ONE YEAR BOOZE-FREE.

sober me

Wow. It has been one entire year since I stopped drinking. I remember on day 4 looking at my ‘quitter app’ thinking ‘gosh four days is not very long… but soon this will say 1 month, then 6 months, and then 1 year – you can do it.’ I had no idea I would grow and change so much. I had no idea I wouldn’t have to endure my life anymore. I had no idea how fucking happy and awesome I would become during these 365 days. I shouldn’t act like I can’t believe it, because I can – I made all the choices to stay sober and did all the work. I guess if anything I just can’t believe how amazing life is sober and I am in awe everyday at how much more awesome life gets.

On July 24, 2013, I knew I was done with alcohol indefinitely. It had been a long time coming and after years of saying I could control my intake and my drunk behavior, I reached a point where I knew I was not in charge of my drinking anymore. Drinking just was not fun. I would lose important things, spend money I barely had, looked terrible, felt terrible, and emotionally was just a vacant person with no self esteem. I wasn’t drinking round the clock or taking nips here and there, but I was not able to separate drinking and priorities anymore. That sounds sad, and honestly it was. I would try to do things and ultimately I would psych myself out or not be reliable or consistent about anything. Then, I think of all the drama and the anxiety I have caused for family and friends. The erratic and inconsistent behavior was just a drag for me and for everyone around me. Living paycheck to paycheck because of uncontrolled spending sucked too. Drinks? Sure! Dinner out? Sure! Random crap because drinking makes preplanning impossible? Sure! Plus don’t forget I was supporting a household!

The first few months I felt firm in my decision and very nervous around drinkers, like I had something to hide or be ashamed of. I can laugh at that now because I’ve come to find being sober is a characteristic almost all people envy. Heavy drinkers always commend me on my sobriety and ‘wish’ they could do it. I’ve had people be critical and worried that I chose to get sober without AA or a formal support group, but honestly it’s been incredibly easy to be sober. I don’t put myself in situations that would illicit me not being sober. That means emotionally and psychically. I can very easily go to bars/clubs/events and have a blast – the best part is that I don’t spend hundreds of dollars, talk out of my ass to strangers/friends, and then I remember everything and truly enjoy it.

Probably the reason I made it past my birthday (July 30) and remained sober for those first few critical weeks was my dearest friend Tannith. Our friendship, her support, and her own sober journey allowed for me to have someone I trusted to turn to when I had questions or just observations about this new sober world. Her support and enthusiasm for sobriety showed me that it entails a world without ‘missing’ because her life is so much more full in sobriety too. Tannith, you were my rays of sunshine in the dark and lonely storm. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you and your family sharing this journey with me. I am especially glad that we have a true friendship and can experience it all sober. I love you and am so grateful for you.

While I’m thanking people I should also commend my family. Mom, you were always right – booze is lame. Thank you for supporting me and dealing with the old Brianna. Thank you for not ever saying ‘I TOLD YOU SO!’ and especially thank you for being my friend. Words can’t even express my gratitude for your love. Dad, thanks for reminding me to not be so hard on myself and taking me to the edge of my thoughts and comfort zones. You are able to transform the way I see things and I’m so grateful for you.

Honestly, I think back to the person I was a year ago, and I don’t even know her. I am so happy. Truly happy to be sober and to be enjoying my beautiful life. The more removed I get from my old life, the more wonderful I become. I cannot stress that enough, sober living is so marvelous. This world is stunning and for me, alcohol makes everything fuzzy. I will never be sad that I cannot drink or rather will not drink, because I am in love with reality.

I am so fucking proud that one year ago today I finally let go of alcohol. I gave myself the opportunity to grow and to become this person I truly love. Goddamn, life is good.

xxx
GFK

Ghostfaceknitter Etsy Shop COMING SOON!

I have been quite the crafting fool lately. I have had several custom orders from people through Instagram and now with that momentum I have decided to open an Etsy store as Ghostfaceknitter!

Huzzah! I’m guesstimating in the next two/three weeks I will go live with that store – and you all will be in the know when I do – have the confirmed timeline. Let’s take a look at some of the items I’ve been stock piling, custom making for you lovely lovely GFK supporters.

red velvet cake
“Mind you drink the cat is an asshole”
geisha cat toy.
geisha baby plush.

orange dreamsicle cake
toddler pocket Star Wars bib.

What do you think? I’m think about cowls, sunglasses cases, different skirts/shirts/dresses, and of course more cakes! 🙂

toodles
xxx
GFK

Lost in Oblivion

Well June has historically been a quiet blog month for me and this one is no real exception. I guess the summer is always strange for me. Don’t get me wrong this one is great so far. I’m loving riding my bike around the city (my arm is finally okay to ride – not okay for pushups/inversions), the warmer weather is so awesome, friends are wonderful, there’s LOADS of events, and just exploring. However, summer is always full of so much change for me. I never have a summer that doesn’t almost ‘redefine’ me. Two summers ago, my grandma died – the dude left me – then I decided to move to Chicago. Last summer, the dude left me again, I got sober and changed most of the things I felt/did/experienced. This summer is the first summer that I am genuinely happy with me, my life, and my goals.

Something I’m working on personally is living in the moment. I tend to be a very goal orientated person. I find that most of my past four years has been spent saying ‘when I graduate…’ ‘when I take the GMAT’ ‘when I get a job’ ‘when when when’…. Well, it’s a fine line to look forward to something, like a vacation or a special occasion, and to live in that moment – instead of this one. I find that my expectations become insatiable when I begin to focus on something in the future. I have to say it was quite the wake up call when I did not do well on the GMAT. To go from such a structured ideology of what my plan was going to be, to actual reality was my signal to slow down. There are so many opportunities and options out there. What is it that I really want? I’m working on that now, because my ‘master plan’ has changed greatly as of two weeks ago.

This moment is special. I am in the best shape I have ever been in, in my entire life – mentally, physically, spiritually. I am so full of excitement about my hobbies and my interests, sometimes I have to just tell myself to ‘simmer down buddy’. This moment is my life. I’m so proud of my life. I’m proud of who I am and I have to constantly remind myself that although I do have goals and that everything is a process, that the journey itself is something to relish in versus endure. I’m not sure why I’m writing something so personal here, I guess I just feel I should document this for myself. This blog is living journal for me and occasionally I’ll randomly read something from years back and just marvel at all the things that have happened. It’s important to remember that this moment is special.

Anyways, I finally understand what everyone was talking about when they said ‘summer in Chicago is so amazing.’ It really is and I’m so happy I gave myself the opportunity to enjoy it.

I’ve been listening to a lot of this song lately too. Oblivion by Mastodon. “Leaving you behind was my lonesome song”

And of course as always Pallbearer.

Summertime Chi.

from Adler Planetarium on my lunch run.

It’s officially summer here in Chicago and I am loving it! What a difference from last summer. Seriously, last year, I was still pretty nervous to explore and wasn’t into ‘outdoorsy’ or many ‘non-drinking’ things so finding out how many summer hobbies I now have has been awesome.

Let’s do a few words to recap the past few weeks.

Bought a bike – became obsessed with biking – fell off bike – waiting for arm to heal (still – sigh).
Studied 3 months for GMAT – took GMAT – that was pointless to study for 3 months.
Bought 3923748 avocados – made amazing avocado dishes/sauces/spreads/smoothies – enjoyed eating it all.

bike ride to Irving Park/Lincoln Park

There that’s a verbal description of my past two weeks. I’m bummed I can’t ride because I LOVE my bike. I’m not really that disappointed about the GMAT, my scores are not ‘super competitive’ but they aren’t laughable either so… I’m gonna take some time to heal both mentally and physically before I plot my next move or bike ride.

Let’s look at pictures. I have been loving walking around downtown during lunch and I have really enjoyed discovering the lake and many other awesome running/biking trails/paths. Pretty much me and Leopold love summer Chicago!

summertime grilling – hawaiian chicken thighs and apple cider coleslaw
i made my own laundry soap with this and borax! it is great!.
just a five minute walk from my office 🙂
al pastor tacos from the taqueria down the street. NOM
spock.
oh just making up my own shawl pattern NBD.
lunch time walk
oh hai.

okay there is more but I promise I’m gonna start updating again WAY more often now that the GMAT is done and summer is here!

🙂
xxx
GFK

Centered Self May 2014

Happy Monday. I hope everyone had a great weekend. Mine was very nice aside from my normal GMAT angst. I’m sadly just not doing well in the practice exams anymore. I excel and make huge progress in the practice questions every night when I study for 2-3 hours, but not on the exams I take Saturday. I think, and I know it may sound like I’m ‘opting-out’, but that I may just stop taking the full length practice exams now that there is 1 month till my test. They do not help me confidence wise nor do they help me focus on my ‘weaknesses’ I seem to do poorly/strongly in a new subject each week – making it so nothing is consistent. I’m gonna try for this approach since my 8 weeks of weekly CAT exams have not seemed to help me. I realize that I am rushing, because once I ‘get it over with’ I can actually enjoy my weekend. Honestly, it’s going to come down to that day of the test. All I can do is keep practicing out of my OG book 2-3 hours a day and pray to God and to all the underdog stories of all time that I will pull a decent score out of my ass on May 31. But, worst case scenario I take a formal course with Manhattan in the late summer.

le sigh. Aside from that I had a really nice reflective weekend. I have to marvel at how much I have grown in the past 9+ months mentally and physically. I am able to do things and experience emotions I would have never thought I would work through and make work for me. Mentally, I concurred my anxiety and overcame the insecurities that plagued me for most of my adult life. I am able to accept my faults and to gain strength from my successes. I’ve kicked the negativity to the curb along with all the people that facilitate negative thoughts and actions for me. Living a life without being brought down by others is marvelous. I have never been so free in losing myself in what I love. I finally have found what true security and self-love means.

Plus, I am so lucky to have a strong support group, that only wants to support me and see me succeed. Likewise, I have found immense happiness in inspiring others and trying to infuse a positive support system from myself to anyone I talk to. That doesn’t mean I still don’t have emo or bad days, but I sure as hell snap out of them more quickly and find myself engaging in more meaningful ways of coping with ‘the blues.’ I do have a hard time with expectations, but honestly my core group of friends and family always exceed any expectations that I would have. I’m truly blessed to have people that genuinely care for me and want to see me succeed and be happy. On the physical side of things, I have never been more strong and motivated. I can run like the wind! Well an 8-10 mile an hour breeze, but still that’s GREAT! I also have achieved my handstand goals and now can do unassisted handstands for 30seconds – 1 minute. I’m working on movement poses, but with a curious unnamed kitten – being upside down and trying to switch pose positions is quite difficult. I have to say I really enjoy knowing that I am strong from the inside – humble confidence radiates out of me these days.

I also made this ADORABLE geisha girl from Benartex Panel Prints. I got mine here and it actually took about 2-3 days to receive her! I had a blast putting her together at my friend’s house (duel sewing machines!) and then hand stitching at home (which I still need A LOT of work on).

Last weekend I decided to plant some kitchen herbs and I was so excited to see that 3/4 have already germinated! I’ll have Basil (pictured), Oregano (still waiting on it to germinate), Cilantro, and Rosemary in a few weeks! I also bought an organic Mint plant from Wal-Mart on Saturday and made virgin-zero calorie-full fun juleps/mockjitos with some lemon-lime soda water and stevia. 🙂

I also will admit my favorite treat are those super cheap ice cream cups from Wal-Mart. They have a birthday cake one that is so so tasty. I have friends that help me eat it. *note I was done eating it – I am not that gross to share food with the cats.

I attempted to ‘sun-proof’ and thus heat-proof my living room this weekend also. I used some of those emergency thermal blankets, as I read a HOW TO HERE. Boris was the foreman for this job and inspected my work. I don’t know if this is gonna last/work. The crinkly noise is kind of annoying. TBD. If this <$5 experiment does not work I may splurge and get these real thermal black out drapes. Or I’ll buy those car window black-out foam things and suspend them… God things are getting weird at my house.

This might explain what’s up.

xxx
GFK

M.I.A. – What do little girls dream about?

I often think about what little girls are influenced by. I ponder this, because I remark on how my upbringing and my experiences as a small child helped to form and establish how I feel, react, and process all the things that happen to me as an adult lady. Is it because I spent the majority of my childhood with senior citizens playing cards, doing crafts, and ‘gossiping’ that has shaped me into someone who can shoot the breeze with just about anyone, adapt to most craft styles, and facilitate a desire to have a social life and relationships that go beyond taking shots and fighting over boys? What kind of influence was it on my personality because I was overweight for most of my childhood? I know, as people often remark, that I’m overly kind, pretty attune to my sensitivity, and a fierce observer. Not fitting in (literally) as a child has made me more interesting as an adult, because the status-quo never suited me. In my opinion, I always had to think outside the box and dream up my spin on things, because simply most things didn’t agree with my height/bodyshape/personality etc. I don’t wait for something to become trendy to fall head first into it (come on crochet tissue box covers!), I don’t care if something is ‘cool’ (see any post on this blog haha 😉 ), and most of all I seek out and spend time with the things that bring me joy. Especially in my journey as a sober woman, I have never been more confident and in love with the identity I have.

do you think this young women knew she was going to inspire the person behind this blog?
the young GFK.
‘adult’ GFK.

Now, that seems like a statement of I’M THE BEST ADULT EVER, which is most certainly is not. Depending on who you ask my status an ‘adult’ is still pending most days. However, I had to reflect upon the morals, integrity, and respect that I posses and credit my own personal code after attending the M.I.A. concert last night at the Riviera Theatre in Chicago.

M.I.A.

Now, do not get me wrong, when I looked around the venue there was a vast breadth of individuals – many with unique/interesting styles, all races, sexual orientations, and shapes/sizes. But, there was something wrong. As I looked at the younger women of the audience (~18-30), I saw nothing impressive. I saw giggly girls following each other around, dressed in ways that made me sad and embarrassed for them. They were mere clones of each other, wandering clones. I overheard empty conversations about Vine videos, if a boy was sexting another girl, gendered/physical name calling for concert maladies like bumping into each other, and worst – apathetic nothings. I’m not meaning this as a judgement, but more rather, as a concern. What is going on with these young women? What are their aspirations? Is it to be a size 0 and have boys sext them whilst they stand in a lycra leotard waiting for a political fugazi to perform at the same time having no individual opinion about the world? I surely hope not.

Is it purely a ‘growing up’ thing? A slow-to-mature issue? I’m hoping, because I am concerned. Where are the young girls who are fighting to be heard and pissed as hell they aren’t being heard properly? I didn’t see any young women like this last night, I only saw giggly girls. The more I am exposed to ‘youth culture’ and to what young women respond to and are expected to live up to the more I am sickened. Role models or not, the objectives of most young women these days revolve around gross self-confidence issues, in my opinion. When I see most young women, especially at bars/clubs, I can only feel disturbed. Where has the self-respect and confidence gone? Will it ever even form? Who will these giggly girls grow up to be? How will they benefit not only the female gender collectively, but the world?

I work with BRILLIANT women in my job – we joke about silly things and I teach them to knit and crochet on lunch breaks – but they are never missing that look of confidence. I know they have desires and dreams that inspire and make me want to be a better woman for this world too. What is missing outside academics? Why are little girls not dreaming up their educations or executive positions at fortune 500 companies? Why are little girls growing up to be giggly girls that hurl vicious words at each other over such shallow and vapid concerns?

Has it always been this way? I can’t say it enough. I’m worried about our world. Our social structures and compassion seem to be breaking down with each new app that is launched. I want women to be inspired to live to their potential. I want to see that brilliant confidence shine in every single little girl’s eyes.

Things need to change – they must. Where can we go and what can we do to begin?

INSPIRE2C

Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls

Feminist.com

Big Sisters

But the basic starting point is to tell any little girls in your life that they matter. That they are brilliant. That they are worthy of everything.

Redefine the meaning of the traditional princess dreams for little girls. Make their dreams inspired by inspiring them to do great and awesome things.

XXX
GFK

Perspective

Gee Whiz February Health Challenge you caught me on a day where this is a total loaded prompt for me. Sigh. Perspective.

Well, I guess in terms of perspective, mine has changed extensively in the last 7 months (!). Things I used to see in a certain light are now not even in the light, let alone my thought process. I think honestly, the thing I’ve changed my perspective the greatest in regards to is PMA: Positive Mental Attitude.

People can get a little preachy with the battle cry of PMA, but for the most part I love the idea. Of course everyone has a bad day here or there we are humans living in a challenging world. For example in my life recently: I’m heavily affected by blood sugar and in fact had a ‘bad’ day on Thursday when I didn’t properly feed my body/mind resulting in a quiet and somber afternoon/evening (I literally had to ‘put myself to bed’ early just to get back into balance). However, that didn’t stop me from spewing my irritation about ‘boxed lunches’ and literally a rant occurred about how bread/rice are conspiracy food fillers….. I know, I know – carry a snack always.

But I digress, PMA is just a way of seeing the world. Instead of ‘woe is me,’ ‘the world is out to get me,’ ‘nothing ever goes right for me,’ PMA challenges us to see not only the positives, but identify the underlying ‘problems.’ I’ve been a huge advocate of DO since I changed my life, and PMA is an extension/inclusion/result/cause/action of that. Lots of the roadblocks we face are put there by us. It’s simple to sit back and judge others and their problems/problem cycles, but ultimately, we all have areas in our lives that need PMA. I feel like I’ve only really brushed the very shallow surface of this, but perhaps it got you thinking about the positivity we can bring to everything we do. It’s easy to get into a cycle of shame and disappointment, but literally that is the worst way to go about finding a solution to a problem. Not only will you feel your life becoming a huge drag, but you yourself will become a drag too. Friends and family are always there to support you, but even if the spiral of shame is too encompassing, your drag may start to alienate you further. PMA is necessary to get through the challenges with a lesson learned, not just simply to get through one rough patch to immediately/simultaneously encounter another hardship. Life is difficult – there is a whole wide world of hard out there, but PMA can truly change your life. Focus on the good, enrich the positive parts of your life and the negative, energy wasting, drag parts will subside and be solved. PMA is important for us. It’s hard and no one wants to sound like a cheerleader, but you have to in order to have the life you love and want. At the end of the day, the only person that matters is yourself. With PMA and cheerleading for your own success, the people and things that lift you up will surround you entirely.

Nothing Hill Vimeo from EasyRider Records on Vimeo.

“you are the weakest link between you and your dreams”

xxx
GFK

12 Days of Christmas Challenge


Okay so I needed a small challenge to get back in the saddle of daily blogging. Mary over at Secret Obsession (from the October Daily Challenge I did) was smart and creative enough to host a 12 Days of Christmas blogging challenge. I think since there is a few more than 12 days left in the month I’ll go ahead and just start this challenge now!


6 THINGS YOU ARE GRATEFUL FOR THIS CHRISTMAS:

1. Being able to go to Denver and spend Christmas with my friends and family.
2. My job – I am one of the few that is actually doing what I went to school to do.
3. An uncompromised future – I’m gonna keep doing what makes me that authentic self.
4. Sobriety – the BEST gift I ever gave myself.
5. The Ugly Tribe.
6. Yarn.

Summer Epiphany

DANG – November Daily Blog you’re good.

Of course I changed a TON of things in my life this summer, but I will be really candid here in saying the best epiphany that occurred to me was that I should always come first. Has it gotten to the point where I’m annoying about this ‘authentic self’ yet? Over the summer I realized that I had given so much of myself away in the hopes that someone would finally come around and change/give back for me that I had essentially lost myself entirely. I felt like I wasn’t able to do anything that I really wanted – ever. Not to mention I didn’t stand for anything really and was someone I didn’t want to be. I also accepted that I cannot drink at all anymore. I’m sure many of you have known me to throw back a few over the years, so it may be shocking that suddenly I’m sober, but it is the best gift I have given myself. The time was right to cut that out of my life in a rather un-dramatic way. I can look back now seeing how much I’ve done and just kind of wonder where I would be if I had phased that out a long time ago. But, I digress since giving that up was not a big deal at all. I finally feel like I’m on fire. I’m able to concentrate, give the appropriate amount of energy and be motivated about anything I choose.

I generally dislike summers because they require me to re-examine my life and my status quo. This summer was no exception and ultimately, I walked away with the foundations for the authentic self that I am falling hard in love with everyday as well as the gifts of joy and contentment through sobriety. You should always put yourself first. I learned that over the summer and now that it is deep into Fall, I have never been more content and happy.

10765079104_12f2908c55_n

XXX
GFK