Top Shelf

I would like to introduce everyone on my corner of the internet to my friend, Tucker.

My friends Emily, Tucker, & their son Atlas

Tucker is not shy in saying what he feels, which I find very refreshing. He is one half of a duo I have known quite a long time. I first met Tucker and his significant other, Emily, when she moved in to our college home rather unexpectedly. I had spent days alone in the house unpacking and was busy nursing a bowl of cereal in my pajamas when an entire, bright-eyed family walked into the living room. I sat there stunned, staring across the way at an awkwardly small tv screen, accutely aware of my bed head and how deranged I probably looked to my new housemate’s family. Fast forward about 10 years and all of us still keep in touch.

He often shares the most concise, no-nonsense pieces of advice he gleaned from his days in the military. Gems like: “Giving a shit is a choice.”

But Tucker holds the record for perhaps the nicest thing a guy friend has ever said to me when I was feeling down:

“Eva: you are a top shelf bottle of wine. Why are you putting yourself on the bottom shelf?”

Of course, there were some choice words after that that he used to elaborate (“All the douchebags are reaching for you on the bottom shelf! C’mon, dude!”), but I’m sure you get the gist of it. This is something I continuously ask myself when I find myself all too frequently baffled by other people’s behavior. There I am, sitting with my fancy label next to the bulbous jugs of Carlos Rossi sangria wondering why I’m apparently unloveable. Some people are there just for the cheap sangria, and I guess I’m just not your lady if that’s what you’re looking for. Case in point: there are some people in life that you’re better off without, but that’s a hard lesson to learn. Unless you fully isolate yourself from that outside world, I think one that it’s one we continuously learn.

Throughout the years, my friends have seen me through a lot of ups and downs–we’re talking forcibly putting cookies in my hands whilst I ugly cry, topping off my holiday coffee with a little more Baileys in the name of “pain management,” and even helping me clean my house when I’m feeling too down-in-the-dumps to function. Seriously. Please imagine my friends determinedly swiffering around me as I lie on the ground on the fetal position. If I hadn’t been so nonfunctional at the time, it would have been quite comical. But, it’s moments like these that make me so grateful to have a community of people that support me so unconditionally. They’ve seen me at my lowest, and even taken care of me when I was sick. They’re the kind of people you hope to have by your side in life.

Surround yourself with people that meet you on the top shelf and know you belong there, too.

You’ll know where to find me.

EVA ♥

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I Wanted to Write…

In my 30 years of life, I’ve recently learned a hard lesson. It’s one that I’m grateful for, but nonetheless, it was probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to learn to date. My mother recently told me to write about these things, but sometimes I find myself staring at the blinking  pulse of the typing cursor on my laptop for long periods of time before closing it.

Some things are too hard to write about. So I’ll write about words.

As a writer, it’s quite a challenge to wrap your mind around the concept that words can mean nothing– they can have little heft in the grand scheme of life. Trying to quantify your life with words, what other people say versus what their actions are is an exercise in futility. There’s, of course, the age old adage that words mean nothing unless they’re followed up with actions, and I find that to be entirely true. The last few years of my young life have forced me to explore the concept (and now knowledge) that there are individuals for which words are fundamentally just that: they’re words, and not much else. For someone who has a mild obsession with words, and the nuanced way in which we might use them, this is especially dangerous. Someone can be saying all the right things, but their treatment of you can speak the volumes that you chose not to hear.

There can be a fundamental unhealthiness in holding on to words. For someone who occasionally spends her days running entirely on coffee and high levels of anxiety this can be especially tricky. If you’re anything at all like me, dear readers, words can serve as a the mind’s equivalent to a stress ball. Turning them over and over in your head, worrying all the edges away, using them as a source of reassurance despite reality indicating something entirely different. Depending on who they’re from and how they’re delivered, you can let the words scar you immeasurably or be the reason you sleep soundly at night.  I’ve all too often found myself trying to rationalize a person’s behavior based on the words they give me. One of my favorite young poets, Sarah Kay definitively says that “it is hard to build a body out of words.” Anyone who has ever tried to bridge the gap of understanding between two people can easily relate to this. I’ve experienced both distance and silence from some of the people that I’ve wanted to feel close to, but trying to build a relationship or understand someone just from their words alone can lead to unending disappointment.

The safe thing about writing is that you can turn those things around for yourself. You can take control and tell the stories that you want. You can create any kind of reality you want to; it’s there, because it exists on paper. You give them a life of their own by writing them down and they can be a direct way of controlling your life’s narrative. I find a great comfort in that. Despite how other people might use them, I chose to fully own my own experiences through my words as well as my actions. The good and the bad. Maybe one day I’ll share more of the difficult things on here. As author Anne Lamott so wisely said:

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

 
Until next time,
EVA ♥

I Fell Asleep Next to a Burrito…

If I were to write a memoir (an inevitable goal of mine), I decided this past winter that the title would be I Fell Asleep Next to a Burrito and other stories I didn’t see coming…

Yes, I’m aware these are tacos. They are just open-faced burritos, really.

(Spoiler alert: The inspiration for this title stems from the fact that I actually fell asleep next to a half-eaten burrito once over the holidays. Of all the things to potentially wake up next to, this one isn’t half bad, but still not entirely encouraging. In my defense, I was very tired and also very hungry.)
 
Chapter Two would be something along the lines of “I just spilled tequila on my shoe. Because having a bottle of tequila at your desk is normal, right?”
When I first joked about this with friends I tried to backpedal a bit, saying that I would write two books: one full of utterly ridiculous stories and shenanigans (the “burrito” book) and another more introspective, thoughtful.
This was, of course, quickly shot down.
“No! No! It has to all be in I Fell Asleep Next to a Burrito! It’s what people would want to read.”
Ok… so admitting that sometimes my life is a mess is one thing, but flaunting it in print forever? I had mental pictures of my great-grandchildren looking horrified when being presented with it. At best, they would find it amusing and sort-of ridiculous. Maybe they might feel a weird sense of pride that great-grandmama was a total wacko? I tried to even imagine saying it with a straight face: “Yes, I’m a writer. I have one book in print at the moment: I Fell Asleep Next to a Burrito.
I’m sure that’s a Pulitzer prize winner right there.
If I’m seriously going to go forward with a book like this, there will of course also have to be a chapter entitled “Where did all these f***ing shoes come from?” And “It’s a phone, it’s not rocket science.” I’m sure some feminists out there will tear me up for perpetuating awful female/Millennial stereotypes, but hear me out. My book wouldn’t be some sort of girly answer to the dreaded Tucker Max sagas (anyone remember those horrible things?). Quite the contrary. I would like to empower women like myself to unabashedly be who they are–through the ups, the downs, all of it. Because, contrary to what might be popular belief, a 30-something woman living in California does have things to add to the world other than babies and the things she pins on Pinterest.
I recently spoke with a friend of mine who works in publishing, and, after having seen and worked with all manner of authors, she’s concluded that everyone simply writes what they themselves need to read. Have trouble making non-divisive conversation? Write about the art of small talk! Feeling isolated from your peers as they hit major life milestones (marriage, home ownership, children)? Write about what makes your life unique and valid, not despite all those things, but because of them.
Until next time, dear readers.
EVA ♥

How to Act Right at the Gym

Alright people. New year, new you, right?

Let Watch Me Juggle provide you with a few tips that I’ve gleaned from dogging the massive influx of people at my local 24 Hour Fitness to give you a few pointers as to how to behave when trying to get a workout in. Now, I’m by no means an expert here, but I do know how to generally behave around people and share space, and, based on my recent experiences, it seems like some of you could use a refresher course. So, without further ado, I give you:

HOW TO ACT RIGHT; the Gym edition

  • Do not bring a bag of french fries into the gym and proceed to walk around and eat them. Unless you want everyone to hate you.

  • Quit hogging the machines by spreading your stuff everywhere. Just because you put your water bottle next to that piece of equipment across the room does not mean that it is now magically yours.
  • Do not sit in front of the free weights and change your shoes, have snack time or nap time or any other personal time. You’re in the way. People want to pick those up and use them.

  •  Do not steal the yoga ball someone was using and set aside for two seconds. Furthermore, if you’re going to steal a yoga ball, actually use it. Don’t just sit on it in the corner and stare creepily at people.
  • Please don’t stand vaguely near a machine and then yell “I WAS USING THAT” when someone else starts actually using it. You were not using that, you were diddling around on your phone 10 feet away. You’re not a two-year-old; remember that sharing is caring.
  • The constant grunting is never necessary. Yes, we know those are heavy and you’re a man who’s lifting things, but…stop.
  • We all appreciate when you clean your sweat off of the bench. What is not productive, however, is leaving your soggy, sweaty paper towels next to the thing you just cleaned.
  • For the love of god, please wear swimwear and not underwear when using the pool. I know, it’s all just fabric, but sir, I don’t need to see you in your soggy Underarmour briefs when I’m trying to just live my life and do some TRX.
  • Learn how to count, then please use your counting skills when re-racking the weights.

You can do it, I have faith in you!

Good talk.

EVA♥

My emotional baggage is Prada.

Hello everyone,

I recently got into a really amusing exchange on Facebook. Let me give you an idea of how random my friends and I can be:
Good friend sends me a picture of bedazzled cement truck on Facebook, the back of which literally looks like a giant disco ball. (For some context, this friend really likes anything covered in sequins/disco balls, etc.) Eva responds…
Eva: Woah! I know what your next ride is going to be!!
Friend: ” Disco garbage truck – the most festive way to haul around all my emotional baggage”
Eva: I have my eye on a Prada purse to haul that stuff around.
Friend: “I’ve been trying to hold it in a purse but it became impractical. Seen in photo: actual size of baggage.”(sends picture of giant purse statue standing about 10 ft. tall)
*cue laughter*
This is it, folks. The dreaded emotional baggage blog. Everyone has it and no one likes to talk about it or acknowledge its existence. I was recently inspired by the lovely Anna Akana (who is so admirably candid about her life), and the humor with which she addressed her emotional baggage. 

It’s some heavy stuff, dear readers. And, let’s be honest, most everyone’s emotional baggage is terrifying, and not some thing anyone wants to share. You have your run-of-the-mill abandonment issues, substance abuse, body image issues, maybe some PTSD thrown in there. Maybe your baggage, like mine, has a tape player in it that keeps saying the same thing to you over and over again. But everyone has it.  Let me be clear: Everyone has it. You can dress it up in Prada all you like, maybe even pair it with your Louboutins, but it’s still there. If you say it’s not you’re a lying liar. I don’t mean to get sassy, but it’s true. And I think what makes it so hard for some of us is admitting that it’s even there. Living life will give you “emotional baggage.” If you don’t have it, you’re most likely not out there in the world living. The boss lady says that her baggage is not baggage at all. It’s served her well, in her own words. It has some dings and scratches, maybe a broken zipper, but it represents all of her life experiences that have made her who she is. You can deny that it’s there, or you can embrace it as a part of you and find power in that. Let it be, but don’t let it hold you back.
Thank you sticking with me, dear readers. Here’s to all of our baggage!
EVA ♥
 
 
 

Things I Learned in 2017

Hello readers,

Despite the last two years of my life feeling a bit like a one-way ticket on the Hot Mess Express, I very much try to look on the positive side of things. Every year around my birthday my good friend Rachel asks me what she calls the “Birthday Question.” The question is simply: “What did it take you (insert your new age here) amount of years to learn?” Now, granted this time of year isn’t anywhere near my birthday, but I thought I would apply the same kind of thinking when looking back at this last year. This year was one full of milestones for me, and it took a little bit of reflection to realize that, though less than stellar things might happen in the course of your life, it is still a good life. If you need a sign from the universe that this is true, there is one in the Aria Resort in Las Vegas. I conveniently found it on my 30th birthday. And on, that note, I’m going to tell some of the things I learned in 2017:

I’ve learned how to do Las Vegas. Now, I know you’re probably thinking: “Eva, what’s there to ‘do’? You’re there at least once a year already.” Nay nay, there are certain tricks you can employ to seriously maximize your Vegas experience. Ladies, use that social media! Put as many ridiculous Vegas-related hashtags in your comments as you can think of. Save promoters phone numbers and build a rapport. Get a group of your best girlfriends and get yourself out there! Adventures await. Just make sure you take a few naps, stock up on the Red Bull, and wear your most comfortable heels. You too can “hack” Vegas if you’re determined enough.

You want the thing? Do the thing. Yes, this is a primitive way of putting it. Only you have the power to change things and do things for yourself. You want to be the go-getter? Go get things, just by taking those first steps. Sure, you might think “Dear God, what am I doing?” half the time, but you’re really creating the life that you want and deserve for yourself.

On a lighter note: I now know that I have the uncanny ability to hold two drinks in the same hand. This is especially convenient when trying to take selfies or photos of whatever event you’re at.

 

Order the thing you want. Order what you really want, and don’t regret it. Screw it. Get the lobster topped with lobster and a cocktail and dessert. This is a case in which the term “Yolo” might actually be appropriate. 

Not everyone deserves an explanation or a reaction. Sometimes, the best thing to say is nothing at all.  As someone who frequently posts her innermost thoughts on the internet, this has been a hard one for me. Sometimes people who disturb your peace just aren’t worth it. You can’t demand peace of mind from other people; you might not ever understand why they do what they do. You just have to figure it out for yourself and move forward.

Tell the people you love that you love them. Yes, it can be scary. Sometimes it doesn’t feel very good, even though it should. Do it anyway. Everyone is worthy of loving and being loved. It doesn’t have to be a quid pro quo thing. Sometimes loving someone doesn’t work out the way you want it to, sometimes it’s not enough. Tell them anyway. Don’t beat yourself up for being vulnerable. You’re a better person for it. Because, as Vladimir Nabokov so elegantly put it, we’re all just “rust and stardust” in the end. Nothing is ever guaranteed.

And lastly….

It’s not always you. 

And it’s a good life, indeed.

EVA ♥

I Ain’t Sorry.

Hello all, 
 
First of all, I want to thank everyone who took the time out from their days to read my previous posts. I’m still seriously touched that so many people read the general nonsense that comes out of my brain. All 360+ posts of general nonsense…you are my people, and I love you. 
 
As I’ve said before here on Watch Me Juggle, things don’t always go the way you planned. 

{Beyoncé’s “Sorry” has become a bit of an anthem of mine.}

 

When you’re little, saying your sorry tends to be one of life’s hard-learned lessons. If you wrong someone, bump into them, do anything even remotely impolite, you say “sorry,” and move on. You took her cookie? Say you’re sorry. You accidentally tripped her during jump rope? Say you’re sorry. But what happens when “sorry” become the default? When it feels more like a reflexive obligation, than any kind of genuine recognition of wrongdoing? 

I’ll admit that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve been fighting the impulse to apologize for my behavior or things that have happened to me in life. ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘excuse me’ have somehow become mushed together into the same sentiment. A grown man shoulder-checked me on my commute the other day and I found myself apologizing…for him? Excusing myself for being so large and so much in his way? He was conveniently mute the whole time. It was all very odd. And it’s in moments like this that I think— why do we continuously apologize for other people, or for simply just being ourselves? 
 
I’ve written a blog about being unabashedly myself before, “Sorry Not Sorry.” I’ll be the first one to tell you that I am by no means perfect, heck, (I’ve documented enough embarrassing and strange moments in my life on here for anyone to figure that out) but I feel like I also have the tendency to routinely apologize for myself more than is necessary. 
 
While I’m more spiritual than religious, I’m a huge believer in karma, that what you put out in the universe always comes around to you in another form. Regardless of how others treat you, it’s your job to be kind and graceful— to keep your chin up no matter how badly some things have gone. Some people might think that that means being a pushover, but I think that there’s an incredible amount of power in being able to fully own your behavior. And to me, there’s nothing worse than feeling like “Oh, I shouldn’t have said/done that,” because, while you can’t control the other people in your life, you can control yourself. Hold yourself to your own high standards. There are always going to be unfortunate people out there, and how they treat you should never be taken as a reflection on you. Of course, this is easier said than done. And I am as far away as anyone from having the answers. But I’m starting here…
Until next time,
EVA ♥

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Yes, the title is ironic.

No, I’m not a total grinch I swear, maybe just a little messed up, as he says. Hear me out, dear readers.

The holidays are hard. They are. Any grown adult who denies this is probably hiding from something in a giant pile of tinsel somewhere watching “The Christmas Prince” 18 days in a row. Maybe someone hurt you, maybe you’re missing all the people who can’t be with you this season, or maybe you don’t have a family to spend the holidays with.  Even if you have all your idealistic ducks in a row, maybe you’re just feeling the pressure to make the holidays special for everyone around you. A good friend of simply said the other day that the holidays are hard because “this is the time where you are supposed to be happy.” The whole damn commerce-driven world demands it of you. Wear the sparkles! Buy the people you love presents! Wish everyone “Happy Holidays,” it’s nice! SMILE!
When you work in a customer-facing field (to put it lightly) like I do, it’s imperative you screw that smile on tight every morning. I make holiday small talk with people, but often wonder what’s really going on with everyone else. Do they feel the same way about the holidays as I do? While we’re busy trading cookie recipes, did they lose someone or something they cared about? While we’re playing the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” on repeat, who are we trying to convince?  We’re here covering things with Christmas lights and pretending that everything is merry and bright and whatnot. Everyone gets swept up in the holiday momentum, and it’s easy enough to blend in with the crowd. As much as the holidays are a reminder of the good things in life, like spending time with friends and family, giving to other people; the not-so-good things often loom on the other side. January is, of course, the magical time where everyone gets their sh**t in order, right? Almost no one I know enjoys January, but we’ll all cross that bridge when we come to it.
All ranting aside, the thing I’ve come to realize is that, no matter where you are in life, you have to A: take a deep breath, and then B: make the holidays your own. Don’t let other people’s expectations ruin what should be a nice time, regardless of your circumstances. Take the focus off of yourself and do something nice for the people you care about. Give yourself little projects, like decorating the house, baking something delicious, or volunteering. Aside from baking and the occasional festive cocktail, I’ve really been enjoying my tradition of making original and slightly inappropriate Christmas cards. (This one won the year for me. Current life status: Emily.) Plenty of people can relate to feeling like the holidays aren’t for them. Each year I make my cards on Shutterfly, I struggle with finding designs that don’t insist on making my last name a plural or forcing me to introduce a whole group of people. What am I supposed to do with this?!  “Happy holidays  from Eva, her shoes, her glass of Zinfandel, and this Christmas tree”? Well… that’s actually what I do, so that’s sort of a bad example.
I’ve reached the point in my life where the holidays have become a time where I get to celebrate the way that I want, if it’s laughing at myself or just hibernating with a glass of wine and my little Christmas tree. Don’t let anyone make you feel badly about how you…well, do you.
Hang in there, dear readers. Happy holidays.
EVA♥

Like Lazarus…

Watch Me Juggle is back.

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        No, I haven’t gotten any better at juggling my life, thank you for asking. Perhaps quite the opposite, but life does carry on as usual in it’s fascinating chaos. Over the many, many months that have passed, I was struck with the inability to write. The dreaded Writer’s Block. Actually, scratch that. I kept writing. My Gmail inbox is full of weird drafts of half-finished thoughts all entitled “(no subject).” Don’t worry, dear reader, all these embarrassing musings will all see the light of day soon. One of my favorite artists, Emily McDowell, has an accurate depiction of what the creative process looks like:
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        Endless loops of “I have no ideas, and I hate everything” coupled with the ever-present “you’re totally ridiculous and no one wants to hear what you have to say.” But, these things happen, and that’s ok.
        Sometimes you have to be ok with not being ok and just sit in that in a while, as un-fun as it is. For me, the hardest thing is simply having to admit when things aren’t going well. This is especially hard in this social media, oversharing, humble-bragging age when everyone is up to their eyeballs in everyone else’s business.  Everyone is just trying to market themselves in a way that looks good to everyone else, and no one puts anything real out there. A good friend of mine recently told me that she thinks that I just might be too good at being “fine.” When people ask me how my day is going, sometimes they get a “It’s goooooood” with an odd, lilting intonation. The word “good” should never be squeezed out of you. If I do this to you, what it really means is “OMG, I’m keeping it together. I’m here and I have clothes on, so it can’t be that bad, right? Except my brain is telling me that the walls are on fire and the ceiling is on fire, and everything’s on fire because I’m in hell, but that’s fine.” Watch closely and my face will usually give this away. Not writing was another way to not deal with the scary things in life.  Being alone with my thoughts was the last thing I wanted to do this year, and putting them down in words for strangers on the internet to see was an even more daunting task.
        I’m 30 years old now and I don’t think I have any of the answers I magically should by now. (It’s magic, right? That’s how it works?) I don’t think my childhood self could even comprehend that one day I would actually turn 30, so at least I don’t have those large, whimsical expectations to live up to. But, the things I can control, I do. This year, I checked many, many things off of my “things to do in life” list. I celebrated my 30th birthday with the most ridiculous parties in Las Vegas. I went to Mexico on vacation, I invested in a beautiful piece of artwork, went to the gym a hell of a lot more, met some wonderful new people, and said ‘yes’ to doing so many new things. I’m still navigating life just the same as any of the rest of us, but I’m trying to do so with a little style and strength. This blog is one of the ways I like to do that. And like I always say…
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Until next time,
EVA♥

Holiday Roundup

Hello everyone!

She’s back, ladies and gentlemen! I’m sure you all can commiserate with how hectic the holidays can be sometimes. I’m sure you’ve all also had that feeling where things get so hectic, that, rather than doing anything productive, you end up sitting around your house doing absolutely nothing. This is the obvious solution, yes? I’ve certainly experienced this phenomenon to a degree lately, and find that sometimes the best way to cope with the “Holiday Hangover” is to give into the urge to do laze about and do nothing. When I wasn’t working, or at some sort of holiday party, I was napping. My coworkers once found me curled up in a ball, under a makeup table between shows, asleep. While this isn’t the most productive way to deal with stress, I found that all the extra sleep did prevent me from getting the plague, and also slowed me down enough that I wasn’t overbooking my schedule as I so often like to do.

The 2016 holiday season passed me by in a sort of blur. I did manage to get myself together enough to send out ridiculous Christmas cards (as is tradition), which spurred an impromptu photo shoot in the hallway of my building, complete with my Christmas tree and…(wait for it)…my new Louboutins! Sure, my house was a complete mess of discarded shoes, shopping bags, and half-drunk bottles of wine, but I’d like to think that I managed to adult my way through life just fine for the last few weeks.

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Some step-and-repeat action at the annual Tree Lot Party.

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All of my people in one place at Smuin’s “Christmas Ballet.”

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Santa brought me a Christmas Eve sweetheart!

Even though I’ve felt utterly unproductive these past few days, I’ve been unendingly grateful to the people who have stuck by me through a rather rough holiday season. Let’s face it, it’s not all it’s always cracked up to be, but it’s the people who support and encourage you in life that make it all worthwhile. Just a kind word or simple conversation can make all the difference in a person’s day. (It certainly has for me!) So happy (belated) holidays! I’m still not done being festive here in Watch Me Juggle-land, and yes, I do still have my Christmas tree up. Here’s to the next year! May there be many more adventures.

EVA♥