Quarterly Goals

I decided to break up my yearly goals into quarterly goals to help them be a bit more manageable. I can’t accomplish things in a month sometimes and a year has been a bit too broad. I don’t want it to be November and the year has flashed by, as it so often does.

Finances
-Pay off dental scaling $500
-Fix car $250
-Fix car belts $650
-Put $250 in my emergency fund
-Save $300 for gay pride
-Stretch goal- Save $500 for a cap

Blog
-Start writing regular content again
-Hit 1,000 page views in June
-Create a newsletter
-Build resource page
-Find two freelance jobs

Health
-Start counting calories again
-Lose 10lbs
Workout 3x times a week

Fun 
-Read 8 books
-Finish crochet project
-Have fun in LA, at my Graduation Party & Utah ( Given)
– Deep clean my apartment ( not fun but I don’t have anywhere else to really put it)

What are you working on this quarter?

I’m Back!

I’m baaack! Did you miss me? I missed all of you! My schedule has been extremely overwhelming but now that I am graduating, it’s a little bit better. And by little bit, I mean I have traded working on homework into catching up on all areas of my life I have neglected which means pretty much all of them that didn’t involve my education. Relationships, work and my house have all pretty much taken a hit so playing catch up is a huge must, along with adult responsibilities.

Along with my over-extended schedule, I seem to have forgotten about my goals I set at the beginning of the year, although two major ones were checked off. I completed Warrior Dash and I will be graduating from ASU next weekend. I have friends and family coming in from all over which I can’t explain in words how much it even means. I suffer from depression and anxiety and battle demons on a daily basis, but to know I have such a supportive network of people means more than you can even imagine.

I’m excited to get back into blogging and connecting with everyone again. I still read a ton of blogs but now I’m excited to have time to comment and connect again, bloggers are the best. I’m also excited to have time to bring you new content and to start work on one of my audacious goals,  building the MSL empire.

Cheers to the weekend!
Athena

2016 Goals

The past few weeks, I have been in bliss! I finished my second to last semester at ASU and have been taking some much needed time off from life! I decided to spend my Christmas vacation ( two weeks, thanks teacher life!) in Pennsylvania at my boyfriend’s. We’ve spent some time in the city ( both New York City and Philly), I helped boyfriend organize his office, I read some amazing books and drank way too much coffee. I’ve also let my inner gluten come out and my comfy pants may or may not be a little tight.

I’ve also spent some time reflecting on myself and what I want in 2016. I decided what I really wanted was to stay on my path and flourish.  In 2014 I rocked the word mindfulness and this year I’d like to rock the word flourish. I want to focus on myself and my goals and not lose my way. Shonda Rhimes writes in her new book “Year Of Yes” that the people who are successful aren’t the dreamers, they are the doers. And I want to keep myself doing rather than sharing my dreams and then wondering what everyone else is up to.

2016 goals graphic

  1. Graduate from ASU. I am so close to finishing my degree this Spring and I am so excited. When I decided to go back in 2014, I knew it would be much harder this go around but I am so glad and happy that I did it. I’m almost there!
  2. Train for Warrior Dash. I let my friend talk me into signing up for the Warrior Dash this April. I remember I had wanted to a few years ago and then realized how much physical activity it would take and then decided against it. But you know what? Life is too short to doubt myself. I may not be in shape but I am going to train and do it. I’m hoping this gets me out of my lack of fitness and health rut while helping me drop some of the 30lbs I’ve gained since going back to school full time.
  3. Build up MSL Empire. I’ve been thinking a lot about my upcoming graduation and what that means for my work path and what I would happy doing. I currently love my job and make the most I’ve ever made in my life. But, I want to make more. I don’t know if that is possible in my field if I stay in Arizona. I don’t know if that means I have to move or change professions. But, I do know that I want to start building my business in the mean time. I want to have more money coming in and I want alternate sources of income besides my day job. I have a lot of ideas, including some surprises, and it’s going to require a ton of hard work on my part. But I want to help latinas with their finances and everybody else, myself included!
  4. Go to Hawaii. Since I am graduating and I turned 30 recently, I would love to take a trip to somewhere I’ve always wanted to go. It was between this or Italy and I decided the beach and pina coladas wins out. I’ve invited some friends so we’ll see if anyone can make it work or if I’ll be drinking by myself but that could be fun.
  5. Save $10,000. This sounds and IS a ton of money on my income so this is going to require some creative budgeting, cutting expenses and my favorite, earning more money. I will be ear marking this amount through three different accounts, one is my Hawaii trip, another is my emergency fund and the other one is a possible moving fund. If moving isn’t something on the cards, it will go towards my emergency fund and student loans.
  6. Fix my car. My car isn’t broken but it does need some work to keep it running in prime condition. I’d rather put some money into keeping my current car running safely then a down payment towards a new one and then additional car payments.
  7. Finish up dental work. This just means finishing up my veneers and getting a deep cleaning plus any small fillings I need.
  8. Read 52 books. I was so close to this goal and since half the year I won’t be studying, I am going for it!
  9. Learn to crochet. My mom used to crochet all the time and it was something I had been meaning to learn. I decided there is no time like the present and really, I want to crochet Star Wars figures and scarves.

There you have it, all nine scary audacious goals I am throwing into the universe. I’m excited and I wish everyone the very best this year. What do you all have planned? Any goals I can help with?

2015 Yearly Recap

I had a lot happen in 2015 that I wasn’t expecting, some that I was and some I had been planning for. I wanted to take a minute to share my year with you and to look back on all that I accomplished with some hard work and elbow grease.

My three year long legal battle finally ended. 

Probably the hardest thing to write about all year was the fact that my three year long legal battle finally ended and not in my favor. In 2011, I was in a severe car accident which totaled my car and caused discs in my neck to bulge. I had to seek year long medical treatment and finally underwent a procedure to help with nerve damage I experienced. The accident wasn’t my fault and I sought legal representation about a month and a half after it happened but I wish I had done it sooner and had found someone better to represent in my court.

My experience wasn’t awful until my medical treatment had been finished because it seemed everything that could go wrong did with the law office I had picked to represent me. I had a total of over five lawyers, endless legal secretaries and trips that resulted in nothing. Once my legal representation had realized that they had screwed up my case pretty badly, they dropped me and left me on the hook for my medical treatment. After many sleepless long nights and stress, including stomach problems and panic attacks with chest pains, I decided to settle outside of court with the opposing counsel on my own through the judge.

I’m happy I can finally put some of this behind me, even if I am left on the hook with some additional debt I wasn’t planning for. I did need the treatment my neck and the procedure, I just wish it hadn’t ended like this and left such a bitter taste in my mouth.

I got my first apartment!

apartment

I achieved one of my main goals this year in February and moved into my very own apartment! I had decided back in 2013 that I had wanted to try living by myself. I wanted the freedom to have my boyfriend stay for long periods of time, get a pet and experience life on my own. My roommate was great and I’m glad I lived with her since she’s still a good friend, and I’m grateful to her. But, I’m glad I was able to be in a place in my life where I could do this and I have learned soooo much. This is a snapshot of my kitchen and I plan on doing a more in depth home tour later on in 2016.

I adopted a rescue cat!

harrison 1

I adopted a rescue cat named Harrison around the time I moved into my new apartment. He was pretty much meant to be. I went for a run with my friend Monica in her neighborhood down the street from my new apartment and she showed me an ad with Harrison in it. I met his rescue family and took him home two weeks later. Living alone was scary and I’m so happy and grateful I had him to help me navigate the way. He helps me with social media clients, likes naps and has six toes! Look at those thumbs. Totally adorbs, am I right?

harrison 2 harrison 3 harrison 4 harrison 5

I went to the Grand Canyon, Borrego Springs and New Mexico! 

grand canyon

I was able to travel a bit this year in between school and work when I could snag time away! This year, I went to the Grand Canyon with H and tagged along on his annual family vacation which included going to Borrego Springs this year. I also spent Thanksgiving in New Mexico with one of my best friends who I hadn’t seen in three years and had a great time shopping and eating my way through the state. Too much good food!

new mexico

I got my braces off! 

no braces

After three long years, I finally got my braces taken off. Huzzah! In 2012, I was finally able to get braces put on to help fix my severe overcrowding and overbite. For years prior, I had been getting my teeth filled, fixed and pulled to make room for the corrective procedures that needed to be done, including three different pieces of hardware. My teeth were really bad and my parents were never able to get the fixed and keep up with everything else, bills wise. I had a lot of resentment towards my parents for not fixing my teeth when I was younger but it’s funny. When the braces came off, so did my hard feelings and I got a brand new smile. My braces were well over $6,000 and that’s not including any previous dental work but you know what? I’m glad I was able to do this for myself.

My besties from Vegas came for gay pride in Phoenix and I was able to host them!

gay pride gay pride 2

This was a big deal for me because I always lived with a roommate or a boyfriend and had to ask if it would be okay. Not this time! Sure, let’s squeeze as many people into my apartment! Everyone is welcome! Don’t let the cat out! We had tons of drinks, fun, dancing and did I mention we got to see Wilson Phillips perform live? Best gay pride ever!

Speaking of besties, my sister wife and I went to RuPaul’s Drag Con. 

rupaul

Yup, that’s me with Rupaul guys and you can tell how giddy I was to hug him in his pinstripe suit. If he was in drag, I’m not entirely sure I would have been able to keep it together since drag queens are a few of my favorite things. I loved this event and had so much fun, including seeing so many drag queens work, checking out the Rocky Horror Picture Show and meeting Daniel Franzese. Daniel, if you’re reading, I want my pink shirt back.

daniel

I went to Israel for a study abroad program, studied something super scary and had the greatest experience of my life. 

israel

I’ve never been what one would call a “traditional” college student. I went to community college for years and earned an associates while maintaining full time employment. I then took a four year hiatus before returning for my bachelors still while working. I’ve always had to support myself and could never be someone who just focused on school. This meant I lost out on a lot of “traditional” college experiences, such as living in a dorm or on campus or being away from home for the first time.

In January, I received an email from ASU inviting me to participate in a study abroad program I qualified for based on my GPA. It was studying counter terrorism in Israel for several weeks during the summer which coincided with my time off my full-time teaching position. I was excited but unsure if I really wanted to participate, especially since it was attached to a $10,000 price tag which I found unfathomable in my budget. But, I did it and probably had the best time of my life while there.

I swam in the Dead Sea, blessed my cross necklace on the stone that Jesus laid on and saw the field David and Goliath had their battle on. I learned how to gather intelligence, keep my cool and made new friends and explored new cities where I didn’t speak the language but survived. I learned a lot about myself but mainly learned I’m a strong person who loves traveling and I don’t give myself enough credit. I scrimped and saved and hustled my ass off to make it happen and after next month, it will finally be paid off!

israel 3 israel 2

I went to FinCon again!

fincon 3

I have gone to FinCon every year since 2012 so this is the fourth time I’ve been and this year it was in Charolette! One of my many side hustles is doing the social media and event planning for the Plutus Awards, an annual awards ceremony which allows people to nominate and then vote for the best of the best in the personal finance sphere. I have to say, as much as I love traveling and exploring, I love the people at this conference the most. I met my boyfriend here, met some of my most treasured friends here and it’s a way to gain knowledge. This conference has motivated me to do so much with my life even when I don’t always agree with certain people or ideas. And not only was I able to be a guest on my first podcast explaining my struggles and triumphs, I also got to go to special dinner hosted by Prudential and I got to snag this selfie with the Mama of Personal Finance, Lynette Cox.

fincon fincon 2

I completed another year of my studies and only have a semester left before I graduate!

school

I completed another year of my studies and I am on track to graduate after the Spring. I went nonstop this year to make it happen, which included sessions in the spring, summer and fall but I had a hard time finishing one of the classes I signed up for, which was a higher level microbiology class I was taking for fun! I thought it would be more of a social commentary class and I really struggled with it and my time constraints. I also really struggled because of something else.

I stopped therapy, had a breakdown and had to go back. I had to re-define my happiness. 

happiness

The other hardest thing to write about besides my legal battle was that my mental health didn’t have such a great time towards the end of the year. I stopped therapy in April thinking that I was “better” and could handle my emotions on my own again but my health starting deteriorating when I got back from Israel and started school again. It got insanely bad in September and after fighting with almost everyone close to me, I had a breakdown at the beginning of October. It’s not hard to admit I struggle with mental illness, but it is hard to deal with at times, when I wish I could just be “normal” and not have to worry about not wanting to get out of bed, oh like, everyday. I was re diagnosed, put on meds and started psychotherapy, with an emphasis in mindfulness, meditating and allowing myself to have “bad” days.

And almost two months later, it’s working. I feel better although I’m still tired but I actually look forward to things again. I didn’t get the news I wanted at work and instead of getting upset, I dealt with it the best I could. I only cried once this month about my mother ( holidays are especially hard for me) and I’ve been trying to work on my relationships. I’m learning what unhealthy codependency traits I have and learning new ways to work around them. I am learning and that’s the best I can hope for at the moment.

And speaking of relationships, I reconnected with my father. 

dad

While having my breakdown, I called my father. I can’t explain why since I only talk to him on holidays and birthdays, if we remember, but I heard a voice in my head and listened. And I am so glad I did. I packed my cat and I up for a weekend and went to see him. And, it was actually a good visit. He apologized for so many things that have happened in the past and I feel at this point, we are both in a good point in our lives to work on our relationship and actually have one. I can’t and won’t go into too much of his business, but I will say that my father had events and circumstances happen to him as well that have created different things he’s had to deal with and I am okay seeing that my father is human too. I hope we can continue to put the past behind us and work on having a relationship again.

And so, that’s my year in a nutshell. Crazy to look back and see all things I accomplished and did. There are so many other things I didn’t touch on, like my 30th birthday party extravaganza or seeing the Foo Fighters or other fun things I did. But I hope you enjoyed all that I did share and I hope you’re excited about the new year with me!

2015 Goals Recap

2015 Goals

I would say that I can’t believe the last time I posted here was three months ago but in all honest, I totally can. Although I try to stay as involved as possible in the blogging community, through my work as a social media manager for the Plutus Awards or through the FinCon group, my own site suffers because I often put it last on my mile long list of things to do or accomplish.

2015 was a good year for me. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t shit that didn’t hit the fan, or I didn’t have some serious revelations, because that’s not true at all. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows guys but that’s life. Really good stuff happens then bad stuff then good stuff again. And as I sit here on my boyfriend’s couch while he cooks me dinner, I can say that bad stuff has to happen sometimes so you can appreciate the good things again. But God, that’s not a challenge, okay? I’m just acknowledging it so please bless me this year. 🙂

I will also be honest and say I completely forgot about my 2015 goals halfway through the year like the rest of America. But, I have looked over them and realized that I still wasn’t an utter failure. I also had found a handwritten list of things I wanted to accomplish and I actually did a lot of those too, which makes me happy. Sometimes, just writing out the intention may be enough to remind yourself to accomplish something. But, next year I am going to take a slightly different approach to goal accomplishing. I’m still contemplating what I want to accomplish in the next year ( besides my major goals, graduating from ASU and trying to grow my online business so I can travel more long term), but other than that, my mind is still up in the air with the possibilities.

So…how did 2015 go?

1. Regularly make $1,000 in side income. Sort of pass. My side income still averages around $500 per month. At $6,000 per year, that’s nothing to sneeze at for sure. I don’t put a lot of time into my side hustles either, which is nice since I am still currently going to school and working, both full time until May 2016. I haven’t scaled my online pursuits mainly because I wanted to keep my sanity but my mind shift towards the end of this year has changed slightly. I still want to keep my sanity but I do want to increase my income next year.

2. Save a $3,000 emergency fund. Pass! However, it’s no longer intact. Moving was expensive and living on my own was more expensive then I had imagined. And then I needed car repairs, dental work and you know, the usual adulting things. This will be a goal again in 2016.

3. Save + spend $2,000 in dental work. Pass! I actually put around around $1,000 into my dental work but will be finishing it up next year. I couldn’t have the final touches done to my pearly chompers because my teeth need to stabilize. I didn’t realize how loose your teeth were even after you had a retainer for months after.

4. Visit H four times. Fail. I didn’t get to see H nearly as much as I had wanted to for a variety of reasons. His apartment pipes burst which had him stuck on the east coast along with his prior commitments and I was given the opportunity to study abroad for several weeks which drained my finances for half the year while I was in aggressive savings mode ( The trip costed $10,000). I also had somethings to figure out towards the end of the year but I was able to come out for Christmas break.

5. Lose 30lbs. Fail. I actually gained 10 more lbs but I haven’t gained anything since March. My health definitely took a back seat while I was working and going to school full time and I have suffered for it. I have absolutely no energy ever and sleep all the time with my cat.

6. Pass all classes at ASU. Pass! I’ll give myself a pass here and I’ll actually be graduating in the spring!

7. Read 52 books. Fail. I’m currently at 43 books read on December 27th, 2015 and will probably end up with 44 by the 1st. 43 books is nothing to snuff at which makes me happy but still bummed. I had a lot of reading this year for classes, no doubt.

8. Move into my new apartment! Pass! Along with passing all my classes this year and getting ready to graduate, this is the goal I am most proud of. I have lived on my own by myself for almost a year now with my cat. I still don’t have everything I want on the walls but the place is mine, 100%. Between my trip to Israel and moving into my own place, this is where the majority of my cash flow went this year. I am okay with it.

Well, those are my 2014 goals. Stay tuned and I’ll be sharing a 2015 recap later this week!

Fall Is Here! Goals update + a big goal.

Hello and Happy October! My September was a hit and miss so so so many reasons and because of that, I really lost focus on my goals for the month of September.  Along with traveling, I got terribly sick which knocked me out of commission for two weeks. I’m talking fainting on a plane sick due to a severe double  ear and sinus infection that has seriously just started going away.

Along with being sick physically, I decided to start seeing a new therapist to help with my mental health again. I stopped taking care of myself like I should have earlier this year for a number of reasons, mainly because I thought I didn’t need to see a therapist any longer. The tricky thing about your brain is that you think you are fine and healed and then everything falls down around you like a glass house. I thought I was fine and stopped taking care of myself the way I should have mentally, emotionally and physically, and so many things this past month hit me in the face.

I am a caring, compassionate and positive person, although you wouldn’t know it from the way I’ve been acting, if I am being perfectly honest. I’ve been so focused on the wrong things and not the right ones, which has really damaged everything from school, work, and some of my relationships. I’ve been a jerk to more than one person because of my perception sometimes and I’m okay admitting that, which is why I am seeing a new therapist. I’m not proud of the way I’ve treated some people, acted in certain situations and I am truly sorry.

I’m a happy, beautiful, compassionate and intelligent person who has a lot going for her, but on the right day, I wouldn’t believe you. I can turn the smallest thing into the biggest thing thanks to my anxiety and I can throw everything away the next moment thanks to my depression. I think everyone is against me and start fighting, sometimes for a reason and than sometimes for none. I’m so used to fighting for so many things in my life that if I’m honest, I feel I can’t stop or everything will go away. And that’s so not true. But anxiety and depression really don’t let you think anything different, even when you may be in your best season yet.

My main goal is to work on myself with my therapist so I stop repeating unhealthy patterns and start moving forward with my life instead of staying stagnant. I want to learn how I can deal with my emotions in a healthy way and not let them boss me around and affect everything I have going for me, from a great career to graduate school to helping people.

I didn’t want to share this, mainly out of fear but then I realized it’s okay. It’s okay to say you need help and get it, and to focus on you so you can become a better you, not just for yourself but for everyone in your life that needs you. They not only deserve that but you do as well. And I’m finally realizing that.

Weekly Spending Recap

As part of adulting, I have realized something about my spending and finances. 1. Things come up. 2. They are expensive.

Since my year has been incredibly spendy (between moving into my own place & an overseas trip!), I’ve been trying to cut corners and really make do with what I have while putting anything additional into my savings. Recently, I had to get a car repair and had health problems which made me realize I haven’t been adequately saving even what I thought was enough. So, it’s back to basics like it was earlier this summer, however not with a cash only budget since I lose cash and receipts. 🙁 It’s definitely back to tracking my spending though and sharing weekly recaps along with a monthly post.

Monday September 1st
No Spend

Tuesday September 2nd
Book of Mormon Ticket $70 (Entertainment)

Wednesday September 3rd
Address Change $1.05 (Misc)
Birthday Card $3.57 (Gift)
Lunch w/ Boss $7.03 (Alcohol & Restaurants)
Parking @ ASU $6.00 (School)
Water @ ASU $1.75 (Alcohol & Restaurants)
Book $13.95 ( Entertainment)

Thursday September 4th
Dinner w/ friends $21.15 ( Alcohol & Restaurants)

Friday September 5th
McDonalds $7.10

Saturday September 6th
Target $21.66 (clothes)
Target $27.02 (cat)
Target $71.70 (groceries)
Gas $18.66 (transportation)
99 Cent Store $3.24 (home)
Groomers $20 ( Nail trim + donation)

Sunday September 7th
Beer $13.10
McDonalds $2.17

Monday September 8th
No Spend!

Total= $289.15

Ouch. It hurts to look at that. This is exactly why I’ve decided to start tracking again! I probably now look as pained as my cat does in the photo below. 🙁

My cat on the way to get his nails did!

My cat on the way to get his nails did!

August Wrap Up/ September Goals

August was expensive for me! Not only was I returning home from a study abroad trip and adjusting back to life, I was hit with a ton of expenses. I knew a lot of these were coming up ( like textbooks!), I just didn’t plan very well. I was also hit with unexpected expenses (car repairs!) and had to pay out of pocket for a work trip ( plane tickets!) but thank goodness for the emergency fund. I’ll be getting reimbursed soon, I need to build it back up because it’s getting way too low for my liking.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make too much of a debt until October. I still owe a friend money for Book Of Mormon tickets we purchased using his credit card and not only do I have FinCon this month, but I am also seeing the Foo Fighters and then I’m going camping. Hopefully these won’t be too much of a money drain, I already purchased my ticket for the show and plan to borrow as much gear as possible for camping since I myself don’t own anything. I’m not very outdoorsy. 🙂 Before we look at September, let’s check out August.

Chill & Simplify 
Done! I really chilled out this month although I didn’t get as much done in the decluttering process as I had hoped.

Continue Making My House A Home
I will say semi-done. I under estimated my time and only finished a bedroom purge. My apartment has been kept clean however so that’s nice.

Enjoy My Birthday 
Done! Had a great 30th!

Stay Organized With My Time 
Done! I am proud to say that for the first time since I can honestly remember, I’ve been doing really good at managing my time. I haven’t been feeling frazzled out and my anxiety has been really under control which is nice for me to say. Now, the tricky thing about anxiety and depression is it can absolutely show up out of the blue and that’s happened to me before. I can be fine and then have a panic attack in a matter of minutes. But I have felt really good lately with a combination of things including my meds, routine, eating well, making sure I take breaks, keep a running to do list with all items on it and taking time to be by myself.

Septembers Goals

1. Stay on top of or even ahead in homework.
With all of my travel and fun festivities, it’s easy to slack off on homework since I’m suffering from senioritis already. I want to stay not only on top of but ahead as much as possible so I can enjoy myself. It may not be that easy since a lot of the learning modules don’t open until the week their assigned but I can still try my hardest.

2. Continue to declutter & decorate my apartment.
I under estimated the time it would either take me or how much free time I actually have. I only got my bedroom done last month and that’s not even hanging things on the wall! Trying to make this a priority since my boyfriend is coming to stay for a few months ( exciting!) and he will need space for his things. He’s not entirely moving in but between his hobbies, work and needed items, I’m sure he’ll be bringing a lot! And I want him to feel at home. 🙂

3. Get back into working out.
In Israel I started eating clean and felt so much better that I continued my hardest to eat the same after coming back. I’ve been making all of my own meals with fresh ingredients, drinking tons of water and eating my fruits and veggies. I’m starting to finally feel a difference via my energy levels and would like to start regularly working out again. Last year I was stressed and ate my feelings, this year I’d like to take it out on the treadmill. I plan on doing yoga at home during the week and running during the weekend.

4. See the chiropractor.
My back gave out last week and I was bed ridden for two whole days. It was awful. I stopped my chiropractor treatment awhile ago because I was feeling a lot better and decided to cut corners but now I know I need to go back. I am thinking of seeing a new one closer to my house since my last one said something not very professional to me and it still bugs me. The one closer to my house is also more into pain management and I think that’s what I actually need.

Trying to keep it short and sweet so I don’t get overwhelmed! It’s always hard because I love setting goals. What do you have on the docket for September?

Don’t Let Anyone Define You

Last Spring on a whim, I decided to finally pursue something I had been thinking about since learning it existed when I had first started my leadership class and my fellow students talking about it. Although my major is criminology, I decided to pursue a certificate in LGBT Studies. I didn’t exactly want to minor in another social science class and wondered what else I could pursue based on my interests.

For my whole entire life, I have been involved in the LGBT community. My mother was the biggest LGBT ally I knew until I moved to Las Vegas and met my best friends. She had tons of friends who were active members and sought to it that she was involved in every cookout, gay bar and gathering she knew of. In our small town, she made it her business to hang out at the gay bar where her friends felt more socially accepted ( almost 20 years ago) and supported them in anyway they could. They were never “gay” or “lesbian”, they were just themselves. My mother’s ally impression became even bigger on me when I found out a close family member also associated with the LGBT community, yet she had kept it to herself and now that I’m older, they feel comfortable in letting me know on their own. After my mother’s death, I have went on to follow her footsteps in numerous ways, right down to the gay pride parades and drag queens.

Around the time I started learning more about the LGBT community, Caitlyn Jenner started her transition. Not necessarily being a Kardashian fan ( they have wicked business sense though!), I tuned in to watch her interview with Diane Sawyer to see her viewpoint and what made her finally come out. And, I got it. Sex, gender identity and gender expression are all different things we are born with and realize about ourselves as life goes on. As Alfred Kinsey discovered, the majority of the population falls all over the scaled and very rarely is someone completely heterosexual or homosexual. And if you happen to be cisgender, you are lucky you have never questioned who you are in light of someone telling you you’re wrong.

Jenner recently started having a reality show ( true to Kardashian form!) to document her transition and the journey in finding out who she is. I haven’t watched an episode ( I don’t own a TV!) but I did catch a clip on Facebook and immediately had to share.

Jenner recently started dating someone new and along with all the anxieties and excitement that come along with plain ole dating, she was now dating as a woman, which is a whole different level if you are used to being a man who could just throw on a t-shirt and smile. I mean, who hasn’t gone all out with beauty treatments or a new outfit to impress someone? And now Caitlyn was worried her new beau wouldn’t see her as a “real” woman, knowing about her past. She wouldn’t be enough.

A really annoying Facebook meme has been going around recently and it makes me angry every time I see it. It’s women bashing, wait for it, another woman. And it’s not because she’s something perceived as negative such as promiscuous or a child abuser. It’s because she’s “not real”. She didn’t give birth like them. Or have a period. Or get cat called at a bus stop. Or have certain characteristics or whatever else in people’s ignorant brains makes them more real over another person. I just get so angry when people insists you have to go through certain things in life to be considered “real” when in fact, gender is a man made concept.

And this, this is women telling other women they aren’t enough. It’s bad enough when you’re in a relationship and scared but now other women, people who are suppose to be real and go through the things you do are now telling you that you aren’t enough. For years, I went through a relationship and even was engaged to someone who didn’t think I was enough. Sure, he loved me, but there was always something wrong with me. My teeth were too crooked ( okay they were really bad but you only have to tell me once). I had no degree. My job sucked. I needed to lose 50 lbs. I needed a boob job. And I was too needy. Once I had “fixed” everything “wrong” with me, sans boob job, we broke up. I was devastated even though it was originally my idea and only tried to work things out because I had a bad experience with another man and had myself convinced that I wasn’t going to find anything better.

And after years of therapy, moving away for a boy again and starting over when that didn’t work out, dating new men and finally living by myself with a cat, I realized something. I was enough. I am enough. Sure, I may have anxiety attacks and be the hottest mess at times. I may want too much attention and snore. And yeah, I do make it all about me sometimes. But you know what? I like who I am, at 30. I have a cute apartment in a cute neighborhood. I’m finishing my senior year at a university I had wanted originally wanted to attend before getting in that relationship. My job is great and so are my friends. And although I may feel the penny pinch, I am doing okay. I would be even better if my car will stay healthy and my teeth needed less fillings ( Please God?).

Ladies, listen to me. You are enough. No matter what reproductive organs you’re born with, what you wear, how you do your hair, you’re enough and don’t let someone else define you. Caitlyn, your enough. You are real. Nothing makes you less real than someone else. Remember that.

August Goals

July was a whirlwind that I still haven’t quite caught up from. In July, I was on summer vacation ( teacher life!) which allowed me to spend some time with friends and get my apartment before I headed to Israel for almost three weeks. My boyfriend came out for a week to spend time with me and celebrate my birthday early. The school where I teach full-time also went back into session so I resumed my 40-45 hour work weeks. Annnnnd, ASU starts in three weeks and I’ll be attending classes full-time so I’ll be back to my usual jam packed schedule in no time. I took a break from goals in July but I’d like to start up again because it helps keep me accountable! 🙂

Chill & Simplify 
I am totally stealing this from Tonya because I so can relate to her lately. Between not being home much during July, going on an international trip and and returning to teaching, I so need to find some balance. Reflecting abroad made me realize how much I love my routine when I’m able to stick to one and how much I have come to love and appreciate my own place. If you would have told me last year I’d love living alone, I’d say maybe, but it definitely does come with all of it’s perks.

My goal is to declutter my space and purge of unnecessary objects I’ve collected since moving in. I also hope to relax at home as often as possible, catch up on my library stack and play with my cat. I may or may not be also be watching X Files. I try to limit my tv consumption to less than an hour per day, even on the weekends, so Netflix binging is a little bit harder for me but I am addicted to the X Files lately.

Continue Making My House A Home
I already had a head start on this goal this weekend. I dragged my bf to Ikea and he helped me pick out some furniture and items I had been lacking since moving in six months ago. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown to hate stuff that’s useless and spending money on said stuff but even I can admit how much easier life has been in the less than 24 hour span I’ve owned a coffee table. I’d like to put pictures and prints in frames and hanging them on my wall along with reorganizing my bookshelves. My goal above should also help with this.

Stay Organized With My Time 
Since I will be returning to work and school both full-time, plus freelancing, it’s important to stay organized and on task with assignments, both educationally and professionally. I am known for taking too much on, procrastinating because I feel so overwhelmed and then scrambling to catch up before the deadline. I hate feeling frazzled all the time so I’ve been taking a more active approach to being actually done with projects. I’ve been waking up early ever since  returning to Israel and coming to work earlier because of carpooling with early birds. I’m still definitely not a morning person but getting to work earlier has helped.

Enjoy My Birthday 
My birthday is this month and it’s a big one! I will be doing a sit down dinner and then bar hopping downtown. My plan was something low key and fun for everyone. I know not everyone likes bar hopping but I wanted to include everyone I know and love, which is so many. Hopefully everyone can make it for one or the other!

I also need to think more about graduate school and purchase my FinCon ticket for next month. So much going on, such little time, as usual.

What do you have on the docket for August?