beaten myself up for worrying too much about EVERYTHING: nervous shakes before interviewing a source for an article, stomach flips when a professor puts me in the spotlight, unsure how to respond properly to a compliment, etc. Why couldn’t I play it off as though these things were easy for me to adapt to like everyone else? Because I am different.

I am an introvert.

By the end of my college career, I’d gotten used to lying to myself about who I was. I started drinking alcohol to enjoy an overabundance of conversation with a group of people in a small area, I took dance lessons to get over my fear of looking like a fool at parties, I convinced myself I preferred the bar scene with all of my friends over the stay-at-home-and-read-a-book time. While I genuinely did learn to love all of these activities, a part of me always felt a little lost. Sometimes I really did just want to stay at home and read, or binge watch TV, or lock myself in my bedroom and crank my music for hours and hours.

So why did I work so hard to convince myself there was something better I could be doing with my time?

I had forgotten my language of quiet, and the importance of it for my health.

Photo courtesy of HoboNinja.com.

Cain explains that introverts are the majority in Asian countries, while Europe and North America are overrun by mostly extroverts. In our society, we believe that being in the spotlight is the only way to get noticed and get ahead in life. But some of us are getting burnt out with this ideal, and we’re lying to ourselves.

This year I didn’t make a new year’s resolution, but I promised myself I would go back to doing the things I wanted to do, like take it easy on the weekends, enjoy my solitude with my cat and novels or go on thoughtful walks/jogs. I didn’t realize until after I’d read “Quiet” that I was taking back control of my true self.

I have always mentally divided my life into two parts:

1. Before high school

2. After high school

Quiet shyness susan cain

Photo courtesy of MacGenesis.net.

Sometimes I find myself saying, “Hm, I’ve been more of my high school self lately.” I never really knew what I meant by that, but I always considered my high school self as “the better me.” The kinder, careful, more relaxed and self aware version of myself. In college there were days I had to work extra hard to calm myself and avoid a full on panic attack. Now I realize I had been forcing myself into a social situation overload for so long that the stress of it all was finally catching up with me. I had stopped considering who I was and what my needs were. I was just doing what I had to do to succeed and survive in this world.

There were nights I would come home from an eight-hour day of classes (I was required to participate in, of course), followed by attending a presentation I had to write about for the campus newspaper, followed by meetings for student organizations I ran, and finally back home where I would collapse on my bed for a solid minute, only to get a friend’s text message to join them out at the bar (which I always did). Cheers to doing it all over again the next day!

Susan Cain’s book has given me pride in the introvert I am:

  • I get my energy by being alone, not in large social settings.
  • As much as I love the occasional party, it will leave me exhausted and I will need to take the entire next day to recover (sorry).
  • I will always prefer gardening over hosting my friends at home or reading a novel over answering your phone call or returning your text message (but you’re still important to me).
  • While I will never turn down a live music concert to support my friends (it’s an extrovert hobby I could never give up), I will only stay out passed my bedtime on the weekends.
  • I will always want to choose my novel over your invitation, but I’m very happy to make an appearance for a few hours (I will leave when I’ve maxed out).

I have learned how to speak my language of quiet again, and I hope every introvert can find their way back, too.

alone