2019: The Year of JusB

Hello, good day, and HAPPY NEW YEAR, all!

The fact that my posting date is also January 1, 2019, works out better than I expected. It allows me to not only set the tone for this new year, but it also allows me to introduce a newly refreshed, revised website for my blog.

Now, once you’ve browsed and oohed and ahhed, come back here. This post and I will patiently wait.

…Finished your tour?

Enjoyed?

Good. 🙂

Now, back to the obligatory post!

I want to introduce you to JusB.

Many years ago, when I held big dreams of becoming a professional wrestler (or at least train as one), I developed a wrestling persona that was everything I wanted to be. Brash, unpredictable, and unparalleled, JusB achieved what she wanted with seemingly no plan in mind, but luck was always on her side. Of course, she was actually a clever mastermind who ignored her naysayers while seamlessly achieving her goals. Lighthearted and fun when in a good mood, sinister and ruthless when not, she was the perfect alter ego to my true, passive, anxious, overly sensitive self.

And of course, her name was a perfect existential play on words.

JusB = Just Be

I summed up the character rather quickly above, so I think the JusB name (and persona) can be easily misunderstood.

The reason why I bring up this persona now is because, with all the years that I imagined being her if I ever did successfully become a wrestler, she has always been an ideal that I looked up to. Most of my adolescence and too much of my adulthood has been me imagining being this cool, calm, collected person that everyone admired.

Meanwhile, “real” me stuttered, hid, and floundered through life decisions and social situations in ways that I always assumed everyone else expected me to.

It was like controlling a robot, telling her to go left and screaming at her when she wholeheartedly turned right.

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I never had an answer as to why I just couldn’t behave the way I really wanted to behave, until I started thinking about the direction my life has been going when I re-asked myself “Why am I waiting to be happy?

Last year was a start. This year, I want to make my inner transformation an absolute priority.

JusB is “Born”

By stating that I’m focusing on myself, I don’t mean that I’m going to buy an endless amount of material possessions or ignore my friends and family to do whatever I want. Instead, it’s more about listening to my own mental health and responding to it when things feel off.

For example–I was supposed to have flown back from Arizona to Atlanta as of last Saturday, after nearly two weeks of visiting my family during the Christmas holidays.

But, I didn’t.

Last Friday night, I went to bed late and woke up even later. I always have anxiety the night before I fly anywhere. This time, though, my anxiety was different. My procrastination to pack my suitcase lagged into late morning, after I slithered from bed at 10 am. I told my sister what time I wanted to leave for the airport, and she agreed.

“Or, ” she added, “we could leave a little earlier and have lunch somewhere first. Maybe even drop off your bag at the terminal.”

My heart clenched at this. My stomach dropped. Despite my best efforts to hold my displeasure in, I felt my eyes well and overflow with tears. Nevertheless, I tried to shake this off and went about getting ready. My pace was already making us late; there probably wouldn’t be time to get lunch.

The tears flooded harder the closer time approached to leave. I tried to ignore them, but they flowed too fast. I have always been remiss to leave my family during the holidays, but it had never been this bad. I didn’t want to go.

I really, really didn’t want to go.

2018: The Best and Worst Year

2018 was, without a doubt, one of the most amazing years of my life. I realized that

But.

There was one aspect of myself that I repressed for decades, that 2018 finally exposed.

My lack of social connection, lack of human contact, and my inadequacy with my interpersonal relationships.

I’ve prided myself on being a “super introvert.” I’ve lived alone since I was in college and always appreciated the silence and ability to make decisions without having to rely on someone else’s direct criticism to slow me .

Now that I’m taking part in more activities with more people, I’m able to watch many others’ ease of interacting with each other–including my friends and family. When I see how easily they seem to do it, fear seizes my chest. I feel that, if I try to join them and converse the way they do, surely I will mess it up. They will think me strange and dismiss my words as those of an annoying, inexperienced child.

Which, for the most part, I am.

Small talk doesn’t come easily for me, and it probably never will.

The way that I internally respond to people is also unconventional, and the way that I feel I express myself best is different than most.

I could go on and on about wanting to improve my social capabilities and reaching deeper layers of intimacy with my loved ones, but you know what?

At the end of the day, it’s simply this–

Top 2019 Resolution: I want to spend more time with the people and things I love.

I’m not going to let my social issues, my self esteem, my “busy” schedule, or any lame excuses stop me from doing that anymore.

So, to begin…I changed my flight back to Atlanta from last Saturday to today, New Year’s Day.

The Delta customer service representative greeted me warmly on the phone and, once I told her that I wanted to change my flight, started with some of the best words I’d heard that morning.

“Well, it looks like your original flight was delayed, so any flight change fees will be waived.”

…Word, yo?

Considering that change fee would have otherwise been between $75 to $200, this was a downright miracle.

Not only that, but when I asked her about the ticket price difference between my original flight and my new flight, she said, “Well, great news! You will actually be getting a credit back with your new flight.”

That cinched it. I immediately completed the change.

When I hung up the phone and told my older sister Tiki the good news, her face lit up. Seeing her happiness affirmed that I’d made the right decision, but her happiness hadn’t been the reason for my decision in the first place.

I wanted more time with my family.

Being Who I Am by Knowing What I Want

Despite ups and downs, the “boring” days and moments when I just wanted some space from my family and friends, I want to know that in a moment where a lot of crap can change in an instant, I have them right here with me right now. Nothing is more important to me than taking each moment for all that it is and cherishing it.

When I first began typing this post last Sunday, I was surrounded by my nephew who was fighting a cold (sorry, “allergies,” as he vehemently corrected me); my sister Tiki, who was playing a video game; and my mother as she browsed the internet on her iPad. I couldn’t help but think that, in some other timeline, I was already back in my home in Atlanta doing my best to clean my house or work, kidding myself into thinking that I was okay taking the Saturday flight.

But in that other timeline, I’m not okay.

I’m probably kicking myself for not looking further into the plane ticket price or not following through on seeing what my actual change fee would have been.

I made the right decision because I recognized what was most important to me, and followed through on it.

And that’s how I want the rest of 2019 to be.

Listening, Hearing and Following Through

There are other parts of my life that I am currently not happy about.

I’ve been lying to myself for too long, thinking that if I held on, if I ignored or fought through my discomfort, if things were “good enough”…I could hold on indefinitely.

I’ll try to do a better job writing about the actual life events as they happen, but I want to close by saying, 2019 is a chance for all of us to open our eyes and look inward at who we truly are. Be honest with yourself.

Are you..

  • Happy?
  • Living a good life or a “good enough” life?
  • Holding back on trying something because it’s “too hard” to think about, to start, to focus on?
  • Afraid that taking that leap will result in failure or–worse–nothing at all?

Make 2019 the year to say, “I’ve wanted this for so long. Let me at least see what it will take to achieve this.” After all, one step forward is one step closer than you were before.

2018 was a year where extraordinary things happened to me.

2019 is the year I help make even more extraordinary things happen.

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How to Keep Yourself from Being Stupid Over a Crush

We all know that familiar scenario.

It’s a normal day like any other.  You’re wandering along, minding your business and doing what you know needs to be done.

You notice a guy nearby.  You’ve seen him around every now and then.  Maybe you didn’t notice him too much, no more than anyone else.  He’s kinda cute.

Every few days or so, you two pass each other casually or sit within the same vicinity.  Occasionally, you catch each other’s eye, but you don’t hold the gaze.  It’s whatevs.

Then, one afternoon, after a long day with your defenses down, you hear someone ask, “How was your day?”  The question and the familiarity take you by surprise, and you turn to find the guy looking at you, watching you.  Perhaps he’s smiling.  You strike up an impromptu conversation.  You part, the event a pleasant little light in an otherwise dark day.

A week passes, and the afternoon repeats itself.  To your own surprise, you light up when you hear his familiar greeting:  “How was your day?”  You talk again, longer this time.  He asks you about your job.  You ask him if he loves the outdoors.  He apologizes for bothering you while you read, but can’t help to ask another question.  You suddenly realize the pretty color of his eyes.

That now becomes your thing.  If you see each other at that same time, you find yourself eagerly anticipating the “How was your day?”  You’re smiling at him as you talk and think, “Why does he suddenly look so much hotter than before?”

And suddenly–

Oh, crap.

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You’ve got a crush.

It’d be one thing if you were still, oh, 10 years old.  Back then, the rush of endorphin is new, it’s exciting, it’s a feeling that you don’t remember feeling before.

And then the symptoms!

The flush of your cheeks.

The inability to think straight.

The classic brain mantra of, “Don’t.  Say.  Anything.  Dumb.  For the LOVE.  OF.  GOD.”

But that’s the thing.  You’re not 10 years old anymore.

You’re a grown woman.  A single grown woman.

And dagnabbit, you do not have the time or energy to let a man who at least might be a pleasant new friend, get away due to your fluttery behavior.

You might have already noticed that I just might be in this predicament myself.

Having always been shy in the first place, one thing that I have failed at was opening my mouth and taking chances that I absolutely should have taken when they arose.  I can (unfortunately) count the number of times I have let a (potentially) good catch slip through my fingers, and let’s face it — it is not a fun feeling.  If you’re like me, the regret can linger in the back of your mind for years.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve determined that I would “fool-proof” my crushing behavior by preparing a list of requirements and prohibitions to ensure that I don’t become a stuttering, desperate, annoying moron in the event I do develop an infatuation.  (Note:  creating this list is best done before the hint of any feelings begin, so I am a little late to my own party.)  Better late than never, though, so here we go.

5 Ways to Stay Sane During a Crush

1.  Always look good — for yourself.

I am a strong advocate for dressing for success and looking sexy.  But by all means, do not do it only for the crush.  By “training” yourself to dress for you and feel proud of your appearance, you avoid the stress of only building up those fashion muscles when you see someone cute.

2.  Get enough sleep.

I know, this one may not make a lot of sense.  For those that struggle with this, though, you know — you are antisocial, insecure, and stressed beyond belief when you are not caught up on those zzzzz’s.  And you most certainly aren’t showing your best face.  So, stick in that extra hour of beddy bye, and enjoy fabulous dream…guys.

(Heh — it rhymed.)

3.  Take a mental snapshot of your un-crushing self.

Remember that silly joke you made that no one laughed at?  What about when you danced the Can-Can in the middle of your office space?  Love to twist off the top of your Oreos and save the cream side for last?

Remember those things, and don’t stop doing them if the urge hits you. No man (or person) is worth compromising what makes you so wonderful.

People (aka me) are notorious for completely diluting themselves when in front of someone they only want to impress.  But think about it.  How did you feel when the guy you thought was hot absent-mindedly made a soft whooping noise every time he dodged someone in a crowd?  Exactly:  unique and adorable.

4.  Flirt with him.

Wait.  What?

You heard me.

Go ‘head on and flirt with him.

What did you do when you were young and you had a crush?  Again, if you were like me, you ran.  You averted your eyes, you snapped at him, and you kept your answers short.  Anything to avoid appearing as if you were interested.

Not only was this the stupidest trick in the book, but it probably only made things more obvious that I liked him.

I mean, heaven forbid anyone see what you are doing or saying to this guy.  They’ll…they’ll…

Not…care?

Okay, you’re probably thinking.  Maybe they won’t care, but the guy — the guy will.  And he will be absolutely…absolutely…

…flattered?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that there isn’t a man in the world who doesn’t appreciate a little female attention.  Even if they’re not attracted to you, per se, any decent man wouldn’t say anything too cruel to reject said attention.

(That aside, ditch the dude and the crush if he can’t respect your mature decision to merely enjoy his company as a friend.  You are too awesome to settle for anything less.)

5.  Let it go, let it go.

If or when this guy either stops talking to you or just happens to not be around you anymore…that is fine.

Maybe it was because of something you did, or maybe it had absolutely nothing to do with you.  Doesn’t matter.

As a coworker reminded me today, there are plenty of fish in the proverbial sea.  Pickins may be slim or harder to wade through, but there are certainly still pickins after this guy is gone.  Not only that (this same coworker told me), but if something is meant to be, it will certainly be.  The Universe is really cool like that.


Even as I’m writing this list out, I find myself relaxing.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the physiological responses our bodies unleash when we see a pair of sexy eyes or a nice smile or a pair of soft-looking…kissable…lips…

Where was I going with this?

Oh, yeah!  The bottom line:  a crush is a crush, and there’s no need to panic over having one.  Enjoy the sensations knowing you can still have them, and let things flow naturally.

And if you’ve got multiple crushes, the more, the merrier.

Like celebrity crushes!

Hello, Mr. HBK Shawn Michaels.  <3

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Call Me Tomahawk

  No purpose to this pic; just lookin like a badass.  🙂   On Monday, I went to a Memorial Day BBQ with my older sister, whom I’m visiting in Tucson, AZ for the week. I was fairly nervous to go to the party, fearing I would stuff my foot in my mouth and alienate my sister from her coworkers, her friends and her very job. “Eh, you’ll be fine,” my sister said. Not believing, I fled to hide somewhere in her house until she had gone. She chased after me, hogtied me with shoelace, stuffed me in the back of…