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Monday, December 30, 2013

Party Nails and Panoramas

This past few months, I've been really getting into makeup and nail polish. I'm not sure where this obsession came from, but it isn't going away any time soon and I need an outlet. Since I don't want to annoy my Facebook or Instagram followers with my vanity too much, this blog will be my little corner of the Internet where I document my exciting adventures with nail and face shit.

I'm trying really hard not to hate myself for being such a stereotypical girl... But the truth must come out. I can no longer hide it.

I love glitter.

Like, really love glitter. I would wear it every day on my clothes if I weren't trying to pretend to be an adult most of the time. But since I can't, I settle for just wearing it on my nails. We're throwing a New Year's Eve Party tomorrow, and I feel like my nails perfectly embody this occasion.

Nothing says "party" like spending the better part of two hours on a home manicure.

Polish used:
-Sinful Colors Black on Black
-Maurices Nail Color multi-color glitter (they don't have titles)
-Essie Luxe Effects "As Gold As It Gets"
-Essie All-In-One base and top coat, which is my secret weapon for long-lasting manicures. Seriously, it's magical

Also. I just discovered the panorama feature on my Samsung Galaxy S3 phone camera.


This is my living room, captured in a panorama shot. I recognize that this is not a very good photo. It's blurry because you have to move the camera around the room and I have constantly shaky hands, and the lamps and TV are super white because of the longer exposure time. Still, I think it's pretty cool. Even though it's distorted, I love this view of my living room, complete with sleepy dog and husband. I'll definitely be playing around more with this, which just happens to be one of my New Year's resolutions! But more on that in a later post. :)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

brain-jacked

I am currently in the process of figuring out what combination of drugs will make me functional. It turns out that this process is difficult. Fun fact: no one really knows how anti-depressants work. They just know that they work for some people. The problem lies in the number of drugs on the market, and that they all claim to do different things, even if they're in the same drug class. So, the common treatment method is to try a drug for about a month, as it takes about that long to be fully effective, and if its side effects ruin your life or it doesn't do anything to help your depression, you try something else. It's as tedious as it sounds. Over the course of my lifetime, I have been on six anti-depressants spanning three different drug classes.

Recently, I was on Paxil for about a month. The side effects were a major deal-breaker, plus it made some aspects of my depression worse. So I switched from Paxil to something else, which means now I'm experiencing both withdrawal from the Paxil and an adjustment period for the new drug. It's kind of hard to tell the difference between the two, but in my experience, I can tell that the majority of my symptoms are due to withdrawal.

The only word I can use to describe withdrawal from these drugs, at least in my experience (because everyone's experience is completely different) is HORRIFIC When I was tapering off of my first anti-depressant, I ended up in the hospital mostly because I had no idea what the actual fuck was going on with my brain and I thought I was dying and/or going insane. I was experiencing things I had never felt before. It's hard to explain, so I'm gonna break it down a bit.

Here is a list of common withdrawal symptoms according to www.quitpaxil.org. In bold are the side effects I am currently experiencing every single day, though not at all at once and at various levels of intensity.

Frequently Reported Symptoms:

  • intense insomnia
  • extraordinarily vivid dreams
  • extreme confusion during waking hours
  • intense fear of losing your sanity
  • steady feeling of existing outside of reality as you know it ("depersonalization")
  • memory and concentration problems
  • panic attacks, even if never experienced before
  • severe mood swings, especially heightened irritability/anger
  • suicidal thoughts
  • an unconventional dizziness/vertigo
  • the feelings of a mild electric shock running the length of your body
  • unsteady gait
  • slurred speech
  • headaches
  • profuse sweating, especially at night
  • muscle cramps
  • blurred vision
  • breaking out in tears
  • hypersensitivity to motion, sounds, smells
  • decrease or complete loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • abdominal cramping
  • chills/hot flashes
  • hand tremors

Less Frequently Reported Symptoms:

  • fainting
  • "scratching sounds" inside one's head
  • constant white noise in the ears
  • tingling sensation in cheeks, lips, tongue
  • heart palpitations/chest pain
  • swollen and sore eyes
  • fatigue
  • extremely localized, bursting headaches
  • lump in throat
  • rash/dry, irritated skin
  • teeth-grinding
  • difficulty swallowing
  • itchiness
  • "brain zaps" - a feeling in one's head that is hard to describe, basically feeling as if your brain is twitching.

SO YEAH. That's my life right now. And these are just the reported side effects for this one drug. And I was only on it for one month. These withdrawal symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to six weeks or more. I am not against antidepressants by any means. If they work, absolutely use them. Whatever gets you through the day/this existence. I know I'm super sensitive to literally everything, so for the normal people they may work swimmingly. But let's be real: these drugs seriously mess with your brain chemistry, and doctors don't even really understand how or why they do, or if there are long-term negative effects. I fully admit to being ridiculous, but part of me is pretty sure that in thirty years or so, we're going to be looking back on them the same way we look back on people using cocaine as medicine or thinking that smoking was good for you. And all of the people whose lives were ravaged by antidepressant addiction are going to be strung-out messes on PSAs sighing and saying (through their tragic half-faces with sunken eyeballs or whatever)  "I wish I would have known :-( :-( :-(" and warning not to take them, or maybe asking people to call a number to be part of a class-action lawsuit. At least I'll get to be on TV, I guess?


"THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON ANTIDEPRESSANT WITHDRAWAL"




Man, this post took a dark turn.

I'm sure everyone will be fine, here's a puppy:





Sunday, October 20, 2013

never-ending calamity

I need a fresh start and some anonymity. I figured changing my blog's name was easier than running away to Guam.

For the past few months, I've had no idea what is going on in my brain. I can go from completely self-destructive to not wanting to get out of bed to sobbing uncontrollably to being afraid to leave the house to not feeling any feelings at all in the span of a few days. This has been happening every. single. week since late August. I've experienced depression before, but it's different this time. It came abruptly and intensely, and I’ve been spending the last few months navigating how to fix it while attempting to be a functional employee and graduate student and maintain relationships with friends, husband, and family. I have no idea what I’m doing. I don't feel much better than I did a few months ago.

It is so difficult for me to talk to anyone about depression, so I avoided writing about it because I knew friends followed the other blog. Some people close to me have experienced depression and understand what I'm going through, sort of. But everyone experiences this illness differently, and I'm afraid of spilling my guts about this because mental illness is still stigmatized, even in somewhat enlightened crowds (I'd like to consider my friends pretty enlightened). I didn't want people to think I was using it as an excuse or that I was exaggerating my feelings and experiences. I didn't want to seem like a crazy person. I didn't want anyone to worry.

I still don't want those things. I want a place to write out my turbulent emotions. It made me feel better before, and maybe it will help me understand them better now.





Friday, August 30, 2013

Stuff I want but probably won't get because life isn't always fair.


  • I want this bag so I can feel happy and pretty when I use it to put all my stuff in and then take my stuff somewhere else.
  • I can't decide if I like this dress or this dress better because they're both so fucking amazing and oh god Emma Watson please be my wife. 
  • This skeleton is JUST SO HAPPY. Why can't I be this skeleton?
  • Rainbows is my favorite color and also I only really like this dress from the back.
  • I used to have one of these and wore it every single day and loved it but then I lost it. That was ten years ago, but still. 
  • This cute little bastard wouldn't eat a $300 retainer that keeps my teeth not looking like this... TWICE. Fuck you, Ranger. You're a dick and we are fighting. 

Unrelated: this has been a pretty awful week. I'm not writing it down anywhere because I don't want to accidentally look back and remember it.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My Summer, In Songs

I listen to a lot of music. Zoning out and listening to music is one of the few times I can really turn my mind off and concentrate on something other than what's on my to-do list or the thoughts in my head. It's pretty much my meditation. If I don't make time to sit and stare into space with music in my ears on a regular basis, I start to get anxious and cranky... like, more than usual.

The other day, I decided The Most Important Thing was to make a play list of the songs I've been obsessing over this summer. Some of these songs make me sad and introspective. A few of them make me happy and want to spaz around (some people may call it "dancing"). A couple of them are just weird and fun. Most of them aren't new songs, even to me, but they've been recently rediscovered and have basically been my life source this summer, and many will continue to be my all-time favorite musics for my ears and soul.

Here they are, in very particular order:

  1. Some Nights - Fun.
  2. Royal Blue - Cold War Kids
  3. Glowing - Nikki Williams
  4. 1901 - Phoenix
  5. Titanium - David Guetta feat. Sia
  6. Dirty Paws - Of Monsters and Men
  7. Baby Finn Song - From the TV show Adventure Time
  8. City With No Children - Arcade Fire
  9. Cups (When I'm Gone) - Anna Kendrick
  10. Girl Sailor - The Shins
  11. Houdini - Foster the People (I've also been a little obsessed with the video)
  12. We Can't Stop - Miley Cyrus*
  13. The Streets - Foxy Shazam
*I find Miley's 20-year-old-insanely-rich-white-girl antics wildly entertaining and I don't want to hear any sass, but feel free to judge me. I probably deserve it.


Honorable Mentions, but didn't make sense on the list:

All The Rowboats - Regina Spektor (and basically the entirety of her album What We Saw From the Cheap Seats), Draw a Crowd - Ben Folds, For the Widows in Paradise, for the Fatherless in Ypsilanti - Sufjan Stevens (an all-time-forever favorite music for my soul)

So, what are you listening to? I'm always looking for new music to obsess over and I'm down for listening to just about anything.

L,
V

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Rage Poetry: I'm Sure It's Tough to Work at Night


i'm sure it's tough to work at night.
but
moving furniture,
pelting scores of marbles onto the floor,
body-slamming your Labrador,
or whatever goes on up there
(& i'm not sure i really want to know)
is not a 4am thing to do.
no.
it sends me into a rage of a thousand fiery things.
i hope,
someday,
when you just want to sleep at night like humans do,
you are serenely dreaming of beauty, hope, and light
until you are abruptly awaken
by a sound that you mistake for the beginning of the end-of-days
and that you
never
sleep
again.


(This is a problem every. single. night. Times are hard for light sleepers.)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

50 Things I've Done

I have been feeling mopey about not living life to its fullest or whatever, so I decided to make a list of interesting things I've already done so I could feel better.

I have:
  1. Watched my dad throw approximately 20 bottle rockets into a bonfire while we were all sitting around it (no one was hurt)
  2. Cleaned approximately 3,000 tiny bugs off my body after unknowingly flying through them while riding in the front row on a roller coaster
  3. Snorted pepper on a casual dare
  4. Smashed a tiny container of coffee creamer with my fist... twice
  5. Taken a final exam with pneumonia and got an A
  6. Locked my keys in my car while dressed as a fairy (the locksmith lol'd at me and then opened the car for free)
  7. Taken a final exam and failed miserably, but passed the class
  8. Broken my nose... twice.
  9. Dated a stranger I met in a movie theater for four months
  10. Ran away from home for approximately 30 minutes when I was nine.
  11. Wore Pippi Longstocking hair to "wacky hair day" and was really embarrassed about it because no one knew who that was
  12. Been attacked by a blackbird
  13. Ran track on a team that won the conference championship, a title for which I contributed absolutely nothing
  14. Owned a snake as a pet
  15. Painted peace signs, flowers, and smiley faces on a bedroom wall
  16. Ate a foot-long hot-dog, got food poisoning, and didn't eat hot dogs again for a year
  17. Eventually ate a foot-long hot-dog at the same place I got food poisoining, like a smart person.
  18. Went to a Harry Potter book release party even though I hadn't read any of the books yet
  19. Had mono on my 21st birthday, made appletinis and drank them anyway
  20. Won the "quiet seat" at the children's bible study I visited with my friend every single time I visited, presumably because I literally never spoke a word ever
  21. Dated someone I met online and didn't get murdered
  22. Played softball for two years and was really bad at it
  23. Stayed awake for 24 hours straight just to see what it was like (fyi it sucked and by the end I was insufferable)
  24. Saw Leann Rimes in concert
  25. Ate the most awful cheese while staying with a family in France because I didn't want to seem like a rude douchey American
  26. Ridden a gondola in Venice while singing Aretha Franklin's "Respect" with five other high school girls
  27. Acted in a play in which I got to say "fuck" a lot and fake-punch my fake-sister in the face
  28. Failed swimming lessons
  29. Was blonde for the first two years of my life until my hair fell out and grew in basically black (wtf genetics)
  30. Woke up to a strange cat sitting on my bed and staring at me
  31. Went to take the garbage out, opened the lid, and saw the incarnation of my recurring childhood nightmare: glowing eyes staring at me (it was a baby raccoon)
  32. Burned my knees while posing for a photo outside of the Vatican.
  33. Asked a boy I was in love with to two dances, one of which was prom... was rejected both times  (for some reason, we're still really good friends)
  34. Sang in choir and sucked at it. Loved it anyway
  35. Got stung by a bee in my ear
  36. Had a photograph I took on display at my university for a semester
  37. Read my entire astronomy textbook cover to cover because I was in serious danger of failing the class
  38. Got stabbed in the hand with a pencil and could see a gray graphite mark for like four years afterward
  39. Got sent to the principal's office... for being good (I got stickers)
  40. Got detention because my entire class wouldn't shut the fuck up and I happened to be wearing a really bright red shirt so my teacher chose me because he noticed me first
  41. Baked a blueberry pie... and ate over half of it because the people I made it for didn't like pie 
  42. Took piano lessons for like six months
  43. Took dance lessons for like eight weeks
  44. Bit a kid who pissed me off on the bus and made him bleed
  45. Was on the student council for five years
  46. Cried during a sleepover because I missed my mommy... while over the age of ten
  47. Ridden on a ferry from Greece to Italy and wished I could paint the views from the window more anything I have ever wanted in my life
  48. Had a photograph I took published in a book
  49. Rappelled down a wall in Umbrige, Italy. 
  50. Stayed up past 4 AM making this list
My life is majestic and now you know it.

L,
V

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Fun with fun.

 A few years ago I heard a catchy song on the radio and thought, "That sounds like the dude from The Format! Since when did they get radio famous?!"

I hadn't listened to music radio in a couple years. I was too busy only listening to NPR like a douche and was out of the popular music loop.

Then a few months later, I found out it WAS the dude from The Format! Only he was in a different band, its name was "fun.," and apparently they were getting pretty darn popular! After crying my tears over the The Format's disbanding, I began to really like the sound of this fun. group, despite thinking (to this day) that the band name is kinda like "meh" and/or "wtf," even though they apparently chose the name because of their love of ice cream, which is just adorbs.

One autumn day in 2012, I went for an evening walk with my headphones on and music in my ears. Fun.'s song The Gambler came on as I was nearing the corner home, and I was punched in the guts with gushy feelings and inspiration. I kept the song on repeat, sat down on the porch, and wrote my wedding vows. It was about a month before the wedding and I was getting kind of nervous; Mr. Over Achiever had finished his three months ago. I have a hard time putting my love-feelings into words, I guess. But that night, I wrote exactly what I would eventually say to him in front of our friends and family on one of the best days of my life.

As an anniversary gift to each other, Joel and I went to see fun. in Detroit about a month ago. It was during the heat wave and was so hot and muggy, I had a ton of school work to do, it was Tuesday night when we both had stuff to do the next morning and, as usual, I had gotten little sleep. I was hardly in the mood to drive three hours both ways to a crowded venue. We almost didn't go.

But I am so, SO glad we did. It was beautiful and magical and joyful and FUN (omg, I get it now!). It was everything. It was my first music festival atmosphere and the largest show I have ever been to. We sat waaaay up on the grassy hill in the back. After the show started, everyone stood up and sang and swayed to the songs. I was secretly hoping they would play The Gambler (they did), even though I knew I would cry like a little bitch (I did), but it's okay because Joel and I were a barfy couple for a few minutes and then we got back to dancing. The band puts on a hell of a show, and they kept gushing about Detroit and the people of Michigan. It was obvious they were enjoying themselves and that they enjoyed us as an audience, which is always a nice feeling.

In 2007, I saw The Format at The Intersection, a local venue with a maximum capacity of about 2,000. Here is a crappy photo I took from that night, no zoom required:


Here is the (again, crappy) photo I took from the Fun. show this summer:



They played a sold-out show in a venue that holds 7,700 people. It was pretty cool to see a talented guy (Nate Ruess) go from "If I wave my arms, you would actually notice I'm in your audience!" to "That white dot sure looks exhausted from jumping around the stage so much!" They are one of the few bands Joel and I mutually love and we both had a mini celebration when they won their Grammy. Music has always been intrinsically linked to memories, good or bad, that come rushing back whenever I revisit loved albums or songs. I don't often listen to The Format anymore as their music brings back feelings of a pretty awful time in my life. But right now, Fun. is all happiness and love-feelings, and I hope I can revisit those feelings when I listen to these albums (with Joel!) in years to come. 

Oh yeah. We also got a poster:



L,
V

Monday, August 5, 2013

The World Is My Oyster For Three Weeks! Also, An Ostrich

As of approximately 9pm this evening, I was officially done with my first semester of graduate school. Which means for the next three weeks, I am a free woman! I was watching Dexter tonight and I looked over at Joel and said, "It feels so magical not to be worried about homework right now." I will savor this three weeks like it's a cheesecake.

Here is what I am going to do with my temporary freedom:
  • Clean out the pantry/drawers/whatever!
  • Get rid of shit!
  • Sell/burn my textbooks!
  • Read a fucking real book! 
  • Watch Star Wars for the first time so my friends will quit bitching at me about it! 
  • Visit friends in East Lansing and Ann Arbor!
  • Drink whiskey!
  • Save the world!
  • Go on a hike with my husband!
  • Swim in a pool!
  • Go to the zoo with my husband!
  • Go to the beach!
  • Drink mimosas!
  • Take Ranger to the dog park!
  • Visit my mommy and daddy!
  • Turn a ladder into a bookshelf and put books on it!
  • Run!
  • Paint something!
  • Lift weights like a beast!
  • Stab my neighbors because they're loud at night!
  • Get a Brazilian Blowout, which is not as sexual as it sounds!
  • Read about stuff I like on the Internet!
  • Read about stuff I don't care about on the Internet because it's there!
  • Go on a weekend anniversary trip with my husband!
  • Dance like no one's watching!
  • Sit around and listen to music!
  • Look at memes and .gifs 4ever!
  • Eat cheesecake cause I said "cheesecake" up there and now I want it!
  • Play with my friends!
  • Cook something maybe!
  • Host a bachelorette party!
  • Clean this fucking house and keep it clean for more than ten minutes!
  • Do normal responsibility things that are too boring to list!
  • Write stuff! 
  • Eat (good, healthy, magical) food!
  • Not do any of that stuff and sit around watching Netflix.


Oh yeah, I promised you an ostrich.

He is impressed with my ambition.
L,
V


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

i am stressed.

Here is the all of the shit (good and bad) that is happening and/or needs to happen in the next couple weeks:

read a book about feminist therapy. find 15 resources about feminist therapy. write a ten-page paper about feminist therapy. clean this stupid house. go to work. say goodbye to a friend who is moving. go to an interview for an internship and crush it. find resources about feminism. snort cocaine. make a powerpoint presentation about feminism. give presentation about feminism. read two chapters about counseling. write about those two chapters. write a short paper about wellness or something. eat food. host my mother-in-law for a weekend. write stuff on a message board about ethics. respond to classmates' posts about ethics. run. figure out my fall semester schedule and send it to my boss. go to weight watchers meetings. email the school tech guru about their stupid portfolio program that doesn't work for me. go to counseling. try not to have a nervous breakdown. host my dear friend crystal for a short but overdue visit. order wedding photos before our discount expires. try to have fun at some point. write another paper i haven't read the requirements for yet. sleep? remember that this end-of-semester scramble will happen four more times until i am done with school forever. cry. take a final. write a blog post that isn't this. study for a final. take a final.  have a nervous breakdown. regret decision to go to grad school. remember that it will be over soon. jump off a cliff.

(I'm not actually suicidal)

This will likely be a regular feature at the end of every semester.

L,
V

Monday, July 22, 2013

Man-Baby: A Compilation

I'm blatantly stealing this idea from YouTube extraordinaire Hayley G. Hoover but I'm feeling really ragey and this felt like the right kind of catharsis for me right now.

If I were to write a song for all my former significant others/flings/huge disasters, this is what the song titles would be:

Man-Baby (Volume Barf)

  1. My Dad Was Right About You And That Sucks
  2. Let’s Try This Again When We’re Grown-Ups (Or Not)
  3. At Least I’m Not As Crazy As You Are
  4. Killing Me Softly With His Pompous Evangelism
  5. Some Hipsters Have Social Skills, Why Can’t You?
  6. You Think I’m Really Smart Because You’re Really Dumb
  7. I’m Just A Girl, And You Should Probably Be In Jail
  8. I Know You’re Faking That Accent, You Studied Abroad Three Years Ago!
  9. I Want to Know What Folk Metal Is (Wait, No I Don’t)
  10. Oh, What a Pointless Three Weeks That Was
  11. Screw You For Ruining That Band For Me
  12. We Built This City Out of Smoke and Chiseled Jaw Lines

Feel free to judge me on the number of songs, asshole.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Reason Number 137 I'm a Feminist

I think I need to officially come out on this blog as a feminist, because I'm going to be writing about it a lot more. A lot of people take issue with the word "feminist", thinking it refers to a woman who hates men, or a woman who wants females to overthrow men and reign supreme over the land and have tea parties instead of wars.

But that just isn't true. Here's a fun fact: If you think that women and men should be treated equally, you are a feminist. That even includes MEN with those beliefs. Imagine that!

If you think they're treated equally now, you're just plain wrong. Lawmakers are not trying to govern men's reproductive choices. Men don't have to avoid walking anywhere alone at night in fear of getting attacked. Men don't have to fear being called "baby" or "sweetie" or being called "hot ass" in public and then called a bitch when they don't think it's the best compliment they've ever received. Women don't get paid as much as men for doing the same job and having the same credentials. But the most salient difference between men and women, one that all women have to live with every single day, so much so that it's been internalized as "normal," is body policing. Or body shaming. The belief that women's bodies need to fit into a certain norm.

(And for any men reading this, you may already be thinking to yourself that men experience this, too, and that I'm being a jerk for not mentioning it. That is also wrong. Read this article about why. By all means, I want to hear your opinions, but if all you say is "but what about the men?" I will barf. And then write a ranty post about it.)

It's one of the primary reasons I consider myself a feminist, and it sucks. And I just remembered yesterday how troubling the effects of one of society's favorite past-times (i.e. dictating the way women and girls' bodies should look) can have on real people.

I went shopping with my mom and my twelve-year-old niece. It was a really fun day. I was trying hard not to be infuriated at the clothes in the juniors' section that looked like they were made for toddlers, remembering in my middle and high school years some girls who really were that tiny, as their bodies hadn't fully matured, or they were simply genetically predisposed to being small. And that's okay!

But, then we went to get a snack after five grueling hours of fun, and my niece didn't want to eat anything. She has always been a picky eater, so it didn't strike me as odd or out-of-character. Until we got onto the awkward topic of food and nutrition. I say "awkward" because most people don't know jack shit about these things, especially kids, and it's really hard to explain without sounding like a dick. I didn't understand any of it until I started seriously attempting to lose weight last year. I don't want to preach to anyone about what they should and should not be eating, so I attempted to stay out of the conversation my mom was having with her about eating more fruits and vegetables and less crap that comes out of boxes or bags. And then my niece hit us both with a doozy: she thinks she's fat. My Hollister-size-zero niece thinks she is fat. I tried not to explode while my mother awkwardly (and maybe misguidedly) attempted to alleviate my niece's worries by asking if she can "pinch an inch" on her belly (she couldn't) and explaining that it's "unbecoming" for a woman who isn't fat to call themselves fat. I told my niece that all bodies, no matter what size, show rolls in the belly when someone is sitting down. It's just the way bodies work. She replied, "Well, bodies need to be different."

My niece is twelve and may very well have been being dramatic. I don't really think she thinks she's fat, or that she believes she needs to lose weight. I am a little worried about her nutrition, but I don't think she is at risk of becoming seriously ill. I believe she was just demonstrating the "cool" way to think.

And that's really fucked up.

I remember middle school. I wish I didn't, but I do. At my lunch table, the popular girls only ate a cookie for lunch. Some never ate anything. One of my good friends had a "phobia" of eating in front of boys. Some girls bragged about how they "had anorexia earlier in the school year," even though most people could tell it was a lie to get attention. But the point is that these girls wanted people to think they had anorexia. Because anorexia is cool and means you're skinny. This mental illness, in fact the mental illness with the highest mortality rate, was something that was desired by young girls. Because it's cool to want to be skinny. It's cool to hate your body even if you are skinny. It's never cool to like your body the way it is. And it's never cool to eat.

On my drive home, I wondered if maybe it would be better if humanity just started over, because there are still twelve-year-old girls who believe it's desirable to hate on their bodies. Maybe our society needs to die a little because we let this happen and it doesn't seem to be a big concern. But I decided not. Batman was right, there are good people in Gotham, and there are good people trying to empower girls and women not to take society's norms to heart. It is hard. Especially for girls, who believe that their lives depend on the approval of their peers.

My niece has no idea, but I'm a feminist for her. Even if she did have an idea, she wouldn't give a shit because she's twelve and One Direction, her friends, and cute boys are the most important things in her life right now. She's where she should be. But she'll grow up soon, and I can only hope like hell that she doesn't take these body shameful feelings with her into adulthood. But if she does, I hope she finds a nice feminist community who will tell her she doesn't have to keep them forever.

L,
V

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Half Birthday

Tomorrow is July 12th, and that means it is my half birthday. Around the time of my birthday this year, I made a list of 25 things I want to accomplish before I turn 26. I think it would be fun to look at that list and assess (lol, "ass") what, if anything, I have accomplished in six months. Here we go!

Victoria's magical 25 before 26:
  1. De-clutter my life (closets, drawers, basement) - I did some of that, about half of what I originally wanted to do. I'm still planning on cleaning out the rest. It's just a slow project. Meanwhile, I keep accumulating more crap. Such is life. 
  2. Move to a more spacious place - Not happening. Joel and I have decided that we need to stay here for awhile, no matter how much the smell of smoke wafting in from upstairs gives me the sneezes. It's just not in the cards right now, and I'm OK with that. 
  3. Get on a regular sleep schedule - I can barely type this because I'm loling so hard. Not even a little bit has this improved. I may need a doctor.
  4. Go to the doctor/dentist (even without insurance... ugh) - I got signed up for some free program which allows a yearly checkup, and that's about as good as it's getting. I floss every day, so fuck the dentist. 
  5. Run a 5k! Hopefully The Color Run. - I'm doing that! I win! Joel and I have a team with our dear friends Molly and Kyle and we're called The Cheesy Blasters! It's the beginning of August! I should probably train for it... 
  6. Go grocery shopping with Joel (more) regularly. (Fun fact: I HATE grocery shopping) - I did it once by myself about a month ago and never want to do it again. Seriously, there are few things I hate more than grocery shopping. I could go into a huge rant on why, but I'll save that for the next time I actually do it, which will probably be awhile. 
  7. Plan weekly menus ahead of time so grocery shopping might suck less - Before Joel started work, we were awesome about this! I even made a little menu thing. When he started working 50 hours per week, this fell on the backburner. I am confident we can pick it back up again when we feel the need.
  8. Go to Cedar Point! - Not yet. Still a possibility, but kind of unlikely due to finances.
  9. Go camping with friends - We are planning a weekend trip with our friends Ryan and Rachel to Northern Michigan. We'll be staying in a hotel, so it's not actually camping at all, but I'm saying it counts because I was hoping some friends would plan the camping trip and it doesn't look like that's going to happen. And the last time I planned a camping trip was a huge disaster. 
  10. Be involved in theater - Nope. That may not happen because of school. I still really want to, but I need to be practical with my time and energy. I've been watching it, though!
  11. Take more photos with my Canon Rebel XTi - Working on it. Once the semester ends, I'm going to do one of those awesome photo-a-day (or week, if I'm being honest) things while getting reacquainted with my camera. 
  12. Travel outside of Michigan/Ohio/Indiana/Illinois/Ontario - We went to Joel's parents' condo in Ft. Myers at the end of April. They paid for the majority of it; it was their birthday gift to us both. We didn't have a lot of money to spend on activities, so we spent most of the time in the condo or by the pool. We didn't even make it to the beach once because it stormed on our beach day! But it was still nice to get away from Michigan for awhile and I saw come cool birds and stuff.
  13. Go to Chicago for a weekend with Joel (and others, if possible).  - Ugh. We all suck at planning trips. Also the money thing.
  14. Go to the Binder Park and/or Detroit Zoo because I love zoos. - Nope. Hopefully, though. I would really like to feed some giraffes.
  15. Read at least one book per month. - Though I haven't been reading as much since school started, I read a bunch of books before May, and I've been able to squeeze one in here and there during the semester. I'll blog a list of them later, because I obviously love lists. 
  16. Start graduate school - Yay. I did that. And I even added another masters into the mix. So I did this one REAL GOOD. 
  17. Be better at school than I was before (i.e. don't procrastinate... as much) - (Cue farting sound)
  18. Take a moment daily to be thankful - I think I do this about 50% of the time, which is a lot more than I was before. It's hard to be positive when the world can be such a shithole. But I'm working on it.
  19. Lose 40 pounds - Almost half way there! It's a pain in the ass, but I'm determined! 
  20. Plan an appropriate budget that allows for saving - We have a budget. We're still paying off some debt, but saving for a honeymoon/second car/private island is in the hopefully nearish future. 
  21. Eat 5 fruits/veggies every day - I haven't exactly tracked how often I do this, but I'd say it's most of the time. I mostly choose fruits over veggies, because fruit is nature's candy and I like candy. 
  22. Paint something - We painted the coffee table! It is teal now instead of brown/hunter green/water stain white. Though I don't remember, I'm pretty sure I meant something artsy when I wrote this goal. I want to try this Brush Studio place so they can teach me how to not be a spaz with a paintbrush. And also so I can drink.
  23. Make the ladder shelf with Joel. - We are doing this! We have the ladder and the paint! We just gotta make time for it, which we've been planning to do for about two weeks. I'll blog it when it's finished, which may or may not be until October. 
  24. Spend time with just my girlfriends at least once per month - Yes. I've done this. And I'd go nuts without it. (Sometimes I go nuts anyway)
  25. Tell my favorite people I love them more. - I need to be better at this. Okay, if you're reading this, I probably love you. NOW I'M DONE. That was hard. Ugh, emotions.
I still have some work to do, but I've made progress on my goals in the last six months. Some of these things are not going to happen at all, and that's okay. I have a lot of other things I want to accomplish other than these 25 things, but I'm glad I started my 25th year off having a general guideline for things I wanted to accomplish and experience in the upcoming year.

Now I'm going to go cry forever because I didn't get my free Slurpee today. 

L,
V


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

This is a rage rant.

This is a rage-against-the-establishment rant and it is going to suck. Don't read it if you're not into that sort of thing. I just didn't want to accost my Facebook community with it.

I am really fucking sick of being dicked around by student loan companies. One of my loans through Citibank was sold to Discover, so now I pay two separate companies for two small private loans that were originally with one company. It is frustrating, especially since I know anything these companies do has to be at the detriment of my finances and a profit on their part. But overall nothing much has changed, it's just been kind of annoying to deal with keeping track of two payments instead of one. Whatever.

But, now, my Federal loans, the BIG ones, were transferred to a company called NelNet, which is a stupid name and I hate them already. No one bothered to tell me this. Neither Federal Direct nor NelNet currently has my information, but they assure me that NelNet should "by the end of the week." They told me that the change in companies doesn't change anything about the way my loans are handled or the amount I'll have to pay. They did this because the "extremely high volume" of loans has required other companies to take over the handling of them so that the federal direct loan program and its employees don't collectively jump off a bridge or something.

...

OR MAYBE just make college affordable so that students don't have to take out like $30,000 JUST to get a bachelors degree, which is turning into the 1995 equivalent to a high school diploma.

I realize it isn't that easy. I don't know much about economics or loans, but I know it has taken a LONG time for the cost of education and the rise in federal loans to get this out of hand, and it won't be fixed anytime soon. Especially if our lawmakers refuse to talk about it because helping anyone EVER will destroy the economy and America will stop being a super power and we'll all end up working in Chinese sweatshops. I'm just waiting for the loan bubble to burst, but I really don't think it will. Especially since our interest rates just doubled and lawmakers can't seem to decide on anything ever.

The system is infuriating. There is nothing I can do to change it. I just have to deal with it, or choose not to continue my education.

By the time I'm done with both of my graduate degrees (btw, I decided to get the MPA. But I still question that decision approximately six times per day, IMAGINE WHY), I will have a combined debt so high that the thought of it makes me want to immediately quit school, and maybe also jump into a ravine. Except that won't work because my family would still be responsible for my private student loan debt.

Money freaks me out. I was raised that way. When I was growing up, if my mom and I ever went shopping, even for something small, we had to hide purchases from my dad, who would chastise us for spending unnecessary money. He called all money "HIS money" because he was the major breadwinner (cue dramatic eyeroll I repeatedly got grounded for as a preteen). I remember my mom had a breakdown in the student loan office the first few weeks of my undergrad because she had no idea how we were going to pay for it.  I've kept that mentality ever since. Neither of these are healthy mentalities and I know I don't have to continue them. But it's always my fallback. Extreme financial anxiety is my immediate response to situations in which I feel out of control. I am in zero control over how much I pay for school and it sends me into uncontrollable rage strokes followed by uncontrollable terror. I have little idea if the money I'm spending on school is necessary or will be worth it, and I have no earthly idea how I'm going to pay for it.

L,
V

Sunday, June 30, 2013

the birds

I got a new tattoo, but it's still healing and weird-looking, and I'm not ready to write about the reasons I got it yet.

So here's the story about my other tattoo.


I got my birds in the summer of 2011 after my life and I had been a sick, depressed mess for a couple months. This may sound ridiculous, but I wanted a tattoo in memory of my dog, Skeeter. He died in May 2011. We got him when I was twelve and had only been living in Coldwater for a few months. I had always loved dogs. We had a Rottweiler named Kodi years prior when we lived in Angola, Indiana. He died of cancer, which is common for Rottweilers, and I was upset but too young to really get it. After we moved to Fennville when I was nine, we had a string of bad luck with adopted dogs and gave up on the idea. Then we moved to Coldwater when I was eleven. I was furious about the move, and my parents knew it. I loved living in Fennville, and when we moved there they promised we wouldn't again until I graduated high school. Lo and behold, not two years later, dad was offered a job in some stupid place called Coldwater and took it. They felt so guilty about the move they gave me a TV for my room. I still have it in my current bedroom and use it regularly. After several months in Coldwater, it was clear that I was not adjusting very well. I didn't have any friends and was being bullied into excessive shyness in the seventh grade. So, it was a perfect time to get a dog for their lonely daughter who had been begging for one.

And he was the best. My friends (I did eventually find some) all adored him and thought we looked and acted alike, but not in a mean way that insinuated I was dog-looking (I don't think). I referred to him as my canine soulmate. And he was: We both had oddly expressive faces and spastic tendencies. After I went to college, I looked forward to coming home and seeing him stare me down in the window that looks into the driveway, bark/howl, then greet me at the door, wiggling every inch of his body in excitement. When I was upset, I would come home to Coldwater largely just to cuddle with him because it always made me feel better.


 Then one day, during one of the worst times in my life, I came home expecting to be greeted by him, and he was gone. He had been gone for two weeks. I came home that day to an empty house and found my dad napping in the bedroom. I woke him up to ask where the dog was, and he and I sat on the bed and cried while he explained. He died of a sudden heart attack. My dad was with him when it happened, and it comforted me at least to know that he didn't die alone or in some shelter. My parents were right not to tell me about it over the phone - I would have immediately taken off for Coldwater, sobbing and hysterical, putting myself and others in danger.

But his death did a good job of putting things into perspective. Everything I was upset about - and there was plenty, justified or not - was really nothing compared to this sudden blow. Nothing was important enough anymore for me to be upset about, and I began to just live my life. My dog's death ended up drawing me out of a deep depression faster than any medication ever had. Who would have thought? It sounds sort of silly. But it's the truth.

After the initial grief wore off, I wanted to find a way to remember the dog I grew up with, and thank him for reminding me what's important. Though I had never really felt any interest in body art, I knew the only appropriate way was with a tattoo. But I didn't want to get his face or name tattooed onto my body, I'm not that crazy of a dog lady. The white marking between his eyes reminded me of an elongated heart, but the designs I attempted looked stupid. So, I focused on the top part of the heart, which reminded me of simple drawings of birds flying, like the ones kids (or adults who can't draw, like me) make in drawings of sunsets and rainbows. I took that idea and rolled with it, and eventually found the little black birds. I had to wait for several weeks to get it because I had mono that summer and the tattoo establishment didn't want my diseased body near them, plus I was more prone to infection because of my condition.

In late July, I finally got it and immediately loved it, and have loved it ever since, other than the day I actually got attacked by a blackbird (which turned out to be hilarious, so it's okay). The only person I have ever told about the origin of my bird tattoo was Joel. This blog is apparently turning into the place where I bare my soul to the Internet, and I'm going to try not to worry about that and just roll with it for now. I guess I didn't tell anyone because I was embarrassed that I was so affected by the death of an animal that I was compelled to get a tattoo. But it became much more to me than a reminder of a beloved pet. It was a reminder of what really matters most to me, the good in my life, when all I could focus on was the bad. It was a reminder that I got out of the worst depression I had ever felt. It's still a reminder that if I ever need to, I can do it again.

L,
V

PS - Also, I apparently can't write a post unless it's ridiculously long. Again, I'm just gonna roll with it. Thanks for making it to the end. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Two Degrees Below Cray Cray

Decisions: I HATE THEM.

But they're a part of life, and I have a pretty big one I need to address.

My school offers a dual degree program, which means normal students could earn both a Master of Social Work and a Master of Public Administration degree in two years. Since I am an advanced standing student, I am already getting my MSW in a year. So, I can't take them both at the same time, but I can still jump right in and get the MPA by the following winter. That would mean I could get an MSW and an MPA in five semesters. Not terrible, right? For what I want to do, it might be a good idea. But I am going insane trying to decide this, and I need to decide it sooner rather than later. So, minus Ted Mosby and the yellow legal pad, I am making a pros and cons list. This is going to be so fun for you, who is still bothering to read this.

I am a pessimist, so let's start with the:

CONS
  • Being in school for the past two months has made me remember that I hate school. I love learning, but eff all this effing hoops-jumping and paper length requirements and grade-obsessing. And never having fun because there is ALWAYS something else to be doing. And taking classes I don't care about. EFF IT ALL I TELL YOU.
  • Taking the first MPA class this coming fall, along with the required work of the MSW, would put me at a brain-deadening 16 credit hours, including an internship for 21 hours per week. I want to shoot myself in the foot just thinking about it. Only taking 12 credits this semester minus any internship and barely working is giving me panic attacks. Admittedly, I could be better at handling my stress levels... I'm working on it.
  • Money. School costs a lot of fucking money. Plus interest. My undergraduate debt already terrifies me, and I am going into more debt for just the MSW. Will all of this pay off? What if it doesn't? WHAT IF IT DOESN'T YOU GUYS.  I could wind up featured in some sad article about how I have all of these degrees and all this debt and work at Pizza Hut wishing I hadn't gone to school at all. The Baby Boomers will read it and laugh, and my generation will read it and quietly weep, knowing it is to be their fate. It will be tragic, and I will be tragic. (Yes, my brain goes that far. Stop judging me.)
  • Time. Going to school full time for another two semesters is time that could be spent working and making money. I am very eager to get a big girl job, start a career, and be a grown up who has things like insurance, a normal sleep schedule, vacations, and uhm, pantsuits? I don't know. 
Whew. Now for the:

PROS
  • By December 2014, I will have earned two advanced degrees in under two years, and I will feel pretty damn proud of that. 
  • Here's some realness: The MPA is more in-line with what I want to do with my life than the MSW. I don't want to work directly with clients. I want to change the policies that make the clients need social workers in the first place (that's a simplification of my ever-changing life goals, but you get the picture). I probably shouldn't have jumped the gun and gone directly into the MSW program because it was there and would only take a year, but what's done is done and it would be stupid to change to an MPA completely at this point. 
  • My job opportunities will be better. I think. Right? They'd have to be. I sometimes felt that my BSW didn't pay off, but if I'm honest with myself, I just wasn't looking hard enough because I didn't even remotely know what I wanted to do, and I was never in a position to be choosy. With both degrees, I think I could be more choosy, and I'd be more likely to get a job I truly want instead of settling for something that I might get if I only had the MSW. 
So there's that. 

Correct me if I'm wrong, nerds, but if I were a Vulcan, I would choose the CONS and not do it because there are more of them than the PROS. But I am not a Vulcan. I am an exceedingly emotional human and I change my mind on this subject literally several times a day. Usually it depends on if I'm working on an assignment, and how much I hate working on said assignment. I just can't decide what's best for me (us). Joel thinks I should do it. His is really the only opinion I've invited so far because he's the one other person besides me who would be affected. I just want someone to choose for me. It is honestly one of the hardest decisions I've encountered in awhile, and it is keeping me awake at night (but so does everything else. Ever). 

INTERNET. TELL ME WHAT TO DO.

L,
V

PS - On a lighter note, and completely unrelated:

Joel and I went to Canada this past weekend to visit his family. We stayed in his parents' neighbor's house while they were on vacation and they had these cool masks. We (I) had fun playing with them.

Welcome to your most terrible nightmares.


 

Monday, June 17, 2013

What I'm Doing


Here's what I've been doing lately:

School
This takes up the vast majority of my time. Studying social work means reading, research, and a lot of writing. These things are time consuming and sometimes stressful (see: previous post). It's a full time job. 

Avoiding Schoolwork and Doing Other Stuff
Usually that involves lounging around with Joel, reading articles on feminism, finding new blogs to obsess over, listening to music, cleaning the house, and bothering my dog. 

"Shouldn't you be reading about oppression instead of taking pictures of me?"

"Working"
 The quotations are there for two reasons. One: I barely work. I am still technically employed at a non-profit working with adults with disabilities. One of my clients is on vacation for the summer, so I only get three hours per week with my remaining client. We volunteer at the zoo, which is the other reason the quotes are there: this job doesn't feel like work, and it basically never has. It's the first job I've had in a long time that I actually like, which is something I sometimes take for granted. I know some people who work long hours at jobs they hate (and I've done this myself) and I know how soul-crushing it can be. Thankfully, my barely employed self isn't living under a bridge because Joel has been killing it at his job as a personal trainer.

Family Things
Tis the season of graduation parties, Fathers and Mothers day, and general merriment. The past two weekends I've seen my family at graduation parties. My niece graduated high school, which makes me feel old and nostalgic. Even though we aren't technically blood-related and she only came into our family when she was six years old, I adore her and I'm so proud of her. She's smart, responsible, driven, athletic, and way cooler than I was at 18 (or ever). 

Niece and dad at my wedding, Nov. 2012

I remember not too long ago I was graduating from high school and having my graduation party. I'd get annoyed at all the unsolicited advice on what to do with my life ("Be a pharmacist! Go to community college! Live off campus! Marry rich!") Now, I'm trying really hard not to do the same to my niece or cousins, because I remember being 18 and just wanting to live my life. But I do hope they realize that things will never be the same after this phase is done. It won't be better or worse, but it will always be different. That took me a long time to figure out and it was a bit of a rude awakening. 

Aside from graduation parties, I visited my parents for Fathers Day and my brother and some of my nephews came to visit. It was nice to catch up, as I don't see them very often. Next weekend, we're going to Canada to visit Joel's family.

Ranger's been spending a lot of time in the car and he's apparently pissed about it.

Friend Things
I've realized that if I go too long without seeing my friends, I die a little inside. Thankfully, we've had plenty of opportunities: birthday parties, wedding showers that were just excuses to drink and get weird, and of course getting together and catching up over froyo/tea/wine/Skype. I enjoy going to big parties, but the times when I can just talk to my favorite friends about anything and everything are what really keep me going. 

Healthy Living Or Whatever
In case anyone was wondering, I'm still on Weight Watchers (18 lbs lost so far!). What with the summer activities and the food and cake that accompany them, I haven't been the model Weight Watcher. But I've learned not to beat myself up about it. If I don't lose weight one week but I had a good time, it's worth it. I'm not going to give up, and I can always make up for it by eating better the next few days or with an extra day at the gym. It's not about perfection, it's about balance.

Sometimes the cake has black frosting, and hilarious mother-daughter moments happen.

Speaking of the gym, I've actually been going to it! I try to work out at least three times per week. I do a variety of weight machines and some cardio. I am just starting to force myself to run outside in preparation for a 5k that I'm terrified over but probably shouldn't be. I don't like running outside, so I'm making Joel do it with me for awhile so I get more comfortable, cause he's the best.

L,
V


FYI
Listening to: Rooney - "Daisy Duke"  (blast from the past, indeed)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Shit.

So, graduate school is hard. Like, REALLY hard.

For the past few days I've been agonizing over a paper for my Social Policy for Families and Children class. I am writing a policy analysis on the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. It's as interesting as it sounds (i.e. a brain-melting drag).

Here is an accurate representation of how it is going:

Source: The Oatmeal

Except instead of inspiration, I need the ability to read through approximately 15 metric tons of data talking about how much this policy sucks dick (which it totally does, from a social worky perspective), and spew that data onto a ten-page paper in a way that is pure genius and worthy of an A++++ from my douchey professor who gave me a C on a presentation because I "seemed anxious" (no fucking way! I'm anxious to get in front of a class of my peers. That's only the most COMMON FEAR AMONG ALL HUMANS).

In this post, I said I would like to talk about my positive feelings in the future. (I swear I have them)

Obviously, today is not that day.

L,
V

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

My Words are Not Dead

It's been a rough several months for me and my emotions.

I've been dealing my entire life with depression and, to a much lesser degree, anxiety. Typically, I have been able to manage symptoms of depression myself with an amazing support system and self care. For a period of about two years, I was on anti-depressant medication. I began tapering off of it when I was about lose my insurance because I knew I couldn't afford to keep up with the medication. Also, I felt pretty confident that I could be done with it, and the side effects were making me miserable. 

But recently, my brain decided to put my depression on the backburner and go full force with the anxiety. Granted, these two issues typically go hand-in-hand, and they still do for me. During my few bouts of severe depression, I would isolate myself and cry for hours for seemingly no reason. If I was having a particularly depressed day, I would wake up, take a sleeping pill, and immediately go back to sleep for the rest of the day in an effort to completely avoid feeling what I believed I couldn't control, or at least what I didn't feel like attempting to control that day. My grades and my work suffered. My relationships with my friends and family suffered. 

Now, I still do a lot of those things, but the motivations behind them are different. When I was mostly depressed, I just didn't want to feel my feelings, and avoided them at all costs. Now, I have a lot of feelings that I don't understand. Mostly fear. Of everything. This extreme anxiety is unprecedented for me. After years of therapy and a continuous effort to reflect, I consider myself pretty self-aware, though, like happiness, I believe that is a continuous journey and not something that can be achieved. But when I started feeling things and didn't know where they were coming from, I went slightly off the deep end.

I have always been easily stressed, especially by change or uncertainty, and there has been a lot of that in my life recently. Our financial troubles have made me panicky and angry: at myself, at my husband, at our parents, at my student loan debt, at America; everyone except for our landlord who for some reason still lets us live here (bless him). My dad's chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) landed him in the hospital for about a month not long ago, and for awhile it was a very real possibility my father could die at any moment. After he got a little better and returned home, he required a lot more care than before, and my feelings of guilt for not being there, along with my parents' unfortunate tendency to pour of all of their anxieties onto me, left me feeling panicky whenever I would go to my parents' house, talk to them, or even think about the situation. Dad is still sick, but no longer has a dangerous infection. He will always be sick unless he gets the lung transplant he's been waiting for, which will bring a whole other host of issues to be dealt with. My family does not handle stress well, I've learned, so that is something that is always at the back of my mind.

I started graduate school. Most of the time I'm happy about this decision and feel like it's a step in the right direction of where I think I might want to be. Other times, I feel guilty for going into even more debt for something that may not work out in the end. Social workers are notorious for not getting paid well. The field is also notorious for requiring a higher degree for any kind of advancement. I still have little idea of what I want to do in this field. I haven't done full time school since 2010 when my life was completely different. I questioned (still question) my ability to handle it. So far, it's going OK. I usually feel like I'm on top of things, but the list of things never ends. I feel guilty for only working eight hours per week and that I rely on Joel to dig us out of debt and pay our bills. I loathe relying on people, even my husband, despite logically understanding that I am a human (it sucks, don't do it) and I need people.

I have been questioning my friendships and worrying about what people think of me in ways I don't even think I experienced in middle school. That's when you know it's bad, because middle school was actually created to make people hate themselves. I have always felt like an outsider. In my friend group, in school, even in my family. But in recent months it's been so bad that I could feel myself drawing inward and isolating because of fears of rejection or not fitting in or whatever anxiety talk was in my head that day. It's not them. It's me. (Sometimes it's them, but I love them anyway.)  It's been my hurdle to cross, and I'm still working on it.

Because of my anxiety and the hot mess therein, I took my previous blog posts offline. They still exist, I just decided I couldn't handle them being out there for the world to see (not that a lot of people saw them, but they could). I'm still not sure if I can. I enjoy writing and want to write about more than my negative emotions, but for awhile that's all I had. I've been feeling better lately, though there are still major ups and downs. In high school and undergrad, I blogged about the stupidest shit with hilarious (to me, anyway) abandon and didn't care what anyone thought. I did it because it was fun. I want it to be fun again. I'm trying to stop worrying if people give a shit about what I have to say, because I know that's not what blogging is for me. It's a creative outlet and a way to tell stories. I'm working on finding my voice again.

I'm working on a lot of things. It's exhausting. But it needs to happen, and it's always worth it.

L,
V

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Internet and Me

I have had no inspiration to write. I've been feeling down, negative, and angry a lot, despite some good news in my life and the lives of those I love.

I don't even really feel like writing right now. But I got rid of my Facebook so I don't know what else to do. Isn't that ridiculous?

I have a Facebook addiction. I post a lot, check it a lot, and stare at it for hours looking at posts of things I don't even really care about instead of being productive. I gave up my Pinterest addiction because I was tired of hating my apartment for not being hipster-chic enough and hating myself for not knowing how to DIY a bookcase made out of cardboard, burlap, and mint-colored paint with a bird on it. (You've got to put a bird on it.) That wasn't hard. I used Pinterest to get ideas for my wedding, and now I'm done. I still have my account because I am an Internet pack-rat because "OMG what if I need those nail art ideas someday and Google is down and I can't just SEARCH 'nail art ideas,'" said my brain because I am crazy. I just don't ever go to Pinterest and I am much happier that way. It's sort of sad how much happier, actually.


I'm not even good at nail art.


Guess which one is mine!


So I thought, "How else can I make myself happy other than eat an entire cake?" and got rid of my Facebook today. We'll see how it goes. I'm definitely not an anti-technology person. I still have a Twitter, Instagram, and I recently got a Foursquare account because I have no idea. I don't have a problem with these things, unless I get a stalker through Foursquare. I mostly use Twitter to make myself feel like I'm friends with celebrities. I just have a problem with Facebook. Aside from its time-sucking nature, it just makes me feel bad about myself, but not in the way that Pinterest does. I just wonder why  my life can't be as fabulous as everyone else's on Facebook, even though deep down I know most of their lives suck just as much as anyone else's. They just show the best parts of their sucky lives, just like I do on Facebook. But I'm still thinking, "Why can't I be living my sucky life in a fabulous bar with my friends in sunny Los Angeles or on a cross-country road trip instead of crappy Michigan WHO WON'T EVEN GIVE ME SPRINGTIME."

Another reason I need to curb this addiction is because I'll be starting graduate school soon, and I'd like to be better at college this time. I wasn't "bad" before, I just had major time management issues and Facebook was a big part of them. Now, I need to get my shit together because I'm supposed to be a grown-up. I'll be going to get my Masters of Social Work starting in four weeks. I'm taking 15 credits (five classes) this summer, and I'm continuing to work, though I will have fewer hours. It's gonna be pretty weird. I haven't done full-time school since a lifetime ago when I wasn't married, didn't have bills to worry about, didn't have a dog, and didn't need to give a shit about anyone else but myself. And I wasn't trying to lose weight.

Thus, the Facebook thing. It's one step out of many that I'm taking to make me feel less terrified of starting a full-time accelerated graduate school program in LIKE A MONTH OH GOD THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO I AM GOING TO DIE.

Since I have nothing else Internet-wise to do, expect more regular updates maybe if I feel like it I don't really know we'll see what do you care anyway.

Oh by the way, I've lost 11 pounds total. So that's good I guess.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Best Laid Plans

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

I am neither mouse nor man, but awry my plans went anyway. 

I had set three major goals for this month:

1. Victoria will work out five times per week during the month of March. 
2. Victoria will attend a Weight Watchers meeting every week during the month of March.
3. Victoria (and Joel) will make sure the kitchen is clean at least every other day during the month of March. (We have a big problem with leaving dishes around the house. We are trying to be grown ups and clean more often, but we have so many dishes and a tiny sink and a tiny kitchen and omg I just want an effing dishwasher srsly)
4. I also wanted to update this blog once per week, though that was an ongoing goal, not just for the month.

But then I went and got the plague. 

The plague started out as a cold, but rapidly morphed into strep throat and an ear infection, because I have a pathetic excuse for an immune system. So, with a sore throat, a pounding headache, an earache, and thick green sludge flowing through my sinuses, working out at all was not happening for the first week of March.  I am a very needy and whiny sick person, so Joel (bless his giant Maple-leaf-shaped heart) was busy taking care of me and the dishes were ignored. I started working on a long post about how I gained weight, but looking at a computer screen made me dizzy, so it's on hold for now. I had skipped a week of WW because we had to make a last-minute trip to Canada to visit Joel's grandfather in the hospital (though I did stop by to get weighed in), and then skipped last week because I started to feel sick. This week I made it, and it's the first week of March, so that totally counts! Yay!

That makes me1/4 for monthly goals so far. 

I am pretty disappointed that my goals for March were botched. But, I'm feeling much better since getting on some antibiotics - even after spending $90 on a doctor's appointment because I don't have insurance. (Womp womp)

I'm ready to start back up with as much vengeance as I can manage. I'm trying so hard to be a more positive person. It's a constant struggle because, well... everything is the worst. At least in my brain. Logically I know there is a lot of good in my life, but I've just always had a generally negative outlook, with little dabbles of positivism now and then. Congratulations - you're reading the positive side of me right now! Don't expect to see it again for like a year. 

Ugh. Just shut up.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sometimes I need a reminder...

"You only fail when you give up."

I have no idea who said that. Usually, inspring quotes just infuriate me. But it was a really good reminder today.

It's been a rough couple weeks.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Health at Every Size, and the Scary Truth About My Relationship with Food


Food is infuriating.

We need food to live, but it can also slowly kill us. There is no other basic life source that has the ability to wig us out as intensely as food. Like, I don’t get upset with myself if I breathe too much oxygen while drunk at a party. I may hate myself a little for sleeping too much, but I don’t obsess over it and I can just stay up later if I need to get stuff done. No biggie, right? But with food, there is a CONSTANT battle between loving it and being afraid of it, and it is fucking exhausting.



So when I heard about Health At Every Size through Stephanie at The Louthmouth, I was intrigued. The first lines you read on the front page of the website are, “Let’s face the facts. We’ve lost the war on obesity.” How daring and thought-provoking! HAES promotes accepting natural diversity of body size, but also respecting your body by feeding it what it needs, but enjoying food, and exercising in a way that makes you feel happy and healthy.

I love the idea of the movement, but it makes me feel weird. I am making a very conscious decision to lose weight. I am dedicating myself to this goal 100%, which is SO RARE for me, but more about my laziness in another post. Should I do that? Should I be making the decision to essentially obsess over food for the next year (or so) until I reach my goal weight? After reaching goal, I still plan on eating well, but I obviously won’t need to adhere to such a rigid system. I DO obsess over food. I obsessed even before I gained weight, but in a very different way. I try not to. I know it’s not healthy to hate myself for eating a cookie, especially if I have the points saved up for it. That’s one of the beautiful things about Weight Watchers, or any program that teaches you to healthily lose weight: You can eat whatever you want, but moderation is essential

I do believe that I’m doing the right thing by trying to lose weight. Though there are many reasons I want to lose weight (again, topic for another post), I know that I need to in order to feel good about myself again. My goal is not to be “skinny.” I want to feel good, healthy, strong, and happy with myself.

I’m not happy with myself now. I try to be, but I am unfortunately a very negative person. It is something I am trying to change about myself, but it requires constant, conscious effort and I will not become Suzie Sunshine overnight (or ever, because people like that make me want to kick puppies). Now, if I overeat, I beat myself up. I do move on from my blunder, but only after a few tears and hurtful words towards myself. Even though "overeating" to me now is different than it used to be. A few months ago, I had a girls' night with my friends at my house. During that five hour time frame, I ate three slices of Pizza Hut pizza, drank wine, ate several breadsticks, and some candy. The next day, I made the huge mistake of weighing myself like a sadistic idiot, and proceeded to cry on the bathroom floor for, like, twenty minutes. 

Today, I split a Valentine's cookie with Joel in the morning and then my normal, healthy breakfast. I went to the gym and had a 45 minute workout, and I was really proud to push myself. But, I hadn't eaten since breakfast, and I was starving. We went searching for Valentine's cupcakes because I've been looking forward to one all week. At the bakery down the street, they sell really good thin crust pizza. I was planning on going home and eating some chicken, veggies, and yogurt, but the pizza was there and I was starving and I scarfed two slices before we even got home. 11 points. It would have been A LOT more if it weren't a local bakery who makes quality pizza with thin crust and small slices. But, that left me with a whopping four points for the rest of the day, and I was (am) very upset with myself. I cried like I did after the Pizza Hut and candy binge-fest, which was obviously way worse. Joel was planning on making pad Thai (a Weight Watchers recipe) for our Valentine's dinner, but I can no longer afford the points. After reading inspiring articles on How Not To Hate Yourself After Making a Mistake, I feel better. I know that tomorrow is another day. I won't starve myself the rest of the day, much as I am tempted to. I'm having light soup and veggies for dinner, but I will still probably dip into my Weekly Points for the cupcake, because it's Valentine's Day and I want to celebrate. We're having the pad Thai tomorrow and I'm going to get back on track for the rest of the week. I am thankful to have an amazing husband who understands and supports me, and is willing to be flexible. 

I don't always want to feel this way about food. I truly believe the general population has a bad relationship with food, but typically in the opposite end of the spectrum. Most people don't think for even a second about what they put into their bodies. I used to be that way, and I don't want to be that way again. But I know that I need to find a happy medium between not caring and obsessing to the point of insanity. I need to be mindful, but I need to enjoy food, and I need to forgive myself if I don't reach my goal, daily or otherwise. 

So, I am reading more about HAES, pledging my commitment, and learning more about their resources. I am still trying to lose weight. I am learning how to find that happy medium in my relationship with food. I need to incorporate more positive feelings into this epic journey of mine, and I need all the help I can get.



By the way, this is the cupcake I will be enjoying tonight while not hating myself:

Thanks, Nantucket!