Poetry, Writing

For Every Bad Day

Make time for good
When it is easy to say that you are
Too tired
Too stressed
Too who,
Dare to say that you will give yourself an hour
To be the truest you:

The one who shapes things
And destroys castles,
The one who makes miracles
Out of shoelaces and spit,
The one who builds meadows
And does not part the sea
So much as rules it from the center.

You must allow yourself to be
Who you were meant to be
On the other side of numbers and populations
And formulas and chemicals;

You must be the sunlight
And the moonlight,
Shrug off the hard shell of facts and figures

And shine

Because everyone who matters is waiting to bask in your glow.

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inspiration, Uncategorized

5 Affirmations (For Me and For You)

  1. This crisis you’re facing is only cracker-thin. You’re going to crush it, almost on accident, and then wonder why you were so worried.
  2. Everything is temporary. Love it because it is so. Let it go because it is so. Say hello and goodbye in the same breath.
  3. There is a swarm of gnats in your head, and even though they feel like a hundred warring soldiers, it’s just because there is so little space for your thoughts to breath. Let them out.
  4. Spend as little time as possible thinking about what you should or shouldn’t do and let your hands do the talking.
  5. Shine the spotlight in your mind at what you love and focus on those things instead of all the things moving around in the surrounding dark.
inspiration, Self Dare, Uncategorized

Love the Things You Love

Dare to grab hold of things that make you really happy. Even if no one else gets it. Even if there isn’t a greater goal.

Watch cartoons. Read comic books.

Draw. Paint. Get a bucket of chalk and work your sidewalk until the rain washes it away.

Make things without agency or intention beyond bringing something into existence that wasn’t there before. Don’t you realize how godly that is?

Dress up and stay home.

Play with action figures.

Make castles in the sand.

Stop thinking about it.

Self Dare, Uncategorized

Mantras for Bad Days

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  • Give this moment its five minutes of fame, and then it’s over.
  • Nobody knows how you are feeling but you. Don’t let anyone belittle your experience.
  • You will heal.
  • Tomorrow or the next day, this will all seem very small, and you will be gifted with perspective.
  • Don’t dwell. Think of better, smaller, easier things: the leaves, birds, waves, sunset.
  • It is all temporary. All of it.
Creative Advice, NaNoWriMo, Writing challenge, Writing Tips

NaNo: It’s Coming

A friend told me today that he is thinking about doing NaNoWriMo. He asked if I had any advice. I would like to share this advice with you too, dear reader, dear writer.

Don’t do it for any reason other than to write and have fun doing it. Don’t do it for anyone else or because you feel like you ‘have’ to. It has to be the marriage of challenge and joy.

Prepare, but don’t prepare too much. The devil is in the details, and analysis paralysis will be your enemy. Think over the next week the type of book you want to write, the type of characters you want to give birth to. If you can create a book jacket summary of the overall arc, cool. If not, also cool.

Small chunks of writing will work better than marathon writing. Squeeze it into your schedule. If you don’t already love to write for five hours, you aren’t going to start now.

Don’t give up. Don’t get to the 20th and go, “I only have x words, there’s no way I’m going to get to 50k, I’m done.” Fight to the end. See what happens. Miracles have happened in mere hours.

Just by wanting to do it, you are ahead of the millions of people who say “someday I’ll…” Celebrate that, but just not too much.

If you want to share your creature as it awakens, do it. But tell people to hand over the roses and leave the thorns until 12/1. Because you will want to edit. Every writer does. You will hear yourself say, “Oh wait, this should be this” or “that should have not happened.” Leave the casualties and save yourself.

You can do it. I believe in you.

essays, Personal, Uncategorized

On Walking Away

I used to love drama.

Not the awesome spoken word kind, or plays about people kind, or even the crazy Greek ones that had weirder sex than Game of Thrones. No, I used to love hearing all the scoop, all the kerfuffle, all the flibbertigibbet. I was the undercover scandalmonger, who would just happen to be around when the most chaotic people would appear, obviously full of angst about someone else. “You can talk to me about it,” I’d say, “you can get it out.” And I wouldn’t just drink it all up. I would gulp it. I would gorge myself on it.

This only got bigger and stronger with my increasing online presence after college. The Internet is a lot like an adorable card and gift shop. You can walk around forever and ever and keep finding things to pick up and marvel at. Comments sections of news articles about things I already didn’t agree with were the best. Lists of all the things guys find wrong with women? Sign me up. Articles about how awful things I love are? Yes, please!

And I always found these things through my best friends, the people who think like me, the people who go, “This is so messed up” and “Am I crazy to think that this person doing this is not okay?” so that I could join the loud, cheerful choir of “Yes! That is the worst! It’s all awful and we are such better people for not agreeing with that garbage!” Because who doesn’t want to have that with their friends?

At some point, though, I realized that I wasn’t actually enjoying this feeling. I would start getting angrier, and I would seethe and look for any place to release all the fire I thought was building up in my stomach. I got into angry fights with people I had never met, and I would rip them apart. And despite the fact that, sure, most of the causes were pretty justified, I found that a few truths were becoming clear:

  • Many of these things were either outside my control or distant to my circle of experience.
  • A lot of it was pointless anger and frustration.
  • There wasn’t anything I was doing about whatever I was feeling not good about.
  • Most importantly, when I came back to the screeds later, I really didn’t like the person I was seeing online.

This step back also brought a lot of other things on the Internet into focus. I saw how often I just complained and griped. I saw how I would rant about these things that seemed like nothing a few days later. Mountains, molehills, anthills. It became very clear to me how negative I was, and I really didn’t like that. I also realized it wasn’t just on the Internet, that this was affecting the Real Life Me. I had started hiding away when I was angry instead of confronting people close to me. I would seethe and snarl in private, backstab, hurt under a cover of darkness. I had been for a while but now I knew that I was not being a good person. That is something that still haunts me.

So the first thing I did was decide that I was going to stop being utterly negative, both online in social media and in life. I started to recognize when I was repeatedly complaining without taking action. On Facebook and Twitter, instead of posting about how bad my day was, I’d share a cute video that made me smile. Instead of talking about how much something sucked, I would bring up something that I really enjoyed. I used the Internet as a force of good – literally, good things, good news, good times. I felt a lot better.

Recently, it’s become much more apparent that there is a part of the web that is what I call a Hateful Shame Machine. A lot of people use it as not a vehicle for their anger but more like a remote-controlled car they can run into people’s lives. They capitalize on the safety of distance and anonymity to respond in a way that doesn’t directly impact them and hurts the subject of their disdain. But, like with a remote-controlled car, they think what they are doing is only annoying at most and couldn’t actually do any lasting damage.

Have you ever imagined what could happen to a single person being struck by a hundred remote-controlled cars? A thousand? A million?

I’m not saying that it isn’t okay to be mad or to react to something unjust. But once you realize that what you’re doing is not only making you feel toxic but is raising a red flag in your subconscious that says, “This really isn’t good, is it?” it’s time to take a step back. Are you making a difference, or are you just adding to the screaming? Are you being the person online that you are in your heart, or are you wearing a mask? Are you treating everyone the way you would to their face, or are you exploiting the fact that you can attack them without attaching yourself to it?

Most importantly, though, you can stop. You can change. Get some distance. Unplug. Go do something by yourself and clear your head. Forgive yourself. Say you’re sorry, if it isn’t too late. Understand that you deserve love and comfort and every human is cracked and flawed. And if you are the victim, these things all apply to you, tenfold.

I dare you to walk away. It’s never too late.

Poetry, Self Dare, Uncategorized

Self Dare [An Anthem]

There are a lot of days when you will wake up and say,
“I think I’m really awesome, and I’ll love myself today.”

But there are just as many nights when you’re lying on your back,
Determined you’re a waste of space and a super-duper sad sack.

These are the times when you have to make a list
Of all the things your inner critic overlooked and missed.

Like how good your hair looks when you blow it dry,
Or how easy it is to bake a cake, like you don’t even have to try.
Then there’s your awesome penmanship, the way you write your name,
Or your collection of books or trinkets – no two are the same!
How about the way your dog looks when you get home from work?
Or how when you meow at her, your cat’s ears always perk?
Don’t forget all the kudos and compliments people give you,
Refer back to them frequently — see, there are more than a few.

You are really awesome, you deserve your own love and care.
Take it out of your day right now. Come on, that’s a dare!

How to Have a Day Job, Self Dare

Self Dare

Looking for some tips on how to get up and get going? Feeling like you’ve been spending more energy than you’ve allowed yourself to soak up?

Well. Have I got a blog for you.

Self Dare is the new age-y younger sister of bohemian.on.rye, and she’d love to meet you. Head over and check out the introductory post. Self Dare will focus on personal improvement, wellness and better living through taking care of YOU. Fans of How to Have a Day Job will dig it – and so will you! We’ll still be partying over here just as hard, though, so don’t you worry.

garden

Personal, Self Dare, Uncategorized

Hello!

gardenI’ve been struggling with how to go about starting this.

Like, should I go dramatic? “I have always been a person of substantial girth.” Mehh. Too heavy. Ooh, pun!

Bubbly and optimistic? “I’m Katie! I’m awesome and you can be, too!” Pretty good, but if I try to keep up that energy I’m going to fizzle.

Jump in the deep end? “Here are 10 ways you can love yourself more in the next 10 minutes! Aaaaand GO!” A little intense.

So. I’m going to go back to one of my beloved standards: the fictional FAQ!

1. Who are you?

I’m Katie Pugh. I’m an author living and working in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I live with my husband and three rats, and I love having adventures. You can read more about my writing on my second home on the ‘net, bohemian.on.rye. There, I focus on creativity, inspiration, and dealing with those things and having a day job.

2. Why is this site called “Self Dare”?

A few years ago, I realized I had a very bad problem: I could not relax. If I was not working or getting something done or trying to focus on a piece of writing, I was stewing in anxiety. It made me constantly tense, and the thought of doing anything that was just for myself seemed arrogant, a waste of time, and just plain selfish. It brought a degree of stress to my marriage, and I was just generally in a constant funk.

Slowly, I started giving myself permission to unwind. It wasn’t something that came naturally. Nope, I had to say to myself, “Okay, Katie. You’re going to go to the mall and buy some chocolate and you’re going to have a good time. Because you will feel awesome afterward.” Little by little, I found the things that I loved and that worked for me so that I could soothe my constantly irritated self. It has made all the difference.

Self care is great. But sometimes, it has to be a challenge to overcome. It takes courage to say that you are worth a half hour of quiet, a spa day, or just a lunch outside. Dare to do it.

3. So are you on the happy end? And you’re going to be talking from the awesome afterlife?

Nope. The inspiration for this website came from my coming back to tackling my personal wellness. I wanted to improve myself physically, mentally, and spiritually. I also wanted a degree of accountability, and I realized that I had a lot to share on this topic. So while you may just be getting started, I am also at a jumping off point. It’s just a different rock.

Ready to go swimming?

How to Have a Day Job

[How to Have a Day Job] Movin’ On Up

howtohaveadayjobsnow
As I type this post, I am sitting in front of my computer the night before the last day of my current day job. Starting Monday, I will be doing a NEW AND IMPROVED day job. And so far as day jobs go, it’s going to be related to something that’s become my niche skill in the industry in which I work. As such, it feels like a smooth change, like putting on a new outfit while still keeping the same shoes.

In dealing with the stress of changing jobs, I figured this would be a good topic to write about for H2HaDJ. And instead of doing my usual 5 things list or a how-to, this one is going to be in the form of an FAQ. Because I realized there are a lot of questions I’ve been asking myself, even if I haven’t said them out loud. After all, this is the first job change I’ve had in three years.

Oh man, what if I look like an idiot because I don’t know anything?
Everybody starts out not knowing anything. But guess what? That’s going to change every day you’re there. Hold off on judging yourself for a solid 90 days. 3 months. If at the end of that you don’t feel smarter and more capable…well, that’s not going to happen.

What if they don’t like me?
Oh man, there it is. The high-school-y whiny desire for acceptance. It’s there, no matter how much of an island you think you are. But the fact of the matter is this: you can’t control what people think of you. What you can control is how you treat them and how you let their attitude affect you. Put on your best mental Brita filter: only let the good, clean vibes in. Nothing else is worth bringing into your world.

Is this a huge mistake? Shouldn’t I have just stayed with what I knew?
Obviously that’s not true, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. You can take that as meaning this moment in your life, on a grand scale, or this specific situation. Be positive. Look at what you can gain, not at what you’ve lost. This is a new adventure. It’s going to be awesome. And if it isn’t? There’s going to be another new adventure before you know it!

How am I going to get stuff done? I’m going to be exhausted!
Whoa, take it easy. You actually don’t know how you’re going to feel yet. Give yourself some space. Take about a week and feel out your new schedule, especially if you’re going to have a change to your commute, work hours, or sleep patterns. This is the time that investing in a day planner is really going to help. Block out the time you’re going to need for your new job but pencil in things you want to do. Be nice to yourself, dammit.

And again, I know I say this in pretty much every H2HaDJ I do but…be present. Focus on NOW. Don’t sit around thinking what it’s going to be like tomorrow, or how shitty today was. Stay aware of what you’re doing at this moment, and live it to the fullest.