Toward the end of 2018, after a much-needed nervous breakdown, I decided to embark on a nationwide trek across the country. This series will serve as a recollection of the shenanigans I experienced throughout my travels. These are my stories (dun dun *Law & Order chime)
After the world’s worst wedding duties (I was a slave of honor and bridesmaid within a month of each other), I was ripe for change. Spending two months in Big Bear– where I met a literal bear and enjoyed the mind-scarring visuals of an old lady pooping on a trail— I knew adventure was right around the corner. Doubling-down on my cliched writer’s journey, I set my sights on Seattle, WA. But, in order to get there, I had to make a few stops along the way and Eugene, OR was one of them.
A Brief Encounter
Originally, I had only planned to spend 2-ish days in Eugene back in early November of 2018. But upon arriving, I knew I would have to come back (There will be a part 2 to this story.). At the time, I felt a kindred spirit in the weird town of Eugene, and my Airbnb was a few steps from the Willamette River.
Traipsing around town
Maybe it was because I was so desperately looking for belonging and nursing a massively bruised ego, or maybe it was the quirkiness of the city that I related to, the 2 days I spent in Eugene were fun and restorative in nature. Abbey and I walked about town, enjoying the gorgeous and moody scenery. I even ventured into the local bar in Whitaker to what the Portland/Lakers game.
The Airbnb that I stayed at was this really cool tiny house behind this neat property in the Whiteaker neighborhood. I would eventually come to be friends with the owner and spend an extra 4 months in Eugene in early 2019, but more on that later.
Fun in the impromptu
I was really grateful for my knee-jerk decision to go to Seattle. By proxy I found Eugene, which later plays a major part in my travels. If you’re wondering why there wasn’t a profound aha or learning moment in this story, it was because there was none. In hindsight, I was very wounded (and reopening the wound) at the time looking for solid ground. Now, I’ve come to appreciate those moments of healing. They taught me the importance of slowing down and taking care of yourself. In order to conquer new territory, rest is needed, and I was able to start that process in Eugene. There is more to the Eugene saga, but for the sake of continuity, I will share my travel stories in the order that they incurred. Up next is Seattle. I’ll see you there!
Pardon my abrupt 4-ish month hiatus. Turns out, I needed a leave of absence to get my bearings. Admittedly, as I was beginning my 3-month “vacation” it was clear that I had some internal work to do. Thankfully after a few (tons) conversations with God, I made peace with a lot of things, learned to rely on His wisdom and not my own, which set me free in so many aspects of my life. It’s been a pruning period, to say the least. I will say that I am much better for it and am thankful for all of the experiences that have led me to this point thus far. So here are a few things that I’ve been up to in my absence.
In January, I was mentally/emotionally in a chaotic state, not dealing with my “things” very well. Fortunately, I could tell something was amiss, and though I was committed to doing the “work”, I needed some help. Faith really played a part in my healing process. I began to ask the questions, “how did I get here?” and “in what ways did I contribute to this mess?”. Funny thing is, if you do ask God these questions, you’ll get an answer, though it may not be what you want to hear. In short, in asking the tough questions, I realized that I needed to take responsibility for the relationships I engaged in and how I spent my time. The truth is, I had a habit of hanging out with insanely damaged people. When I realized that the baggage I was carrying was 98% not my own, it radically changed my view and perception about myself and the world I created.
Killing My Ego
As much as I hate to admit it, I have a Texas-sized ego. I’m smart and not only do I know it, I have no problem demonstrating it. It’s an issue I’m constantly managing, ha! I LOVE problem-solving. My spatial reasoning skills are quite amazing. There’s nothing wrong with having a healthy ego, but when you begin to believe that you are indeed Superman, therein lies the issue. Maybe I hung out with the wrong people because I believed I could fix them. Maybe I hung out with broken folks because it made me feel superior in some messed up way (also I hate admitting that, but it’s true). The problem is, birds of a feather flock together, so I would either change the people I was with or eventually become just like them.
Obviously, the latter happened. Of course, if you keep mentally trying to divide by zero, your brain will begin to shut down or explode. On a subconscious level, I knew something was awry, but I suppose at the time, it was easier to numb myself than to make changes. One of the worst things that I had to own was that I easily accepted the nonsense and beliefs of others without questioning or checking in with my own perspective. Friends, that is such a vile way to live! If there is one thing I hope that people could embrace, it’s to not allow other people’s perceptions of you rule your worldview. Once I began to question what people were saying and look at what they were actually doing, I began to realize the truth: a lot of people are hypocrites and blindly live according to societal standards or damaged value systems. Upon realizing this, it freed me to pursue the life that I want for myself, devoid of acknowledging the opinions of others.
Freedom in Being Yourself
After getting off of the “people-pleasing” rat race, the fundamental elements of Taryn came back, which I’m so thankful for! I now understand what I think, how I view myself, and what works for me to sustain a happy and meaningful life. Currently, I’m in Brian Head, UT with Abbey, enjoying the peaceful solitude of mountain life. There’s like 5 people up here, which is awesome! I do, on occasion, venture into the nearby town of Cedar City to people watch and do grocery shopping. To be honest, I can only last down there for about 3-4 hours before I become increasingly annoyed with the townsfolk.
I don’t know what it is, but one thing I’ve observed in my newfound “awareness” is that a lot of people are asleep at the wheel, merely going through the motions, and not fully aware of what it is that they’re doing. Seriously, I’ll have conversations with people and I will gently posit questions and 100% of the time, there’s a lightbulb going off in their minds. I don’t say this to come off as superior or judgmental. And maybe I’m able to see it because I too was once in this state. This observation honestly makes me want to go out and hug people, and tell them that it’s going to be OK. To me, seeing folks in this light signifies that there is something profoundly wrong with society.
Back to Creating
Anyway, this post wasn’t meant to be so existential, but then again, this is literally how my brain works. So, I will own it. I do want to share that I did end up making the podcast! The first episode airs in like 15 minutes, which you can find here! Is it perfect? No! But, I am proud of what I’ve accomplished, even though my audio-engineering skills leave a lot to be desired. Feel free to take a listen and share your thoughts! The whole podcast is meant to be humorous and I do not take myself seriously, so I hope you can get a laugh or two at the mis/adventures I will share on it. With that, I’m going to go outside and watch Abbey play in the snow. Until next time!
*WARNING: It’s about to get all Dr. Phil up in here.
I’ll be blunt, working through your feelings is annoying, tedious, frustrating, necessary, healing, and all of that stupid stuff. I get that it’s crucial because it helps you grow and mature as a person. But dangit, it’s hard.
Admittedly, I love/d being numb. It allows me to float through life and not feel. Avoiding things/feelings means that I don’t have to try or put any emotional “skin” in the game. To that end, my subconscious has been dealing with me in that even when I try to “go numb” it has this precarious way of forcing me to confront with what’s going on with me.
I’ll give you an example. My dad puts out daily devotionals of which I edit. I also help edit and format them into books. I don’t mind doing it, especially since what he has to offer is quite beneficial for readers. Today, as I was going through his latest manuscript, I couldn’t help but notice how he phrased the dedication section. Normally he lists my siblings and me chronologically. This time, he grouped it by kid and spouse. While this seems innocuous on its own, the salt in the wound stems from my Dad’s bias towards marriage and family.
I just finished a stint in Vegas visiting my family. It was a great time as I love seeing my family. My brother recently got re-married to a wonderful woman whom I also share a birthday with. I could not be happier for him, especially since she is a great person and her family is pretty awesome too. This new edition to my family has gotten my father to reignite his “marriage and family line” diatribe.
I will wholeheartedly vouch that in terms of parents, I hit the jackpot. I couldn’t ask for more supportive and loving parents. That said, my dad loves his family. So much so that every conversation usually has some lowkey marriage, partnership, and children slant. Seriously, the man does not shut up about the sanctity of marriage and child-rearing. Now, I don’t have a problem with either of the two. But, as of right now, I don’t want either. If I’m being completely honest, I don’t know if I will ever want them.
So back to the dedication and my reaction to it. Thanks to my recent sobriety stint and leveling up in self-awareness, I realized why it bothered me. While my dad has always told me he loves me and he’s proud of my accomplishments, it’s no secret as to what he values the most– marriage and grandchildren. I’m 0 for 2 with no signs of changing the score anytime soon.
Even though I’m happy with my choices and am stoked about where I am headed, the Ego in me feels incredibly inadequate and pissed. So much so that I’ve been unconsciously avoiding my dad’s calls.
I mean, I’m kicking butt and taking names. I’m in a position where I can focus on my art, my craft. I have my autonomy and I know how to use it. Why isn’t that enough? Why does it feel like the only goals worth bragging about are getting married and popping out children? It wasn’t until I saw the dedication page that I figured out this was bugging me.
This isn’t my dad’s fault, it’s mine for internalizing this feedback. Admittedly I am quite guilty of putting people’s opinions above my own. I can’t change people’s perspectives or views. I can, however, change how I react to them. I’m learning how to accept my choices and be proud of them. I can’t live my life for others. While part of me wants to go back to living with my head in the sand, I can’t help but admit that I feel better chipping away stuff in my head.
So, that’s it for this post. It’s weird being this transparent, especially to myself, but I suppose I won’t get to where I need to go if I don’t dig deep. On a side note, I will be posting my first podcast episode this week. I didn’t realize how much time I’d need to learn GarageBand. That and I’m being a “precious perfectionist” about the quality. Anyway, stay tuned for an announcement this week!
Metaphorically speaking. My actual bags are still a beleaguered work in progress.
I swear this post isn’t the pilot to my new “Taryn’s Anatomy” series, I’ve just had a lot of time to focus on me– for better and for worse.
A major part of why I decided to abandon ship from the real world was because I have the propensity of focusing on the lives of others rather than my own. Fortunately for me, I enjoyed a few tragically hilarious situations (which I will be sharing in my upcoming podcast!!) that forced me to change course. The beauty of traveling on my own is that I get to focus entirely on myself. The curse of traveling alone is that I get to focus entirely on myself. It’s certainly a red pill/blue pill situation.
Silence is LOUD
Traveling alone is awesome, especially if you don’t have to worry about your basic needs. It’s just me, my dog, my adventures, and my thoughts. Thoughts can be exceptionally loud when you’re unable to hide from them.
Starting out, it was rough. There were no external situations or people that I could blend into. There were a lot of painful moments/feelings that I wanted to drown out with alcohol. Eventually, I got tired of the morning after, trying to piece together the night before, and dreading to find out if I had sent embarrassing messages to people. That and I got tired of digestive tragedies that occurred after (alcohol sh*ts are a real thing, yo). So I’ve ditched the booze, for good and got comfortable with the uncomfortable.
Enjoy the Silence
Contrary to my early diagnosis, silence can be a beautiful thing. During these reflective moments, I’ve discovered some false truths and beliefs that I had to let go. I also learned that no choice is still a choice and being intentional is important. Most importantly, I learned that you don’t have to accept the status quo or the way of the world. Beating to your own drum is best.
It’s easy to hold on to your worst moments, your shame, your guilt, and build a construct around them. But, if you’re willing to let those things go, there is freedom and possibility on the other side. I’m not saying I’m the poster child for emotional wellness (that would be scary for the world, ha). I am, however, learning to appreciate the good while chucking the bad. Slowly but surely, I am lightening the load, leaving the unnecessary luggage behind. So on that note, I’m going to go walk Abbey. But I will leave you with this lovely little number. Cheers!
I always try to have a positive/funny vibe when I write, but today I’m going to keep it real and try a little rage/humor.
Guys, I’m a rage monster today.
I’m a cranky, annoyed, frustrated, grumpy Taryn right now. I’m seeing red and wanting to do something about it. I’m kick-a-bunny angry. Trip-a-kid angry. Punch-an-old-person angry. Yeah, I’m a hot mess. The funny part? On the outside, I look like:
But on the inside, I’m like this:
WARNING: Actual sighting of Taryn. Beware
Here’s a quick rundown for my anger (in no particular order):
Bank of America and their shady savings account fees
Clients that aren’t on the same page internally and are giving contradictory feedback, wasting my time
Having to walk on eggshells because a person whom I’m stuck spending the next few days with changes her mood every nanosecond (technically this is my fault. I booked a hotel and then canceled. Idiot)
Las Vegas drivers
Feeling creatively stagnant (not for long!!!)
The Upside to Anger
There is a beauty to my rage-ness. Anger tells me that I’m feeling! As someone who typically struggles with identifying how I feel, this is a positive. I’m also able to identify whyI’m angry. Anger also confirms why I left Vegas in the first place and why I have to keep going, in spite of being uncomfortable with entering unchartered territory. Anyway, I’m less angry now. I’d say I’m more in the range of ambivalent/annoyed with a side of hopeful. Who knew that writing was more beneficial than alcohol?!
Well, hopefully, you enjoyed my little rant. I will be posting about my travels in the next few days. In the last 3 months, Abbey and I have been to 9 states! It’s been a blast, but I will be taking a quick break in Oregon for a few months. Traveling is a blast, but honestly, I need a quick chill pill to keep on keeping on with my journey. Until next time!
Ok, so I know I still need to write about my birthday. However, I left my camera and I wanted to upload a photo for the post, so it’ll happen sometime soon! Anywho, I’ve recently made the unsettling discovery that I’m not always the best advocate for myself when it comes to respecting my time/boundaries. In fact, I can be a bit of a doormat both professionally and personally.
Fairy Godmother syndrome
I don’t know exactly when, but at some point, I made the choice to help other people with their goals, problems, dreams, etc. If you needed help with something, I was your girl! Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo, I’d turn on my neurotic superpowers to make sure whatever you needed appeared as if all I had to do was wave a magic wand. Sure, that sounds like a nice character trait, however, I went way overboard, leaving very little in the tank when it came to taking care of myself.
The first step is admission
Maybe focusing on other people’s stuff was easier than admitting that I was avoiding my own stuff, but, fortunately for me, I had a painful experience during a recent wedding where I had to be a maid of honor, forcing me to take a good hard look at how I prioritized myself and others in my life (One day, I’ll sit down and fully explain, but I’m letting some time go by for processing purposes). To summarize quickly, I had overlooked my own personal needs to uphold someone else’s unrealistic expectations. Like a hand backslapping you on a cold winter’s day, I was confronted with an unsettling truth: I turned myself into a doormat and I have myself to blame.
Out with the old, in with the boundaries
I’ve learned how to assert the word “no” and it’s been glorious! At work, I’m refusing projects that are either too low in compensation or when the project is too demanding. I’m no longer answering emails that are outside of my working hours or arrangements I’ve made with clients. Long story short, I’m doubling down on my worth. I have noticed that it makes me less agreeable (something that I used to covet), but it has weeded out the emotional soul-sucking aspects of my professional life. Setting boundaries also helped me to discover that when I was dreading or avoiding something, it was actually my subconscious trying to let me know that my boundaries were being disrespected. Now, when my gut is telling me to abandon ship, I listen.
Taryn’s got a brand new bag
I have to admit, asserting boundaries have been so helpful in my crazy little world. I’m learning to put myself first, hence my traipsing across the US. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that initially, this process felt very aliento me, but with a little practice, I’m improving over time! It is a work in progress, like a muscle I’m exercising to build endurance. Creatively, this opens me up to really hunker down and work on my projects. With that being said, I am enjoying the changes I’m making and am looking forward to the process, uncomfortable or not!
So yesterday was my birthday. I turned 29. I was going to write about it (and will, probably tomorrow) but I feel like a total POS because I spent the last few days off of Keto and I’m miserable!!!!!
It started with a trainer
A few months back, I decided to not only get a gym membership but to also get a personal trainer. After all, I was staring down being in two weddings six weeks of each other, a girl’s gotta look good. Anyway, my trainer (who I absolutely adore and miss terribly) made me switch my dietary habits and told me to try Keto. I’m not going to get into the specifics of Keto, but it’s basically a low carb, moderate protein, and high-fat diet. I was skeptical and annoyed about how expensive and mindful my shopping had become, but I’d be lying if I didn’t see how much of a difference it did for me mentally.
My brain with superpowers
The biggest change (well one of them) for me was my brain processing/mental state– whatever you want to call it. My ability to focus, power through mundane tasks, and just my overall emotional resilience went THROUGH THE ROOF! At my pique performance, I was going to the gym 5-6 times a week, eating a Keto diet, and just loving life. Like seriously, I HATE administrative/repetitive tasks, but I found myself not only being more productive, I didn’t mind as much. I could go on and on about how my diet also improved my gym recovery, etc, but for the sake of this post, I’ll stick with my brain. Anywho, fast forward to this past week. I decided to “treat” myself and ate all kinds of tasty and horrible food.
Hello darkness, my old friend
When I ditch my Keto diet and eat crappy food, I AM SO MISERABLE AND DEPRESSED, it’s not even funny!!! You’re probably thinking, “Taryn, c’mon, it’s not the food.” Oh, but it is! When I eat poorly, I’m sluggish, foggy, cranky, and just downright depressed. Fortunately, I’m very cognizant of my mood and the causes of my changes in behavior. I am glad that I’ll be fine in a day or two, but man it is gnarly how food can really alter your mindset.
You are what you eat
I’m not advocating that everyone go on Keto– it depends on a few factors. That said, the difference of cutting out sugar, bad carbs, and processed foods is astounding! Do I miss bread? Sure. BUT, I LOVE how I feel when I eat healthily and exercise on a regular basis. It’s worth cutting out the crappy stuff, hands down. Anyway, that’s the end of my dietary rant. I will be back to normal in a day or two.
Hello friends! I have been busy… with life! While I can’t pour my heart and soul into this post, I’ll give you a few quick bullet points on the life of Taryn as of late. Continue reading “Back from the…”→
Here I am, returning from the shadows of obscurity. It’s been quite a while. A lot has changed and a lot has remained the same. That was my hipster way of saying that I’ve been running in circles waiting for the sky to fall these last few months. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some great achievements, and I’ve had some learning moments.
First, I’d like to say that no, I’m not a recovering alcoholic (though my mom seems to think so, more on that later). That said, the term “terminal uniqueness”– which is commonly referred to in A.A.– is the belief that the situation the individual is facing is unlike anything faced by other people. Now, if I’m being honest, when I go to my mopey “all hope is lost” place, I tend to think my “isms” are soooo different than what everyone else is facing.
I mean obviously, no one could possibly understand my life. 2 parents that are still married who are unconditionally supportive of their daughter, friends that care, and a career that is gaining speed? Sheesh, the horror.
As I venture out into the world, I am reminded that my road has been traveled and I don’t have to go it alone. I’m coming to the understanding that I’m not a special little snowflake, and I’m finding comfort in the fact that I’m more human than I give myself credit. Now I am tasked with the pesky chore of connecting with my fellow humans. I’m a little rusty, but I’m working on it!
So, I’m getting back into the blogging swing of things and I have a bunch of goodies to share. I had an epic 26th birthday in October, killed it in freelance writing in terms of earnings in the last 2 months, I’m “taking pride in my appearance” (again, more on that later), and volunteering at the library. In a nutshell, I’m back! So get ready, because I mean it this time! Happy Sunday!
I’ve experienced some awesome growth in my writing career. The fruits of my labors are blooming and I am very ecstatic for what’s to come. While I am over the moon, I can’t help but overanalyze the future.
As someone who’s experienced loss on a deep level, it’s tough for me to allow myself to be truly happy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a positive person, but on a scale of personal fulfillment, I go up to 75% and then crash and burn. Like a fail-safe switch, I begin to self-destruct once I’ve reached my optimum level of mediocrity. After spending some time soul-searching, I’ve come to realize that I’ve taught myself to stop trying. After all, you can’t get hurt if you weren’t expecting happiness to be the end target right?
My point is, the mind is an incredibly scary place to get trapped in. Understanding that I have to actively deconstruct these mental barriers in my brain on a day to day basis is daunting, but worth the effort. I want to take the world by storm and really be happy and proud of my life. And, what if something bad happens? I’ll just pick myself up and get back on this horse called “Life”.
Whether I’ participating or not, life is happening. Just because I avoid it doesn’t mean I freeze in time and press play when I’m ready to get back out there. I don’t want to one day find myself old and miserable because I was too scared to make an effort. So to all of my fellow bloggers/readers, take care of your mind and do away with the negative thoughts that cause you to freeze. Life is for the living and we should cherish the time we have on this beautiful planet. That said, I hope everyone has a beautiful week!