Blogging, Everyday, Vegan

I don’t set "resolutions", I make life changes…. Monkey Toes welcomes 2015!

It’s alright to be little bitty!

My last post was about learning how to live a more minimalist lifestyle.  I was so proud of myself for getting rid of a bunch of stuff that I didn’t need.  Now, going forward, it will still be about letting go of things, as much as it will be about not buying things in the first place!  We are planning on retiring to Flagstaff, AZ in about ten years and “living tiny” out there.  So there is no better time to start downsizing then right now!  One way to start this is by agreeing not to buy actual book, books anymore and committing to eBooks only.  I have moved more time then I care to talk about. Each time the one thing I remember being a pain in the ass to move was all my books!  They are heavy and take up a lot of room.  If we are planning on living in a house smaller then 500 square feet, there won’t be room for 2 full bookshelves! So that is just one way I plan on starting to downsizing my “stuff”.  I’m still learning about other ways to live small so hopefully the things I learn will inspire me to…..

BLOG MORE!

I’m trying, I really am.  Now that we don’t have cable anymore, I have more time to focus on the things that really matter to me.  I have always loved to write.  I can remember winning 1st place in the literature category (for a short story) in my 6th grade Art Fair.  I always loved learning about different writing styles and would rather write a book report then actually read the book!  I wrote tons of poetry throughout high school and was on the school News Paper my Junior year.  The few college courses I did take were English 101, 102 and Creative Writing.  I also journaled for years and years when I was younger.  So for the life of me, I have no idea why it has been so hard to keep up with this Blog!  I guess being an adult kind of gets in the way.  I go to the gym, go to work, come home, make dinner, and then just want to relax!  But writing has never been a chore to me, so I’m hoping this blog will become my way of slowing down at the end of the day.  Kind of an adulthood version of journaling.

Red Means STOP

I read an article the other day about how to have a better relationship with your partner (or I guess it could be really with anyone in your life).  It talked about being able to recognize when you are being reactive or defensive and then how to stop.  I know there have been a lot of times in the past that I have been in a heated argument with my husband and it gets to the point that I am just trying to get in my two cents and/or the last word.  Well neither of those, helps anything, period.  It just makes the other person become reactive or defensive as well and then the vicious cycle goes on and on.  Now as a woman, I know it is super hard to stop yourself when you feel like you are right about anything.  It’s like we are pre-wired to always be right in our minds.  I mean hell, we take care of a lot of shit from day to day.  I know I do.  So it’s easy to feel unappreciated or defensive or argumentative or reactive when things don’t go our way.  But it doesn’t help anything in the long run.  So a big goal for me next year will be to just stop myself from fueling hurtful and nonproductive fires.  To just stop, tell my husband (or whoever) “look, I’m being very defensive and/or reactive to what we are talking about, I need a second to stop and collect myself”, and then just STOP.  Not another peep what so ever.  Nada. Zilch. Nothing. Period.

Time to listen more and talk less

At times, not even during an argument, you just need to stop yourself and listen.  Listening is a hard skill for myself.  Sometimes I get so excited about whatever it is someone is talking about that I find myself interrupting them just to throw in my two cents.  And by doing so, that person may lose their train of thought or feel unimportant because I have just stolen the spotlight from them.  Not cool.  Everyone wants to be heard and have a sense of validation, self worth and confidence.  And active listening, means really listening!  I know I have found myself trying to listen to someone tell a story and then they will mention something that I will feel passionate about. Then it happens, I become “stuck” on that thought.  Like I am waiting for the second they are done telling their story so that I can make my comment.  But in the time that I am waiting, I am so focused on what I want to say that I am not even listening to them any longer.  I am zoned out and waiting for my chance!  By doing that I could be missing key points or they may even continue to talk about what I wanted to bring up anyways.  Maybe that’s why I enjoy writing so much, because it’s my chance to get everything I want to say out, without anyone interrupting me (hey you, yeah, this is not the time to check your Facebook page, keep reading!!!!).

Be the best little vegan I can be!

I became a vegan back in May of 2013.  It started off as a choice for better health.  I watched some compelling documentaries about how animal products can negatively affect your health, as well as the over all well being of the planet.  I actually wrote a blog entry about it.  More recently I have watched a documentary call Earthlings and read a book called Beg.  Both touch on the mistreatment of animals for food production, leather, as well as animals in shelters, pets store and testing for science.  These were both very powerful sources of information.  I am a huge animal lover.  I have always lived with some kind of pet, mostly cats (both currently from shelters).  I have a love for all sorts of animals and I am crushed when I hear stories about animal abuse.  But I was what you would call a “dietary vegan”.  I still bought leather shoes and purses.  Often I would feel like a hypocrite when I would tell someone I was a vegan with my leather purse slung over my shoulder.  Now, after watching/reading about all the other types of animal abuse there are in the world, I feel very compelled to be a better vegan.  I had already committed to not going to zoos, Seaworld (watch Blackfish to learn more about them), circuses and rodeos.  Now, going forward I am no longer going to buy leather products as well.  Plus, I already continue to urge as many people as I can to adopt their next fur babies from local animal shelters and not pet stores or breeders.  To me, being vegan is not about being perfect, it’s about doing the best you can.  If I can even get close to 90% vegan, I will be proud of myself (I mean my car has a leather wrapped steering wheel, but I am not going to go buy a new car).  I will however be more conscious of non-food products I buy going forward.  And I will never eat anything that had a mom and a dad!

Happiness….the final frontier.

Seems simple enough.  Just to be happy.  Right?  Actually being genuinely happy with your self, your true inner self, is no small task.  Too many times we depend on other things to make us happy.  Whether it be buying something new, eating/drinking something yummy or having a good time with your partner.  Those are just short lived periods of what we think happiness is.  But those things are just generally filling a void for a short amount of time, sometimes for just minutes out of a day.  I know eating a vegan cupcake makes me feel happy for about the 5 minutes but now what about the other 23 hours and 55 minutes of the day?  Happiness is a state of being not just a smile on your face (or a cupcake in your tummy).  I think a person has to really learn about themselves on a very deep level to really and truly be happy in their life.

It’s hard.  I know.  I can honestly say that I am not 100% happy.  I do a lot of things that momentarily make me feel happy but I find myself depending on too many outside forces to make me feel that way.  The biggest one being, depending on others to make me happy.  I think that is no-no number one!  No one else can make you happy, only you can make you happy.  Depending on others for approval and identity is being codependent and is not happiness.  I know because I am codependent and I am not truly happy because of it.  But, I am working on fixing this issue.  I go to therapy (along with my partner) and our therapist suggested we both read a book called, Codependent No More.  And after listening to it twice on CD, I can honestly agree with our therapist when she labeled us both as codependent.  I often find myself being upset, sad, angry, depressed, or stressed out because my partner did/didn’t do something with/for me.  I find myself depending a lot on him when it comes to my happiness.  I am often fearful of doing things that I like on my own.  I always want him to come be with me.  Go shopping with me, go for a run with me, sit on the sofa with me, watch a movie with me, eat with me and so on.  But we have two very different personalities and come from two extremely different backgrounds.  So, even though we will do some of these things together, I do also get turned down a lot.  He will want to be alone or he is tired and I take those turn downs very personally and become upset, sad, angry depressed or stressed out.  Then he will get upset, sad, angry, depressed or stressed out because of my reaction to him.  And so the horrible cycle goes on and on.  But, if I would just take the time to do the things that make me happy, whether he wants to join me or not, I could break this cycle.  Doing things alone has been very hard for me.  Fear and insecurity step in and happiness steps further away.

So a work in progress will remain a work in progress for now.  I have made some new changes and choices in the past year that have started to help me.  I go the the gym, I joined a running group, I signed up for some cycling and running races and I am in a lot of groups on Facebook that share my same interest.  2014 was a great year but I hope to learn more about myself in 2015 and keep moving forward.

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