Happy New Year.

Here we are. The ending of another year, and so I’m going to keep with tradition and try to write yet another insightful reflection of the past 365 days.

This was an off year for me. There were parts that were fucking terrible. My depression had moments this year where it was on par with 2012/2013. It got pretty bad. I self-harmed for the first time since 2014 back in June. I called out of work one day because I couldn’t force myself to get out of bed. I’ve spent the majority of this year feeling trapped.

I’ve felt trapped by my own decisions. I had been so hyper-focused on getting a degree and trying to prove something to myself and everyone else — that I wasn’t a psycho fuckup of a human being — that I never stopped to think about what happens after I finish. What am I going to do next? Not that there’s anything wrong with just having a bachelor’s degree, I truly used to believe that would be it for me. I’d just find a job that paid the bills and work forever and that’s it. That’s what I get this time around.

I began to reject that reality in June, which is coincidentally when my depression began to beat me into submission. I began to think about going back to school for a master’s, only to realize that my undergrad GPA isn’t competitive. Like, at all. There’s reasons for that, reasons that I’ve clung to and argued when people would bring it up, but at the end of the day, my undergrad GPA sucked because I didn’t put enough effort in.  The classes I loved that were taught well, I aced. The classes that didn’t have an attendance policy, I aced. But unfortunately, the majority of undergrad classes aren’t taught well. The majority have attendance policies —which I still think are fucking stupid and an easy way to dock points for no goddamn reason whatsoever. If you can be absent and still produce quality work I think you should be allowed to but WHATEVER, that’s just my arrogant self still being annoyed for getting B’s in classes where I got A’s on all the work… Some are classes that you love but are taught with zero effort because the professor just wants to get back to his research lab and doesn’t give a shit if you learn or not. Some are boring, mind-numbing courses where it’s a miracle if you can force yourself to show up and waste your own time for an hour. Some are taught by sociopaths whose sole purpose is to see how many students they can fail. The value of college isn’t necessarily education, I think it’s discipline. Which is sad, because it’d be nice to learn something while forking out thousands of dollars to an institution, but alas, c’est la vie.

So I’ve been facing this harsh reality. Yes, I have a bachelor’s degree. I crossed that milestone off my list of life accomplishments. I was so happy and proud that day when I walked across the stage at Mizzou Arena. But now what? There are very few grad programs that I can currently apply to and be considered just because my undergrad GPA is below a 3.0. (That actually causes me physical pain to admit.) So… what? I take classes outside of a degree to boost my GPA? I get a second bachelor’s? Non-degree seeking courses aren’t eligible for any sort of financial aid. Oof. That’s a lot of money. How many courses would I need to ace to boost my GPA? 3? 4? 5? Throw in money for textbooks, etc., we’re looking at a few thousand dollars.

This is where my depression found an opening in my otherwise healthy mental state. I felt trapped. Trapped by money. Trapped by my stupid, impulsive ideas at age twenty-three to try and be pre-med again even though I tried that out TWICE at Truman and both times I decided it wasn’t for me. Yeah, sure, let’s try it again. Oh hey, you don’t like it? It’s not your thing? For the third time? What a shocker.

It’s not that good things didn’t happen this year. It’s just that the bad things that happened outweighed them. Going to NYC for work was so fun. So fun. Highly recommend visiting NYC and I look forward to going back just for fun so I can really explore. But then as the year progressed, and high season arrived, I found myself walking on eggshells at work, trying to be perfect, and being terrified of being fired because someone else messed up something. I jump every time I get a text message because I’m worried it’s about work.

This year beat the crap out of me. I found myself in situations that made me feel small and insignificant, from work to the relationship I wound up in this year. All the while I’ve been clinging to alcohol to fix all my problems, a lesson that I’ve learned over and over again doesn’t work.

The past four weeks I’ve adopted a new way of dealing with my stress. When I get home from work and feel like drinking an entire bottle of wine, I go to the gym. When I feel insignificant, I go to the gym. When I feel worthless and invisible, I go to the fucking gym. I sweat, I pick up heavy things, and I leave feeling like a goddamn person again. People could say that I’m just going from one coping mechanism to another, but when I wake up the next day and can begin to see the product of my hard work, I feel powerful, and sexy, and good. Alcohol has never done that for me.

 

So here’s to 2019,

to not dating fuckboys you know aren’t right for you,

to being honest and upfront and putting yourself out there,

to having the guts to say, “Yeah, I fucked up, so let’s try and fix it.”

 

I refuse to be paralyzed by fear.

I refuse to let myself believe that I don’t deserve love.

I’m moving forward,

and I’m going to find a way through all of this.

 

Happy New Year.

12/28/18 part two

I never realize how much shit I have until I’m getting ready to move. And then all of a sudden, it becomes painfully obvious that I have a ton of shit. Every time I move, I clear it out. I donate the clothes I have no interest in wearing, I sell the things that are collecting dust in storage bins or closets. Yet every time I move, there’s always more. More shit. More clothes that I ordered online out of impulse and then didn’t love it as much in person as I thought it would, but didn’t return it because I might wear it for SOMETHING. I often complain that I don’t have the funds to travel, and yet I look at all this shit that I’ve purchased over the last year and a half and most of it I don’t actually use. How much money is hanging in this closet? In a moment, I felt that I needed it. In a moment, I felt that I would wear it. And I never did. Those moments that I thought would come never did, and that’s how I have a closet full of clothes and yet nothing to wear on some days. It’s batshit.

We’re basically programmed to shop. Advertising is everywhere. I’m slowly beginning to unplug from it. Working in luxury retail hasn’t helped me much. I begin to catch myself thinking about everything that I need for my work wardrobe. Not necessarily the brands that we sell at work, but just things I can buy to make myself look better. Constantly upgrading. Constantly buying new outfits so that I don’t become the girl who wears the same 5 outfits every week. I had to stop. I had to stop online shopping with a glass of wine after work, and I had to remind myself that even though my coworkers see me wear the same outfits every week, the customers don’t necessarily see that.

Plus, it doesn’t matter. I make $20/hour and because of where I work, it’s easy to try on the Gucci belt or the Jimmy Choo’s and think, “After my discount, I could pay this off with a couple of paychecks.” It’s stupid. It’s SO stupid. I make $20/hour! Why in the world should I be stretching the leftover money I have into designer shit that I would only wear to work — because I feel like a fraud wearing it anywhere else — when I could be throwing the few hundred into my savings account??

I’m currently planning a trip to Iceland with one of my best friends and her husband, and that’s helped keep me in check. I’m so excited for this trip. We’re tentatively going January 2020, and probably booking the flights and everything this summer. I’m so excited to see the northern lights and hike the ice caverns and yes, even take some swimsuit photos in Blue Lagoon for good ol’ instagram, that now when I look at something I want, I think, Does this matter more than a horseback tour? Or a whale-watching trip? Or eating at a nice restaurant in Reykjavik? Nine times out of ten, no. My wanderlust is much stronger than my materialism.

My materialism continues to diminish the older I get. My teenage self would be so obsessed with where I’m at right now, but I’m just like, Get me out of here. I want to move to Colorado like everybody else my age, and spend some goddamn time outside. I want to laugh. I want to not start my day with three cups of coffee and a pound of makeup. I want to set all the high heels that I own on fire. I want a job that doesn’t make me think about jumping off the roof every hour.

Sometimes I think taking a hiatus from social media would be good for me, but at the same time, I like creating content. I like messing around with new photo filter apps and posting to instagram. I like plugging my writing. (Although there hasn’t been much this year to plug). Yet at the same time, I hate how fucking shallow it all is. Everything revolves around it. We’re all just keeping up with the Jones’. Betty posted about her engagement so Erica has to take pictures with her left hand in front of everything to remind the world that she too is engaged. Meanwhile there’s single people (like myself) rolling their eyes whenever another cheesy engagement posts pops up on their news feed. So excited to spend the rest of my life with my best friend and love of my life! I’m so blessed that this man found his way into my life!! If I had a dollar for every time I sigh heavily and tell my dog that I’m going to die alone, I wouldn’t be stressed about my budget for my upcoming Iceland trip. 

On an older, now deceased, version of this blog, I once wrote that my priorities changed after I attempted suicide. And they did. I still stand by that. As I slowly rose out of my depression,  I realized that there is a lot more to being alive than just what people think of you. It’s one of those cliche moments. It took a near-death experience to make me wake the fuck up, but it kind of did. I have a strong faith in the power of the universe and existence but I’m not big on believing in miracles, but the reason I’m still alive was almost an act of god. The person that showed up at my apartment had absolutely no reason to, he just had a feeling. I’m supposed to be here. I have no fucking clue why, but I am.

So I’m trusting my gut. Listening to my heart. Trying to spend more time with the people I find fascinating who set my soul on fire and want to travel the world with me. Meanwhile, I really need to start cleaning out my closets again so that when I finally pull the trigger on this move, I’m ready to go.

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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Mind Over Matter.

I’m back to reading self-help/self-improvement books again because, well, I just feel so damn good while reading them. They give me things to think about and help teach me new ways to keep my mentality positive.

Anyway, I’m reading Jen Sincero’s new book, You are a Badass at Making Money, because I loved the original You are a Badass [which I highly recommend. It changed my life, go read it if you haven’t yet], and yes, I’m reading a book about making money. Why not? I’m twenty-five, fresh out of college, the world is my oyster, and I’d like to have the means to do the shit I want to do.

So one of the things she writes about is how our subconscious view of money can impact the way we feel about making money, and because I am the way I am, I set the book down and started applying that same idea to basically every part of my life that I’m still struggling with.

The brain solidifies what occurs the most. For example, I wound up in a string of relationships that all ended badly. So for the past five years I haven’t bothered with dating because I’ve just assumed it’s all going to be the same bullshit and I don’t want to go through with it again. I stopped looking for dates. I just kept my head down and convinced myself that relationships are overrated.

All is fine until life throws you a curveball to knock you out of your comfort zone. Then you find yourself spending half a semester fighting an internal war about how the cute guy sitting next to you is probably an idiot or a douchebag so there’s no point in talking to him, and if by some miracle he’s neither an idiot nor a douchebag, he’s probably not interested because you’re not that attractive or intelligent anyway.

I’m sorry, WHAT.

I’m so neurotic sometimes it makes me want to scream and then start laughing at myself because of how ridiculous it all is.

Just because all you’ve known in relationships is immaturity, lying, and manipulation, doesn’t mean they’re all going to be that way. Growing up helps, learning to pick better partners helps too.

At one point in time, when I was practicing multiple hours a day, I was a really talented musician. However, actually admitting that was incredibly hard for me because I felt like I was bragging. It shouldn’t really be a shocker that the performances where I amped myself up by telling myself how talented and kickass I was before I walked out on stage went SIGNIFICANTLY better than the ones where my backstage thoughts were about how I had no business performing this incredibly hard piece that only seniors play (I was a sophomore.) When I thought that I was good enough to do it, I nailed it. When I felt like I was a fraud, I sucked. Obviously this was all going on during my mental health decline so that didn’t help much, but you get the idea.

Mentality plays a huge role in everything that you do.

Decide it’s going to be a good day, and it will be.

Tell yourself that you suck and are never going to have your shit together, and you’ll probably be right.

What’s that old saying? “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right,”? Maybe there’s something to that.

Let go of the past. It’s over. It happened. Learn from it and move the fuck on. Don’t let shit that happened when you were nineteen affect the way you view the world and live your life at twenty-five.

I don’t know where I’m going with this. I just had a lot of thoughts so I started typing and now I’m here. That’s probably enough for now. I’m gonna get back to this book. Also I’ve had way too much caffeine today, so I apologize for any run-on sentences. Peace.

 

Just keep smiling.

“He’s kicking your ass and you just keep smiling and laughing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a client smile so much during a training session before.”

Das me. I’m a smiler. I work very hard to keep my mind positive even in the face of adversity. I smile when I’m cleaning, when I’m gaming, when I’m working out, even when I’m sore as hell.

I started with a personal trainer today because I’m diving head first into lifting. It’s been so long since I’ve felt comfortable in a weight room, and this summer I decided to put my health first and throw some of my well earned savings account money into a new gym and a few training sessions.

Despite the fact that once upon a time, football players and wrestlers used to refer to me as ‘The Beast,’ I am currently very weak. That’s not an exaggeration. I’m weak. It’s annoying. But! I’ve put my body through hell over the past few years by partying and by measuring my health by the number on the scale instead of strength and energy levels. I was thin, but I wasn’t healthy. Then I wasn’t thin, but I was much healthier. Now I’ve leaned out a bit, and I’m trying to get my muscle mass back. It won’t happen overnight, but I’m already so glad I decided to commit to lifting again. I missed it so much.

It’s frustrating, and I’m vocal about it to my trainer and the other guys who were chatting us up in between reps and exercises. I used to have a decent bench and squat, and now I struggle with just finishing a set. Yes, it pisses me off. But muscle doesn’t grow in five seconds, and I’m doing what I can just by being back in a gym again. I’m not going to spend the whole time scowling and being angry. More often than not, anger is a total waste of energy.

So I joke about it. I poke fun at myself. I smile and laugh and keep my head up. Someone once told me that when I smile, I become a giant ball of sunshine. I want to be that constantly. I’m happy. There are things in my life that I want to improve and still need to work on, but for the most part, I’m a happy person. Which is hilarious because I used to be a pessimist who thought that I couldn’t ever be happy while single. Well hey, look at me over here proving myself wrong. It’s great.

It sounds so cliché, but when you fall in love with yourself, it’s really hard for the trivial shit to get you down.

I’ll get stronger. I’m already making progress.

I’m going to get a job. I JUST graduated a little over a week ago. I’m allowed some time to chill out before jumping back into a hectic schedule.

Eventually I’ll meet someone I click with that doesn’t think I’m too weird or too nerdy or too much and who wants me in their life.

Until then, I’m just gonna keep laughing and smiling.

“Writers end up writing about their obsessions,”

Now that college is (finally) over, and I’m in that void of time where I’ve submitted countless applications and spend most of my time patiently waiting around for my phone to ring for an interview, I’ve been reading a lot.  I struggle with having a lot of free time. I like to keep busy. I actually find myself more exhausted after a day of doing nothing than when I get up at 5 am and have a fully packed schedule until 10 pm.  I’m reading a lot of books that I set aside this past semester because I was too busy reading psychology research.  My aunt gave me Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg as a graduation gift.  She knows I’m a writer who has always dreamt of publishing books, and she thought it would be a good addition to my bookshelves.

This quote actually came from one of the many prefaces, and it made me realize so many things about my writing.  Writers end up writing about their obsessions. What do I write about nine times out of ten? People.

Obsession can be a dirty word.  It can have a lot of negative context and can make it sound like you are crafting your world around something specific.  But I don’t think it always has to be that way.  To be honest, if I had the funds to travel more often, I would probably spend most of my time writing about that. But I’m a brand-spankin’-new college grad who can’t even afford to move out of my home state at the current time, so I doubt I’ll be publishing any pieces on how beautiful Bali is anytime soon.

I’m an extremely observant person. I think it was born out of naturally being the quiet girl, and as I got older and more confident in myself, I never stopped watching people. Not everyone catches my eye; there has to be something about them. It’s an energy thing. Every once in awhile I meet someone who has a truly unique vibe, and they catch my attention. I almost always end up writing about them.

My first version of my blog was almost my own version of 13 Reasons Why, where I singled people out without ever naming them (but making it glaringly obvious who I was referring to) and wrote about how they hurt me and blah blah blah. I was in a lot of pain back then and I was fairly (okay, very) immature. You think you know everything when you’re twenty, and it turns out you don’t know shit. Hell, I’m twenty-five and still don’t know shit.  But still, I was writing about people.

I’ve found old diaries, old livejournal URLs, notebooks from high school where I filled empty pages with narrative about my life, and it’s all about people.  People that I noticed. People that I wanted to be. People that I wanted to know.

I’ve always known I wouldn’t ever be a novelist because I’m not a huge fiction junkie. It’s not that I don’t read it, it’s just that it has to be pretty damn good for me to actually make it to the end. I get bored with fiction because it isn’t real. Yes, it sounds so wonderful, but in the end, it doesn’t actually exist. I’d rather try to find the magic in reality.

I fall in love with people every day. I think people are magical. I love learning all the unique quirks about the people in my life, and there are some people I could just sit and listen to them talk for hours because I think they are magnificent thinkers.

It’s really fitting that I got a degree in psychology, honestly. Even though I picked it for selfish reasons, it wound up being one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I was able to learn more about how and why people do the things they do. But that’s neither here nor there.

I have an obsession with people. I think it’s incredible how we’re all basically made up of the same core things, and yet we’re all unique individuals. So that’s what I write about. I write about my experiences meeting new people, spending time with them, things that catch my eye.  Sometimes it makes it to this blog, sometimes it’s poetry on my tumblr, sometimes it never sees the light of day.

Maybe it’s creepy. I used to feel so self-conscious about it. I remember when I published my first impression series a few summers ago, I was so nervous that the people I was writing about would think it was so weird, but they were all so flattered. That’s the thing. If you make enough of an impression on an artist that you inspire something in them, it should be taken as a compliment. That’s all I mean by it.

I’m just trying to show you all how magnificent you are.

Calm before the storm.

I went on a hike today with a friend I met in a class this past semester and one of his friends. We got out of town a bit and got lost among trails and creeks.  Pretty early on we abandoned even following an official trail, and jumped into the rocky creek and explored.  It was one of the best mornings I’ve had in a long time.  Or ever, really.  I’m still exhausted from the almost three hour adventure.

I’ve always loved going on runs through parks or walking Dallas and just zoning out to my music, but there was something about today.  Out there in the boonies, with no cell signal, no headphones, just me and a couple of friends, my anxiety was silenced.  I felt so comfortable with myself, and the beauty of the area actually took my breath away.

There was a moment though, between climbing through teetering creek rocks, and when we decided that a tree was a good bridge to cross some water, there was a period where two of us sat, and the other skipped rocks, and it was just… quiet.

It was raining. Not hard, but still precipitating.  Somehow, even sitting in the open, we didn’t get totally soaked. The surrounding trees shaded us enough.  But you could hear the birds, the rain on the leaves of the trees, C skipping rocks, and it was the most peaceful period of time I’ve ever experienced.  Nobody was talking. We were all just there, in the moment.

And in that moment, I felt calm. I am not someone who ever feels calm.  I am an extremely Type A personality that likes routines and schedules and has a hard time doing nothing without panicking about other things that need to be done.  I’m wound pretty tight. It’s not great, and I’m working on it. I’m a lot better than I used to be. But I felt so calm then, and really the whole time I was with them I felt like that. I felt calm and accepted and content. Minus the few minutes of me walking across a fallen tree to get across water and praying I wouldn’t fall, because my phone was definitely in my pocket. (Somehow I didn’t fall, and I’m still insanely proud of myself for managing to do that.) 

But being out there, I forgot about everything. I forgot about how I just quit my crappy retail job for the sake of my sanity.  I forgot about how, despite countless applications to real jobs, I haven’t received any phone calls for interviews.  I forgot about all the family I have coming into town for my graduation.  I forgot I was even graduating on Saturday.

I was just out in the woods, with wet shoes and a couple of super chill guys, living in the moment.

I honestly could have stayed out there forever.

The drive back into town slowly brought me back to reality, and as soon as I got back into my own car, my mind immediately filled with everything I need to do over the next couple of days.

I think I need to go on hikes more often.