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.

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.

Quit the bullshit.

I think one of the most interesting things that has happened to me as I’ve gotten older is my shift in perception. I feel like I view everything so differently than I used to. And yes, obviously some of that is just typical growing up and forming your own opinions, but it’s also a product of the things that happen to you. Nobody makes it to twenty-five without something that changed them. Mine is obvious, it’s something I’ve written countless pieces about and still makes me look at the world a little differently: my war with mental illness. I’m still getting used to living in the sunshine that only exists in a mentality that doesn’t suffer from clinical depression.

One thing that tagged along with my depression was some severe body image issues.  This has been something that’s affected me for a long time, and part of that is being female, and the other part is being a perfectionist who always wants to be the best.  Newsflash: perfect doesn’t exist.

If you’ve known me for longer than about three years, you would know that I gained some weight. Sixty pounds over the course of a year, to be exact. There are reasons this happened, but none of them matter for the purpose of what I want to talk about, or really at all. People gain weight, shit happens.  I had personally never weighed that much, and it freaked me the fuck out.  I went into denial about my weight.  I avoided scales, mirrors, and fitted clothes.  I was so ashamed that I had gained so much, and I truly began to hate my body.  This also lined up with the time that I swore off men, which shouldn’t be a shocker: I was terrified of being naked in front of someone.

I didn’t really start to lose the weight until I got to a much healthier mental state.  It took a while, and that weight lingered and some came off just naturally.  I transferred to a school with a big ass campus that made me walk exponentially more than I was used to walking, and I lost some of the weight just by walking to class.

Eventually I got to a place where I accepted myself. I let go of the demons of my past and I began to let myself start over.  I’ve lost 40 pounds since then. This isn’t really about my *transformation,* it’s just hard to get to my point without giving some background.

I bought shorts last week for the first time in… six years?

I’m not even kidding.  The funny thing is that at one point during those six years where I was refusing to wear shorts, I was the thinnest I have ever been in my life.  Not healthy whatsoever, but thin as fuck.  I remember thinking I looked so fabulous and sexy, and I look back on full body photos of myself from being unhealthily thin, and I am lanky as fuck.  The thing is, I’m not really tall enough to ever be lanky, but that’s just how thin I was.

I’ve gotten to this point where I’m so happy with myself and with my life and what is going on right now that somehow, I have managed to love my body.  It took me twenty-five years, but I did it. I’m not sure I’ve ever been authentically myself until recently, and it’s so liberating and refreshing.

I still want to be stronger.  I want to be able to run farther without stopping and be able to lift higher weights and throw harder punches. But I’m so sick of being hot in the summer from wearing jeans when everyone else is in shorts.  I’m sick of comparing my body, my athletic af, 5’9″ frame that has, what I like to call, linebacker shoulders, to the bodies of my 5’0″ friends who barely hit 110 pounds.  You know when the last time I weighed 110 was? 5th grade.

I was hardcore bullied throughout school for being so pale that I blinded people.  I’m a natural redhead, ya’ll. I’m really white. I get it. But I should still be allowed to wear shorts during a midwestern summer.  I manage to get a little tan, but I never try too hard because it usually comes after burning a few times.  So I didn’t wear shorts because I was too white, and then I didn’t wear shorts because I thought I had thunder thighs. No matter the reason, I was still sweating my ass off during summer.

It’s just bullshit.

I’ve been writing some poetry-esque stuff on my tumblr, and I wrote this thing the other day that I really connected with as it poured out of me.  It was basically about giving up bullshit, and I realized that THAT was the difference between the new and the old me.

I’m over it. All of it.

I’m a very blunt, sarcastic person who likes to poke holes in people’s logic and is a boss at Zelda and tbh, like most people, I’m really fucking weird.  Because that’s what makes us unique as individuals.  I dance, a lot.  I almost always have music playing and I’m always dancing.  I have conversations with my dog, and I’m pretty sure she knows what I’m saying.

Around March or so, maybe early April? I stopped hiding.  I started talking to people who I felt like I had something in common with. I started being more honest about who I am.  I started really getting into my workouts and appreciating the things my body is capable of.  I started loving myself unapologetically.

Fun fact: there was a point in time where I regretted my tattoos because I wasn’t sure that I could actually pull them off, and I felt like I looked stupid.  MY TATTOOS.  You know, the things that I got to mark significant events in my life and things about myself and who I am.  The fact that I have tattoos means I can pull them off.  Plain and simple.

Embrace who you are. Love your body, whether you’ve lost weight or you still want to. This isn’t about some transformation where I now love my body.  That transformation happened because I started to accept myself. Wear what you want, what makes you feel sexy, what makes you feel good. For me, that typically means wearing vans when everyone around me is wearing heels.  It doesn’t make me less feminine or beautiful. It just makes me, well, me.

Love yourself and the world will follow.  You don’t have to have it all perfectly together and know exactly what you’re doing. Embrace the unknown.  Figuring out what happens next is the fun part, because it can be whatever the fuck you want.

I thought I was out of vices to quit, turns out I had one left: bullshit.

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Vulnerable.

We have a tendency to overthink EVERYTHING.  Society has us all brainwashed that we need to act a certain way in order to not be weird or different.  I’m slowly getting to this point in my life where I just don’t care anymore. We’re all so critical and calculated when it comes to new people.  There’s all of these stupid fucking “rules.”

Don’t text too often.

Don’t be too forward.

Don’t be too much.

Don’t be too honest.

It’s all bullshit.  We’re all too busy playing these games that we’re not actually being authentic to ourselves, and we wonder why we wind up in relationships with the wrong kinds of people.  How are you supposed to meet someone you really click with if you’re not being your 100% true, transparent, weird, and wonderful self?

We’re all too damn scared. Of everything. And it’s ridiculous because we’re missing out on so much every single day because we have to be this calculated version of ourselves that isn’t too much and isn’t too boring and isn’t too weird.

We’re not as in control as we think we are.  No matter what our plans are, we have absolutely no idea when we’re done. We don’t know when we’re going to die. It could be decades from now or it could be tomorrow. Kinda morbid, but it’s true.

A couple of years ago, I built up my walls. I had my friends, but I was afraid to let new people in because I was so fucking terrified of falling apart again.  It’s still a fear of mine that I have, but I can’t keep hiding from the world because I’m afraid.  I want to live my life and meet new people.  My anxiety is hard to deal with sometimes, but I’m learning and I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone.  It’s worth it.

I forgot how exhilarating feeling vulnerable is.  It’s terrifying to put yourself out there, with the possibility of rejection, but it’s also so fucking exciting.

So send the damn text. Ask them out. Say hello. Introduce yourself. Tell that person that annoys the crap out of you to fuck off. Tell someone you think they’re amazing or interesting or cool.

Just be real. What’s the worst that could happen?