mine/theirs

this i have

but did not earn

what is mine

but taken

at any given moment

my gift

my present

my end

for what is this thing

that fills me

with doubt

and hope

and disgust

and joy

and fear

always fear

always worry

i did not earn

i do not deserve

i fear

i worry

yet i live

-Ariel LaVenture

Persistent little fucker

Today, at nearly 30 years old, I learned that you can ask for exactly what you want and still be a good person.

I have always felt comfortable voicing my opinion, and calling out others when what they’re being hateful or aggressive toward others; I have NO PROBLEM using my voice for the greater good*. And, as a constant work in progress, I will call myself out for being mean or rude to someone (I did not raise me to be like that).

But I’m also a people-pleaser. I want people to like me because, duh, it’s nice to be liked. So I sometimes find that I get taken advantage of – I will go above and beyond to make someone’s time on this Earth a little more special, but I’m learning how to do that without sacrificing my own happiness (and sanity)…it’s been a pretty steep learning curve.

I don’t think people always know they’re taking advantage of you. We get used to the way others treat us and if we’re treated well, we expect that moving forward. And I think it’s totally normal to expect to be treated well; to be treated with kindness, compassion and understanding. It’s just as normal to burn out if you’re someone who is fond of giving, and wanting to make others happy. And while speaking up can be empowering, I sometimes I feel like a high maintenance princess, even if I’m just asking for something to be corrected. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman who’s been trained to feel this way by society, maybe it’s because I lived through a relatively frustrating and difficult childhood where I felt the need to make everything okay, or maybe it’s simply the fact that I’m NICE and a good person*. Whatever it is, I need to work on standing up for myself, even if it’s just asking for my smoothie to be remade because it wasn’t what I ordered.

Stand up for yourself, and continue to be kind. You can do both.

Cheers,
Ariel

*Cue Hot Fuzz…”The Greater Good!”
*Probably all of the above. 

Homo Narran FTW

We were nestled in our gigantic beds, propped up by luxuriously squishy pillows, watching reality television and eating deliciously sinful pizza when she told me about her high school days.

“…so I tried to kill myself, and have been on antidepressants ever since.”

“No, I get it. I mean, I really get it.” I said, sharing my own stories about battling depression.

My coworker and I were sharing a hotel room for the weekend. It was the night before a company event that required travel, and we hadn’t spent much time together outside of the office.

But we had downed a couple beers before heading back to the room for the night, thus feeling a little more comfortable sharing our most personal stories (and secrets).

The day of the event was busy, and we were running all over the place. That night, we went out to celebrate, shared more stories and grabbed breakfast in the morning before the journey home.

The weeks that followed were as if personal stories had never been shared. As if we hadn’t teared up together while sussing out the darkest corners of our souls. And it wasn’t awkward or embarrassing; we carried on with our professional work relationship and went out for staff parties.


I’ve had this happen more often than I would like, and not just when alcohol is involved.

I connect with others by sharing stories. Most people do*. It’s my favorite part of forming relationships – when you start sharing stories about your childhood, your favorite books, things that make you angry, why you decided to never have kids…these stories about why people are the way they are or what they deem frustrating or joyous truly fascinate me. Sharing stories with others opens this door inside my soul that makes me feel like I’m connected to something bigger, something that makes me feel less alone.

But what can happen, is that sometimes you end up having life-changing conversations with people you barely knew and then, once you leave that specific moment, it’s as if the stories were never shared. It’s as if the conversation never happened, and you go back to your regular relationships. But things have changed because you’re a different person for listening to someone else’s hardships, their hopes, fears and dreams.

This doesn’t really bother me, but it does…

I don’t need anymore life-long friends. I have those, and they’re amazing. But I need that connection with people – I crave it. I spend most of the time at my job on my own, and I recharge by being alone, so when I do connect with others, I’m elated. But I’m also a selfish human, so I connect only when I want to. Which is why I don’t feel like I deserve to be bothered by anything I’ve just talked about. But that feeling is for another time. I guess that’s just another story for a different moment. Hopefully, when that time comes, you’ll feel comfortable sharing your story too.

Thanks for allowing me to share, reader. You are amazing.

Cheers,
Ariel

*If you are curious about the meaning of Homo Narran and want to learn more, visit AMAZON to view John D. Niles’ work, Home Narrans: The Poetics of Anthropology and Oral Literature

Onward & forward with your bad business self

It’s been a hot minute since I posted something other than poetry, which it totally okay, but I wanted to take a post to talk about business ventures.

As a Marketing & Events Coordinator (and sometimes-ad rep) for a newspaper, I work with small businesses on the regular. The main issues I encounter are generally related to new business owners thinking too big. While it’s important to set goals and aim high, it is equally important to be realistic about what will most likely happen within the first year of owning any kind of business. And what will happen is this: You will work your butt off, be required to network all the time and may not bring in any revenue.*

Last June, I told myself that if I posted one blog post per month, I would purchase the domain for tiny diamond celebrations. This past May, I made that purchase.

Monthly blogging has been quite a challenge. I love having the opportunity to share my experiences and art at the stroke of a keyboard, and I truly believe sharing personal stories and thoughts on this page has helped me get through some shit, but I don’t find writing to be a major priority for me. I spend major portions of my work days emailing clients and creating e-blasts, so when I’m on my own I want to focus on the creative side of forming a small business. But forcing myself to write the blog before doing anything with tiny diamond celebrations has shown me that, in order to have a successful small business, I need to be diligent, committed and true to my personality.

I’m a hands-on learner and doer, which is why I love event planning, volunteering and organizing. I’m fortunate enough to work in job that allows me to express my creativity, yet still requires a 9-to-5 lifestyle. I’m also lucky because I realize that event planning is a semi-luxurious job in the sense that it’s based more on having fun that some other career choices. I’m THANKFUL, and am always looking for ways to make sure I’m using my skills to help create a better world, which is why tiny diamond celebrations will focus on synergy, local and small business promotion, and commitment to helping nonprofit organizations through donations and volunteerism.

The official website for tiny diamond celebrations is set to launch August 2018 and I’m thrilled. I’ve decide to share my personal goals for the first year of tiny diamond celebrations, so it may help or inspire you, dear reader.

GOALS FOR 2018/2019:
1. Launch tiny diamond celebrations by August 31, 2018
2. Launch the following social media platforms for the business:
Instagram
Pinterest
3. Finalize decision and order some form of calling card (matchbooks, business card, etc.)*
4. Donate 3% of all sales to one selected nonprofit organization per month by the end of 2018
5. Sponsor at least one local (Montana-based) event before August 31, 2019 as either cash or in-kind
6. Partner with my good friend, Jenny, owner of The Bake Away, for one or more tiny diamond celebrations’ events

If you’re curious about my financial and/or marketing plans, you can contact me directly. I’m excited to move forward with the celebration side of tiny diamond celebrations, but will continue to share poetry, emotional posts and things that I think are funny. This is my life and I’m living it. I hope you are doing the same.

Look out for those little inspiration nuggets, pockets of joy and #eventbabies. And, as always, take care of YOU.

Cheers,
Ariel

*Yes, there are always exceptions. Exceptions are not the norm.
*Stuff like business cards and swag is the most fun, yet most difficult part of starting a business. Too often, I’ve seen businesses order the swag and spend the cash before they have it. Waiting to order the coolest products until after a business is up-and-running is a challenge. 

second guess

never had a set career path

only knew that i was the aftermath

of two people

having sex

making me

second guess

all the decisions i would ever make

would i be good enough

worth a fuck

 

they demanded

stomped their feet

waved fingers

right at me

 

tell us what you want

more than anything in the world

i thought

heart racing

toes curled

to sleep in the dark

turn out the lights

be less afraid of the night

 

you’re all i want

as i looked in the mirror

 

no more second guesses

you’re my first choice

-Ariel LaVenture

 

 

Tomorrow

Tomorrow is a very important day.

Tomorrow is my birthday.

Three years ago

reflecting on how

three years before that

I wanted to die

so badly.

It seemed easy

like no one would miss me.

But now

there’s still pain

but I’m healing

and I want to be alive

so badly.

Tomorrow is my birthday

can’t wait.

-Ariel LaVenture

Unions are not scary monsters

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Unanimous.

This was the result of our vote to unionize at the Missoula Independent weekly newspaper last Friday. We are officially a union, and I am a proud, proud human.

I work with the most brilliant and passionate people, and look forward to the next chapter of our Indy story.

If you do want to learn a little more about the Indy’s union, or are curious about starting a union in your workplace, but may be a bit confused, afraid or just curious, my (social media) door is always open. You can also visit the Indy’s union page at: missoulanewsguild.com or our Twitter: @MslaIndyUnion.

I’m unsure of what may come, but I have never felt more sure of a decision, or more proud to be part of a team. The Missoula Independent has given me another home and a newfound set of tools to add to my tool-belt. Most importantly, though, the Indy has gifted me a new sense of purpose, for which I am ever grateful.

Things only change when we decide that it’s time. And it’s time. Here’s to all the unionized workers out there – I am officially with you.

Cheers,
Ariel