Thoughts on 30: Why I’m over my existential crisis

I woke up today and I was 30.

I’ve been anticipating this – I’ve referred to it as my “existential crisis” year. New state. New job. New life. New, well, everything.

I’ve felt pressure all year – the often voiced pressure of being a single southern woman approaching 30.

“What’s going on in the boy department?”

“Are you seeing anyone?”

Or, as my best friend’s 6 year old likes to say, “You need a boyfriend because all you have is a hedgehog and she’s mean.”

Social media inundates me with photos of my friends and their weddings and babies… 2 and 3 babies…  it’s easy to feel inadequate.

Finally, just this week, I had my moment of zen and everything just sort of looked different. I realized that I’m a way cooler person now than I was 10 years ago, 5 years ago, or even 2 years ago. I’ve grown. I’ve done more things. I’m more confident. I’m happier.

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Santa Monica beach last year at this time when I decided this is where I belong.

Most of my 20’s were dedicated to work… a career that sort of chose me. I let it define me. The years since I left Washington – 2012 and 2013 – have started to become about the other things. I became a better friend. A better artist. A more balanced person.

It took me almost 3 decades to figure out that I really don’t have anything to lose by trying things. I just decided not to be scared… because I realized I had no idea what I was really scared of. I joined a band. I traveled across the country by myself, just because I wanted to. I learned a new instrument. I joined Crossfit. I left my safe-zone in North Carolina and moved to a new state – my 4th one in as many years – where I knew almost no one.

It was the most liberating thing I’ve ever done. I finally let myself be a little bit more of who I wanted to be.

I broke my foot and spent 3 months trapped in my house. What I took away from it is that I have surrounded myself with some of the most amazing people in the world. People who would fly halfway across the country to sit through surgery with me. People who drove 7 hours each way to bring me home and take care of me when I couldn’t fly. People who cooked for me, drove me to doctor’s appointments, grocery shopped for me, and dragged my crippled self to Charleston so I wasn’t totally housebound and miserable.

Almost exactly a year ago, I sat on a beach in Santa Monica and made a decision to change everything. My little world was miserable post 2012, and I needed to fix it. I’m not there yet, but I’m a hell of a lot closer than I was.

I woke up this morning in a new decade. I wasn’t any grayer, wrinklier, or fatter than I was yesterday.

So, here’s to 30. Here’s to learning more new things, more experiences, more confidence, better health, and a decade that hopefully kicks the last one’s ass.

Clean

I wrote this yesterday.

For some reason, when I was singing it, this Instagram photo I took on Topsail Island in North Carolina last month kept popping into my head.

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Anyway, this song is called Clean. The lyrics are below the video. You know, in case you can’t see them… I don’t know why I felt the need to clarify that.

Clean
by Tabitha Hale

The water can’t make you clean
But something about the waves is healing
Bringing you back to life
Breaking you down from the inside

The sun can’t make you shine
But the reflection it glows so bright
Something about the way you look now
Eclipses everything around me now

But I’m still on the shore
Caught in the storm
Clinging to every grain of sand
While you walk across dry land
Going somewhere you’ve never been
I’m still on the shore

You’re never too far gone from me
You’re never too broken to be free
Something about the way you hold me now
Eclipses everything around me now

But I’m still on the shore
Caught in the storm
Clinging to every grain of sand
While you walk across dry land
Going somewhere you’ve never been
I’m still on the shore
I’m still on the shore

The water can’t make you clean

Dreams

So, I taped this at the same time as the Rihanna song. Obviously. Because my hair and outfit are exactly the same.

I’m really just posting it because I leave for Orlando in the morning and still haven’t packed and I am trying to avoid it. There needs to be a service that just comes and preps my house for travel, does my laundry, and packs all my stuff. Because I think I’ve reached a point where I’ve just given up.

 Anyway, I love Stevie Nicks. Duh. And if I could look like this at 65 that would be awesome, too.
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Here’s one of my favorites.

Covering Rihanna

So, judge away, but I love Rihanna.

This song gets into my brain and I can’t get rid of it. I just love to sing it.

So there.

Also, I’m not a lefty. I just don’t know how to flip the video. And I’m too much of a luddite to do any editing or use anything but my Macbook. I do my best.

Here’s what it actually looks like.

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Anyway. Thanks.

 

There’s something to this Paleo stuff

So, if you are friends with me on Facebook or follow me on Instagram, you’ve heard about my Paleo obsession. I started in May for health reasons (PCOS, blood sugar issues, all sorts of gross stuff I don’t want to discuss here) and didn’t know what to expect. I’d heard a lot of people say good things about it and figured it was worth a shot, since I was traveling a lot less with my new job and had more control over my life.

So, it began.

This was from April of this year, at my heaviest. No, there really aren’t very many pictures of me at this stage. That was not an accident.

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Then, a month in, I broke my foot. I went home to North Carolina for a few weeks to recover, and people started noticing that I looked better. This, of course, motivated me, and despite my inability to do anything that resembled exercise for the entire summer, I kept eating (mostly) Paleo. I mean, as much as you can when you can’t grocery shop and are staying with family that is totally not interested in your insane new food choices.

I’m now a little over 3 months in. I had no idea how much weight I’d lost, but it didn’t much matter to me, because I was way more interested in wearing old clothes. This weekend, however, I managed to button a size 8 pair of jeans for the first time since college, so I got brave and bought a scale.

I’m down 37 lbs. Not bad.

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The thing is, you can do a lot of things to lose weight, but this was more than that. My energy immediately improved. My blood sugars leveled out. My skin cleared up. My PCOS symptoms all but vanished. Basically, within 2 weeks, I already felt better than I knew I could feel.

I have had the cast off for a couple weeks now, so as soon as I get back to 100% I’ll be joining Crossfit and kicking it up a notch.

For those of you not familiar with Paleo, here’s a basic list that sort of sums up the premise of the diet:

 Eat: 

  • Grass-produced meats
  • Fish/seafood
  • Fresh fruits and veggies
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Healthful oils (Olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut)

 Don’t eat:

  • Cereal grains
  • Legumes (including peanuts)
  • Dairy
  • Refined sugar
  • Potatoes
  • Processed foods
  • Salt
  • Refined vegetable oils

Here’s a much more extensive list, but the gist of it is that if you can’t pull it out of the ground or shoot it and eat it, then you probably can’t have it. No sugars, processed food, dairy, or grains/gluten.

It sounds overwhelming. It sucked for like 10 days. I ate nuts by the handful, hoping that they would cure my junk food craving. Then, I just didn’t want it anymore. It got easier. I became a lot more aware of how bad food made me feel. Amazing how that works, huh?

And let’s be real, any diet that involves as much bacon as you want can’t be all that bad.

So, I’m sold. I’ve still got a couple sizes to go, but I’m well on my way to where I want to be, and more importantly, I feel better than I have ever felt in my entire life. I’m not interested in being a foodblogger, but I will occasionally be posting some of my favorite recipes as I try them out.

For example, these lamb sliders with homemade tzakziki sauce I had for dinner tonight. ZOMG you guys.

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I got the recipes from Stupid Easy Paleo. And yeah, it’s stupid easy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. of ground lamb (or half beef, half lamb)
  • 1/2 an onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

(Note: I threw in a little cayenne because I put it in everything and cut back on the onions because I hate them. Also, I used fresh dill. The result was delightful.)

Directions: 

  1. Mix the ingredients gently in a large bowl until well combined. Overworking the meat will cause it to be tough.
  2. Shape the meat into burgers however large you’d like. I made 8 small sliders. Don’t pack the meat in too tightly or the burger will be dense.
  3. Grill or fry in a pan over medium-high heat until cooked through, 4-5 minutes per side. If preparing in a pan, I like to quickly sear both sides then throw the burgers in a 350F oven for ~10 minutes to finish cooking through.
  4. Serve with Tzatziki for dipping!

(Note: I wrapped them in lettuce because it feels wrong not eating burgers with your hands. So, be creative.)

For the Tzakziki sauce, I sort of made it up.

I threw an avocado into the blender with some extra virgin olive oil. I added half a cucumber (chopped), some lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Voilá!

So there’s the update. Feel free to ask me questions. I’m far from a guru, but I do cook a lot and have picked up some pointers along the way. :)

Fairly certain New Orleans is cursed

I went to New Orleans a few weeks ago and was pretty affected by it. I wanted to share a journal entry I wrote in my hotel room that weekend. Well, part of it. ;)

French Quarter streets.

French Quarter streets.

*****

New Orleans.

A sad city. I walk through it, wanting it to be amazing, and it feels so broken. There is so much beauty and culture here – the music and art and food and language. It gets shrouded in the ugly.. the heavy, dark reality that hangs over this place.

The architecture and history try to mask streets that are covered in urine. The city fights with itself… a contradiction. Fantastic things that are entirely unique to this 100 square miles of swamp, buried in the evil.

Sex and drugs and alcohol and inhibition. 

Street corner trio. I think that was called an African grass harp.

Street corner trio. I think that was called an African grass harp.

There are no boundaries here. No rules. It’s a sad and wonderful place to be. Roughly 139 degrees, walking through the French Quarter for beignets.

There is no way this city doesn’t have a curse on it.

I learned a lot about the city and the people this weekend. F***ing French, insisting on building a city in the middle of a swamp and populating it with criminals, the mentally ill, and people who didn’t know that a 100 degree mosquito infested swamp was maybe not the best place to set up shop.

In the late 1700′s, 1788 and 1794, I think, the entire city burned. Yes, twice. The all wood structures went up in flames, both times from candle-related incidents. Finally, the Spanish were like, guys, iron and brick.

The Creole influence makes it feel very Haitian. I mean, it could also be the intense heat and constant smell of feces. But still. A lot of similarities.

Skeleton adorned mic at dba.

I left a jazz club on Frenchman tonight around 12:30, and was wandering around, in search of a cab. A girl saw me drifting through the crowd, probably about my age and wearing nothing but bikini bottoms, her entire body painted silver. She looked at me for a second and says, in her thick southern Louisiana accent, “Girl, don’t you be walking these streets alone!” She pointed me in the direction of the cab.

Nola, baby.

I’m on the YouTube.

Hey guys.

So, this site still exists, I guess. I miss it. Sorry I suck and don’t update it. But I’m going to change this time.

No really, I promise.

Here is a trippy picture from Bonnaroo to make up for my absence.

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Anyway. I’ve started playing music again. It’s amazing how much I missed it without even realizing it. So, my guitar playing hands are officially turning into leather as we speak and I’m still working on getting the dust of my vocal cords, but I figured I’d share a video I threw up on Facebook a couple weeks ago.

Here’s my version of Justin Timberlake’s Mirrors. Mainly because I’m obsessed with the song. And also with stripping down pop songs into acoustic deliciousness.

So there you go, y’all. I’m back. For now.

Cherry Blossoms

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Love.

This is the only time of year I love Washington. This city is usually so gray, and the splashes of pinks and whites and yellows everywhere just breathes new life into the city after months of nasty, gray cold.

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My favorite view: The Jefferson Memorial through the flowers.

The weather is perfect, there are people from all over the world. Tourists clog the streets, to be sure, but there’s something to be said for letting yourself see the capitol of our country through the eyes of someone from across the world.

Evening.

Evening.

Kind of gives me a new appreciation for this place. I make sure to see as much of it as I can so I don’t completely loathe the place. ;)

 

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<3

 

The morning after.

I wrote this for a group of blogger friends. They suggested I make it public. Here is my emotional spill the morning after.

I’m tired.

I’m tired of the Establishment vs. Tea Party wars. I’m tired of Republicans still treating tea partiers like idiots for being outraged. The tea party protested Mitt. We fought his nomination. Then we rallied around him anyway, and we still lost. If you don’t get why that’s infuriating and disheartening and why people need to be angry about it, fine. Berating them is the opposite of helpful and encourages the indignation. If Republicans can’t win WITH the Tea Party, what makes you think you have a snowball’s chance in hell without us?

I spent the primary being told to shut up, you’ll fall in line anyway. I said I wouldn’t, but I did. I thought I was doing the right thing. Obama was too scary, and Mitt is a good man. What did it get me? The most bitter loss I could have imagined, because everyone actually thought we had a chance this time. Mitt was the electable one, after all. Surely the GOP brain trust had info we didn’t and Romney was really the smart choice, despite what the grassroots told them.

I’m tired of the circular firing squads (which “establishment” types are EVERY BIT as guilty of). The self-flagellation and naval gazing are inevitable, and we all need a break. I know that I, for one, am completely burned out and broken hearted. There’s no way I’m going to be effective without a recovery period.

I don’t know what it means when our everything is not good enough. It hurts when you give your life to something for four years and fail miserably. I’ve cried. Hell, I’m still crying. I’ve lost sleep. This week, I reassess. Will I still fight? I don’t know how to do anything else. I have to believe that freedom will win.

I moved to DC in 2009 in a beat up Nissan full of nothing but my clothes, slept on an air mattress for 4 months and was totally broke and miserable. Somehow I met all of you guys and things just… Worked. This network we have built, this alternative media we are creating is critical. We are having an impact and it can only grow.

A friend sent a reply to a despondent message from me last night and I want to share it.

“You are leading new generation of conservative journos/social media mavens. You planted seeds that will bear much fruit. This is bigger than one election.”

That’s all I have to offer today. We gave it our all and it was a good fight. Rest. Spend time with your families. We will pick up the torch soon.

11 Years.

Taken from the top of the Empire State Building in April of 2001 with a disposable camera.

I was 17 and in my high school math class. A kid interrupted the teacher and said that a plane hit the Twin Towers. My teacher, clearly not processing what he’d just said, told him to stop interrupting, we had math to do. We went about class with the questions starting to buzz in our heads. What happened? We didn’t have phones or computers to get the information from. We just sat. Waited.

It wasn’t until we left that class that we heard the story. We’d gotten out in time to watch them break the news of the plane hitting the Pentagon. I was in my drama class, and my teacher’s daughter lived in Manhattan – a casting director for Comedy Central. There wouldn’t be any more class that day.

We cried. We barely understood anything. We knew it was scary and that it was bigger than we could imagine. We didn’t know that it would change the world forever.

I have no idea what else happened that day. I think they pulled us all in to the auditorium at some point. I don’t remember. I’d been to New York for the first time that spring with the theater department. We climbed to the top of the Empire State Building in the freezing cold and wind and took photos, me with the disposable camera I’d bought off the street on my way over.

It wasn’t until years later that I found this and remembered how I’d felt standing on top of that building looking out at the most defining towers in the New York City skyline; how I’d felt watching them burn.

Never forget the families, the emergency workers, the victims. The world changed forever that day. We live in a different place now. I’ll also never forget the unity we felt after the attacks. The confidence we had in our leaders, in our country. The hope.

It almost seems unbelievable that we were ever that united, even briefly. So different from the way things are now. I pray we get there again some day. We’re better together.

We’re better free.