no. 31: my live laugh love era
and what I'm keeping, what I'm buying
Inspired by my friend Nicolette Mason, I’ve been saying that in 2022 I am entering my “live, laugh, love era.” Over the pandemic and since becoming a State Senator (and as my kid grows up and my businesses ebb and flow and my friendships enter new seasons and every other normal part of life occurs), I’ve become more aware and conscious of how my mental health and physical health are intertwined. Intellectually, I’ve always known that to be true, but for me it was one of those things where it just doesn’t hit you until it really hits you. I had a few major health setbacks in the past year or so, and in addition to those physiological issues, I am also feeling the strain of my emotional stress and mental health challenges physically in my body. There is a real body/mind connection and I wasn’t in touch with that until I had to be.
Of course I feel helpless and frustrated all the time. I think it’s impossible to look around at what’s happening in the world and be okay. It is difficult to compartmentalize life when we see the suffering and injustice in our culture—and it’s frustrating to realize that things are the way they are because for the most powerful, the status quo is working!
So I return to my mantra born of the advice of my mentor, Senator Ernie Chambers: Success for me is doing what is available for me to do. Plus:
I am mindful of my capacity. If I work to the limit of my capacity, there you have it. I did what I can do. If there is no more, that is enough.
I am doing the best I can, given my history and level of current awareness.
Like everyone else, I am a fallible person and at times will make mistakes and am committed to learning from them.
It is okay to let myself be distressed for a while.
Other people are responsible for their reactions to me.
I will change all the time, thank god.
Time is fake, and time is precious.
In the long run, who will remember or care?
Basically, I’m just doing my best. I know I am. What more can I give? Even in the midst of moments of destabilization and stress and things that are totally outside of my control, this awareness brings me closer to alignment with my joy.
I can no longer be about the hustle or the grind, because success and happiness will never have anything to do with that. I will only find happiness on my own terms - by doing more things that give me joy, by creating a home that feels like a sanctuary, by finding balance, investing in my relationships, and focusing on my emotional and physical health. Even just the decision, when I opened Five Nine, to say that “hours vary” instead of committing to always be there at certain times, was revolutionary to me in my journey toward boundaries and balance.
Fave new things I’ve purchased:
A handmade quilted chore coat from Psychic Outlaw
A print of the matchbox from Le Diplomate in DC, painted by Tani Greenspan. My favorite place to take Cricket in the capitol city - they are so sweet to her there. Their matchbox is iconic.
A vintage 1994 leather backpack with a bamboo handle from the Tom Ford days at Gucci, found on The Real Real
Things I’m keeping for myself from my shop:
An 8-color crayon pen from Japan, which I use for highlighting while I read everything from books to legislative bills
Stackable storage boxes made from the pulp of recycled paper
Any earrings by MAFE Designs, an independent Venezuelan maker out of Dallas who uses wood and metal in her jewelry work. The Clara earrings are great.
This picnic fruit tote. It’s a canvas tote bag with three compartments, accordion-style. Why aren’t they all made like this?
More to come. If you know someone who would like this in their inbox, forward it to them and tell your friends to subscribe. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter, too. If you have a question about navigating the system, getting a benefit, or are generally pissed at the government, contact my fed account at firstname.lastname@example.org. Help me pay my rent and validate the work that fulfills me by shopping at Five Nine. Get vaccinated, mask up indoors for sure, and stay safe!