Happiness, and Weird Ways of Finding It

I think happiness is a tricky emotion, and I have struggled with it for a long time. The holidays always are a time for me to review the year and everything that has happened. It also serves as an emotional checkpoint for me. I think this checkpoint for me is the most important to date because I finally feel comfortable with myself, and most importantly, happy!

I think happiness is something that evolves as we  evolve. I think that the things that made me happy years ago don’t really do so now. I can remember when getting good grades made me happy (those were the days!) and now, getting a paycheck makes me very happy. But most importantly, I feel comfortable with who I am, and that makes me happiest of all.

For a long time, I struggled with what it meant to be happy. I struggled with being a person that made others happy, but not myself. False

Me, hugging Dennis the Dog. Because why not? Also, Dennis was not having it.

Me, hugging Dennis the Dog. Because why not? Also, Dennis was not having it.

happiness is a very real thing, but unfortunately its results just aren’t that satisfying. For a long time, I thought that maybe I just wasn’t meant to be happy. I struggled with coming out and depression, and in my mind, I thought that happiness was just something other people found. It took a lot of bumps in the road for me to realize, that ultimately, I was my own road bump. I used my identity and my depression as crutches to avoid trying to  be happy. I think I was scared of being happy, and to this day I really don’t understand why. But I took the first step and I reached out, and asked for help. I began to doing research, and finding out gay role models and following their stories. YouTube was a huge outlet for me, and I still follow many LGBT accounts like Kaelyn and Lucy and What Wegan Did Next. I’ve never met these people but they showed me that it’s possible to be yourself and be happy. I’ve linked their YouTube pages here as well, so if you’re interested I highly recommend their videos! I’ve often toyed with the idea of one day starting my own YouTube channel, so i’d certainly be interested if anyone has any thoughts on that.

Wow, I just completely strayed from the point I was trying to make. Back to Business!

I think that for me, I had to be brave to be happy. I had to have a lot of uncomfortable talks, lose some friends, and eventually gain a lot more. I had to learn to be proud of who I am, and my mother has always said that once you’ve gotten yourself together, the right person will come a long. And she did! If you had told me that 5 years ago, I would’ve said HELL NAH! If you told me I would be writing about this five years ago, I would’ve said HELL NAH! But I did, and I think if it’s something you’re struggling with, you can too. Sometimes, you have to bet on yourself, and take a risk.

As always, I appreciate the feedback and everyone who visits the blog! Thank you!

And also,  HAPPY FRIDAY!

-C

It’s that time again….

You know what I’m talking about:

The holidays, and everything that come with them.    

With this being the week before Thanksgiving, I can’t help but think that the holiday season is upon us. For one, I have a question. How did Thanksgiving go from the Pilgrims and Indians enjoying a meal together to me stuffing myself to the brim with turkey and becoming catatonic on my couch?

I don’t know, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. This Thanksgiving is going to be different, because it will be the first one that I don’t spend at home. That’s right, Celeste is throwing on her big girl pants and having her own Turkey Day. I know, what could go wrong?

The reason I’m staying in Charleston is that my lady and I are having our first Thanksgiving together. Seeing that she’ll be loading up the dogsled to head back to Maine for Christmas, this is the holiday we’ll get to be together. Also, her Dad is coming into town, so he’ll be staying with us and having Thanksgiving as well. The lady is an incredible cook, and well, I basically have to wear a bib when eating, so she’ll be handling the brunt of the cooking. However, I am preparing my own covered dish.

When I say covered, I mean uncovered. When I say dish, I mean bowl. And when I say solid, I mean liquid. Cause I’m making sangria.

Ain’t no Turkey day like a boozy Turkey  day, am I right?

I think the holidays bring up a lot of feelings, and lately I think I’m feeling a sense of nostalgia. Thanksgiving means spending time with the people who mean most to you and eating a drinking a ton…if you’re my family at least. This is the Thanksgiving I have grown up with. This is my first Thanksgiving away, and I feel like I’m finally on my own path. This is the first Thanksgiving I’ll spend with the person I want to be with forever, and we’ll be creating our own traditions. Which will mainly consist of eating and drinking a ton.

Maybe it’s not so different after all….

What kind of plans do you guys have for Thanksgiving? What kind of traditions do you have? Who has an amazing sangria recipe??

Until Later, gobble gobble gobble!

A Great Day for South Carolina and Equality

Have you ever had a day that started out horribly? That made you dread just what fresh hell the rest of the day could bring?

That was my morning. You see, my lady and I seem to be running a close business to Noah’s Ark in our home. We have 2 cats, and a dog (which you saw earlier) and about 1,000 sq ft to contain them.

I know, we might be animal hoarders. In case you want a look at the critters, I’ve put them below:

 

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Dennis the Dog

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Thing 1 and Thing 2

 

The cats are the rulers of the roost, and though Dennis the Dog is rather big, he still cowers at the sight of the two kitties. The kitty that made my morning so miserable is the large black one. This demon’s name is Mishka. You could say Mishka values the finer things in life. For example, refusing to drink water out of a bowl, and only from a running faucet. He also likes to sing opera at odd hours of the morning. Which is exactly what he did this morning, at 5 AM. Though he does a mean rendition of Pucnini, it was not the way I wanted to wake up.

To make matters worse, our garbage disposal also decided to go on the fritz this morning. Why, world, why? I am gloriously domestically challenged, and by that I mean that I thought “check engine” in your car meant to physically check to see if the engine was there.

I’m pretty dumb.

Aside from these two setbacks, I went to work, only imagining what else could go wrong. But, I got a pleasant surprise. A Federal Judge in Columbia, SC has overturned SC’s marriage ban!!! In case you want the details, the link is here. This is huge for gay couples in the state, and obviously for me. You see, I grew up under the impression that the role of government was to reward the people for following the rules. So i followed them. I stayed in school, went to a public university (go cougars!) and got a job after graduation. And I cry every time my paycheck arrives cut in half from taxes. I did all the right things, but I couldn’t marry in my home state. Explain to me how that’s fair?

Human Rights Campaign

I am so overjoyed that South Carolina has finally realized that all kinds of love, are indeed love. When I think about marrying my lady one day, i don’t think about the fact that she’s a woman. I think about how great of a person she is, and all the adventures we will have. I think it’s time our views of marriage shift from a definition of gender, to qualities like fidelity and commitment. If two people are committed and wanting to spend their lives together, isn’t that enough?

To say the least, today’s events have made my day much better. This morning, I couldn’t marry in my home state, and now I can! What a great moment for equality, and South Carolina.

The Tricky Art of Being Yourself

I think as children we always have ideas of what we will be like as adults, what our lives will be like. For some reason, I imagined myself being a lot taller.

But I never imagined myself being gay. This doesn’t necessarily mean that I wasn’t gay then, in retrospect, I see now that there were clues all along. I always grew up being told that I should always strive to be myself, and no one else.

As I have discovered as an adult, this is much easier said than done.

Once I realized I was gay at the ripe old age of 17 (making high school really fun) I was faced with a moral dilemma. Because unfortunately in the small town I grew up in, being yourself did not mean being your gay self. What if being myself didn’t fit in with other’s expectations? I struggled through college with this idea as well. Basically i had two selves: my straight self and my real self. Suddenly being yourself felt like keeping the world’s biggest secret. It means constantly having to fabricate excuses and lies and pronouns to cover the truth. And I’m not that clever to begin with, so this was really difficult for me. But humor aside, secrets are heavy. After years of carrying them, i felt my back straining under the weight. So I made a decision when I began coming out to my family and friends, that I would only be my real self.

I did this about as gracefully as I would dance in the Russian Ballet.

It was awkward, and clumsy and horrible. How do you say, “i know i’ve been telling you i’m straight all these years, but actually i am utterly and completely gay. any questions?”

There were lots of questions, and lots of feelings. But with all of these awkward and uncomfortable moments, i realized that one by one I was shedding the secrets that had made their home on my back for so long. As each one disappeared, I walked a little taller, and I felt a little lighter.

When I started to be myself, I thought the world would end and the town’s folk would chase me out of the city with pitchforks. But really, it was the opposite. I moved to a liberal city and was met with a lot of support and acceptance. Life went on, and I went on. Looking back now, I can’t imagine going back to that double life, not when my life is so great now.

I’m not a therapist, nor am I qualified to give any advice. Unless you need help choosing a clearance wine at Target on 8:00 on a Tuesday night, cause I’ve got your back!

However, I do have experience, and experience has taught me this. No matter how scary or how unorthodox it is, being your authentic self is the absolute best thing in the world. Because that self is the most beautiful version of you. I hope if you’re reading this and going through anything similar, know that you’re not alone. There’s a community who all have your back. If anyone reading this ever needs someone to listen, my proverbial door is always open. I would say physically, but it’s cold y’all and heat ain’t cheap! I’ve put the link to my bio page here, and this includes my contact info. Trust me, I’ll do a happy dance in my fuzzy slippers if I hear from you!

I hope that wasn’t too preachy. Or stupid. It was probably both.

-Celeste

Veterans Day

Good Morning All,

So, while I’m trying to get my wits about me and this writing everyday business, I’ve been thinking a lot about the overall process of writing. I think that everyone writes differently, and every creative process is unique. I envy those who write novels, because I don’t know if I could ever commit myself to a long and well thought out story. My tales are always short and spastic, much like me in general. But I have discovered that we have to write about topics that mean something to us. Today, my mind is on veterans day, so that’s what I’ll be rambling about.

My father was in the Navy, and my grandfather in the Air Force. I grew up hearing stories about deployments and cruises. In my childhood mind, it all sounded romantic really. I remember my mother telling me that when she was a child, my grandfather was stationed in Spain. She recalls one Christmas Eve that he was able to call home, and could barely be understood because of the reception. However, as soon as my Mom was on the line, my Grandfather says that her voice was as clear as a bell. It made one difficult holiday away a little less difficult.

Shortly after my parents married, my Dad was sent to flight school to train as a flight surgeon. The Navy had paid his way through Medical school, and in return, it was his time to serve. Though he has always has spoken about the places he saw and the experiences he otherwise might’ve not had, I cannot imagine the dread that hung in the air the day they had to say goodbye. Coming from someone who cried their eyes out when leaving for study abroad, I cannot imagine the weight of watching that person walk away. These couples, and these have families have my infinite respect. I’m not that strong or that selfless, but thankfully there people out there that are.

I think it’s important to recount these stories, especially on a day like today. I think that storytelling is a lost art, and these stories effectively are the dusty mementos that become locked in the old trunks of our minds. I think actively recounting these stories is a way of digging up these trunks, opening them, and dusting off the souvenirs. I think it’s something we all need to do. I’ve recounted stories to myself dozens of times, but there’s something about telling a story that makes us really feel something. The good stories make us nostalgic, and the bad ones show us how far we’ve really come. So ask someone, especially a person currently serving or a veteran, to dust off some stories. Chances are, you’ll make their day, and it might just make yours as well. I think we’re all full of stories that are as unique as our DNA.

I know that had nothing to do with anything I said I wanted to write about, but I have to get these thoughts out somehow okay?!

Thank you for reading, please comment, and I will hopefully have more stories and ramblings up soon! Remember I’m always up for suggestions!

Hallelujah- it’s the weekend

Well, it was the weekend. Sorry for the late post you guys! 🙂

I don’t know about y’all, but weekends are sacred days for me. I work full time, and Monday through Friday, and by Friday I usually feel like I may just lose my mind. Fridays I think are the greatest days because they hold the promise of NOT having to wake up early the next day. Note: if you work on the weekend, I apologize, you brave souls.

What do you guys do when you’re not at work/school? Personally, I’m an errand runner. Usually during the week, I’m way too tired to deal with any of those pressing adult things. What do these things include? Ya know: laundry, cooking, peeling one’s self off the couch after guzzling wine. I’m not the only one who does that right?

Personally, it’s been a crazy ass couple of weeks. I know I just started blogging, so I’m going to try to bring you up to speed on the hot mess express that’s been rolling around here:

Working Hard or hardly working?

Working Hard or hardly working?

1. We got new windows in our condo! We signifies my lady and I- yes, we live together. This wouldn’t normally be a huge deal, but A. we live in a tiny condo and B. this has needed to be done since I bought the condo. As I quickly discovered, you have to choose your battles in the war of condo renovation. The process of replacing the windows meant two days filled with dust and two very upset cats. But it’s done, yay!

2. We got a dog! I know, two cats and we are adding another?? But we can’t help it! We rescued him from the Charleston Animal Society and he’s been the best boy! His name is Dennis, and we think he is a hound. He’s too cute and just follows us around the condo. He had some infections, and is just finishing a heart worm treatment, but is otherwise doing well!

So, in light of these busy past few weeks, I am looking forward to being lazy and not doing anything. What do you guys like to do on the weekends?

This post is also to gain some ideas from you all about what kinds of posts you would like to see. Do you like hearing about LGBT things? Life things?  Strange streams of consciousness like this post?? If i’m rambling, i’d like to be rambling about something that people will want to read.  So I’d appreciate it if you left a comment for me! Not like I’ll be waiting right by my computer or anything….

Yes, yes I will.

Have a lovely weekend you beautiful cherubs you!

-Celeste

Introducing the Elephant

“When there’s an elephant in the room, introduce him”
-Randy Pausch

I love this quote and I thought it was a great way to introduce my plan for re-vamping this blog. As I said before, I’ve done a lot of growing in the past year. The biggest growth I’ve had is that I have come to terms with who I am, and become okay with it. That’s huge! It’s only taken 24 years, but that’s a start right? Anyways, here is me introducing my elephant in the room.
It happens to be rainbow colored.

It’s a rainbow elephant, because I am gay. I know, a rainbow joke? Really Celeste?! You’re trying to become a serious writer and here you are going for the obvious joke.

Yes, I went for it. Yes, I’m always going to make that joke. Yes, I am talking to myself. Moving on:

I’ve known this about myself for a long time, and for a long time i tried to suppress it. But as I also said, I’ve fallen in love with someone who’s given me the courage to be authentic and be myself. This hasn’t been an easy process, and at some point there will probably be a post on the journey in itself. But, for now, know that my goal for this blog is to talk about my journey in hopes of reaching others. It’s scary for me to reach out, but it’s even scarier to think about not reaching at all. I hope you reach back and share your thoughts with me! Part of my learning experience has been listening to others, and now I’d like to contribute mine. I’ll be talking about big influences in my life, and answering any questions that come my way.

This is also the point where you may realize that this is a blog that you don’t want to follow. That’s okay. You may also realize you don’t want to follow me. That’s okay too. Just as long as we’re talking about on social media, cause stalking ain’t cool y’all. So if that’s the case, then i wish you a happy journey to other blogs. But if you’re interested in my journey, I invite you to read my ramblings, and I’ll read yours. I can already feel a sigh of relief as I write this. Growing up in the deep south, i was always told being gay made me different, but i soon realized it made me brave. Now, I realize that being gay didn’t make me brave; i made myself brave. 

Sometimes, I try to be deep, and I fail miserably. But I promise all the time to be real.

I’ll be posting more soon, and can’t wait to hear from y’all!

-Celeste

 

You can all stop looking for me now- I’m back!

I know, I know, I know.

Not that any of you have been looking for me. But if you have, don’t worry! I’m back! I’ve arisen from the accidental sabbatical that I’ve taken for like a year now, and I’ve got all sorts of things to share:

FIRST: an apology.

I know I said that I was going to blog everyday, and that obviously didn’t happen. I dropped the ball on that one, so I’m sorry folks. Life sometimes gets in the way and it can be hard to get back on track. But i feel that it’s time to make a change and that’s why I’m here now!

This is what happened in the epoch of time I’ve been gone- yes, i know that’s not correct.

1. I finished the condo!!! I know that it seems like I was stuck in condo purgatory for a while, and believe me I was. If renovating 1,000 square feet was that stressful, then I don’t know if I’ll ever renovate again. But more on that later. Let’s just say I can’t even watch HGTV without getting flashbacks.

2. I went back to school! I thought you just got out of school Celeste? I know, I did. But I’m a glutton for punishment. So now I am in graduate school and working full time still. I’m sure i will have plenty to tell about that.

3. I fell in love with someone. Yes, cliche, and I’m just waiting for lifetime to call and offer me a movie deal. I know that a common theme in my beginning post regarded a lot of bad things happening in my life. And that was all true. Cause here’s something that I’ve learned. Breakups suck. They’re awful. They make you question everything you ever believed, and everything you thought was good. I did all of that. But I’ve also realized that break ups show you exactly what you don’t want in a person. And that’s exactly what I learned. I learned how to be alone, and just when I was okay with that, BOOM! I fell in love. Ain’t that something? I spent so much time feeling that i had to make my misery funny, that i forgot how awesome it is to be truly happy.  It took an entire condo renovation and a lot of wine for me to realize that, but I did!

4. As I have changed over the year, my intent for this blog has changed a lot as well. What I have done in essence over the past year is learn to be my authentic self. I’ll go into this more later, but it’s a journey i hope may benefit others by talking about it. That is where this blog is going to go, a place to reach out and tell my story. I’m hoping with a bit of luck, some will reach back. You’ll also notice that the blog looks different, and I’m hoping to come up with a more fitting title soon.

So, if you’re still willing to listen to me ramble. I’m back, and I’ve got a lot to ramble about.

-Celeste

The Prodigal Condo

Well, I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but….the condo is finished.

Like, actually finished. Like it has a floor now. On Friday, the miracle worker arrived at my house and when I went by after work, there it was….and there he was. He may have been covered in tattoos, but he might as well been Jesus Christ himself. It was all I could do not to have a mental breakdown in front of J.C., but I did. I cried for a lot of reasons. Mainly for the stress of everything that has happened over the last two months. And for the sheer joy of knowing that the laminate that’s been sitting in boxes for two weeks was finally on the floor. So I’ve spent the weekend actually living in my condo, and attempting to move giant furniture around. It’s been exhausting, but it finally feels like mine. Like I actually live here. And I realized something, that as awful as the renovation process has been, it was exactly what I needed. I needed a distraction, something to take away from everything that has gone wrong in the past two months. A lot changed. I’m not at all where I thought I’d be, but I think that’s a good thing. I have a full time job, I’m attempting to be a homeowner, and for the first time, I feel like an adult. Because here is what I’ve discovered, the universe is a confusing and at times infuriating. It doles out things we can’t even imagine, and expects us to take it and run with it. And like the change-phobic creatures we are, we cringe at this. We stomp our feet, and we cry and we cross our arms. Or maybe that’s just me…. Anyways, what I’ve discovered is that the universe always has a plan. Sometimes it takes a couple curve balls, and an awful looking condo, and feeling miserable for two months to realize it, but eventually you realize that it was necessary change. I was comfortable, but was I happy? No, definitely not. I think the cosmic forces out there saw that, and they dragged me kicking and screaming into a new phase of life that has shown me that you are ultimately your own hero. As Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids put it, “you are your own problem, but you’re also your own solution”. So, in honor of all this I have attached pictures of the prodigal condo so that you can see that I haven’t made all of this up and that the struggle was very much real.

Living room/kitchen

Living room/kitchen

image (2) image (3) image

So there you go….proof! There are also two bedrooms, but they are currently filled with stuff and look like an episode of hoarders. It’s hard to believe that it all has actually come together. I think sometimes we get so wrapped up in the struggles and the processes of attaining the things we want that when they actually happen we don’t know what to do. I spent so much time on this condo, and now it’s here. Sometimes I find myself scratching my head and thinking…well what next? The truth is, I think the thought of not knowing what comes next is scary to everyone. I know it is to me. But I also think we don’t give ourselves credit enough for getting to where we are now. It’s okay to not know what will happen next, but it’s not okay to discredit your current journey. Whatever cosmic force that you believe in, just know that it has a plan for you, and that it’s going to work out. And trust me, I am not saying this to be all knowing…I’m saying it also so that I may believe and apply these principles. I don’t know where I’m going. I’m almost 23 (on this upcoming Friday!), single, and working my first full time job. Did I think I’d be here 3 months ago? Absolutely not. But am I glad to be here now? Absolutely. I think the divine forces that govern us have a way of throwing us the necessary curve balls to alter out paths to where there supposed to be. But we’re all going to get there, and it’s all going to be okay. So, I think today we all deserve to pat ourselves on the back and be grateful that we’re heading exactly to where we’re supposed to be.

Update

So, for my fan base (ha! jokes) here is an update on why I have been so MIA the past week or two. I’m writing this from the seven circles of condo hell. To be it delicately, shit has hit the fan. Or should I say floor in this case? From my last post, you know that only half of my living room/kitchen has flooring on it right now. The remaining part of the kitchen and dining room are a dusty, bare concrete slab.

Yeah, minimalist was not quite what I was going for with that. The other horrible discovery I have made about my kitchen floor is that it is extremely uneven, and therefore unsuitable for laying laminate on top of. Of course, my contractor said: “I can fix that”. But unlike the man from the movie Holes, he could NOT fix it. But he thought he could. Because what we do when we don’t know how to do something? We do it anyways, and hope no one calls us out on it. But floor shouldn’t be included in this rule. So, my contractor laid down what he believed would fix the floor. And Lowes came back out to install the floors. And funny thing, they couldn’t put the laminate down STILL because the floor wasn’t relevant. So my contractor said “I can fix that”. But again, unlike a la Holes, he couldn’t fix that. What he should’ve said was “I can make that even worse”. Because he laid more of the leveling product and Lowes made a third trip. And now, I can’t get a call from Lowes without getting a PTSD flashback, because surprise they still couldn’t put down the laminate.

This was the point where the humanity in me shriveled up and died. This was also when I fired my contractor, threatened to inter him in my bare kitchen floor, and promptly drank a bottle of wine. But, can it get worse?

….Oh yes it can! Because what’s worse than not have a floor? Having your furniture arrive because you assumed you’d have a floor by now. Silly girl. So yes, my furniture showed up, and is now promptly stacked on the section of my condo that has floor. My stove is unhooked and sitting in my living room, and my fridge is beside it. So I have spent most of time crying and having contractor after contractor come and stare at my kitchen and scratch their heads. However, there might be light at the tunnel because my new contractor is supposed to have my floor in by Friday. Which is great, because my washer and dryer are supposed to come in on Saturday. And I’d really like to have a floor to put them on. I’m really not enjoying my only option for clothes washing being Oh Brother, where are thou style in the pond behind the condo. Hopefully the next post I write will be in a happier state of mind, and I will have crawled out of the pits of condo purgatory. Because I’m not happy at the moment, and I’m running out wine and clean clothes.

-Celeste