Single and Fabulous. Exclamation Point.

I keep having these moments where the actions of others, or the lives they chose to live, stop me in my tracks and make me question what I’m doing.

It’s mostly guys I used to date, finding their way into my timelines and forcing me to notice that they’re married. Or living with their girlfriend. Or engaged. And these are the guys that I’ve filed into the category of “Ugh, I can’t believe that chapter of my life actually happened,” and yet my stomach turns a little, because if they’ve found their happiness, I can’t help but wonder why I haven’t found mine.

It’s a twinge of self-doubt that makes me put social media down and keep going. I know realistically, I’m not exactly out of time. I’m twenty-six. I’m so young. I know that. But it’s hard to not feel the pressure when you are surrounded by happy people with their happy spouse or fiancé buying their happy house, and it makes me look at my life like I’ve somehow screwed everything up.

When in reality, I have never been this happy, ever. I love my job. I just got back from four days in NYC for work that was an absolute dream (see last post) and I know that my career is just going to grow from here. I also know that even if I did meet someone who could potentially “be the one,” I’m not entirely sure I could give them my full attention right now. I’m not sure I’m capable of giving someone my full attention, and even if I could, I don’t think I’d like myself that way.

I had a lot of good talks in NYC over bottles of wine with my boss, a woman eighteen years my senior, about relationships and what I’m looking for, and she suggested I stop dating men in their twenties because I’m already ahead of them. She told me I’m too mature for twenty-six, and while that’s not a bad thing, men in their twenties are probably just going to disappoint me with their immaturity. She’s right, I am really over the idea of just “hanging out” with someone. And guys my age don’t seem to grasp that there is a difference between dating and being in a relationship. Although the couple of guys I’ve gone out with in their thirties haven’t exactly been what I was looking for either.

I just don’t think it’s my time yet. I’ve always pictured myself getting married in my thirties, and I still have three and a half years until I hit the beginning of that decade. I just hate that I occasionally feel like something is wrong with me, but on the flip side, you couldn’t pay me to be married right now. I’m having way too much damn fun building my own life. I just need to find a guy who’s doing the same.

So this is what I keep telling myself in these moments:

You do you. Stick to your guns. And if you occasionally have a meltdown about dying alone, then so be it. Freak out, get it out of your system, and then pick yourself up and get back to business, because this ladder that you’re climbing isn’t going to climb itself.

NYC.

I had been a mess of anxiety leading up to the trip. This was all about work, and packing the day before sent me into a spiral. I’d purchased one great blazer, the most expensive piece of clothing I owned, and it was going with me, but the rest was just part of my everyday rotation. None of it felt good enough for New York. None of it was chic enough or special enough. It wasn’t Forever 21 by any means, but in my mind, where I was going, it might as well have been.

I somehow managed to pack a decent amount of clothes. Outfits were perfectly planned. Everything was folded neatly and tucked away in the suitcase, ready to be pulled out in an entirely different timezone. I didn’t think I would sleep. I laid in bed and thought about what this trip COULD be like. The voice in my head continued to go on and on about how I’m not worthy of the city I was going to. I had no idea what to expect so my anxiety ran wild.

After about maybe four hours of sleep, I woke up to my Lady Gaga alarm tone. It was the beginning of the song “Applause,” and I stared at my ceiling for a minute while it played, and it hit me.

I’m going to New York City today.

I actually felt the anxiety melt away from my body. I got up, showered, finished packing, called an uber, locked my front door, and didn’t look back.

Once the plane took off, I shuffled through my cheesy playlist of New York related songs (I’m fully convinced that if you don’t listen to Empire State of Mind at least once on a NYC trip, you didn’t do it right) and was glued to the window. As the descent into LaGuardia began, I basically had my forehead pressed to the window, waiting patiently for a glimpse of Manhattan to come into view.

When it finally did, I got chills. I could make out the Statue of Liberty. There’s something about seeing insanely famous landmarks in person that just gives you chills. And I was in an airplane. I couldn’t help but think about what Lady Liberty stood for, and who our country was currently being led by.

We landed. My boss was in first class, and she waited for me to finally get out of coach, and we were off power-walking to the baggage claim while discussing the game plan for the day. She’d warned me: as soon as we got off the plane, it was show time. And she had been right. We had a lot of boxes to check for the day and a short amount of time to do it. I found my silver luggage bag and helped her with her Louis Vuitton bags. We loaded ourselves into a cab and headed to The Palace.

I’d had my head in the clouds since Manhattan had come into view, but let me tell you, that cab ride woke me up. Traffic lanes mean nothing in NYC. If there are two marked lanes, but three cars can fit across, then three cars are going to fit. It was terrifying and exhilarating. I could have stuck my arm out the window and touched the vehicle next to me. I’m convinced none of these people passed a legitimate drivers test, but it was so classic New York that I couldn’t even be upset. It was the perfect welcome to the city.

The Palace is stunning. I was a diehard Gossip Girl fan as a teenager so stepping into that iconic courtyard was a very cool feeling, and of course it’s right across the street from St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Midtown is just… awesome. I don’t know how else to describe it.

The four days that followed were a complete whirlwind that you couldn’t pay me to forget. I have never worked so hard, and then turned around and gone out for dinner or drinks or just to explore a city that never sleeps. I wasn’t ever tired. I’m a girl that enjoys her solid eight hours of sleep during the normal week, but somehow I managed to not only exist on four hours of sleep, but I thrived. I was on my A game at work, made sure to see one of my best college friends who recently moved to NYC, dressed fabulous (with that B game wardrobe of mine) for dinner or drinks and networked my ass off.  The day I had the most free time, I walked over nine miles, and then got cleaned up, threw on high heels and went to dinner downtown. I met people so high up in my company that if they ever remembered my name, it would change my life.

It was like something out of a movie.

‘Oh we’re meeting X from Z company for drinks tonight’

And we did, and we’d order a bottle of wine and someone would swipe a corporate card because it was technically business and we’d sit and discuss said business.  It was the sort of thing that I always thought would be kind of boring but it wasn’t. It wasn’t at all. I was engaged and even when I was just listening, I was doing my best to absorb every bit of information about this industry that I could, because it was only going to help me in the future. I felt, and still currently feel, like I am standing on the beginning steps of a very promising career climb.

New York was a dream, start to finish. My mom made the comment that the photo of me (see below) on the steps of the Met is her new favorite photo because I look so truly happy. I know that smile. I know how it feels on my face. That’s the genuine one. The one where I’m so overwhelmed with happiness that it might actually physically pour out of me. I felt like that the entire trip. It was an absolute dream. 

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It was an exhausting dream that left me dozing off against the window on the flight from LaGuardia back to STL, but it was a dream nonetheless. I’m grateful that I was able to go and be a part of it, and I’m truly grateful for where I am right now. I love my job. I wake up every morning and I’m excited to go to work.  Everyone told me that I should enjoy college while it lasts because the real world sucks, and I’d just like to say, No, it doesn’t. It’s so much better.

Cannot wait to go back to NYC in a couple months. I’m completely head over heels in love with that city. The biggest question we kept asking each other was if we would ever live there, and I finally decided my answer. I wouldn’t just move there to move there. I wouldn’t live there with four roommates and no closet space and no AC and $1500 rent. But for the right promotion… a true career changing position?

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Try again, fail better.

Being on the verge of tears for about a thousand different reasons while at work is a really interesting experience. I’ve been mildly depressed for pretty much the majority of the year due to the fact that I went from one crap-paying stressful job to a slightly better paying yet mind-numbing one. My days are completely routine and I spend most of my time alone in an office staring at a computer screen.
It hit me today that I have to go back to school, which is an idea I’ve been toying with for about a month now. The thought is enticing. The reality, not so much. As much as I wish studying for the GMAT would be some sixty second montage with an upbeat, get-down-to-business pop song playing in the background, that’s not actually the case. At all. Like, not even a little.
Then there’s the thing that has ruled all of my life decisions: fear.
What if I don’t get in?
Which was, of course, the first question my mother asked me when I first mentioned this idea to her.
What if my mediocre undergrad GPA,and nonexistent extracurricular activities other than what I did at Truman (the school I didn’t even graduate from) aren’t enough?
What if I’m not good enough?
Do admissions boards actually care that I’ve since found a passion and want to pursue it? Do they give a shit about my personality sob story that makes it really fucking hard to apply myself when I don’t see a point to the effort? Or will they just think I’m lazy?
The fear got to me a couple weeks ago and I actually abandoned this idea until today.
Today, I was bored out of my mind. It was one of those days at work where I finished everything I needed to do within my first hour of being there. Which just left 7 more hours to kill. I’ve felt like I’m slowly dying all day, and the thought came to me again:
I have to go back to school.
And then the fear creeps in. But today, instead of succumbing to the fear and abandoning the idea again, I remembered a conversation I had with a mentor when I was seventeen and applying to colleges.
He played into my fears, and ultimately convinced me that I wasn’t talented enough to bother auditioning for my dream school out of state. I believed him. He had this idea that failing is the worst thing that could possibly happen to you, and would continue to influence my decisions with that line of thinking throughout the next couple of years. I became terrified of failing.
Sometimes I wonder what that version of my life looks like, the one where I ignored him and auditioned for my dream school anyway. I think I would have been accepted. After that, I’m not sure. I know the 26 year old Becky in that version of reality is nothing like this one, though.
So,
what if I don’t get in?
Then I figure something else out. I take some classes outside of a degree to boost my GPA. Try again. Maybe fail again.
At least then I’ll know. I won’t be cowering behind some hypothetical situation in my mind that’s not the ideal outcome.
So, yeah.
I’m going to go back to school.

Wanna-be cool girl.

It’s interesting to me how different the character version of myself is than my real-life persona.
Character-version? What the hell are you talking about, Becky?
The version of myself that I imagine when I’m daydreaming. The version of myself that is cool and calm and collected. I use this visual of myself to either play out potential situations that I might find myself in, or just to kill time at my insanely boring desk job.
I have somewhat severe social anxiety. I’m like a goddamn deer in the headlights in brand new situations that I didn’t have time to mentally prepare for, and if those situations occur in an atmosphere that I’m already uncomfortable in, watch out, I might totally freeze and have an epic fail.
I practice things I’m going to say. Sometimes it’s out-loud in the mirror at home while I’m getting ready, sometimes it’s in the car (I’ve had entire hypothetical interviews with myself in the car), and sometimes it’s just mentally walking myself through a situation. It helps. It sounds crazy, but it helps. Practice makes perfect, or at least as close to perfect as I’m ever going to get.
When I imagine myself in these scenarios, it’s this character of myself, and goddamn she’s so much cooler than I am. Because she doesn’t have social anxiety, her hair is never frizzy, and her makeup doesn’t start to break apart during the last hour of work (goddamn hot and humid office). She doesn’t stutter when caught off guard, her eyes don’t get all big and give away her poker face when something new is put on the table, and she waits to think something over without getting excited right away at a new opportunity.
She’s so damn cool. Cooler than I’ll ever actually be.
My high school band director was the first person who ever told me how read-able I was. He said I should never take up poker. I haven’t.
I’m a very emotional person with a very expressive face and it’s very hard for me to keep my feelings to myself. This is also why I write, it’s like a pressure valve for whatever I’m feeling, and honestly, the more I write, the less major meltdowns I have so it’s gotta be doing something.
As much as I know that my emotional capacity is a huge part of what makes me who I am, I gotta say, there are many days where I wish I were a little more of an Ice Queen. A little more calm and collected.
Instead of the girl who gets so excited over animals that she’s practically in tears.
Eh.
Maybe it’s not so bad.
That character in my head is a nice daydream, because the truth is, me without high emotions or anxiety isn’t me.
…I could do without the stutter though.

A Quiet Place: feat. my inner dialogue while sitting next to the loudest girl in America.

I don’t go see movies in theaters very often. Occasionally something will come out that I just won’t want to wait until digital release for, so I’ll consult with others who I’m fairly sure have seen it and then decide if I actually want to go.

It’s not that I don’t like the experience of a movie theater. Big comfy chairs, surround sound, and a giant screen are all things that I thoroughly enjoy when watching a movie for the first time. It’s that I hate the other people in the room nine times out of ten.

For example, I went and saw Black Panther, it was magnificent. But the man in the seat next to me fell asleep and started snoring. He started snoring so loud that he woke himself up. Then he proceeded to constantly raise and lower his recliner chair, despite the fact that it squeaked loudly while moving.

It wasn’t the worst experience I’ve ever had, but it was annoying.

Last night, on the other hand, well…

I went to go see A Quiet Place, by myself. I love a good thriller movie and just felt like getting out of my house for a bit. I got there, found my seat, and reclined enough that my feet were up but I wasn’t horizontal. Then the waiting game of who I would be sitting next to began.

The woman who sat on my left, in the seat that was grouped with mine, showed up with no food or drink. Huzzah, I’m probably not going to hate you.

I normally dgaf if you have snacks during a movie but snacking during a movie that is mostly silence is a dick move.

We proceeded to ignore each other. Another point for this lady. She’s cool.

Then two girls came giggling down the aisle.

Oh god, please no.

They started walking down my row, and plopped down on my right, talking loudly as they unloaded what can only be described as $50 worth of movie theatre snacks from their purses.

Fucking hell.

I try to stay positive, surely they’ll know that they need to be quiet during a film that is literally titled A QUIET PLACE.

I don’t really notice them much during the previews, other than their comments about, “Why are they still making Mission Impossible movies?” which I can’t be mad about because I was thinking the same thing. Tom Cruise is broke and needs money, I guess?

But then the feature starts, and I become hyperaware of how much I loathe listening to people eat. Just when I think she’s done, she whips out another fucking package of sugar.

We’re maybe halfway through the movie when she finally finishes eating.

Halle-fucking-lujah.

Just when I think I can go back to not wanting to punch anybody, she starts talking to her friend.

“OH my god. Oh my god. Oh my god. That thing is so SCARY”

I definitely gave her the human equivalent of this Unamused_Face_Emoji a few times, but she didn’t seem to get the message.

She was the type to be like, “Oh my god, there it is! It’s right there!! Be quiet! It’s RIGHT THERE! Don’t move! Don’t die!” every. time. the. creature. was. shown.

Ron

I really don’t understand why people can’t just be quiet? I’ve talked in theaters, but only when there’s like nobody else there. Which is actually really fun! I remember in high school I went and saw The Strangers and we were the only people there and we just made fun of it the whole time. Thats fine! Nobody was there for my friend and I to bother! I would NEVER do that in a full movie theater.

A full movie theater for a movie where the silence is part of what makes it so fucking good.

Anyway,

go see A Quiet Place. It’s really, really good. I jumped a couple of times and definitely cried a little (no shame!). I recommend eating before so you don’t feel the need to get snacks and don’t piss off the people you’re sitting near. I will send you good movie vibes that you don’t wind up sitting next to garbage people who ruin the experience.

 

TL;DR? Best summary of the movie:

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Truuuuue.

Reflecting.

I think I’m going to start a new series where I drink wine on a Monday and ramble about whatever the hell has been on my mind.

Which, lately, has been a lot.

I’ve been debating bringing the podcast back but I feel like I have so much to say right now that I don’t exactly know how to script each episode to stay on topic without fully writing it out. And fully writing it out makes it a blog post.

Literally everything from here on out started as basic podcast notes that I started writing down while at work and it just expanded to the point where I basically had an entire blog post written in the notes app on my iPhone.  A lot of this I have touched on before, but I feel like the more time that goes by, the better I am at explaining things that happened to me in the past.

I’m in a very good place at the moment, and have been for about a year now. There are brief periods of time where I experience mild depressive states, but it’s nothing like it used to be, and it’s typically after totally exhausting myself by staying out too late or just generally not getting enough sleep. So it’s fairly controllable. Winter is hard to deal with, but thankfully that’s about over. The longer I stay happy and content, the more I start to think that I actually managed to put myself back together and grow into a functioning adult.

And the question that lingers at the back of my mind is, how the hell did I pull that off?

Which is a terrifying question for me, because really thinking about it and analyzing how I got to this point requires me to question a lot of the things I was taught.

I don’t view my medication as ever having helped me much. If anything, they mellowed me to a point where I wasn’t suicidal, which has some value, but they didn’t cure me. They were a crutch that kept me alive until I could get better.

I was in a small town where my resources for help were very limited, and I also wasn’t in a place where I actually wanted help for quite a while. You can’t help someone who doesn’t want to get better.

Why would you not want to get better?

 Well, you’re in denial that anything is even wrong with you in the first place.  Admitting that you have a mental illness and actually need help feels a lot like admitting that your brain is defective and you suck as a human. It’s hard to understand if you’re standing on the outside but it’s very hard to get to the point where you’re like,

“Okay, this isn’t going to be my life anymore, I need to get better,”

And for me, it required me to slam my face into rock bottom a couple of times before I got the message.

I read in school that low self-esteem can contribute a lot to certain mental illnesses, mine included. (I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder in 2012). It’s not that it’s necessarily a CAUSE, but that low self-esteem can put you at risk for developing disorders, which makes sense to me.

I struggled with low self-esteem for that majority of my life. Like, twenty-five years, and I’m twenty-six.

I’m still not the person that walks around thinking their shit don’t stank. I notice how far I’ve come with my self-esteem the most with my body image.

I noticed it today at work.

I watched these girls in the break room with their diet shakes or their protein bars and that’s literally all they’re eating for lunch, and I remember being that girl. I remember obsessing about what I ate or what I was seen eating. If I was with a group of people and they all decided to go eat somewhere, I would usually make up some excuse or reason as to why I couldn’t join them. I knew I’d be tempted to eat too much, and I didn’t want to deal with it. So I’d go back to my apartment and chug water and eat an appropriate meal, usually with less than 500 calories.

God, I never thought I would actually admit my thought process for that.

I’m so obsessed with food now, but in a good way. I’m learning to actually cook and that moment when you sit down to a meal you made yourself and take a bite and it’s like a party in your mouth is just the best. I used to worry that allowing myself to love food would cause me to gain weight but that hasn’t been the case. My biggest weight gain came from a period of being extremely depressed and trying to stay sober. Without alcohol to help me cope, I used food instead. It had nothing to do with enjoying food and everything to do with my mental state. Which is typically where most of my problems stem from.

I didn’t use to have a sense of self. I didn’t really know who I was or even who I wanted to be. Because of that, I felt like I had to be the best. The best saxophonist. The best at some incredible awe-inspiring job. The skinniest. The most fun. The most sarcastic.

When I became more comfortable with myself, and who I am, all of that dissipated. Don’t get me wrong, I am an arrogant asshole when it comes to some things, and I will always be a sore loser. But I no longer feel like my job needs to complete me in some way. I don’t want my job to be my entire life, I just want it to support me.

Wanting and needing to be the best saxophonist led to completely ruining something I used to really love and enjoy. Also caused my first couple of major mental breakdowns. Good times.

Being obsessed with something that doesn’t exist (i.e. perfection) will destroy you, and trying to be better than everyone else (and make sure they know it) will lead to your entire life revolving around other people instead of the starring character, you.

This is starting to sound like a self-help book.

What’s that line again? You should be the starring character of your own life? Something like that.

You don’t have to live out some delusion of grandeur to have accomplished something.

I wrote last time that I’m very happy with my normal life, and I truly mean that. I think this is the first time in my life that I feel genuinely happy, and it all came about from being hyper-aware of my thoughts and constantly challenging them.

Why does what that person said anger me?

Is there truth to it?

Am I afraid there’s truth to it? (This is a huge thing that I may touch on in the future)

What’s going on in their life to make them say that?

Do their words actually have an impact on my life?

No? Then why am I concerning myself with it?

I’m obviously referring to personal social interactions, such as gossip, not necessarily things of actual importance like hate speech. By all means, get angry and punch all the Nazis.

People poke fun at the standard line of questioning from therapists because it’s usually just asking “Why do you feel that way?” or some other why-based question, but there’s a lot of value in training yourself to question your first reaction and analyzing your thoughts.

There’s always another perspective. Hell, there’s always a few hundred more perspectives.  A lot of the things that you think are about you aren’t actually about you, it’s about whoever is doing/saying it.

And I’m guilty of this. I have been emotionally abusive to people in the past, I will be the first person to admit that. I still feel a lot of guilt about it, but I’m slowly learning to forgive myself. It’s a work in progress. Those acts came from the fact that I was upset with my self-esteem and my life in general. It had nothing to do with the person I was hurting. That absolutely 100% does not make my actions okay, but I think the people in my life who stayed with me through that or came back to me at a later time understand that that wasn’t actually how I felt about them. That was how a younger, more immature version of myself poorly chose to deal with the crappy situation going on in her brain.

Shoutout to those of you who knew me then and still call me a friend now. You da real MVPs.

So,

how did I get through all of it?

I got to a point where I couldn’t keep living my life the way I was living it.

I wanted to be a better person that people actually wanted in their lives.

I trained myself to start questioning my mind, and thus became a lot more understanding and empathetic towards others.

I also just, well, grew up.

I hate saying that, because I don’t want it to sound like people struggling with serious mental illness just need to grow up because that’s not true at all. But I have a lot of confidence in myself now knowing that if my mind started to go south again, I would immediately seek help, instead of just being like,

Nah, this is fine.

One more long island iced tea, please.

Actually make it two.

I’m fine.

Nowadays I don’t even touch alcohol if I’m super anxious or mildly depressed. I don’t even go there. I just let myself feel whatever it is that I’m feeling.

Which is yet another thing that I want to talk about at a later point.

Emotions are valid.

Let yourself feel them.

I’ve gotta wrap this up or this is basically going to turn into a novel.

I’m settling into a very content place. I have this unwavering trust in where I am and what’s coming. I feel like my life is finally starting to line up and become something that I’ve always wanted it to be. I don’t know exactly what that is, but I have this weird trust in not knowing.

I’m happy, possibly for the first time in my life.

Life is good.

Also Kendrick Lamar won a Pulitzer and I’m so fucking stoked about it.

Anyway. Happy Monday. Thanks for tuning in.

Until next time.

xx.

 

 

 

 

Relationship status.

I’ve been getting a lot of comments about my relationship status lately, or lack thereof. It’s something I’ve never really dealt with much. I guess for awhile I was jumping from relationship to relationship, and then when I was finally single, people just recognized that I needed to be on my own for awhile. Apparently that time ran out, because I s2g every person I’ve spoken to recently has asked if I’m dating anyone.

Even my mother made a comment the other day about how my ideal relationship probably doesn’t exist. I’m sorry, but I call bullshit. What am I supposed to do, settle?

Every session I’ve had with my trainer, at some point during a recovery period, he’s asked me, “Dating anyone yet?” And I fully understand that he’s just trying to make small talk and I’m not bitching about my trainer whatsoever, he kicks my ass and it’s fantastic, but I’m just kinda sick of getting asked about this.

It started during my friend’s wedding weekend, which I was completely prepared for. I was the only single person in the wedding party, and there’s so much talk of love and relationships and marriage with a wedding, so of course I was expecting it.

But it also comes up with random people. “Are you seeing anyone special?” Then they give me those sad eyes, like they feel sorry for me. Which I don’t really understand, because I’m 100% okay with my situation right now, and when I say that out loud to someone, they seem more shocked than the fact that an average looking person is single.

“Oh… well don’t worry, you’ll find someone!”

Yeah… I’m twenty-five. Just because the majority of my friends have chosen to settle down, why am I being treated like there’s something wrong with me for choosing not to?

I’m twenty-five and single. Big whoop.

I’m okay with it.

Have I met a couple people along the way that I would have liked to have dated?

Yeah, absolutely.

But honestly, I think the way everything has worked out has been for the best.

I’m currently at a crossroad. I’ve spent so much time and energy just trying to finish college, that I didn’t really stop to take the time to figure out what happens next. My degree has been unfinished business since I dropped out, and just like I thought it would, finishing college has felt like finally closing the door on everything that’s happened up until this point. I’m in completely uncharted territory.

This isn’t just a new chapter of my life, it’s an entirely new volume.

I don’t particularly want to stay in Missouri, but I also don’t entirely know where I want to be.

I don’t know what I want to do next.

I’m also someone who loves very hard, and can be influenced by others. I’m working on that latter bit, but it’s still definitely something that happens.

I need to figure out my next move. I need to start my own life. I can’t build a life with someone else if I don’t have my own to begin with.

I’m also really fucking happy and content on my own. I know that’s hard for some people to wrap their head around, but I honestly don’t remember the last time I felt lonely. I don’t need someone else to complete me. I am enough for myself.

Do I want that to last forever? Nah, not really.

But for now? Yeah, I’m good. I’ve got shit to figure out.