Based in Los Angeles, December Tea is a blog by Lauren Bailey. Her posts explore the world around her, through words, pictures, and constant cups of tea.

My Frowning Face

I've been thinking a lot about my face lately. The way it frowns all the time (it doesn't); the way my mouth sages in the corners from two years of employment misery; the way my eyes appear tired all the time with lines at the corners punctuating the redness; the way my skin isn't as tight as it used to be; and I can feel the time and age taking it's tole. I can feel those extra pounds on my face and frame from a year of sitting down everyday. I've become focused on the way my shoulders hang forward and struggle to stay back in neutral. The way my back aches and the knots are so deep they can't be pushed out. The way my right knee hurts from sitting and standing and walking. The way everything cracks and falls. The way my perception has shifted to focus on the negative, sometimes invisible, things I fixate on.

With all of this comes a routine that sets in, the one where I can type without looking, or answer the phone and transfer each call with my eyes and thoughts focused elsewhere. It's the way the fingers work independently without thought, and how the mind drifts even while it's working on a task at hand. The type of routine that is stifling and regular.

This is the routine of the work week. Dictated hours for the purpose of servicing others. Sitting in front of a computer all day, watching as the hours tick by, wondering if now is a good time to get up for water. Listening to someone yawning and chewing in my ear for hours on end, the ums that stretch out to expand the time of answering someone's question. The way demands are constantly made, yet the thought that I too am a person, fails to be acknowledged. This is the weekly grind. The desire to be elsewhere but not having the financial means to leave. Then there is the negativity. The way it seeps into my skin, as if it were tea, and I a forgotten glass of water. It seeps in before I know it's there. Too ingrained in the daily motions of the day before I realize what's happened.

Then there's the after hours detox. The anger and negativity that's been bubbling beneath the surface must be dispelled before I get home, and it comes out at people who don't deserve it. It reaches across the telephone lines to my mom who is asking about my day. It comes out at the people in the cars around me or the person at the check out counter. It pushes against the mess in the apartment that at any other moment would be easily solved. Then there's the more pressing concern: has this mindset become permanent? Is there a way to shake it and get back to a place of... contentment, ease, mindfulness? I worry at the way this city has changed me and hardened me. The way I push aside certain thoughts and situations that I would have formally thought cool or jumped at to attend. I worry about the state of my face and how age is taking its toll. This whole getting older business while everyone around me stays the same age.

Honestly, what is at the heart of all these feelings is the desire for change and a new challenge. A lot of it is professional. I'm at the point where I need something different but haven't found it yet. The other side is creatively: the need to make time to be creative and putting that first, putting forward the hours even if it's at 5am or 11pm, just making it happen and stopping the excuses for why it's not happening. That too has become a routine. A routine I'm finding it hard to shake but need to. I'm ready to break apart these dreaded routines with a hammer and put the pieces back together in a new way, some way that brings me back to a place of acceleration. 

The Path We Trot

Things I've Been Enjoying Lately