happiness is a warm taco

My friend Mae took this photo during a moment of our champagne tastes and caviar dreams (I didn't have a picture of me eating a taco).

My friend Mae took this photo during a champagne tastes and caviar dreams moment (I didn’t have a picture of me eating tacos).

The alternative title to this post was “happiness is hugging a warm taco”, but doing so is decidedly messy. Don’t believe me? Try it, then get back to me.

The other day a friend and I went to get tacos at a local Mexican market. It’s no frills and the tacos are soooo good. You walk in, pass the glass case filled with ready-to-go carnitas, salsas, cheese, chicharron, and crema, and head towards the back where you can order your deliciously warm tacos. Did I mention that they are $1.50/each??

When they call out your order for pick up, you can sit down at one of the few tables or hoist yourself up on a bar stool and sit at one of the counters.

I hoisted.

I hugged my taco.

I spoke with my mouth full: “Thi foo make me happy.”

If you’ve made it this far into the post, first of all, thank you from the bottom of my taco-loving heart. Second of all, you might be thinking, “Poor girl, she thinks she’s posting a review on Yelp. tsk tsk.”

Yes, sometimes I get confused and think I’m on Yelp, Match.com or even forget where I am in general, but today, talking about tacos reminds me how something so simple can bring such joy. When everything is so clearly simple and solid and in-the-moment. It doesn’t matter if it’s a taco, a stunning view, or breaking out in uncontrollable laughter with a friend. I’m grateful for any fleeting moment that causes you to connect to yourself and something even beyond that. Something bigger than yourself…that intangible feeling of…love?

I don’t know why my lesson was sent in a taco, but hey, I’ll take it. There’s a reason why I’m always proposing to food. Mr. T and I pity the poor fool I fall in love with: “Marry me or else I’m going to make a taco a very happy husband!!”

Hey, that’s a good title for a Match.com profile…

 

The Red Dress

I’ve been trying on pretty things lately as part of an attempt to find clothes that make me feel good. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought items that almost fit right, looked passable because hey, it covered what it needed to cover, and because it was on sale. But if I feel uncomfortable, I’m going to look uncomfortable.

With the constant guidance of one of my most fashionista friends, I’ve been trying to stick to the rules I’ve been given and have slowly rebuilt my wardrobe for the past year. Last year, I was opposed to trying on dresses because I was very much wedded to the idea that my bare burritos weren’t meant to be seen in public. But during my trip to Hawaii this year my attitude slowly began to change.

I recently added two dresses to my wardrobe (I only had one before). They’re both striped. I know, I know! But they were too cute to pass up. They need to be hemmed. I think. But how many inches? I will need my friend’s sage advice on this one. PYP is of no help to me. I texted him a picture of me in a dress I tried on a few days ago and he said it needed to be hemmed about mid-thigh. Mid-thigh?? Hahahahahhaaaaa!!! I have never worn a dress that short in my life and told him so, adding that it never crossed my mind to wear a dress that length. He responded with his trademark “lol”, which is how he responds to most things I say.

70's Fashion

See? My dresses were always at a tasteful length, even as a progressive 70’s chick. Although I can’t say that about my friend there next to me, harhar. There’s that fake fur coat I loved so much…I don’t know if this photo was taken before or after the Devil Dog took a bite out of it. Probably before – I still look happy. Oh…and those groovy boots! Today, sadly, many knee-length boots are too long for my short legs and I cannot zip them up past the most generous part of my calves.

The Red Dress

The Red Dress

I’ve never owned a red dress, let alone wear red. But I saw this dress in a little boutique when I was walking downtown the other day. I stopped. And then I heard it: You love me…Don’t try and resist me…I belong to you… I stared at it, listening intently.

One of my rules of thumb is, if I buy it, I have to wear it. I can’t let clothes waste away in my closet, taunting me for my impulsive and/or poor judgment. However, because I don’t buy into the latest trends, it’s possible that I will still be able to wear the dress years from now. My friend was appalled at the price tag. But then she said, “Remember years ago when you said that you wanted to wear a red dress in Paris?” I did, didn’t I…

I loved it. I couldn’t resist. It belongs to me now.

The Red Dress isn’t just any dress. It symbolizes a shift in my thinking and image of myself. It’s about hope and possibility and magic that I can’t define.

Whether it be a person, place, and/or thing, I hope to have many “Red Dresses” in my lifetime.

And because it’s not all about me (sometimes it’s hard to tell), I hope you do, too.

Walking Tall (Even Though I’m Not)

If you’ve read some of my other posts, you know that I have a fondness for self-deprecating humor. I’ve used it unconsciously and consciously and thought it was quite harmless. I didn’t mind making people laugh at my expense.

Except…I noticed (and it was also pointed out to me) that making fun of what I think are my real deficiencies doesn’t do me or anyone else any favors. Not taking yourself too seriously is a good thing; turn it against yourself too often and you weaken yourself with your own sucker punches.

I’ve made fun of my height, legs, cellulite, age, over thinking…well, I think that’s enough to begin with. We’re all self-critical to varying degrees, but when it plays heavily on our insecurities, enough is enough. Yes, I want to be a lot taller, have different shaped legs, dimple-free skin, be younger, and I want to stop thinking so damn much. But unless I have bone extension surgery, can turn back time, and stop being an INFJ, well, it ain’t gonna happen.   

As I tackle Project Jane and work on my “stuff”, I want to embody this mantra: Own and learn to embrace what you have, who you are, and that you are a work in progress. The stronger you are at your base, the stronger you will be against your inner critic and outside forces. Why not focus on your assets as opposed to highlighting what you think are your weaknesses?

Easier said than done, I know. It’s taken me a long time to even get to this point and even then, I falter. I just want to make sure I don’t falter too far or for too long.

It’s funny, for years I would walk down the hallways at work with my unusually fast, stompy stride, always giving people the impression that wherever I was going, it was important. And I needed to get there immediately. Sometimes it was true, other times, I had no pressing agenda. I’ve found myself morphing that walk into a strong, bouncy, purposeful stride. Like one of my Zumba teachers says, “Don’t know what you’re doing? Fake it!!!

Didn’t anyone tell you? I may be 4′ 11″, but I can be 6′ 0″ tall inside…

Saying Yes to The Big Easy

Traveling is good. It can stretch you out of your comfort zone and as a result, invite change. Transformation.

When I got on the plane for New Orleans, I felt a rush: I’m in an airplane. I’m going somewhere. I’m going to experience something new.

When a friend of mine told me that she was going there for a conference and asked if I wanted to meet her there, I hesitated for a moment. New Orleans? Isn’t that one of the most extroverted cities in the United States? I don’t know…

“Sure! Why not!” I said a moment later.

Who am I to say no to an opportunity like that? Sometimes an introvert has to push her anxiety aside to go meet life. Give it a big hug (and you know how I appreciate a good hug).

Was I transformed? No, not like in past trips I’ve taken. But it’s a fascinating part of the world. The only other southern state I’ve been to is Kentucky and I do so appreciate Southern hospitality, Sugar. Delicious food, sultry (I prefer this word as opposed to soaking, which I was) weather, local architecture…it’s good for the body, mind and soul to be out of your regular routine and shake things up a bit.

However, I could have done without the rowdy crowd mentality and the activity of drinking-likker-in-the-streets: “HELLO LADIES!!! YOU’RE CHINESE, AREN’T YOU!!!” Uh, no, we’re not, but we’re not going to stop and tell you that. We weren’t even on Bourbon Street, which we studiously tried to avoid.

As the plane took off on the connecting flight home, I gazed down at the twinkling city lights below. So pretty… I wanted to turn to a traveling companion and say just that; I wanted to share that experience with someone. And when I looked out and up at the stars, I wanted to have someone to look at those stars with me.

Crap. Now I was sad.

It happens.

Sometimes you just have to accept that your emotions have a life of their own. Respect them, and they’ll respect you. The more you try and fight what you don’t want to feel, the more you betray yourself. Emotions are constantly flowing throughout you in varying degrees. So go with the flow, I say. (But please seek help if you’re feeling entirely overwhelmed.)

Perhaps I was wrong after all. I’ve had a delayed, mini-transformation, because today, I was gloriously happy. But that’s another story.