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.

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.

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!”

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.

Rewriting narratives of trauma in youth

So, the past week I’ve been working up the courage to get this all on paper (virtual). The courage to own a few things, and apologize for a few others… and while the drafts are full, I think it best to keep a more succinct version of the message I’d like to share. So here it goes.

Last weekend I moved back home for the first time in seven years. And while the reasons for doing so are important to my story, they aren’t important to this one – so let’s fast forward to a couple days after the move.

Anyone who has moved knows how daunting the first week is. Aside from setting up bills and furniture there’s also organizing and nesting and… well you get the point. But when moving home at 25… well moving home at any time comes with its own set of additional issues and nostalgia – which is why I somehow convinced myself to open up old yearbooks at 1am. (Very smart I know)

Now, anyone who knows me knows I don’t think fondly of my high school years. And with the exception of a few people I don’t really do anything or talk to anyone that would take me back to the headspace I was in back then. But something about where I am now and who I am now made me think I could handle putting myself back there for a bit. (Spoiler alert: I couldn’t)

But not for the reasons you’d think.

See I wasn’t bullied in high school, and while I wasn’t completely ignored either, I didn’t think I had much to live for so I unilaterally decided that everyone around me cared as little about me as I did. (With a few exceptions) But that wasn’t true. I mean sure there were a few people I put on a slightly higher pedestal because I allowed them to get close but the other half of the narrative I built was that, aside from the few, no one else cared, but actually, quite a few people did. And if they didn’t it wasn’t because they didn’t try it was because I wouldn’t let them.

See seven years ago I packed up my narratives and I packed up my things and I left this place. Seven years ago I ran like hell toward something entirely different. And while that was all well and good, somewhere along the way I decided to let myself believe that my past was a monster far greater than reality permitted – so now that I’m back, the hardest part is realizing that the fairytale I created wasn’t as Grimm as the one I lived.

Which brings us to the owning and the apologizing.

When it comes to being honest with ourselves it’s much easier to live in half truths. It’s easier to play a victim rather than come to terms with the fact that we are our stories greatest villain. And when you get caught up in a pattern where you believe that everyone leaves, well it’s easy to think that helping them out the door is the least you can do.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s crazy that I was so scared of this place and my past but really the thing I was running from and the thing that hurt the most wasn’t the fact that anyone else judged or hated me. It was that I did. And sure, high school was not perfect, the people weren’t perfect and maybe some things could have gone differently but I made it and honestly there aren’t too many things I would change.

So here’s to the future. To true narratives. And to owning it more than I did the last time around.

I don’t believe in cancel culture

So I know it’s been a while and I need to do better but somethings been on my mind so I figured – hey let’s blog it out.

So in the past couple years our society has adopted a interesting culture where we ostracize or condemn or “cancel” people who have made seemingly unforgivable mistakes.

These situations include but are not limited to inappropriate comments or use of certain language on the internet and women (“Karen’s”) unjustly calling the cops on black citizens.

Now before I give my quick take I want to introduce this by saying that I am all for accountability and owning up to your actions but (and now into my quick take) cancel culture isn’t really about accountability – it’s about shaming people to submission. And the fact that people can essentially lose their livelihood and all that comes with it, the fact that these people could there after receive death threats – doesn’t sit well with me.

Look I’m not saying that people can’t have their opinions. I’m not saying that the woman who called the cops on the black man watching birds in Central Park shouldn’t have lost her job – but what I guess is am saying is that there needs to be some sort of system for reform and atonement (a way to apologize for ones actions) that will allow them to return to the workforce and their life having learned a very valuable lesson.

I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t believe in cancel culture because it doesn’t act to educate as much as it blindly punishes. I guess what I’m saying is that there has to be a better way to hold people accountable while showing them the smallest amount of compassion they seemingly couldn’t have given to the person or thought or whatever that lead them to getting canceled.

Quarantine Tips for When You Feel Like You’re Losing it (Spoiler Alert: You’re not alone!)

Let me begin by saying there is no right or wrong way to self-isolate. Do not feel like whatever emotions you are experiencing are abnormal or unprecedented. While this situation is going to affect every person a little differently, it has been comforting for me to know that many of my friends and family are feeling extremely similar frustrations… Including loneliness, fear, boredom, anxiety, lack of motivation, and the list goes on.

This led me to spend a lot of time reflecting on my habits and researching techniques on how to stay on track during these trying times. I wanted to share some of tips that have been successful for me in hopes that others may be able to relate and benefit in some way.

  1. Stick to a schedule/routine. You may not have anything to wake up at a certain time for, but set your alarm anyway to hold yourself accountable. To get your day started, read a book, go make breakfast, meditate, and do whatever you need to do to wake up and activate your mind. I’ve discovered that writing down my tentative schedule for the day (in a place where I can clearly see it) has helped hold myself accountable and motivates me to keep working. It feels fantastic to be able to check off tasks as I complete them as the day goes by. On the other hand, though, do not be afraid to give yourself downtime. While it can be a great exercise to write down a list of things you want to accomplish, don’t let it make you feel guilty that you’re not keeping yourself busy every second of every hour.
  2. Give yourself praise for the little things. Many of my friends, and myself included, have been so frustrated with their productivity levels. We’ve noticed that we have not been getting as much done as we normally would have if we were at school or at work. It is important to remember that there is a reason that total isolation is one of the worst forms of torture for a human being. We are not meant to be in an environment like this so it really isn’t a surprise that people feel like they are slacking. It is going to take some time to adjust to these circumstances and to figure out what will be the most effective routine for us. Make sure you are giving yourself praise for any projects you complete. Progress is still progress, no matter how small! 
  3. Self-care. When people hear the term “self-care”, they think of face masks, mani/pedis, and a hot bath. While self-care can certainly look like this, the version of self-care that I’m trying to practice is mindfulness and heightening my self-awareness. Like all of you, I am isolated with my racing mind, my body, and the long list of tasks I have to complete. It has certainly been a challenge to not let insecurities and anxiety sabotage my thoughts. Our brain doesn’t have an off switch and it can be very easy to fall into a rabbit hole of self-doubt and overthinking. Understand that these concerns are stemming from isolation, and are most likely not warranted.  The world we live in moves so fast, and this is probably the only opportunity we will have in our lifetime where nearly everything in our outside world stands still. Take this opportunity to become more aware of who you really are and to show every part of yourself unconditional love. When you wake up in the morning, try to come up with 3 things you are grateful for, and 3 things you love about yourself. Try to take a step back from your usually fast-paced life and figure out what activities you miss the most, or what activities you really don’t miss at all. This is an incredible time for you to evaluate where, or with who, you have been spending your energy, and if this is still the best path for you to take. Reflect on decisions/mistakes, accept them, and heal from them. Every single decision you have ever made has led you to this present moment and shaped you into the amazing person that you are. Love yo-self and the journey you’ve been on!!
  4. Utilize your phone/social media. Do not be afraid to text/call a friend if you’re struggling. Whether you need help with something  specific or you just want to reach out to have a conversation because you miss them (or if you just miss human interaction in general), go for it! Chances are, they’re probably bored and would love to catch up with you too. 
  5. Pick up a new hobby or do something creative! More frequently than I would like to admit, I have ran into some major creativity blocks during quarantine. This has definitely made it difficult for me to work on projects or even do little things like clean my room. If you keep running into this feeling, take a break. Make your bed, go for a walk, stretch, get your body moving, or do something creative like drawing, painting, or journaling. Exercises like these can help you stay in the moment and can ease your mind when you’re feeling restless. Meditation is an especially great practice to get into right now. The app store/YouTube is filled with all different kinds of practices, depending on what you’re searching for. Look into a new hobby that you’ve always wanted to try. Learn a new language, develop your professional skills on LinkedIn Learning, learn how to cook your favorite meal, take a new class (a lot of online courses have been discounted or are totally free right now), read a happy book, repaint your room, try a new kind of workout, the list is endless.

Like I said before, there will never be another opportunity where our whole world is essentially standing still. Let’s try our hardest to make sure we come out of this quarantine as kinder, stronger, and more self-aware versions of ourselves. I want to emphasize again, however, that there is no correct or incorrect way to spend your time. My goal with this post is to encourage and inspire, but most importantly to remind us that the frustration we are experiencing right now is mutual but only temporary. There is light at the end of the tunnel.  

Prepared but not panicked

Remember when we were kids? When our mom or our teachers told us to play the quiet game? Remember how hard it was to take that seriously? Remember being that person to end the game because you knew it was crap? Well the way I see it, the recent outbreak of COVID-19 is very similar. Why? Because while data shows that social distancing is proven to reduce the spread and break the curve of highly transmittable diseases like this one – people my age (early to mid 20s) can’t or rather won’t seem to comply because they either 1. don’t take it seriously or 2. they would rather risk it and party.

So let’s change the rules of the quiet game. Let’s make it a little more serious.

Say you are in a classroom and suddenly there is an intruder drill. Do you stay quiet? Do you comply with the rules? Of course you do. Because there is a threat to life and a threat to the way of life that your family and friends know. You stay quiet and lay low in this instance because if something happens to you or if you make a lot of noise it effects those around you.

The way I see it, going out and partying right now – When organized sports are shutting down, when the economy is struggling, and when you have older parents at home is selfish.

Now let’s get one thing or rather a couple things straight. I’m not saying panic – the last thing we need to do is panic (or buy tons of toilet paper) but this is not a game and this is not a drill. There is an intruder in our country, there is a virus that threatens the way of life we know and with it has come a choice. We can lay low and quiet ourselves for a couple weeks to mitigate its effects or we can make noise and party and break the rules and it’ll last longer.

In a lot of ways the past week has been a test of immediate gratification – and young people are failing because they think or know that the risk to themselves is low.

In other words why wait til the cookie is cold to eat it. If I burn my mouth so what? I’ll be fine in a week – so what’s the worry?

The problem with this is that some of us. People like me. Have older families. We have friends that are elderly who have pre existing conditions. We have people whom we wouldn’t dare come into contact with because if we are a carrier, the last thing we want is to threaten them.

Some of us are taking this game seriously because we know that by doing so it will end sooner and we can go back to our lives, our jobs, and our parties.

Look I’m never here to tell you what to do. And I’m not a doctor so I don’t know how bad this really is or how bad it can get (although Italy is a good indication). But I do know one thing. I’d rather give one month of my life up to lay low and mitigate harm than take months from someone else. I know that I am a believer of how bad this can get if we aren’t smart and that I plan on doing my part in all of this even if it really sucks for me.

In this time of uncertainty it is important to be prepared not panicked and hopefully, if we all do our part – everything will go back to normal before we know it.

Stay healthy out there.

The after-match of online dating

In the aftermath of the holidays I’ve been thinking a lot about dating lately and with dating at my age comes the obvious…sex.

Now while I have no problem with human sexuality I am on the more modest side – so if you opened this to read salacious details about my sex life – well let’s just say that my career in romance novels isn’t about to start on this blog… that being said, the issue I want to talk about today –

When to bring up sex – the “after match”

Let’s set the scene – you a male or female 20-30 something have just downloaded a dating app, you have no real expectations for romance but as a hopeless romantic you think hmmm this time, this time maybe it will be different. I mean … my friend said she found her match here, so maybe there is one for me too?

You proceed, swiping left and right and finally you have that sea full of fishes that everyone has been talking about. You “match” with a couple people and start talking and it seems to be going well and then…

The turn off

When it comes to dating apps I have three MAJOR turnoffs. (1.) the guys who are DTF before they even say hi. (2.) the sleeper cell guys who are nice and then BAM they use some grotesque and crude language saying how they want to “please” you over and over and over agian. and (3.) Someone who can’t hold a conversation on or offline. (which fyi is not rocket science)

The break down

For me the option 1 guys are not the worst. They know what they want and sadly, their method has probably worked once or twice so they stick to what they know. These guys aren’t pigs, they are opportunists. They know that dating sites have girls that are looking for what they are and they know that it won’t have to lead to some sticky relationship that might drain their wallet and take their bro-vado.

Then we have option 2, the guy who starts off nice, compliments your eyes instead of your a** and genuinely wants to take five minutes to get to know you. However, the problem with these guys is that those five minutes seem to be all they can take before they whip out the innuendo.

Lastly pet peeve numero 3 the conversation desert. This one like the other two is fairly self explanatory. When it comes to dating chemistry is a huge deal and a lack of ability to converse – well – even a fire cracker can’t recover that lack of a spark.

The takeaway

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – a major problem in my generation is that we dive into “relationships” before we dive into ourselves.

Truth is I have no problem with guys wanting what they want – what I do have a problem with is timing.

Choosing the right time to bring up sex in a potential relationship is hard. Probably harder when it comes to girls like me who use self respect as a means to turn to frustration before conversation. But at the end of the day for me it is about respect over assumptions.

I want someone to respect me enough to ask me how my day is before they assume I want to spend it rolling around in their bed. I want someone to respect that a relationship, even at the beginning, isn’t about talking about how many f**** you’ve given or assuming that I’d want to be the next. I want someone to respect that sex isn’t the first or second thought on my mind because health and work come first. And maybe that means that I need to stop assuming that guys will know that not all girls are DTF upon first match – but maybe it also means I need to stop being the girl that lets guys hide behind screens and be bold enough to put myself out there.

It’s all about timing

When it comes to dating in the “modern” age – I feel like I was born in the wrong time. But as much as I would love to go back to a time when courtship and courtesy was a thing, I don’t want to live in a time where women’s rights were virtually non existent. So maybe I can learn to deal with boys better, or maybe I can find men who get it or maybe its not just my time yet.

All I know is that there is a right time to bring up sex in relationships and one day we will find someone who gets and respects that too. But for now we’re all just learning and maybe that’s cool too.

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

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