Friday, September 13, 2013

What you don't know...


Yes, I'm talking about physical pain. 

I haven't been posting around here lately, and I don't really have a good reason. Things are pretty awesome now that I'm in school and (sorta) loving it. (Don't get me wrong: there's nowhere I'd rather be, but it's kinda intense, day-to-day.) Plus, there's the boy. He's pretty cool, too. 

But back to something else. Because that's not so cool. 

September 9-15 is Invisible Illness Awareness Week. I'd bet a lot of real money that most, if not all, of you didn't know that. I didn't know that until this year, either, but I'm well aware now. Why? Because for at least the last year, I've been dealing with an Invisible Illness that, as of now, is undiagnosed. 

Well, that's actually not true. I do have one diagnosis: Raynaud's phenomenon. Basically, that means the blood vessels in my hands and feet and sometimes my nose overreact when I'm cold, so my extremities start turning funny colors, get cold, stiff, and numb, and then when the feeling comes back and blood returns, it's painful. It's also annoying, both on its own and because it can be a symptom of other diseases. The other diseases are what I have no answers about, though. 

I don't talk about this much because there's not really anything to talk about, and not many people understand. If you want to get a glimpse, though, I did find this: 

30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know
1. The illness I live with is:  Raynaud's phenomenon (and?)...
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year:  2013.
3. But I had symptoms since:  2012, plus joint pain since at least 1998.
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is:  Dealing with the emotional aspects of medical mysteries.
5. Most people assume:  Since I run, I must be perfectly healthy.
6. The hardest part about mornings are:  Not knowing what the day will bring.
7. My favorite medical TV show is:  I actually have no idea. I used to love them but don't get those channels now.
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is:  My foam roller. 
9. The hardest part about nights are:  Falling asleep, either too early or not until much too late.
10. Each day I take _3_ pills & vitamins. Sometimes more. (No comments.) 
11. Regarding alternative treatments I:  Wish I knew what to try.
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose:  Anything I could identify.
13. Regarding working and career:  I'm determined to make it to tenure, but using a computer mouse hurts some days. I hope I can write and publish like I want to. 
14. People would be surprised to know:  Working out both helps and hurts, and it's hard to know which days will be which.
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been:  Acknowledging that I can't have all the answers.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was:  ...I'm not sure yet, but some days I'm surprised I run. Mostly, though, I'm surprised that this Type-A can deal with the unpredictability. 
17. The commercials about my illness:  Are non-existent. 
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is:  Holding hands. 
19. It was really hard to have to give up:  The idea that I'm healthier than I've ever been.
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is:  Freelance editing.
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would:  Remain thankful for all I have and have learned.
22. My illness has taught me:  I can't control everything.
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is:  That the symptoms of A are X, Y, and Z. Symptoms vary, folks. 
24. But I love it when people:  Try to understand that there's a struggle inside of here.
25. My favorite motto/scripture/quote that gets me through tough times is:  "You're not crazy. I believe you."
26. When someone is diagnosed, I’d like to tell them:  Find someone who wants to listen and then don't give them up.
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is:  Some days can be just fine and others can bring you to tears...and you may never be able to tell which will be which. 
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn't feeling well was:  To just let me cry.
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because:  No one should have to feel alone. 
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel:  Heard...and therefore just a little better. 

Thanks for listening. It's going to be really hard to click "Publish" on this one, but I appreciate that even a couple people might be willing to read... :-\

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Race Review: Capitol Hill 10K

I've never done a race recap before, and this one isn't really going to be so much about the race itself as is typical, so... 


Also, be forewarned that this isn't really a happy post. Oh how I wish it were, but it's not. Much of it was composed in my head during the race, and for those who know how messy the inside of my head can get...well, you can guess how these words are going to tumble onto this page. 


So, Kyle and I signed up for the Capitol Hill Classic 10K probably two months back, pre-boot. We both thought this race would be no big deal. We'd add some distance to the usual #mallmornings routine and get in a good 6.2 before the heat really kicks in...

Au contraire. 

Da boot came into our lives one Monday morning. Luckily, it also went away, 6 weeks later (albeit not without significant annoyance, but that's her story to tell, not mine). 

During the boot saga, though, I've also been experiencing a saga of my that hasn't yet peaked nor gone by the wayside. It's not a new story, but the thinking about it is. The way I get in my head, this should come as no surprise, but there's stuff going on in there that's about as annoying as da boot. 

I should start by telling a little backstory, though:
  • I started running by completing a C25K, which will be three years ago this summer. 
  • For the first two years, I had ZERO desire to run more than 3 miles at a time. 
  • During the fall of 2011 and spring of 2012, I gradually increased my distance, mostly out of boredom and curiosity. I wanted to see whether I could.
  • On September 22, 2012, I ran my first half-marathon. 

The timing of all this was perfect for me. I felt incredible, and even though I haven't raced a lot since the half (just a handful of races this spring, mostly for financial reasons), I've been happy with my training. 

As it turns out, all was not right with my training. Some of the things I had chalked up as workout-induced aches and pains = not normal.


I'm not particularly enthused about re-hashing the details of this weekend's race. 

I was recovering from a cold, but more than that, I spent a lot of time thinking during this race, which is generally a bad, bad thing. I thought about when I started running and how good it made me feel. I thought about how once I finally cranked up the distance and found a new challenge, I was so very excited. And then I thought about today's race.

I just didn't want to be there. hurt, in more ways than one.

Despite the misty rain (which I generally love) and the water that came out my nose (super attractive, I know), I just found zero humor in the situation. It wasn't fun anymore. 

The rest of the race was mostly me battling myself not to quit. I thought of Heather's DNF post, though, and didn't. There were some awesome high-fivers ahead, and I gave myself the runner thumbs-up. I thought of Boston. And then I thought about the fact that three years ago, I couldn't have done this. 

But I still felt...
"Pretty much my body has been feeling like it's falling apart, and I've been upset and frustrated constantly about it." --Juli
Eventually, over an hour after I crossed the starting line, I crossed the finish. I didn't feel well, and I still don't feel good about this race, but it's done. I crossed both lines.

Hopefully soon, I'll cross more lines and climb some barriers, too. Because I want to keep doing this and make it something I love again. 

<3 KSM

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Right now.

It's no secret that I don't write as much when things are good.

I write to deal with the unfortunate parts of life, but I'm a little less vocal when all is well. Writing it all's a nice way to complain. Know what, though? Nobody likes somebody who complains all the time.

Right now, though, life is great.

Right now, I am OBSESSED with the game 'dots.'

Right now, work is just a little bit insane.

Right now, as I sit in bed after waking up from a Saturday afternoon nap, I'm feeling just...blessed.

Right now it's raining, and I kinda want to go for a run, but more than that, I want to be grateful that I can run. Because in an hour or on Monday or 10 years from now, I might not be able to run. But today... Today I can run.

Right now, I appreciate all the amazing people I've been blessed to spend the last few weeks with.

I appreciate you all for your love and encouragement, for celebrating with me, and for letting me cry on your shoulder.

These past few weeks have been a flurry of highs and lows. I dodged a bullet last week, and there will always be new things to contend with, but right now, very few of you know that in addition to the bad things going on, I have big, GIGANTIC news. GIGANTIC GOOD NEWS IS COMING.

That can wait, though.

Because right now, I hear the rain pounding on the highway outside, and I can't help but to linger in the moments.

The moment of proudly watching my friends switch their mortarboard tassels this morning.

The moment your breath catches in your throat at the subject line of an unexpected e-mail.

And a markedly similar moment of waking up to the sound of rain in the middle of the night and just being happy.

These are the moments. They're the ones that matter. They're right now.

<3 KSM

Friday, March 22, 2013

Fear and vulnerability.

I'll just be up-front about it: I know no greater fear than vulnerability. There's something about putting yourself out there that's inherently somewhat unnerving and, at least to me, scary. I don't think I'm alone in this.

As a writer, I put myself out there quite a bit, and this blog has helped make the prospect of writing for an audience less intimidating. Still, I hide behind the relative anonymity of the internet: that is, I don't know exactly who constitutes my audience, and I find that comforting.

In life more generally, we all have to expose ourselves sometimes (though hopefully not literally!). Perhaps the hardest of these challenges lies in allowing ourselves to be vulnerable with one another. This is perhaps my greatest fear.

When we invest time and energy in others, sometimes we profit in the form of new friends and better relationships of all kinds. Other times, we get burned. If being burned once is painful, I'll attest to enduring countless-upon-countless pains in my 26 years. I hypothesize that it never gets easier but hope to never test the theory. Still, I know it'll happen.

So why risk it?

The payoff. The potential benefit weighs all the potential pain every single time. Like an inmate holding out hope for release, as much as the hope and potential disappointment both hurt, they might always be in conflict because the potential payoff is worth the painful price.

Leaving myself vulnerable in writing and relationships and career and...daily life (more on those last two later) will always be scary as hell but also always worth the risk. The potential for payoff is there: I feel it.

I'm still working on it all. Work with me.

<3 KSM

Friday, March 15, 2013


It's late, but I basically wanted to log in because I keep having the same thought over and over again, and maybe if I publish it, I'll be able to sleep. Well...probably not, actually, because it's been the same thought over and over all week...but I digress. I also feel like this post is weak without some intonation, but please insert inflection, sound effects, and sad puppy dog eyes as you see fit. I'm sure all you out there can manage.

Anyway, I think the jist is this:
I'm just 


I almost can't stand it
because I am unworthy.

Even so, my good fortune has made me feel like a million bucks recently, and it seems I've done nothing to either invite or keep hold of it. That effortless fortune, friends, is known as "luck."

Okay, that feels better.

<3 KSM

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Did you ever have one of those nights when
     there are so many good things
     and so many bad,
   and so little goes right
   but you know you're so damn lucky,
     and you take Excedrin with caffeine
     at 3am,
   then lie awake, sleepless
   with all the hope in the world,
     cause you've got so many reasons to smile
     but you're not sure anyone understands,
   then you remember you can write
   but that also means taking a risk,
     and you get going regardless
     forgetting anyone may read,
   then you just don't know what to say
   or whether to say anything at all?

Tonight's one of those nights.

The best part, though, is that if the first quarter - especially March - of 2013 is even an "okay" predictor of what's to come... You know that tomorrow's outlook is bright.

It's funny how some nights go.

<3 KSM

Monday, February 18, 2013

Busy, busy!

Alright, I know. I've been absent again.

I don't even have a good excuse other than things have been busy! With the commute, workdays are long, and the weekends have been just as busy! In lieu of telling you all this, though, I'm going to take a cue from Kyle and show you what the past couple weeks have been like...

An old friend inspired and motivated me to get back to the gym...where I evidently shed more clothes than I wear once inside...
[ Outside-to-Indoor Transition - 2/9/2013 ]

The next day, after having lifted weights, I ran a 5K with my new running buddy, Kyle...
[ Love the Run You're With 5K - 2/10/2013 ]

[ Love the Run You're With 5K - 2/10/2013 - Source: Kyle ]
Then...a busy week at work, intermixed with the Clarendon Mardi Gras parade!
[ Prepping Beads at Church - 2/10/2013 - Source: Stephen ]

[ 4700 beads in 1/2 a mile?! YES WE DID!!! - 2/12/2013 ]

This holiday weekend: more running...
[ Morning Mall Mileage with Kyle - 2/16/2013 ]
After which, I hit up the library, then walked from Ballston to Clarendon, where I stopped for...
[ NEW SHOES!!! - 2/16/2013 ]
The new shoe excitement was short-lived, though, because evidently the walk wasn't so healthy... Ended up bed-ridden on Sunday.
[ My Sunday: Tea, Vitamin C, and MMUN - 2/17/2013 ]
Feeling MUCH better today, though, and ready for the next adventure with Jenn...
[ Have a guess, and I'll fill you in more later! ]
More on THAT equipment later, once I'm completely addicted again! Also...MMUN this week!

Soooooo, that's where I've been. No excuses, just lots of stories to go along with fun times!

<3 KSM

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Thirteen Reasons Why.

So I've been AWOL for a while. Hopefully you've been missing my insights? Anyway, I'm sure you'll be relieved to know there are 13 reasons why. Well, actually 14.

Reason 1: After 20-some posts, I needed a break. Step back, evaluate, and come back fresh. So here I am, sans regret. (Let's leave it at that for now, save I return to that topic later.)

Reason 2...through 14: I've been reading instead of writing. This isn't generally an either/or thing for me: I'm a writer through-and-through and have been since somewhere in middle school when the reading bug morphed into the writing bug. Anyway, a week or so back, I got sucked into a book I couldn't put down: Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher. And when I say I got sucked in, I mean SUCKED. IN. I mean, read-on-the-train-and-at-lunch-then-sit-in-your-cube-all-day-dying-to-know-what-happens-next.
So that's why I've been...away.

Luckily, I haven't been permanently away like the female protagonist of this book. Hannah Baker has committed suicide. (Yes, of course you find this out within the first few pages. No spoilers here!) Before she did it, however, she created a series of audio tapes that are mailed to a list of people who led to, reinforced, and otherwise impacted Hannah's decision to take her own life. Clay Jensen is one of the unlucky people on that list, and the book describes the night he spent exploring his town through Hannah's eyes.

I'm hesitant to review the book because I just don't think I can do it justice. There are many things I can say, but the author's voice (yes, WA-WM, people...the "six traits" live on!!) is probably the number one thing that kept me reading. Hannah and Clay speak so clearly that I felt as if I knew them. Moreover, while I know you all will probably think this is morbid...the book is hilarious. When an author can make a suicidal girl and the guy listening to her last words each funny, they're award-worthy in my mind.

If you doubt me or are even just curious, either trust me or check it out for yourself. I'll be reading his newer stuff very soon!

[ Source ]

One last thing: if you or someone you know may be thinking about suicide, please know there is help available, and there are people who care. I don't know who's reading my blog these days, so if you by chance got here because you or someone you know are thinking about suicide, tell someone. If that doesn't work, tell someone else. Please. If you'd prefer to talk anonymously, visit or call 1-800-SUICIDE anytime, day or night.

<3 KSM

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Sometimes it's difficult to make your own choices, but in other situations, what you want is very clear. In those times, I find that it's often what other people want that causes the difficulty.

People aren't always straightforward about what they take issue with, but just like a paper cut, it's the small comments that hurt the most: 
Are you sure that's the best idea?
Why don't you try it this way?
     Because this is the right way for me, and this is what I want to do.
So what if it doesn't work out?
     Then my dream crumbles. This might be the most important thing
     I've ever set out to do.

No, I'm not done yet: not even close. Yes, there's news to come. For now, though, know I'm happy out here, making a ton of memories and exploring NoVA and the rest of the DMV...and there are much, much bigger things to come. They're so close I can taste them, and to be honest, I don't really care about the naysayers. So if you want to offer something, maybe make it excitement, or at least encouragement.

Don't seek approval: seek what you want.

<3 KSM

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What do you do?

That's right: I'm soliciting opinions. Or venting... I guess the difference depends upon whether you reply.

So this is a "What do you do?" scenario of the homeless person variety. Only...the person isn't a stranger. Not completely, at least.

There's a gentleman who attends my church who is, evidently, homeless. I've seen him twice now, at two different Metro stations near my apartment. Both times, just seeing him has bothered me pretty significantly, and I've found myself speechless. Those who know me know that while I may be quiet sometimes, I'm rarely speechless. I just don't know what, if anything, to do in this scenario. Should he recognize me (and even if he doesn't), I don't want to be the person who just ignores another person or, worse, nods but keeps walking. I suppose a quick greeting couldn't hurt, but it doesn't seem like enough.

Now, I don't know how to define what "enough" could be in this scenario: if I did, I wouldn't be conflicted. I know I can't take this man out of his life situation. I will certainly pray that his life situation gets better, in whatever way is most appropriate for him. It's the conflict between societal norms and social consciousness, though, that's giving me trouble. (Again.)

As always, any thoughts would be most sincerely appreciated. 

<3 KSM

Monday, February 4, 2013

Small children.

I realized today that another characteristic of my perfect storyline is that it contains small children. (Well, at least when I write it.) Maybe they're a testament to the kiddos who've grown up before my eyes and those no longer close by...and the ones who claim both of those characteristics. Regardless, the little girl in this tale is fictional. She's an element of my imagination who's stuck with me through a couple years' worth of stories but who originally came to me, I think, in a dream and who I've gotten to "know" pretty well.
       "What if I call you Ella?" I asked the little curly-haired blonde cuddled up beside me. 
       "Like the movie?!" she asked, excitedly.
       "What do you mean?" I almost regretted that I had to ask, but I just wasn't sure what Daniella was talking about.
       "Ella 'Chanted, silly!" she exclaimed, as if this were the most ridiculous question she'd ever heard. I considered the response but nothing came to mind.
       "I haven't seen that one, Daniella. Is it your favorite?"
       "Yessssssss, silly. Daddy got it for me for my birthday!" Again it was clear that this was the most ridiculous conversation she had ever had. Before I knew it, the four-year-old had leapt off the couch and begun scrambling up the stairs toward her play room. I knew we were about to watch the movie, so I began looking around for the remote control, and before I could retrieve it from the end table, Daniella was running back down the stairs, her speed and excitement nearly causing her to stumble over the bunnies on her purple footie pajamas. "This one!"
       "Well I haven't seen that one. Do you want to show me?" I asked, sure I knew the response.
       "Really?! Yes! Pleeeeeeeeeeeeease?!"
       "Alright, we can watch before bed as long as we rest and don't bounce around," I offered. "The tray is open, so go set it in there gently."
       "Okie dokie," she said with a grin, already halfway to the DVD player. Once she had the disc set, I pressed the tray close button and waited for the disc menu to load. "You look like her," Daniella told me, pointing at Anne Hathaway's picture on the front of her Ella Enchanted DVD case.
       "Thank you, Ella," I laughed as we snuggled in for the night.
Prepare to be graced by this little girl every so often: she made the book cut.

<3 KSM

Saturday, February 2, 2013


♪♫  I'm sick and tired of your attitude...  ♫♪

It never fails to surprise me how selfish SO. MANY. PEOPLE. are. "Look out for #1" doesn't have to mean cutting down and walking all over the next person. Maybe I'm special (Thanks, Mom! You've done an amazing job raising us to be genuinely good people!), but I can do what I need to do for myself without hurting others...and I don't understand why others can't do the same.

For as intelligent a woman as I consider myself to be, I'm darn stupid sometimes. This happens ALL. THE. TIME.

♪♫  I told you I'm not bulletproof: now you know.  ♫♪

<3 KSM

Friday, February 1, 2013


I came into the office an hour early this morning for no reason. I have hot coffee and a dim light, and it's silent. This could become a habit.

[ Old Town - 2/1/2013, 6:55am ]

Everything looks better in the morning. Glorious.

<3 KSM

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


This morning, I woke up at 3:30. It was completely unintentional, but you know what? After an hour of being frustrated, I got over the fact that I should be sleeping and just accepted that I wasn't, I was kind of glad to be awake. Here's why:
Things I did in the 16 hours between 4:30am and 8:30pm
     -- Peer reviewed an article for The Public Purpose
     -- Watched the 5am news in peace
     -- Packed lunch
     -- Got ready for work, commuted 45 minutes, worked 9 hours,
         commuted home (during which time I consumed ZERO caffeine)
     -- Stopped at Bakeshop for a treat because I was so awesomely
         productive at work today (if I may say so myself!)
     -- Made dinner
     -- Drafted this post

Clearly, this whole waking up early is not a new thing for me. One of many examples: yesterday, due to the ridiculousness of DC-area inclement weather management procedures, I was not due to go into work until two hours later than usual. I found this out at 10:30pm the evening before, so I set my alarm for an hour later than usual so I could (theoretically) catch a few extra zzzzz's but also get a few things done in the morning. I woke up 30 minutes before my usual alarm. What happened next, you ask? I baked scones, made some ridiculously delicious lemon ricotta blueberry pancakes, set the slow cooker for dinner, got ready extra slowly, and still got to work early.

This morning, when I was again up early, I was frustrated at first. An hour later, I got over the frustration and got productive. So here's the new plan: when I wake up less than 3 hours before I need to get up (REM cycles, people...), I will try to go back to sleep. If I don't get there within an hour, I'll get up and get some things done that I would otherwise have to do after work. My hope is that I'd be able to get an early bedtime the next night.

Good plan in theory, I think, but we'll see how it goes.

Oh, and one more quick thing, because I know this is getting long...

My blog is three weeks old today, and not to sound all stalk-tastic, but I know who some of you out there are. For the most part, I know these things because you've told me or we've talked about the topics I've covered. But can I just ask...where did the rest of you come from?!

Well actually, I know that, too:
Screenshot, 1/29/2013, 8:20pm -- WOW!!!

But honestly. What are you doing in Greece and Bangladesh, and how did you find my modest little blog? Of course, it's fine if you want to sit back and read from the shadows, but I just wanted y'all to know that (a) I'm glad you're here and (b) you've piqued my curiosity!

Have a great night, everybody, and may you sleep better than I do! :-P 

<3 KSM

Monday, January 28, 2013


A dear friend's birthday today reminded me of one of my most and least favorite parts of adult life: distance. (Time, too.) Before this past Memorial Day weekend, I hadn't seen this particular friend for over four years. When we reconnected, it was like not a moment or mile had lapsed.

  • I currently live just under 800 miles from the only house I knew until after I turned 24. When I moved, I left three of my best friends: the three women I shared that house with for all those years. Now, when I go back, it's like I never left.
  • Two of my very best friends in the world live 1,176.6 mi (18 hrs) and 885.5 miles (13.75 hrs) away. For the first three years I knew them, we saw each other for a total of only 27 days...non-consecutively...and that's only if you count the days mostly consumed by late night and early morning flights. 
  • Two more of my best friends are people who were first my teachers but who I have only since gotten the privilege of calling my friends. Now, they're even better friends than they ever were teachers - and believe you me, they were some of the best!
  • I also have two best friends here in my new town who live a whopping 20.3 and 1.6 miles from me, respectively. We share and trust, and the fact that I've gotten close to each in less than a year makes no difference.
I know in my heart that moving away from home was the best decision I've ever made. It makes going back that much sweeter, and I have grown in ways I cannot even begin to describe here. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and for me, distance has been part of the journey.

For that reason, my advice to all is this: Get out. Explore. But don't forget to hold your friends and family close, nor to take the time to go back home every once in a while. The return is what makes it all worth it.

<3 KSM

Sunday, January 27, 2013

"Today would've been."

Today would've been
a day of

But instead of
staying stuck
on what
today would've been,
on what
today really is
and what
tomorrow could be.

<3 KSM

Saturday, January 26, 2013


The Midwest, and Wisconsin in particular, has always been home. Even this past summer, I told a new friend that maybe I'd probably stay here in the DMV for a couple years post-grad but then head back. I truly believed that, and I wanted my permanent career and my own family to be in the Midwest.

Six months later, I'm not so sure. This place I came to because I was so frustrated with the stagnant scenario in the suburbs of Milwaukee has become dear to me. It surely lacks the charm and kindness inherent in my hometown, but this new city has its own appeal. I'm often intrigued by the wildly successful and ambitious people here - both those I know and those I haven't yet met. I still love to explore the new places I haven't seen yet and make new memories in this crazy place, even though it's sometimes hard to navigate. I love the moments when, in the flurry of daily activity, I stumble across the slightest bit of Southern Charm, be it in a big porch swing or a horse in the back of a truck.

You thought I was kidding?!
[ King St, Old Town Alexandria, 01/12/2013 ]

Anyway, I'm coming up on 2.5 years of living in the DMV, and I've never loved it more. Sure, it's got its own variety of quirks and annoyances...and its #novaproblems, though many of those are actually #wmataproblems, #dcproblems, and #firstworldsmartwhitegirlproblems. But when it really comes down to it, if you're going to have problems, these are the best ones to have.

Of course, there will always be things to miss about home. I miss my family and friends, the Friday Fish Fry, Sunday hot ham and rolls, and Packer Parties, but the beauty of it all is that I can always go back. I'm 793.1 miles from home, not 7000...and even if it were 7000 miles, I'm from the first world, so I could book a flight and be home the next day. The fact that you can take the girl away from home but you can never take the home out of or permanently away from her is perhaps what I like best about life.

So for now, and maybe for quite a while longer, I choose to stay in NoVA. Sure, I'll have to inject some Midwestern Charm into my life and friends here, but it'll be worth it. Besides...even if the Midwest is always home, I'm starting to think you really can find and make a second home that feels like the first.

<3 KSM

Friday, January 25, 2013

The way I see it.

Many times, I think I see things differently than others do. From dating to careers and socially appropriate communication limits to what constitutes "fun" on Saturday nights, I'm fairly sure my mind just works differently. Again, this is for better and for worse.

I'm not sure if others notice this on a regular basis, but I often do. It happens in everyday conversations with friends and colleagues, when people say things I just don't agree with, either on principle or in context. I guess I just perceive things differently, and I wonder where it comes from. Yesterday, I told Mom she did too good of a job - that she raised me too well - so now I feel guilty too easily for letting others down or putting myself before the team. While it's true that Mom's to blame, I can't really fault her for it, either...

Thanks, Mom, for making me conscientious and selfless. That part's definitely the "better" part.

<3 KSM

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Yesterday and today.

Some of you may have noticed (I hope) that I didn't write yesterday.

I didn't know what I wanted to say, so I said nothing. That was a good and probably intelligent choice. I wish I had made the same decision on a related topic today, but I just can't keep my mouth shut sometimes. Just as I'm "slow to trust, but I'm quick to love," I'm also tough to quiet or settle down once I get worked up. This is for better and for worse.

Today I'm even less sure what to say.

Life's like that sometimes.

<3 KSM

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"Office Observations."

I wore a scarf in the office today. No, not into the office - in it. And no, not an infinity scarf as is currently en vogue - I mean a black knit winter scarf. It was damn cold. As evidence of such fact, I tell you this: Christine Across the Way honed a new talent today - typing with gloves on. Apparently wearing long sleeves is just not enough at the new place.

I should probably preface all this with the fact that I was also frozen out of my last office on a daily basis, but that was because my boss was a 68-year-old man who consistently thought the office was too hot and whose thermostat also regulated my office. It was summer then, so I resigned myself to the fact that wearing a skirt or short sleeves for the purpose of commuting meant I'd need a scarf, pashmina, cardigan, or - some days - sweatshirt for the office. Anyway, my new office is colder and louder than the summer one was. I'm getting used to the noise, but the cold could be a problem.

I'm not the only one who has observed this problem. The Executive Director called maintenance last week, Dominique Down the Hall just received the space heater ordered for her office a few weeks back, and, like I said, Christine Across the Way was wearing gloves.

So back to the scarf. As if it weren't bad enough that I was asked about it, it wasn't even effective. Girl needs a parka to survive in this climate-controlled cubicle! As I sloppily write these office observations, note that my fingertips are shades of yellow, white, and grey, not, in fact, the typical pink of my Prussian self.

It's kind of ridiculous, really, but I wore a scarf in the office today.

Note: The monologue above is based in reality but does not follow my day verbatim. That is, I did not get confronted about my work wardrobe on Day 6.

<3 KSM

Monday, January 21, 2013


Put up a front.
Build a facade.
Wear a mask.

It bothers me the way people are different in public than they are in private. I don't mean in appearance or personality, really, but in the way they relate to others. I'm tempted to think that the reason there are so many ways to talk about this concept is because of the frequency with which people do it. Now, I know that sounds pessimistic, but I honestly wonder if it might be true.

I think there are often unspoken rules between individuals that the two have a different relationship in private than in public. To an extent, I can understand and accept this. Sometimes other people just don’t understand, and sometimes it's for the better. I tend to think this is the exception rather than the rule, though. Sometimes it's just plain unfortunate, wherein the scenario plays out because of public perception and reputation issues. It’s like high school all over again, and the consequence is that people get hurt.

There's probably not a solution to fix this, but it concerns me. Perhaps most frightening, though, is the question it brings about, though: how many of our friends do we really know?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Music and lyrics.

I've thought before about writing music.

Now let's be real: I haven't played an instrument since the fifth grade, and to say I even played then is a stretch. (Um, you'd have to practice, so...) Similarly, my voice isn't half-bad, but as much as I may love my music, I'm certainly no musician. So naturally I want to write music. Needless to say, this has never worked out.

Why, you ask?

Because for as many topics I come up with to write about here and in my other projects, I cannot come up with even one semi-original lyric. Basically I write mash-ups of my favorite songs, which isn't really going to get me anywhere.

So why do I post this?

Not sure, really. All I can say is that this post was inspired by this picture prompt (Do forgive: a girl can't just be inspired all the time...):
[ Source ]

Mostly, though, I think I write this because I'd love to be able to produce the lyrics that express what I can't say...

I'm telling you that, it's never that bad / 
Take it from someone who's been where you're at
Laid out on the floor / 
And you're not sure you can take this anymore

And all my walls stood tall painted blue / 
And I'll take them down, take them down and open up the door for you

Yeah, I'm falling from cloud nine (it was out of the blue) /
I'm crashing from the high /
You know I'm letting go tonight (yeah, I'm letting you go)

Sometimes I wonder if you wonder /
What it could have been like /
When you're sitting there drinking coffee /
Are you thinking of me

This downtown apartment sure makes me miss home /
And those bills there on the counter /
Keep telling me I'm on my own / 
...Yeah, I still feel like I'm where I'm supposed to be /
But don't forget to remember me

And oh yeah... Don't judge me based on my music. Mmmkay? Thanks.

<3 KSM

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The perfect book.

It's a strange concept: sitting down to write a book. The possibilities can be mind boggling, and that often leads to decision paralysis. (You PA and poli sci types know what I'm talking about.) There are just too many options, and you can't commit to any one, so you write nothing. This has happened to me on more than one occasion.

Chris Baty, founder of NaNoWriMo, offers a suggestion in that book I'm reading: plan your novel in one week, then write. The week gives a solid springboard but doesn't allow one to pre-write the book and ruin it. You brainstorm the characters, settings, some ideas...then get writing. It starts, though, by identifying what qualities make a good book. These are mine:
  • For me, the perfect book has moments of panic, but everything turns out well in the end. 
  • The characters are the people closest to me and those I want to know. They're hardworking, loyal friends with good moral bases. Yes, sometimes they're people in my real life. No, you can't ask me not to include you. (That's like asking Taylor Swift not to write about you after breaking up with her.) Sorry, you know me now, so you have to deal with this reality...although you probably liked me better before you knew this little tidbit, huh?!
  • Usually I'm the main character, or she's highly relatable.
  • There's foreshadowing, and lots of it. 
  • Minor details come back, and sometimes they bite you in the butt. (As in life...) 
  • Love.
  • Distance.
  • People save quirky mementos, like plastic spoons and take-out delivery bags. 
9 times out of 10, I'll get started with the same type of scenario, but where the characters end up tends to be the interesting part. That's the gist of the planning phase: outline characters just enough to give them personalities so they decide where their own story goes, then start writing their story. I'm all about this method: if you get too into a story before it even exists, you're looking for failure. (Been there...) All that said, I'm giving it a shot. I'm sure you'll hear much more about this later, but it starts Monday.

This leads me to wonder, though: are these the same things people want to read about?! If not, does it matter?

<3 KSM

Friday, January 18, 2013

These past several weeks.

This past week has been fantastic. I feel much more like myself, and in realizing that fact, I'd like to offer an explanation. That said, listen up.

For 15 weeks between October and January, I was out of work. I learned a lot in that time and needed the ego check, so I'm thankful for the experience - in retrospect, of course. From the beginning, though, the whole concept rattled me to the core. So much of each of our identities lies in what we do for work, and, for most people, the majority of waking hours are spent at or commuting to and from a job. I've found this to be especially true in The DMV (DC-Maryland-Virginia), and having graduated recently made it all the more obvious. Imagine: "I just graduated with my master's degree, and all day long I sit on my couch writing cover letters while half-listening to daytime TV." Um, yeah. Lovely. Despite the fact that I had accepted a great opportunity to work in a project-based position over the summer, I felt like a complete loser. It was damaging to my self-esteem, and that fact alone negatively impacted some of my relationships, especially with those who were geographically nearby and forced to deal with this version of me.

For 7 weeks in November and December, I didn't talk to a friend who had become a staple in my life and was indescribably important to me. During the same time as I felt professionally lost, I became socially confused and emotionally dependent. I felt like I could have written that old lyric: "I was a dreamer before you went and let me down..." As much as I consider myself to be an independent young woman, I missed just having that friend to count on. I censored conversations with family and friends, and I hated what the change did to me. As much as I wished it weren't so, I knew I was no longer the bubbly, happy, sarcastically funny girl I had previously known myself to be.

For almost 3 weeks now, things have been on the upswing. The transition from 12/31/2012 to 01/01/2013 was more than just the turning of a calendar page. I consciously adopted a new perspective, a brighter outlook, and a positive attitude. With the new year, the United States did not fall off the (fictitious) fiscal cliff, and (as a result) job prospects picked up. I endured three interview opportunities during the first full week of the year and accepted a new position that is unique and challenging and allows me to make a tangible difference in people's lives. In short, brighter outlook coupled with renewed faith has led to a new, very fitting job, rekindled relationships, and...significantly fewer tears.

I will never get those weeks between October and January back, but the lessons learned during that time will stay with me:
  1. Be open - to change, to possibilities, and in your communications and relationships. 
  2. When you think things can't get worse, they can. A positive attitude goes a long way in making them feel easier, though. 
  3. Work hard, especially when you don't want to, and you will be rewarded.
  4. Faith conquers all - even love. 
These past several weeks have been some of the best and worst of my life, but I wouldn't change any of them for anything. Endless thanks to those of you who stuck by even the regrettable versions of me.

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<3 KSM

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I haven't slept well these last few nights. I think it's because once you become a writer - I mean really devote yourself to it - the ideas just keep coming. It's like a manic state, wherein you just can't "calm the eff down." Part of me (um...the sleep-deprived part) wishes I could - says the girl who hates to be told to calm down.

Case in point: the other morning, after falling asleep on the couch at 8pm, then retiring to my bed around 10pm and sleeping til 8am, it was still physically difficult to get out of bed. Exhaustion had set in, and I had to get a handle on this insanely amazing, yet annoyingly uncontrollable creativity.

That was a week ago, and I still haven't quite figured out the best solution. I'm starting to not care, though: let the creativity take over. I think maybe such is the life of a writer.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Over the past few years, I've noticed that many of the things I've loved most in life have been things that were well-loved by some of the most important people in my life.

Jeni and her poetry, way back when...
Curling, courtesy of Lynn...
Political science and government - so loved by Cathi...
Invisible Children, introduced to me by Trent...

Maybe this says that I'm easily influenced. Hard as that may be to hear, I'll accept it.

But what about writing now? Might I finally get to be that difference in someone else's life, as so many have been in mine? I hope this to be the case. It's not about the content but the dream: I want to write and publish a novel, and if that desire, drive, and (hopefully) success can inspire another to go out and achieve their dreams, then it will all be BEYOND worth it.

I've said for years that I just want to make a difference in people's lives. From my students to my friends, it's all about making a difference in somebody's world. I live for that. Now, maybe...just maybe, this new love of mine might be able to make that difference. I don't know how or when, but it's possible. Anything is possible.

<3 KSM

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Thank you!

Today marks one week since I started this blog, and I just want to send a huge THANK YOU out to everyone who's stopped by, even just once!

Honest-to-God facts:
  1. I didn't know if anyone would read what I had to write: I just needed a way to create "soccer practice" for my writing. 
  2. I am completely flattered by the level of readership I've gotten so far. (Canada, Germany, and Greece?!?!) I do not take any of you for granted.
  3. I appreciate 100% of the feedback I've received, both positive and critical. (Don't be afraid to leave it publicly in comments, either!)
  4. I don't feel "locked in" one bit. I'm totally loving this. 
So for anyone who may be wondering in the back of his or her mind how long this blog will last, you may be wondering a while. Also, you may not have too long to wait if you want to be in the test audience for a book: the material just keeps on coming!

Also (and I only offer this because I've been asked), if you're at all inclined, please do share/post/RT!

With heartfelt thanks,
<3 KSM

Monday, January 14, 2013

Why I write.

Yesterday, every neuron in my brain told me that after that soul-searching post, I needed to write something with a little less "heart" today. Something with a little comic relief.

Well...I'll give you one of two.

Though not unusual for me on face, I was shocked when I pulled my latest library loaner out of my bag on the way home from work today. I say this isn't unusual because (a) it's me, and (b) time to read is one of few public transit advantages, so I do read and write on Metro pretty frequently. Anyway, this was surprising today because I've been up since 4am as the result of a disturbing dream followed by insomnia.

While I'm sure you're dying to hear about the dream, a writer's sleep issues will have to be the subject of an upcoming post because I'd rather share what I read today:
"...remember, above all else, that your novel is not a self-improvement campaign. Your novel is a spastic, jubilant hoe-down set to your favorite music, a thirty-day visit to a candy store where everything is free and nothing is fattening. When thinking about possible inclusions for your novel, always grab the guilty pleasures over the bran flakes. Write your joy, and good things will follow." (p. 88)

Okay, I'll admit it it: I'm reading a book about writing a book. Mock me if you want, but if you want to know more about a subject, what do you do? Read. I want to write, so I'm reading.

My point is this: my writing is love. I write about what I love. I write about who I love. When they say to write about what you know, I'm writing about love because I love my life, even with all its shortcomings. I write because I love it. When it really comes down to it, writing is probably a big part of what makes me neurotic, but I even love that. So yes, even when it's a spastic guilty pleasure that makes my imagination run amuck and my real life go awry (more on that and The Chapter that Changed My Life later, too)...I love it.

So that's it, really. I write as an outlet, yes, but also because I love it. As a result, a lot of heart does go into it...both for better and worse. It's for that reason that I truly appreciate those of you who have voiced an appreciation for my inane spasticity and keep coming back for more.

<3 KSM

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Church and faith.

Sometimes when I go to church, it makes me feel guilty. I know it shouldn't be that way, and I know it's self-inflicted. Still, it's there. I absolutely love my new church and everyone I've met there: don't let that be mistaken. Actually, I'm sure they're the ones who have inspired me to fix this problem. The remedy is relatively obvious: I need to live a more faithful life every day, in all aspects of my life. The doing, however, is the hard part. But I guess it all comes around to faith: the more you give, the more you get. 

Credit: Kimberly S. Meyer
I'm not sure church and faith have any sort of a chicken-and-egg relationship, but what others think about that idea has always fascinated me. It probably doesn't matter what others think about it, sort of like the "God doesn't care what I wear" mindset of choosing what is appropriate church dress, but it's interesting to me nonetheless.

For now, off to church. Maybe I'll learn more about this elusive balance there today?

<3 KSM

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The way things are now.

I believe hard times are for growing.

Such a positive sentiment usually comes from someone at a good place in life. Au contraire, my friend. Had you asked two months - heck, two weeks - ago, I'd have said you were full of it. Hard times were for feeling bad, leaning on others, and trying unsuccessfully to find the hope that things would get better. I'm generally an optimist, but man...this felt like rock bottom. I thought it was. But then, you know what? I realized it wasn't. No matter how bad it gets, it could always be worse. Even when bad turns to worse, as it did for me, it can still get even worse. Granted, I don't want to be the one to test that let's just go with the assumption, alright? Okay.

Anyway, the point is that things were bad. The problem, though, was that I knew they were bad. I focused on the fact that things were not as I wanted them to be. With that perspective, they wouldn't ever get better. I'd always see the bad and probably never realize the potential for good. That said, the solution was simple (albeit not obvious, at least to me): get an attitude adjustment.

I know that sounds easier said than done, but you know what? I realized through doing that it's really not. For me, it was the birth of a new year. As I said before, I'm not big on New Year's Resolutions, but it seemed as good a time as any. "It's a new year: I'm going to have a better outlook." Okay, great.

So what happened, you ask? It was so. Zero of the things I had been unhappy about changed, and yet the burden felt easier to manage. That was a great start, but the really cool part was yet to come: within 10 days, circumstances did change. It probably wasn't because of the attitude adjustment...but you never know. (Not sayin'...just sayin.')

My point in all this?

I used to have a blog called "Life is what you make it," and I still believe that. If a situation isn't to your liking, you should, as a rule, change it. There's nothing stopping you. If someone in your life is holding you back, have a talk or make some space so you can fix it. (But do try to avoid hurting people.) If your job sucks, find a new one. (Don't up and quit without a new one: fair warning.) If a place, a circumstance, a fact about yourself isn't to your something about it. Heed the opportunity for growth.

And now I'm reminded of a song by the one group that has a song for every situation, The Eagles. (Listen now. You're welcome.)

They say every day is a gift. If your present isn't a present, do something to make it so.

*stepping off my soapbox, even though this is it*
<3 KSM

Friday, January 11, 2013


The following is a very brief excerpt from a little something I'm working on. I'd love to hear what you think!
Every so often, the creativity bug bites me. I don't always know what triggers it. It's almost like a recurring syndrome - always there, just sometimes in remission. That's what happened today.

I think it could have been the little blonde girl on the Metro - the one with the sparkly eyes. Those, combined with her huge, genuine smile totally rekindled my internal fire, just as her eyes and smile lit up her face. Oh - and she wore purple shoes. I thought they were red at first, but those were her socks. Yes, red socks with purple shoes. It was totally like me to notice the shoes. It would have been totally like him, too.

<3 KSM

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Blast from the Past.

Earlier today, while searching for some forms on my computer, I stumbled across a file entitled "Journal" with a last modified date of 5/8/2010. First off, forgive me: I'm not generally the type who names files so nondescriptly. As if I wasn't intrigued enough by the name to need to open it, I also noticed the date. Considering I've barely had my current computer for a year, I had no clue what the contents might be or why it was even here. Upon opening said mystery file, I found a glimpse into my life before moving to DC. There were a couple blog drafts - ones I actually remember publishing (somewhere...) and yet still saved, for good reason: they're actually decent, insightful. Along with those, though, were some poems. Deep, heartfelt ones that still tug at my heartstrings.

This past summer, I took a trip and reconnected with an old friend, to whom I was very close back in 2010. I know some of the poetry is directly connected to him, and I believe much of the rest arose in response to my changing relationship with a second friend.

Kenny Chesney thinks it's funny how we all have songs that "somehow stamped our lives / takes us to another place and time," but I absolutely love that fact. Today I also loved how this piece took me back to another place and time...

It’s no secret. 
I miss him. 
See pictures
From way back when
And even though it’s over
Just want to protect him.
But there’s no way
He won’t let me.
So I
Will continue
To try
To protect
My protector
From the memories
Even though
I only
Want to make new memories
With him.

Times have changed: I have changed: Feelings have changed. We'll always have the memories, though...which, according to the subtext of this piece (it all flooded back instantly), is for better and worse.

<3 KSM