Grinchy ’16

I know it’s Christmas, but I just have to come out and say that I’m just not feeling it this year.  I kept waiting for the spirit of the season to hit me, but it just never came.  To be 100% honest, I’ve been a total freak lately.

Well, I should say lately as in, after we returned from our official honeymoon trip to Mexico.  After spending a glorious week actually relaxing on the beach in the sunshine, it’s hard to come back to Chicago’s temperatures (sub-zero when you count wind chill).  It was so important and refreshing to take a break and disconnect from work and emails.  I barely looked at or posted on Instagram, I didn’t give a hoot about what people were putting on Facebook.  I was just happy to BE where I was and experience what I was doing.  We didn’t even take as many photos as we thought we would, but I find that’s always the case when I go on vacation.  I pack up the camera stuff and a notebook, and have to force myself to even just get a page of writing done to justify bringing it along.

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Dining Room Rug

The other day, we made a quick jaunt out to Ikea (our favorite spontaneous weekend activity), and came back with more than we needed – as usual! Ikea is like Target for me – it doesn’t matter if I only need one thing, somehow I always end up in the check out line with a full cart!  (As AirBNB hosts we always have a need for something, plus MJ loves Swedish Fish..)

My absolute favorite section is the As-Is, where they put discounted merchandise that’s often perfectly good.  I’ve gotten lucky so many times, with so many different kinds of products.  We’ve found complete duvet sets that were previously on display, large picture frames for $4 because they changed the packaging and wanted to get rid of the old ones…. you get the picture.  This time, we came away with a sisal rug that I’d been eyeing!  I wanted to buy it anyway, but at 40% off how could I say no?

from-jackie-jennings-dining-room-rug

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A New Season

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March 2016

Back in early March, I was sitting on my sister’s couch, crying my eyes out in the middle of the night.  Things were horribly, yet inexplicably wrong at my job (my dream job!) and the anxiety of returning to a toxic workplace had ruined the end of my week long vacation in Phoenix.  The feeling crept up on me, until it had totally overwhelmed me and stopped my ability to enjoy a single moment of the day.  Imagine Sunday Anxiety x 1000.

Earlier that day as we wandered through the aisles of a Native American Market, I felt lost and hopeless, touching every stone and asking what they meant.  Where was the thing that would purify my soul?  Where was the thing that could protect me?  I allowed my mom and sister to dawdle at the booths and rushed ahead of them so they would not see that I was crying.  Something in me had cracked and broken, but I did not know what it was.

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To New Beginnings

In the last few months, or even over the course of the last few years, depending on how you look at it, I have fallen into a sort of creative rut. I let my old blog die, started new ones that never went anywhere, stopped writing in my journal, and most recently I stopped posting as frequently on Instagram. I became obsessed with how I appeared online and what people knew of my real life. All of this embarrasses me to admit, but it is real. I just stopped trying. To be a ghost was easier and more acceptable than to be obviously failing.

So here I am.  January First (though by the time I hit publish, it will be the Second), starting a new blog post.  A new beginning, a fresh start.  When will I learn that New Years Resolutions never stick?   When will I learn that trying to change myself and almost everything about the way I operate is never going to work unless I still somehow feel like I am my own true self?

In the last few months, or even over the course of the last few years, depending on how you look at it, I have fallen into a sort of creative rut.  I let my old blog die, started new ones that never went anywhere, stopped writing in my journal, and most recently I stopped posting as frequently on Instagram.  I became obsessed with how I appeared online and what people knew of my real life.  All of this embarrasses me to admit, but it is real.  I just stopped trying.  To be a ghost was easier and more acceptable than to be obviously failing.

In general, I was starting to feel overwhelmed by the sudden explosion of “young talent” and “content” that was taking over the internet, and felt like my voice was just a squeak in the cacophony of louder, more confident voices.  Inside me, I was growing a sickening jealousy of people I’ve never met before: #authentic hipsters with no discernible employment and endless time to explore the outdoors. The Instagram pixie girls drinking tea in their beds with perfectly messy hair.  The lifestyle bloggers with endless brunch budgets and paparazzi husbands.  I was obsessed, and couldn’t stop myself from feeding the beast.  I would spend ungodly amounts of time scrolling through feeds to analyze and tear apart people who I thought were somehow better than me.  The real problem started when that jealousy began to extend to my personal life, and it would pain me to even be around friends who I thought had it better than I did.  I became a fan of Carles and started to believe that Nothing Matters.   (Just looking for the link nearly sent me into a downward spiral of self-doubt and desire to give up before I’ve begun.)

But begun what?  I think that’s the question that has kept me from starting for so long.  What do I have to say?  What do I think will happen this time around?  How do I brand myself when I am not trying to sell anything?  Most importantly: How do I escape the negativity that I have recently associated with doing a thing that I once loved? 

I learned in grad school that an easy way to help define what something is is to first explain what it isn’t.  So with that in mind, here’s what I’ve got so far:

This isn’t a lifestyle blog.

This isn’t a style blog.

This isn’t a design blog / food blog / photography blog / [insert here] blog.

This isn’t a for profit blog where I write fake content to get free stuff from companies.  All of my words are my own, even if they make me cringe to put them out into the world.

I am not a crafter, artist, maker.  I have nothing to sell.

I am not a professional blogger.

I am not a professional photographer.  Any images will most likely come from my phone.

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What I am and what this is… well that’s still a work in progress.   To be determined.   But I miss having a record of my life.  It upsets me when I look in a notebook and see large gaps of time between journal entries.  It feels like that time slipped by me and I took nothing from it to keep.  So because this is the internet, this will perhaps be a more curated record, but a record nonetheless.  Of the thoughts that I have and the things that I’ve seen, and the person that I am, and was, and will be.