Friday, June 17, 2011

Close To Home

First of all…yes, yes, I know, I failed miserably at the “posting every day in June” challenge…now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on. ;-)

I watch a lot of television, and I have always been a fan of crime procedurals, police shows, and the like. I don’t know if this is because I wanted to be a lawyer at one point in my life (grateful now I didn’t choose that path after all), or simply because most of the stuff that happens on those shows is really like an alternate reality to me. Sort of like my vampire shows. Those things don’t happen, not really, in my life.

Unlike my vampire shows, I realize that the crime stuff is all too real for many people, but I am blessed to not be faced with those harsh realities on a daily basis.

I mean, there is plenty of crime and devastation in the city where I live (trust me, we are far from a Utopia here), but I’m removed from it. And in general, I don’t really even watch the news or read the paper. This is a topic for another day, but I’m a bit of an emotional sponge, and watching the news always ends with me in tears, aching for the world we live in.

Now and again, however, something hits so close to home, that it is impossible to avoid. And last night, it couldn’t have gotten any closer to home…literally.

I came home to find out my upstairs neighbor had shot and killed himself earlier this week.


Here’s the thing, it didn’t exactly come as a total shock. The man was obviously suffering from a deep depression and we all knew it. He’d lost his job, he was always holed up in his condo, and recently, he was foreclosed on, his unit was sold, and he wouldn’t open the door to the new owner. Last year around this time his family sent the police over to do a wellness check on him. We found out then that he was estranged from said family. The few times I saw him recently, he’d put on a large amount of weight, and lost most of his hair. He had aged noticeably. He was only in his early 40’s. He had, quite obviously, given up.

This neighbor gave me grief for years with the parking situation, and I spent the better time of the first 6 years of living there disliking him. But recently, my tune had changed. As much as I was still annoyed that he never moved his car ONCE this entire winter, leaving me without a parking space due to the tremendous amounts of snow we got, I realized that something was obviously wrong. So I began to pray for him whenever I’d get frustrated. I prayed he would get the help he so obviously needed. I’m sad to say he obviously didn’t.

The scary part of it all is that looking back on it now, talking to my other neighbors last night, I realized…I actually heard the gunshot earlier this week. I shudder at the thought, but I remember sitting up on my couch and going “what the hell was that?” And then, when I heard nothing else, I went back to watching television.

My heart breaks for his family, and obviously for him. How hopeless must he have felt…how I wish I could have done something to help.

But all I could and all I can do is pray…it still seems inconceivable…and far too close to home.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Mirror Mirror On The Wall

(Yes, I realize I missed yet another day yesterday…eh, whatever…the goal was to revive this little blog of mine, and I’m posting almost every day…that’s enough for me).  Moving on. ;-)

I’m the sort of person who projects an air of confidence to the outside world.  I’m pretty sure that the average person meeting me would think me to be strong, confident, independent and comfortable in my own skin.  In fact, if you ask most of my friends, they will likely describe me the same way.  I know this, because I’ve been told often that this is how people see me.

And some days, this is, in fact, exactly who I am.

However, the truth lies deeper than that.  Behind that confident demeanor is a shy little girl, mercilessly teased and bullied in junior high, practically invisible in high school, and still, daily, completely unsure of herself.

I am a social butterfly, but am, in truth, painfully shy.  I am the life of the party, but much prefer the position of the wallflower, people watching, taking it all in.  I walk with my head held high, but whenever I walk in a room and heads turn my way, my immediate reaction is “are they laughing at me?”

I could go into a tirade of the effects of bullying, and how it has affected me into adulthood here…but this is not what this post is about.  I could also, just as easily, launch into a speech about the detriment of the media, specifically the “beauty” industry, and how it’s made me (along with millions of other women) feel less than.  But again, not where I’m going with this.

No, this post is about growth.

It is about the change taking place within me as I get older.

And I'm not talking about external change.  I'm not talking about my weight loss.  I'm not talking about my successes as a new runner, or about my improved level of physical fitness.  I'm not talking the shape of my abs, the texture of my hair, or the quality of my skin.  I'm not even talking about the more positive feelings I get when I see a photo of myself, or catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror.

I'm talking about internal changes.  I'm talking about the fact that there are days I realize I haven't looked in a mirror at all since I left the house.  I'm talking about the fact that I can walk in a room so much more often and not care IF they are in fact talking about me.  I'm talking about the fact that being comfortable in my own skin now means that it really isn't so much about how I look as it is about how I feel.

Don't get me wrong, the insecure, and sometimes vain girl still lives inside me, and is present way more than I would like her to be.

But every day I'm more and more able to live by this quote which has been my email signature line for years now:

"What you think of me, is none of my business" - Terry Cole-Whitaker

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

People Pleaser

People Pleaser

I’m starting to realize something about myself that I was never really aware of before.

I’m a people pleaser.

I’ve always been a “people person”.  I love being around people, spending time, helping out, having fun, whatever…

I’ve also always tried really hard to be a nice person.  I get true pleasure out of doing something nice for others, and that part of being a people person I’m comfortable with.  I like that part of myself.

But this is something else.  This isn’t so much about being nice as it is about being…well, for lack of a better word…a pushover.

Let me explain.

I am the sort of person that is blessed with a lot of friends.  I have always had a lot of friends, though; as time would progress I would realize most of them were more like “fair-weather friends” or even acquaintances than real friends.  However, I find that I am consistently surrounded by people I consider friends, and for that, I am blessed.

Due to my large number of friends, I have a very active social life, when I choose to take advantage of it. (When I’m not hibernating and hiding out…but this is a story for another post).

However, what I’ve begun to realize is that my social life is very one sided.  What I mean by this is, as long as I’m willing to do what my friends want to do, my social calendar is filled.  As long as I work my schedule to meet their availability, my plans to meet their interests, my fun to meet their requirements. 

Because I am an easy going person, because I happen to have many interests, and be open to trying and enjoying new things, this works out well.  I have little trouble having fun pretty much anywhere, as long as the company is good, and I’m in the right mood.  All is well.

That is, until, I want to do something that revolves around my interests instead, or fits into my schedule instead.

Suddenly I am hard pressed to find someone willing to go to that concert I want so badly to attend, even though I’ve trekked out to numerous country music shows (not my favorite).  I didn’t make it to a single Boston Celtics game this past season because I couldn’t convince a single friend to go with me, even if I succumbed to mind numbing hockey game after game for them…(again, not my favorite).  I didn’t make it to an actual beach, with an actual ocean, once all of last summer, even though I was always agreeable for a jaunt to the lake or the mountains…(which was always fun, but I love the ocean).

We won’t even discuss the numerous Friday and Saturday nights I spend at home alone, because if I don’t pick up the phone to call and make plans…my phone doesn’t ring on its own.

I should stop here and make it clear that I am not bemoaning my life.  I am not knocking my friends or even blaming them.  I don’t believe they do any of this on purpose, and with any intention to hurt or snide me, to ignore my interests…

Simply…I’ve enable this behavior in everyone around me, because I am a people pleaser.  I go out of my way to make sure everyone around me is having a good time, doing what they want to do, living their best life.  To a fault.  Forgetting, at times, that what I WANT matters as well.  Part of this is a fear that if I speak up, if I fight for what I want, I’ll end up with either my ideas or even with myself being rejected…but the alternative pretty much looks the same, doesn’t it?

As I started to realize this recently, I started to evaluate my friendships over time, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it has always been this way.  And not only that, but I carry this behavior into my romantic relationships as well.  Is it any wonder then, that I, eventually, feel frustrated, unloved, and like I am not an important part of these relationships?  That I feel I disappear and am no longer a participant?  That I withdraw, and the relationships fail?

So, now I see the problem.  Tell me friends…how do I go about finding the solution?  How do I learn to still be a good friend, but stop being such a people pleaser all the time?  How do I learn to speak up for my own interests at 36 years old?  Because I have a feeling this is yet another of the things I need to master before I can fully be ready for a partnership with my future husband (whoever he may be)…

Working on myself has been a lifelong process, but more so in recent years…finding my faults, and learning to use them for betterment…this is just another one…instead of taking this realization and turning it into a “woe is me, nobody wants to do what I want to do” moping session…I need to use it to find my footing and push off from here…

So…how exactly do I do that?? 

Monday, June 06, 2011

Spa Day

Monday morning, the alarm sounds, and another week begins.

If your weekends are anything like mine, by Sunday night you are even MORE exhausted than you were before the weekend began.  My weekends are never dull, always fun and enjoyable, and pretty much, with very few exceptions, ALWAYS EXHAUSTING.

So, on a Monday morning, work seems an unfathomable task, and yet, almost (note I said almost) a welcome escape to spend a few hours sitting in one place...taking a break from the hectic runaround of my weekends.

But wouldn't it be nice, if on a Monday morning, when the alarm went off, I could wake up to realize that today, instead of heading into the office, I was going to hop in my car, meet up with a friend, and head to a spa in the mountains for a massage??

In fact...that just sounds sort of heavenly, doesn't it?

Actually, now that I think of it, after a weekend of a few TOUGH workouts, a weekend spent helping friends run a festival at church, running errands, cleaning house, a sore body, aching back, tired sounds like I have simply no choice but to take a mental health day and do just that.

What a beautiful coincidence then, that my friend Traveler and I had actually planned SUCH A DAY for today...

Ah is Spa Day!!!  Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

2 in 1

When I decided to do this whole "write a post every single day in June" thing...I knew I was setting myself up for one heck of a challenge.  Mostly because, my schedule for June? Is INSANE!

My little brother is getting married July 2nd. I am a bridesmaid in the wedding. And that's just one of the big events I have lined up. I have concerts, races, a Warrior Dash, and let's not forget about work.

But still, I figured it would be a good challenge, so I'd just roll with it.  So yesterday, I began my post...but then I needed to run out and do a quick errand, so I hit "save" and went off.  Then the quick errand turned into "a few more errands" turned into "a full on grocery store run" turned into "a quick stop over at the Church's feast" turned into "staying at the feast all night helping out behind the bar" turned into "let's head to the local bar to watch the rest of the Bruins game" turned into closing out at the bar and arriving at home at 2AM...

But this? This is what life is all about You make plans and God laughs.  But if you just go with it and appreciate every moment given to you...I'm pretty sure He smiles then.

So this is my Saturday post.  Right above this...yep, that's it.

On to today, Sunday...I got up and went for a quick run with a friend, then came home for a quick shower and some housework.  The plan was then to stop by the feast for lunch, help out for maybe an hour and be home by 5pm at the very latest...It is now 10:35 pm and I just got home.  I spent the entire day helping out.  I also, however, spent the entire day surrounded by friends, and having a great you see...that's life...

And my life? Is such a regrets.  And no excuses...and no failures...consider this TWO posts in far as I'm concerned, I'm still on track for June. ;-)  So there.

Friday, June 03, 2011

May I Have This Dance?

I was four years old when I put on my first pair of dancing shoes.  Ballet shoes to be specific.  And so began a love affair with what I believe is the most perfect art form of

A few years of ballet let into a few years of rhythmic gymnastics, and the love affair blossomed.

But life has a way of creating many paths, and the path of dance was not the one I ended up taking.

Once we moved to the U.S. from Portugal, we couldn't afford dance classes for me...and there ended my dreams of becoming a dancer.  

It couldn't, however, end my love of the art form.  I continued to dance, casually, for fun.  At home, creating music videos with my cousins in my grandmother's basement.  Later, at night clubs, earning me attention from guys who constantly questioned where a "white girl learned to move like that".  I loved to dance, and I was good at it.

As I got older, I stopped going to clubs, and dancing became something that I did less and less of.  Unless you count my jam sessions around the house, as I clean and do laundry (which, totally count), I now only dance at the occasional wedding, or party, or on the random event that my girls and I venture for a girls' night out at a dance club.

But my love of dance? It runs deeper than words can express.  I have seen every dance movie ever made.  No seriously, try me, I've seen it.  And as I sit here watching So You Think You Can Dance, with a smile on my face, I can only tell you that this art form tugs at a special place in my heart that I can't quite explain.

I watch this show with a smile on my face, but my box of tissues is never out of reach, because as much as good dance can make me smile, it can bring me to tears just as quickly...and if you don't know what I mean...well, then you're obviously not a dancer (even if it is just in your heart), but the dancers out there, whether you do it professionally, or in the privacy of your own home, I KNOW you KNOW exactly what I mean...

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Allow Me To Re-Introduce Myself

In lieu of starting from scratch and creating a whole new blog, (trust me, I thought of it), I thought I would instead kick off this month of daily posts with an introduction and update.

It’s been so long since I’ve been an active blogger, that I am not sure who my readers are anymore (if I even have any), and I know there must be some new faces out there, people who don’t really know all that much about me.

If you found me via Twitter, you may know my daily rambling, but do you know my history?  If you are a new bloggy friend, welcome!  If you are one of my old buddies…welcome back, let’s get reacquainted.

I give you, therefore, a few facts about me you must know, to make sense of my ramblings…uh, I mean blog posts.

I am Karina.  36 years old.  Unmarried, single, re-entering the dating life after a too long hiatus.  Christian (Catholic to be specific) and very much a person of faith.  I am a daughter, sister, friend, cousin.  I am not a mother, but am the cool auntie to many of my friends’ kids.  I am an executive assistant by day, a writer in my heart.

I love life. I love music, art, television and film. I love to travel, explore new things, and photograph the world around me.  I love fashion and am absolutely addicted to buying shoes.  I’m a foodie, always excited to try new cuisines.  I’m an avid reader, my kindle with me at all times.  I am a runner, and a newbie fitness freak. 

Life for me is a constant whirlwind of activity, surrounded by friends and family, activities and meetings.  I am always on the go, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

I am serious, honest, intelligent, independent, strong, self-sufficient, and proud.  I am a complete goofball, caring, giving, dorky, insecure and shy.  I am a walking contradiction.

And here in this blog, I am all of the above, and so much more.  My eclectic tastes, my chaotic life, they blend together to create me…I could never fit this blog into one category, because my life defies all reason.  There is no way to put me in a box and label me…and that’s just how I like it.

So, that is me.  What you see is what you get, but on any given day, that can mean a totally different thing…

And I'm okay with that.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Anyone Out There???

June 1st:

Stepping up to the podium…clearing my throat…


Tapping the mike…

“Is this thing on?”


“Hello??  Ah, yes, here we go…”

Deep breath…

It’s me, Candid K…your erstwhile blogger.  It has been far, far too long since a creative word, or even a photograph has shown up on this blog, and I have no excuses for you…only the truth.

Truth is, life is hectic, and I just haven’t had the energy or the inspiration to write.

But I’ve missed it, and I’ve missed you. 

More than once I’ve considering throwing in the blogging towel. Closing up shop and hanging the FOR SALE sign here at Candid Karina’s.

But I can’t do that.  I’m not a quitter.  I don’t give up.

And besides, I miss my bloggy friends.

So I’m here, I’m back, and I’m not making any promises, but I’m challenging myself to be more present.

And this is why, crazy as it may seem, I have decided to challenge myself to post EVERY DAY this month.

Short posts, long posts, word posts, photo posts, some days, you may get life stories, other days you may simply get a photograph, and other days still, I may revisit old posts I feel the need to share with you again.

But the goal is for a post a day.  Many years ago, it was such a challenge that kicked off my love of blogging, and really got me going, so I’m hoping I can once again revive the blog, and my relationship with my bloggy friends through this challenge once more.

Stay tuned…it’s going to be a BUSY month…