Writer’s Block and My Notebook

Carolyn said that it would take her 24 hours to fill up an entire notebook. I’m not sure if I can fill up an entire notebook in a week. The idea was that a bunch of writers get together with our own notebooks, to fill it up in one day- it’s kind of used as an intense writing practice to defeat writers block. I have kind of just been sitting down, looking at the notebook. Sometimes I even doodle a bit on the notebook. Something about having a pen and paper in front of me just causes me to draw random shapes… nothing artistic by any stretch of the imagination.

I have a lot of ideas in my head for stories but a lot of times I just don’t know where to start. Or I fell like if I start when I’m not “feeling it,” I could possibly destroy the story. If I have a good plot and write it down poorly, it’s forever tainted and it’s harder to repair it. I’ll feel like I’m working off of a broken story. I’ve done this a million times in the past.

In order to reform a story, I have to abandon it for months before I can even look at it. This helps me feel like I’m reading someone else’s work and it’s easier to critique. When a story ripe in your mind, your eyes skim over the words because you’re familiar with the story. So, to me, writers block is the fear of fucking up something that you feel has potential.

Fear isn’t really a helpful feeling (unless it’s related to survival instinct; writing a bad story won’t kill anyone). In order to be a writer, you have to write and read daily. You’re going to read some not so well written books in your life and you’re going to write some garbage in you life as well (we can’t all be David Foster Wallace). Just as long as you’re working towards something, because believe it or not, I may have a degree in writing but I still have to write daily. Use it or lose it, it might sound dorky but this dork is correct.

The notebook is a good idea because it is harder to get distracted. Granted, I still had my phone on. It was on the whole time, next to me staring at me with what I imagined were puppy dog eyes. Clearly I’m addicted to technology. I hadn’t written in a notebook since I was in college, writing notes. Fiction-wise, I hadn’t written a story in a notebook until my middle school years where I embarrassingly wrote Harry Potter Fan Fiction. Notebook writing helps free me from the ever-intruding world I live in. I’m homeless right now, more or less. If I didn’t have such great friends around me, I would be homeless. I’m a couch surfer and I miss my privacy but even in my own apartment, the internet and phone kept me more connected than I felt like being.

I guess the idea is just to keep writing. Get over the fear of fucking up. It’s easier said than done but that’s all writers block really is, a fear…. a fear of fucking up, the fear of a blank page in front of you. Open a notebook and turn off your phone, get stuff done. Make time for your friends and family but don’t give them your life. Keep some time for yourself. If you love writing, do it!

Happiness?

Happiness, for most people, is the ultimate goal in life. You might not think so, evaluating our actions where we chose careers that pay well but don’t make us happy, where eat and drink ourselves into poor health, when we complain and overlook all the things that we have going for us and question our worth. It is a task to be happy; it’s conditional and anything that blocks us from that shining beacon of “happiness” just brings us more and more suffering.

There are questions that I have regarding happiness. Is happiness an attainable goal for everyone? Is happiness conditional? Does happiness, for instance, depend on other people? Recently I have heard “My happiness is up to me.” This seems like a radical claim to make and I question the legitimacy of this statement in certain regards.

Sometimes our emotions don’t line up with reason. If happiness is a choice, then our emotions can always be reasonable and that automatically implies that your state of mental health is the same as others, which is not always true. I just don’t believe you can change “something”, unless you understand “it”. You have to acknowledge something before you can really examine it, consider it or even, if need be, work through it. Some people don’t have the means to do this. Some people don’t know how to be happy. It’s not their fault, I don’t blame them and I sympathize.

For all that I don’t know on the subject of happiness, I do know that there are things or mindsets that can radically reduce your happiness. First would be the idea that your happiness rests on other people. If you are happy because of another person, there is no stability in that. You have to know that you can lose a person at any time and make peace with that from the very beginning. When happiness is attached to another person, your attachment can bring stress for the other person and yourself. I know that Buddha was on to something when he said that suffering comes from attachment.

But there can be an end to suffering, don’t put that power in another person. If you want to be happy, when you love someone, love unconditionally. If you want to be happy, don’t linger on your suffering; linger on the suffering of the world. You won’t feel alone and you will gain a since of solidarity and love and compassion for the world. You will change how you feel about everything when you let your own suffering leave you like a drop of water dropping into the ocean of the world’s suffering.

We might expect happiness, but don’t. Don’t expect anything. Don’t think about the conditions of happiness and dwell on “but if’s” and “if only’s”, you will torture yourself. Do yourself a favor and let go of the idea of “happiness” and just be. You are here. You are alive. You can’t change what you don’t understand, so try to understand. Try to understand the human condition. Open your ears and eyes to the world. You might not find happiness, but who needs happiness when you have transcended happiness? You’re awake. You’re liberated.

Lowell, Massachusetts

wiki lowellMy claustrophobia made my flight back to the states almost unbearable. The random men I was sitting between were not extraordinarily large but because I didn’t know them, I did my best to keep my legs and arms close to my body so we didn’t make any awkward physical contact. At some point I was able to dose off; I woke up with a horrible ache in my neck from sleeping in an odd position, only to see that they had both passed out as well. I managed to stay awake the remaining hours of the flight. I stuck to drinking my coffee, not wanting to fall asleep again in case I inadvertently ended up using my neighbor as a pillow.

Oddly enough, I can’t remember much prior to getting on the plane. I was jittery because I hadn’t slept much the night before. I spent the night unzipping my bags, making sure I had everything I needed, then zipping them back up.

At 20 years old, I was living in my parent’s house in Germany in a tiny room that was pretty bare. I had a mattress on the floor and folded clothes piled on the floor next to the door. My mother handed my two plastic containers and told me, “Everything that you can’t fit in these containers, I’m throwing it out.”

I didn’t have a lot with me anyway. I had a small container of nick knacks I had collected from different countries I had been over the years, on the bottom of the container I hid my journals that I had been keeping since I was 13. This container and the books that I had on my bookshelf were the only thing that I believed to be worth keeping. My mother promised me that my containers would be left undisturbed in the basement until I could come back and get them from the house whenever I got my own place.

I only knew one person in Massachusetts and I had no idea what to expect of Massachusetts because I had never been there. However, for whatever reason, I wasn’t nervous. I felt that me leaving was long overdue and there is an amount of security that certainty grants you. I also knew that I wanted to move to New England more than any other place in America. I was from the west coast and I needed something new. I was tired of the west coast environment and all the family members that would be breathing down my neck the moment I land at seatac.

But I wasn’t entirely alone in Massachusetts; my good friend lived in Lowell. I felt better knowing that in all of New England, I at least knew one person.

Sean and I had been friends for years. We had stayed in touch via MSN messenger. While Sean and I got along pretty well while we talked online, I soon discovered that we didn’t really enjoy many of the same activities. I was a little anxious to see him, because a few weeks prior to me getting there he had told me that he was in love with me. I was a little unnerved by this.

He asked me if I would consider dating him once I got to Massachusetts.

I was quiet for a moment, then said, “Let’s play it by ear.”

He seemed to think that was a reasonable response and left it at that.

Sean didn’t meet me at the airport. I hate being a burden to anyone, so I told him that I was going to find my own means of transportation to get from the Logan airport into Lowell. I regretted this almost instantly.

I had never been to Boston and once I stepped out of the Logan Airport, I wasn’t entirely sure if I was even in Boston. In the same way that the SeaTac Airport isn’t exactly in Seattle, I felt that it might be the same scenario for Logan.

On a whim, I hopped into a cab and asked the driver to take me into Lowell. I had the address scribbled down on a scrap piece of paper. I pulled it out from my pocket and smoothed out the wrinkles. I read the address to him.

I fell asleep while we were stuck in traffic. I landed into Boston right in time to make it on the road during rush hour.

It was the summer, but I was wearing a hoodie. I tend to travel in comfortable clothing and there is nothing more comfortable than a hoodie. However, sitting in the summer heat wasn’t exactly the best time to wear a hoodie. While the car was diving, I would get a nice breeze, making it easy to fall asleep in the back of the cab but the traffic prevented that from happening.

Once we got to Lowell, I was a little taken aback. Lowell was much more industrialized than how I imagined it was going to be. You could be in a heavily populated area in Washington, but you could drive a few miles out of the city and you’re back in farmland. From Boston to Lowell, there was not very much of a scenic view.

Generally I gauged my appreciation of a place by its natural appeal. I had never been a big fan of large cities. I enjoyed places like London and Paris but I knew I could never handle living in a place that big. While Spokane was a decent sized city in Washington, there were easy escapes from the city.

Lowell was much older than any other place I had lived in America. After I paid the cab driver an obscene amount of money I carriage my duffle bag to my new room.

I realized almost instantly how under packed I was. I didn’t have bed sheets. I didn’t have towels. I had no shampoo or soap. I felt like both laughing at myself and slightly panicked that I wasn’t going to be able to make it to a store anytime soon and would have to carry on without deodorant or showers. I caved and told Sean that I needed some help.

Sean made it over to my place in less than 20 minutes. He was sweating and red faced when he got to my door.

I first asked him if he was okay.

“I’m fine, I just ran up the stairs.”

“You ran up fourteen flights of stairs?” I was amazed.

He nodded, still out of breath.

“You know there are elevators, right?” I asked him.

He nodded again, “yeah, I didn’t want to wait for them.”

My entire year of living there, I had never once attempted to climb up the 14 flights of stairs.

He walked into the room and collapsed onto my bare mattress for a moment, waiting until he could breath properly again.

He sat up and laughed, “Hey, we didn’t even hug.”

He came over and we hugged each other.

When we finished hugging, he held me at arms length and told me, “You’re very pretty.”

I said, “thanks” and asked if we was ready to go into town.

It was very apparent that Sean, though he had lived in Lowell most of his life, did not know down town Lowell at all.

“But where do you hang out?” I asked him.

“Well, sometimes I go to movies,” he replied. I felt as though I was making him feel guilty about being a homebody, so I dropped it.

I found a CVS, which was good enough; I bought some chips, toothpaste and other necessities.

When I got back I put a movie on my laptop for Sean and I to watch while I began unpacking my things.

Since I had come in early from out of the country, my roommates weren’t there yet so Sean and I were alone in my room.

Sean had no issue lying down on the bare mattress. I told him that he might get STD’s but he just shrugged.

Sean wore glasses now, thick-framed glasses that he took off while he laid on my bed.

He was thin but had a beer belly, yet he wasn’t a beer drinker. I couldn’t even get him to go out for a drink, when I had turned 21 a few days later.

“Are you glad that you moved to Massachusetts?” he asked me.

I looked outside, it was getting late, the sun had already gone down and I wondered how safe it was for him to walk back home alone.

“Of course, I’ve wanted to move here all my life and now I’m living on my own,” I was overjoyed to have independence.

“Are you worried about walking back alone?” I asked him.

“Nah,” he replied.

I was tired and wanted to go to sleep.

I took some of my clothes and laid them over my mattress so I could sleep on it without sticking to the blue plastic material the form mattress was covered with. I began to dose off, without meaning to. I woke up around 4am to go to the bathroom to see that Sean had passed out on my roommate’s mattress. My laptop was still open; the movie had ended hours ago. His hair was soaked in sweat I didn’t think I could fall back to sleep. It would have been around ten am back in Germany.

A new chapter?

Going off of my medication was rough and I wish that I were still in it. The first week, I had a hard time sleeping and the headaches were brutal. I tried staying clear of caffeine and not put myself in stressful situation. Two weeks in, I would wake up in soaked sheets from all the sweating, it was almost like I had pissed the bed the sweating was so excessive. Now, today, I am back to the shivering. I’m shivering as I write this. I forgot how much I hate it.

The shivers always make me feel like I’m either going to throw up or shit myself. There aren’t a lot of things that I can do about it. It’s more or less entirely out of my control. Admittedly, a lot of things are going on in my life and that makes matters worse. I just moved out of my place and have been spending a lot of time with my significant other and his family. I’m also in the process of moving yet again, but this time to another country. Everything that I own fits into the confines of a plastic container. I tried taking a new job in the new town I’m in now but I didn’t come back after training, knowing that the job would have been terrible on my mental health. Admittedly, if this all means that I have to do less day to day, I think I’d pick the shivers every day though.

empty room

I do feel, without my medication, that I’m almost too much for myself to handle. So dealing with other people becomes even more difficult. I feel like I’m wearing wet clothing every time I leave the house. The clothes are choking me and irritating the shit out of me. Whenever people talk to me, I want them to stop unless I know them already. I want everything to be clean and I don’t want to have any clutter around me or else I feel like I’m going to lose my mind. I have a hard time keeping my annoyance with the world to myself, it’s written all over my face.

I’ve been doing the usual thing I usually do when I feel like this. I clean, make lists of things I need to do and listen to music. I do miss having my medication, it definitely made my day to day life a lot easier and I didn’t have to write out everything that I’m doing in the day and get worked up over simple things…but I suppose that there are other alternatives that work for me. Maybe not as well, but I’m still discovering more options.

In defense of feminism

Feminism isn’t something people are particularly crazy about these days. People my age in particular, either dislike feminism because they find that it is anti-male or that it’s merely outdated. I understand why conservatives hate feminism (and I am going to try to keep this brief). Feminism contradicts (what I would consider) the foundation of conservatism. Conservatives preach that the American dream is attainable to anyone, that there is nothing holding a person back but themselves. Many claim that the glass ceiling is just a myth made up by liberals. Sam Harris has this to say about this mindset and I couldn’t have said it better myself,

“Conservatives, however, often make a religious fetish of individualism. Many seem to have absolutely no awareness of how fortunate one must be to succeed at anything in life, no matter how hard one works. One must be lucky to be able to work. One must be lucky to be intelligent, physically healthy, and not bankrupted in middle age by the illness of a spouse.”

I feel that this mindset has become something of virtue to American society. We’re told that when we grow up, we’re capable of doing anything that we want, if we’re willing to work hard for it. The media has led many people to believe that we actually do live in such a society, where men and women are both equally valued in the work place but anyone who bothers to venture beneath the surface finds that this is not true because women are still getting paid less than men in the work place, positions of power are still by and large, occupied by men.

We are led to believe that women’s equality has already been attained and that feminism is not only a waste of time, but also a tool to actually degrade and demonize men. We’re told that the tables are being turned, and that it is men who are often times the victims of sexism. Suddenly a movement dedicated towards equality between the sexes is reduced to mere rants against men, though, quite frankly, the only time I have seen such depictions of a feminist spewing anti-male sentiments were on TV shows, poking fun at their idea of what feminism is or young people who are unfamiliar with feminist theory. Feminism, we’re told, is dead….or ought to be.

Groups of women and men are arguing that feminism is harmful to men; generally have a list of complaints saying that feminists are stuck in the past. Some men feel that feminists are holding the men of today responsible for the sexism in the past. Another complaint I’ve heard is that feminist are anti-pornography (and this is true for some feminists, namely radical feminists. When I say “radical feminist” I don’t mean that they’re raving lunatics, to be a radical means that you want to get to the root of things). Yet I don’t believe that we ought to lay feminism to rest. Leave it to the media to be misleading, to leave us to believe otherwise. While we’re commonly told that feminism is something for the 1970’s and that it’s not really relevant today because women and men are equals. It seems fair to ask, since when? But, at the same time, women are being portrayed as empowered individuals in the media but does this accurately reflect the present state concerning equality between men and women?

Don’t get me wrong, I love empowered female characters, but we see patriarchy enforced in various ways, namely through economic struggles because women are still making less than men for the same work and positions of authority (meaning positions that actually effect our country) are nearly all filled by men; therefore men have more power over the economy. Patriarchy is not only enforced through capitalism, enforcement also includes physical and sexual violence. We live in a very image focused society, where appearance is crucial. So while women may or may not believe that they’re capable of doing anything, they also know how incredibly important it is that they’re attractive. Some believe that attractiveness is essential to their success, in different aspects of life. Why do women have all of these prerequisites for success?

And this is only a small aspect of the problem. Women clearly are not valued in the same way as men are in the work place. It’s a well-known fact that women in America make less money than men for doing the same work as men. The only field of work where women are paid more than men are in the porn industry. So women are definitely valued when they’re being fucked. Given this information, maybe people ought to consider that there is something wrong. It tells us that we’re not valued equally as workers, that is, unless we’re sex workers. I would like society to think that women are not fuckable but capable.

We hear people claiming that there is equality between the sexes and I feel that it is so misleading and has led many people to believe that inequalities between the sexes no longer exist. That’s why eradicating patriarchy seems almost impossible because first we have to admit that our society has its head in the sand. I understand the appeal of thinking that if everyone works hard, they get what they want- but to think that is to buy into patriarchal propaganda.

The thing about Fred Phelps…

ImageThe thing about people dying that we don’t like, we’re going to hear a lot of people say “Good riddance” and in the case of Fred Phelps, a lot of people cheered his death saying that it made the first day of spring all the more enjoyable. I’m not going to even try to defend Fred Phelps’ actions, but Fred Phelps is still a person who had a family who loved him. While the Phelps never really seemed to respect families who had lost loved ones, we found their protests of funerals despicable because it’s hard to believe that someone could be so cold. The fact of the matter is that when people die, it’s a sad thing.

A number of people are already saying that they would like to picket his funeral. While I think that it’s basically a waste of time because he’s dead, and you can’t really make a point to the dead, my best advice is to just stop giving the family a spotlight. Over the past couple of years, there have been a number of interviews, reports and documentaries on them. They’re extremely vocal and use any moment possible to grab the spotlight. Do you think that you giving them more visibility is going to do anything other than give them another push into our lives?

That aside, there is something really uncomfortable and inhuman about being happy that another person is dead. I do not agree with what Fred Phelps lived for, devoting a vast majority of his life to hate by hurting families. Phelps, in interviews, it’s clear that he’s a very angry man who was stuck in his ways and that there was really no way to get him to reconsider his views. He and his family stayed together in their close knit community, feeding off of each others hate and verifying their beliefs by being with people who only thought exactly like they do.

I feel bad for the young Phelps, who basically didn’t stand a chance. Some of them have escaped their families, only to be completely ostracized by them. I can’t imagine the intense pressure to stay in a cult, especially when it’s all that they’ve ever known.

I’m not happy that Fred Phelps died, I’m sad that he thought the way that he did and preached hate. I see the future as having a far more progressive outlook on homosexuality and I think that the Phelps played a role in this.  They played a role in showing the country how ugly homophobia really is.

Temple Worthy: A Mormon Confession

ImageMy mother is a big believer in keeping lists; she always had a to-do list ready, a shopping list or a list of chores for my brothers and I. It makes sense that I would be raised with a list: The Ten Commandments (my moral guideline all wrapped up in one convenient list). I went to seminary before first period everyday to prepare myself for the possibility of spreading the gospel once I graduated high school as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. On Wednesdays, we had “Young Women’s” after school where high school girls engaged in wholesome fun including (but not limited to) baking cookies, making crafts, or learning about the importance of modesty and chastity. We wore our CTR rings (Choose the Right), kept our testimonies firm and we were committed to staying temple worthy.

To get a temple recommendation, the bishop would ask if I had consumed alcoholic beverages or coffee or tea or if I had let a man touch me or if I had ever (god-forbid) touched myself. He wanted to make sure I was temple worthy and if I was not, I wasn’t welcome in the temple of God. I was always honest when I was younger but I had changed as I got older because knew I now had things to hide. Random depression infected my brain and I felt guilty thinking that God was a prick most of the time (even though I wasn’t sure if I believed in him in the first place). It became clear to me that my ideal self couldn’t keep up with who I really was even when I was put on different anti-depressants and mood stabilizers.

My high school boyfriend and I had depression; our interests in things began dwindling. I read the gospels and prayed and felt nothing, so I stopped waking up Sunday mornings to go to church. I felt that maybe free will is just a myth because I don’t think anyone would will themselves away from things that make them happy and keep them sane. When he eventually committed suicide, it rattled my insides and I hated that it was considered a sin against his soul.  Maybe he couldn’t help pulling the trigger and maybe it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me because he always lived like he wanted to die. He had fallen off a 50 ft. wall at one point in his life, broking several bones and losing all his teeth. He seemed mechanical, added bits in his body made of metal and he was always in pain. It always seemed like his body was actually in his way.

Having a body is a particular thing and I’ve always been told our bodies are a temple. So God does think we are all temple worthy, enough to have a body, even if it is only temporary. But the temple of God is no longer a place I’m welcome in, and even if it makes my family members cry when religion is discussed over Christmas dinner and on Sunday mornings when I refuse to get out of bed, I decided that I was no longer comfortable lying about things that shouldn’t make me ashamed as my own sacred duty to myself.

 

 

Hell is other people.

I was going through some of my old notes from my college days. I found this in my quick write journal for my creative writing 2 course, an in class practice write-in excerize. I had to giggle when I found this, because I was so clearly talking about actual experiences in my life. I think if I had to pick a title for it I would have to use the saying from Sartre, “Hell is other people.” Ignore the grammar, it was a quick, after all!

“Happy birthday, Janet,” Carl said, kissing her forehead.

Janet moaned, “It’s my birthday, I’m sleeping in.” She turned over onto her stomach, pulling a blanket over her head.

 “It’s 1pm, how much later can you possibly sleep?” Carl asked.

 “We’ll have to see,” Janet told him, her eyes closed.

 Clumps of sweaty strands of hair were spread out over her face.

 Carl sat back from her, fearing that he might have morning breath like Janet did.

 He decided to move to the kitchen where he could start getting things together. Generally his girlfriend was the one who arranged parties, but he figured he might as well set things up seeing how it was her birthday.

Everyone was coming over in about an hour; there were a pile of plates on the table and turned upside down glasses. Her mother was bringing over a cake, no one trusted Carl with the cake. Carl didn’t mind being so distrusted in this case because he hated baking.

 Around 1:35, his mother came over carrying a tray of deviled eggs.

 Carl cringed in disgust, “Oh, man, those look great.” He told her, though the smell of the eggs were surely going to leave the apartment smelling for sometime

 “Now, I know that Janet’s vegan, but everyone likes deviled eggs,” she said, moving past him to the table.

 “Everyone but Janet,” he said, out of earshot.

 “Now where is the birthday girl?” she asked, laying the plates out on the table.

 “Still in bed,” he told her.

 “Well, wake her up!” she told him, shooing him out of the kitchen with her hand.

 “Uhhh, I just tried.”

 “Fine, I’ll do it….”

 “No, no, no, it’s fine, I’ll try again,” he hurried past his mothering, knowing that his mother would be the last person Janet would like to be woken up by.

 “Janet, you need to get up everyone’s here!”

 Janet scurried out of bed, throwing the blanket off of her, “what!?”

 She hurried to the mirror and looked at herself, frantically combing her sweaty hair out of her face.

 “I can’t let people see me like this!” she said.

 “Sorry, when I said everyone, I meant my mom.”

 Janet relaxed, then started to look sour. Carl wondered for a moment if she smelt the eggs, “She’s here?” she asked.

 “Oh, well yeah, of course.”

 “But we didn’t invite her,” Janet hissed, throwing her hair into a ponytail.

 Carl shrugged, “she just knows things.”

 Janet looked displeased with this answer, her arms crossed.

 “You should take a shower,” he told her.

 “I might not leave the shower, knowing your mother is out there waiting for me. Heck, I might even let myself drown in there.”

 “Really, Janet?” he said, lying back on the bed, rubbing his forehead.

 He looked up and Janet had left the room.

 Good, he thought.

 He heard her slam the bathroom door.

 Not good.

 “Carl” he mother called him.

 “Yeah?” he asked back.

 “Carl!” she hadn’t heard him.

 He went into the kitchen, the smell of eggs once again hitting his face.

“Yeah, mom?”

“Someone’s at the door, I think it’s Janet’s mother,” she told him, laying silverware by the plates.

Carl sighed, walking slowly towards the door.

“To thine own self be true.”

heroiMy mother always told me that sometimes it feels nice to be important, but it’s ALWAYS important to be nice.  I love the Mormon tenderness that I was raised with, to try to be kind and sympathetic to people in whatever way possible but there is a draw back to this and it’s been biting me in the ass. Sometimes, you have to be a little more forceful with people than you’d otherwise feel comfortable being and you have to be strong enough to be able to do so.

I have had a lot of things going on in the past year and a lot of people have a lot of different opinions on everything going on in my life. I have people telling me that I should go to graduate school, that I shouldn’t waste my time or money with graduate school, that I should save my money and travel, that I shouldn’t go to Asia, that I definitely should go to Asia for a few years to save money for graduate school. That I should get married, that I should have kids, that I should get on a hormonal birth control, that I should move home, that I should move in with my boyfriend, that I should quit my job, that I should move back to Washington State to be closer to my family, that I should distance myself from my family.

I realize that the people that are telling me these things are generally looking out for my best interest and they care about me. However, many of them also think that they know what’s best for me. I even have people tell me that they know me better than I know myself. It’s a very suffocating feeling, having everyone telling you what you should do and then get upset when you say you already know what you’re going to do.

What I would like, more than anything, right now is to just turn off my phone for a week and be a hermit. I don’t like disappointing people. It’s one of my greatest fears. I know that I have a lot of loving friends and family that have a lot of faith in me and think that I am capable of doing great things, I appreciate it but that’s not what I have in mind for myself. I don’t think that I would be where I am today without the support of my family and friends, but at the same time, I’m the one who made decisions that this is where I want to be.

I guess what I’ve learned is how hard it is to try to be nice but to also give a firm NO to another person that you care about. There are a lot of people that I care about and they have a lot of ideas about what I should do- but I just keep saying no. Do I want to move home? No. Do I think I should leave my job? Not even a little bit. Do I want to stay in Massachusetts? No, I want to travel and work. I WANT to go to graduate school, I want to get married SOMEDAY, I want to get going with my career and this is what I’m working towards. I can’t work towards my dreams, while side stepping them for the dreams of my family and friends.

I’m 24 and I haven’t really mastered the art of saying no. Things become really messy when you can’t just say no. You waste your time. You get invested in things that you’re not actually interested in. You lead people on even. You let someone else have control over you. You lose your independence in a way. You avoid friends who think that you actually want to have their ideas rammed down your throat. You hit ignore on the phone because you know it’s just your mom asking you to move home.

I know I’m not the only person that has issues with saying “No.” I googled “saying no” and apparently this is something that is pretty common, judging from the comments and articles I found. The fears were all similar to my own. The fear of losing friends, being rude, starting fights or maybe that you’ll turn down something that you’ll later regret. I have felt all of these things and it sucks. I HATE upsetting people, disappointing them or making them feel as if their feeling are invalid. I am not a confrontational person and I’m definitely not a person who feels comfortable using force. I don’t think that there is an excuse to lose your temper, but giving a person a firm NO is sometimes necessary.

And if you think that you’re being mean to someone by having to firmly say no, think about what you would say to a friend in a similar situation. You’d more than likely tell your friend to stick to their guns. So be a friend to yourself and trust your gut and use “no” as much as you need to.

Handsome men ruin my brain, sometimes.

I’m at my favorite coffee place in town as I write this. There is a 90’s God sitting on the other side of the coffee shop. He has long blond hair, a slim face and he’s wearing a hood even though he is inside, like he wants to remain anonymous. I would describe him in more detail but I don’t want to him to notice me staring.

Every pretty girl that walks in, my knee jerk reaction to look over at him to see if maybe they caught his eye because apparently I haven’t. It’s kind of silly that I’m making up this sort of stupid competition with these women here. I feel like I might be at the point in my life where I can’t attract men like that anymore. I’m done with school; I’m not as interesting as I maybe once was. I don’t have interesting features that would catch someone’s eye, sticking in their mind throughout the day.

Handsome men ruin my brain. They make me sweat, stutter and doubt myself. I’m not an insecure person but in the presence of an attractive man, I can hardly keep my head up and I don’t brush away the hair that falls in my face. I feel like I’m in high school again.  He just dropped off a job application for this place. I hope he gets the job, not even for my own reasons. I’ve seen him here during open mic, he was playing the guitar and somehow played with this interesting Indian style.

My mom told me that everyone hits a point in their life where they’re comfortable with how they look and they don’t really care if there is someone who sees them not looking their best. My self-image has matured drastically, I no longer spend over an hour to pretty myself up in the morning. My morning ritual is pretty simple these days; I take a shower in the evening and let it dry overnight. I wake up and run a brush through my hair, even though it had already dried in a weird way.

While I used to cake foundation over my imperfections and powder to prevent shin, I’m more or less indifferent to the acne on my face or the bags under my eyes. My logic behind letting the bags under my eyes show is that I might as well look how I feel. Doesn’t that just make sense?

When I see the effort that other people put in to their appearance, I do feel lazy. I love the tights and red lipstick that women are wearing these days. I’m not sure what I can pull of that’s in style these days and I often wear my clothes until they literally are inappropriate to go outside because of large holes in the crotch or my boss just tells me “Liz, get new pants.”

Sad, 90’s God just left, looking pretty distraught about something, yet still looking devastatingly handsome. Oh well, Joey still loves me.

Image

Also, I wrote a new post for happycow: http://www.happycow.net/blog/helping-animals-this-winter/