If Toxic was a Type

When it comes to romantic relationships, I, like others my age, was some what subliminally conditioned to desire toxic traited men. Now ironically, this adoption of falling for men who have blasted past the bad boy trope so they could essentially bathe in vats of toxic waste like a damn hot tub – didn’t come from our men in government… but it does occasionally and technically come from the historically archaic times that those men and their bills seem to live in.

Now before this gets out of hand… no this is not a piece that will make subtle jabs at middle aged white men who continue to assert their dominance by implying that a 6 week old embryo has more rights than a woman – no… this blog will be about men (and women) who suck in a different way, because today, we’re going to talk about the original (blood) suckers — vampires.

Sooooo…Vampires.

While boomers are generally known for sexualizing the word “baby” and more recent generations are known for sexualizing the word “daddy” – the early 2000’s could be easily identified as a time when media and pop-culture vastly sexualized the supernatural — and more specifically, Vampires.

Which come to think of it is probably why many of my friends also love serial killers but…. I digress.

Point is — At a young age I got accustomed to romanticizing relationships based on the ones I was seeing on tv. Which wouldn’t have been a problem if the men hadn’t been 25-30 playing 120+ year old teenagers… who also happened to be undead serial killers.

“Turn me” meant something entirely different in 2008-2009

See I’m a 90’s baby – but I didn’t grow up on sitcoms like FRIENDS, I grew up on Gossip Girl, Friday Night Lights, and The Vampire Diaries. I grew up on over sexualized, arguably toxic characters that were mostly just 20 somethings playing teenagers because that’s what was hot and that’s what was popular. And for the most part I’m not complaining because I loved it then and I still love it now – but it also messed with my head.

Look – I do get how crazy it sounds but you have to understand that at the time this was all happening I had no idea how toxic the relationships were because they were in love and I wanted so badly to feel what they had for myself. On the other hand however,I had no clue how they would and wouldn’t impact what I looked for in a relationship a decade later. And let me just say, that one hasn’t gone too well.

ANYWAY…. So picture this

In 2008 we were comfortably sitting in between the release of the fifth and sixth Harry Potter films. And most of us, at that point, had given up on becoming wizards so we were pretty used to just living for the films. Then Twilight hit theaters and s*** got real. And I mean, why wouldn’t it when Cedric Diggory was alive (technically) and sparkly and Taylor Lautner started flashing abs on 20 ft screens. The acting was definitely a pain point at the time but the on screen faces definitely were not.

And then from there it all kind of blasted off because a year later Elena Gilbert and the Salvatore brothers had us swooning even more.

So in other words, it’s no surprise that many of us wanted that kind of passion and excitement in our love lives but I think the harshest critique I could have about this genre was that there was this constant idea that the women had to transform themselves to fit into what the guy was. And that no matter how many times the guy tried to convince her she was enough as she was – that only made her want it and him more. Which is toxic at best and terrifying at worst.

If Toxic was a trope

If toxic were a trope it would look like 2000’s pop culture. I mean look, I get it, hindsight is 20/20 and knowing what I know now I’m able to work with myself to detox from thinking that what went on in these shows was sexy. And maybe that’s not the way to phrase it, because I think it’s allowed to still be iconic and hot and sexy without being something to realistically look for.

I mean I have spent years trying to be something I’m not to fit the mold that these shows designed because I wanted so badly to be a part of the twisted fairytale these love stories created. I wanted the guy and the danger and the fun and the forever. But I don’t think I really understood what that all meant.

And whether it’s chasing the wrong or bad guy because you think you can change him or changing yourself to fit into his world – I don’t know, it just seems like a lot to ask for love.

So yeah – if toxic was a type I think it would be mine. And I mean maybe labeling this bad is wrong because not all aspects of these genres and themes and tropes were. And while it’s not the best mindset to have going into dating I am grateful because having not been in relationships I do feel like I ended up learning a lot about what not to look for and what aspects I could keep. But at the end of the day it’s all a learning game and I may not have forever to figure it out – but at least I have some time.

How to get verified IRL

In my life and at this time I think I’ve just come to the conclusion that – if I spend even a fraction of my time trying to fit into my own perception of other peoples ideals or expectations I’m going to be miserable for the rest of my life. And to clarify – no I didn’t just realize this, I’ve known it for a while but self sabotage is a bitch and I’m inherently a glutton for punishment. ANYWAY.

Something I did just learn however, (in the past couple years) is that my idea of what everyone else sees me as and thinks of me is entirely in my own head. And that all the time I spend worrying about what everybody else thinks, not only is it not true but I can’t control it – so why do I or should I, let it drive me and my intentions? So in other words, I finally realized that since middle school, hs, whatever – I got really good at mass producing my own special brand of personal hell cocktail – and odds are, if you’re reading this, and based on the clearly click bait title, you probably have too.

So let’s unpack that a bit.

As a species, like any other, our primary instinct is survival, but because we don’t have to hunt sabertooth’s, and many of us (not nearly enough though) are fortunate enough not to have to second guess the basics of food, shelter, water – survival today looks a lot less like man vs wild and a lot more like theatrical interpretations of high school.

I mean in the grand scheme of things this isn’t our fault…? But it kind of is…? I mean, it should be fairly obvious that as sentient beings you and I, being the only one who informs our own reality, should have the most complete picture of who we are. And yes, technically speaking, we have been conditioned by society to believe that everyone around us by some divine grace must have more of a clue of who we are because OBVIOUSLY sally silverstien in Spokane Washington gets more likes on her artisanal breakfast pictures than we do and thus, logically, she has all the answers to life, the universe and everything. And I mean – with the caption “you are what you eat” who can deny her that prestigious title.

Let’s talk consumption and expectation

Have you ever taken a step back to think about all the bad things you put/allow in your body?

And no Stacy l’m not talking about carbs, or the vaccine (this is a trick statement if you’re not vaccinated, go get vaccinated!) or even that lax bro “team captain” you slept with your sophomore year of college – I mean information, data, or even the way you talk to and about yourself in your head.

I mean, think about it, what’s one of, if not the first thing you do when you wake up? If I were a gamblin man I’d say you roll over and touch your phone. And if it’s to turn off your alarm or check your notifications or whatever – depending on what stage of life you’re in, this could be the first thing you do. And I’m not condemning it – but if it is true, the very first thing you consume in the morning isn’t breakfast. It’s information. And then depending on your expectations, that information can determine how you think the rest of your day will go.

For example – maybe you posted something the night before so you’ll be expecting some notifications. Maybe you sent out an email to your boss and you’re waiting on a response. Or maybe the first thing you check isn’t your phone but your family so you lean over to kiss your significant other and depending on the relationship maybe you expect them to react a certain way. And so given these examples the first thing we consume is information and the first thing we accomplish or desire is a sense of validation. And after a while that validation – that confirmation of our value based on someone else’s expedient reactions becomes a sort of drug. So if we don’t get it there’s a nearly immediate shift in our mood because – if they didn’t react positively… then I must have done something wrong.

It’s all about visibility

At any given point in our life, most of us can pinpoint times where we felt seen and when we felt invisible – and funnily enough sometimes it’s the times that we most want to be seen that we feel invisible, and the times we wish we were invisible that people see us the most. But still we chase this idea that being at the for-front (the center of someone else’s universe) is the thing that gives us value – that getting 100 likes or a million views is how we can quantify success.

In other words, we just want to matter. But the problem with social media is that we’re being raised on the idea that the amount we matter to our peers often correlates to a metric, so if we don’t meet the standard or the milestone, if we don’t “get verified” then all our work wasn’t worth it. So then we throw ourselves into a cycle of doing things that don’t align with who we are solely because other people are getting attention by doing it and so we think that putting ourselves into a box or making ourselves more digestible to others will fill that hole within us.

But it doesn’t work that way.

So how does it work? How do I get “verified”

I mean the obvious answer is that it starts outside of our usual concept of being verified or validated because let’s get one thing straight – I don’t need your permission to be who I am now just because I’m not the person you wanted/expected me to be back then. Read that again. Now look away from the mirror.

See the central theme and the core issue of all of this isn’t that other people don’t accept us. It’s that we accept ourselves so little and so infrequently that we need other people to fill in the blanks. And not only is it not their job, but they just happen to be struggling with the same damn thing! So they can’t give us what we need until they get it themselves. It’s kind of a paradox if you think about it – because then privilege kicks in because we get this warped idea that he’s getting it but I’m not and she has enough so there isn’t any left for me and while we’re so busy condemning one another and not realizing or being able to admit that we’re just scared of falling short of who we thought we wanted or needed to be.

When in reality, what we could be if we stop conforming to these boxes is far greater.

Free falls and failing upward


Our society romanticizes falling, / so we chase the rush that is supposed to come with falling in love or leaping from a plane./ And when we’re unsure that the ground below us will keep us safe / we call these kinds of falling “leaps of faith” / but when that ground fails us it’s a “fall from grace” / and / the funny thing is – we / don’t often hear about the times people fell on their face / because that isn’t sexy, it’s not stimulating, and it’s far too gruesome for modern day fairytales. / So yeah, our society romanticizes falling… / but what does one do if they’re too tired to catch themselves?

Falling, R.M 2021

Many of you know my story. I’m (now) 25, female, and defined by my resilience. I commonly identify as a millennial but some stats say I’m gen z, I suck at relationships, and more than once you’ve heard me talk about some jobs I’ve won and jobs I’ve lost. I’m a writer – one who seems to be better at writing when she’s depressed but a writer none the less, and while I used to think myself special and complicated… I’m usually just me. Just Rachel.

So for those of you who have been here a while, I’m sorry I haven’t been lately. For those new to the game, welcome. and for those who didn’t make it past the first sentence of this thing, I’m a little hurt, but I get it.

But for those of you left, let’s get real.

I’d like to say that not a lot has happened in the time I’ve been away. Aside from the obvious pandemic, world on fire, 2020 being biblically cursed shenanigans of course. Truth is, a lot has changed. See I spent the last year figuring out some things I wasn’t ready to figure out before, things I couldn’t and still can’t put on blast quite yet. But with that uncharacteristically vague click bait bs comes a question… so why are you back?

To which I characteristically reply –

I’m back because I’m 25, I’m female, I’m in between Netflix shows, I’m about to be in between jobs and despite the fact that the world around me is still on fire I’m sick of pretending that waiting for it not to be is an excuse to not talk about the fact that most of us are free falling with no parachute — and while I realize that should have been punctuated properly… that’s not the point.

The point is – I have had more time to write in the past year than I ever have and I didn’t. And I didn’t because I found that the things I wanted to say weren’t things I wanted people to know and the things I wanted people to know never got sent out because 2020 has been the definition of a middle school flip phone “hey” text. Which, for those who don’t know is symbolic of someone being bored but not really having anything to say….

In other words, I’m back because there is a difference between not having anything to say and not saying anything for the sake of sounding a certain way. I’m back because I’m free falling. But the funny thing is… I feel like I’m falling upward and even if I wasn’t I think it’s time to let people back in so everyone who feels like their falling can fall with me.

So fall with me. And let’s bring Awkward back.


Solo Pursuit: The Benefits of Micro Business Ownership

Article by Courtney Rosenfeld (guest writer)

When you’re a solopreneur or a micro business owner, you’re responsible for every element of your business operations. While this type of total control can help ensure your business runs the way you want it to, it can also become overwhelming from a time management perspective. Fortunately, there are freelance and other assistive services that can give you access to expert help when you need it without the added hassle of having W-2 employees on your payroll.

Hiring Out Special Projects

Most small business owners are, or quickly become, subject matter experts in their field or business. However, since they likely have their hands full with day-to-day operations, it only makes sense to hire freelance or contract services to add layers of expertise and lessen their workload. For example, if your solo enterprise is a catering company, it might be to your advantage to hire someone to design your website, handle your bookkeeping or make deliveries so you can concentrate on client cultivation, customer service, and food preparation. Even farming out personal services, like house-keeping, dog walking, or personal errands, can free up precious time to devote to running your business.

Taking Advantage of Technology

Advances in technology have created a dynamic in which small business owners can easily tackle things like accounting, tax preparation, and invoicing online. Virtual meeting platforms similarly allow people to collaborate from multiple locations, which can save everyone valuable time. You can also access remote help in the form of virtual assistants, schedulers, or receptionists. Even “help bots” on your webpage can respond to customer inquiries with answers to frequently asked questions. Not only are technology-based business aids less expensive and more flexible than employees, but you can also pick services you need when you need them.

Running a Successful Business

Operating an enterprise on your own means you’ve got to be hyper-aware of your use of time, appropriate identification of your target demographic, and implementation of superior customer service skills. Creating a detailed business and marketing plan can help you create a roadmap for how your business will function, as well as help you identify areas where outside assistance could be beneficial. According to the US Small Business Administration, writing a business plancan aid in this effort, and is a necessity if you plan to apply for a small business loan or another type of funding to get your company up and running. Good recordkeeping, target advertising, and cultivation of a loyal repeat customer base are all elements to manage when operating a solo endeavor.

Protecting Your Assets

As a solopreneur, you are the face of your business, both operationally and legally. To ensure you’re compliant with rules and regulations of your industry, and to protect yourself against liability, establishing yourself as a limited liability company can be a smart move. States have different requirements for LLCs. You can do a bit of legwork through your state’s department of businesses and industry and file paperwork yourself, hire a pricey attorney, or use a formation company to do the work on your behalf.

Being your own boss as a micro business enterprise is an exciting and rewarding experience. You increase your chances for success by providing exceptional service, comprehensive customer care, and ensuring that you price yourself fairly, yet competitively. Don’t forget, according to the US Internal Revenue Service, you can deduct a lot of qualifying business-related expenses when you file your taxes each year. Keep good records so you’re able to take advantage of all of the tax benefits that come with small business ownership and operations.

You can find this article and other information/content at AwkwardnAdulting.com.

8 Ways to Really be an Adult on a Really Small Budget

Here are my personal strategies for saving money.  They might work for you, or they might not.  Being an adult means spending all the money you earn, so here’s how I make my budget go as far as I can.

  1. Pay money upfront whenever you can.  When I bought my car, I put down as big of a down payment as I could.  When I buy insurance, I pay the plan in full at the beginning of the year.  I know this does not work for everyone, but when I do this as often as I can, I end up saving several hundred dollars a year.
  2. Never buy (new) books.  For those of you who are like me, you love to read.  Sometimes we forget about the library!  Free unlimited movies, books, and more!  Now, with Overdrive and Libby, it’s easier than ever.  You can get free online books just by using your library card.  If I do treat myself to a book to own, I will only buy used from library sales or used book stores.  Another thing I like to do is trade books with friends whenever possible.
  3. Buy in bulk.  I bought a membership to BJ’s about a year ago for $25 through an incentive program for teachers at my school.  By using store coupons combined with manufacturer’s coupons (yes, you can use more than one coupon on an item there!) I am able to get even bigger savings.  It’s not just for suburban moms.
  4. Fix, don’t replace.  Whenever I can, I fix something instead of replacing it.  If you have a needle and thread, you have a life extender for your clothes.  Ripped leggings, missing buttons, or torn belt loops can be easily fixed with a little time.  When in doubt, look on Youtube for videos on how to fix things.  The sense of accomplishment comes free with the repair too!
  5. Do it yourself whenever you are able.  Time is often a constraint, but I do things myself whenever I can.  For example, in my house, I painted the rooms myself.  It took a lot of time and was labor intensive work (especially painting the ceilings and trim) but I saved money.  I am also making my own curtains for my bedroom and living room–much cheaper than buying curtains that I would most likely need to hem anyway.  It also comes with a bit of a bonus because I can pick more unique fabric than the usual curtains at Bed, Bath, & Beyond.
  6. Cook!  Yes, I love going out to eat, but cooking at home saves money.  It is so underrated.  Make something that you can eat all week and bring for lunches.  For example, I love quiche.  I will make quiche on a Sunday for dinner and then bring a slice for lunch all week.  It’s basically meal prepping, which isn’t an original tip, but I can’t do grilled chicken and veggies every day.  BONUS HINT: Whenever I go out to eat, I always order something I am not skilled at making or otherwise wouldn’t make for myself.  If I see something I want but I know I could make myself,  I take a mental note and make it for dinner later that week.  This isn’t really money saving but it helps me get my money’s worth out of going out to eat.
  7. Shop with credit cards–then pay them off.  I have a store card to my favorite place to buy clothes: Loft (don’t judge, I’m a teacher).  I pay with my credit card, get discounts and coupons often, and always pay off the balance as soon as I get home.  If you are loyal to a specific brand or store, this can help a lot.
  8. Figure out what you love, then splurge.  My fiance and I love going to karaoke bars.  There really isn’t any way of getting around the cost.  We go out with our friends, order appetizers and scorpion bowls…and it adds up.  We know this.  We set money aside to go out, so we are mindful when doing something else.  If we end up doing other things for entertainment, we remember that means no karaoke for a bit.  It helps us prioritize what we like doing and keeps us from going out too often and wasting money on stuff we don’t love.  It doesn’t keep us from hanging out with friends, but it definitely helps us make the decision between a bottle of wine together with them or a night on the town.

Seasonal “Defective” Disorder

Good morning friends! As I start this it is currently 10 am on the east coast, the date is Friday November 5 and based on the fact that I woke up thinking it was Saturday, I’m banking on a no-bones day. But whether it is or is not a no-bones day, I have recently been overcome with the will to choose violence so let’s go, let’s get after it, and let’s dive right the heck in.

Let’s get canceled before Christmas

Look, I get it, November first marks the first day of a glorious and misguided time for most of you. Pumpkin spice season is ending, peppermint season is beginning and while I sit here with a less than disgustingly joyous attitude, I realize that this may be the blog that gets me canceled because I’m about to make a very harsh statement based on a very unpopular and deeply personal belief.

That belief goes as follows:

Christmas or the Christmas season. Does not. And should not. Begin. ALMOST TWO MONTHS. Before the actual holiday. LET ALONE, AN ENTIRE MONTH. Before December. (And feel free to call me a grinch but here’s a few reasons why.)

  1. There are multiple holidays that have nothing to do with the Christian faith that occur before December as well as in the month of December. (Ie. Diwali, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and Hanukkah to name a few)
  2. Anyone who is even slightly less well adjusted than the misrepresented societal standard, needs a moment to deal with the fact that the sun not only decided to clock TF out when it comes to warming us all day but it also forgot its dimmer switch and decided to start hitting full snooze at 6pm. (So if you aren’t going to give me a day or two to recover from October as a whole, at the very least give me the courtesy of dealing with my Halloween hangover, before you indoctrinate me into celebrations I have no interest in supporting yet.
  3. There’s specifically a book about the “12 days” of Christmas, not the 47 (give or take) so if there’s no songs or rhymes or abc family cartoons… hit pause.
  4. (And arguably most damning) I have no desire to listen to Miriah Carey’s “all I want for…” for nearly as long as we are now making it acceptable – because frankly, I feel about that song the way most people feel about candy corn.

Now wait… pause… Before you pounce

I realize I just threw a lot at y’all and that I easily hit a few nerves so before you take a lunge for the jugular let’s get one thing straight. When it comes to the first item on my list, don’t get it twisted – I’m not trying to call this series of holidays the “holiday season”, I’m not trying to be excessively negative (even though it’s quite clear I am) I’m not even trying to tell people they can’t chase joy after a very long stretch of unprecedented sadness and hardships. What I am trying to do is maintain realism AND live in the moment because in my life I’ve wasted a lot of moments wishing I could get some really important ones back. So let’s take a side step and do this again….

FACT: I love the holidays (but also) FACT: this time of year isn’t the easiest for me

Growing up Christmas was always a magical time of year. I (and probably most of my peers) lived in a blissful state where our parents (and all the Jewish kids) openly lied to us about the only big boned individual that wasn’t openly criticized and vilified in Disney movies.

I loved the myth of Santa. I loved spending time with family that I didn’t otherwise get to see. I loved traditions and my aunt’s wedding soup. And frankly, I’m still incredibly blessed to be able to still have and still love those things but that being said, I do and I have and I will continue to love those things because they aren’t everyday occurrences. They’re brief and fleeting and special and they give me something so tangible and precious to hold on to and to look forward to – but they’re also not the only moments that matter.

So I guess what I’m saying isn’t that I don’t want the joy, and it isn’t even that it only belongs on specific days, it’s… for me, it’s the idea that I don’t want to cheapen an entire season by creating a countdown that implies that only a few select days matter, or that they matter exponentially more than the rest. And yes I realize that there are inherent contradictions in my argument but frankly it’s not cut and dry or black and white, it’s technicolor.

And more importantly it’s taking the time to understand that by the time fall hits (or any season hits) some people are already fighting incredibly hard just to get through the days or the weeks (especially during this time of year) so, adding to the noise and hysteria and giving us one more reason we “should” be happy, can make us all the more guilty that we’re not.

So let’s take a different approach… let’s talk about that aspect of extending the holidays and the impact of feeling like we “seasonal defectives” need to catch up to the joy.

When the seasons change – it’s a burden to be a burden

When the seasons shift some of us experience overwhelming emotions. The days are getting shorter the air is shifting and despite loving the cold and the winter I can feel my stress rising, I can feel myself wanting to isolate, and I can feel the madness approaching because at this point I basically run on solar power and the sun is out right quitting on me.

When the seasons change I turn into a bruised pear at a very pretentious supermarket, I start to feel empty, I start questioning myself more and more, I start tripping up on decisions because they have taken one too many turns on the spin cycle that is my brain and if you don’t feel like I’ve thrown too many analogy’s (without punctuation) at you and at this point of the paragraph, then you probably can identify with most of the points I’m trying to make and for that I am sorry.

But analogies aside, the biggest problem for me isn’t that I’m feeling these things. Its not feeling cold or cuddling into the darkness, it’s that talking about it, being a naysayer, being “that bitch” who doesn’t think “Christmas should be celebrated for two whole months” opens me up to criticism, because from the outside it looks like I’m trying to limit peoples joy, but on the inside I’m just trying desperately to catch up, respawn, and find my own.

And while I could read out the laundry list of disorders that cause me to feel less than joyous during the “happiest time of the year” it’s easier to write it all off. To tell you to run ahead and say that I’ll catch up when I’m ready.

So at the end of the day – I love the holidays, but I also don’t have the energy to maintain the kind of holiday spirit most people today have. And while, at one time in my life I could have easily identified as some weird version of the energizer bunny, my seasonal “defective” disorder drains too much of my battery to be on the level I feel obligated to be at.

In conclusion

To anyone who feels the need/desire to celebrate the countdown to Christmas, I solute you and I respect you (even if I don’t necessarily understand you). And while I’ve got a couple things to work on before I can join you, I promise I will… at the middle of next month when I find myself mentally capable, and the timing to be socially acceptable to do so.

What is a “Real Adult”

Generally speaking, our society sucks.

Well maybe it’s not the society but rather it’s expectations, value propositions, and general fobias, isms, and ogonies. And this isn’t to say I am ungrateful for how far we have come or that I want to sound like a broken record but sometimes it feels like we could do and know and be much better but we stop short of actually trying.

Let me explain.

At what age did you feel like an adult? 14? 16? 18? 21? 40? Or maybe it was earlier or maybe it was later depending on experiences and milestones or definitive losses. But by that logic what do we actually mark as the end of youth? Is it a girls first period? The first time a guy gets told to “be a man”. The first time you get profiled? The first time any gender engages in consensual sex? The day you realize that the body you are in isn’t the one you’re meant to have? The day you lose a parent? The first time you’re expected to take all the responsibilities of an adult or a parent without the title or recognition? What about the biological timeframe in which someone’s frontal lobe becomes fully developed? But probably not that one because by that logic we’d be calling men boys a lot longer, and they definitely couldn’t handle that. And obviously the list could go on and on so what’s the point?

As kids we spend a majority of our time wishing away youth because there’s this expectation that, when we reach a certain age, we’ll finally get respect or money or love and I’m sorry but that’s bullshit. It’s utter bullshit that any age or milestone could put us in the box of being an adult and more so, it’s ridiculous, because depending on certain cultures milestones hit a lot earlier. And not to delve to deep into the realm of darkness but our world is twisted, and some really sick people are known to sexualize children at far too young an age while others look at young boys of color and in an instant change their status from innocent child to dangerous threat.

So I guess the question should be – how does a kid get deemed old enough for someone to sexualize or even weaponize but not old enough to receive decency and respect. How can we perpetuate a culture where labels are used and weaponized out of convenience rather than logic. And where we decide which children get protected and which ones don’t deserve it. And I know at a basic level the answer to that is easy – it’s all about control. Controlling people and controlling the narrative.

So let’s talk Control

At what age did you realize your body wasn’t yours, and how long, or at what age, did you finally take it back? It’s a loaded question isn’t it, but it’s also a fair one.

See young women these days are sometimes asked, what was the first time you were sexually harassed (or sexualized) – and some of the answers are utterly terrifying. Young women bring up ages above and below 10 or 12, they bring up cases where it was a family member or maybe an older person they worked with – and as women we get mad but we nod because whoever’s story we’re hearing isn’t uncommon or unheard of. And as a woman I can’t speak to the male experience, but I know it happens to them too because it can be as innocuous as asking a young boy if he has a girlfriend yet.

And obviously it doesn’t solely limit itself to sexuality or relationships. In fact it starts earlier where we’re essentially taught to question ourselves and what we’re feeling to the point that we think ourself crazy.

For example – At what age were you made to believe that your emotions weren’t valid? And I know today we know this to be a mens and women’s issue but it’s also a issue of youth. Like – At what age were you filled with unbearable sadness but told that it wasn’t real or that you were being dramatic (by an adult) because from that adults experience the issue you were facing was so simple to them. Or- At what age did you love someone or something, so deeply that you couldn’t imagine life without it, but were told it wasn’t real because you were too young to know what love is? And obviously this love coincides with the knowledge that you can love your family or friends or even your pets – so when they say you’re too young for love it’s really the fact that people associate love with physical actions rather than emotional intimacy or connection so they dismiss your emotions because those physical things shouldn’t happen yet.

So ultimately the question becomes who draws the line between consoling, and invalidating? Or gaslighting and the fear that their children or these children are growing up too fast and we’re just not ready for it? At which point the answer brings us back to an issue of control, which is very hard to maintain and keep track of (especially with a vice like grip).

In short – Adulthood is a joke

If you haven’t guessed it by now, I’ll say it straight up. Being an “adult” is a joke.

I saw this video last night that asked people to comment the biggest lie their parents told them and when they realized it wasn’t true. One guys answer was simple – he realized that all adults had no idea what they were doing and that everyone he looked up to was just doing the best they could – and for some reason that lead him to believe that they had it all figured out. But he now knew definitively, that they didn’t because now that he was an “adult” he could confirm that he had no idea what he was doing.

Give it bunny ears (tie it together)

So obviously I threw a lot of heavy topics out in a pretty brief blog – so let’s tie it all together.

Youth isn’t a construct, but the way we handle it is. In life there are going to be inherent contradictions, but the ones that are most prevalent today, the ones where we strip a kid of their youth through unspeakable violence or where we define the cans and can’ts of life and growing up without half the people who are doing the growing, the ones where we attribute actions or emotions to being grown up but then excuse people who take advantage of being grown. So yeah youth isn’t a construct, but it’s manipulated and treated like the rest. So I guess what I’m saying is that as “adults”, and I use that term loosely, some of us need to learn to take ourselves a little less seriously. We need to acknowledge ego and allow it to exist without weaponizing it against others. We need to take children more seriously, realizing that they aren’t as ignorant as we would prefer them to be and we need to protect them by educating them better, rather than putting up guard rails and wrapping them in bubble wrap. And as someone who isn’t a parent – I find it important to note that when I say “children” I mean more than just k-12, because at 25 I know I’m very far from full grown and that I still have quite a bit of work to do.

So I guess what I’m really saying is that maybe being a “real adult” is about learning to trade out control for compassion and realizing that we all could do a little better because all of us still have a lot to learn.

To the comment section!

So as a young adult, particularly a young adult with interests in media and politics and all kinds of things I find myself multiple times a day scrolling through social media, listening to what people have to say/believe and then, depending on the content – racing to the comment section for a laugh or a cry or etc.

Anyway, so this week at some point my phone decided to send me some content that I’m not usually accustomed to in addition to my usual storylines. In other words, I suddenly I found myself seeing videos where people praised Christopher Columbus, complained about mask mandates and liberals, and misgendered Demi Lovato while also criticizing her beliefs on extra terrestrials. But through this I observed, I took in and finally I got back to the liberals where there were a lot of videos of lesbians reacting to misogynists (because apparently the ignorant white men were feeling real bold this week).

So seeing that I felt inspired to talk about misogyny and how it no longer makes sense in the modern age… but then I realized I need to do some research to get it where I want it to be SO I figured I’d dive back into the blog scene with a quick fun piece highlighting some of my favorite types of commenters on social media because this week was a million years long and peoples tomfoolery gives me joy.

1. The “No one cares” guy

This kind of person is my favorite because they almost never have a distinctive username or profile photo, they’re clearly just online to rant on redit and their sentiments are bringing nothing to anyones life (and they know it) but they go for it anyway. Anyway anytime I see one of these I smile and think — Sir, you took the time out of your day to look at a post or read an article or watch a video then decided it didn’t align with your beliefs. If you feel that your time was wasted so much so that you have to tell an entire comment section that “no one cares” – you have disproved your point as soon as you hit send.

2. [Insert hype-man sentiments here] aka any female to her friend

Female friends are the best hypemen and you cannot convince me otherwise because if you look at almost any females post of her trying to look cute, the top comment will without a doubt be the best friend who approved the photo before hand but wants to publicly support her friend. And I’m not going to argue it here but I think if men did this for each other there would be less global conflict. Y’all, surprise, the key to world peace is in the Instagram comment section. (Joking, but I wish)

3. The naysayer “it’s not all men”

Just like college first year writing the comment section of any popular post is bound to have a naysayer or two. As a female I see these in videos of men calling out men on their crap or women calling out men about their sexist bs. There is always a guy or a girl who will say something ignorant like “not all men” and the fact that he felt the need to say that means he’s probably defending himself or one of his dudes.

4. People who pick out their favorite quote

Some would say it lacks creativity to quote someone else rather than sharing you’re own thought but personally when I hear someone say “The Costco bulk sized ✨audacity✨ of some men” in a sentence I immediately realize it can’t be topped. Now, cards on the table – personally when it comes to tiktok, this is my go to, I blame the fact that I was an English major but I’m also not all that upset about it because I could have worse things to say/do.

5. The trailblazer

This kind of commenter usually has some street cred because no matter what they say they end up with a million likes and a bunch of responses. This kind of person is someone I hope learns to use their voice to impact change one day as well but only time will tell.

And the list could go on… but

Look at the end of the day it’s incredible to see how far social media has come in such a short period of time and I will be the first one to say that a lot of people use it for nefarious purposes, but it also starts conversations and something I’ve noticed in the past two years, when a lot of us were cut off from in person conversations, social media kept the narrative alive.

So it may sound silly – because in fact it is, but next time you need a smile, find something good and then “to the comments!”

On Visi[BI]lity

This past week was bi visibility week and yesterday, sept 23, bi visibility day. Now after the year we’ve all had it seems like a lot of people or at least a lot of the people I know have taken the past year in isolation to do the hard work of looking within themselves and being more honest with who they are – and as one of those people I know, I can tell you it isn’t easy.

In the past year I’ve taken a lot of time to let myself come to terms with trauma and even deal with the internalized homophobia I didn’t know I had.

See for me it was never about not accepting gay people (or knowing love is love), it was the idea that of all the struggles I had been through and all the work I still had to do – I didn’t want my love life to be a part of those struggles. And while some of that sentiment isn’t entirely gone, finally owning those other parts of my self and identity have allowed me not only want to be seen but feel more valid in being seen.

Let’s talk visibility

These days it seems like everything is more fluid but nothing is tangible. Take the typical examples – concepts like faith and love. You can see how they manifest but you can’t grab hold of them. Gender and sexuality are obviously a bit harder to argue, but at the same time both are constructs created by industry and interpretation. And sure you could boil it down into biology but that’s not something I’m going to try and tackle today. Instead let’s talk about bi visibility.

Did you know that the largest percentage in the LGBTQ+ is bisexuals? And that’s only of the people who are out. And it’s crazy because even as members of the LGBTQ+ bisexuals still get backlash from people inside of (and outside of ) the community… even though they make up the largest percentage of it.

See as humans we seem to like to place ourselves in clear cut boxes. Black and white. Gay and straight. Rich or poor. Smart or dumb. I mean it’s funny how you could just boil someone down into a this or that and more funny that the answers they give you will undoubtably be different from the answers you give for them. Truth of the matter is that people hate ambiguity, whether they like to admit it or not. So when some people start to warp the rules of the game or deviate from what is accepted as commonplace some people get confused and others even angry.

So let’s talk about it. Let’s remove some of the ambiguity.

Bisexuality is the fact that someone can be attracted to more than one gender, this can mean someone that is the gender they identify as and another that is not. Bisexuality now also means that someone can be attracted to more than two genders – but after that it can get slightly confusing because there’s other words that have been developed for people who like all people and people who like more than one person at once. So to keep it straight forward, bisexuality essentially means you don’t solely conform to liking the opposite sex.

Bisexuality/bisexuals are not – Slutty, indecisive, or sexual deviants going through a phase and seeing what side they want to pick. Bi people also don’t always conform to a 50/50 split, which is where the fluidity comes in because sometimes they have a preference and sometimes it’s on a case by case basis.

But most importantly bi people are valid no matter who they are dating at the time because it is their choice how to identify.

Bisexuality and me

For me, right now, when it comes to all of me (which includes my sexuality) I am just doing a lot of learning. I’m constantly learning about myself, lgbtq+ history, and how to feel comfortable again in certain spaces.

I guess the best way to explain my bisexuality though is that most days when and if I think about dating I feel like I’m too mature for most men my age and most women my age terrify me. In other words, my sexuality right now has nothing to do with who I’m sleeping with or who I’m dating because frankly I’m not doing either right now – and I’m more than ok with that.

And if I’m being really honest, if I had to pin point one thing that’s changed the most about me in the past year or two its not my sexuality – it’s that for the first time in a long long time I’m just happy with where I’m at. I’ve shed my expectation of being at a certain place in life just because of who I assumed I’d be at 25 and I’m genuinely happy with who I am. And honestly the cherry on top is that I have no desire to date for the sake of dating and there’s something that truly freeing about that.

What I’m looking forward to

I think some of the things I’m most looking forward to in the next five or ten years are the surprises. The things I haven’t planned or thought of yet, but I’m also really hopeful that the world might surprise me too. I’m excited to see a world lead by more accepting and tolerant people and laws that reflect those ideals. I’m excited at the possibility that relationships will be normalized in society and on tv. I’m excited for young people to use the voice they have now and the ones they haven’t found yet. And I know not all of it is going to be easy – but as a generation or era we’ve found our Horton (there’s too many to name but go with it ), we’ve proved we’re here (over and over and over again) and slowly but surely the world is changing, so I guess what I’m most excited for is to see what it does next.

100 things that make me smile (or amaze me in the world)

As I grow I notice how the world around me impacts how I carry myself. I notice that fear anticipates fear and anger causes pain and that happy times don’t have to be a fleeting as I once thought they were.

That said, Ive spent a lot of time in my life waiting for shoes to drop and while they sometimes do, waiting for them and putting myself in the place of fearing them doesn’t make those things any easier when they happen. So lately I’ve been trying to live in the good, and while certain things around all of us have certainly made that hard – I’ve noticed that, over all, I’m a lot happier than I used to be and so I want to take some time to reflect on that.

Quick recap —

Last week I was frustrated. I was angry at what was happening in the world, noticing that the things we value don’t align with the way we go about achieving them and because of that I decided to therapeutically list all the things that irritated me (that had nothing to do with politics.) But for all the things that frustrate me – there are a million more that give me hope and allow me to realize how truly blessed my life is. So in the spirit of positivity, here’s a list of 100 things that make me smile – and hopefully, one or two will make you smile too.

100 things that make me smile (to smile about)

  1. The sun when it shines through a window in the morning
  2. State fairs (community traditions)
  3. Friends who hype each other up both in person and online
  4. That look a guy (or person) gets in a rom-com when the girl (or person) walks in the room
  5. The air on mountain tops
  6. When someone smiles with their whole body
  7. The way dogs look at people when they’ve been away from each other all day
  8. How school kids announce “it’s snowing!”
  9. Really big lego sculptures
  10. Babies in fancy outfits
  11. When someone tries to say “bubbles” in an angry tone
  12. A drink with friends
  13. Random FaceTime or phone calls from the people I love
  14. An iced drink on a hot day
  15. Goosebumps during a beautiful song
  16. Secure men that do spa days
  17. A blanket fresh out the dryer
  18. A new flavor
  19. The smell before it rains
  20. Those square scooter things from gym class
  21. An epic soundtrack
  22. Books with annotations (notes in margins)
  23. The first day of school
  24. Chocolate
  25. Curious people
  26. To-do lists with checked boxes
  27. First dates
  28. A good cup of coffee
  29. Balloons
  30. How the air changes from the start of a hike to the end
  31. Water from a natural source
  32. A packed stadium
  33. Summer concerts
  34. A good story from someone older than me
  35. A beautiful woman (all women are beautiful)
  36. A handsome man (all men are handsome)
  37. Someone who exists outside the norm
  38. Someone who is self assured or confident
  39. Fried Oreos
  40. Fried pickles
  41. The smell and feel of well worn books
  42. The horizon line across an ocean
  43. Wondering where the rainbow actually ends
  44. How someone’s eyes light up when they talk about something they’re passionate about
  45. A dream deferred
  46. Dancing
  47. The smell of cigarettes and spearmint
  48. Kangaroos
  49. Really massive animals
  50. Idioms
  51. A hand on the shoulder
  52. Silence in otherwise crowded spaces
  53. Really loud laughers
  54. Geodes
  55. The realization that nature is so much more powerful than we can even comprehend
  56. Tv show fandoms
  57. That moment when a student clicks with the lesson
  58. Class clowns
  59. Gummy bears
  60. A baby’s laugh
  61. The fist hug after a long time away
  62. The first step into a place that feels like home
  63. “thinking of you” messages
  64. Tacos
  65. Food from a truck
  66. That single moment where a stranger becomes a friend
  67. Paying it forward
  68. Backflips
  69. The first step after you see an extremely daunting staircase
  70. My first car
  71. Watching someone reach for their dreams
  72. Making firsts in your final forever relationship
  73. Clocks that chime
  74. Pocket watches and walkie-talkies
  75. A kids movie that was clearly written to make adults laugh
  76. Watching someone you love grow up and realize their worth
  77. A turkey sandwich
  78. Getting lost and finding your way home
  79. Driving without the gps
  80. Silly hairstyles that used to be popular
  81. A worn photograph in a leather wallet
  82. A notification from someone you admire
  83. The bravery of standing up for someone else -no matter the cost
  84. The first episode of a show you’ve watched a dozen times
  85. Harmonies in a song
  86. Koi fish
  87. Waterfalls
  88. Old timey burger joints and diners
  89. Guitar and drum solos
  90. Acapella groups
  91. Science fairs
  92. Hand written letters
  93. Dad jokes
  94. Seeing someone in the stands cheering you on in a sporting event
  95. Video games
  96. Church hymns
  97. The starting line of a race
  98. Shaped jello
  99. Fruit fresh off a tree
  100. You

100 things (that have nothing to do with politics) that are low key irritating

So earlier this week I tweeted a thread (probably incorrectly btw because Twitter is not my strong suit) “10 things (that irritate me) that we should talk about INSTEAD of politics” — and while I completely understand that there are injustices (and natural disasters and etc) going on; while I acknowledge that some people don’t have the privilege of worrying about the little things; and while I cannot express it enough that I know how lucky I am to have the time to make a silly list like this… I’ve found myself really irritated and disappointed by the country and the chaos and the big stuff lately so I’m going to throw out some rant worthy things that can help me recover my grace for some of the unprecedented ignorance out there. (Feel free to add yours in the comments)

100 low key irritating (or unnecessary) things (that have nothing to do with politics)

  1. Pimples that aren’t pimples
  2. Meetings that go longer than a marvel movie
  3. Being called ma’am before the age of 30 (or ever)
  4. Neon green (or bright yellow) cars
  5. Feet
  6. Putting silverware in the dishwasher eating side up
  7. The word “cute”
  8. The fact that disc drives aren’t a thing on computers anymore
  9. The sheer number of different kinds of power chords
  10. Sweat stains
  11. Lower back pain
  12. The fact that therapy costs money but breaking shit is free
  13. Crumbs
  14. Dust
  15. Meetings that could have been emails
  16. Hangovers
  17. Alcoholic seltzers
  18. Really tight pants
  19. Stale air in Dr. waiting rooms
  20. Aggressive condensation on ice drinks
  21. People who blow through stops signs in residential areas
  22. Necklace clasps
  23. Sitting correctly or being told to sit “correctly”
  24. When I have zero leg room on an airplane
  25. Moles in random places
  26. Bread mold
  27. Clouds that aren’t fun shapes
  28. Postage stamps
  29. The fact that twine is just itchy string
  30. Soggy hamburgers
  31. The name Chad
  32. Hold times greater than 10 minutes (I’d say 5 but I’m not unreasonable)
  33. Books that don’t smell like books
  34. Paper cuts
  35. That sticky stuff that never comes off when you remove a price sticker or a car sticker tag
  36. Unnecessarily loud leaf blowers
  37. Spelling the word “unnecessarily”
  38. Hangnails
  39. Dead end streets
  40. Sulfates in red wine
  41. Breakups
  42. Ghosting
  43. The cost of prescription lenses
  44. Shaving but missing a single line
  45. Virtual board games
  46. Shin splints
  47. Road work (but also potholes)
  48. Plot-holes
  49. When a show kills off a perfectly good character
  50. Room temp water
  51. Broken glass
  52. Uneven sidewalks
  53. Pranks that are more mean than funny
  54. Dirty dishes
  55. Oil spray marks on the stove top
  56. Doll houses
  57. Choking hazards
  58. Leaving the toilet seat up/down
  59. Tangled wires (headphones or necklaces)
  60. Writing a sentence into the margins
  61. Bowling bumpers
  62. Women’s wallets
  63. Underwire in bras
  64. Pregnancy scares (never had one but they seem annoying)
  65. Trees that fall on houses
  66. Radiation
  67. Instruction manuals
  68. Shopping malls
  69. Menus with too many options
  70. Dating
  71. The color chartreuse
  72. Fine dining
  73. Parking meters
  74. Street cleaning
  75. Dental floss
  76. When deer hit you on the road (it happens)
  77. Mental illness
  78. Cramps
  79. The astounding lack of tree houses
  80. Email notifications
  81. Bees
  82. Humidity
  83. An empty gas tank
  84. Too many stairs
  85. Elevators
  86. Escalators
  87. When anyone says “we need to talk”
  88. Medication side effects
  89. Spotty cell service in sketchy places
  90. Wrestling singlets
  91. Children’s birthday party invitations
  92. The end of a an epic playlist
  93. Middle school dances
  94. Stubbing a toe or a jammed finger
  95. Uncontrollably crying in public
  96. The aggressiveness of some promposals
  97. The lack of respect for Maitnence and cleaning staff
  98. itchyness
  99. Being rude (to anyone but especially to service people)
  100. Uploading/scanning personal docs

Wow that was kinda therapeutic… alright so that’s my working list of 100 things that have nothing to do with politics that irritate me. Obviously I could probably come up with a couple more and I really wanna thank my friends who threw in a few of their own….Next time I’ll do 100 things I love about the world or something but hope you enjoyed and feel free to add to the list!

ADHD Paralysis

As a kid, I always loved playing Pokémon. I loved the challenge, the strategy, and the excitement of never knowing what creature I would run into in the tall grass. I loved learning new moves and finding new ways to win bouts without taking too much damage, but one thing I didn’t like was the electric affliction “paralysis”.

Now don’t get me wrong, I understand why the creators would add in afflictions like “sleep” and “poison” and “burn” and even “paralysis” but I definitely didn’t enjoy the idea of skipping moves or having to waste a turn using a potion.

What I don’t understand however, is why a power greater than me would chose to similarly inflict me (and others with ADHD) with the very same affliction I combatted in the game – forcing me to “skip moves” and search for the kinds of potions that could refocus my brain and allow me to be productive on days when the dopamine doesn’t want to cooperate.

TikTok, ADHD, and Executive Function

About a month ago the TikTok algorithm directed me to a creator that has put in quite a bit of time into understanding ADHD. This kid whom, I don’t think is older than 21, then uses his platform to educate others on the pitfalls and misconceptions of the disorder. Anyway the guys username is @Connordewolfe and if you both have ADHD and/or subscribe to apps like TikTok or Instagram he’s a great resource to have (very digestible) and if he somehow comes across this blog I hope he’s not offended that I referenced him or some of his content directly.

Anyway, ADHD PARALYSIS – so somewhere in the past month or more, this creator, Connor, posted a TikTok about the topic of ADHD paralysis, where in he preformed a skit that essentially said he couldn’t do anything that day or was basically frozen all day because he had a package coming at 8 pm. [Personal anecdote bellow]

Anyway, so before I saw this video describing ADHD paralysis, I didn’t know that there was a word for It. And obviously, part of this is my fault, because while I’ve struggled with ADHD my whole life – I spent so much time trying to avoid it and suppress it, that I never thought to do any research that could properly explain why I did the things I do.

Yes I realize this is backwards but it’s how my brain works so shhh.

[if you have a decent understanding of what ADHD is you can skip to the next heading… otherwise enjoy the ride]

Anyway, ADHD paralysis. So if you didn’t know this – ADHD as a whole is a condition that effects ones executive function. Executive function is essentially what allows someone to get started on a task, organize the process of the task and then sustain the effort needed to complete said task. (It’s also what allows someone to coherently organize their thoughts… something I clearly sometimes struggle with)

So, obviously, not being able to, or having deficits when it comes to executive function can cause some if not a lot of problems in someone’s life.

And because ADHD isn’t taken all that seriously in some circles or is ridiculed in others, some people get misdiagnosed, some don’t have proper access to testing (it’s expensive), and others might just be too embarrassed to get tested at all.

Yikes

So what is ADHD paralysis?

Seeing that ADHD already creates a deficit of ones executive function, it’s hard to believe that there would be another blocker on top of an already tricky situation. But there is. See ADHD paralysis is what happens when you really want to get started on a task but you can’t quite get your brain to cooperate. Sometimes nothing triggers the paralysis and other times it might start because something (like knowing a package is coming) does.

For me this shows up in my ability to start, and more so, finish, short stories and novels.

“But if you say you want to do it so bad, why don’t you just do it?”

Well that’s the problem, I can’t – I can’t physically get my brain to cooperate and so I find myself losing track of time and staring at walls and zoning out because despite wanting to do something, I just can’t get myself to start or move or etc. But then it gets confusing because on the flip side of that, once I do get started (or excessively motivated), I can follow the rush (“the dopamine”) and get things done insanely quickly.

But the crazy thing is that ADHD paralysis doesn’t just encompass starting a home project or writing something. For me the real paralysis comes when I have something to do hours from now or even days from now and can’t convince myself or rationalize with myself to do other things while I’m waiting for that other thing to happen.

Think of it as an “all or nothing” complex.

For example: I once spent a day and a half waiting for a package I had to sign for because I didn’t want to miss the mail man. Now at this point you could ask “ok so you waited… but you were probably doing work or something right?” To which I would reply, a big fat NOPE. Having been waiting for that package for so long I decided that on the day it was supposed to arrive I’d just wait on the porch. So I did. I sat on the porch from 11:30 to at least 4 or 5. And for hours I didn’t move because I was hyper focused on making sure I wouldn’t miss the mail. And sure I scrolled on my phone and watched the dog, but even then I didn’t actually manage to accomplish anything that day because I was frozen by the fact that receiving the package was the only task I had to accomplish that day.

That being said you can imagine how unamused I was when the package didn’t arrive that day and was delayed until the next. At which point, I also spent hours that next day similarly sitting on the porch before I got so anxious that I forced myself to go to the back yard and get a home project done. But I was only able to do this because my line of sight reached around the house and I could still see when the mailman arrived.

And it doesn’t just happen with mail…

Look, as a relatively successful 25 year old whose earned two degrees and is thankfully employed, I obviously can’t always afford to wait until something happens. And I obviously didn’t get to where I am today without finding ways to get myself to get something done. But sometimes it’s a real fight to navigate the very real anxiety I get when I am waiting for something to happen and don’t have much to do between the now and then.

That said, I have definitely put time into training myself to get the tasks I need to do done by finding work arounds to the way my brain functions. And sometimes this means that I just have to ride the wave and do the impulsive thing that’s keeping my mind from focusing on what I actually have to do on that day. (For example: writing this blog right now rather than eating because I was waiting on my next assignment to come in. – it came in ten minutes ago….)

So obviously, this isn’t to say that I don’t still slip up and let my zoning out get the best of me sometimes (like waiting 6 hrs for a damn package or writing a blog) but I can say that I do make an active effort to trick myself into doing all the things I need to do. So in that way I guess I can say that, when my bag is full (following the Pokémon theme) I definitely take advantage of the potions that allow me to “heal” my paralysis, and when the bag is empty I do my best to take those days as they come, paralysis and all.

Wrap it up Rachel…

All in all I think ADHD is something people don’t recognize for being as challenging as it can be. I think people are quick to just write it off because some people abuse the system by getting medications they don’t actually need and so they forget that people with ADHD don’t necessarily get the same rush or focus with their medicine.

And I also think that people with ADHD, like me, can really benefit from putting names to the symptoms and emotions and afflictions they face daily.

So if you’re like me, or even if you aren’t, I hope that in reading this you or someone you know might be able to benefit by knowing you aren’t alone and that you are allowed to validate yourself when it comes to the way you know your brain works. And lastly, I hope you know that you don’t need anyone else’s permission to be who you are, even if that person isn’t the one you or someone else expects you to be. [Stay tuned Friday for that blog – and have a great week!]

Why comfort shows are like crack to anxious people

Fact – I identify as an introverted extrovert

As an introverted extrovert, my personality usually presents itself in one of two ways. 1. I’m the life of the party. OR 2. I will stay in my room for days on end and you will barely hear from me. This tends to mean that on any given day I can either make friends with anyone and everyone around me OR my anxiety is ruling my life and I assume everyone in the world hates me – including but not limited to that lady at the grocery store that gave me side eye and the neighbor I only met once in the elevator but shuddered when I said hi across a room. ANYWAY – I’m an introverted extrovert, and so when the panoramic started in March of last year and rumors suggested that it would last 3 months, I wasn’t too pressed about it. Instead, I figured I’d keep my head down and shoulders up, I’d break in my jeans and wear out my sweatpants and then I’d get right on back to the real world.

OBVIOUSLY – THAT DIDNT HAPPEN.

So what actually happened was that I spent the next year and a half in a daze, only able to quantify the day of the week by scheduled weekly or bi-weekly meetings or by the scheduled Amazon shipments I had ordered. And during that time the isolation that I thought I would enjoy dragged out to the point where I was constantly anxious and depressed. and this lead me to two things, an expansion of my comfort shows and an unhealthy addiction to Amazon (which I know, many can relate to).

Forget Amazon, What is a comfort show?

While everyone knows about Amazon, not everyone knows what a comfort show or comfort characters are – so, allow me to explain.

A comfort show or comfort characters are, as the name implies – shows that you’ve watched multiple times, for the sole purpose of knowing what is going to happen, in order to bring yourself comfort.

Now, according to the internet, psychologists have found actual data that suggests a correlation between someone re-watching a familiar or favorite show and stress reduction. Most common in depressed or anxious people, comfort shows and characters allow us to feel more at ease and relaxed because we know exactly what is going to happen or have a connection to the characters. For some this experience is even or commonly therapeutic.

In other words, if you are someone who, while having a bad day, finds comfort or comedy in rewatching old shows like FRIENDS, or The Office, or ____________, ect. Then maybe you are using it as a form of escapism or relief to something that is obviously wearing you down. AND TO BE CLEAR – THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.

Fact – My comfort shows are like crack to me

In the past year and a half, I cannot quantify the number of shows and movies I’ve binged. (This might be problematic – but I accept it). Being so isolated in quarantine, away from family and experiencing strained relationships with friends – I really found myself turning to shows as an outlet for dealing with traumas and self discoveries.

In fact, I think what draws me specifically to rewatching shows is obviously, the comfort, but more so the ability to watch someone else experience something I thought was unique to my life and realize that I’m really not alone. And while, on the surface I know I’m not and while I believe myself to be someone who doesn’t subscribe to the belief that the world revolves around me or the idea that no one could possibly understand my life and it’s events – as humans it’s really easy to get caught up in the bad days and convince ourselves that some things can’t be helped or fixed – when in reality we are just so comfortable in the misery or the belief that we don’t deserve to be happy that we continue to sabotage and define ourselves by the things that hurt us.

So, you see, for me, there’s something about relating to a character and allowing myself to identify with their faults that is and was so much less aggressive than deliberately calling myself out for my short comings. For example. It’s much easier to look at a character that puts themselves in toxic relationships than it is to look at my own relationships and realize they might be toxic. It’s easier to see the normalization of queer characters and say – hey maybe I identify with aspects of their journey – than it is to flounder around wondering if anyone actually understands what I’m going through.

So, in seeing these characters come to the realization that maybe their significant other or friend etc. is toxic, I give myself permission to start questioning my own relationships – opening me up to the idea or the internal conversation of – “is this happening to me” or “is this happening BECAUSE of me” and “if yes, what can I or should I do about it”. Then if I ultimately come to the conclusion that there isn’t a problem, or that the problem is something I need to continue to work with – then I can create the space to work with my emotions or have constructive conversations that might get me away from those situations.

“Enough commentary! What are you watching?”

So growing up my comfort shows were limited to shows like:

  • The Vampire Diaries
  • Stargate Atlantis
  • Lost Girl
  • Terra Nova
  • Arrow (seasons 1-2)

And while I could talk your ear of on the why those shows spoke to me, let’s just say if you know the shows and you’ve read my blogs, you can pick up on the themes that resonated with me as a teen/young adult. But as an adult now, while I still often go back to those shows – there has been a shift in my life perspective and even with some of my anxieties and so the shows I truly identify with now are more along the lines of:

  • The 100
  • Wynona Earp
  • Arrow (all seasons)
  • Legends of Tomorrow
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • Station 19
  • Motherland Fort Salem

And while the list could go on, as could the details – this is getting long so I’ll try and wrap it up.

My addiction to comfort shows taught me… I’m where I’m supposed to be

As someone with anxiety and depression and… everything else most millennials/gen zers have, finding a way to sift through myself in the past year has been a huge part of my personal growth. And I’d argue that the themes in these shows have played a huge role in that as well.

So, I guess what I’ve learned from hearing about the concept of comfort shows and what they mean to people – aside from the fact that I have a slight Netflix addiction …. is that, while a lot could be said about the impact of these shows and my favorite characters and even shows in general and how they effect the masses – more can be said about the evolution of what kinds of story arcs are being mass produced and being made accessible and how that can allow people like me to find ways to bridge the gaps in their identity and find comfort within themselves. Because, honestly, sometimes it takes more than others accepting you to accept yourself and sometimes finding company or not feeling alone isn’t about walking into crowded spaces as much as it’s about better filling the spaces were in.

So what I’ve learned is that I’m where I am meant to be. And I’m not perfect – nor do I pretend to be, but I’m finding ways to work with that and in the mean time, if characters like Jessica Day (New Girl) or Maya Bishop (Station 19) make the struggle any easier and the weight a little lighter, well then I’m gonna share some brain space with them and hopefully make the world a little less crazy for a bit.

Bug bites, bee stings, and branded content

When I think about life – or at least life as I know it, I can usually break things down into three categories. Bug bites, bee stings, and branded content. Let me explain.

1. Bug bites

Bug bites are the things that get to us. They’re often the little things but still they get under our skin and make us itch. The way I see it, bug bites can be good or they can be bad. For example, they’re good because the discomfort of the situation or the itch can make us take action, but they can also be bad because we can let it drive us crazy.

2. Bee stings

Bee stings are our pain points. The big things. The things that hurt – like breakups or fights with family. Bee stings don’t usually have a good side in the short term but they can make us realize important life lessons like, hey I’m allergic to bees or hey this person is toxic and I probably shouldn’t let their negativity have such an impact on my life. That being said, sometimes the pain goes quick and other times it leaves you reeling.

3. Branded content

Branded content is the stuff we put out into the world. It’s what we do with the bug bites and the bee stings and all the things in between. So while we sometimes take the bad and put out good, we are also human and do the opposite. And similarly, it’s the different personas we put out. It’s the idea that one brand (person) can form different relationships with different demographics – which can be good because you wouldn’t want to talk to your boss the same way you talk to your mom or your best friend.

Stay with me – Bringing metaphor to life

So let’s put some life into this. The past two years (rounding up) life, for me, has felt like a continuous stream of bee stings. And without filling in the blanks, most can guess what those stings were and what they felt like. But see our bodies are funny when it comes to pain. See because pain is supposed to tell us or warn us or stop us about x, y, or z – but sometimes, when the pain becomes too much, we find ourselves going numb to the littler things. We find ourselves going numb to the bug bites, and when that happens, when we lose sight of the itch, we sometimes forget to scratch or to question or to change our path and do things differently. And if that all wasn’t bad enough, sometimes, amidst the numbness, we stop feeling like we have something to say or we get caught up in having too much to say and then we end up silent or stationary or just stuck in what stings the most.

So what’s the point

Honestly, when I started writing this today there wasn’t one. To be frank – I started this because I thought of a tag line and wanted to see if, for the first time in a long time I could run with it. So by the time I got this far. The point BECAME the idea that while coming in from a walk with the dog, my whole body itching because who knows what kind of crack god fed the place to create as many mosquitos as it did this year – I thought of a tag line. And I ran with it.

Which brings us to the present and so if you’re still reading this and you’re still with me and you’re not mad at me for not knowing my ideas made sense before you may have … well then thank you.

But also, the fact that you’re still here makes me wonder. It makes me wonder if maybe something resonated with you. And if that is the case then the point wasn’t nothing, and it wasn’t a challenge it was really about starting a conversation. It was really about me finding that I’m getting back to the person that was creative and inspired and pithy and the person that started this blog with the intention of igniting conversations where we could find answers to why Adulting is so darn hard.

So…

So the point my dear friends (now that I’ve been able to come up with it). The point is that over the past couple months my body has been literally and metaphorically been covered in bug bites and after nearly two years of what felt like being hit with nothing but bee stings I’m finally getting to a point where I can take the hurt and I can take the itch and I can turn it into something constructive.

So while I started writing today with the intent of creating an analogy based on a tag line that popped into my head less than an hour ago – the actual writing made me realize that over the past few weeks I started changing the way I looked at the itchy parts of my life. I started doing things about them and to prevent them and to attack them head on. And I’m making those changes and addressing those things I’ve been able to reignite a conversation not only with myself, but with you as well. And for me – that feels pretty cool.

On the verge of greatness

Have you ever been afraid to have something to lose? Been afraid of letting someone, other than yourself, down? Have the expectations of the world ever been so weighted and daunting that you had to step back?

Given the fact that social media has been swirling with these questions as the basis for conversation – some will assume my next thought would be about Simone Biles, but it’s not. In fact, selfishly, it’s about me.

For the past two months I have opened WordPress a dozen times to start articles I couldn’t finish because I was scared or uncertain or even just a little uninspired. And truth is, I have felt that way for a while. See after a while the idea of being fearlessly honest or having something real to say kind of got away from me. Something about this blog became less about starting conversations and more about the conversations I couldn’t afford to have and so instead of being honest with you and with myself, I just stopped… until now.

See this week I started something real. And for the first time in a long time I feel like I can open up again. And I feel like my voice is worth something again and even though I am approaching things cautiously – I’m also daring to challenge myself in new ways.

So yeah, this week I started something real. In fact, it seems like the first something real that I have started in a long time. And to be honest – it’s exhilarating, but it’s also daunting.

Time for some backstory

Three months ago my contract ended with the firm I was working for. When it ended I bought out of my lease, settled my business up north and I moved back home for a bit. In coming home the plan was to regroup, to take some time off from work and stress and bills. The plan was to lose some weight and better my mental health and maybe even think about dating. And for the past three-ish months, that’s exactly what I did. I lost twenty pounds, I opened a better dialogue with strained relationships, I came out, I got tan, and I came into myself and the person I was evolving into. And while not every day was easy and while I saw hardships and losses and got turned away from opportunities – over all I was just overjoyed to finally start feeling like myself again.

Then came the news

The peak of my summer happened around the end of June and early July. I was in my favorite place with my friends and my family, I was relaxing and resting, and even finding a sense of confidence I hadn’t known in at least two years – then I got the call… Universal Studios Orlando wanted an interview. And I was shocked.

Over the next week and a half I prepped and I took calls. Then I had a couple interviews – and then I had a job. And if I’m being honest, I’m now a week into the job starting and I still need to pinch myself. I’m five days in, and one in to actually having a working laptop and last night after finally being up and running was really the first time it felt real.

Now I’m trying not to get ahead of myself but…

In our lives we aren’t ever specifically taught to fear success – we are deliberately taught to fear and be ashamed of failure, but my brain works differently. I welcome errors because they allow me to learn, and fear success and love and connection because it gives me something to lose.

See it’s twisted, but for me, I am most at ease – most focused, when there is chaos. I am driven by things that go wrong and most cautious when things feel right. So for the past couple months I have felt joy and excitement and progress but I’ve also felt fear and disappointment and realism.

And yes, those are all normal emotions BUT, for me, it’s important to not let them get the best of me.

So as I start this journey, as I take stock of new opportunities, my main focus is to do things differently than before. To use lunch breaks for walks, to wake up earlier and start my day with a workout, to focus on what I can learn from every meeting I attend and to see if this gig will lead me to a new start in a new place or continue my fresh start in a familiar one.

Moral of the story, this is my time to be better. To change. And maybe even to take chances. This is my time to build on my strengths and to work on my weaknesses. And honestly, I’m just excited to see where it all takes me – and I hope that this time, with more to say, I can take you all along on the ride.

We're all just awkward little ducklings trying to fake it until we make it in this 'Adult' lifestyle

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