2020: Word of the Year

At the end of 2018, I made a post about my word of the year–the theme, if you will, on which I wanted to focus my energy. For 2018, the word was “Renaissance.” I was just out of college and wanted to be “Reborn” into someone new.

I wrote this about the word of the year for 2019:

“For 2019, I think my word of the year will be “Release.” I have changed my life for the better. Now, it is time to let go of all the pain of the past.

“It is going to be a challenge, but a worthy one. I want to be able to forgive and forget, to move on, to let it go.

“I need to stop indulging in escapism and bottling up. I need to learn how to feel my feelings, acknowledge them, and let them go. I need to learn how to let go, how to move on, how to accept that people don’t change and things don’t change and all I can change is myself. I want to be able to let it all go. I want to be able to have my mind free of worry, both about the past and about the future.

“My worrying is the biggest threat to my life. It threatens to ruin job(s) and relationships all the time. I need to get a hold on it, and the best way to do that is to learn how to release.”

Did I succeed?

I think so.

I wrote a poetry memoir, and I released a lot of what was stuck inside me in those poems. Sharing them made me put into the world that which was stuck in my head for so many years. It was freeing.

While I still have pain, I have a lot less of it, and that’s really all you could ask for. I’m doing better at meditating and growing. I feel like a more completely healed person.

I think I did a good job of releasing.

So what next? What for 2020?

Well, I decided that I am done with my past. I wrote it out, I got it out, and–while I’m still going to try to get those poems published, which would be rad–I’m moving on. Enough of focusing on the past, enough defining myself by my fading pain. It’s time, finally, to take my healed and stronger self and catapult into my life, myself, my future.

Speaking of “stronger self,” well, that’s it. Strength. Strength is my word of the year for 2020.

I am interpreting Strength like the tarot card strength. An inner strength. A feminine strength, based on respect and the kind of power that doesn’t come from violence. I want to be strong. I want to be a force of nature.

Like this waterfall I’m getting doused in.DSCF9209.JPG

I want to be able to be strong when I need to be, but gentle when I need to be, too. I want to be like water.

I have a lot of barriers to break through this year. I am taking three grad classes and doing a ton of editing (did I ever tell you guys I work for a book editing company, now? It’s so much fun! My days are filled with books<3), all while working my day job and tutoring creative writing. I have so much going on it’s crazy. I need to be strong to handle it all.

And that strength is already in me. I think I can use my newfound powers of release to bring it out.

Happy New Year, everyone. Let’s kill it.

Introvert Look Book: Gender Neutral Fashion Top Five

Gender neutral folks and other androgynous-dressing introverts, this is your day! It’s time to find that fashion balance an introvert strives for–stylish, without being too eye-catching. Without further ado, here are my gender-neutral top five.

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5. Horizontal stripes

Simple stripes go well with just about everything, and looks good on just about everybody. Thin stripes like these look great in black (or any other color) and add just a touch of personality to your classic jeans-and-tee combo. This is a high-quality option for just $20.

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4. Patch-covered flight jacket

Casual, classic, and unique, the patch-covered jacket shows off your individuality. Buy plain or half-decorated, then buy patches (from a craft store or Amazon) to add on. I have UFOs, Zelda’s triforce, and an LGBT rainbow on mine, among others.

Not into sewing? This is a great place to start.

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3. Rose-colored glasses (literally)

Pink is making a comeback. Both showing feminine strength and masculine power, they’re a great addition to your gender-neutral fashion rotation. Plus, protecting vision is always a hot look. Here’s a good choice.

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2. Dark floral button-down

Like the rose-colored glasses, this shirt encapsulates all that gender-neutral has to offer. The dark colors keep it grounded, while the floral pattern adds just the right amount of flair. Try this on for size! 

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  1. Detailed chest pockets.

While the bow ties in this photo might be a little too much for us introverts, I think the pocket detail is fantastic. What a neat way to add a pop of individuality to the button downs that likely litter your closet! If you sewed on those patches from number 4, this is a great next project for you. I found this photo from an article about a store that specifically sells gender-neutral clothing. They’re worth giving a look.

 

Best of luck, fashionista introverts!

Introvert Look Book: Men’s Fashion Top Five

Introvert men, you’re in a tough spot when it comes to fashion. Fashion for men seems to either be blah, boring suits or off-the-wall ridiculous.

I’m here to tell you there’s a happy medium between too invisible and too eye-catching: style.

If you would like to have a bit of style without feeling too anxious in those runway colors, look no further: here are my top five looks for introvert men.

Ladies, we’ve already done this for you. 

Non-binary/androgynous/enby friends, you’re next.

 

5. Proper Grooming/Facial Hair

This may seem obvious to many of you, but the facts are that women are typically more highly-trained in self-care. Many men don’t care about what their hair is doing, or if their beard is scruffy, or if they have a zit or two. It’s great to have confidence, but trust me: ten minutes of proper grooming in the morning can make both your confidence and attractiveness grow.

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I’m not saying you have to invest in mascara or anything, but a well-kempt beard goes miles. Simply styling your hair with a dab of gel or mousse will make you look great without standing out. Fair warning: this might feel strange at first, but after the first time you’ll feel great because you know you look great.

By the way, nothing’s wrong with male makeup. Coverup for zits is totally kosher–and while it may not be ubiquitous yet, male makeup is a growing trend. Check out this transformation–you can hardly tell he’s wearing makeup, yet he looks amazing, confident, and ready to face the day.Screen Shot 2019-12-06 at 12.30.33 PM.png

 

4. Dark Green Jacket

Many introverts prefer darker colors, and I am no exception. A dark green jacket gives a pop of color without stepping too far out of an introvert’s comfort zone.

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Comfortable and adjustable to any situation, this looks great against the introvert palate of blacks and browns without clashing. Here are a plethora of options to choose from.

Not a fan of green? Try burgundy or navy blue instead.

 

3. Hooded Flannel

Not only is a flannel an introvert must, with an added hood you’ll be able to adjust to any situation, no stress needed. It’s easy to wrap up and read, watch a movie, or chill by the fire. The hood allows comfort without needing to completely fade into the wall. I love the red and black, but flannel colors are nearly endless.

Try this on for size.

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2. Tan Hiking Bag

It’s hard finding a bag that is both masculine and efficient, but I think this has both covered. The hiker look brings style and substance to this outfit essential, and the classic tan color goes with almost anything. Best of all, it’s big enough to keep all you need easy at hand without bogging you down. Whether you’re toting your laptop across campus or your convention necessaries to a music festival, this bag has you covered.

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  1. Simple Black Watch

It may seem like a small detail, but when it comes to style, the devil is in the details. It’s the little touches that can elevate your look from ignoreable to just the right amount of stylish. This is a higher end choice, but there are plenty of cheaper options that are easier on your wallet while looking just as sleek. I like the black, because it goes with everything and looks great without catching the eye.

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There you have it, gentlemen! Hopefully these tips can help you male-identifying introverts find their niche in the world of style.

Introvert Fashion Look Book: Ladies Top Five

How do I look good when my anxiety keeps me from wearing anything too wild? This Look Book should help you get on track.

We’ll start with the ladies. Men, we’ll get to you in the next post, and afterward, gender neutral/androgynous style for those enby introverts.

 

5.  LBC (Little Black Cardigan)

Girls, this looks good with almost everything.

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It’s perfect to adjust to your changing moods. Feeling a little confident? Roll up those sleeves and get to business. Feel that introversion coming on? Wrap yourself up and read  a book in cozy comfort. Enraptured in a rare burst of energy? Tie it around your waist and transform instantly from cute librarian to 90’s rocker chic.

To be honest, I could fill the ladies’ fashion guide with cardigans. They’re so perfect. They give you just enough style to feel cute without standing out of the crowd. If black isn’t your thing, try a brown or crocheted cream.

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4. Plaid flannel

Is anything more classic than a plaid flannel? I love how they give you a pop of muted color without ever being too bright. I’m a fan of this one with its rich red and slight fit. It keeps close enough to give you shape without feeling like you’re “showing off.”

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Just like the cardigan, the plaid flannel has options. Unbutton it over a tank top for a more relaxed look, or tie it around your waist in case you’re nervous that movie theatre might be cold in late summer. Wrapping up in one of these always makes me feel at home. It’s like a security blanket, in the shape of a lumberjack essential.

 

3. Natural Makeup

I avoided makeup for quite awhile. Bright red lips and blue eyelids made me feel pretty, but seemed to attract attention–exactly what I didn’t want it to do. Makeup can be a huge confidence booster, but doesn’t need to be eye-catching. Instead of passing on it or going all out despite your anxiety, give natural makeup a try.

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This article has some tips and products to get you started.

 

2. Infinity scarf

No matter what time of year, fashionistas of the world have made scarves a staple. Introverts may feel strange keeping this winter wear on indoors, but the right scarf can look great both on the ski slopes and in the office. Try an infinity scarf in darker colors–it’s cozy, not too eye-catching, and goes great with the black cardigan or flannel (so long as the colors don’t clash!).

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This is a great place to start.

  1. Low-heeled boots

This is my number one because it looks good with just about anything. Low-heeled boots are professional and date-ready, badass and adorable. They match with a short summer skirt just as well as thick winter jeans. You never have to worry about how your shoes match or don’t match or will hurt by the end of the night–these boots are always a stylish, comfortable pick.

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These cute boots will have you comfortably stylish in any situation.

 

These are my top five favorite introvert fashion tips for the woman who wants to look great without standing out, but the world of comfortable fashion is endless–share your favorite looks below!

men

owen and jim are absorbed in whatever

jim’s working for like,

an insurance company?

and he’s getting annoyed at his boss asking him to order his groceries for him.

 

jim has the body of a man when he wants it.

when he’s playing dungeons and dragons

you believe he would really use a sword to kill.

when he’s just being himself

you doubt whether he’d know which end to hold.

for such a big dude

with such a well-kept beard

he’s rather immature

when he can afford to be.

 

i couldn’t tell jim this stuff. he wouldn’t get it.

he’d be too awkward

and then run off.

if i was in a novel

if i was a character in a novel

my “surface” journey is easy to figure.

i would be working to get out of this abusive house

and settle myself into a healthy life.

my “inner” journey

would be to get myself out of my abusive mindset

and ease my anxiety

and grow as a person

into a confident young woman

i’m still caught in the rising action, i guess.

the resolution is  a   whole     plot       line           away.

Release: Word of the year

For 2018 I decided to write a bullet journal, which obviously didn’t last long. However, I liked looking back on the 10 or so pages I did do. They were all goals. Books I should read, movies I should see, things I should do. A list of friends I had already, as well as space to write in new friends I make along the way. I liked crossing out the boxes I drew about a year ago. I didn’t get to them all, but I got to quite a few.

On one of the pages, I wrote: Word of the Year: Renaissance.

I think I did quite a bit of that. Renaissance means “rebirth,” as I learned in 7th grade history, and I did try to be “reborn” as well as I could. Things truly have changed, and I do have a totally new life.

For 2019, I think my word of the year will be “Release.” I have changed my life for the better. Now, it is time to let go of all the pain of the past.

It is going to be a challenge, but a worthy one. I want to be able to forgive and forget, to move on, to let it go.

Hm. Let it go. I teared up the first time I saw that scene from Frozen. I watched it over and over until I knew all the words–and I was about 17. I was so inspired that this person could, well, let it go. Move on past her pain and her depression and her awful parents. Maybe she’s a good role model. A little “basic bitch” to look up to a Disney princess, but whatever. I’m done adjusting my personality to fit the molds of others.

I need to stop indulging in escapism and bottling up. I need to learn how to feel my feelings, acknowledge them, and let them go. I need to learn how to let go, how to move on, how to accept that people don’t change and things don’t change and all I can change is myself. I want to be able to let it all go. I want to be able to have my mind free of worry, both about the past and about the future.

My worrying is the biggest threat to my life. It threatens to ruin job and relationships all the time. I need to get a hold on it, and the best way to do that is to learn how to release.

Release. 2019. Release.

So fast

I always roll my eyes when people talk about “how fast this year went by.”

Because it didn’t.

January was so long ago. I went to Ireland in June and that was ages ago. I taught ski lessons last year and that was so. long. ago.

But also, it did, at the same time, go by fast.

I don’t know. I think I mainly hate it because it’s so obvious. You know? It’s a cliche. Everyone says it every year. Maybe, turns out, a year just isn’t very long. Maybe that’s why it never feels very long.

I have a week and a half left of a job I love. Then it’s the holidays, then gig work until possibly September, possibly forever. That’s life, now. That’s how years go by, now. In a single breath.

I’ve inspired a kid so much he bought me an ornament and a package of cherry turnovers (for some reason). I really like teaching. I’m glad I’m pursuing it.

I’m glad I’m pursuing a lot of things.

My book is almost ready, and that fact makes me want to throw up. I can’t write a query. It’s the hardest page to write out of this whole process.

I wonder if my anxiety is actually under control? I just assume it is. I should check in with myself more, but I’m too busy worrying to do that.

I’m too busy. And yet not busy at all. Just like how this year was fast, and slow.

When I leave stressful days behind, I mutter to myself, “kill me.” As if the stress isn’t already doing that. I leave a bad class, then mouth “kill me” to the bathroom mirror. I get in my car, I sing “murder me now” to the tune of the radio. It’s not that I want to die. I don’t want to die, I’ve never wanted, actually, to die. It’s like my anxiety is speaking to me with my own lips. Kill me, it says. Kill me, I say.

They never tell you how much of a teacher’s day is spent pretending to ignore the fact that all the kids would rather be elsewhere. Then again, so would I. So maybe that’s not so bad.

No one cares

The hardest thing about life after school is that no one cares about what you do, anymore.

I don’t even have a permanent job yet and I already see how little people care.

Oh, she’s making money biweekly? She’s good.

 

A lack of tests and papers and structure has made working on my own projects all the harder. I feel less obligated to care about myself when no one else seems to.

 

Of course, this is what I’ve always wanted.

 

And it’s the challenge, too. It’s why so many people have rooms crafted of half-finished projects and half-eaten meals. Tomorrow is always there, and no one cares more about you than yourself.

No one cares more about my novel than me, and if I feel okay putting it on the back burner then the rest of the world is definitely okay with it.

Gah. I’m just having a bad mental day. You know I am, because I only ever write on this blog anymore when I need a diary. Maybe that’s always what it was. It started out when I was starting therapy again, after all.

It’s not a bad thing, needing a diary.