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A Note.

For the past few weeks it has been hard to breathe.

This blog post sharply diverts from the usual theme, tone, and message of my blog. But, as a writer, this is how I try to make sense of what I feel shifting in the air. Thank you, in advance, for reading.

I believe a painting is attempting to be crafted right in front of all of us.

But just like all great works of art, when you are too close you do not see it for what it is. This? Well this is just a playful splash of red paint. And that? That there is simply a delightful use of black and gray shades.

Sometimes we are unable to see clearly what the entire picture is showing us because we are afraid to step back and look. While I am afraid of what I have seen in the past few weeks, I’m even more afraid of (to use a phrase that is already becoming stale) certain rhetoric becoming normalized.

The problem is that we are internally at war with ourselves. We were raised to be empathetic, compassionate, and critical thinkers. We were taught that no one person can be “all bad” and no one person can be “all good.” Shades of gray cloak us all.

So, of course not every individual who supports Trump’s rhetoric is racist. Of course they are not all misogynists, anti-Semitic, against woman’s rights, in denial of global warming, etc. We are taught that labels, blanket statements about individuals, are usually incorrect over-generalizations.

And I believe this.

I believe this as firmly as I believe family members had to have difficult discussions with children and grandchildren in the shadow of World War II, trying to explain how certain members of their bloodline wore swastikas on their arms. How good people did terrible things and how this shouldn’t be a commentary on their own seemingly predetermined path in life.

But just as we hear voices of former Germans saying they didn’t know at the time, they didn’t know, how could they know, well maybe we suspected but if we had known, of what Hitler was up to, what he was capable of…and we hear echoes of it today. Give him a chance. It can’t be that bad. We have checks and balances. Things take time. There are reelections in a few years.

When I was a teacher of English and composition at the college level my fellow instructors and myself saw a sharp disinterest in the written word. Students did not understand why they were required to take a writing course. And though I emphasized the importance of critical thinking, of questioning what we are told, of being able to clearly communicate our own perspectives in a clear and respectful manner, few students seemed to enjoy my courses.

Today I feel more grateful for my liberal arts degree than ever before. I am thankful I had teachers who shared with me stories from history. I am thankful for the novels, poetry, and paintings that emerge from shifting political landscapes and political pain. I am thankful I learned about The Milgram Experiment, which looked at the ways people can do horrible things in the name of “obedience.” I am thankful for The Stanford Prison Experiment showing us how power, authority, and deindividuation can escalate more quickly than we could ever imagine.

I do not believe every individual who voted for Trump is evil. This is not possible. We are all humans who are doing our best to listen to our hearts.

But I do believe this:

I believe his rhetoric is evil.
I believe his rhetoric pulls from a historical echo chamber of relying upon fear.
I believe his rhetoric thrives on the feverish hunger of lies.
I believe his rhetoric is allowing others, others with harmful rhetoric, positions of power.

I am afraid.

Let us work.
Let us not be the frog who doesn’t realize he is being boiled since the water is only changing temperature ever so slowly around us. It’s really not that bad, we might tell ourselves. After all, for right now, I’m still able to breathe.

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To People With Anxiety…

Something wonderful happened the other day.

A reader reached out to me to let me know The Anxious Girl’s Guide to Dating helped inspire her to write about her own anxiety and dating/relationships/her heart. (No *you’re* trying not to cry while sitting at your desk in your pajamas).

moniquehebert

Take a minute and check out this beautifully honest, totally real, and really oh-my-word-that’s-ME piece, “To People With Anxiety Who Think They Can’t Date” by Monique Hebert over at The Mighty. SO honored that this blog had any part in Monique’s words and can’t wait to see what she writes next.

Love all you readers, like woah. Keep being you.

 

 

 

 

Wait, is this a tension headache? WHY

As a lifelong holder of the”maybe you could chill the fuck out a bit” badge I know a thing or two about headaches.

I had them on an almost daily basis as a child until one day a dentist looked at my teeth and was like “hey, where are your canine teeth?” (*spoiler alert: I’d ground them away in my sleep like a hobo chewing on roots in the woods trying to talk to birds*).

Since then I’ve slept with a mouth guard every night of my life even while camping, even with boyfriends, even while making out sometimes cuz nothing says sexy like excessive saliva. The headaches got better and even though I still get them more frequently than I’d like, they are manageable.

But something has happened in the past few weeks. I’ve welcomed a new melody to my catalog of headaches. At first I thought it was the usual, good-old-fashioned almost-migraine headache. But something was different. It was like I was wearing an invisible baseball hat. Made for babies. Baby ants.

My scalp felt like it was shrinking up against my skull.

Since I have a history of my hair falling out (see previous post about my hair falling the fuck out) I’ve been worried that my tight-scalp is going to restrict the growth of what little hair I have left…or something else super scientific.

Either way, I’m positive I’m gona end up looking like one of these guys:

beetlejuice

(sidenote: such a classic right?)

But as it turns out I’m just suffering from a timeless Tension Headache cuz cheese and crackers let’s just throw something else at the emotionally crippled girl, why don’t we??

I started a new freelancing job a few weeks back which, though I’m loving, has rattled my sense of routine. Jared and I are going on a big trip soon (raise your hand if you also lose sleep fixating on whether or not you’re going to have an anxiety attack on a 9-hour flight!!) and I’ve been sitting at my computer for 10+ hrs/day which means my bones and muscles all hate me.

But still, I kinda can’t believe my body is still finding new ways to make me feel weird. You know? I’m thirty, shouldn’t I already know the drill by now?

Like everything in life, I worry I’m not good enough. I worry I’m not trying hard enough. I worry about what I should have done differently in life. I worry about what I might do in the future (like get diarrhea on a 9-hour flight).

No wonder my scalp is shriveling up like a raisin.

**special thanks to my childhood cat, Lucky, for helping personify how my head is currently feeling. RIP lil’ buddy. (sorry for smashing your face like that)

Breaking Habits We Don’t Even Know We Have

In my suggested readings section of this site I mention the book “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. I read this book for the first time in the fall of 2014 and I am still a believer. The gist of this book is: change one habit, change your life.

But what if we aren’t even aware of some of our habits? Shit, man, what then?

After I first read “The Power of Habit” I literally only changed one habit from my days and by God it worked!

For years I had a small novel bouncing around in my head, but hadn’t gotten around to writing it. So the one habit I changed was how I spent my lunch break at work. Instead of dicking around on the internet or wandering around the office kitchen I would grab my laptop the minute I clocked out, go to the next door coffee shop, and write for an hour. Every.single.day. And I eventually wrote the little book.

I think of this anytime I feel helpless in life. It’s not always the massive, earthquake-sized shifts that can change our life. It’s often just the small, repeated tasks we do everyday. Small, unassuming, viciously powerful tasks.

But there are habits I’m less aware of and feel less capable of shifting. For example, I struggle hardcore with transition times and criticism. I can feel my anxiety spiral during these moments in life and usually feel incapable of stopping it.

This can pop up when we try to date, as well. More than we probably even realize.

My first few attempts at relationships were not super successful. Somewhere between the lazy-eyed musician who clearly had never been interested in me in the first place and the lazy-eyed recovering addict who happily went months without contacting me I had to take a long hard look at my heart-patterns and my heart-habits. (Also, I guess I have a thing for lazy-eyes).

The problem with patterns and habits is that they are super fucking hard to break. And the experience is generally very uncomfortable and unsettling. Our body, conditioned to a certain experience (good or bad) will probably react in a negative way to new stimuli. Even the most free-spirited of souls are still creatures of habit and will burrow deep into their routine of coziness. We want to stay in warm spot on the couch. It’s comfy, okay?

I know it was hard for me to break my dating habits. For example, dating a man who liked me was HARD at first. Like, genuinely uncomfortable for me. I could feel myself resisting it. I could feel the confusion. The uncertainty. The lack of trust. Every other man I’d lusted over in life had possessed a steady degree of detachment….what was this new “certainty”?

Withdrawal from bad habits is often just as painful as the bad habits themselves. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it.

Try to identify heart-habits you might have and might want to break. Then take small, powerful steps every single day that bring your closer to the life you dream. Dammit I’m telling you it’s possible.

 

I Still Think I’m Right About Taylor Swift & Calvin Harris (UPDATE! Clues! I need to get out more!)

So listen, a few of you indulged me a few months back and read my wildly lengthy blog post about how I thought Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris might still be together even amidst her Hiddleston stuff.

I stand here today, nearly two months later, standing by my claim.

I’m gona keep this one short and sweet, but here we go:

Yesterday, September 6th, the news came out that Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston broke up.

On September 3rd CH tweeted three geese emojis (much like he used to tweet the three lightning bolts ((see previous blog post on why this matters)).  Then on September 5th (one day before the breakup news) he tweeted a new image of the “This Is What You Came For” patch with new colors and geese where there used to be lightning bolts.

tweets

He also changed his twitter header image to the same thing  (also, note what his pinned tweet STILL is after all these months..):

header.JPG

Remember, this patch is the only evidence TS left on her instagram that alluded to her relationship with CH…the one of her wearing the jacket with the “This Is What You Came For” patch:

ts lightning

Listen, these guys are artists. They are all about symbolism. The patch is evolving. And these two are some of the most powerful and watched musicians we’ve got. I would love if they were brewing a major troll-project above all of us, to prove a point about how much we all foam at the mouth about their personal lives (myself included *punches self in face*). To be honest, I just really like Taylor. I like Calvin. I liked them together. Maybe they’re scamming us.

If not, that’s cool too. I should get back to brushing my cat or eating in front of a mirror, anyways.

“Lightning strikes every time she moves…but she’s looking at you”