rebranding

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Almost two years ago, I moved to LA to pursue a career in writing. I had a foot in the door, flirted with the prospect of maybe, kinda, sort of having a measure of success in getting into the industry at the lowest level.

I came home.

For the past few months, it’s been challenging. I’m happy to be closer to family and friends, thrilled to be a new aunt, and proud to be working as a personal trainer and helping people on their health journeys. I’m also happy to have tried LA, lived it, experienced and explored because I do miss it, more than I anticipated.

More than anything, I’m a little lost. As I edge nearer to 30, I feel like I should have my life figured out more than I do. I get so caught up in thinking how my life should be going rather than focusing on where I am right now. I’ve been a little ball of anxious, negative energy and I’m ready to come out of it.

This is evidenced more in what I claim to be most passionate about: writing. In all the articles and books, random words of advice I’ve poured over to make me a better writer, the message is clear, in order to make it as a writer, you need to write. I haven’t.

So here we are again. When I first created Give Me My Crown Already, I was on the brink of graduating college, I had just lost 100 pounds, and I felt as confident and prepared as I ever had in my life.

Since, I’ve learned a lot about what I don’t want to do professionally and more about sacrifices and failures that were unexpected. I’ve gained a few pounds and sometimes hate myself for it because I think I should have this down by now. It makes me skeptical and negative and exhausted.

When I first was losing weight, I knew nothing. I just tried. Exercise was my best friend. Going from nothing to something had fantastic results and working out helped me better to manage my anxiety. I enjoyed food more than I ever did when I was heavily overweight and was making better choices and having fun concocting fun, healthy, and delicious dishes. Over the course of these past six years, I have maintained most of the weight loss, but I long to get back to my lowest. I slipped into some old, bad habits, not necessarily with eating, which I’m okay with, or exercising, which I do six days a week, but with my negativity.

No more.

As I rebrand this blog, here’s what I promise. I’m writing, in many different fashions because I miss it and agonizing over stringing the perfect words together is far more satisfying in the long run than researching what I should be doing with nothing to show for it. I am going to be honest about my progress and how I feel. I am going to try to not let negativity devour me, which means forgiving myself my humanity.

With my two passions, writing and healthy living so intersected, I have the opportunity to share my story and learn a lot more about myself and life. Thanks for your patience.

Join me?

Breathe

“The hardest thing to do in this world is to live in it.” (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) 

These past two weeks have been bordering on terrible, with a few good things sprinkled over, but thus has been 2016. It’s an actual thing, people hating on 2016. There’s been a lot of major celebrity deaths, bad political happenings, and a general consensus of unhappiness.

Seventeen days into 2016, I lost my beloved cat. A few months later, I lost my aunt and one of my best friends in the world. I also became a personal trainer and moved across the country. I made new friends, tackled challenges head on, took off on adventures, and made memories with family. I’m still living and breathing and pursuing dreams. This year, I learned the true depth of a human’s ability to adapt. I am both proud and sad considering this revelation. Do we adapt because of our strength or because, in time, we forget?

There is not happiness without sadness, joy without anger, or relief without fear. Nothing is more challenging or damaging than forgetting the specialness of life, but mundanity and exhaustion are very real.

I keep waiting to snap out of my funk, to get out of my own way, and to be given a break. And I’ve got an amazing life. Being so far away from my people does not help.  I’m learning, adapting, and delving into my own strength, and those shared by loved ones, and beginning to understand that life doesn’t care who you are or what you need. Life is one big trial and error experiment and I’m realizing my failures are just as, if not more, important than my successes. Instead of feeling bad for myself and moping, I’m persevering. Some days are harder, or easier, than others.

“But you know, happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”(Harry Potter).

Two Days!

Pretty soon, I’ll be off on my adventure and I hope to share with you all as I go through it. I’m now two days out from my big adventure and there’s a million different feelings and thoughts circling my head. Change is big and scary and necessary, and not in the least easy. These past few months have been a whirlwind of preparations intermingled with the usual workdays and summer happenings. Especially in these past few days, I’ve spent a lot of time with family and friends, not exactly saying ‘goodbye’, but more ‘see you at Christmas,’ but it’s still weird.

Many people have asked me if this move is “it,” meaning I’m not coming back. I understand the sentiment, but I don’t think there’s ever a way of knowing if anything is  “it.” What I’m telling people is that I’m going on an adventure. It’s as temporary as it is permanent, which sums up everything we do in life. I’m going for a multitude of reasons, number one being that I want to write for TV. I will never feel settled in anything that I do professionally until I give this a shot. It’s my dream.

As my mom said, when I mentioned it was hard that my dreams were taking me far away: “That’s the point of dreams, you have to chase them.” People may think I have a glamorous view of moving to Hollywood and pursuing my dreams. They’re not wrong because it’s hard not to envision this complete change of life, with a lot of fear, but much more hope, thinking that things might just fall into place, but I also have no delusions that this journey will be easy. That’s what makes up a journey, struggles and triumphs. The whole “blood, sweat, and tears” trope is very real. I don’t know if I will succeed as a writer in a place where there are thousands of people doing the same exact thing, but I have to believe in myself and my talent, and give it my all. At the very worst, I will have tried, learned invaluable lessons, and lived.

I’m entirely fortunate to have the very best family and friends to support me through it.

I Ate A Frog’s Head (But It’s Not What You Think)

I would admit that while I am typing up today’s blog post, I am sipping on my second cup of coffee, which just so happens to be pumpkin spice, but I’m afraid you might judge me. It’s not my fault the pumpkin spice k-cups are on the shelves and one of my favorite flavors. We’re almost well into September now, what with it being the second day. It’s a judgement free zone here. Kind of. Okay, it’s still early, but it’s tasty!

I enjoyed a very non-seasonal cup of coffee with my breakfast this morning of the french vanilla variety. Also one of my favorite flavors. It complimented the flavors of my meal, which included scrambled eggs with a sprinkle of colby jack goodness, waffles with a dab of butter and maple syrup (I’m really not sure what this craving is about because I’m not usually of the maple syrup loving, but in moderation, I don’t think there’s a danger- my teeth feel kind of gritty after though), and a big bowl of berries which were super sweet.

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Is it me or does my breakfast look like a frog’s head? I guess I’m just artsy that way.

Dinner last night came in stages because I was called into work. I quickly threw together a peanut butter roll-up, a greek yogurt, and grapes to enjoy over the course of a few hours. When I got home, I had a salad with some steak on top.

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All were excellent and nutritional.

As for my moment of strength yesterday, it may sound counterintuitive. I think I mentioned how my workout consisted of heavy strength training (if not, my workout yesterday consisted of heavy strength training), and since I’ve changed up my routine to include only six exercises on this day, I’ve felt myself grow stronger. For barbell strength days, I focus on six power moves- deadlifts, shoulder presses, rows, squat presses, leg presses, and bench presses. I perform each move using the pyramid method of reps, which is 10x10x8x8x6x6x4x4x2x2. Starting with 10 reps, I use the lowest weight and go up as I go down in reps. By my last two sets, I am maxing out on how much weight I put on the barbells.

I’ve been gaining progress on my deadlifts in particular, and I felt like I could really max out on my last two sets, pumped myself up, set up in the correct position, and found I could not lift that barbell. This will happen. That hasn’t happened to me in awhile, which maybe means I’m not pushing myself hard enough. It’s a good reminder that progress will always have to be made, but hard work will get me there. There’s strength in failure too, so long as we learn from it.

In the making-Caitlin’s-life-easier variety, I learned how to Air Drop pictures from my phone to my computer so that I no longer have to email them. All those emails go undeleted by Ms. Laziness, which clogs things up and makes everything look cluttered. I’m not a fan of clutter, but it happens if I don’t take the time immediately to delete. Air Drop is a friend. Thank you, Air Drop.

Readers seemed to enjoy my big bad post on stir fry, so I will try to do more of those as I go! I think just talking about how I eat healthy in general is something that appeals to people. It’s not easy, but it should be. We’ll just have to be rebels and find our way around what society deems “convenient.”

Dobby’s Left Sock: Should Have Gone for the Right One Too

I know what you’re going to say: “You started this 80 Days of Strength thing, then let it fall apart on the second day.” I can’t promise that I’ll be able to update every day, but I will promise to share my strength with you the next time. I had very important business to take care of yesterday and starting work at 6:30 AM was only one of them.

Once I got out of work, it was time to make my way to pick up my sister, Lauren. I had a hankering for an iced coffee all day, so I made a brief stop. Once I scooped Lauren, it was off to meet my friends Katie and Erin so that we could stake out our spots for Harry Potter trivia.

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We were sitting at the bar for a good three hours before trivia even began. This was serious business. There is not much in this life that I can claim I know well, but Harry Potter is one of them. I think there were two questions total that we had no idea, but even in those, we were close. This happened before my annual reread too! At one point, Lauren pulled mimbulus mimbletonia out of the darkest recesses of her mind and I came up with kneazle with two seconds to spare. I can’t lie and say it didn’t feel good that we were in first place the entire time. Except for when it counted, of course.

Let me just assure you that Dobby’s Left Sock did not lose because we got the questions wrong. We lost in Sudden Death because we were not positive about the answer and we didn’t bet enough points. Of course those placed in second and third would risk more and we should have too. Turns out, we were right and we would have won. This is something that will haunt me to my grave. Go ahead and put on my tombstone, “Death by Ragnuk the Goblin playing with an Erumpet Horn.” I guess you had to be there. I’m so sorry we failed you JK Rowling, but Dobby’s New-and-Improved Left Sock will be back at it as soon as another trivia event comes up and you bet your house-elf, we will bet it all. And win.

I didn’t make it back home until after 11:00 PM and I went straight to bed, considering the disappointment. Did I mention it was for money? No, no. It’s fine. It’s all just fine. (It’s too bad you can’t see my sarcastic anger in this. I bet you can feel it.) It’s almost karmic because whenever I watch Jeopardy or other game shows, I get mad when people don’t bet it all and then end up losing. I didn’t follow my own rules!

Oh, but look! Look at what Harry Potter inspired me to do:

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So where did my strength come from yesterday? Having confidence in my ability to know and do something. This might sound silly, but dominating at Harry Potter trivia is a skill. It made me feel exceedingly nervous throughout because I am an impatient person, but having the (somewhat useless) knowledge is still having knowledge. And being able to play with my sister and friends, laughing and winning and losing by default on our own terms.

This morning, I made myself an egg, cheese, and chicken sausage breakfast sandwich that I enjoyed with a side of fruit, including half a banana and a scoop of almond butter. This kept me fueled for a few hours of work before I changed into my exercise clothes and worked off my energy in the gym. I added some fuel to the tank with a serving of roasted almonds and red grapes, which kept me going and feeling strong, but not pulled down.

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It was heavy strength day and I was feeling powerful. I hit a lot of highs in my weights, which included deadlifts, clean and presses, rows, squat presses, leg presses, and bench presses. For cardio, I focused on interval training: box jumps, jump rope, skater jumps, high knees, and lunges. I was still feeling strong, so I took it onto the mat for a core workout that made my abs feel sad. I worked through a circuit of push ups, grasshoppers, alternating ankle grabs, sit ups, and a move that combined hundreds and Russian twists into one (I don’t know why I do that to myself). My body wanted to hang out in a shoulder stand for awhile as well, so I did that along with a series of planks. My final piece of my workout for the day was ten minutes on the bike, four of which consisted of cycling as fast as I could for twenty seconds and resting for ten.

For lunch, I wanted to try something a little different. Here’s one of the recipes I was talking about wanting to make that I actually made! I chopped up a sweet potato and tossed it into a pan with garlic and olive oil. I dumped in a can of chickpeas followed by chopped red pepper and baby spinach. I finished things off with a sprinkling of red pepper flakes, coriander, and onion powder. Fun Fact! I don’t like the texture of onions (except for onion rings, which is embarrassing), but I can’t deny the flavor they bring to a dish. This was a nice compromise for me!

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My strength today came in the form of simply tossing a few ingredients together and creating something healthy and delicious. Healthy eating does not mean compromising taste and enjoyment. I suppose I should also say, my strength came in having the power to lift heavy things and put them down again without dropping them on myself (or someone else).

What do you say? Are you with me on this?

A Review of…January…Kind Of?

Are we supposed to start a month by our first words being, “Rabbit, rabbit,” or something? I’ve heard that somewhere, so if you’re superstitious, I hope you remembered to say it…

I’ve been bad and haven’t finished a book in a few weeks. I’ve mentioned before how I go through phases. When I do read, it’s the only thing that I can do, but when I’m not in that mode, I get distracted. There simply does not seem to be enough hours in the day sometimes when it comes to extracurricular activities. I’ve been trying to focus much of my attention and energy on writing, which has been better in the past few weeks, but I am feeling the itch of getting lost in a good book.

My problem is that by the end of a long work day, I’m tired and don’t have much energy to expend on things in which I have to focus. Starting my day at 5:00 AM always makes me feel energized and able to take on the day, but it cuts down on the hours I have at night because I need my sleep.

My problem is that I am a giant procrastinator when it comes to doing things other than browsing the Internet or sitting in front of the television. It’s jut so easy! In some ways, I am diligent and disciplined, especially for my workout routine, but I’m unfortunately not quite there yet when it comes to reading and writing. I know that in order to be successful, I have to work at it extremely hard, but the hours and the days get away from you and all of a sudden you realize you haven’t been very productive in some facets of life.

A new month always brings a new sense of hope. I’m actually not certain where January went. In some ways, it feels like Christmas and New Year were a lifetime ago, but then I wonder how it’s already February. Maybe it has to do with the fact that the snow all seems to be falling at once now after we’ve had nothing at all for so long. I mean, the day after Christmas I was running outside with my jacket around my waist!

I’m trying to reflect back on January and though I know I have a lot to be grateful for, I’m struggling to remember the specifics. The winter in general tends to do this to people. Just from the number of days in the month, I know that February is going to pass by even faster, so now is the time to pay attention to how I spend my free time.

At the very least, I’m happy to be able to say that I have kept up with my blogging! Even for this though, I feel as though I have only done the regularly scheduled posts that I typically do- Meals on Monday, Rave Review Tuesdays, and Workout Wednesdays- but I haven’t contributed any extra, fun material lately. I hope my blog hasn’t been boring, but I will try and make more of an effort to post more than those allotted topics.

For the reading, I am making my way through two interesting nonfiction books on writing, the one on screenwriting that I discussed and another on writing in general that I read a bit from college. They are pretty inspiring and enlightening, but they also say a lot of what I should already know- in order to be a good writer, you have to write.

I always had a romantic view of creative outlets, like writing, thinking that people could simply rely on pure talent to succeed. To be fair, I don’t think I can be entirely blamed for this perception based on what our culture sees as “quality” entertainment, but the more I grow up, experience, and observe, I’ve noticed how hard people have to work in order to pursue any of their passions. Unfortunately, it’s easier said than done.

There will always be excuses not to do something, and it’s much harder to actually get yourself to do things, but that just means it will be worth that much more in the long term. The expression that the journey is far more important than the end result rings truer the more I experience in this world. No one is made by successes and failures on their own, but by the processes taken to reach them.

Now let’s see if I can put my money where my mouth is…or so they say.