coming of age

www. Wednesday

Happy half-way through day, ladies and gents! Links for your perusing pleasure…

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+ As everyone here knows, I can get pretty political and impassioned when people are being wronged… but instead, I will just leave this gorgeous series of photos of the prayer chain in Charleston here, because I need–and maybe you to do–to focus on the positive for a while. It’s absolutely stunning what people can do when they work together.

+ A lot of people these days say reading is a waste of time, or boring, or insert other moronic excuse here. GOOD NEWS, LIT LOVERS: WE DA HAPPIEST!

+ I’m 114% positive I have thought this type of malpractice was going to happen to me before because I KNOW MY BODY, but doctors think I’m crazy. Doctors let this poor girl die because they didn’t take her seriously, and I am so proud of her mother for making a public effort to change that in the face of losing her gal. Brava, lady.

+ I’m intuitive and introverted (with a pesky outgoing personality), and this is why you think I’m totally bonkers.

+ Back to that whole book thing mentioned above: if you need a summer reading list, Refinery29’s got you! I also have a massive stack beside my bed I could roll-call for you, but I’m not sure you’d find that appealing!

+ My fave Aussie blogger came up with a list of 35 things she’s learned about life in 35 years, and I agree with ALL of them… except maybe the kid one 😉

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Hey, did you know PYGMY HIPPOS WERE A THING?! Now you do & you can obsess with me!

Hey, did you know PYGMY HIPPOS WERE A THING?! Now you do & you can obsess with me!

Bravery in the Blog

I may not know much, or hell, even that much at all, but at least I know I’m brave.

I’m brave enough to speak my opinions, whether my readers will agree or not.

I’m brave enough to show my humanity through happiness, anger, sadness, bitching, etc. because I won’t pretend to feel a way others deem “acceptable” just to make said folks comfortable.

I’m brave enough to keep going, despite so many people telling me to stop because “nothing will ever come of this space.”

I’m brave enough to disconnect from people, no matter who they are, who don’t get why I would choose a blog over a career that doesn’t accept what the blog has to say.

I’m brave enough to say e.x.a.c.t.l.y. what I’m thinking.

I’m brave enough to come here and write anything–even the uncomfortable stuff–and sign my name to it.

So why, why, why, is one of you hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet, trying to infiltrate my life? Why are you wasting your time? I will always be here whether you want me to be or not. I may change the blog’s interface or subject matter or header 89 times, but I, the author, will still stand behind it, no matter those changes. I will be here, tall and unwavering, no matter what warfare you’re inexplicably trying to start. In fact, many of the things you’ve tried to accomplish over TWO ENTIRE YEARS have never, ever worked. Let it go or stop reading, plain and simple.

I’m brave enough to say without hesitation that you are a coward. You are someone who has some great void in life, and you fill it with hate instead of newfound interests or love. You are someone who has nothing better to do with your time than to type comments or send emails from behind a veil.

I get it. I certainly would be bored if I couldn’t say precisely what I desired to or confront someone face-to-face. But maybe, just maybe, you could try to be brave. Whatever your problem is, you will never solve it behind that curtain of hate, that security blanket of secrecy, that misdirected keyboard thrashing.

I’m even brave enough to forgive you if you ever want to join us in the Land of the Free Thinkers. If not, just stay in your lane, and let the rest of us write and live our lives to the fullest.

Some Sunday Selections

I normally (er… used to normally?) hook up links to my blog during my www. Wednesday feature, but since I’m SO far behind, I figured I’d roll ’em all out here on this lazy Sunday. Or, if you’re like me, you’ve already been up for three hours listening to the Arctic Monkeys and planning blog entries.

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+ I LOVE short stories. There is something about them that is so special; here’s a list compiled by Refinery29 of 30 you need to read… bookmarked and ready to go over here!

+ My friend S posted or sent this McSweeney’s article to me forever ago, and it just knocked me off my feet. It’s a perfect picture of our mental health care system right now, as written by a lady writer whose been through it all. She’s also witty as hell, so read it if you like charming-as-hell writing.

+ Not that I know anyone like this (cough… me), but I’ll just leave this here for anyone who might understand the 11 struggles of being a highly sexual being.

+ Through pure chance, I am apparently a combination of two of my lady heroes’ body-type wise: KimK (hourglass) and Angelina (carrot), and I could not be happier. I also adore how many body types they address in this article. #Refinery29JunkieForLife

+ I will never tire of this highly paid teachers salary math problem floating around on the Internet. Spoiler alert: teachers are so, so, SO underpaid.

+ BLESS THIS POST: 15 things you don’t owe ANYONE.

+ Just sayin’, this dude ain’t a marriage counselor for nothing. He understands why women (or men) leave and/or cheat on the ones they love: lack of attention/gratitude/listening.

+ Because I miss it every day, here’s a compilation of 26 Office quotes that will make you laugh. There are thousands more if you just WATCH THE SHOW!

+ I was appalled to find that the Neutrogena products I’d been using for YEARS were exposed as being horrible for you/NOT WORKING this year, especially since I’m (for the most part) vigilant about sun exposure. EWG has an extensive list of sunscreens that actual work, while also being good for your body.

+ God, I hope this scientifically-proven method of decreasing procrastination works on my concrete-stubborn procrastination tendencies.

+ This beauty article makes me feel so validated about my brow tendencies. Here’s how to keep your brows on FLEEK… and get ’em there if you don’t feel satisfied yet 🙂

+ Please enjoy this puppy photo to brighten your day, or you know, make it brighter.

via jjae

via jjae

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Hopefully I’ve caught up enough to jump back into the www. Wednesday pattern later this week! Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, lovies ❤

Smashing Your Boxes

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Pic via my bff, BB, from Austin, TX

Our perceptions of ourselves are probably a little skewed. Let’s be honest: most of us are probably our own biggest fans. Still, I strive to be mindful of my flaws (and let others know about them) in an effort to get to that sought-after self-actualization that Maslow guy was always on about.

That being said, I constantly feel I’m being thrown into these little boxes of inaccuracy, and that inaccuracy just drives me up the wall. I’m bogged down by the weight of the people who refuse to look beyond the borders of the walls they’ve imposed upon me before they’ve even seen the second layer of who I am. Yeah, sure, I’m that girl you got really drunk with one night six years ago, but that doesn’t mean I’m only a girl who drinks. That is a mere glimpse of my character and the experiences that have shaped it.

Just because I dressed in a crop top and shorts last Saturday doesn’t mean I’m rockin’ that look on the regular, nor does it imply that I belong in some kind of derogatory “slut” box.

Just because I lost my cool on a few folks who–frankly–probably deserved it, and you happened to witness said incidents, doesn’t mean I belong to be herded into your “dramatic ladies” category.

I forget my words sometimes, but that doesn’t mean I’m automatically and always required to reside in your box labeled “idiocy.” I could go on for days about how painful it is to be so categorized in such a small space when I want so badly for that person to know each and every tiny detail of me.

It’s hard, because none of us WANT to care what other people think. But when someone else’s VIEW of you is so skewed from the REALITY of you? That’s hard to ignore, especially when the person matters to you, yet they refuse to look past the boundaries of their self-created boxes on boxes and into your core.

I get bitchy sometimes, but I’m overall a sweet, loving person who just likes being honest. I go mad from time to time when people seem to be doing something wrong, but that doesn’t mean I want to live my life with that energy all. the. time. I am clumsy and foolish, but that doesn’t mean I can’t pull myself together to be poised and serious should the occasion call for it. I’m a bit of a mess sometimes, but I actually spend the majority of my time in an organized (somewhat vanilla) routine that keeps me down-to-earth.

I can be quiet and loud, refined and wild, funny and sad, hyper and exhausted, gregarious and boring, all in the same day. But none of that means I am any less deserving of your time.

I might not be perfect, but I am a human. We’re complex characters, and if you think we’re going to stay in one box, especially a faulty one you chalked up yourself? You got another thing comin’, honey……… especially if you’re someone who can’t admit to being wrong about the most trivial of pursuits , let alone admit to being… GASP! Less than perfect.

Like me. Like the rest of us. Like the world who doesn’t live in boxes because we’re cyclical and nuts and amazing and horrifying and brilliant all at the same time.

And all of us, not just the ones in your “perfect even though I haven’t looked below the surface or given anyone else a chance to prove they might be as good (if not better)” boxes, deserve to been seen fully, deeply, completely. We deserve to be seen, period.

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Words via the lovely Ellen Hopkins.

A Decade Out

The line sounds like the cliche opening in a movie trailer, but it’s plucked straight from reality: ten years ago, my life changed forever. I was a 17-year-old dreamer who believed in everything, feared nothing, and dove right in. But on April 20, 2005, I became a 17-year-old adult who didn’t believe in anything, feared EVERYTHING, and second-guessed facets of life I’d never even fathomed. I was thrust face-first into a harrowing situation, and the result was a broken human with a temporary case of PTSD and a life-long case of GAD and depression. 4/20/05 literally changed the fibers of my being, down to the very synapses in my brain.

I’ve talked (briefly) about losing my first love before, but sometimes I feel like I could write forever and still not manage to describe the events, the emotions, the people, the smells and sounds. I could never do the day justice through words in a million years. Whether I go a day or a year without thinking about it, when I let the moment completely take me over, I still feel the same dense sadness in my sweaty panic as I remember.

A struggle as a writer–especially one on the Internet, where things are public as public can be–is how much to reveal. Sure, it’s my life and I can tell my stories, but I very much take into account the privacy of others when I tell a story that doesn’t involve me and me alone. A decade out, though, I feel like it’s a disservice to J’s memory to leave out the details of how he died. Point blank, addiction killed him. I didn’t know it then, but god, I see it now.

The thing is, we see addiction as this gross, shadowy thing in our society. Only horrible, gaunt, rotting people who sell their children’s belongings to get a fix are the ones who get hooked and die, right?

Wrong. So wrong.

J was so different from our societal image of addiction that no one saw it, not even I. He was warm and disarmingly handsome. He could make me laugh with such ease, and even in our hardest times, it never felt uncomfortable. He was caring, intelligent as hell, family-oriented, and loved his friends. J attended church, even though I didn’t, because it mattered to him. He, on paper, was perfect. But the boredom of living in a town that didn’t provide enough stimulation for him–for most of us–pushed him on this precarious path of substance abuse we ALL walked down in that time. The thing is, he walked further than the rest of us… and it ended in the worst way, the way it never should have.

But that addiction doesn’t take away what he gave me, his family, and all of his friends while he was still here. The only thing it actually does is make it a horrible accident, and anyone who says otherwise doesn’t deserve to hear the memories the rest of us get to share with each other about a magical human who touched us on an intimate level.

I used to think “Hey, maybe I shouldn’t share this because it’s not just my story,” but the thing is, it is a story that saved me from dying, too. Sure, I immediately went cold turkey the day he died, but it was because I didn’t trust drugs anymore, not because I saw an issue. But when I realized how close or knee-deep-IN he and I and so many others were to addiction, I couldn’t believe no one had stopped us. I couldn’t believe no one had noticed. And then I realized, it’s because we didn’t fit the mold. We made straight A’s, looked attractive and healthy, and we could act our naive faces off. We tricked everyone, and probably the best of us paid for it. A lot more did before him and unfortunately, a lot more have since, too.

Ten years later, I am still broken, but I am alive; I thank J for that gift often. But I think I can thank him more by being more open about him and his struggle, about the different faces of addiction and the different ways we can be addicted. I can thank him by continuing to ruthlessly take care of my health, mental and physical. I can thank him by raising awareness of the INSANE amount of teen drug use, especially in tiny towns. I can thank him by living my life for me and ONLY me, just like he wanted me to.

And in a way, I feel like that means he’s not gone because addiction doesn’t change someone’s core. J’s core was kind, and we’ll spend our time left here making sure that core kindness keeps rippling through the world. He left a legacy that will last forever: through us, through the lives we build, and through the people we help. How many people can say that?

Not many, and we’re all better for knowing someone who could.

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www. Wednesday

It’s back, it’s back! Link party below:

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+ Can I get an amen on this EliteDaily article about how you assholes keep calling us crazy, but really, you’re just dicks? K, thx.

+ You have to be deaf if you don’t like Ariana Grande. Proof in the Whitney Houston-cover pudding found HERE.

+ Because I’ve been sick (read: FATIGUED!) for so long, here’s a Buzzfeed article of all my eternally exhausted faces……. as told through DOG PHOTOS!

+ This perfectly describes how people who don’t vaccinate themselves or children sound to me… brava, Girl Pants!

+ i-D magazine compiled a perf vid of slang terms you need to know. You may think you’re above slang, but all us teachers will tell you: YA NEED. TA KNOW!

+ Since I’m in a slump right now, I figured we could all use this kid-approved list of 22 acts of kindness we can all easily pull off.

+ Also, if you’re feeling slump-ish, let’s all read Amazon’s 100 must-read books to escape, eh?

+ Realizing late in life I’m probably in this slump because I fall under 95% of these 11 traits of an Indigo child

+ A simple, yet comprehensive, list of traits all of us should have in a partner!

+ Overall, I think Iggy Azaela is problematic, but I think it she would focus more of her time acting like this–open and honest about plastic surgery aka WHY DON’T ALL CELEBS DO THIS?!–she could gain some respect and maybe start forging her own (non-problematic) path.

 

Closet Makeover

The biggest part of my life is my clothes.

Sure, that may be shallow, but think about it. Every day requires you to dress, at least if you work in a locale that ISN’T a nude beach. Most of us, including myself on a lot of my earlier mornings (aka WORK DAYZ), dress solely for function and comfort.

But mostly, I dress for form. I dress for art, for beauty, for fun. I dress for myself, and I dress to express whatever that self is thinking or feeling on a given day.

So screw family and friends, the biggest part of my life is clothes.

(Just kidding, y’all. You know I’d go nakey before I went without you!)

In the house of a lady whose clothes take precedence over every other chore, however, the closet is KINDA a big deal. It has to be large enough to house all the ammunition, and no matter how big it is, it has to be organized and clean, else you forget you own that fabulous crochet dress next time summer rolls around.

Enter the issue with our current rental: the closet, while a walk-in, is so narrow and horribly designed that neither of us really have room for anything. When we moved in, I just kinda threw everything inside, so it looked like this for a long time:

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I didn’t even edit these because I wanted my emotion about this closet sitch to come through 100%: PURE DARKNESS, AGONIZING CHAOS, CLAUSTROPHOBIC WALLS CLOSING IN, PANIC ATTACK SETTING IN……..

So over the past few months, I’ve tried really hard to do a lot of things: pare down, move things around, buy helpful organization tools, and replace old, crappy hangers with new, slimmer ones I can use forever (that won’t hurt my garments).

While it won’t ever be perfect, lest a wall gets torn down and expansion becomes an option (NOT AN OPTION), here’s what I’m working with now:

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I crated up half of my shoes so they won’t scatter the floor of the already cramped space.

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For the more sturdy, expensive shoes, I installed a shoe rack and utilized the under bar of the (poorly chosen and installed) shelves already existing in the closet.

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I turned a lot of my old crates into viewable storage for more stackable items, like my workout clothes and purses.

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More boxes turned viewable storage. Can we talk about that HORRIFIC florescent lighting? Should never, ever, EVER be an option, let alone in a CLOSET!

This is the best I’m gonna get, I’m not too upset with it, AND I’ve decided to just let it go. We’re moving out in a few months–I maintain this closet is one of our top 5 reasons why we’re itching to get the hell out–so what’s the point? As much as I love organization and home decor, sometimes the best thing one can do is recognize a lost cause when you see one.

And Project Appleberry? The biggest lost cause of all time. You know what, though? That’s okay. The best lesson I’ve learned from this project is that some things are better left undone so you can focus on projects worthy of your time.

Retaliation

Retaliation is not my style, but when someone keeps lobbing bombs on you, eventually you’re going to declare war.

For a long time, there’s been a behind-the-scenes battle against me. And not only me, but other people like me. I–we–shouldn’t care what these people think; after all, that’s what they want. But you know what? It’s time for some pay-back via fact-straightening and blunt truths.

Women are hardwired to apologize. We make a mistake, we say sorry. We accidentally bump someone, we say we’re sorry. We do anything out of norm, no matter how small, and we say we’re sorry. Why? I’ve made it an effort in the past and in the present to say sorry way, way less. It’s a term that should only be used when you’re truly remorseful for something you’ve done that is grossly shameful, not because you didn’t hear someone the first time they said something. These are not equal offenses, and shouldn’t be treated as such.

That being said, I am sorry for some of the things I’ve done, both small and large scale. But as a whole, I’m really, really… not sorry. I’m not sorry for being who I am. I’m not sorry if you take offense to my jokes. I’m really not sorry if you are offended by the truth, which is what I do my best to speak at all times. I’m not sorry if you are misunderstand me and what I’m about, what I’ve experienced. I’m not sorry if I didn’t sugarcoat things.

This doesn’t beget natural, moral order and/or manners; this is just when some action supersedes that basic level of decency, the decency I will 100% of the time extend to you. This is about when we’ve moved beyond that base level of decency into the “should I or shouldn’t I apologize” world. This is the stage when the offenders in question also move into their next and other stage: butthurt.

If you get butthurt-eth by something I say, I would have said sorry in the past. No longer. If you don’t understand hyperbole, sarcasm, and other basic literary devices, get educated. If you don’t get my humor, don’t read it. If you don’t grasp that I’m trying to stay true to myself and help others through BRUTAL honesty, no one is forcing you to stay around and hear it. I’m not going to apologize anymore when you get butthurt by shit that is humorous or true.

The funny thing is, there will be people who will read this and feel that ever-so-permating tingle in their bones and swell up into their cheeks as the butthurt hits. This is where I’d normally apologize, but no. NO! That’s really not fair. I have observed some people say and do and write and be so many worse things than myself. These are the people who have the audacity to demand apology, to point a finger at me, to tell me I am an ass. I let you say and be this way without comment. Prior to today, I let it slide by without judgement, too. But with your actions come retribution, and I say no more. No more leeway for you if there is none for me. No more apologies if you can’t suck it up and be an adult. No more room in my life for people who can’t understand that we’re all human, and we express ourselves in so many different ways; one is not better than the other. I only want people in my life who are understanding and compassionate of that fact.

Yes, I will make off-color jokes.

Indeed, I will say things without filter.

Of course, I will say things that offend some and humor others.

And maybe, sometimes, I will say I’m sorry… but only if the situation really calls for it.

Only if I really mean it.

Only if you really deserve it.

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How many of you have ever felt like you couldn’t be true (to others or to yourself) due to the reactions of those in your life? Let me know!

Mystery (NOT) Solved, Part II

Oy.

Last time, I talked about how I knew what was going on, and how I was hopeful I’d find a good doc. Update: I still know what’s going on, it’s just that now there’s MORE going on, and I have a distinct LACK of control of what symptoms will hit and when. One night, my nausea kept me up all hours, and two days later, I felt like I was totally fine. I have high high’s, low low’s, and a LARGE number of in-between days where I constantly go up, and down, or feel sorta blah without a big “UGH” moment. How do you solve something that changes every day? Oh, and also, NO GOOD DOCTORS YET!

The answer to all of this should easily be go to a doctor and get them to solve your mystery with you, perhaps even for you, right? But the sad truth is, there are just a lot of doctors, especially when you don’t live in a big city, who really don’t know what they’re doing. Worse, they don’t listen to you when you say you have some ideas that you’d at least like to rule out… even if that advice is from a veteran nurse or another doctor. WHAT?!

To boot, when you’re searching for answers on the professional end, there are a LOT of people (personally) who seem to be baffled that you can’t just be better. This was a phenomena I once deemed only applicable to invisible illnesses, like mental health. However, it appears unless your head is falling off or you have a boil the size of a newborn baby on your shoulder, people will still doubt your physical ailments.



This, I know, shouldn’t matter. But when my bones ache and my fatigue sets in, when my stomach wrenches into knots and my depression is acting up, when I am close-to-vomiting non-stop and I miss a work day or a girls day or {insert whatever else here}, the last thing I and other sufferers of ails need is to feel that doubt. People say things to imply “You could have made yourself better,” “you could have helped this because it’s in your control,” or “you are a burden and I don’t believe you;” sometimes they say it right out! And maybe it’s just my anxiety, but it cuts to the core of me when I genuinely have a out-of-my-hands health issue and I am met with doubtful words. It actually makes me feel worse, and I know I’m not alone in that.

The only thing that gets me through is thinking of the other people in the world who suffer in the same way, knowing that we have each other’s backs. I think of the few people who always understand me, and give me helpful advice instead of dismissing me. I think on a future time when I know I will be better, thanks to these people and one smashing doctor, and the people who doubted me will see what a change there has been. Most of all, I think of a time when I can wake up rested and at peace. And that, even through all the obstacles and doubtful faces, gets me through the most because I can’t wait for the day I can wake up and live again.

What Parks and Rec Taught Me About Life

1. Never let someone dull your sparkle.

The right humans for you will never tell you to be something other than yourself, whether that be your sig other or your bff or your co-worker. They like you for who you are, and tell you to go for your crazy plans when everyone else doubts you.

2. Always put friends first.

LK always put her friends first, and she reaped the benefits of a beautiful life full of love because of her loyalty. (Even if she leaned Saracen #teamriggins)

3. Be nice, and I mean like “ANN, YOU BEAUTIFUL, NAIVE, SOPHISTICATED NEWBORN BABY!” compliment nice.

There is no reason to be mean. You can be passionately angry and lose your temper from time to time, but you should never let anger sit in your skeleton. No one who let anger overcome them on P&R ever got anything done. Their kind circle got things done because of the goodness they expected from each other and everyone else.

4. Embrace your inner Leslie. Or Ben. Or April. Or Ron. Or…

In my case, I am Leslie AND Ben, with April’s cynicism. I like that I’m crazy-passionate, hard-working, anxious, nerdy, and sarcastic. There was a time when I didn’t see this reflection of myself represented in the media, but I think thanks to this show, we can all see a little of ourselves, whether we’re Toms or Donnas or Andys!

5. Who you work with IS as important as what you do.

I have long maintained that co-workers make or break your working world; P&R proves that your life and your workspace will be so. much. better. if you’re a community of people who respect each other.

6. Being happy in what you do is the ONLY way to make a living.

No matter what path the characters took, they always followed their hearts career-wise. If it didn’t make them happy, they moved on. You have to be fulfilled; you can’t sell something you hate or do something that makes you sick. You have got to be happy in the thing you’re doing 8-12 hours a day, 5-7 days a week. What that is is different for everyone, and you should never hold someone back from trying to find that workplace happiness.

7. Never grow up…

You must always remember your inner Burt Macklin and release him often. No good can come from taking yourself too seriously and never having fun. I will always buy Marvel t-shirts, for example. NEVER SORRY!!!!!!!!

8. … but always work hard.

That being said, you can have fun and do the things you love, so long as you’re working on bettering who you are, what you do, and enriching the world and the lives of the people in it. That means working hard, and there’s nothing wrong with a good day’s work!

9. Always lend a helping hand.

It’s really easy to shake people off, but when someone needs you, just help them. Even if you can’t help in the way they need, bring them coffee and hold them until someone else can. We need each other.

10. Breakfast food is the best and solves everything.

WAFFLES. BACON. EGGS. THEY ARE EVERYTHING! Sad? Eat b. foods. Celebrating? Have a brinner. “There was never a problem that couldn’t be solved by breakfast foods.”