The Year(s) of Growth

While I write this with medical tape around my cuticles, Cinnabon coffee in my Leo mug from Target, and Kenny Loggins on the Crosley turntable, it dawned on me. I have all of these goals. These ambitions. These whatyoucall, “resolutions” for this year alone. Yet, when are you supposed to start them? The resolutions you’ve set for 2018, when do those begin to form? How do you start to grow and get the motivation just on the first of January? Download all of the habit-breaking/building apps on your phone that you want — but here’s the thing — they don’t help, or at least not for me anyway. So you might as well should save the space.

It’s January 2nd, 2018, and this year is about growth.

Growth could mean anything to the human body or mind. Growth could mean leaving all of your negative friends behind or cutting carbs. Growth could mean learning to love yourself with all of your mental health issues. Growth could also mean setting personal goals that were achievable like: finish a book this week, go to bed early, listen to some new music. Take it day by day.

For me, the hardest habit to build is self-love. In my anthology on breaking The Cycle of Self-Hatred, I interviewed several people on how their cycles would start and how they’ve overcome it, or why they haven’t. Originally, the anthology was written for my ideology class as a final grade. So here’s what my professor wrote in the notes:

Brilliant. You have a real gift for psychology and for writing. Thanks for a genuinely moving, insightful, original paper to read!

Happy Holidays, 

Barbara Goodrich

I received a 100 on this paper in a class I didn’t care for. I took a risk, I made the prompt my own, and I just dove into my writing. School starts in fourteen days and it has just dawned on me that maybe I am good at this. Maybe all of the people who have told me I have a real “knack for writing” were right. It’s amazing how a few comments from my peers and teachers couldn’t push me until now. Until now, I’ve only just appreciated all of the support, but I haven’t put any of it to use. I’ve been filled with self-doubt ever since I started comparing myself to others.

This year, one of my “resolutions” is to stop comparing. Which is going to be really difficult but it’s still attainable.


Along with self-doubt, I also experience body dysmorphia and emotional detachment. For those of you who just got here, I wrote a blog about a symptom of my body dysmorphia and social anxiety called I Don’t Like To Talk About It. If you don’t have time to read it, it’s basically an excerpt of my life. It’s about this thing called dermatillomania, where you’re constantly scanning your body for flaws and picking at them. In my case, my flaws are my acne and the skin around my fingernails. What first starts out as popping the annoying zit on my cheek, eventually turns into a full-fledged scanning spree in the bathroom or wherever there’s good lighting. Fully aware of the consequences, I still continue to scan.

In public, however, it’s a different story. My hands and nails go to the back of my neck and they travel to my lower back, or my fingers continue to push down the skin around my nails whenever I’m nervous. It’s gross, I know. I don’t even like talking about it but it’s already put out there.

(Emotional detachment is a different story and I’m not really going to elaborate more on this topic until I know more about it. So until then, continue to keep up with me to find out more. In the process of continuing my blog,  I’m making myself more vulnerable in order to solve my personal problems like many of you do on social media. This is my output.)

It takes 21 days to break a habit. 

21 measly days doesn’t seem too hard if you think about it, but can you guess how many it takes to build a habit? 66. Yepp, it took approximately 66 days for those of you who have achieved your goals of getting back to the gym, eating better, making it a point to drink a bunch of water every day, or any other personal goals you’ve set. Just the idea that it only takes approximately 21 days to break them is so absurd.

Starting today. January 2nd, 2018. I am going to start keeping track of each day I participate in my bad habits and I am going to break them because I’m tired of the scars. (Hence the taped fingertips.)


Along with all of the above. I’m also a homebody. When I go out, I go out with someone. Almost never alone. The last time I went out alone was a few weeks ago when I was frustrated and needed to leave my house. Every time before that was to smaller stores and every time I spent more money than I planned to but I didn’t care. I made it out of the house. The extra items were personal rewards. This is yet another thing I need to work on.


Stevie Nicks is on now, and speaking of resolutions… with this last purchase from the antique mall, I now have a collection of 301 records (See: Collections) that are cataloged and organized. First by genre, then by artist.

Here’s the thing though, since I’ve cataloged them into my MusicBuddy app on my iPad last summer, I’ve only listened to about 30 of them. So far, just today, I’ve listened to about 8 or 10 more. In these next few months, I hope to make it a habit to listen to at least one every day or a couple each week. (Especially since a good chunk of change is going towards buying more soon.)

Along with listening to more music, I also need to cut more TV out of my life. I’m always watching TV. It’s on while I do my homework, read, write, draw, anything. It’s always on. This is yet another thing that needs to be worked on. Cut the TV, replace it with music. I’ve been listening to the same music since 2010 and I rarely falter. I need new things to listen to. New artists. New genres. New songs. I just need to expand. TV isn’t bad in small helpings, so I’m not going to say that I’m going to cut off TV altogether… especially since I have shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Gotham to watch at the edge of my seat.


Another personal accomplishment I’ve noticed that I want to continue developing is my GPA. When I first started Central Texas College during the fall season of 2014, I started from scratch and ended with a 2.3 GPA. I started with four classes and ended with three because I dropped one. (I’d elaborate more on why I dropped it, but frankly, it doesn’t matter.)

At the time I was three months out of high school. I had just turned 18 and a week before school started, I took on a full-time job while I was registered for a full course load. It was rough. Two of my classes were on campus, two of them were online. Thankfully, my boss understood that I had school and it came first before anything else so finding me on break with a book and my laptop was the norm for my coworkers. However, even though I had a great job (See: An Introduction to my Job) and a set work schedule with a set salary, I still couldn’t focus. It was a lot to put on someone with no work experience and not a lot of motivation for school.

While I was pushing myself to the limit, I noticed that a lot of my hobbies were put on the back burner in order to achieve better grades and work harder. I wasn’t myself and I stayed on a fixed schedule and ended up losing most of who I was. I didn’t draw anymore or read as much, and I rarely got to see my fiance. Because of all of that, I now make it a point to cut schoolwork off at certain points throughout the day to allow myself to focus on something else. Whether it’s to read a chapter out of a “personal” book (a book not for school), or if it’s to play a video game or actually pay attention to the show I have on for background noise. Even now as an online student,  I make sure to keep a “personal” book with me at all times.

Now I might’ve sailed through high school with A’s and B’s but that’s only because I didn’t apply myself where it should’ve counted. I only took the easy classes. My extracurriculars were art and band. I took four years of both and marching band was my physical education credit (which I ended up being damn good at, I just never had the right attitude). Considering all of my classes were easy, except a few AP classes (art and math), I finished high school with a 3.75 GPA. So, coming out of my first semester of college with a 2.3 GPA was rough. I might’ve sailed through due to easy classes, but I was still an overachiever.

After almost three years of CTC, I brought that 2.3 up to a 3.2 and got my degree in General Studies. It wasn’t until last Spring that I decided I wanted to major in English because English has been my favorite subject ever since I could remember (next to math). Well, the first Fall semester at the University of Colorado — Denver consisted of two English classes, Biological Anthropology, and an ideology class. Let’s just say I aced all four. I finished it out with a 3.7 GPA and I can only push it to go up from there. From here on out, that 3.7 is only going to improve.


As someone who doesn’t believe in setting resolutions, here’s a list of 10 personal goals I want to achieve in the long run.

  1.  Stop comparing
  2.  Break my bad habits
  3.  Leave the house more
  4.  Eat healthier
  5.  Listen to more music
  6.  Read more
  7.  Produce more art, whether it’s paint on a canvas or a new blog post — writing is an art too
  8.  Make it on to the deans’ list
  9.  Stop letting people take advantage
  10.  Ignore the insults

I’m not going to give myself a time limit because most of these are considered “life goals” rather than “try to achieve them in a year” goals. Also, I realize I didn’t discuss all of them. Right now, I don’t feel like going more in-depth on about my physical attributes and insecurities in this post. Maybe that will come later, who knows. Like I said, 2018 is going to be a year of growth but so is every year after that. So make sure to keep up with me throughout it all. Starting a new year means bringing on more blog posts and hopefully bringing in new followers.

Thank you all for your support, I only hope to grow my blog more with help from all of my you.

Danielle

My Happy Place

Open the vast wooden doors,

the smell of grounds fills the air,

velvety green carpet beneath my feet,

maroons and yellows give the space more flair.

With the thermostat perfectly set to unfreeze,

look outside and you can see,

colored autumn leaves,

fallen from a Quaking Aspen tree.

Shelves lined with expired sycamores,

the irony isn’t forgotten.

as the bundles of paper sit upon,

treated wood and chopped up branches.

The smell of parchment is soothing,

it brings a smile to my face,

I can’t believe an inanimate object,

could bring my thoughts back in place.

Sitting in the cushy chairs,

watching others pass by,

carrying their array of volumes,

that’ll prevent them from using all the Wi-Fi.

While this setting is perfect,

the bundle in my arms,

will cost a fortune.

How could this possibly harm,

the savings I’ve collected,

for this very hour?

Indecisive I will stay

until my common sense decides to flower.

No, screw it!

This bundle of joy,

is worth all this hassle,

but I’ll put back the Tolstoy.

because I’ll never read it.

Who has the time to explore,

the views of marriage,

through the eyes of some whore?

Except.

She wasn’t a whore,

Tolstoy just wanted her,

to be exposed as such!

What deplore!

Let’s get back to the point.

Where were we?

Alas!

Right before checkout,

I feel like an ass.

Ranting and raving,

about fictional labels,

when really this bundle,

needs to be paid for.

The total adds up,

to no less than fifty,

I don’t even care,

this price sure is thrifty!

Ten volumes for that price?

You’ll never beat.

This bookstore is fantastic!

Now time for a treat.

We grab some crème brulee,

from a bistro nearby,

then get in our car,

but before we drive home,

we don’t make it far.

We turn in our seats,

to look at the place we adore,

we drive in front and take photos,

the modern way to say:

“I’ll miss you my love,

with your comfy chairs,

and nice patrons,

I’ll move here one day!

So, we can be closer,

Until then my sweet,

I’ll visit you shortly,

for I can’t help the defeat,

my pocketbook brought me.

So long,

farewell,

goodbye,

Tattered Cover!

I’ll be back soon,

because I’m a book lover!”

Fifteen Years Apart

They’re whiny.

They’re bossy.

They’re stubborn.

They’re demanding.

Who am I describing? A toddler.

One might think that the title “Fifteen Years Apart” would refer to an older sibling or maybe even a significant other, well in this case the term “younger sibling” applies. Willow Marie-Skillings Warren (once Skillings Skillings) entered into my life when I was about to turn fifteen, three days before my birthday. She’s currently about to turn four and oh boy, do I have stories to tell you guys about her.

Why would I dedicate a post just to my almost four year old sister? Well, let’s just say she’s a character. I mean, sure, what almost four year olds aren’t? but Willow? she’ll outshine all of them.

I’m sure at least one of my readers have watched one of the many scary movies with children in them, such as Insidious, Unborn, or anything creepy. Let’s just say lately, she’s been creepy. She has once dragged one of my best friends down the hallway and into her room, screaming manically and laughing. It was horrific and yes, we video taped it for evidence.  She’s gotten to the stage where she just doesn’t know right from wrong and she knows when she’s being creepy.

Just the other day I was leaving for work at 5am (as usual) and she was under the dining room table hyperventilating. I wasn’t sure what it was because she was supposed to be in bed and we usually have the baby proof doorknob covers on so I was sure that it couldn’t be her. Well, I made a few steps into the dining room and boom, there she was. Honestly, I should’ve expected her to get out because she’s outsmarted the baby proofing before, but at 5am when she’s supposed to be asleep? she just threw me off guard.

“Is mommy awake?”, I asked her.

“Noooo.” she said.

“What about daddy?”

“Nope.”

“Well, why are you up?”

“Because my friends aren’t sleeping..”

Okay, first off she doesn’t have any friends that stay the night in her room besides our dog Sargeant. Secondly, maybe I’m just paranoid but almost four year olds are just naturally demonic.  My fiance and I walked out of my house so quickly saying “nope, nope, nope”. I mean, who wouldn’t be creeped out by that at 5am?

Willow Marie is one of the most demanding little girls I’ve met. If you don’t give her a hug before you leave the room, she’ll cry. If you don’t take her with you when she wants to go somewhere, she’ll cry. I mean, she’s cute. But damn.

I honestly don’t have much to elaborate on her life at the moment because I haven’t really been around her due to work and sleep but Willow Marie is a handful.

Once, my fiance and I were babysitting her when she was being potty trained.. Well, we aren’t that great with little kids, or kids in general, and let me just tell you this. Baby poop is also “not our thing”. Willow decided to go into her little portable potty and poop, right there in the dining room. She then proceeded to try and wipe her butt on her own without help. Where were we in this mess? Well, since she was quiet for a long period of time (you know, if there’s a three year old in the house and it’s quiet something is wrong) so we went to look for her.. only to find her sitting on the potty with poop all over her hands and butt. Oh man, my fiance and I freaked out so bad because again.. poop is not our thing. Well she decided to run through the house and play with poopy hands in her little plastic car. Needless to say, my fiance then picked her up at arms length and we hosed her and her toys off in the bathtub. It was disgusting and I’m pretty sure my fiance and I are traumatized.

To Be Continued..