'43'

Every year I tend to write a blog-- either after New Years or my birthday-- about taking another trip around the sun. I usually focus on the things I've done and accomplished. That's nice and all, but this year I'm changing it up. This year all that is going out the window. I don't really give a damn about what I've done, created or accomplished... My greatest achievement is the love I have for myself. So this year, I'm celebrating ME and ALL the things I think are pretty damn awesome about being me. :)


Now if you are someone that gets triggered by people thinking too highly of themselves and often have thoughts like the following: 'Well, isn't she just full of herself' or 'A little humility might be in order.' THIS IS NOT THE BLOG FOR YOU. lol Stop reading now! Spare me the judgement. ;) And if this triggers you for other reasons... Why? REALLY worth the question.


But if you can handle a newly 43 year old woman, waxing poetic about why she's FUCKING AWESOME, then by all means... read on. :) And the awesome part? Brainstorming the reasons I love myself for two days gave me much better days. Meaning: When we make friends with ourselves, our energy and the day's energy changes for the better. FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Why do YOU love YOU? The question just might better your day... is alls I'm sayin'...


But uh... back to the message at hand, Snoopdog...


I recently saw Adele on the cover of British Vogue and my jaw dropped. Not only does she look absolutely STUNNING but to me, she is just the EPITOME of femininity and sexuality in this photo. Gah!! The artist in me SWOONS! Voluptuous, big hair, the make-up... just PERFECTION. I can't place it... Sophia Loren? Ann Margaret? Whatever she is embracing to me, I freaking LOVE IT. It's my style. It's my jam. It's all the things.


And for the first time in 5 months (?), it actually inspired me to pick up my camera again since the closing of my business! Part of my next 40 years is further embracing my femininity, dressing in ways that make me feel really pretty and sexy and vibrant and alive (whatever that means to me) and long story short... I turned my camera on myself! So here are MY ultra feminine photos as best I could sans a Vogue make-up/hair team, lol.... ANDDDDD... 43 reasons I freaking LOVE being AMANDA J SMITH. Mandi for short. (Cause I am short!) AND... I didn't photoshop the bags under my eyes, etc. This girl is all 43, though I think I pulled some miracles with lighting, lol.


These are in no particular order, 'spared no expense!' ;)


1) I LOVE THAT I TRY. I REEEEEEALLY FUCKING TRY.


I try like nobody's business to not only be the best person I can be but to really and truly show up for myself. To do the work. To send up the prayers. To do the meditation. The journaling. The deep dives. To stay connected. To be aware. To not disappoint myself. I check in everyday. I contemplate. I'm aware of my checkouts. If my life is miserable, I do my best to change that up on a daily basis. I love that I don't stay in my shiz for too long and will always "Fight for your shitty life, Annie!!!"


When I hear my intuition, I do my best to absolutely follow it. I try with weeping and gnashing of teeth. I would have it no other way. Who wants to suffer that long??? And I love that about me!!!


2) I LOVE THAT I'M FEARLESS & BRAVE


I LOVE that when I'm penniless, I will say no to a $50k job when it doesn't feel right to borrow $200 from my sister to move to a mountain town of 200 to work for the summer as a $10/hr baker and get my life out of it. I love that I follow my intuition above anyone and anything. I trust my gut. It has never, EVER led me astray.


While most would consider my choices to be stupid or irresponsible, I call it following my heart. And I've had the most incredible experiences because of it. While I'm on the brave kick, I love that I'm a Gryffindor!!! Don't ask me where the Pyrenees Mountains are located or to keep a house plant alive but damn if I won't be the first to step off a cliff for a passionate cause close to my heart!

3) I LOVE MY VULNERABILITY & OPENNESS


I love that my heart feels and loves deeply. I love that I am willing to put myself out there. I'm not afraid to speak my feelings. That was not the case for a majority of my life. Before I would hide, not make eye-contact, get red faced, bake cookies for boys I liked rather than flirt, be honest, go out for drinks and have sex like normal people, lol. It was a fear of intimacy and vulnerability. Self protection. Unworthiness. I'm grateful no matter what the occasion, relationships aside even, I live my life now with an open heart. It's a big, beautiful heart that is bound to get burned sometimes but the rewards are so worth it.


4) I LOVE THAT I OWN MY SEXUALITY


Riding on the coat tails of #3, I used to feel so much shame for any sexual feelings, lustful thoughts or desires to be sexy... I would hide in 'the maternal,' we'll call it. Hell, I think a lot of women in marriages today don't have any clue about their own wants, desires and needs. And quite frankly, I love my sexuality! I love being sexy. It's freaking HEALTHY. And I love that I get to embrace even more of that in the next 40 years.


5) I LOVE THAT I'M A 'WITCH!'


I say 'witch' half jokingly but also not... 'Witch' means so many things to so many people and most of them are ridiculous and skewed by Hollywood, lol. But I love that I'm psychic. I love that I read tarot. I love that I have special gifts and talents that allows me to truly help others and myself. I love that I'm aware enough to know that it isn't at all what society or religion makes it out to be. I love that I pull cards for myself daily, talk to my crystals like little helper buddies and cast spells based on how the moon cycles. And I love that I'm not going to further explain any of that (because I could) to appease anyone's fears and just let it freak you out because who's got the time. lol AND! If tarot readings, astrology and spirituality are your jam, be sure to follow me over on instagram! I do daily readings over there and have a youtube channel, etc. @CarnelianSpiritualityandTarot.


6) I LOVE THAT I CAN STAND IN MY OWN TRUTH


Piggy backing off of the witchery of #5... I love that I had the courage to find what I believed for myself to be true and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. I will never again have all the answers. I will always be open to new thoughts and ideas. I could write 26 blogs on why indoctrination should be considered the real devil but alas... To walk away from something you're indoctrinated into-- be it religion, prejudices, cultures, etc. to journey out on your own, takes real cahones. And I love all FIVE sets of the balls that I've got. :)


"Don't be fooled by the balls that I got! I'm just, I'm just Mandi from the blog!" -- I'll stop...


7) I LOVE THAT I CAN POST ALL THESE BOUDOIR PHOTOS AND STILL POST THIS ONE NO PROBLEM.

8) I LOVE THAT IF I WERE STRANDED ON AN ISLAND, I WOULD BE COMPLETELY ENTERTAINED BY MYSELF UNTIL THE END OF TIME.


I think Liza Koshy might be the only other person I'm aware of that is so thoroughly entertained by her own weirdness. And God bless her for it!!!



9) I LOVE THAT I'M INCREDIBLY COMPASSIONATE AND MATERNAL


There's just something in me with this desire to take care of people, make little gifts for people, make sure everyone is doing okay and to make someone's day. It's a gift that not all people possess. It can be my detriment as well, giving to a fault and putting the needs of others above mine to the point of losing myself, if I'm not paying attention to it. But boy oh boy do I love being a soft place for broken or weary hearts to land. Anyone need a hug and a warm cookie? xoxo


10) OH MY GODDDDD, I LOVE MY CREATIVITY & THAT I HAVE MANY TALENTS


I love that I can wear so many hats!! I really tend to downplay these gifts because I'm not as successful as Ina Garten or an actress like Meryl Streep. I've won a few awards here or there but I'm not super acclaimed or recognized in any of these things. And I like that I have random talents like being able to mimic people's voices or expressions... or that I can clog. (Thanks Verlene Tierney Dancers!) I LOVE THAT I CAN CLOG! Must clog again soon...


I also love that I've gotten to work professionally as a baker, a writer, a photographer... not to mention the countless and I mean COUNTLESS jobs I've had over the years and the skills I've acquired. I find it fan-fucking-tasting that I can pretty much pick up anything and be pretty good at it! Except pottery. I suck balls at pottery. All five sets of my balls!! I reeeeally wanted to be good at pottery, lol.


11) I LOVE THAT I'M A STRONG ASS BITCHHHHHH


Hahahahaha... I really emojis on Wix. lol


I'm incredibly strong. I've been through a lot of heartbreak, a lot of challenges, a lot of things/people/mindsets I needed to walk away from... And there's a lot that people don't see or know that I've experienced. But it's all made me incredibly resilient. It's not to say I won't be knocked on my ass in the near future or beyond-- that's the joy and journey of being human! The point is that I get up faster and faster every time, that bloody lip no longer requires a bandaid and a hospital stay. 'I do my hair toss, check my nails...' you know the rest! ;) REALLY, REALLY STRONG, LIZ.

12) I LOVE THAT I KNOW HOW TO SET BOUNDARIES


Again, wasn't always the case! But I love that at 43, I'm willing to put on my own oxygen mask before helping others. I feel like a lot of my life has been in survival mode and I've given, shown up, done all the things to save, please, attract others around me. Now? I just don't. If I'm filling up my power pack, I can't help you with yours. It's just how it is. You can get cranky about it. But it's not going to effect me. Because that lifestyle just isn't sustainable and I've had to learn that the hard way. Merry Christmas! lol

13) I LOVE THAT I LOVE TO TRAVEL!!!


Travel means soooo many things to me. Getting to meet people that aren't anything like me, getting to experience other cultures, see smiles on different faces, see artists creating differently but the same, people cooking food differently but the same, experiencing the utter fear and joys of not knowing what's going to happen next... Travel is so freaking beautiful. At the end of the day, 99% of us just want to laugh with our friends, eat good food with our families, fall in love with the boy/girl... in every culture. We are more the same than we are not and travel teaches us this. There are beautiful souls all over this globe and I'm grateful I don't fear them. I just feel enriched, blessed and humbled. I'M GOING TO EAT CHEESE IN FRANCE LIKE MY ANCESTORS BEFORE ME!!!!

14) I LOVE THAT I'M AN OBSERVER OF LIFE


I think there was something ingrained in me-- maybe as a Christian back in the day? Maybe just me? Definitely as a comedian... To observe. To see the bigger picture. To be a people reader. To see why people act the way they do, make the choices they make, to see how that works out for them. To be of assistance where I can. I'm grateful I don't just go about my day without that kind of wonder, curiosity, wisdom. It's taught me a lot. I'd probably make a great psychologist, honestly. But I'd also probably put the 'psycho' in psychologist soooo.... MOVIN ON!

15) I LOVE THAT I'M OPEN TO TRY NEW THINGS IN THE NAME OF SELF DISCOVERY.


I love that I don't put myself in a box. I think a pretty good chunk of the population are exactly who they were ten years ago, twenty years ago. I'm grateful I'm not and ever evolving! I love that I dance under the moonlight. I love that I attend shamanic fire circles. I love that I took myself fly fishing. I love that I travel and want to explore new places. I love that I've reinvented myself 26 million times. I also love that when I recognize I'm at rockbottom, I do something big to shake it up. I'll run a marathon in Alaska! I'll work with various teachers & gurus! I'll try the new city! I love that there is no such thing as failure in my heart, only another choice. I love that I know life is a precious gift that isn't to be wasted staying stuck at rockbottom.

16) I LOVE THAT I SWEAR


It's not something I'm necessarily 'proud of,' lol... My mom raised us to be classy ladies, etc. I can respect the idea of that. And I wouldn't want to sound like white trash and one must definitely know their audience! But man... I love an F bomb like I love an F bomb. The comedy of it. The silliness. The audacity. The strength. The power. The releaseeeee... What can I say? Roy Kent gets it. He totally gets it.

17) I LOVE THAT I'M A ROMANTIC


OH MY GOD, WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO LIVE LIFE OTHERWISE???? :) :) :) :) I looove being in love, the idea of love...a slow dance in the kitchen... a mix cd... handwritten letters, stardust... the starry-eyed-ness... and not just love! The romanticism in a summer night, the glory of fireflies, the fog in the mountains, a quiet snowfall, a warm fireplace... This world is a DREAM if you pay attention!! :)

18) I LOVE THAT I KNOW COMEDY


I love that I'm not just funny but that it's a skill I have. That I have trouble watching The Office or Arrested Development or Schitts Creek or Parks and Rec because I know the bells and whistles. I know how to get the laugh. Where to pause. The face to make. How to change the voice. I'm crazy grateful for all the classes I've taken over the years that have made me skilled and knowledgable.


19) I LOVE THAT I'M WEIRD


I love that there are people in my life that don't know if I'm actually funny or legitimately crazy. And truthfully, it's both, lol. I am funny, yes. $8,000 in Groundlings classes, you better come out funny, lol. But the weirdness? That's a trademark move, limited edition, spared no expense! :)


I like doing or saying things to people-- not necessarily for a reaction... But to give them the experience of seeing a weird person in action. It's hard to put into words... But the look on their faces of pure confusion... like, 'Is she human? What the hell is WRONG with you?' The lack of normality... It is a joy... One of the great gifts of life. ;)


Ex: Probably during his high school years, my brother was sitting on the couch in our living room watching BET. He wasn't listening to me when I asked him a question. So I perched myself on the trunk in front of him and loudly cawed and flapped my wings like a crow until he said with painful disdain, "Oh my God, you're so weird." YES!! JACKPOT!!! THERE IT IS.... This is what glory looks like.

20) I LOVE THAT I DON'T CARE WHAT OTHERS THINK


This is probably one of the biggest changes/successes/miracles from my younger self. I've always battled to fit in, to be normal, to be popular, to say the right thing, believe the right things, not disappoint anyone, not rock the boat, smile and nod... I've literally been asked over the years if I had meant to post something that was really vulnerable-- "Are you sure you want to do that? Do you know how that makes you look?"


And I have learned with delightful curiosity that what makes people uncomfortable are really just reflections of themselves-- a lack of vulnerability and confidence. You don't want to normalize what crying looks like when you're having a shitty day and write a blog about it? That's totally cool. I don't blame you! But... I'm not you. And truth be told... I haven't learned jack shitballs from seemingly perfect people! All of the people I love and respect, have all made dumpster fire choices, found their wisdom and then written books about it. I'd rather live into the idea of being a teacher and a healer then someone that has no real sense of themselves and is way too concerned with what society thinks. I cry. And I look good doing it! ;)



21) I LOVE THAT I LOOK LIKE SOME KIND OF INTERGALACTIC FLASH GORDON SPACE QUEEN IN THIS PHOTO.


22) I LOVE THAT I'M A LEADER


I have held a lot of leadership positions in my life. My peace with it comes and goes based on my successes. I've failed. I've succeeded. I've REALLY failed. But more and more I know this is the role I'm stepping into. I have no idea what it looks like but I'm humbled and grateful, wherever the journey takes me.


23) I LOVE THAT I CARE ABOUT PEOPLE


I don't want anyone to suffer. I want everyone's opinions heard. I want everyone to be okay. All cultures. All ethnicities, colors, creeds. I want my friends to feel like they can come to me with anything without judgment... I want everyone to see the worth in themselves. I don't want anyone alone on a holiday unless they really dig it. Come on over to Mandi's...


24) I LOVE THAT I SEE GOODNESS IN EVERYTHING


I mean, I'm human. But I love that when people say 'This year can suck it!' or 'These are scary times!!" my eye twitches. I love that I always challenge myself to see the bigger picture-- that most of the time we're sold a societal bill of goods. The world is what you bring to it. What you see. When people huff that I lived in Los Angeles... or huff I live in the South. You want good people? You'll see good people. You want death and destruction? You'll see that, too. I choose to the see the good. There is good everywhere. Truly!



25) I LOVE THAT I TRY TO SEE EVERYONE'S OPINION


I'm a Libra. We like our scales fair and balanced, thank you! ;) I really do always try to see another person's perspective. To put my feet in the shoes of another. To keep my eyes and ears open to the experiences of other cultures, peoples, etc. Hell, just in my friendships and relationships! That I'm always, always doing my best to listen to the other side of the story. Your opinion and heartfelt thoughts will always matter to me. I can be triggered to hell like the rest of humanity but damn if I don't try. See #1. ;)


26) I LOVE THAT I'VE LIVED A LOT OF DIFFERENT PLACES.


I think it's imperative to get out of your home state to live for a few years. Not because there's anything wrong with where you came from but because it broadens your perspective, horizons. It's amazing that just a few hours away a geographical location can offer a complete 180 from anything you've ever known.


I love that I know the meat and potatoes small town goodness of upstate New York. That I went to school outside of Boston and got to experience that New England mentality & food. That I moved to LA with such naiveté only to learn how much I appreciated my small town. And then to also fall in love with Los Angeles and it's people, a creative culture of artists always on their laptops writing comedy sketches and screenplays.


I also love that I got to live in Chicago, where all of the young people that didn't want to live with their parents but wanted the experience of a big city but were too scared to go to LA or New York made their home. It was also very meat and potatoes. A lot of corruption but I really loved Chicago. It's a super cool city and the people are awesome, very community oriented. And then to move to Mazama, mountain town of 200. The most gorgeous place I've ever lived-- the Swiss Alps of the US. To experience such a surreal sense of quiet & a remoteness in spirit and a heartiness and resourcefulness in its people. And then back to the California mountains and now to North Carolina, which I'm still figuring out.


I've met so many different kinds of people, had so many different kinds of conversations. I've heard and experienced differing opinions, different lifestyles. It's enriched my life beyond belief and I love that about me.

27) I LOVE THAT I APPRECIATE GOOD FOOD!!!


Oh my god, the appreciation of good food is strong in this one! ;) I love that I not only love to eat but that I appreciate GOOD food. I don't eat a lot of processed stuff. I LOVE GOING OUT TO EAT!!!!! Fancy places, casual places. I will totally go out to eat by myself. A joy!! I love food that is fresh, authentic with artistry involved. Traditional, comfort food, cultural, I will eat the hell out of ALL of it. With appetizers and dessert (unless the desserts look super boring and it's just creme brûlée and flourless chocolate cake- UNINSPIRED!! DO BETTER!!! lol). I will drive two hours from Los Angeles for a good donut and say that I'm going to visit my sister in San Diego. lol (Petersens Donuts in Escondido, I'm just saying. Worth trading in family members, lol).

28) I LOVE THAT I LOVE TO ENTERTAIN GUESTS


Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter... Oh my GOD... Let's have over ALL the people and make sure no one is alone for the holidays. AND... let's have fancy dinner parties!!! All homemade EVERYTHING!!! ON CUTE DISHES!!! JUST RELAX!! DON'T DO A THING!! I'M TAKING CARE OF YOU, JUST ENJOY!!! YOU DESERVE A BREAK TODAY!! AND WAY MORE THAN A KIT KAT!!!


(It just occurred to me how long it's been since I've had a real