How I Transformed In 365 Days of Taking Habit Out and Letting Life In

A Year has passed.

This morning, I woke happy. I brushed my teeth with my homemade toothpaste; it dribbled from my mouth when I noticed sunlight speckling in through the window and smiled too wide in response. Mitra and I took to the streets and I let her lead us on an unfamiliar route. I snuggled dogs I’d never met before and complimented a stranger’s shirt. We lazily wound our way home. It’s my hood’s composting day, so I pulled the bin of scraps from my freezer. To it, I added coffee grounds. I blended and pressed the almonds I’ve had soaking for two days into milk, then added their sticky pulp, too. We headed out again, dropped off the bag, I returned to my desk, and I started editing audio for a new client.

This morning was completely unrecognizable from June 20th one Year ago today.

My Year of Abstinence has ended.

A Year of studying habit removal. Of saying “no”. Of taking out to see what comes in.

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You’ve Gotta Really Want to Change

Today, I’m functioning from bed; nursing a migraine that made itself known as soon as I opened my eyes. I’m planning the next Challenge, which starts Monday, and I am so excited for it. It’s gonna be hard. Technically, it’s gonna be the hardest one I’ve done so far. It means giving up one habit that breaks into a thousand small habits. It takes research and planning. I’m nervous. But I really want to do it, and I’m itching to start.

That’s what every Challenge needs to be.

Removing television… wasn’t. Continue reading

How a Month of Wonder Woman Power Poses Brought Me Focus

“January will focus on increasing my confidence by catching negative thoughts and refocusing them onto Queens.”

That’s how I wrapped up this Challenge when it began a month ago. I had a two-pronged plan that, admittedly, sounds strange: I’d cut my television consumption down to one episode per evening, and I’d capture every negative thought and flip it into a positive arena through Amy Cuddy’s power poses. The idea hit this Year’s requirements: the removal of negative habits I want to change that will affect my social interactions, health, and sense of self.

And yet recently someone looked at my “one hour of television” and asked: Is that enough to count as abstinence? The question/judgment irked me for a while. Then I realized it’s not that person’s fault — it means I haven’t articulated the true, intimate, lasting, THIS IS DIFFERENT THAN EVERYTHING ELSE significance. So here I go: Continue reading

Cultivating Confidence So That I Can Write Today

I want to be writing, but am battling waves of ennui and self-doubt.

This is a big problem at present for many who work within my sphere, and for those without, too; so much of major importance distracts us. And then intimate realities linger as well, pulling my mind away; a funeral I’m missing, projects unsold, loved ones in pain, bank accounts tenuous, relationships strained.

I don’t want to challenge myself, today. I want to fall back upon what I know and feel the comfort of checking things off a list.

Instead, I take Mitra for a walk, make some tea, set a two-minute timer, and stand to Wonder Woman. I breathe. I ponder the feelings in my body, my lack of confidence in the world and my own life. And I conclude once again that the only way I can move forward… is by moving forward.

When my two minutes end, I take my tea. I go to my desk. And I sit. And I try. And I write.

Everything Bagel Days = Every Challenge All At Once!

Today is January 28th, and life is insane.

There’s the Meatball, which is what I’m currently calling a certain POTUS–I won’t explain further. There’s everything I’ve detailed here and here and here. And then there are oddly beautiful moments where all of that scary noise just…. stops….

….and I’m drinking coffee and petting my dog and looking at trees. Or I’m doing my #CityMouseCountryHouse thing and filling up the Lil Blue Subaru and see the tiniest bird hopping by the tire with a twig in its beak and am enthralled by the pattern of its feathers. Or I’m watching my grandmother as she sleeps and the thinness of her skin just astounds me. Or I’m on the subway and my breath catches at the idea of just how complicated the lives are of every single one of the sixty people around me and my heart bursts with love for all of them.

Life. Continue reading

How Power Poses Shape My Morning

I wake some mornings and intentionally TeleWonderWoman before I sit to work.

If it’s a normal human time for a chronically ill person to wake –  between 8:30 and eleven – I set the coffee to perk and walk Mitra first.

I leave the phone, and we make our short little “Pan Am” loop. Did you ever see that charming but short-lived television show a few years back? They shot a few scenes on my block during a string of years where everyone shot a few scenes on my block. In one Berlin-based scene, the team circles my hood in a way that doesn’t make sense in real life but looks good on film. Oh, look: my building is bashfully covered by trees behind them.


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Cheating (but only a little)

Confession: The television abstinence has stretched a bit. This week, there have been nights I’ve watched 2-3 shows when I felt like it.

I justified the choice by a) the world is ending b) MY BODY HATES LIFE and c) there were nights in the last week or two when I hadn’t watched any television at all. On Monday (I think it was) I watched three very short shows. But here’s the thing: last night I started steaming Supergirl, which I’m way into because right now I just need to watch good gals kick ass. I was so damned tired after two episodes and wanted to watch a third. But I didn’t. I shut the television off and went to sleep.

And that’s the point of all this. Recognizing the habit, and choosing to change it.

So I did cheat. But only a little.

The Self-Saboteur 

Years ago, I read a NY Times article about the Imposter Syndrome, and found comfort in knowing that even the prolific Maya Angelou lived in fear of being “discovered” as, well, an imposter of her own accomplished self. 

Now I stand here, on the subway platform. Running dangerously late for a lunch date with a work friend I admire. Having launched a campaign that combines chronic illness advocacy and the Women’s March on Washington (#MarchingWithMe). Just having received an email from my agent delaying her notes on a draft I sent her. Preparing to stop by one of my clients’ offices after lunch to say a quick hello to my editors there. And I’m overwhelmed by wave after wave of, “Am I tough enough for all of this?”  Continue reading

Overwhelmed and my pulse is racing…

Was in CT for five days, too little sleep and up too early this morning, worked too many hours yesterday. Did tax stuff this morning, launched #MarchingWithMe, packed up the car, drove back to NYC, unpacked the car, did more #MarchingWithMe, finally ate and showered, now transcribing an interview for a piece that was due a million years ago, and prepping for a first date with a guy who, if last night’s phone call is to be considered, might turn out to be adorable.

My pulse is racing, head is pounding, and I only just realized I can’t blame it on the one cup of coffee I had at 8am. WonderWoman-ing... listing my ladies… breathing… happy, hopeful, but feeling a crash coming on. Breathing…

Killer Queen

“Drop of a hat she’s as willing as
Playful as a pussy cat
Then momentarily out of action
Temporarily out of gas
To absolutely drive you wild, wild..
She’s all out to get you

She’s a Killer Queen
Gunpowder, gelatine
Dynamite with a laser beam
Guaranteed to blow your mind

(Lines from Queen’s Killer Queen, this month’s anthem. That’s all. Bye!)


These are the facts: 

  • I am so so so tired. Like, I worked way too long and hard today on top of having gone to the far reaches of Queens to see my tios for lunch. So spoons are gone. 
  • It’s 8:30pm
  • I’m finally eating dinner on bed.
  • I didn’t watch any television for the last two evenings, as I was reading a very lovely book and that took precedence.
  • There are only about forty pages left in said book. 
  • I have three twenty-minute shows sitting unwatched in my Hulu queue I normally like to watch together. 

So, options:  Continue reading

Money’s Always Sunny In a Rich Man’s World

This morning, I texted my brother how I got an email from Mint (a financial program I use) that my credit score dropped. Then I got refused for a credit card I applied for online, intending to transfer one of my higher-APRs and then pay it off before the term ended. Neither of these things have ever happened to me before in my life. So I’m feeling good today!

Now walkin’ Mitra as I plan the rest of my morning and invoking a lot of Carrie Fisher (one of my Wonder Women) cause in my head she says FUCK IT! a lot. And I’ve decided that I can be a gentle, soft, compassionate soul who also says fuck it. Because sometimes shit sucks. And being a bit tough about that can maybe be the most compassionate response in certain circumstances. I will get over this hurdle. I have been taking action. I will keep taking action. There is no need to pile negative thought on top of all that. So for now, fuck it.