7 Things I Want to Do This Year

Posted on January 24, 2017 in

I feel like the last year flew by, and it’s hard to believe that we are already nearing the end of January. So much has already happened this year, and I feel like the next few months are going to slowly pass. One of the best ways I know how to pass time is to make make goals. I am really trying hard to diversify my goals for this year, just so I have a good pool to choose from in the coming months.

I hate making cheesy goals. I’m not good at sticking with them. I like to be specific. I like my goals to contribute to me being a better person. They also need to have steps and be working toward something better. Really, I need a distraction.

So, here we go.

Goal #1: Pay off at least 3 of my student loans. 

I’ve got a bunch of them! Thankfully, I will be able to pay one off entirely next week. Then, it’s just two more. It will be nice to owe a few thousand less (even though I just added a bunch of student debt this year when I went back to school).

Goal #2: Say more words (louder).

One of the reasons I suck at communicating is that I often just don’t talk. Okay, so this goal is not as specific as I’d like it to be. But it’s something I can work on each day. Sometimes I miss out on opportunities simply because I don’t speak up. I don’t want this to be an ongoing theme in my life.

Goal #3: Finish my novel.

So, yeah, this also means I need to start my novel. But it’s happening this year.

Goal#4: Be able to do a handstand.

The handstand is the bane of my existence in my attempts to do yoga well. This encompasses a lot of other skills I’m trying to work on, but this is a great way to qualify it all.

Goal #5: Finish the German Duolingo tree.

I’ve already finished the French and Spanish trees, and apparently I’m spending a lot of time in Germany lately. Time to get learning so I can actually talk to people while I travel.

Goal #6: Write a non-fiction book.

Yes, I’ve already done it. But I want to do it again (and better).

Goal #7: Figure out my living situation.

Again, not specific. But still, very important. This is a time in my life when I need to start making a lot of bigger decisions.  I need to figure out where I want to live, if I want to go to grad school, if I’m happy doing what I’m doing. I need to figure out something that makes me feel at peace with it all.

Photo care of Bossfight

10 Things I’ve Learned in 2016

Posted on December 19, 2016 in

After a slightly hellish year, it’s sort of hard to sit down and take stock of all those “lessons” you’re supposed to acknowledge. It’s really easy to look back on the year and see what I like to refer to as “a bunch of bullshit,” but doesn’t it always feel better at the end of the year to sit down and look at your accomplishments? In my effort to stay positive, that is exactly what I’m going to try to do now.

1 – Sometimes it really feels like you can’t do things, but you definitely can. Things that seemed like dreams can be made reality, but they have to be those things that you are capable of doing. You can’t make dreams that somebody else is going to save you. You have to save yourself. But you can be saved.

2 – Sometimes you need to ask people for help, and that does not make you a failure.

3 – I learn this every year. There are no signs. If it’s not happening, it’s not happening for a reason. Move on already.

4 – Don’t feel bad because things are not on track. The nature of life is such that there isn’t a track.

5 – A scarf can be your best friend on a bad day.

6 – Don’t be afraid to sit in pubs alone. Some of your favorite days are the ones you did that.

7 – Eat every new food you come across. There is so much more out there than you even know of.

8 – The train is a fantastic and amazing thing, more so in Europe than back home.

9 – In comparison to everything else, you are doing so much better today than you were last year. You might feel worse, but that’s only because there are always growing pains.

10 – It’s really easy to feel that you aren’t good enough, especially today. But that’s okay. Most people who think this way won’t be in your life much longer anyway.

Photo care of Barn Images

My First Few Days in Brighton

Posted on December 15, 2016 in
Brighton Pier

It’s now Thursday night, which means I’ve been in Brighton for four days now. The weather really isn’t so bad, and I’ve even seen the sun about half the time. Brighton is a beautiful city with a lot to do, and I can honestly say that this is a lovely place. I’ve found places that I really like, and a couple places I couldn’t escape fast enough. I got to catch up with a friend, and I actually some food today.

I still kinda feel like something is missing though.

My first trip to Europe was a whirlwind. I was scared, but so excited. That was in March. Now, in December, I feel exhausted. This year has been pretty intense and sometimes ridiculous, and I feel like it’s really done its job wearing me down.

It doesn’t really need to be said that traveling solo can be lonely. Even when I meet people here, conversations are superficial. Sometimes I feel like a novelty.

I thought I would like having the distraction, but it just doesn’t feel the same. I don’t have the same sense of optimism or the attitude that anything could happen. I feel jaded.

It’s at times like this where I look around and feel really, really alone. The people I love are miles and miles away. But to be honest, I don’t know if I want to be home. I don’t really have the feeling that I want to be anywhere at the moment.

I really do love England. It’s beautiful. People here have been so nice to me. I’ve made some of my best memories here. I want to come back. I just want to do it under different circumstances.

I guess the worst thing is that I don’t know what to do. I know that going home this early is a mistake, but I’m already feeling the wear and tear of this trip. But I also feel like it’s not just this trip. It’s like the weight of everything that’s happened in my entire life has decided to unleash itself on me this week. I think I’m ready to feel other things.

I guess what this week has taught me is that I need to make some changes in my life. I need to put a higher priority on achieving some smaller goals. I need to stop moping about things I can’t change. I need to be okay with some things I’m struggling with now. I need to stop relying on other people for happiness, love, and respect. I need to find more reliable types of comfort.

In Just One Week

Posted on December 5, 2016 in
In Just One Week

In less than a week, I will have landed in England. I am not well prepared, and somehow not that bothered by it.

I don’t have a goal for this trip or anything like that. The truth is that I have really been slacking on making any sort of goals. Maybe that’s part of the problem. I’ve been focusing so much on what’s not going right.

I’ve been focused on finishing up school and various small projects and I’ve ultimately lost sight of a lot of things I want for myself. The last year has been somewhat of a personal hell for me combined with some of the best experiences I’m sure I will ever have. I don’t have good insight into how I’m going to get through the next year, let alone the next week. I’ve never been so exhausted or so tightly wound. And this really has to change.

I was hoping to resolve a lot this year, and I feel like I’ve only moved backward. I find myself even more lost and more stuck inside my own head than before. Sometimes I find myself misplacing feelings rather than dealing with them directly. I let them wear me down not just emotionally but also physically. My favorite time of the day has been going to sleep, but even that doesn’t seem to work. I wake up constantly and instantly sink back into bad feelings.

I think the worst thing is that I tend to dwell on things. Work and school don’t seem to provide enough distraction to really keep me from thinking about the things that are bothering me. I know there are people I need to disconnect from. I know there are things I need to stop daydreaming about. But I don’t because I want to hold on to the idea that things are possible. The best thing is that the things I’ve been thinking about have changed.

I guess the best way to put it is that I’m very, very depressed.

So, all of that leads me to going on this trip. I’ve gone back and forth about it, but I think it’s something I need to do. I need the distraction again. It’s so much easier to believe in good things when you are discovering new things, at least in my experience.

Photo via Bossfight

It’s Okay to Feel Terrible for a Little While

Posted on November 10, 2016 in
It's Okay to Feel Terrible for a Little While

I’ve been thinking a lot about what to write about the election, but nothing seems right. I also had a super long post I’ve been working on for over a month about the intensity of my depression over the course of the last year. So, I’m going to combine them now.

The Election

The results of the presidential election were widely disappointing, and I know I am one voice out of many expressing this sentiment.

Let’s be clear about one thing. This is not a game. This is not an issue of “your candidate lost, suck it up.” People are afraid. They are not only afraid of the president-elect. They are afraid of his supporters. They are afraid that their loved ones will be taken from them. They are afraid that people will lose their lives. They are afraid of racism, sexism, and so much more. So, no. I don’t think this is an issue of “sore losers.” How can it be, when people are living in fear for the very reasons that got this man elected in the first place?

I will never fault people for protesting. In fact, I feel that it is our responsibility to express discontent with our system. When letters, votes, and voices don’t work, it’s our duty to find a way to stand up for what we feel is right. It is never right to watch our neighbors be stripped of their human rights. This is how we have achieved shit from day one. Don’t we look back on the Boston Tea Party with pride? While Martin Luther King Jr.’s protests are hailed as peaceful today, you can bet your ass that they were not convenient for everybody else. I highly recommend reading more about the nonviolent resistance supported by King. As a nation, we’ve always been proud of our inability to sit down and shut up when we feel discontent with the system.

People are upset and are protesting because they feel that their lives could be destroyed. Many are grieving hope (though I truly hope they have no reason to). Many are wondering what they are going to do. People have questions about how they will afford health insurance, if their family members will be deported, or if we might be facing World War III. Please don’t be confused and associate this with the myth that millennials are whiny crybabies.

I absolutely hope with all my heart that our next president makes good choices. I don’t want to live in the world I envision when I think about our president-elect. I want our country to be prosperous. I want our country to be on the right side of history. I don’t want our country to be the joke of the world. I do not want him to fail because that means we all fail.

When I look around, I see people who want to help. I see desperate people looking for anything to hold on to. I see hopeless people. I see hopeful people. No matter how you voted, I believe that you did what you thought was best for the country. And I respect that we each have the opportunity to be part of democracy.

That being said, I will never respect anybody who perpetrates sexual assault. I will never respect anybody who speaks about sexual assault cavalierly. I won’t look at this man and see somebody I feel proud of representing me and the country I live in. I will feel disgusted. I will think about my own experiences and the experiences of other women I know and feel sickened that we allowed things to go this far. I will never respect somebody who mocks people with disabilities. I wouldn’t respect a friend, family member, or person on the street who expressed ideas similar to those this man has.

I am not interested in having a political debate with you. I am not interested in trying to change anybody’s mind. I’m not interested in hearing excuses or justifications. I get why you might not have wanted to vote for either candidate. I get it. But we allowed the system to become this.  It never had to become this.

No matter how you voted or how you feel after the election, I think we all agree that we need change. I don’t think anybody is necessarily over the moon with the way things are going. We have a lot of work to do. (Some of us on a more personal level.)

I have a few goals for the next few years. And just maybe taking action is the best remedy to fighting back against this bombardment of hatred, a lot of which I feel from my very own family members.

Goal #1: Take a stand for the causes I believe in by donating my time. Did you know that I knocked on doors for the first time this year to talk to people about a local candidate I was proud to support? Never in a million years did I see myself doing that. My next step is to consider ways in which my time will be best spent with the community I live in. How can I support people who feel especially vulnerable at this time?

Goal #2: Put my money where my mouth is. Donate more often to organizations like Planned Parenthood, RAINN, and charities that focus on domestic violence. Donate to environmentally focused groups that are working to understand climate change. There is a list of similar organizations here. For every awful thing I see somebody post on Facebook, I hope to donate a dollar to a cause that I support in their honor.

Goal #3: Try to be as compassionate as possible. Let’s not mince words. I’m pissed off. But I understand the anger and fear and mistrust all of us have. But some people have more cause to be worried than I do. And I want to show those people the respect and compassion that they deserve.

Goal #4: Stand up when something is wrong. This is not contradictory to my previous goal. I think the two can coincide. I can have compassion for somebody while also telling them that what they said is awful/wrong/hateful/unwarranted/inaccurate. But also, realize when people are just trying to start a debate that will only end in hurt feelings.

As a nation, we have to do better. I have confidence that we will. But right now, I’ve got nothing.

 

Depression

On to personal issues. The last few months, I’ve been doing terribly. I’m tired of beating around the bush and trying to be delicate about how I feel. I don’t feel like a person. Some mornings I wake up and have a split second of wishing that I hadn’t. Some nights I go to bed feeling more alone than ever.

I wish I could say that there is no reason for all of this, but there are many personal ones. The world feels so bleak, and I feel utterly hopeless. This is not election-related, by the way. This is very much related to relationships (romantic, family, friendships), feeling stagnant, not having my own space, and whatever chemical things are going on in my brain.  There are people, places, and especially feelings that I miss so much that they make my chest physically ache. There

There are people, places, and especially feelings that I miss so much that they make my chest physically ache. There are things that make me feel sick. There are people I’m so incredibly angry at, and they have no idea. And recently, all these things are so much more intense. Maybe it’s stress? Maybe it’s the fact that my emotional support network consists of a cat? Maybe it’s the feeling that I’m working so hard and getting nowhere?

I am so, so tired of hiding the fact that I have been depressed for years upon years. It’s exhausting. And a lot of the time, I feel utterly alone in it. The best thing I can say is that I don’t wallow in it anymore. I get out of bed in the morning. I shake off the feelings of self-loathing. I run until I can’t breathe. I come home and work and even shower every day. I’m getting better. It’s something that I can live with. But I also know that it’s something I will always live with.

I don’t say all of this to make anybody feel bad or to invoke worry. I say this because it’s important. Don’t shell up like I so often do and hide away from the world. There are people, like me, who will listen. There are people who will help you to the best of their abilities.

 

Over the course of the next few days, I will be posting videos that provide me with a sense of peace or that just make me feel okay about the way things are going. I think we could all use this time to reflect on how we want to better ourselves and help those much more vulnerable.

3 Ways to Be Better Today

Posted on November 2, 2016 in

1 – Feeling kinda lost after a breakup? This article spoke to me deeply.

2 – Clean something that needs it. Today I cleaned half of my closet. I can find all my clothes now!

3 – Do you know where your passport is? Do you know how long you have left until it expires? Do yourself a favor today and pull your passport from the dark corner of your room and make sure you have ample time left.

3 Ways to Be Better Today

Posted on October 25, 2016 in

1 – Start a new healthy habit by spending less than one minute improving your physical (and perhaps mental) health. Do one or two crunches or squats before increasing the your reps next week. Not your thing? Take a walk around the block or just step outside for a full minute for some fresh air. You will feel a little bit better after you do.

2 – Always use the bathroom when you come across one that’s available. I’ve recently discovered how terrible it is to have to pee when you can’t. Never again, my friends.

3 – Shake up your sound routine today. Instead of doing the dishes in silence, download a podcast to listen to. Instead of listening to a podcast when you run, make a running playlist.

3 Ways to Be Better Today

Posted on October 18, 2016 in

1 – Learn how to explain without making excuses.

2 – Reach out to somebody you haven’t talked to in the last few months. Maybe you don’t need to apologize for the absence, just march back into conversation.

3 – Watch something that reminds you of simpler times. I’ve been catching up on my Degreassi.

3 Ways to Be Better Today

Posted on October 17, 2016 in

1 – Take a walk through one of your local bookstores. If you are lucky enough to live next to one of these bookstores, take a look. I’ve been to Bart’s Books a few times.

2 – Having headaches? Here are 21 possible solutions to your problem.

3 – Cooking is hard enough on its own. Don’t make it harder. Try incorporating one of these tips into your cooking today.

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