2017 – year of the recluse

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With only a few days left in 2017 – I find myself reflecting on the last 360 or so days.  In 2017 I became a bit of a recluse. While everyone I knew was planning a wedding, a family or a vacation, I put my head down and went through the motions of my days. I worked, ate, Netflixed, read, wrote, slept and repeated. I stopped sharing as much as I used to, I took a good hard look at my relationships, my work, and an even longer stare in the mirror. I didn’t like a lot of what I saw so I pulled back as much as I could and tried to figure out what would make me a happier, better person.

I deleted Instagram (more on that here) and then got it back but with an entirely new perspective. I finally understood the importance of using my time wisely and how a filtered collection of photos doesn’t show the whole truth. I looked at photos for what they were and stopped looking for a deeping meaning. I also stopped comparing my life to what I see on Instagram – which was HUGE for me.

I tried to navigate my first year of marriage and all of the speed bumps that came along with it (I wrote about it for SDTC, hopefully it’s published soon). My marriage requires compromise, especially since my husband and I are very different. For 2018 I plan on being less of a nag, being more open to compromise, and letting go of things that don’t matter in the long run.  If there is one thing I learned about marriage it’s that no one will truly understand someone else’s relationship so you’re better off minding your business and worrying about your own.

Amanda and I started a writing group and every month for the last year we’ve met to discuss out work. We recently added a new member to the group which is exciting and scary. She’s still a stranger to me and so talented that sometimes I get shy showing her my work but this group has been an entirely new kind of support system. They’ve pushed me to take chances with my writing and its paid off. I wrote a lot of personal essays and dug as deep as I possibly could, learning that I’m not a bad person but I can also be an asshole. Learning that the best writing is that which people can relate to and if you’re not being real, there’s no point in writing. FOUR of my life stories have been published on SDTC and something else I wrote will be in the 4th issue of Feels Zine. I am beyond thankful for this writing group and the new friendships its yielding.

Speaking of friendships, I realized that just like people, those change too. And that’s okay. There’s no need to beat yourself up about friendships that fade. Embrace the new people who come into your life and be thankful for the friendships that made you who you are today. I spent 24 hours in Blue Mountain with a friend that I’ve known since the tenth grade. We talked continuously for those 24 hours. We are honest and always open to constructive criticism. We’re supportive and can be ourselved with one another. I might see her once every six months but we can always pick up where we left off. It’s those kinds of friendships I will continue to hold on to.

2017 felt immensely draining. I spent a lot of the year in my own head and I still feel a bit lost. As people make plans for the new year and jot down their goals for the future, I’m having a hard time putting mine into words. Sure, I’d love to travel a bit (Boston is on my radar this in the Fall), get more writing published, eat better, work out more, and read more, but there’s something missing…

In a few months I’ll turn 29 and the number 30 is already looming above me. It’s such a huge number and I not sure I’ve lived up to it. What have I really accomplised? Have I used my time wisely? My boss is constantly encouraging me to do things in my spare time that nourish my soul and I haven’t – this could account for feeling lost, inadequate, and bored.

So for 2018 I have one goal to do more things that nourish my soul that make me feel full on life.

Yours,

Vanessa xo

this is my time

 

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Notebook from the Dayna Lee Collection

Call me crazy but taking a break from blogging was the best thing I’ve done this year.  Since taking a break I’ve finished a manuscript (and then chucked it out the window), began outlining a completely new project (a NOVEL),  submitted essays to a few online magazines (SHE DOES THE CITY PUBLISHED ONE about me hating everyone and everything while wedding planning), spent more time wandering around Toronto, and developed a confidence rooted in the acceptance of failure.

I owe my new-found motivation to all of the mistakes and shortcomings I’ve experienced in the last few years. I owe it to the like-minded and goal-oriented people I’ve surrounded myself with. I owe it to notebooks with powerful sentiments scribbled on their covers. I owe it to sleeping in and going out.

Most importantly I owe it to myself to use this motivation and allow it to spring me forward.

Yours,

Vanessa xo

 

You Don’t Blog Anymore (what was all of it for?)

I didn’t consciously decide to take a break from writing blog posts, it just happened. I’ve been writing a lot (well some days) thanks to my editing/writing meetings with Amanda (from Be the Next Her) but that’s for a different project. It’s not that I’ve been too busy to blog, I just haven’t felt like it. My mind is focused on other things and my time is being dispersed in very calculated ways.

And now, after an insanely eye-opening conversation with a few of my high-school besties, my time is going to be spent in even more calculated ways. As my friend so eloquently put it:

When struggling with a decision you have to ask yourself:  Is this going to help get me to where I want to be in my life? Is this going to affect my friendship/relationship positively or negatively? Is this adding value to my life?

Based on your answer to these fundamental questions, making decisions will be a helluva lot easier. The only thing left to do is figure out what I want for my life. I know that I want to work in Toronto (with a career rooted in writing and social media), I want to have honest and nurturing friendships, and I want to have a love-filled marriage based on communication and trust. Now that I’ve narrowed down what I want out of life, making decisions might be a little easier.

Yours,

Vanessa xo

My BEST Life

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Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed, when there are too many people at home, or when my anxiety gets to its max, I go for a car wash. The vibrant colour of the soap combined with the sound of the brushes smacking against the car create a womb of comfort. I can move forward without actually doing anything. I don’t have to worry. I can coast and allow my thoughts to hatch without any sort of distraction.

Last week I decided to get a car wash because I don’t think I’m living my best life. There, I said it. Like many people (I’m sure), my weeks blend into one another without a moment of real pause for excitement. I wake up early, head to work, work my 8+ hours, come home, eat, work out (if I find the energy), sleep and begin again. I find little joy in what I do. My job is great and challenging in its own right but most days I feel as though I might be wasting my time. I am reminded quite often that a job is a job. You have to work, you have to make money but that can’t be all there is to life, can it?

Apart from feeling unfulfilled at work I noticed that I haven’t been taking care of myself. I used to work out 5-7 days a week and now I’ll be lucky if I get 2 or 3 days in. I used to write and read like crazy and now I don’t. I used to go for a manicure or pedicure and really enjoy pampering myself, now I don’t. I used to stay away from sweets and junk food and now I can’t.

There are many things I am proud of and so many people in my life that fill me with warmth and happiness, but there is a large piece of me that knows I am not living my best life. I keep thinking that if it all disappeared tomorrow, what would I regret not doing? What would I wish I had made more time for? Which routines would I regret not breaking?

Questioningly yours,

Vanessa xo

My Breakfast with Fate

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Fate can come in different shapes and forms; it can be personified as a person, place, coincidence, accident, letter, email, or sign. I met Fate mid-Sunday morning at a new diner close to home. This version of Fate came in a 5 foot 2 bundle of confidence and happiness complete with gorgeous eyes and an open heart. I call her Alanna, mostly because that is her name but I digress.

Alanna and I have been friends since high school and after we meet up I always find myself a smidgen more confident and a boatload more inspired. As always, our conversation went from love and married life to work, family, and friends. We talked about adulting and everything that goes along with it. What struck me most about our conversation was how in the last few years we’ve changed dramatically. Thanks to our own circumstances, we’ve become more confident, happy, and untouched by the opinions of others. We went from caring about what people think about us to completely not giving a f*&$. There is an incredible freedom that comes with letting going of insecurities brought on by other.

Eventually our conversation veered to our creative pursuits, she is one half of Out of the Blue and I’m a writer.  She asked me how my writing is going and it’s definitely going – fingers crossed that the literary agent interested in my work gets back to me in 2017 with some good news. We started talking about another story that I’ve been itching to write. A story that has been right in front of me for years but I haven’t sat down to let it all out. It would be really cool to see both perspectives side-by-side.  I think you should write this book, Alanna said.

The more we discussed it the more I realized that I had to go for it…

Writerly yours,

Vanessa xo

The Bride’s Diary – WE DID IT

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We did it! We travelled a 1.5 year-long road jumping over arguments, dodging (and even embracing) tears, and pausing at crossroads until we reached destination “I DO”.

November 11, 2016 was exactly how I hoped it would be; calm, relaxing, and fun. Since we had the ceremony and reception in the same location (The Hazleton Manor) the day was super easy. Hair at 9 AM (many thanks to Chroma Hair Design), make up at 11 AM, a few mimosa to calm the nerves, and it was time for the ceremony.

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Photo by: Victoria Stacey // Flowers and Decor: Paradise Floral Studio

The rest of the day was like a dream. I immediately began to tear up as I walked down the aisle with my parents to the music stylings of Out of the Blue. Seeing the smile on Alex’s face and watching his legs shake nervously filled me with excitement and joy. The ceremony itself was quick, fun, and completely US – it did help that we got to choose all of the readings and write out own vows. The hall was decorated to perfection (thanks to my mom and mostly Paradise Floral Studio), the music was on point, the food was utterly delicious, and the drinks overflowing.  Everyone embraced us with a warm hug and a smile. The entire hall was filled with love, hope, and happiness – I could feel it oozing from our guests.

Yes, there were things that didn’t go exactly as planned; I was grooving on the dance floor when the back of my dress popped open. It may have fit like I glove in the morning but after dancing, sweating, and eating, I could barely breathe!!!! All in all, the wedding was everything I hoped it would be and so much more. Thanks to our family and close friends, we made memories that will last a lifetime.

Thank you to everyone who attended the wedding and everyone on social media who wished us well. Here’s to a new chapter as Mr. & Mrs. Buccella ❤

Wifely yours,

Vanessa xo

Live Every Single Day

I was at my aunt/florists house the other night pretending to help with wedding things when she admitted to me that my blog posts leave her with a heavy heart. I was a little stunned by the comment – I always thought my posts sounded jovial and inspired. I wanted them to say: I’m content with my life and where I am right now but I am working toward something bigger. Something different. That’s the conundrum with writing; it doesn’t really matter how you wanted your words to resonate with people, it matters what they actually get from them.

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My aunt has known me for twenty-seven years. She’s been extremely involved in my life and is quite possibly the only one who still reads my blogs. As she is my mother’s sister, whatever I don’t tell her, my mother does. It’s safe to say that she knows and understands many aspects of my life. She’s seen me go through a crazy year and listened to me complain, cry, or question my life choices. As my florist, she’s been with me (and my mom) through every step of the wedding planning process. It’s understandable that when she reads my writing she doesn’t take it at face value or even relate it to her own life. What she sees is a niece who is constantly striving for more, a niece that isn’t as happy as she should be, a niece who cares too much about everything and doesn’t live for today.

Tia Mary, I get it. After reading my posts over from the last few weeks, I completely understand how you’re reading my work and why you feel the way you do. I don’t mean for my words to leave you or anyone with a heavy heart and the look in your eye the other night almost brought tears to my eyes. I am not unhappy. I’m just unfulfilled. I’m content with where I am right now but know that once I allow myself to get comfortable I will not challenge myself to move on or try new things.

I also understand what you mean when you say: Live for today. Enjoy every moment! That is something I need to work on. Bringing little joys to every part of my day is one thing I aspire (and NEED) to do. What I am trying to say here is thank you, for hearing the sadness in my words and providing advice that I can take to heart and use.

On Monday morning, I won’t grumble or allow my anxiety to skyrocket. I will smile, turn on some tunes, dance in the hallway, and get shit done! I will open my eyes to everything I am experiencing and be happy about it.

Life is too short not to.

Lightheartedly yours,

Vanessa xo

 

 

The Bride’s Diary – 4 months to go

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With four months until the big day I’m trying to get the shower organized, figure out which balances are due and when, confirming flowers and decor, sending out invitations, and ensuring my wedding dress will fit after the alterations are complete.

Admittedly all of this is stressing me out. I’m unsure if it is the amount we have left to do or just a lot of things happening at once. It could be leftover stress from planning the wedding all year. The hardest part of planning hasn’t been the lists, appointments, decisions, or money, it’s been trying to balance everyone’s opinions.

I’m sure I mentioned this in previous posts but over the last year I’ve listened to many opinions from numerous people. There have been loads of compromises, arguments, and hidden tears (my own) because of this. I am not a traditional bride, Alex is not a traditional groom but we have people in our lives who like the traditional European wedding. There are many things we’ve said yes to in order to make others happy and although I love and value everyone who has given me their two cents that doesn’t mean I want what they want. Some might say don’t be that way, just make ____ happy. But what about the bride and groom?

Yesterday I decided I would not stress over what others wanted or their opinions. Whatever decisions we have left to make will be made by us and us alone. If we offend anyone in the midst of this decision-making I hope they don’t take it personally (but that is their issue at the end of the day).

Traditions we’re saying no to:

  • corsages/boutonnieres for aunts, uncles, grandparents, parents
  • having our parents’ names on the invitation
  • having a wedding over 200 people
  • getting married in a church
  • having a receiving line
  • having a big bridal party
  • the garter toss
  • speeches
  • the whole entering the hall spectacle
  • the Portuguese midnight fish table
  • traditional thank you gifts

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We’re not against any of these traditions and enjoy going to weddings that include them, they’re just not for us. We don’t like the spotlight and attention gives us the runs. On a personal note; it has become vividly clear that I make a lot of big-life decisions based on what I think other people will think about them. I try to do my best to keep everyone on my side and happy. This is the quickest way to a lifetime of unhappiness. I refuse to let this huge milestone in my life become another burden that I’ve created for myself.

Relentlessly yours,

Vanessa xo