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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

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.