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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My First Guest Post!

I wrote a thing!

My very first guest post is featured over at The Loudmouth Lifestyle. Stephanie was gracious enough to include me in her list of bloggers featured to promote her upcoming 2015 Loud Ladies program. She is doing some amazing things, ya'll! So check her out and check out my post.

One of my many goals for this coming year is to make this blog a Real Thing. To do that, I'll probably need to post more than once a month. So, watch out for that.

Anywho, it's almost 2:00pm and I should be furiously cleaning my house in preparation for my New Year's Eve party tonight. Fun fact: I've thrown a New Year's party every year (with the exception of one, when I had strep throat) since I was 16. That's TEN (nine) YEARS! The faces and venues have changed and I've transitioned from ice cream cake and soda to croquettes and champagne, but it never fails to be a good time. I truly believe in the importance of starting the new year with some favorite people, games, and laughter. It's also a bonus if you can feel super sexy, so I should probably shower and put on real clothes, too. I disgust myself.

Source


Saturday, November 15, 2014

My Lizard Brain and Me

It's November now and snowing here in Michigan. The holidays are fast-approaching and soon we'll be on our belated Honeymoon/"I Survived 2014 and I Deserve a Fucking Vacation Because Seriously This Year Was the Worst" cruise to the western Caribbean. Then it will be 2015. Although I'm still getting flashbacks from last year's Polar Vortices, I am craving the start of a new year. A new chapter.

This year has been... transformative. To say the least.

Since I'm already having flashbacks anyway, let's do a recap, kay?:

2014 started out at the tail end of a long bout of depression/anxiety that started at the beginning of my second semester of graduate school. Then, Joel's beloved grandfather passed away. The weekend of his funeral is when we found out my dad, who had been suffering from debilitating COPD for years, was suddenly on his way to get a lung transplant. The surgery was completed and everything looked good! Until it didn't. The following three months were a nightmarish, panic-fueled blur of school, family drama, an increasingly unsupportive internship environment, drives back and forth from Grand Rapids to the hospital in Ann Arbor, insomnia, relationship tension, frustration, self-loathing, and fear. Those three months ultimately ended in my father's death. For the next three months, I was essentially unable to function. I dropped out of school and completely changed my life trajectory. But in a weird way, things felt right for the first time in a long time, despite feeling emotionally out of control. I started to learn how to manage my anxiety and depression and face my grief head-on. I was feeling better. I still had no idea what I was going to do with my life, but I knew that the life of a social worker was not for me. Then one day, after reading one of my blog posts, Joel gave me a long hug, looked me in the eyes, and said, "You need to be a writer."

He was right. It's what I wanted. I had wanted it for a long time and never told anyone. Not even him. But somehow, he read my mind. I said, "Okay."

And then my lizard brain kicked in  full force. "How do I do that? What kind of writer? Can I be more than one kind? How can I make money from this? I have loans from an unnecessary degree to pay back! Who cares what I have to say anyway? I'm not that great of a writer and I say "fuck" a lot. What if people harass me for having too many opinions? I don't know the answers to any of these questions, so I'm just going to lie here forever and do nothing."

After some soul and Google searching, I've decided to seriously start breaking into a freelance writing career. I have some guidance through Karen at Untamed Writing and my fellow beginners. I also want to make this blog a Real Thing and a space I can be proud of. I struggle with not believing I have anything worthy to say and not knowing where to start. Despite my fears, I know that big things are on the horizon for me. Part of me wants to simultaneously jump out of my skin and crawl under the covers and hide, but I'm trying not to listen to Mr. Lizard (I'll come up with a witty name later, this post is serious).

I feel you, cat.

I know there will be days when I don't believe in my work or when I let negative feedback send me into a downward spiral. Working through those days will be my biggest challenge. I'm still an emotional basket case from everything that's happened this year. I cry over everything now, good or bad. This winter already has me feeling reminiscent of last winter and I'm fighting the feelings those memories bring back. Grief is the most confusing and unpredictable emotion I've ever experienced. I'm learning to let myself feel it and to not be ashamed.

Anxiety has held me back from becoming the person I want to be. I refuse to let that happen anymore. I'm teaching myself to work through the tears, the lack of motivation, the feelings of worthlessness. I'm still not content with my emotional state and don't know if I ever truly will be, but I hope I can get there someday. I know that with a network of like-minded and supportive people, I could make my dreams come true in ways I never imagined. I don't want to let anything stand in the way of 2015 being a year I can look back on, no matter what happens beyond my control (and knowing without a doubt that things will happen that I can neither anticipate nor control), and say, "I accomplished a lot. I'm proud of myself. I feel good. I'm fucking awesome!"





Thursday, September 25, 2014

"Desperate Feminists" or How I Feel About That Emma Watson Speech

First thing's first. I have a mountain-sized lady boner for Emma Watson. In my brain-world, we're already BFFs who sometimes make out after sharing too much sangria. I adore her style, her graciousness, her introversion, and the causes she supports. Much to the dismay of my fantasy land, we've never actually met in real life, but she truly seems like a good person. She also wears the dresses of my soul:
Swoon forever.
Sources: Pinterest, myfacehunterchinadaily
I don't know if you've heard about this, but everyone is going ape shit over her UN speech about gender equality and the launching of the HeForShe campaign. Vanity Fair even called the speech "game-changing."
But I'm gonna have to disagree. And, of course, I'm not the only one. Each of those articles raises valid points and you should read them. I could repeat all of their ideas here, but it's almost my bedtime and I don't want to. Whether or not you agree with them, their notions are food for thought. Unfortunately, the vitriol in response to these legitimate critiques are far from gracious. They run along the lines of, "How dare you tear down something that's good for feminism as a whole," "we have to stand together or we'll never get anywhere," "leave Emma alone!!!!", etc. 
Sigh. I get that people are defensive of this. Overall, I do believe this is two points for feminism. Yay us. We still haven't won the game, nor are we even remotely close to the finish line. Our opponent (not men, the patriarchy) is waving at us from the sidelines drinking a Gatorade and we're still out here, sweating and panting (*insert ill-timed sex joke*). Does that analogy make sense? Whatever, I don't know sports.
What I'm trying to say is that it's painfully unfortunate how, in 2014, a surface-scratching feminist speech in mainstream media that doesn't paint us as a horde of man-hating baby-eaters is so desperately coveted that everyone flips their shit when anyone tries to intelligently criticize it. Especially when the critics weren't claiming it an overall bad thing, just that it had flaws, and anything created by humans is flawed, unless that human is Amy Poehler. 
I dunno. I'm feeling a little like a dog* begging for scraps** from the master*** over here. It's fucking depressing, ya'll.
Just so we're all clear on what I mean:
*dog = feminist(s)
**scraps = not being portrayed as a psycho
***master = mainstream media

Like I said, if you want to learn about (some people's opinions on) why that speech wasn't so earth-shattering, check out those articles. There are probably a lot more. 

Overall, I do think this is a good thing. Whatever gets people jazzed up about feminism is a good thing, even if they're only learning surface-level information from one (privileged) perspective. Some of the people who read or watched her speech will do their own research on gender inequality. They will learn about the plethora of issues that make up modern, intersectional feminism, join discussions, talk about it with their friends, and become a full-fledged card-carrying Feminist. Which is great, because we need more (wo)man-power to harvest all those male tears for our energy. 

My only hope is that, 40 years from now, we're not still this excited over a nod in our general direction and a bunch of men posting photos on Twitter. I don't think real progress is too much to ask.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What's In a Name? A Conversation With My Blog

Oh hi, Blog. I didn't see you there.

Actually, that's a lie. I've been avoiding you. Sorry. Try not to take it personally. It's not you. It's me. 

Remember how the last time I wrote in you, I talked about all the changes in my life? Well, something else might need to change, Blog. 

Your name. 

Even though this name has only been around for two years, I feel that you and I have outgrown it. I've realized that half the reason I avoid writing in you is because your name doesn't feel like an adequate reflection of me. And it's important that I'm proud of you, Blog, otherwise I will neglect you. Which is shitty of me, because blogging is a gratifying creative outlet and it makes me happy. I've connected with others through blogging, and I want to continue to do that. 

So, your name is getting changed. But don't be upset about it. The new name is weird and unique and I think you'll like it. And even if you don't like it, it doesn't matter because you are not real and can't actually have opinions. I literally own you, Blog. 

FUN FACT! Your new name is actually a nickname made up for me by my friend Ryan, who is so hilarious and creative that he's writing a novel right now! So that's special.

But, most importantly, this new name isn't loaded with all of the negative emotions that have permeated my life over the past two years. I'm sure you understand.

In case you were wondering, Blog, all of the old posts we've shared together will still be here. The header will look different and the URL will be different. As for our beautiful, delightful, encouraging friends who feature us in their blogrolls, the link to the old blog will go directly to the new one, so they don't have to change their blogrolls right away. 

I'm not sure if this will change what I write about with you. I guess we'll have to see. I have a lot of interests and I'm starting several new things lately and, as we both know, life is remarkably unpredictable, for better or worse. We've gotta learn to go with the flow. I think we can do it. 

I feel better, Blog. I'm glad we had this talk.

Source: http://www.quotescover.com/



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

These Changes

Lately, I've felt like I've been doing everything and nothing at once. That probably makes no sense to you, so allow me to clarify the way I always do: a really long post with a lot of feelings-words and .gifs.

I'm just gonna be upfront about this:

I am taking one class. I have no job.

"But wait, I thought you were getting an MPA?!?!" you may ask. "And I thought you had a super impressive graduate assistantship that you bragged about like an asshole?" you may also ask.

Well. Things have changed. A LOT. Remember in my last post when I referred to my dad's death as "rocking the foundation of my life" (lol how dramatic)? It's true. Everything is different now. I'm different now. This isn't a bad thing, but it can be overwhelming and scary.


In the weeks leading up to and immediately after his death, I was in a depressive and anxiety-ridden tailspin. May 2014 will go down in my personal history as the worst month of my life. I was truly unable to function, and apparently you need to be able to function to do graduate school and a job. So, I pulled out of the assistantship and dropped out of classes, save for the final requirement to earn my MSW, as I knew I needed something to show for all of that time, effort, money, agony, blood, sweat, tears, tantrums, and procrastination. After a short time of feeling like a failure and a quitter, I am now completely at peace with this decision. I realized something I should have a long time ago: I don't want to do any of this shit. I don't want to be a social worker. I hate school. I don't think this MPA program is right for me. I needed to listen to my gut, and I wasn't doing that. This traumatic and heart-wrenching experience became the catalyst for significant change that I didn't realize was necessary.

So now I'm back to square one. What does square one look like? Hmm... it's a lot of free time, reading, writing, talking, pondering, worrying, and self-care. It's also a lot of therapy in various forms. I've just started dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) to help me reign in my crazy and Joel and I are going through grief counseling with the Grief Recovery Institute, which I would highly recommend if you've ever suffered any kind of loss (so if you're a person). I'm still seeing my regular therapist I've been with for almost seven years. I've started meditating using Headspace and can already feel the benefits. I'm in the early stages of looking for a life coach, as suggested by Joel, who has had a life coach since before we met and who also happens to be great at life. I've also noticed people I admire like Stephanie who have life coaches and have taken the steps to make their dreams come true and I was like:

Source: awesome gifs
Sometimes it feels self-indulgent and egocentric to be taking this time for myself. I feel guilty when I consider other people, close friends, who could benefit from a time like this, but are unable to make it happen for various reasons. I worry people will judge me and think of me as lazy, and I get anxious that I'm not making money. But Joel, of course, has been unbelievably supportive, and his feelings about this are really all that matter. It works for our family right now and it isn't forever. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I'm on the right path. I feel more at peace in our marriage than ever, and I'm cultivating wonderful friendships both new and old. I still have bad days where things get overwhelming and it's difficult to find a reason to get out of bed. But I'm doing something I never thought I would be able to do if you asked me two months ago: I'm looking forward to the future... even if I am still a little terrified of what it holds.


Monday, June 23, 2014

A Dream Within A Dream

I've been avoiding this. I recently experienced a loss that is too important not to mention, but I haven't been able to figure out how to put it into words. I've been too afraid to try. Writing has always been my closest friend. I can tell anything to a journal and have an immediate sensation of relief. But I haven't written anything since late April, when I realized that my father was never going to leave the hospital. The lung transplant had failed.

On May 14th, 2014, my dad died.

Since then, writing has felt like a dreaded chore. But I knew I couldn't possibly write about anything else until I addressed this. In my experience, the more I dread something, the more I need to bite the bullet and dig in. That anxiety has a purpose - it's telling me to do something and that after I do, I will feel like a weight has been lifted.



The problem is that I have so many things I could say about this loss, this grief. I could write about my father's steady decline with COPD despite quitting smoking over sixteen years ago (but by then, the damage had been done). I could describe the three months of stress and misery when he was in the hospital and we never knew if he was going to live or die. I could talk about the last time I saw him - I kissed him on the forehead as he was sleeping - and the agony of the four days between then and the day he died. I could describe what it was like to plan my father's funeral, or talk about the complicated relationship we had. I could write out all the messy family dynamics and talk about my parents' marriage and how I had always wished they could be happier somehow, even if it meant not being together. I could tell you how this grief has awaken emotions within that I never knew I had, and how I know nothing will ever be the same. I could talk about the ways this experience has rocked the foundation of my life and made me question everything.



I will write about all of those things when I'm ready. Maybe not here, but somewhere. Instead, I'm going to transcribe a dream I had just four days after he died. I've always believed in the power of dreams to reveal our most guarded subconscious feelings to ourselves. For now, I will let this speak for itself.

I'm with my mother in a strange place. It feels like a school. There are a lot of people around, but I fall asleep. And then I dream.

Dad is there, walking towards me. He looks like he could be on his way to work, wearing jeans and a button-up collared shirt over a white T-shirt, the quintessential Dad uniform. He is healthy. There is no oxygen or shortness of breath. He has color in his face and looks happy. I run up to him and jump into his arms like a child. He starts walking with me in his arms, carrying me somewhere. I put my face close to his and tell him into his ear that I don't want him to go, that I'm not ready. He calmly tells me that he needs me to be there for mom and that he's sorry he's leaving. He looks so happy and at peace, a look I haven't seen on him for years, that I hold back my protests. I stay in his arms and take in the smell of him - cologne and hairspray and leather - and feel his 5 o'clock shadow against my face. I told him close. He is still walking. When we get to a door on the right side of a long hallway, he sets me down. I suddenly realize that we are in a hospital, and mom comes out of his room. She doesn't see him standing next to me. She tells me calmly but with emotion in her face that it's over. He had died. I look next to me expecting to see him, and he's gone.

I wake up. I begin furiously writing down the dream in my journal, but mom is asking me to do something else. She doesn't know how important this is. I frantically write everything so I don't forget. I need to remember. I write it all down as fast as I can while my mother is talking. But I'm not sad as I write, and it feels odd to me. Somewhere inside, I know everything will be okay. It will be okay because dad said so.



Monday, April 28, 2014

11 Questions


I was tagged in this quiz by Fenn from The Honest Badger. I've never been tagged in anything bloggy before, so this is a lot more exciting for me than it probably should be. Fenn came up with the questions, and here they are:

01. Where are you from? I moved around as a kid, but I would consider my hometown to be Coldwater, a crappy little town near the Indiana border.

02. If you could travel anywhere in the world (and money was no object), where would you go and what would you do? I want to travel most places, so I would go on a WORLD CRUISE, which are real things. But I especially want to go to Ireland, as I've heard it's beautiful and I have a crush on anyone with the Irish accent. 

03. Most embarrassing memory? I say and do such stupid shit all the time that I can't even think of one particularly embarrassing memory. But I guess here's a good one: my first semester of grad school, I completely misunderstood an assignment, which happened to be a presentation. As everyone was presenting their projects, I realized that my presentation was NOT like the others... I sort of  missed the point. (I guess that's what I get for doing it the day before.) As I was slowly sinking into my seat hoping to disappear entirely, I knew I could either leave the class and take the extreme hit to my grade, or suck it up and get it overwith. I presented, it was horribly awkward, I booked it out of the class, and never looked at my grade for the assignment. I got a B+ in the class, so it couldn't have been that bad. And hopefully everyone has forgotten but me. I will never wait until the last minute on a presentation again. Lesson learned!

04. A dream you have that will (probably) never come true. (aka a fantasy) I have a lot of these, to be honest. I sort of live my life in my head, and things go a lot better for me in there than they do in real life. The one I'm willing to admit online would be starring in a musical. It's something I've always wanted to do, but alas, I can't sing for shit. But in my head I sound like Adele, so.

05. Something you've always wanted to do but never tried because of lack of funds or ability or fear or whatever. lol, just one thing? There are tons of things I want to do, but the lack of funds is a big hindrance. I think the one that combines all of these (funds, ability, fear) would be skydiving. It is something I've heard is truly amazing and I want to do it... but money and also I'm scared. People die that way! What if one of those people is me! That would hurt probably! Maybe someday I'll suck it up and take the plunge.

06. If you could have any other job, what would it be? If you wouldn't change your career, why do you love it so much? Well, I would definitely not be a lifelong student, that's for sure, though I would always be learning. Unfortunately, I really don't think there is a "perfect" job for me out there. Every job has its downfalls, even if it is a "dream job." You still have to work hard, and work can sometimes be stressful, agonizing, and tedious, even if you are passionate about it. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I don't know. Probably a feminist/political writer/blogger a la Lindy West, but I also don't want to get Internet harassed for being a scary woman with an opinion. I would want to do something that helps to create real change for women in this society that fails to see how truly barbaric and fucked up its treatment of half its population really is. 

07. Tell us about your favorite person in the world. Well the obvious and most barfy would be the husband, Joel. He is truly one of the most amazing people I have ever known. It blows my mind how kind and caring he is, and how much he's willing to do for the people in his life. If you know him, you'll know that he will drop anything to help just about anyone. That's just Joel. He is really that good of a person. I love him, our relationship, and our life together. We balance each other almost flawlessly. He is literally the man of my dreams and I'm so thankful we found each other. 

I have other favorite people who are no less amazing. My dearest friends Molly, Emily, and Rachel are three people I would not want to live without. Though my husband is pretty awesome, I'd go nuts if it were just the two of us all the time. I need my friends just as much as I need him. 

08. What do you think is missing from your life? Hmmmmmmmmmm.... A few things, probably. But mostly confidence/self-love/whatever. Sometimes it's there, but it's never very strong. Through things like Everyday Feminism's Everyday Self-Love Course I'm working hard to change this about myself, because I know that it holds me back way too often.

09. What was your elementary school like? I actually went to two... one in Indiana, one in west Michigan. I was a ridiculously good kid. One time in the third grade, I got sent to the principal's office and I had no idea why and I was terrified because I never got in trouble. The principal gave me stickers and told me to "keep up the good work." So that about sums up my elementary years. 

10. Top five fave songs. (This is of all time, all of these songs give me lots of feelings, and this question was really hard)

  1. "For the Widows in Paradise, for the Fatherless in Ypsilanti" - Sufjan Stevens
  2. "Mykonos" - Fleet Foxes
  3. "Royal Blue" - the Cold War Kids (also served as inspiration for my blog title)
  4. "Rhiannon" - Fleetwood Mac
  5. "(Don't Fear) the Reaper" - Blue Oyster Cult
11. What is your saddest memory? In early 2011, I had just gotten out of a long-term, live-in relationship, then quickly and stupidly jumped into a new relationship and was subsequently dumped, and I was sharing a bed with my friend because I had nowhere else to live. I was driving back to Grand Rapids from Coldwater, where I had just found out my dog had died. I had to stop at a rest stop because I wanted so badly to drive my car off a bridge. That's when I knew I needed help for my depression.

That was melancholy and emo, as per usual for this blog. So here's some puppies:




Apparently there are rules for this. I'm supposed to tag 11 people. I don't know 11 bloggers who would pay attention to my tag, so if you're a blogger and you read this, feel free to answer the above questions. Be sure to link back to your post in the comments! I truly love reading people's answers to these. 


Friday, April 25, 2014

Two Months, Ten Things


It's been almost two months since my last post. I am the worst.

But really, I have some good excuses. A lot of things happened. I was doing stuff. I wasn't just sitting around eating cake, like in my fantasy life. So don't even hate.

Here's a list of ten things that have happened in the last two months:


1. I started 100 Happy Days on Instagram. I really think it has actually helped my positivity. I have to think of something that made me happy every day, or at the very least think of something that didn't piss me off. That is no small feat. Too bad it's usually food. Oh well. Food is feelings!

2. The snow melted. Sweet Jesus, I thought this Michigan winter was never going to end. And though spring so far is mediocre at best, at least I don't have to dig my car out of the snow every day or have to fear falling on the ice and dying. I think I developed a complex though, because I'm convinced it's going to snow tomorrow no matter what. This winter fucked up my brainz, ya'll.

3. I read a bookGreat by Sara Benincasa, a modern-day retelling of The Great Gatsby with teenage lesbians. I've never read The Great Gasby, but I really enjoyed this novel. Plus, I pre-ordered the book and got a free autographed bookplate. I also follow Sara Benincasa on Twitter and she retweeted me like twice, so we're basically best friends.

4. I got a haircut. My hair hasn't been this short since, like, 2009. I don't hate it.


5. I finished the semester. Three down, two to go! I can't fucking wait to be done and to never go to school again.

6. I finished my internship. It wasn't perfect, there were some unpleasant challenges, but overall I really enjoyed my time at my agency and wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else. I will miss the people I met, and I'm so happy to have had the opportunity to learn from them. But I'm also happy to be moving on to new things. Speaking of which...

7. I got a graduate assistantship. I want experience in the field of women's advocacy so that maybe someone will give me a job in it someday, so I went to the Women's Center at my university and was like "hey can I do stuff for you" and they were like, "yeah, and also we can pay you." And so I have a graduate assistantship for the summer. 9 credits paid for + an hourly wage for 20 hours per week. I'll take it!

8. I played with my friends. Girls nights with coloring and nail-painting, St. Patty's Day with Irish car bombs, bar nights, sad movie nights, a Hunger Games party... we know how to have a weird time.
 I can't even explain how lucky I am for these people. 

Photo credit: Morgan and Chuck

9. I presented my research. That statement makes me sound a lot more scholarly than I am. For my research class, we had to complete a qualitative study. I interviewed three female bartenders on their experiences with sexual harassment in the workplace, wrote a giant paper, and almost died because that project stressed my shit out. But my professor liked it, so he asked me to present it in the Graduate Student Showcase. I made a really boring poster that I can't believe people actually stood there and read. But because I had the word "sexual" in my presentation, everyone thought it was daring and provocative and people wanted to talk to me about it, which led to a lot of great conversations on feminism and misogyny during the event. And I was only a little awkward. I almost didn't do it because everything terrifies me, but I'm glad I did.

10. We booked our vacation. Holy shit-balls, this means it's really happening (knock on wood). Immediately after graduation in December, Joel and I will be heading on a Caribbean cruise leaving from Houston and going to Honduras, Belize, and Mexico. We never went on a honeymoon, so this is our first big trip together where we will actually do stuff besides sit in his parents' condo and eat Five Guys. Words cannot express how excited I am for this. No, the only thing that can express my excitement is exactly three .gifs:





So now you know how excited I am. Only eight months and eight classes away... *Sob*

PS - Shoutout to anyone reading this who got here through The Loudmouth Lifestyle's post about "7 Bloggers That Get Real." Welcome! Thank you for reading! I hope you don't hate it! And isn't Steph such a peach? :)

Monday, March 24, 2014

To Do: Not These Things

I'm really into to-do lists lately. I make one at least every day, some times more than that. I make them for what I need to do for school, for work, for real life, for the future, for when I need to organize research I'm doing (such as, "How not to suck at networking"). Literally everything in my life gets a list. If I did the whole "Stuff I'm into" regular blog post series, the only thing on it for the past two months would be the bulleted list. If I died tomorrow, on my tombstone it would say:

Here lies Victoria. She was a:

  • Wife
  • Daughter
  • Sister
  • Friend
  • Etc.

I think you get the point. 

So I told you in my last post that I've been having trouble with inspiration lately. I do have things floating around in my brain that I'd like to share, however they seem so mundane that I lose interest and don't write about them, or they're so serious that I avoid writing about them because it involves thinking and feelings and those are hard. I'm really good at avoiding things. Add that to my tombstone list.

All I really know how to write anymore are lists! So now I'm going to share a not to-do list. This is a list of things I could write about because they're taking up space in my head, but I'll spare you because they're really stupid and lame and would not make great blog posts.

Things I Could Write About But Won't Because They're Really Stupid and Lame:
  • My favorite things to eat with peanut butter
  • My favorite brands of cereal (spoiler alert: it's just Lucky Charms)
  • Weird things my dog does
  • My favorite types of glitter
  • My theories regarding the AMC original series Mad Men
  • Color theory
  • Boobs
  • Stuff I hate
  • Why I hate the stuff I hate
  • Drunken reflections on life and love and why
  • My girlcrushes
  • My mancrushes
  • My favorite animals
  • Why those animals are my favorite animals
  • Stuff I think about when I should be doing work (of course you could always just follow me on Twitter if you're really interested)
    • Selfies
    • What to eat for lunch/dinner/dessert
    • What my life will be like a year from now
    • Funny quotes from TV shows and shit
    • What would happen if someone walked in and saw me staring into space and laughing to myself
  • Stuff I think about when I'm driving
    • I fucking hate driving
    • I want to be home
    • Why are there so many goddamn potholes
    • My car sucks
  • My favorite brands of nail polish
  • My method to painting my nails
  • My favorite Lean Cuisines
  • Space shit
  • Types of cookies I want to bake
  • Craft projects I want to do but never will
  • The evolution of my hair
  • How I always manage to write a million words when I think I have nothing to say.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Reflections on Blogger's Block

I've always loved writing.

When I was ten years old, I wrote a book series with my best friend Tracy. We made four books; I wrote the even ones, she wrote the odd ones. We made covers out of construction paper and crayons. They were about vampires and other weird shit, because I was a weird kid with weird friends. I'm glad I went through my vampire phase (you know, that every girl goes through) before Twilight was around. She and I also got invited to some Young Author's Thing (probably not what it was called) on a local college campus. I wrote a book about dinosaurs. We were in the fourth grade and that day, I developed a crush on a blonde boy named Gus and then never saw him again.

I have dozens of journals I don't have the heart to destroy, but I would never want to read again because reading sad poems I wrote about middle school crushes would make me want to barf my guts out and die. I should probably burn them.

Then came the Internet and high school and a whole new plethora of writing opportunities. I maintained a LiveJournal blog for years. I even taught myself basic HTML so I could personalize it and make it pretty.  In high school the title was "The Endless Ramblings of a Happy Dork" but I obviously changed it once I went to college to reflect my sophisticated adulthood, and it was probably inspired by an e.e. cummings poem because I am a douche. I always had something to say. I once wrote an entire entry about solar flares. I deleted my blog during a period of unwarranted self-consciousness when I was 20. I had had the blog for over five years. It is one of my biggest regrets.

There is a point to this. The point is that I've always been a writer deep in my guts. But right now, I truly don't feel like a writer. Even though I am technically typing words onto a page that (a couple) people will read, I feel like a big fraud. I'm not inspired by anything. I don't care about vampires or dinosaurs or solar flares. I care about Serious Adult Things, but I can't write about heavy shit all the time because it is simply exhausting. But maybe heavy shit is all I think about, and that's why I'm so exhausted. Is this adulthood? Where am I?

I don't know. I just want to know what happened to the girl who could write about the mundane and turn it into a story, whose creativity flowed endlessly and effortlessly. What happened to the Happy Dork? I miss her.



Thursday, February 27, 2014

Can We Live Through February?



First we forgot where we'd planted those bulbs last year
And then we forgot we'd planted at all
Then we forgot what plants are altogether

And I blamed you for my freezing and forgetting
And the nights were long and cold and scary,

Can we live through February?


You know I think Christmas was a long, red glare
Shot up like a warning, we gave presents without cards

And then the snow, and then the snow came

We were always out shoveling and we dropped to sleep exhausted,
Then we wake up,

And it's snowing.


And February was so long that it lasted into March
And found us walking a path alone together

You stopped and pointed and you said, "That's a crocus"
And I said "What's a crocus?" and you said, "It's a flower"
I tried to remember, but I said,

What's a flower?

I have lost to February



Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What is the DEAL With That Blog Title?

Edit: This post is referring to my former blog title, The Awkward Raincloud.

Rest in Peace.

So, my blog title. It's pretty weird, right? But it makes perfect sense to me. I'm going to ramble on and by the end of these words, I'm hoping it makes a little bit of sense to you.

Several months ago, I went through a period of about three weeks where I couldn't get out of my head the phrase, "I no longer feel the need to exist." It was the strangest few weeks I've ever experienced in my life and I'm still trying to figure out what happened.

I don't know how to describe it. It was like this constant feeling deep in my guts that never left me. My guts were telling me, "Life is meaningless. Everything is bullshit. You should just leave leave leave leave..." (My guts echo sometimes). But leave didn't mean "go on vacation" or "go to sleep for awhile." It meant leave, like I would leave a room, only permanently and not just a room but my life.

To be clear, I didn't want to kill myself. I just didn't want to exist. I would have preferred that I somehow just didn't wake up the next morning, or that I got hit by a bus with no driver (you know, because the driver might have some long-term psychological consequences if they killed someone and I didn't want that. I really thought about this.). I didn't want to leave Joel, my family, and my friends behind. I knew they loved me and that they'd be pretty upset. I had just started a new internship and was even somewhat excited for the future. My gut-talking didn't have anything to do with my actual life or loved ones.

Allie Brosch perfectly describes these feelings, with pictures even, in her post about depression. I think you should read it and then come back here. I'll wait.

*cue Jeopardy music*

Welcome back!

Depression has been controlling my life ever since those weeks at the end of August. I'm really fucking tired of it, but I know it's not something that will ever be completely gone. I still feel that way sometimes. The depression has always been there, I just haven't acknowledged it. I chalked it up to "being a teenager" or "going through a rough patch." People said I was just overly-sensitive or being dramatic. I thought feeling empty, alone, and hopeless was my normal. I'm slowly learning that it doesn't have to be, but it's going to take some work.

ANYWAY, during that three weeks, I listened to a lot of music. Music tends to make me feel better under most circumstances. I listen to it like some people read a book or watch TV. I sit there with my headphones in, zone out, and let the music and lyrics take me somewhere else. Sometimes I get obsessions over particular songs and listen to them on repeat nearly 24/7. During that absolute hellish time, that song was "Royal Blue" by The Cold War Kids. The lyric "I see that rain cloud comin' right for me" particularly hit home.

Though this song can be interpreted a lot of different ways, to me it's a song about a person who's deciding to take control. How appropriate! Obviously it became the theme song for my life.

From now on
Fly as high as I want
From now on
I show my weak spots

It's really hard for people to talk about mental illness. I still avoid doing it in person. But here, this blog, is the place where I can "show my weak spot." Not that mental illness is a weakness, but because of its historic stigma, talking about it can make a person feel weak. It made perfect sense to me to incorporate a piece of this song into my blog title. So, that's where the rain cloud comes from. The other word is just because I am actually awkward as fuck.

My blog is a little sad and a little weird and a lot of awkward, because I'm kind of a little sad and weird and awkward.  And I'm cool with that.

So now you know.

I hope you feel enlightened.



PS - my next post will probably be about nail polish.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Poo-Brain

It's late. I should be sleeping, or starting to attempt to think about sleeping. But I'm not. I'm writing a blog post because it's my blog and I want to. It's been a long day and I have poo-brain. I apologize in advance for any stupid things that may result from writing in this condition. lol wait no I don't IT'S MAH BLOG, BITCHES.

This is an Adventure Time reference. If you get it, let's be best friends.
If you don't, watch Adventure Time, mang!
What are you even doing with your life?!?!?!?!?!?

I haven't written in awhile. I have a lot of ideas for posts floating around in my head but not a lot of time to write them out. Writing takes me forever because I try really hard to make it not suck (usually).

Here's the shiz that's preventing me from gracing you all with my blog-words:

  • I'm taking my first Public Administration course and it's like rly hard. It requires real thinking instead of just writing about my feelings like in most Social Work classes. Thinking hurts my brain and turns it into poo.
  • Other classes are challenging, too. I should be writing a paper for my blow-off class right now (sometimes they require work, too, ugh), but I'm writing this instead. #modelstudent
  • Internship. The program I'm working on at my agency is unexpectedly 100% different from last semester and there's a bunch of stuff to do! I've also missed a few days due to snow days/life, so I'm working some extra hours playing catch up.
  • There was a recent death in the family that's been rough on Joel, thus rough for me. It's taken a lot of emotional energy out of both of us. 
  • My dad, who has been suffering from progressively worse COPD for years, got a lung transplant! It's great news and he's doing really well. But also... holy stress! The news came out of nowhere! I guess there's no way we ever could have prepared for it, no matter how hard we tried. It's going to be a long road to recovery and his immune system will essentially be non-existent with the medication he'll be on to prevent his body from rejecting the lung. Plus, my parents live two hours away, and the hospital is two hours away, so I feel useless and helpless and guilty sort of all the time. I wish I could be there for him and my mom every day.
  • Winter. Man, fuck this winter. I'm not a person that hates this season, in fact I like it better than the scorching heat and humidity that is the Michigan summer, but this one has been brutal and relentless. My car gets stuck at least three times a week, I've had several hour+ long commutes when it should only take me twenty minutes, and my hands are freezing literally all the time. Like, it hurts them to type right now. I've lost all motivation to do anything but what is absolutely necessary in order to live/not fail. I am over winter, and I'm sure I'm not the only one, but we have two more months. I just keep telling myself "spring will come." It's never not come before. This isn't an ice age, it's just a "North Dakota winter," like the kind my dad grew up with.
So there's that list. It's a little more sad panda than I had originally intended.

Today's selfie.

I feel emotionally and physically drained. I feel like all I'm doing is hoping that the next couple months go by fast so that winter and this difficult semester can be done, which is not a feeling I like. I want to appreciate each day for what it is, but it's a little hard right now. I don't have any time to myself to decompress, which has always been essential to my mental health. So, things are a little rough, but they could be worse. Here's a few positive things, because I need to end this on a happier note so I don't cry myself to sleep:

  • The lung transplant. This is a good thing, even if it is stressful. It will hopefully buy my father a lot more time on this earth and I'm so grateful. 
  • I got officially accepted into the MPA program, which is a huge weight lifted. 
  • I was asked to be in the Social Work honor society and I can't believe it. This was something I desperately wanted in my undergrad, but my GPA just wasn't there. Though academia certainly isn't my main focus in life, I do try to be a good student and I'm pretty proud of myself.
  • I'm staying on top of school stuff and don't feel overwhelmed yet. For heading into the sixth week and knowing exactly what's to come this semester, this is both a great thing and completely surprising to me. Last semester Victoria would be flipping out. BUT I GOT THIS, DON'T EVEN WORRY.
  • Joel is killing it at his job as a personal trainer and I'm totally proud of him, as usual. I don't think I could do this life without him. It'd be really rough and shitty, anyway.  
  • There's still glitter and rainbows, which always make me happy.
So this is me right now:


Goodnight, friends. ♥

Monday, January 27, 2014

Goodbye, My Friend


For this post to reach its full effect, I suggest playing this video of the Spice Girls' "Goodbye" while reading.

Recently, I said goodbye to a friend. A friend I have had for over seven years

My Dell laptop. Her name was Sophie. 

Sophie, a name of Greek origin meaning "wisdom." As a scared and excited college freshman, that name was inspired by my future and my potential as a woman growing up and discovering herself. I was going to become wise as fuck with this computer, life experience, and a college education. I also happened to be dating a Greek guy at the time. 

Sophie and I went through a lot together. She lived with me in nine different apartments, got me through one bachelor's degree in social work, part of one unfinished certificate in paralegal studies, and two semesters of graduate education. She had her memory wiped twice due to viruses (I know what you're thinking, and they weren't from porn, you freak), had two cord replacements, one battery replacement, and one addition of RAM. She was a fighter. Plus, I could  never afford to replace her. 

Until now. It's time. Though she runs fairly smoothly, she is legitimately falling apart. As I enter into my third semester of graduate school, I need something lighter, something that travels easier, and something that doesn't need to be held together with duct tape. 

But it's a bittersweet goodbye. It's ridiculous how attached I get to my stuff, especially stuff I've had for so long. But Sophie has been in my life longer than the majority of my current favorite people. Our relationship has had a good run, but it's time to let go and move on. She understands, I think. (sidenote: I may be crazy, it's fine.) And it does feel good to have a fresh start on my new Acer that has a touch screen and can run Photoshop without freezing. 

Anyway, this post is dedicated to Sophie. You were the first major electronic I owned other than a Nintendo system, and I will always look back on our time together fondly. Thanks for doing me a solid and holding yourself together until we could afford something else. You were the best. 

RIP Sophie Dell
2006-2014

And here's my new computer, freshly decorated. I haven't named it. I think I'm done with the part of my life where I name my electronics. But I will NEVER stop naming my stuffed animals.

Stickers are from here.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Smash the Scale

Body stuff is really hard for me to talk or write about, even though, almost exactly a year ago, this blog began as a place for me to talk about my experience with weight loss. A lot has changed, including my body. But that is no longer the point of this blog, and weight loss is no longer on my list of priorities. It never will be again.

Like every woman, I have experienced the agony that comes with believing I'm not *something* enough. The something always had to do with the way I look.

I remember hearing my mom talk shit about her looks from a young age. "Fat" and "ugly" were common words she used to describe herself, and I never understood it because I always thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world. She was my mommy! To me, she was perfect. Until she pointed out all her flaws. And then I realized I had some of those same flaws.

When I gained about 40 lbs over a year and a half in my early 20s, I felt awful. My family didn't help. They did the typical and misguided, "we're so worried about your health" spiel. Though there were good intentions, all they managed to do was make me feel worse. I can forgive them, though. My parents grew up in the same society I did and internalized the same beauty standards and health policing. I know that it's possible to be fat and healthy, but they don't. Maybe someday they'll learn, but it's not my place or desire to preach to them.

Around this time last year, I made a decision to lose weight. I felt uncomfortable in my own skin and needed to change. I've lost about 30 pounds since then and I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel significantly better about myself. But the heartache it took to lose that weight is what brought on this post. I had an experience with a personal trainer who told me it was okay to eat only 500 calories a day if it would make me lose weight. He was promptly fired, but not before I internalized the thought that eating anything was eating too much. I dieted. I began to see food as the enemy. I hated the fact that I even needed it to live. Every time I "cheated" on my diet would lead to a crying, self-loathing breakdown. Good times with friends were tainted by the food I ate and the subsequent breakdowns that no one but Joel ever knew about.

But the strict diet "paid off," and some weight was lost. I didn't reach my original goal of losing 40 pounds, but that's because I decided my mental health was more important. I couldn't take care of my depression and anxiety and worry about following a diet, and if I'm being honest, the diet was probably a big part of the reason my mental health declined so sharply.

Now, I feel weird if people compliment me on my weight loss. I don't like the thought of people scrutinizing any part of my body, even if they're looks of approval. I don't need anyone's approval but mine. The way I lost the weight was harmful and was brought on and encouraged by the beauty standards every woman lives with, whether she wants to or not. I avoid commenting on other people's bodies for this reason. It's personal and invasive, and you have no idea if the reason they "look so skinny" is because they happily ate well and exercised for several months, or because they were seriously ill and suffering.

Jess from The Militant Baker inspired me to do something I never thought I'd be able to do: Smash the Scale.  This doesn't necessarily mean literally smash your scale, but if you're thinking about doing this, I would encourage it. It was the most empowering thing I've ever done. That thing has had a hold on me, in some capacity, for my entire life. I was taught that the number is important. Smash the Scale and scores of amazing, body positive women are saying, "well, fuck that," which happens to be one of my favorite phrases. The standards and the number are bullshit. Smash the scale is about choice. I'm choosing to ignore the standards and be me. I want to continue to feel good. It will not be easy; in fact, it's a constant struggle. But if this shit is going to change, some generation of women has got to do it first, and I want to be a part of that sexy revolution!

I went to the doctor a few weeks ago and stepped on the scale. Even though I was wearing heavy clothes and knew it wasn't accurate, the nurse read back a number that made me cringe. Then I cringed again because I cringed at the number. "Well, that's not very feminist of you, Victoria," said my brain. Whatever. Nobody's perfect.

Joel helped.
It takes constant vigilance to change one's perspective. Unless you live under a rock, you're going to be attacked day in and day out with unrealistic beauty standards that are presented as The One And Only Way To Be. Just remember: It's. Complete. Bullshit. It's a lie made up to sell you stuff and you have to fight it, because we're all raised from birth to believe it. This change won't happen over night for me or for any other woman in this world. But, the journey so far has lead me to a new found happiness with my body and the realization that whatever size I am, whatever the number is, I'll be just fucking fine, and so will you. ♥

RIP scale. The 'P' stands for "pieces." Rest in Pieces, mother fucker.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Just a bunch of photos of my #face.

I'm about 87.5 percent sure that, if I don't get bored with makeup any time soon, actually stick with it, and start to not suck at it, any makeup photos I post now will make me cringe a few months down the road. #positivity

So, I'm putting them all into this one convenient post that I can delete in, like, a year if I feel the need. #logic 

If face shit bores you, close this page now. If you're really good at face shit, also close this page now, or stay here I guess but don't judge me. I'm just a kid. 




I don't feel like posting brands. You probably don't care, right? But here are the occasions:
1 &2. New Year's Eve 
3. Random Sunday/polar vortex/clothing exchange
4. Snow day (Same palette as #3)
5. Cabin fever/extreme boredom
6. Birthday (My personal favorite. Also really hard.)

Sorry I look bored/angry/dead in some of these photos. I may or may not have been any combination of those three. 

I don't know how face bloggers do this without feeling totally #vain and awkward. I'm sharing because this shit took time and effort, and Joel gets bored with me sticking my face into his face and telling him to appreciate the colors I painted on it. Plus, he's color blind and can't even see all of them.

♥ 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

At look back at 2013 and my 25th year

Though I do believe in resolutions, I don't believe in 25 of them (anymore). Around the time of my birthday last year, I made a list of 25 things I wanted to accomplish before I turned 26. Well, due to various unforeseen circumstances or just simply a change in priorities, the majority of those things didn't end up happening. And that's okay! I'm learning more and more that life changes dramatically whether you want it to or not. Every single year around New Years/my birthday I think to myself, "I can't believe where I am right now." For the most part, I like it that way. I am easily bored and my life is rarely boring. So instead of a huge list of things I want to accomplish in the coming year, I'm using this sense of sentimentality one gets around one's birthday to make a list of things I did during my 25th year of life.

In 2013, I:
  • Got a tattoo I love and that means a lot to me after only a few days of thinking about it
  • Started and completed two semesters of graduate school. 
  • Only got one B+ in graduate school, otherwise A's. (Might still be pissed about the B+)
  • Lost about 30 pounds, some of it on purpose  
  • Explored feminism extensively
  • Got more into politics, even though it pisses me off
  • Went to Ft. Myers Florida for the first time
  • Went to Naples, Florida for the first time and felt awkward for not being WASPy enough 
  • Saw dolphins for the first time
  • Went ice skating for the first time (sort of. I mostly fell a lot and then sat and watched my friends)
  • Celebrated one year of marriage with Joel
  • Was maid of honor in my best friend of ten years' wedding
  • Started an internship I love
  • Made new friends who I've decided will be in my life forever (they have no choice)
  • Helped (a minuscule amount, but it counts) my friends put on plays in the local theater company they started
  • Went on a trip through the everglades in an airboat 
  • Went kayaking for the first time
  • Survived several mental breakdowns and debilitating depression, which took more strength and energy than I even knew I had.
  • Survived Weight Watchers. (Fucking yeesh is all I have to say about that.)
  • Threw a bachelorette party that people seemed to enjoy and was really goddamn fun, if I do say so myself.
  • Gave a speech in front of 200+ wedding guests and didn't pass out and/or die
  • Learned to blow hookah smoke rings
  • Gave a speech in front of a class and bombed horribly
  • Gave a speech in front of a class and nailed the fuck out of it. Comebacks FTW! 
  • Said goodbye to a close friend who moved far away and it really sucked.
  • Stayed in touch with close friend, and I will forever (she has no choice)
  • Ate the best burger of my entire life in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and it wasn't even the best just because I was drunk, it was LITERALLY THE BEST
  • Learned what the term "I'm so P" means and explored it extensively. Don't try Googling it, it's only a thing with me and a few weirdos. 
  • Had dozens upon dozens of good times with good people
  • Kissed a girl (or two or four). Liked it.
  • Discovered new bands and artists, some of which are now my most favorite
  • Read some books. I can't remember how many, but there were some books read. 
  • Made peace with my body, though it will be a never-ending process.
  • Watched Star Wars Episode IV. Realized plotline is completely NOT what I always thought it was.
  • Redecorated my entire house
  • Made a ladder shelf with Joel that we love and will cherish forevorz. 
  • Did some crafts. Didn't suck too bad at crafts.
  • Cooked something. Didn't suck too bad at cooking, but hated every second of it.
  • Baked new things. 
  • Didn't fall on the ice and die, which is a pretty big fear of mine
  • Didn't get stuck in an elevator, also a fear. 
  • Got attacked by a bird. Was never a fear until after that day.
  • Significantly changed my hair color twice
  • Only got sick twice. One wasn't even that bad. (This is huge for me. I've spent the majority of past years terribly sick with various ailments)
  • Started blogging again, albeit irregularly. 
  • Discovered new passions
  • Reignited old passions
  • Had some fun
  • Had some not fun
  • Made myself happier. It took a lot of work and the work will never be done.
  • Made myself more confident. Not just in my appearance, but in everything about myself. It took a lot of work and the work will never be done.
  • Loved people.
After the past few months of medication and therapy, I fully realize how miserable I was at this point in my life last year and I that had been for a long time. I feel so much better now. I still have moments of panic, days where I don't see the point in getting out of bed, and I over-think literally every single thing (that one may never change). Like I keep repeating until my face melts and you want to punch me: it's a never-ending process.

Here is what I have to say to 2013, and to age 25: Good. Fucking. Riddance. I had some beautiful moments this past year, but their memories are polluted by a cloud of depression and anxiety. Bring it on, 2014. You're pretty weird so far but I still have hope, which is a feeling I honestly wasn't sure I would ever have again. I still have a few days before I turn 26, but I have hope for that, too. ♥



Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Life Recap

What am I even doing with this blog? Posting about my feelings, disappearing for two months, and then reappearing with a post about glitter nail polish? Aren't I so fucking mysterious?

No. I'm not mysterious. I'm just a weirdo.

A lot has changed in the past few months! Including the obsession with glitter thing. But that's probably one of the least significant things. Here's a short recap, in order of importance:

1. I got my brain-drugs figured out. I know you were really worried about me. My emotions have been relatively stable for the first time in a really long time. I love this feeling, though it's really foreign to me, to be honest. This new chill-mode might be because of the drugs, because I'm on break from school right now and thus less stressed, or because I'm learning to change the way I look at things. But, I'm gonna go ahead and call it "all of the above." I just hope it continues into this next semester (starting next week, YIKES!).

2. I've realized that the people in my life are the best, and exactly what I need right now. I am so unbelievably lucky. I talk to other people my age and they describe having "no friends." And they seem perfectly fine with this! Nope, I couldn't do that. I need people, and I'm not afraid to admit it. I'd go nuts without daily chats with my "sister from another mister," weekly tea with close friends, girls' nights, mid-week bar nights, game nights, and the occasional crazy party. My social life fucking rocks, and I'm gonna keep it that way! My family is pretty amazing, too. Especially Husband. I'd truly be lost without him. ♥ Here's a million photos of those people:



3. I've realized graduate school is hard, but I can do it. Kay, so I knew graduate school was hard last semester. But this semester I added a 20+ hour per week internship and a really intense research class. I was convinced I was failing everything the entire time, but it turns out I did pretty well. Really well, in fact. This semester was a big wake-up call for the part of my brain that is constantly whispering, "You can't do this. You aren't strong enough for this.You aren't smart enough for this. You can't possibly work hard enough to finish this." I would say the outcome of this semester successfully told those negative thoughts to fuck right off. I feel like I'm going into this semester with a new found sense of confidence in my academic abilities, and it feels really good. 

4. My interests are changing, but there are still some things that will never change. I don't know where my new(ish) obsessions with makeup and nail polish came from. It probably started because I adore anything that looks like a rainbow exploded on it, and then one day I realized, "Hey, if I put stuff on my face and nails, they can be colorful, too!" Mostly, this shit is just fun. Though it is an expensive new hobby (if you could call it that) and I need to stop lusting over things I can't have right now and learn to work with what I've got. Otherwise, I'm still into the usual: music (Arctic Monkeys and Bastille are my newest faves), TV shows (American Horror Story took over my life for a minute there, and I liked it), obsessing over my household decor because I'm apparently my mother, food (eating it and baking it, not cooking it), movies, politics, and sleep. Yes, I'm really into sleep. Don't hate. 

5. I got this really cool scarf:

Seriously.  Super cool.

Happy New Year.