Should I be a YouTuber? (10 of 30)

So, this is shocking, I know… But I am still asking the question of:

what am I doing with my life?

and I still don’t have any answers.

I have a list of things that I have interest in and I have started on all sorts of different projects (I published a children’s book.. I have an Etsy shop… I have this blog… I have a stack of art and illustrations in my studio… I know how to sew… I like learning about personality typologies… I have a passion for language and reading and childhood and creativity and small businesses and education and lists…).  I currently get paid for doing occasional architectural freelance work (that’s what my college degree is in), babysitting, and cleaning a couple houses.  So I make some money, but not much. And I am married. Just in case you are wondering how I am not homeless yet…

But anyway, recently I have been considering the possibility of starting a YouTube channel.  While I think it could be a cool format to share some of my passions, there are all sorts of things hindering me from doing this… but I decided to take a bunch of online quizzes to see what the internet had to say. Here are the answers I got:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Let’s just take a second to laugh at the one that said I should have a Beauty channel.  I don’t know what I possibly could have answered to get that outcome, but I can assure you that I am neither qualified, nor do I have any desire to start a beauty channel. (Props to people who do! That’s just SO not me.  The only makeup I put on most days is eyeliner. I don’t even own eyeshadow.  My little sister had to teach me how to use foundation before my college graduation.) Needless to say, Beauty Channel won’t be the direction I go with my future.

I can’t say that these were the most enlightening online quizzes I have ever taken. (But I also cannot say that they were the least enlightening either…) There were also some YouTube videos that I watched about the process of making a YouTube video and some of the things to consider.  Here’s one of them:

I also watched (and took notes on) the free portion of the video series here… which had some good points, but was honestly pretty intuitive information overall.  Here are the notes I took:

jumpcut notes

While the this whole process did not end up being remarkably helpful for determining if I should or should not be a YouTuber, I did listen to a podcast yesterday that included a lot of good things to consider. Find it here on Personality Hacker’s website. Basically it was suggested that those of us ‘who don’t know what we are doing with our lives’ are asking the wrong question.  We should instead be asking, what skills would I like to develop? And who can I talk to who is successful in something that might be even slightly interested in? Because a job/career path is more likely to be the emergent of these things that it is just going to fall in our lap one day while we are taking online quizzes.

So I guess that’s what I will be journaling about for the next few days… what skills do I want to focus on developing?  And who would I love to gain some wisdom from in my life?

Do you feel like you have found your passion in life? What got you to that point?  I’d love you hear your stories, so please feel free to share them in the comments!

Should I be a YouTuber? (10 of 30)

You Have Been Warned (9 of 30)

These crows with their claws on my gutters scritch-scratching
as I sit on my balcony trying to read
But the sound is that of nails on a chalkboard
and I can’t ignore it
No matter how hard I try
And it makes my skin crawl
and my shoulders tense
and I get this rage within me
This foreign feeling that fills me up
and makes me wish I had a bucket of rocks by my side
so I could chuck one at it
And maybe I would hit it and scare it away
Or maybe I would it would topple down, hitting the grass,
And then maybe the other crows would see it laying there
and know I mean business
Because even though I’m not normally an angry person,
my reading time is sacred
And these damn crows have plenty of trees to nest in


You Have Been Warned (9 of 30)

What is an HSP? (8 of 30)

The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You

by Elaine N. Aron, PhD

Book Review

Brief Description of HSP: Highly Sensitive People make up 15-20% of the population and have nervous systems designed to react to subtle experiences.  They are therefore more likely to become overstimulated and have high level of emotional reactivity.

There is so much about this book I would love to share, however I will try to keep it relatively brief (but highly recommend that if any of this sounds interesting or applicable to you that you get yourself a copy of the book and/or check out all of the awesome info on the HSP site).

If you would like to pause and take the HSP test, you can do so here.

Note to Non-HSPs

If you are part of the majority of the population (those who are not Highly Sensitive People) you can also benefit from this post and this book. However, some non-HSPs may react negatively to this new classification (as a non-HSP) and therefore I have added a note from Aron to non-HSPs:

Sometimes non-HSPs feel excluded and hurt by the idea that we are different from them and maybe sound like we think we are somehow better.  They say, “Do you mean I am not sensitive?” One problem is that “sensitive” also means being understanding and aware.  Both HSPs and non-HSPs can have these qualities, which are optimized when we are feeling good and alert to the subtle.  When very calm, HSPs may even enjoy the advantage of picking up more delicate nuances.  When overaroused, however, a frequent state for HSPs, we are anything but understanding or sensitive.  Instead, we are overwhelmed, frazzled, and need to be alone.  By contrast, your non-HSP friends are actually more understanding of others in highly chaotic situations.

(from the Preface, page xxvii, emphasis mine)

Quick Facts

  1. “Everyone, HSP or not, feels best when neither too bored or too aroused.” We are all seeking our optimum arousal state, which we can influence in all sorts of ways.  You can increase you level of arousal, for instance, by turning on music or drinking coffee. We can all become overwhelmed by too much arousal. (6)

  2. “People differ considerably in how much their nervous system is aroused in the same situation, under the same stimulation.” (6)
  3. 15-20% of a given species is very sensitive to stimulation (6)

  4. Arousal may appear as blushing, trembling, heart pounding, hands shaking, foggy thinking, stomach churning, muscles tensing, and hands or other parts of the body perspiring.” (10)
  5. “One general rule is that when we have no control over stimulation, it is more upsetting, even more so if we feel we are someone’s victim.  While music played by ourselves may be pleasant, heard from the neighbor’s stereo, it can be annoying, and if we have previously asked them to turn it down, it becomes a hostile invasion.” (9)


Overview of HSP Characteristics

  • Depth of Processing
  • Overstimulation
  • Emotional Reactivity/Empathy
  • Sensing the Subtle


The Book Includes:

  1. Self-knowledge (what does it mean to be an HSP)
  2. Reframing activities (helping to change the view of certain past “failures”)
  3. Healing from deeper wounds that arose from being, by nature, sensitive
  4. Help with feeling okay when out in the world and learning when to be out less

(quoted/paraphrased from the preface, page xxviii)


Science Supports the Existence of High Sensitivity

Author’s Note

Basically, this book begins in the Author’s note (2016) with scientific research supporting the existence of this trait, which seems like an absolute necessity in today’s world for validating any claims.

“…many species—now we know it’s more than one hundred, so far, including fruit flies and some fish species—have a minority that are highly sensitive. Although obviously the trait leads to different behaviors depending on whether you are a fruit fly, fish, bird, dog, deer, monkey, or human, a general description of it would be that the minority that has inherited it has adopted a survival strategy of pausing to check, observe, and reflect on or process what has been noticed before choosing an action.  Slowness to act, however, is not the hallmark of the trait.  When sensitive individuals see right away that their situation is like a past one, thanks to having learned so thoroughly from thinking over the last time, they can react to a danger or opportunity faster than others. For this reason, the most basic aspect of the trait—depth of processinghas been difficult to observe.  Without knowing about it, when someone paused before acting, other could only guess what was happening inside that person.  Often HSPs were thought to be inhibited, shy, fearful, or introverted (in fact, roughly 30 percent of HSPs are actually extroverts, and many introverts are not HSPs). Some HSP accepted those labels, having no other explanation for their hesitancy.  Indeed, feeling different and flawed, some of us found the label “shy” or “fearful of social judgment” self-fulfilling… Others knew they were different but hid it and adapted, acting like the less sensitive majority.”

(author’s note, pages xiii-xiv, emphasis mine)

The research suggests that it is connected to both serotonin and dopamine levels and that it is genetic.

“Although everyone agrees that much of one’s personality is inherited, no researches had found genes as strongly associated as this when they studied the standard personality traits, such as introversion, conscientiousness, and agreeableness.  These researchers in China looked at high sensitivity instead, believing it to be more ‘deeply rooted in the nervous system.'” (page xvi)

High Sensitivity ≠ Introversion or Neuroticism 


Related terms: biological sensitivity to context, differential susceptibility and vantage sensitivity, orienting sensitivity

Quotes that Stuck Out & Things to Remember

Not the Ideal

If you remember only one things from this book, it should be the following research study. Xinyin Chen and Kenneth Rubin of the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, and Yuerong Sun of Shanghai Teachers University compared 480 schoolchildren in Shanghai to 296 in Canada to see what traits made children most popular. In China “shy” and “sensitive” were among those most chosen by others to be friends or playmates… In Canada, shy and sensitive children were among the least chosen. Chances are, this is the kind of attitude you faced growing up.

Think about the impact on you of not being the ideal for your culture.  It has to affect you—not only how others have treated you buy how you have come to treat yourself. (15)

The book entitled Quiet by Susan Cain discusses this idea of cultural differences in ideal personality traits often and in a broader context, specifically regarding the Extrovert Ideal in our western culture. If you are not an HSP, but are an introvert who often feels marginalized by our culture, I recommend checking out Quiet:The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking as well.  Keep an eye out, as I also plan to do a review of that book in the coming weeks.

Arousability and Intuition

“What this difference in arousability means is that you notice levels of stimulation that go unobserved by others.  This is true whether we are talking about subtle sounds, sights, or physical sensations like pain. It is not that your hearing, vision, or other senses are more acute (plenty of HSPs wear glasses). The difference seems to lie somewhere on the way to the brain or in the brain, in a more careful processing of information…

This greater awareness of the subtle tends to make you more intuitive, which simply means picking up and working through information in a semiconscious or unconscious way. The result is that you often “just know” without realizing how.” (7)

I would fascinated to know what percentage of HSPs type as an Intuitive within the Myer’s Briggs (MBTI) system. If you have done or read any research regarding this please comment or contact me!

HSPs and College

Sometimes, however, we take too big a step.  College can be that for some HSPs.  I have know so many HSPs who dropped out after the first term (or after their first return home, often at Christmas).  Neither they nor their parents nor their counselors understand the real problem, overstimulation from a whole new life—new people, new ideas, new life plans, plus living in a noisy dorm and staying up all night talking or partying, plus probably experimenting with sex, drugs, and alcohol (or nursing your friends through the aftereffect of their experiments).

Even when the sensitive student would rather withdraw and rest, there is that pressure to do what other do, be normal, keep up, make friends, satisfy everyone’s expectations.  Whatever trouble you had in college should be reframed. It was not some personal failure. (85)

I have honesty found this passage, and so many others, to be surprisingly life-changing.  I am learning to give grace to past-Megan for things that I used to be frustrated with her about… Being too “weak” to stay at all the noisy, crowded group events or to be able to keep up with all the social events of our friend group. Being so hesitant to live in a house with 7 girls and being too “lame” for not loving it (in fact, it was actually kind of torturous a lot of the time.  see #5 in the quick facts section above…). Being too “anxious” to do much public speaking (or getting so nervous and sweaty and jumbled when it couldn’t be avoided).  What were your experiences as an HSP in college?

Self-Esteem and Worth

Sooner or later everyone encounters stressful life experiences, but HSPs react more to such stimulation  If you see this reaction as part of some basic flaw, you intensify the stress already present in any life crisis. Next come feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. (5)

These are the quotes that make me wish that everyone could learn more about this topic… But as long as sensitivity is seen as a defect, there is little hope for healthy self-esteem to develop in those who are being viewed as inherently flawed.

Talking about “curing” your shyness or “conquering your syndrome” cannot help but make you feel flawed, and it overlooks the positive side of your inherited trait. (104)


Others Tidbits

HSPs often have more bad dreams than do their non-HSP counterparts.

“As you reparent your body, the first thing to realize is that the more it avoids stimulation, the more arousing the remaining stimulation becomes.” (51)

“…overarousal can be mistaken for anxiety.” (78)

“Ignore the barbs about ‘lightening up.'” (100)

HSPs probably make their greatest communication errors by avoiding the overarousal caused by unpleasantries.  I think most people, but HSPs especially, dread anger, confrontation, tears, anxiety, “scenes,” facing change (it always means the loss of something), being asked to change, being judged or shamed by our mistakes, or judging or shaming anyone else…Furthermore, your intuition is leaping ahead. In a very real, arousing, semiconscious imaginary world, you are already experiencing various ways the conversation might go, and more of them are distressing. (156)


In Conclusion

In this post, I tended to focus on the more overarching quotes, facts, and descriptions from the book.  However, I do want to point out that there is a wealth of information to be found in the later, more specific sections of the book about things such as strategies for handling overstimulating situations, helpful anecdotes, parenting a HSP child, parenting as an HSP yourself, medications such as Prozac, activities for personal reflection and growth, work situations, healing from past wounding, and so much more. So if this has held your attention and interest thus far, I highly recommend checking out the entirety of the book!

Additionally, there were a couple of really great pages about determining a vocation that I wanted to share, but I think I will save that for an upcoming post, giving the fact that life direction is still something I am definitely working on identifying. Stay tuned!

What is an HSP? (8 of 30)

Earth-Friendly Habits (6 of 30)

Well, I have missed a couple days of my ‘posting-every-day-for-thirty-days’ goal, but instead of beat myself up over it, I am going to give myself some grace and just get back on the horse.

Today I want to share a list of small changes we can all make in our daily lives to better love this planet that we live on.  I haven’t incorporated all of them into my life yet, but I am working on it and hope to keep finding more ways!  If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them!



Shop at Goodwill, Vintage shops, and yard sales.

Not only can you get the books, toys, clothes, and other items you need more cheaply, you get to be part of the process of diverting items from the landfill.  Plus, if those jeans have already been washed you know they won’t go shrinking on you when you take them home and wash them for the first time! And an added bonus: you could be supporting small businesses depending on where you choose to shop.

Some of my favorite pieces of clothing have been from thrift shops and consignment stores.  Most recently, a sweet leather jacket and a pair of forest green capris. And while I was in Denver, Colorado recently I purchased some awesome pins from Regal Vintage. Plus, we got to chat with the guy who was working there and he told us about how the store is his family’s business and how he’s seen the city of Denver develop over the past decade.

Choose less packaging.

Instead of buying all those individually packaged snacks, why not buy in bulk and then separate them into reusable bags like the ones listed here.  While it will take a little extra time and effort, in the long run it’ll save you money and help stop additional waste being added to landfills.

(Note: I haven’t done this yet… But reusable bags are a Wish List item and I definitely plan to have them by the time I start packing lunches for little ones. Right now, we go through about a box of plastic snack/sandwich bags about once a year.)

And on this same note: USE A REUSEABLE WATER BOTTLE.

Buy Eco-Conscious Products

There are so many things we use on a regular basis that we could easily substitute with more eco-conscious options.  Some of those include:

Bamboo toothbrushes > Plastic toothbrushes

DivaCup > Tampons

Reusable Straws > Disposable Straws

Reusable Sandwich Bags > Disposable Sandwich Bags

Reusable coffee filters/AeroPress > K-cups

I have a friend who swears by the DivaCup, know a family who loves their reusable straws, and my husband and I ADORE our AeroPress.  I am putting in an order right now for bamboo toothbrushes, and as I mentioned earlier, we will hopefully be getting some reusable snack and sandwich bags soon too!

…and is always true of the internet, someone else has made a similar list here!

Remember to bring those reusable grocery bags!

You’ve heard this, you know this… now find a way that works for you to remember to actually do this!  Whether it is keeping a stash of them in your car or writing yourself a reminder note… Doesn’t help having them if you don’t use them!

image source

Honestly, I love using my reusable bags.  Not only does it make carrying my groceries into the house easier, I know that I won’t have to feel as guilty when I see pictures of dying turtles eating plastic… (Not that doing these things is about minimizing our own negative feelings… but it definitely is a perk!)

Go Paperless

Almost all banks and businesses now have a paperless option.  Now, every once in a while I need and appreciate having printed copies of my bills/receipts. But if I am being honest, 95% of the time those things just end up in my recycling bin.  So take a look at your pile of mail and decide what you need in a physical form and what you could stand to get sent to you via email.

Reduce your water consumption

Turn off the sink when you brush your teeth, take shorter showers, don’t run the dishwasher until it is full, fix leaky toilets, change fixtures to the ‘water conserving’ versions.

Reduce your energy consumption

Turn off the lights, unplug electronics when you aren’t using them, turn down/up the temperature of your home (especially when you are going to be out of town for a couple days!), walk/ride a bike/take public transportation/carpool when available, buy a car with good gas mileage.


Can you reuse those empty glass jars that your marinara sauce came in?  Could it become a flower vase? A container for leftover stew? Storage for craft supplies?  Be creative!

Donate your gently used clothes and other items to a thrift store instead of tossing them.

Use all those cardboard boxes that you get your Amazon shipments in for fort-building with your kids. Or deconstruct them and save them for the next time you, or a local college kid, needs to move. Or when you need to send packages at Christmas.

Toilet paper rolls are a favorite among the kids that I babysit.  They can be used for so many different crafts, from binoculars to owls.  The lists of activities are endless: here and here and here and…

Use old magazines to collage or scrapbook (by yourself or with kiddos).  Kids often love getting to flip through the pages and cut out the vibrant colors to form their own creations.  (Just make sure they are child-appropriate magazines… You wouldn’t believe some of the images that are used for advertisements these days!)


Really there is no excuse in this day and age NOT to recycle.  Instead of one bin, simply put it in the bin right next to it!

Know what your local recycling plant accepts and stick to that.  Don’t contaminate an otherwise good batch of recyclable materials with something that can’t be recycled.

Teach your kids to get in habit of recycling.

You can even go one step further and buy things that are specifically packaged in recyclable materials.


It’s always kind of funny (though never surprising) when I make my own lists and posts and then find someone who has made an equally comprehensive, if not better list than my own.  Check out this awesome article on for more tips and ideas!

Earth-Friendly Habits (6 of 30)

Indoor Plants (5 of 30)

New Plants!!

Recently I bought four new plants for my house: basil, aloe, rosemary, and a Janet Craig Dracaena (seen here.  mine looks most like the ‘compacta’ one at the end of the article.)

Picking these out and repotting them reminded me of a time in my childhood when I would answer the question of “what do you want to be when you grow up?” with the answer “gardener” and the question of “what’s your favorite color?” with the answer “yellow, because the sun is yellow.”

(side note: For a while during a similar period of my life my answers instead were “artist” and “white, because you can draw any color on it.”  (Yes, my answers always seemed to have some sort of logical reasoning behind them…))

Anyway, back to my new plants…

I have killed many a plant in my life… not including the gardens my dad and I attempted over and over again in elementary school, I have also said farewell to a cactus in high school, a basil plant a few years ago, and a rosemary plant this past fall.  My saying has become: I am great with babies, awful with plants.  (I mean, babies also make it pretty dang apparent when they are unhappy… Perhaps if my plants cried audibly… Though not looking to grow any Mandrakes anytime soon…) Needless to say, my dreams of becoming a gardener have gone unfulfilled.

However, there is always hope, and that’s why I am trying again.  And this time hopefully I will actually pay attention to their individual light, water, and temperature needs.


Here are some helpful references I have discovered along the way:

Pruning BasilDracaena Janet Craig / Aloe Vera / Rosemary

(Basically what I have learned in reading these is that I have been over-watering every single one. And that is probably part of how I killed my last rosemary plant. Also I have a feeling I replanted the Janet Craig in exactly the WRONG type of potting soil… CRAP.  Well, at least I have gained many insights into why I have destroyed so many plants.  I assumed they just needed water, soil, and sun… But little did I know, that the levels and types of all of those things matter way more than they ever taught me in elementary school!)

Specific notes

Aloe Vera: DO NOT OVERWATER. Use well-draining soil meant for succulents. Needs pretty high sun exposure.

Rosemary: Needs good air circulation and 6 – 8 hours of full sunlight. (eek! that’s a lot of sun for a plant I currently have indoors!)

Basil: Prune for more leaves and a bushy plant

Janet Craig Dracaena: Low-light plant, but grows best in filtered sunlight. Needs well-draining soil. Stay away from perlite.

General: Make sure to repot when necessary!


janet craig care_fertilizer
source: Plant Care TodayPlant Care Today


Questions for You

Do you have any indoor plants? Or an outdoor garden?  Which are your most resilient plants? Or the most delicate? (I have heard that orchids are remarkably difficult to care for!) Do you grow anything that is edible?  Have any helpful resources to share? I look forward to reading any comments below. :)

Indoor Plants (5 of 30)

My Experience with Yoga (4 of 30)

After the relatively long and heavy post yesterday, I am going to go for a lighter and shorter post today about one of things in my life that I continue to love the more I do it: yoga.

Yoga Watercolor


above: tree pose, warrior one, and warrior two
I hope to continue this series and illustrate numerous yoga poses.

Yoga Goals

(Gotta work on my arm/shoulder strength for this one. Plus general strength and flexibility is a goal too.)

One of the reasons why I love yoga so much is because of the focus on mindfulness and awareness of your body and limits.  I can gently push myself to grow, holding poses longer and trying new ones, but there will never be a (good) yoga video that shames me for not achieving a certain level of flexibility or strength.  There will never be one that yells at me.  In fact, most provide different variations for different poses that you can choose from without judgment.

I think for many years I have pushed my body to do things that it just wasn’t made to do… pull all-nighters, not be over-aroused by loud music and crowds, efficiently digest lactose… And instead of giving me a sense of perseverance or a desire to ‘overcome’, it has led to frustration and shame. I’ve lived in that space for too long and this season of life for me has been about growing beyond that.

(And just a side link, here‘s a TEDx talk I listened to today about The Science of Yogic Breathing. Who knew that breathing could have positive impacts on the contents of your saliva?!)

Have you been to a yoga class?  Learned about yogic breathing techniques? Done yoga in your own home?  What is your experience with yoga? Let me know in the comments below!


My Experience with Yoga (4 of 30)