relationships

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 ❤

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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.

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.

 

How-To: Live Together

Cohabitation ain’t easy. It really brings out your inner control-freak diva (both of ya’s) and some tension can form. But if you love each other and you love the space, that eventually fades away. In fact, I think living with a man (and preparing to do so again) taught me a lot of important lessons on how to live in general.

1. You really don’t need all of those clothes.
I know it’s hard to imagine your closet less-than-overflowing or (GASP!) partially empty, but it’s really for the best. My man used to laugh at the sheer volume of clothing in my possession, but I would just retaliate by pointing out that I never, ever had to do laundry. Eventually I realized something about it really was funny, but maybe not in such a good way. Do I really need 5 dresses that don’t fit me anymore? Do I need 10 shirts that are just “okay?” No, no I don’t. I’d much rather launder my special, oft-used pieces than stare in disdain at a 50% lackluster wardrobe. Quality, not quantity. (And god bless the Goodwill trucks!)

2. Organization isn’t just about cleanliness, it’s about efficiency.
I love being organized. (If you’ve ever read this blog, you know I have an inner-voice that might, in reality, be OCD.) I love it because I like the way a space looks when it is in order. However, if aesthetics take precedence over functionality, there’s not much point to organizing at all. A kitchen might look amazing with stacks of rainbow ceramics stacked along the countertop, but what do you really need there? Probably something like a cutting board, not another cute vintage vase. At the end of the day, it’s wasted space if it doesn’t make sense for how you live in it.

3. Neutral isn’t bad.

In fact, neutral is amazing. You might start out with earth tones to please one another, but if you really put in the time, you can makes some beautiful spaces that never cross the color-war border. (I’m still of the school that all colors have at least one hue everyone can love, but that’s a whole other entry, y’all!)

(via flickr)
4. Woman caves are more important than man caves. (Or “Don’t Be Greedy”)

At the end of the day, I would rather have one room all to myself than fight over the rest of the house. Why? Because having one beautiful, perfect space is more important to me and certainly more than enough. Besides the sheer labor required when trying to cram two strong designs into a whole house full of rooms, it’s just greedy. Each person should get their own, independent space to decorate where they can be completely themselves. The rest of the shared house space can be that easy, clean, and beautiful neutral I mentioned a minute ago.

5. Compromise.

Contrary to a bad stereotype, not all men have poor taste. In fact, some of them have pretty amazing input. The only problem is when two people have strong opinions, sometimes things get messy or left undone in order to end the design debate. The tried and true art of compromising is really all you can do. I’ve learned that I don’t need to control as much of a design as I’d thought. I’ve learned that I don’t necessarily have the best ideas out of all the ideas all the time. I’ve learned that purging yourself of things is good and all it does is make way for better things. Compromising can teach you a lot about your partner, but most importantly, it teaches you about yourself.

Thanks to a headstrong partner, I’ve come to the table with a very clear vision of what I love, and a much better grasp on flexibility, simplicity, and form.

 
What did you do when you moved in with your partner? Any better tips out there? 

Bad Romance

One of the things I will whole-heartedly admit Gen Y has radically fucked up is romance. We all want love, but somewhere along the way marketing fed us the idea that it “wasn’t cool” to settle down. Be a rebel, ride the breeze, run away from everything!

Don’t get me wrong: it’s pretty awesome that we actually have the opportunities we do. If we DO want to live a life of random hookups, open relationships, no relationships, or polyamorous relationships, we have the choice in a way not many generations did before us. Sure, there were summers of free love and sexual revolutions past, but the stigma of non-tradition in romance is starting to fade.

That being said, for those of us who do still decide to search for love, who do want to settle down against our animal nature, who maybe still naively believe in some kind of soulmate or fate or destiny, we are doing it all wrong.

We are having these weird relationships that aren’t relationships: “Oh, her? She’s not my girlfriend. Yes, I took her to meet my parents, and we only sleep with each other, but we are NOT. DATING.”

We are all about some friends-with-benefits: “He’s nice to me, we have everything in common, and we have great sex, but I could NEVER date him!”

We have no qualms with the on-again, off-again idea. We run when we’re scared instead of sticking around. We play strange games with each other, but last time I checked, this was a planet and not a massive chess board.

We truly make everything more complicated than it should be. If you’re one of the Gen Y’ers who wants to engage in monogamous romance, stop what you’re doing and listen to me: Just. Be. Happy.

It’s really that simple. Stop letting the hangups in an age of worry keep you from something good, something real, something that might be… dare I say it? TRUE LOVE!

Oh, and because I know I myself have the attention span of a fruit fly thanks to years of information overload, here’s a handy list for navigating the murky romance waters:

How to Know You’re In Love, or “Quit Bullshitting Around & Just Be Happy, Moron”

  1. If you were on a crashing plane and had time for one phone call, and your significant other/ex/f-w-b/on&off again/etc. is the last person you’d want to speak to, YOU ARE IN LOVE.
  2. If you have had a shitty day and your person does special things to make it better, like buys you a DVD of “The Avengers” or yells at someone for you, and that action makes you feel all tingly inside, YOU ARE IN LOVE. (You are also lucky.)
  3. If you look like you just stepped out of a jungle or a Quentin Tarantino film, but your person still thinks you’re smokin’ hot, YOU ARE IN LOVE.
  4. If you can survive a road trip of 5+ hours alone together and still like each other, YOU ARE IN LOVE.
  5. If you can genuinely enjoy watching the same TV shows together, YOU ARE MOST DEFINITELY IN LOVE.

I’m sure there are some more romantic, less neurotic ways of knowing you’re in love, but take that plane crash scenario for example. If you give it the thought it deserves, it has some serious weight to it. I can tell you who my person would be right now without reservation. (I’m lucky he has the bravery to put up with my “if I were dying in a plane” anecdotes without jumping out of the nearest exit.)

If you can tell me your person, too, go Lloyd Dobler them while you still can. It’s never to late to be crazy in love, Gen Y. (And not in a Christian Grey/Anastasia Steele kinda way.)

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www. Wednesday

+ A good list of interpersonal relationship advice. Some of these are cliche, but so what? It gets to the point about how we’re all just struggling to figure out what the hell everyone around us is thinking and how exactly we can maintain our relationships with those people while still being ourselves.

+ If you remember from last week’s www. Wednesday, my sis and I have started an Etsy shop, so this blog from my girls at ABM about evaluating business ideas really struck me.

+ I’m sure you’ve seen it by now, but this video of Jimmy Kimmel asking people on gluten-free diets what gluten is is PRICELESS! It speaks to the nature of being human, not to mention the article accompanying it explains what gluten is for those who don’t know.

+ My aforementioned (aforementioned, aforementioned, AFOREMENTIONED, AFORE…) OCD always has me on the lookout for more efficient ways to streamline my life and de-clutter. This article kills it with ideas for both!

+ As you can tell, I love lists that guide me in the right direction. This one is about six habits of successful people you should try to replicate every day. I’M IN!

+ Medical science has done a lot of cool stuff lately, but being able to diagnose disease through your breath? THAT SHIT IS ON POINT!!

+ As I’ve mentioned on my blog before, I’m a HUGE advocate for putting cat-calling up on the chopping block. One of my favorite bloggers of all time, The Coquette, created a Tumblr for us to call out assholes who harass us in the streets via photos/videos/etc.

+ The manlove and I found a darling, delicious Indian restaurant the other day with a grocery inside. There were coconuts there for dirt cheap, and well… if you want to know how to crack and use a coconut as much as I do, here are the best instructions I’ve found!

+ Want to know how long it will take to binge-watch that new favorite show of yours? Check out this list of how long it takes to watch popular shows back to back. Want to feel horrible about how many hours of your life you have wasted rewatching these over and over and over? SIMPLY COME TALK TO ME, AND I’LL ASSURE YOU THAT YOU CANNOT HAVE POSSIBLY WASTED MORE TIME THAN ME! And yes, I’m currently rewatching like three of these shows… again.

Bad Day Stream

I thought for a long time there was really something wrong with me, and you know, maybe there still is. But now I’m horrified that is really is everyone else.

When I’m exhausted, I want someone to say “I can see why.”

When I’m angry, I want someone to say “You should be.”

When I’m sad, I want a shoulder.

When I’m in pain, I want relief.

When I’m struggling, I want help.

When I’m happy, I want someone to celebrate with.

When I am anything, I just want to feel understood. Accepted. Loved. Cared for.

All I feel anymore is this immense distance between me and everything.

Lili

I long for things other people can’t see or think about. I seem to be the only one who wants to grow up, who wants to have a home, who wants to make my dreams come true, who wants to have loyal, interesting, conscientious people around me.

I know, I know… if I live as long as the average member in my family, I still have 70 years left… but why does no one else feel this immense urgency to live now? To be good now? To love and tell those we do now? To create lives (and meaningful ones at that) now?

I feel so scared and sad that these people who I love so dearly, who I want to spend my life with, don’t care enough about life in general to spend it living, let alone healthily and with me.

Why do I always end up loving everyone more than they love me? It puts me in this horrible position of being walked over because I don’t know how to stop that love. I don’t know how to not care for the people who are woven into my soul, in the very blood that runs through my body.

I shut down, act mean, get selfish, and do horrid things because those inverted tendencies are the only things that protect me from the pain I feel when the very few people I love just don’t seem to get it, to care.

It’s not that I need perfection, though I suppose it could be mistaken for such… it’s just that I need to know others feel the same I do. About life, about love, about me and them.

Do the dishes because I do them.

Do take care of me because I care for you.

Do be loyal as I am a lion for you.

Do give me space as I give you, but be there for me as I’m there for you.

Do love me the way I love you.

It’s not about trust; it’s about fearlessness and having it when it comes to living well and to loving me back. It’s about bravery.

“Show me how big your brave is.” – SB

www. Wednesday

I spend a lot of time scouring the internet when I should be doing things like planning or sleeping or living. In an effort to spread the wealth (and close some of the thousands of open tabs I’m infamous for), I decided to start www. Wednesday. Hope y’all enjoy!

Apparently The Huffington Post has the secret to the world’s happiest relationship on lock. Whether I agree or have a similiar relationship is neither here nor there. Let’s just say I’ve found my Jim Halpert 😉

This Refinery29 article’s a little old, but as a fellow KimK fan, I had to share with the world some of the few reasons why I can’t say I hate the girl. In fact, I kinda love her.

I’m sure you’ve been introduced to the cutest animal on the planet by now thanks to Reddit or Tumblr, but in case you haven’t, meet The Quokka.

NOT THAT I’VE HAD ANY EXPERIENCE WITH THESE TYPES OF PEOPLE…………… but Time has finally proven what all of us have known all along: Internet trolls are psychopaths.

This is my favorite, favorite video explaining reverse racism. Please watch through the end of the video else you end up confused about where Aamer (the brilliant comedian) and I stand on the issue.

To quickly move back out of the political realm, Buzzfeed has this beautiful treasure trove of Anna Kendrick’s so-right-it’s-painful Tweets.

And maybe this last one only interests me because I’m moving later this week, but here’s how to really organize, clean, and BEAUTIFY (real word? nah.) your new walk-in closet. Just me again? Sorry. A gal can’t get enough of a good closet!

Catch you sports fans next week from the new r.n. blog HQ!

The Extraordinary

Everyone knows I’m not afraid to publicly discuss my life on this blog o’ mine, at least to some generic extent. Everyone knows I try to say, if I can help it, just what I think, feel, don’t feel, feel TOO MUCH, etc. However, this blog has shielded one section of my life a little because it’s the section of my life I hold most dear, most private, most beloved. I mention my relationship from time to time because it’s a HUGE part of my life, but you’re not going to hear, say, what we ate for and talked about at breakfast this morning or what new life moment we experienced hand-in-hand last week. Sure, I let some details out here and there because I’m proud of who I’m with and what we’ve done, but all those details and intimate moments? That stuff is for us. That stuff is supposed to be just for us. That’s the beauty of choosing to be with one person in a world of monogamist nay-sayers, conquering them and the world in general with your silent, yet steel-strength bond. You find love in a hopeless place, or better yet, actual privacy in a social media state.

However, most outsiders think having a life just for us is slightly abnormal, if not completely weird, and most puzzling, somehow an omen of dullness and/or unhappiness. So I’m here to set the record straight once and for all, and for one time only.

I am in love with my best friend. I have been for two years. We have lived together and apart. We have fought, and we have overcome. We have always been the topic of controversy, whether justly or truthfully so, yet we have always ignored the hell out of it. We have always been deeply in laughter as much as we are deeply in love, even when it looked like things were falling apart. We have never offered explanation nor description of anything; we have always, always, always been private. We have been private from the beginning because being private means having something special no one can touch or take away from you. Being private means being truly intimate with one person, not the world as a whole. Being private means being fulfilled within your relationship, not outside of it. Being private means discovering just how deep you love the person, not the idea of them.

Lest I hear another person ask me how this or that works in a now long-distance-but-barely-distanced relationship… it just works, alright? Do you want to know why? Because we talk to each other, not everyone else. We talk about everything, even the stuff that pisses us off, because when we wake up the next morning, we know everything we have said was to make the other person better. Make them happy. Make them know that just because there’s a measly couple of hours between us, we still care about the other person more than anyone else without agenda. And all the stuff we talk about, and do, and say, and plan, and dream in those conversations… we keep it to ourselves.
And you know what? That might not be ordinary to you, or ordinary period. But it is something. Something even better: extraordinary.
I’ll share what I want to share when I want to share it. More importantly, I’ll only share what I know he doesn’t mind me sharing, because you know what’s most important – more important – than this blog, than your opinion, than anything? Him.
Damn if that is not the best lesson he has ever taught me, and to learn it, the best decision I have ever made.
Happy 2 years, J. I love you and I like you.

The Best Damn Year of My Life

It’s absolutely stunning how much can happen in only a year’s time.

On a beautiful, dewy night in May, nestled in the North Carolina mountains with a houseful of friends, I sat snuggled on a bed with a box of Kashi cereal. I have a habit of bringing a snack to parties after many instances of winding up stranded and hungry, my heart palpitating, “WHY DIDN’T YOU THINK AHEAD, DUDE?!”

He walked up and sat down beside me. I had kept most of the cereal to myself, but his hands seemed clean enough and his smile was dazzling. “Sure,” I said to his request for some, “but don’t bogart it.”

We sat together, talking and instigating our drunker pals with fake gossip for our own entertainment. We laughed and escaped to a quieter spot when our goading got a little out of hand. We talked more about everything, including our random and similar heart troubles. I barely knew him, but felt a very easy and strong connection that made me smile well after I’d departed for the evening.

The next day we all met for lunch on the beautiful patio at our favorite dive of a pub. We sat together, chatting the same invigorating chat as the night before. I had to depart back to the lowlands, but not before exchanging numbers with the most interesting person I’d met in longer than I could remember.

I sat on the edge of my seat, waiting to see if I’d imagined the connection, if he’d actually get in touch. If we’d actually ever see each other again. He put my mind at ease with an invitation to hang out that weekend and since then, it has been a whirlwind of unparalleled laughter and love, so much love.

This is the man I now call my boyfriend, but he’s so much more than that trivial label. He’s my best friend, my personal comedian, my supporter, my sounding board for everything. He has filled this year with so much joy for me, even during the darkest of times.

I love knowing that I can come home to him at any time. I love that when I tell him I wrote this, he will make some deprecating comment that will make both of us laugh. I love that because of the confidence I have in our relationship, I have the courage to make this (semi) public declaration of love for a man who deserves that kind of thing.

From warm summer days by the pool, to major hatin’ on kids distracting our games of putt-putt, to late nights in our state’s capital, to cool fall evenings in our now-home of the Twin City, to a holiday season of firsts, to cookouts every day in the spring weather, we have grown and grown together. I can only imagine the growth that waits on the road ahead.

I could wax on about a night in August when I heard the best combination of words known to man. I could tell you about the fuzzy feelings during that October Live concert. I could tell you how it still feels amazing every time he takes care of me or stands in my corner. I could tell you about every day I have spent with J in great detail, but I won’t because it would overwhelm the both of us  – you with words, me with love and so much appreciation.

After a few bumps in the romantic road, I have finally found a person who respects me enough to be honest and loyal. I finally found a man who wants to walk beside me instead of in front of me, who believes in my intelligence and my dreams. I found someone I can count on, no matter how murky and rough the waters become. I found someone who can make me laugh until I feel like I might burst, and sometimes I do with tears.

So to the man in question, thank you. Thank you, J, for being who you are. Thank you for making me feel loved and secure. Thank you for being man enough to be with me through everything. Thank you for being brave enough to stand on shaky ground once and a while. Thank you for this lovely home we have with two wild pups. Thank you for making me the best version of me I’ve ever been. Above all, thank you for knowing like I do that laughter is the most important part of anything in life, and ensuring that I’m doing just that, first thing in the morning.

You’re pretty groovy, kid. I think I might keep you around. Happy “I met you one year ago,” Eddie. Bern loves you.