Saturday, January 21, 2017

Five Reasons Why Coloring Is Therapeutic, Or How I Discovered That All The Hype About Adult Coloring Was Indeed True

by Michelle M. Johnson

When the "adult coloring craze" started a few years ago, I have to be honest, I was a little skeptical of all of the reporting going on in the media:

COLORING IS THERAPEUTIC!
 COLORING IS CALMING!
 COLORING IS HEALING!
COLORING REDUCES STRESS!
 COLORING IS GOING TO SAVE THE WORLD!

I made that last one up, but you see what I mean, right? Pretty hyperbolic, is what I thought, and I've been a life-long colorist (FYI, that is the official term for a person who engages in the coloring of coloring book pages, colorist. Not surprisingly, Adult Coloring is developing a language of its own not necessarily to legitimize itself [Hello, coloring is legitimate - the world IS coloring, and there is LOADS of proof.], but to be able to eloquently engage in discussion about the act of coloring without the use of ridiculous and juvenile sounding words like "colorer.")! I should have been the first one to jump on this Adult-Coloring-Is-Awesome train, but I was rather reluctant due in large part because most of the articles circling about weren't providing any real support for these claims or showing any real strategies about how to go about achieving these health benefits. Mostly, these articles displayed pretty pictures and links to various coloring books and supplies alongside a few quotes from folks (usually publishers) about why they thought coloring was growing in popularity.

Oddly enough, during this eruption of Adult Coloring, I myself was actually in the process of creating a coloring book (To check out my coloring book, Doodled Blooms, on Amazon, click here. Hey, I had to put that in there to show my coloring cred; do with it as you will.). It was the publication of my coloring book which then led me to leading monthly Adult Coloring clubs at libraries, which led me to researching answers to all of the participants' many questions on coloring ("How do I choose a page?" "How can I stop using blue? I always choose blue!" "How do I choose which color to use?" "How can I finish this all in one sitting?" "I don't have any yellows! How can I color this sunflower without yellow?" These questions of the library clubs' participants have been the guiding force in my work helping folks with their creativity. When someone asks "How do I...?" you don't just say, "You just do it." Questions about creativity demand steps from which to bounce off of, I think, otherwise my answers to their questions will only frustrate, killing all chance at creative enjoyment.), which led me to leading workshops on coloring and creativity, which led me to believe that maybe there really is some truth to those claims that coloring has therapeutic benefits. I have been teaching/leading groups of adults in coloring for almost a year now, and in that time I have observed these five very specific ways coloring is more than just a childhood pastime having a renewed moment in the spotlight. 

1. Coloring forces you to slow down.
We live in a world where people believe that multi-tasking is a real thing (it isn't) and something to be lauded ("Why read a book, have a conversation, finish a project, cook a meal, answer an email, tend to your pet one thing at a time, when you could do them all at once?! It's totally possible, if you're amazing enough and don't need to breathe in order to stay alive! Try it, you'll love it!"). And, it is this emphasis on GET MORE DONE RIGHT NOW that leads our brains to feel constantly busy, buzzing with the more we could be getting done, obsessively focusing on the places we are going next rather than observing and being present in the place we currently are.

Training your eyes on a specific and
sometimes small space has the benefit
of drowning out all other distractions,
even to the point that when I
lead coloring workshops, I frequently
have to remind participants to breathe. 
Coloring demands your focus, demands the lion's share of your attention. You cannot multi-task while coloring (Unless you count having a meaningful conversation with the folks you might be coloring with, in which case I have four reasons why coloring is therapeutic, not five.), and while your brain may be thinking about your to-do list while you color (I have been guilty of this many times), it still is allowing you to focus on this to-do list in a much more centered way as your hands and eyes focus on filling in the white space between black lines; thoughts tend to be completed instead of interrupted when coloring, which I have found to be very therapeutic to buzzing, over-busy minds. Since beginning my work leading groups of folks in coloring and creativity, I have heard time and time again how coloring is helping participants slow down, think through problems and challenges, and "re-set" or "clear" their minds, and I think the reason for this is a colorist's inability to simultaneously color AND do anything else.

2. Coloring forces us to make decisions and live with them even when we don't like the outcome.
I am using the word "force" quite a lot in this blog post, but when it comes to something being therapeutic, sometimes we need to be forced into doing what is best for us in order to feel better. We live in a world full choices (Just take a trip down the pain reliever or breakfast cereal isle at your local grocery store for proof of this fact.), so many in fact that sometimes it feels like we've created an environment where living with one's choice, good or bad, just isn't something we have to do anymore; there is always a way out, always another option, another choice. Not so in coloring - once you've chosen a color and laid it down on the page, there it is. Don't like how it turned out? Tough.
I thought that I had completely
ruined this coloring by starting out
the background in yellow:( But,
I persevered and accepted my
decision, eventually coming to an
emotional space where I was very
well pleased with the end result. I
made a mistake, and the world didn't
come to an end. Shocker.
Crayons, markers and colored pencils don't come with do-overs, so when you make a decision you don't like you can either A. live with it and see where your coloring page ends up (what I always suggest first) or B. acknowledge you made a choice you don't like and turn the page. The reason why I always recommend going with option A. is that in coloring (as well as in life) sometimes what we initially perceive is a mistake is actually a detour in our vision that leads us to a really pleasant outcome. We can never learn anything about coloring or ourselves without making choices, and we will never learn from our choices if we never allow ourselves to make and live with a mistake. But, the word "mistake" is so full of shame in our culture that I have come to rely on a saying in my coloring workshops: "In coloring, there is no such thing as a mistake; there is only the direction you go with a choice you didn't exactly feel awesome about." Some of the greatest colorings (FYI, "coloring" is the name for a finished coloring book page, no matter what spellcheck says.) are the results of a choice the colorist chose to live with. Adult coloring encourages us to make decisions; creativity helps us to figure out how to live with the choices we make.

3. Coloring helps us to understand a bit more about ourselves.
One of the most intriguing things I have encountered while leading adult coloring workshops is observing that there are more or less three kinds of people in this world: 1. folks who love coloring with markers 2. folks who love coloring with pencils and 3. folks who color with it all. While this may seem like a "duh" factor, hear me out.
While it may seem ridiculous, my experience
leading coloring groups has shown me
that you can learn a lot about yourself by
observing which coloring tools you are
the most comfortable with.
Coloring with markers is, by far, the quickest way to finish a coloring page, BUT you do not have the same flexibility to create depth and texture with markers as you would with other coloring tools. Coloring with pencils can be a painstaking process BUT the colorist has considerably more control over where the color goes, how much color is used at once, and to what effect the color creates light, shade and texture. Coloring with a variety of coloring tools leaves a page open to unexpectedly awesome results, but mixing media can also result in experiments gone awry - paper torn through with too much moisture, pencil marks smeared across the sheen of waxy crayons, etc. In encouraging folks to try all kinds of coloring tools, I have been honored to witness folks making observations about themselves and their personalities: Marker folks have observed that they have a serious need to complete something in one sitting, and unless they have the time to complete something they enjoy, they will not allow themselves to begin a project; Pencil folks have been recognizing their need for control in their creative process, they need to know exactly how something is going to turn out before they begin, otherwise they won't create; Mixed Media folks have been noticing that they aren't really that concerned about the end product of their coloring so much as the process of coloring itself because they don't really think they are "all that creative", they don't really "have a vision." All of which leads me to my next point on why coloring is indeed therapeutic.

4. Coloring can reveal challenging aspect of our personalities.
Many of the people who bring themselves to the coloring workshops I lead come with the hopes of working on some challenging personality traits: perfectionism, completionism (I don't think it's possible that I have coined this word or its cousin, completionist, but both are not recognized by spell-check, which I think is ridiculous because completionism is totally a thing. Every time I talk about completionism in my workshops there are always sighs and grunts of agreement about the struggles of being a completionist. And, interestingly enough, completionism knows no gender lines; men and women, in my teaching experience, are equally completionistic, especially those who actively perceive themselves as "creative."), and a perceived lack of creativity. Perfectionists tend to be more comfortable working with colored pencils as they are the most predictable of coloring tools, never bleeding surprisingly, never smearing unexpectedly, creating a page exactly as they had envisioned. Completionists are drawn to using markers because finishing a page in a single coloring session is totally possible, so the anxiety that comes with leaving something undone is never a concern. Folks who feel they are lacking in creativity tend to choose all sorts of coloring tools, applying crayons in one section, markers in another, pencils mixed here and there, often times voicing to me that they "have no idea what they are doing" and that they are "just not that creative." Why coloring is therapeutic in these instances leads me to my last and final point.

5. Coloring provides a low-cost, risk free arena to step out of our comfort zones.
I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at how confessional the coloring workshops that I lead end up being, but consistently folks enter into the creative chaos that is coloring in a group voicing concerns about their perfectionism, their completionistic tendancies, and their perceived lack of creativity. Folks who come to coloring, in my experience, WANT to improve in these areas, but making big leaps to step outside of their comfort zones (trying something they know they aren't good at, starting a huge project they aren't sure they're going to finish, attempting to create something even though they don't "have a vision") is not only scary but can also be very expensive. For less than $20 (Or even for free if you have well supplied Adult Coloring Clubs like we do here at the libraries in Seguin & New Braunfels, Texas), a perfectionist can get practice at starting (and following through) on something they perceive themselves as not good at, a completionist can try a complicated page or use coloring tools that requires more time so that they can get practice leaving something "unfinished," and a self-perceived "uncreative" can allow themselves the opportunity to play and make absolutely creative mistakes that wind up being inspired coloring choices, slowly building up the confidence to see that creativity isn't really a personality trait you have or don't have, but a state of mind that anyone can choose to entertain.
The Seguin Public Library's
Adult Coloring Club where all
supplies are provided & all you
need to do is show up. Call your
area library to see if such a
group exists in your town.
All of these risks take place in adult coloring all of the time, and when folks share about these coloring risks they take either in face to face groups like the ones we have here or in online coloring forums on Facebook or Instagram, typically what I have witnessed is real support, encouragement and camaraderie. It is that acceptance, I think, that helps us make the occasional leap from risking emotionally and psychologically with coloring to taking similar creative risks in our day-to-day lives, creating the overall therapeutic effect of adult coloring.

When I first started sharing with folks about coloring a year ago, talking about and showing the "how to" and the "with what," I really didn't understand or really believe in the "why." I certainly don't know why I had continued coloring long past my elementary school days; it was just something I never stopped doing. But, in learning how to share my enthusiasm for coloring and all of its experimentation, I have stumbled upon the answer - we color because it is enjoyable, and through the experience of that enjoyment our minds remember how to play, and in that play we take risks, and through those risks we re-discover our creative selves, and when the time comes for us to put our books, pencils and markers away, we realize that we feel more at ease, we can find our breath without looking, and we have the energy to start the next day.

A free Doodled Blooms coloring page just for
you:) Thank you for reading the
Have Color Will Travel blog; you're awesome!
Coloring is indeed therapeutic, but don't take my word for it; try it out for yourself by clicking here for a free, downloadable, full resolution coloring page from my coloring book, Doodled Blooms. I hope you will take a few risks with this page should you decide to download it, and that you will share with me the results of your experimentation whether or not the coloring worked out the way you planned. You can always find me on Facebook by searching Doodled Blooms, on Instagram with @doodledblooms or Twitter with @mj_flowergirl.


Monday, January 16, 2017

"Moving On" Post The 2016 Presidential Election Isn't A Thing, So I'm Forming A Book Club Instead

by Michelle M. Johnson

This isn't a political post, but it is most definitely inspired by the currently political climate in the U.S. So, you've been warned.

I am sick and tired of folks sitting on all sides of the political spectrum bemoaning that the 2016 Presidential election was "just an election." November 8th was now two months ago - TWO MONTHS. If it were "just an election" then wouldn't we all be talking about something else, wouldn't all the latest news not be tied to the election in some way (which over 95% of it is), wouldn't we all have "moved on" as that offhand phrase seems to suggest that we do?

This past election was in no way "just an election," and quite frankly, suggesting that ANY United States Presidential Election is or was "just" anything is ridiculously offensive and shows how little respect many citizens of our unique and beautiful country have for our system of government, our right to vote, and our powerful national history (I have never liked referring to my country of origin as "great" as it inherently suggests that other countries are lesser [and, man, did that piss my parents off when I disagreed about labeling the U.S.A. as "great" when I was younger], but now I loathe even using the word in any context as its use has become shrouded in the desire to shame and belittle whatever it is in opposition to). But, this election NOT being "just an election" goes much deeper than politics for me and my family, and I do not think that I am alone in this. The morning of November 9th split my family, very emotionally, into two: an unbridgeable Right and Left.

Now, the differences of opinions between myself and my parents are ages old; we have long disagreed on politics and ethics, but our differences in these areas never outweighed the similarities that kept us a family. I can't remember the last time I voted the same ticket as my folks, or maybe a better way to state that is that there was never a time when my parents voted as I chose to. And, we used to speak to each other about who we voted for, the pros and the cons. We, more or less good naturedly, joked with each other about the candidates, proposals or parties we each supported. But, post the 2016 election there has been no conversation, no dialogue.

After November 9th I have received fewer phone calls, texts and emails from my parents. And, when there is communication, on mandatory days like Christmas or birthdays, gone is the give and take of talking to my mom and dad; we are not talking TO each other, we are talking AT each other, pretending like nothing ever happened, that hurts and insults never were received and doled out, dancing around the fact that Election 2016 was painfully not "just an election."

It has been two straight months of this, and it is breaking my heart. I have been trying to address the issue, gently, not calling out the elephant in the room, but hoping to be able to do more than just "catch up" and really connect with my folks as we are separated by 1000 miles and phone calls, texts and emails are all we have. I am not looking for my parents and I to agree on any of the issues facing our country (Since I was a school aged child my folks and I have disagreed on social/political issues - yes, I was an absolute treat to raise.), and I am certainly not looking for my folks and I to "agree to disagree," because that just isn't a real thing no matter how many times someone says it. However, this talking-at behavior has persisted to the point that I have considered emotionally checking out of a relationship with my parents to protect myself from the sadness it was bringing me.

And, I almost did, but then Carrie Fisher died. In the wake of her death I sought out an interview she did with Terry Gross on Fresh Air. I had enjoyed this interview when it originally aired this past fall, laughed out loud and relished this amazing talent and intellect that I thought I was going to be able to enjoy for years to come (Full disclosure: I adore Carrie Fisher, and I was devastated by the news of her all to soon death.).
A quick snapshot of my favorite Star Wars shirt
just because. Carrie Fisher was so much
more than a princess; she was my hero.
But, the reason I went back to this segment wasn't for Fisher's wit or charm. I needed to re-hear a simple phrase that she uttered when asked why she chose to stay in a relationship with her difficult and un-fatherly dad, Eddie Fisher, "I wanted a relationship with my father, and I took the only one that was available." My parents aren't perfect (Whose parents are? I know I'm not a perfect parent, not by a long shot.), but if Carrie Fisher can have the patience, love and understanding to maintain a relationship with a man who abandoned her as a child, I can surely go back to the drawing board and try to figure out how to bring real connection back into my relationship with my folks, specifically my mother at this time, post Election 2016.

I'm DONE with this election's results mandating what we can and cannot talk about in my family, I'm DONE with the state of the nation being a mirror for the state of affairs in my family, I'm DONE with politics swiping my parents. And, since I am the one that is DONE with all of this, I felt like it was my responsibility to do something about the state of communication between my parents and myself, and that something needed to be "out of the box" as they say. So, when my mother's birthday rolled around in early January, I decided to give her something for us to talk about in hopes that it might, bit by bit, re-open the channels of communication wider, allowing perhaps a greater diversity of subjects to stream through than just polite comments on the weather or what the neighbors are doing.

I had been hearing good things all over the place about Nicola Yoon's book, The Sun Is Also A Star, so without knowing a thing about the novel except that loads of people I respected have enjoyed it, I sent my mother a copy for her birthday, and I bought a copy for myself.

I totally didn't set this image up (okay
maybe I added the pen at the top)! I was in a rush
the day the novel came, so I unwrapped
 it to be sure it wasn't damaged in the mail,
set the book down on top of my messy,
marker covered desk, and POW.
The cover of this book is really visually perfect:)
I called her that night, told her to be anticipating a package, that it was a book, that I also bought the same book for myself, and shared with her my detailed plan for a long distance book club. Surprisingly, she jumped on board, even when I assigned her to be at page 100 by the end of this week (I told you it's a real treat to have me as your daughter. But, my parents raised me, so somewhere in my idealist brain and annoyingly enthusiastic personality are traces of their influence resulting in the Michelle that exists today; I am their fault and they are reaping what they sowed.). And, this book IS good, so good that I reached page 100 far sooner than the Friday due date, so I had to seek out Nicola Yoon's previous novel, Everything, Everything, at the Seguin Public Library to read concurrently so as not to read ahead in the book I gave my mother (In case you're wondering, Everything, Everything is also very good so far:).

Both my mom and I were too busy this Friday evening to begin our book club, so I do not have anything to report as to how this little healing-the-gap experiment is going. I am really not even sure I should be writing a blog post about this moment in my life as, like all things personal and political, I have no idea how the people I love are going to perceive my immovable belief that things.can.be.better.

Me and my little mama:) She hates that I call her that.
But, I am taller, and I am super duper proud that
my tiny mom is and always has been such a dynamo
 even though she comes in a small package!
But, my enthusiasm for this little experiment got the better of me, so here I am writing and sharing, for better or for worse...because what I do know is that I cannot be the only person who has been searching for a way through this surreal time in our country's history, searching for something that might help rebuild lost hope, lost respect, lost faith in the people we love most in our lives. I don't want people like myself, the idealists of the world, the folks who, when they run into a wall, don't have the gut instinct to quit but instead go looking for a door or a window (or even a pickax), to lose hope and steam. Our nation (and the world, really) needs idealists to help heal our families, our communities; we need the people who believe that things can always improve to keep believing that. So, I wrote this blog post about my latest effort to heal my family torn apart by politics. It's ridiculous, and small, and could turn out to really backfire (especially if my mother reads this post and hates that I did this), but...I am who I am, and I'm not giving up.  If Princess Leia can do it, so can I.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks, Or How I Learned To Embrace Failure By Watching My Kid Fall Down...A Lot

by Michelle M. Johnson

Last Tuesday, I got to do something amazing - I got to go roller skating with family and friends like it was 1986 all over again! Of course I took loads of photos and videos, posting them up to social media like a crazy person because SKATING IS AWESOME.

Every thing I know about selfies
I learned from my son, Sam,
even though he takes 1 selfie
every 6 months and never, ever
posts them:)
However, I have no videos of my son, Sam, roller skating last week because it turns out that roller skating is hard when you do it for the first time at 16 years old. Thinking that skating was just like marching with a snare drum on your chest (which he does with grace and skill), Sam boldly put his skates on...and then hugged the wall & anyone near him in order to stay upright. It's not easy to catch your child on film when they are in full octopus-mode, fighting to defy gravity every second. 

When skating turned out to be this difficult for him, I thought Sam would give up, pout horribly about coming all the way out to San Antonio on his last day of winter break for something only I was excited to do. 

But, he didn't☺ 

Sam laughed about how hard it was, about how cocky he'd been to think he could just pick up skating lickety-split, and kept going round and round, daring a little more each time to get further away from the wall. He even made it a few times around close to the center of the rink (it helps to have friends around to encourage you😉), and I couldn't have been prouder of his perseverance♡

This kid also left the house this morning at 6:45am, in the "real-feel" of 9° (in Texas, those are arctic temps!), bound for UT Austin for yet another round of auditions to compete for a percussionist seat in the state band. I know, and now Sam knows, that skating and being a musician are two very different skill sets, but his progress on the rink last Tuesday, his continuing to plug away at something that didn't come naturally and seemed determined to make him feel a fool, feels incredibly linked to his band experience and these ridiculously stressful competitive moments like he and his peers are experiencing today. These kids have had so many crash and burn musical moments lead up to where they are today - competing with the best musicians in our Area, being some of the best musicians in our Area. They've learned, through YEARS of practice, to perceive their failures as steps leading to their success. 

In education, we talk a lot about student success and wring our hands in distress about their failures, going back to the drawing board over and over again in hopes of finding that perfect formula where every child will be a winner every time. This focus on success continues into our adult lives in our discussions of job success, financial success, relationship success - how to be happy, how to be fulfilled, how to be content, how to be (wait for it!) successful. But, what is missing in these discussions of education and life is a focus on failure not as something to be feared and strategically avoided, but as something to be expected (when the bar is high, it's going to take multiple passes and maybe plans tried in order to achieve desired results), perhaps even encouraged and/or celebrated. 

Failure is inevitable in everyone's life, and if we are really and truly living, we are probably going to fail a lot. This is not an easy reality for me. I am 43, and this educational system I'm complaining about, the one that focuses on success over failure, it's the one I grew up in, the one my parents grew up in. In my life, success has trumped failure every time; avoid failing at all costs, seek out the path to success, and if you do fail, shhh, don't mention it, don't focus on it, let's pretend it never happened. 

But, in watching my teenager fail to be a graceful human on 8 wheels for 2 hours straight and STILL have a good time, STILL want to return to the rink, something just clicked it my head: I need to get more practice at failing, I need to learn to place more of my identity in what I learn from my failures than what I achieve from my successes, and maybe I'm not alone in that. 

I recently left a very hostile and toxic work environment. I loved my job, loved what I did and who I did it for, loved many of my co-workers, but my passion for my community and the work I was doing was incredibly threatening to management. I worked for three years to try and solve this problem in order to be able to continue to do what I loved, refused to see this difference of values between myself and management as a professional failure that I had to walk away from because failure wasn't an option, failure was to be strategically avoided. I debased myself for 3 years, taking financial hits as management tried to passively squeeze me out, and putting my health at risk as the stress of such a hostile environment, an environment where I was aggressively not wanted, has only one result: increasing cortisol and adrenaline (two things my auto immune plagued body does not process well). I put myself through all of this, I thought, because I loved the job and who I did it for. But, in watching Sam skate last week and in sending him off this morning to a competition that he did NOT do as well as he wanted to last year but is at it again today with renewed vigor, it dawned on me that I put myself through emotional hell for three years because I was afraid to fail, afraid to say "yup, I can't fix this situation, it's time to move on and try something new," afraid to admit to losing my job even though I was awesome at it.  

And, I'm angry. Angry at an unfair and unjust situation, angry about all the people it hurt on top of myself, angry at hard work and determination actually NOT turning out to be my saving grace. But, I think I'm even angrier at not having been taught or encouraged to be more comfortable with failure; I'm angrier at being told that failure is the end of the journey not the beginning of the adventure. I'm 43 and this is my first real dose of failure because I have built a life that is failure adverse. I am angry that I have lived what I hope will be 1/2 of my life (you never know!), and have only just now experienced massive defeat!  What have I missed out on in my life by only focusing on success?! I can't even fathom the answer to that question! And, that makes me angry. 

If Sam and I had had a Freaky Friday experience last Tuesday at The Rollercade, switching bodies and abilities but keeping our internal personalities, would I have continued to get up from the bench and the floor (Yes, he even landed on his tush!), laughed at my failure and tried again? Pre-losing-my-job-me I'm not totally sure about. She wouldn't have left the building, but I'm pretty confident she would have taken the skates off and gone to play air hockey until everyone else was ready to leave. How do I know this is true? When Sam was struggling to make it around the rink even once, I went to check my wallet for quarters, then I asked him if he wanted to that instead; he said 'no.' :) Post-losing-my-job-me, the gal who's writing this blog post, what would she do in the awkward shoes of her 16 year old son? I think I would have sat down, gone on to YouTube, typed in quick skating tips, watched a few how-to videos and gotten cautiously back on the rink. Losing my job hasn't completely forced out my fear of failure, but it has helped me to recognize that I desperately need more practice at it.

It's been almost 8 months since I finally walked away from my job (with flowers in my hands and as much grace as I could muster), and during that time I've been asked a lot, "What are you doing now?" Every time I've stumbled through the answer, embarrassed and awkward, as I'm doing a rather lot of things, most of them volunteer, but all of them meaningful and incredibly difficult to quantify. After watching Sam skate and sending him off this morning to a competition he's been preparing for for months, I think I've come upon a new answer to that question: I'm learning how to love failure. I'm sure my response will be a conversation stopper some of the time, as I know this question about my occupational life won't go away, and most folks would like a more jaunty, easy to understand reply. But maybe, just maybe, it will occasionally be a springboard to an amazing conversation with another person about life and how so many times what we perceive is terrifying and shameful is really the ironic key to our (wait for it) success.

If you've got thoughts on failure, I would most definitely love to hear them; I have a lot to learn! Please share them in the comments below, or if you're shy, feel free to direct message me on Twitter , Instagram  or Facebook . I will be sure to get back to you ASAP:)


P.S. I'm feeling optimistic this morning: the sun is shining, I didn't have to drive to Austin on a Saturday morning because the school provided all the Area competitors bus transportation to UT, and I've been sitting cozily typing my thoughts into this blog post. Which means it's been a good morning. I don't always have good mornings since losing my job. Sometimes I have really shitty mornings where I feel like a washed up failure who can't focus long enough to figure out what to do with her life now that she has lost a job. But, honestly, I haven't had one of those mornings since that Tuesday of skating. This positivity could most certainly be a fluke, but like I just said, I need more practice at embracing failure, so if I fail at loving failure next week, well then I inadvertently stumbled onto what I need more of:)

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