Tag Archives: blog

On Community and Adulting

For two weeks, I’ve been working on this post off and on – trying to figure out what the source of my feelings are when it comes to why I get so upset about local politics. So I’ve been typeing, re-typing, deleting and repeating. And to be honest, part of me feels like I’m no closer to getting it right than I was when I took my first-second pass three days ago, but I’m still going to give it a shot.

It started with me hating local politics…

Two weeks ago I made a list of 5 things we could do, as humans, to “be better humans” and frankly, I did it because I was a little too riled up about some local bs to properly deconstruct the real issue. And to be clear, this issue is nothing new because while, on a small scale, it pertains whats going on locally, it’s really has no borders. And as I’ve worked to file it down in my brain and get to the root of what’s been really bothering me about all of it – I think what it comes down to is something I grappled with everytime I’ve lived here – and that’s privilege. Privilege, and how it leads people to lack respect for one another.

Now, before I go any deeper, I am not here to say I don’t have privilege. I definitely do. But, I think the problem I’m facing now, as I grow into new phases of adulthood and expand myself into new circles is that I’m seeing people with more privilege and power than me using it in less than positive ways – and it’s maddening because while I’m starting to develop my own power to change it – it’s still just out of reach.

And such is the irony of a girl with power – she often feels as though has none.

Adulting within a Society

Sometimes it baffles me how some adults can act like complete children. Yes, you read that correctly, “children.” And keep in mind, that that’s an insult to children, who in recent generations have actually learned what it means to have privilege and in turn learned to respect one another far more than most adults do now or have in the past. And if you are someone who is easily offended by any part of that sentiment, odds are you might just be one of those people.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it isn’t that the hierarchy of adults and Adulting doesn’t make sense to me (I was indoctrinated into it after all). I understand that the concept of “respecting our elders” and I understand that it was put in place to keep young people “safe” on a certain level; but for a moment, let’s call it how we actually see it – that particular structure is about controlling people. And let’s not fool ourselves by thinking that most if not all systems don’t work exactly like this.

Look, I get it, I don’t have to explain how society works to you, you live here, you get it. But something I don’t think people “get” anymore is that respect isn’t and shouldn’t be a byproduct of status or age or position or of having power. (read that again: respect isn’t and shouldn’t be a byproduct of status or age or position or of having power) And the reason I don’t think people understand this anymore is because they don’t act like they do. So we’re at this impasse where this seemingly obvious concept is completely neglected and it’s highly problematic.

So (at the risk of dumbing this down anymore than I already have) what is respect to me? Well, respect is something you earn when you cultivate trust within your community. Respect is something you maintain by upholding that relationship in a positive and productive way. Respect is not having a chokehold on local businesses because their thriving might affect you (and your street parking). Respect is not putting your interests before that of others, your beliefs above peoples bodies, and it is not saying you support someone, then saying you disagree with something they can’t change. But most importantly, respect is a two way street, even if, and especially when that street is divided by a single train track. So no matter what side you are on, do better.

Why privilege, why now?

So why am I even bringing this up today? Why am I rehashing things I dealt with weeks ago?

Well, simply put, I’m still a little peeved. A big part of me always will be — but more so I think this is an important conversation to be had. I think it’s important to recognize that it isn’t just politicians and white men or cops or someone’s jerk of a boss – it’s happening in small scales too, in local legislature and in small town organizations and among colleagues and friends. It’s happening right under our noses.

And frankly, from acting like we’re in a version of turf wars by drawing borders and over-punctuating a sign with (!) to throwing a hard-working individual under the bus to save your own a**. From denying a business the chance for a liquor license to “unintentionally” being a bigot, and everything in between I’ve see first hand how people with privilege and power exert it over others – and I’m over it.

So yeah, sometimes it baffles me how other adults can act like complete children and still demand respect, as if it was a one way street.

And thus, the moral of the story is this – if you’re someone that needs to do better – do better, and if you’re someone who’s doing better then aim to do best, because it takes a village and no one wants to be a part of a crappy one.

On Adulting and Community (Part 1)

Sometimes it baffles me how some adults can act like complete children. Yes, you read that correctly, “children.” And if you are someone who is easily offended by that sentiment, odds are you might just be one of those people, SO, this week, instead of a scathing review of the current state of humans who live near me and humans who don’t we’re going to turn up the positivity and talk about 5 ways that people, as adults, can be better humans (and next week we’ll backtrack and talk about why some people aren’t always the best.)

#1 – Smile when passing

*and before you come for my throat – no, this is not me sitting at my keyboard telling women to smile more… stick with me.*

In this world, smiling or smiling and saying hello to someone in passing is probably the freest form of kindness. At our core as human beings, all we really want is to be seen or heard or for someone to validate this super realistic lifestyle simulation (joking), so smiling at someone and saying hello or merely smiling at them in passing is literally the easiest way to be a good human and show other humans you care about life beyond yourself.

So in short — “smile more” not because old white men told you to but because it might make someone else’s day. (cue the finger guns and smile with that fake sparkle sound)

#2 – Take a breath (for yourself and for them)

There are a lot of times and a lot of days when life gets hecktic and crazy, and on those days we are a bit more likely to take out our own crap on others – let’s stop doing that.

And to be abundantly clear, like #1 this is not me telling people to “just breathe” because I can forever admit that sometimes that is incredibly hard (especially in the world that we currently live in). BUT – what I am saying, is that next time you find yourself having a heated day or just feeling overheated in general, take a moment to take a breath, to welcome the emotion and place it somewhere where you yourself can confront it in a healthy way, without taking it out on others. Don’t push it away of course, but nestle it aside.

#3 – Learn to say no (respectfully)

Part of being a good human is realizing you won’t always do everything right. Not everything you say will be perfect, and not everything you do will be perfect but knowing when to say no, when to compromise, and when to set boundaries is one of the best things you can do for yourself, and for those around you.

For example. You and a friend made plans to go out a week in advance, but the day of you had a really bad day and you know yourself well enough to know that going out wouldn’t be good for you or your mental health. Step one is to let your friend know where you’re at, but the rest is up to the both of you whether you will set a healthy boundary by compromising or saying no. But ultimately, you know what is best for you and even if it isn’t easy to say no, it is what is best for you and the people you care about.

#4 – Support Your Community (and its local businesses)

In the past five years, there has been a huge rise in the promotion and support of local businesses. Part of this was because businesses took a hard hit during the panoramic, but also because when it comes to where we live, what we put in, is what we get out.

Supporting the community you live in is a huge part of being a good human because it allows you a greater sense of pride in where you come from. And the best part about supporting the community you live in is that it doesn’t have to cost you $$$ (though that does help too). You see it can be as easy as signing a petition for a local liquor license or providing a separate point of view. It can be as easy as listening to others and realizing that you aren’t the only voice in the room, or for some it can be as hard as listening to others and realizing that your voice isn’t the only one in the room. Either way, supporting your peers and your community is a great way to be involved and ensure that both you and those around you have a lovely day.

#5 – Respect other People’s Boundaries

This one is a bit trickier for quite a few people to grasp (if not the trickiest) but thats why its the most important… Respect other people’s boundaries ie. if it isn’t emotionally or physically hurting anyone and it isn’t hurting you – let others live as they wish.

For example! If someone is saying hateful slurs and representing oppressive beliefs – that needs to be shut down because it is emotionally and sometimes physically damaging.

BUT,

If someone is living as their true self, loving who they want to love, or practicing a belief system outside of your own – (respectfully) that is none of your damn business (why?) because reminder: even if it makes you question your own beliefs, it isn’t damaging to them or to you, and thus, it is none of your damn business.

At the end of the day (as I love to say) Being a good human is about supporting your fellow person toward being their truest and best self and just because your beliefs may contradict theirs if it isn’t harming anyone and it isn’t stopping you from getting into heaven (or wherever you’re. trying to go) then let it be.

On Slippery Slopes

The other day while getting drinks with a friend of mine, I told him that sex and the city taught me how to properly talk to men in a seductive way. (I didn’t elaborate then on details and I will not be elaborating now.) And embarrassingly, this was not a lie. But it and the conversation did open my mind up the already interesting conversation I was having with myself surrounding honesty and online communication in a way that I didn’t expect. Allow me to explain…

Lying is wrong

Look, it’s no secret that people lie online. Despite honesty being the best policy and probably one of the very first rules our parents teach us — aside from the obvious ones like, “the dog isn’t supposed to drink out of the toilet and neither are you.” [to be clear: this is not a lesson I had to learn but I have no doubt that kids do the darndest things.] The fact of the matter is that lying seems to come more naturally, in some cases, than telling the truth does because we want to be liked, we want to be loved, we want to be listened to, and most importantly, and in a workplace (which has turned into an online and remote community) in particular, we want to stay employed.

Now before you get on my back no this is not going to take some serious or dramatic drama filled twist about me making bold faced lies to my employer, but something that has been weighing on me is how, when I started this job, I said I was willing to relocate, but when I say that now… it comes with a lot more personal risk and would require quite a few benefits that would have to compensate for living in a place like that.

Lying is (always?) wrong

See I never thought I’d be comparing my professional life to my online dating profile, but unlike most people I know – my dating profile might be a bit more upfront and honest than I can and that I am willing to be in the workplace. For example, online I can be an open book and I can talk about anything – but at work, I can’t talk about quite a few aspects of my personal life and while that’s fair and that’s a choice I make, when it comes to the prospect of living where I work rather than working where I live now, my personal life and the qualities of my personality that I put above most also happen to be the very reasons that I wouldn’t want to relocate to a place where I can’t be my authentic self.

And worse than that, I can’t, after saying that I was interested in relocating for work, suddenly say…. Oh, well, I changed my mind because … ? Because I am queer. Liberal. And female and because I want bodily autonomy. And oh your state is a hostile place for all of those things… And before you tell me “but Rachel, you can do that, you can make that choice” I say – No! I could never say that. Because no one in their right mind would say those things to an employer that works in the state that mine does. Or to any employer for that matter because that would be crazy. And so, logically, but despite my values, I keep my mouth shut. (And yes I realize the sentence structure in this paragraph just took a turn toward absolute trash.)

Lying is always wrong, but omission is a grey area. (right?)

Ok so sure this is a true statement, obviously lying is wrong because, like I said it’s one of the first things our parents teach us as children. But as an adult, sometimes telling lies, or omitting truths can be a way to protect ourselves from very real and dangerous situations. But that’s also why I consider it a slippery slope.

See a little over a month from now I’m going to be taking a trip south to meet my bosses for the first time in person and while I’d love to tell them that that’s the first step to me moving there – I really can’t say that. I can’t tell my bosses that I want to be there because it is only a half truth. And also can’t tell them that I don’t feel safe in their state because that could jeopardize my standing with the firm, so what can I do? What should I do? Do I do like I used to and sex and the city the situation? Meaning, do I tell people what they want to hear at my own expense? Do I tell the truth and face the potentially obvious consequences? Or do I find a middle ground and speak in half truths, only to have to make excuses about why I can’t follow though? None of those sound like good options, so what would you do?

See when it comes to this stuff, you might be able to imagine why it weighs on me. Or you might not. But as an honest person I don’t like having to choose between a paycheck and who I am, and right now that choice is just a risk I’m not willing to take. Even if it could go in my favor. So I guess what I am saying is that I’ve already made my choice, and fan of it or not, slippery slope or not, it’s just one I have to live with.

And maybe you can relate.

Anxiety, Adulting, and the ‘Outerlands’

As someone in one’s mid to late 20’s there are some societal and personal expectations on where one should be in life. See, as someone living in the year of our lord 2022, as a 26-year-old cis and typically straight presenting white woman, you would think I could have hit my “prime” by now.

For example (as deemed by the internalized misogyny and capitalism): I should have found a man to love and settle down with me. Once acquired, said man and I would be thinking about a house we can’t yet afford. Then we’d be thinking about kids to fill it, and if we aren’t ready for kids, then maybe we’d start by taking some trips around the world to all the places we’ve always wanted to go. — And even if all that wasn’t the case, and I wasn’t on the path to be wed, then based on where I thought I’d be by now – I would be financially stable with a place of my own, health insurance of my own, and based on my budget, a minor amazon addiction. — But see the problem with that adolescent and anticipatory way of thinking is that it isn’t realistic. [And – not that you are asking, but when it comes to the things above only like 1.5 of those things are true.]

Truth is – growing up is hard, and it sucks, and it doesn’t usually pan out the way you thought it would when you were 16 – which is probably why my anxiety kicked in the way it did when I found myself in a big room full of 16 to 19-year-olds last night at a concert.

Before you judge – Let me explain…

Part 1: Anxiety

Last night I went to a Chase Atlantic concert and if you don’t know who they are that’s ok because I have since realized – neither do I. Truth is, I bought the tickets on a whim because they were like 35$, I had heard a couple of the groups’ songs [probably on tiktok] (they were alright) and frankly, I have been going to a lot of concerts lately because it gets me out and allows me to meet new people in a cool setting.

But early on into the night, I realized this show was different.

Now let me pause for a second and note that it wasn’t necessarily a ‘bad’ show, but, for me at least, it presented an uncomfortable vibe because if there is anything that I, at 26, still have in common with my 16-year-old self, it’s that I try to avoid spaces where underage children are passing out in the middle of mosh pits. And despite the fact that the performers handled the situation incredibly well, pausing their sets to check on and help the fans in need, the whole room was giving me – “you need to be drunk or stoned to vibe and enjoy this” and I really don’t like that.

Anyway, upon arrival, the usual line to the venue was extended around three to four city blocks — and the crowd was much younger than what I was used to. So, as you can expect, I immediately felt out of place, and then quickly realized that I was possibly the only person without a group, a friend, or a chaperone. [It’s also important to note that the other three times I’ve been to this venue in the past year there hasn’t been a crowd over 200 and this one looked like triple that. So essentially, upon arrival, my perception of the event shifted to a point where I didn’t want to stay the whole night.]

Which brings us to —

Part 2: Adulting

At the end of the day, when you boil down the generic brand anxiety that comes with life and living there is one thing that is more important than anything else. Boundaries. And the most important thing about boundaries is allowing ourselves to feel comfortable enough to make and stick to them.

As I’ve grown in this life, the most important lesson I have learned (or at least one of the most important lessons I have learned) is that I set my own boundaries. I get to decide what spaces I am in and for how long. I get to decide that some food and drinks don’t need to be consumed in one setting. I get to decide who I kiss and how far it goes and I get to decide that being at a show with hundreds of kids, their parents, and a performer with a cat like ski mask might not be for me and then I get to decide to leave. And to be clear, while this may have never been the case in the past (giving myself permission to walk away), it’s comforting to know that my experience last night did allow me to make the call that was best for me, without feeling guilty about it.

Part 3: experiences in the ‘Outerlands’

Somewhere in the middle of quarantine, I coined the phrase, “the Outerlands.” I guess the main reason I used was because, when the pandemic hit, going out felt a lot more daunting or almost medieval in nature. Not medieval like chainmail and horses but like an arduous journey with twists and turns.

See every time I left the house I felt anxious or excited — like I was on this quest for Camelot… or more realistically the grocery store or the pharmacy (potato po-tah-to, I know). But of all the things I ditched after the pandemic (since we’re now in an endemic), the ‘Outerlands’ wasn’t one of them because sometimes, and especially on times like last night where I am rolling solo in the world – just leaving the house feels like a journey to be taken.

Sometimes this is hard to admit but, to me, the ‘Outerlands’ are sometimes scary (not in an agoraphobic way but in the sense that I’ve gotten used to my bubble). There’s so much in this world that happens outside the front door, so many good and bad things and for me, with my anxiety, it’s really easy to take the path most traveled and revisit the familiar and get stuck in ruts — but in the past few months, going to concerts and feeling old in a room full of 16 year olds, those are the experiences that need to be had because despite how often I say I am, I am not old – and even if I wouldn’t consider myself to be in my prime [YET] (not spoken pessimistically but in the sense that I am too young to have had the best years of my life) I do feel like these are the things one must do to take those steps toward their prime.

Moral of the Story

Look at the end of the day – I know I have to put myself out there. I know I need to go to the ‘Outerlands’ and have sometimes awkward and anxious experiences. And I am here for it. But I think the reason I am sharing this with you all today is that – like you – I’m human and I’m trying to adult and I’m trying to make 16-year-old me proud and I’m trying to live my life and … I’m just generally trying. And if that all and this all is something that resonates with you then that’s great, because at the end of the day (because I use those words far too much) we’re all just trying to get out and get anxious and make boundaries to live in and outside of and when it comes to adulting – I don’t think there’s anything more adultish than that.

This is America (Pt 1)

Hello, and happy July 1, now that LGBTQ Pride month has officially ended I am emerging from my Straight(bernation) —

[straight-bernation: a term meaning to hibernate from straightness as to reflect on ones queerness and embrace their true self. According to American social law, straightbernation only may occur for thirty days in a calendar year during the fruitiest month, June --- this is of course a joke.]

Anyway, yeah I am emerging to talk about and to reflect on the absolute F***ery that the so called leadership in this country has been pushing through lately. So welcome back and buckle in because today is only an introduction on some of the things I would like to touch on in the coming posts.

– BEFORE YOU PROCEED –

TW: If any of the statements, considerations, or opinions below (regarding the completely abhorrent events and individuals currently committing a full-scale assault against our rights, our freedom, and our democracy) offend you – congratulations, you’re human. If anything, that has happened in the last month or in the past 240 years upsets you, good, it should. If you are mad, good you should be because we all should be. —- Lastly, if I make a mistake or misstep at any time in the content below, hold me accountable. Of all our issues in this country freedom is not the most prevalent, accountability is. So, while I hold my truths to be self-evident and reserve the right to speak my truth – I am not above being accountable for my words or actions and would hope that my readers and peers would be conscious of that.

– YOU MAY PROCEED –

Aside – The below text seeks to act as an introduction to deeper conversations that will occur throughout the next few months. Issues may include triggering topics such as racial privilege, violence, abortion, gun control so if you wish not to read on these topics, you might want to find some other place to better avoid reality…

One step forward 50(0000000) years back

Let me begin by saying that my voice is and should well be inconsequential compared to subject matter experts (SME’s). These individuals include, Doctors, Attorneys, Women of Color (especially those who live in red states), etc. When it comes to the overturning of Roe I am affected but my concern for my own body is inconsequential compared to my concern for my fellow citizens with uteruses.

That said… I AM F***ING PISSED

In the short time since the supreme courts documents were leaked I had no doubt in my mind that anyone could stop the absolute f***ery that has since been written into law. And what’s worse, even as a woman, I was just as ignorant to the magnitude and breadth of what american protections existed under Roe and what an abortion procedure covered.

Fact – 1/3 people with uteruses will get an abortion in their lifetime.

Fact – Abortion does not solely effect women, but when it comes to abortion as a procedure – people with uteruses and only people with uteruses should be deciding what protections and procedures should be available for their body and their safety.

Fact – Last night on the news Stacy Abrams brought national attention to a doctoral shortage in the state of Georgia. Now, among what I can only assume are thousands of other issues with this shortage – the most prevalent, as it pertains to this forced carry law is that most counties in the state of Georgia DON’T have access to an OBGYN. Which means – people with uteruses in Georgia are now forced to cary a child with no exceptions and no way to get the proper neonatal care they require to ensure that child is healthy. (it’s also important to note that people of color, as usual, will be disproportionately affected by this).

Fact – the documentation for this country was written such that issues of church and state shall be regarded separately – also FACT – the basis for the decisions currently being written into law are based on the religious perspectives also also FACT – the people who are directly behind overturning a fifty year law that protects the bodily autonomy of all women in this nation, are a.] beyond child bearing age and b.] are in a staggering minority when it comes to popular opinion.

which leads us to the conclusion of this topics introduction and the intro to next week’s intro on violence and the “pro-life” debate.

– NEXT WEEK EXCERPT –

Let them live… unless they are already breathing

So yeah – with Roe overturned and multiple school shootings rounding off the end of the school year it is starting to become extremely more evident that the republican party isn’t as “pro-life” as they would like to believe but since it’s five o’clock somewhere and that somewhere is here, So I’ll leave you readers with this. A great and powerful woman once said this – “fire is catching, and if we burn, you burn too” and frankly, with the state of the world today, I couldn’t agree with her more.

  • J.R

The one about the goldfish being fed too much in a small tank

When it comes to all living things, we all pretty much need the same stuff to live and thrive and whatever else… food, water, shelter and love if you’re looking to break the curve. But the funny thing is – not many people seem to want to break the curve.

Lately, and always, conservatives are so quick to get on their soap-box that liberals and their “brain-washing institutions” breed these wild thinkers with crazy ideas where boys can be girls, girls can be boys, and my house plant can identify as a damn apache helicopter [but of course “we can’t say apache because that is racially charged and these snowflakes can’t handle history”. But the problem with this [there’s a lot more but this one is for today] is that “liberal institutions” like college – merely allow young people to see the world outside of the context they were raised on. And often, these points of view lead young people to believe that, “hey, that stuff they were teaching me about black women being able to handle 12x more pain and all the gays are trying to steal and brainwash my kids… maybe that’s not actually accurate.” And for the record… both the “gay agenda” and racially charged inequity in medicine are both majorly misunderstood issues.

Truth is – some of this country is outgrowing the tank it was born into, but others are so used to the tank that they have that they will continue to ignore the fact that they can’t continue to grow without cracking the very core ideals that their entire existence is encapsulated in – and as bad as it sounds, we can only hope that they just grow too big for their tank until they will have no other choice than to move out of their current digs or die holding on to the idea that they are the perfect size for where they live.

Step on a crack break…

Let’s be honest – boiled down, our country is more built on prejudice than it is freedom. Both in the literal sense of the United States exploiting immigrants and slaves and foreign countries to achieve their goals and also in the figurative sense that most, if not all of our systems are inherently broken or excessively corrupt. In short, prejudice is the foundation of our country; and while that’s disgusting to say – until we can accept the cracks in our foundation, our house will only continue to crumble around us. [But – of course- going hand in hand with the fish tank analogy, we choose to focus on what makes us “great” because we also teach a level of systemic denialism that is dumbfounding at best and lethal at worst.]

“Ahhh – she’s having one of those days… – the ones where she uses big words because she hasn’t posted in two weeks.” and to that I say, yes, but also no.

Phobia means “fear of” – but let’s call it what it is

With trans day of visibility yesterday and the supreme court hearings the last few weeks, and the now famously moronic “don’t say gay” bill being passed recently – I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about homophobia, transforbia, and the irony of certain political parties who use violence to achieve their goals while also condemning people who don’t crack down hard enough against crime. And while all these topics are light and fun and a joy to speak of on a friday morning… [smh] lately I have been less fixated on the actions surrounding these topics and more on the words that we address them by.

See my boy Willy Shakes once said, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” And while I would NEVER attempt to overwrite “his” words, I can’t help but think of that concept in opposite terms because HATE, by any other term will still breed most foul and despite the fact that it is 2022 we still label hatred as fear or disapproval and call it a day.

Hate by any other name

Although it may be controversial, I personally don’t believe people are born evil. That said, I also don’t think it takes all that much to turn someone hateful or sour and in cases of the worst of the worst that mankind has to offer I do think we like to let ourselves believe people are born evil because we want to dehumanize them and further separate them from ourselves.

There’s this proverb, I believe it’s origin is from the indigenous people, and it states that we are born with two wolves, one good, one bad, and the one we feed is the one that we become.

So yeah, I don’t think people are born evil, but I do believe that we are all capable of it and that given the proper motivation and disposition anyone, no matter their age can do terrible and horrible things. [and I’d also like to note that people who specifically misinterpret text with the intention of condemning and dehumanizing others, whether it be legislative or spiritual, only broadens the basis of hate and ignorance that often does more bad than good].

Out-growing the tank

I’ve probably said something like this before in a different font and at a different time, but we are at a turning point. And this applies to the country and its individuals because more than ever before we are receiving knowledge and feeding our beliefs [ and our disbeliefs ] and we are outgrowing our tank today and everyday. So as you swim through these times, make sure you pay attention to your growth, but also pay attention to your tank – because at the end of the day, you get to decide the bounds you are held in and the people you are held by. And it may not always be easy, but sometime it’s better to outgrow your beliefs than to let them suffocate you and crack the world around you.

Taxes (blech)

Hello friends, it’s Friday and while I was originally tempted to talk about fugue states – today I want to jump on my soapbox and talk about taxes.

So, as most, if not all of you know, it’s tax season – which is fun for some but miserable for the rest of us. Why? Well, simply put the government undoubtedly knows how much they owe each of us but instead of cutting checks, we are sent to calculate a bunch of numbers and deductions and pray we don’t get them wrong, and if we do, we can get in trouble…

Anyway, this year I am using H&R Block – again – because they don’t charge me extra to do my own math online (this is not an ad). But last week I got a message that they would b charging me if I didn’t get my stuff finished by today.

And before you freak out – no, you didn’t miss a deadline – I’m just lazy and started the forms like a month ago and got so discouraged that I haven’t sent them in yet. And, while this would be the opportune time to tell you all not to procrastinate, the fact that I am using this time to write this blog rather than finish that paperwork, somewhat exempts me from being a rational voice in the conversation. And should I get busy today and not meet the deadline, I suppose next weeks blog can be about doing better with my time management.

Adulting is Hard

Look, in my early twenties I definitely had this grand idealistic mindset that lead me to believe I’d have my life together by 26 or 27. And in my head, if I didn’t reach this goal I was a failure. In my head, by 26-27 I’d have a nice boyfriend, a stable job, properly managed healthcare and mental healthcare, I’d live in a nice apartment or house or – anyway… in short, I was completely and utterly wrong. And while I am usually one to blame myself for this and everything else, what I am realizing is that it’s ok not to know everything by 27. Especially because we are so ill equipped to manage most of the things we have to figure out in our early to late twenties.

Fact: No one taught me how to do my taxes growing up – so how was I supposed to know where to start with it? And don’t get me wrong, over time I did figure it out, but it has been and continues to be a process because being an adult is hard.

And look, while I could twist this piece to talk about the rich and the poor and who gets away with less taxes and how that isn’t fair or how it’s a man’s world because I feel like I always bring up the same topics of men and mortality and yada yada. Honestly, today’s feelings are just cut and dry. Being an adult is dumb and taxes are dumb and half the time the world we live in doesn’t make sense with the way it works.

So… if you’re still here, and you’re like me – equally confused and upset about the process of being an adult and doing your taxes, know that today, you are not alone – and that, at any age, you are allowed to not know what you are doing all the time. Because Adulting is Awkward – and day by day, we’re all just trying to figure it out.

Death, Dickinson, and Daddy Issues

Because I could not stop for Death — he kindly stopped for me — The Carriage held but just Ourselves — And Immortality.

EMILY DICKINSON

So this week I turned 26, and while my mother did not receive a goat or cow or horse in exchange for my hand in marriage, I can fairly say that it’s been a rather productive week – and I believe that productivity is, in part, due to a question I asked myself and a question I would like to ask you all (my fearless readers) now.

At what age did you stop chasing death, only to realize you had to start running from him?

I was 14, His Name is Death, and I could have loved him but I didn’t

I was 14 when I met death, but it wasn’t until I was 18 that I stopped chasing him.

I don’t remember the exact day of course because it wasn’t a stand out performance kind of day. There was no epiphany that lead me to want to stop dying inside and get to living – I guess I just finally started to find moments where living was less of something I had to do for others and turned into something I got to do for me.

That said, if I had to pick a moment it was probably around June of 2014 – I had just graduated high school and I was in Florida (of all places) on the back of a 4 wheeler, clinging to my best friend, drinking bud light, caked in mud and getting bitten by fire ants. And admission of underage drinking aside, I guess it was just a moment where the scales tipped for me. Where living felt lighter and more free than dying.

Anyway, So yeah I was 18, which I suppose is fitting, because most people chasing death are the ones who think that they have the power to escape it – but by the time we become adults with the freedom and aggression and resilience to fight the good fight — well I guess that’s when we all usually and finally realize that we cannot out run death, but we can certainly make it harder for him to keep up.

When it comes to Death, I look to Dickinson

Emily Dickinson was a prolific writer but she was also an outcast for much of her life. Mostly because her vision and her ideals existed far outside the limitations of her time. AKA she was super wacky.

Now, while I certainly cannot compare my writing chops to Emily’s I could argue that my friends and I have a similar strangeness to us. Why? You may ask. Well, because like young Emily Dickinson – Death is a popular topic of conversation between one of my friends and I. And before you call a therapist, please allow me to explain.

For many, death is a frightening topic because we, as humans fear the unknown, I mean look at all the time spent creating narratives to explain what we can’t and know what we may never know.

ANYWAY – I find it strange that in a world that mostly clings to a fear of uncertainty — the thing we fear the most is inherently certain and unarguably unavoidable.

three things cannot long stay hidden, the sun, the moon, and the truth

TEEN WOLF

Truthfully, death doesn’t scare me because I used to chase him before he thought to chase me. I mean, don’t get me wrong, he did scare me at one point, but, in most ways I am more afraid of what happens to the ones I love after I am gone – but in terms of whatever the universe has in store after I am, I’m not all that concerned. Which again, is why I believe that Emily Dickinson’s poems always resonated with me – because like her and like Wordsworth, I realize that there are more paths to immortality than those that have to do with escaping and avoiding death.

His name was Death, hers Dickinson, but in their love story — everyone just blames the Daddy Issues

I think we all reach a certain point in our lives where we become desensitized to loss – and don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t stop the hurt, but it does – slowly – begin to hurt a bit less.

We begin to fear it a bit less. Because Death is not a bold or dangerous man.

Now, personally, I experienced a lot of loss at a young age. And because one of those major losses was my father, people assume I must have “daddy issues” – but I don’t (at least, not in the traditional sense of the term). These days, media plays the game of selling girls with daddy issues as commodities, and while I believe myself to be quite valuable, I am also not for sale.

Yet another reason that I exist in multiple states of inherent contradictions. But that’s besides the point.

And arguably I lost the point like three headings ago so here it is.

In all of our lives there is a time when we realize we have been taunting death – most blame youth for this, but I’d argue the opposite. I think this fear has a trickle down effect. That those closer to death, fixate on it more and thus they hide it from the ones who are younger – which in turn allows them to forget that he exists – and so in those moments we chase him and the ones he takes – because we are too young, by comparison, to be taken too.

When we are kids we believe we can live forever because everyone around us is big and grown and free and alive – so we chase that dream. But when we grow, the ones we love die and because we have always followed them we lose all sense of direction. And then by the time we find it again – we turn around and chase death again. So when did you start running? And who will catch who first?

Getting Honest [With my Watch Lists]

Most people take their honesty hour with a side of 4 vodka crans, but today (and since its not mid day) we’re gonna do this one with water.

Dear Netflix,

I am sorry for my false promises. Sorry that I have lead you to believe that I could consume the amount of content I have saved – I realize now, that I could never maintain the rouse I have created for myself. I am sorry. Please forgive me. Or don’t… Look. to be honest, I’ve never said that follow through was a strong suit. I mean look at this blog… on the year I had barely anything to keep me from writing I avoided it like the plague. Back then I just thought I had nothing to talk about – or, at least, nothing I felt really comfortable sharing. ANYWAY, I am getting way off track so — reeling it in. I’m sorry – I probably won’t do better, but who knows… maybe this is the year I grab my watch list by the … titles? And finally tackle some of the shows that have been building up dust. [but like probably not…]

Some could call it a gateway drug… but… that’s definitely too dramatic for this context…

It all starts with a peak into the rabbit hole

Look, you don’t need to be ashamed, we’ve all done it. We’ve all been scrolling through social media or on netflix and clicked the little (+) or the “save for later” bookmark – and then never revisited that page ever again. Hell, I mean, are you actually alive if you didn’t once have an entire pinterest board dedicated to fancy recipes that you NEVER actually made. [or maybe that’s just me….?]

Point is, it’s easy to get drawn in by the exciting trailers and the rave reviews, but sometimes time and follow through are just hard set realities that we all have to deal with… and if no one else has told you lately. It’s ok, I accept you.

Talk about toxic

I often joke that my longest relationship is with Netflix, which is fitting because as someone who was typically afraid of relationships – it would make sense that the thing I was in bed with, was also in bed with most of America (and beyond). Now, despite our differences and daliences (I can’t blame netflix, I understand that it is their job and we both knew that they wouldn’t and even couldn’t always meet all of my streaming needs. So, while unspoken, we both understand that I have had to step away from our relationship to pursue others with other services like Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Apple Tv, and even HBO… but upon recent reflection, I suppose my major discretion is not how I juggle these platforms, but rather the false promises I have made to each of them. False promises, in the form of… my watch lists.

Jokes aside

No, but on a serious note, let’s talk about this, because I know I cannot actually be the only one that has dozens of titles in their watch list that they added in the moment, but later realized that they would never get to it (or even that they didn’t want to). And as I get older it’s less about having all the time in the world to explore these things and more about developing the ideas of what I actually want to explore and what I’m trying to convince myself that I want to explore.

And this would be fine if I didn’t also do this with shopping carts on websites because while my mother thinks that I have a lot of packages coming, there is a whole other world of impulses I have proudly (or maybe shamefully) talked myself out of. But that is an aside that will have to be dug into on another day.

I’m not indecisive, nor loyal, I just don’t want to have to click through everything to remove them from my list. (so, basically, I’m just lazy)

Anyway, so look, I get it. People change. We grow, and for some of us – especially me – and my ADHD, I grow and I change but I also often struggle with object permanence (aka. if I don’t see it, it doesn’t always exist,) so, if I am being honest, this issue is usually out of sight and out of mind. I mean, these days our streaming services cater the experience to us and our habits, so half the time I don’t even think to look at my list to figure out what to watch next – it just shows me something fun, hot shiny, or new and whoop! off we go…

Maybe it’s just me

When it comes to lists, and old scraps of paper, and yes, even my streaming services. Those histories can tell us a lot about where we’ve been. Looking back can help us remember those times we needed someone, the times we didn’t, it shows date nights and nights in and even times when we thought we could stay up all night — but definitely shouldn’t have.

And sometimes, like last night, I spent 30 minutes (probably less) adding old disney titles to my disney watch list because seeing them again gave me a boost of nostalgia. So sometimes things are there not to actually be seen, but to just trigger old happy memories. Which is crazy and probably another cornerstone sign of a mentally ill person but hey, if “the fox and the hound” makes me smile – who is to say I shouldn’t embrace that?

And sure – it’s trivial but it also speaks to something bigger. Like, universally bigger. It speaks to the fact that there are few types of people in this world, the least of which may or may not contain – people who have watched everything they’ve saved, and those who really have not. And I for one am someone who most definitely has not and most likely will not. But at least that has taught me something about how my brain works and hopefully it’ll continue to teach me that time spent with ourselves and with others is and always has been about choices. That it is and always will be a question of, will this add to my life, or could this time be better spent somewhere else – and for learning that, I place no apologies… but on a completely unrelated note… I fully intend to do some decluttering this weekend, you know, just because I can.

Morals of a story

Growing up a writer, but not a reader, I have always had a disjointed view of stories and the vocabulary that describes them. For me, people weren’t broken into protagonist and antagonist [people are too layered for that] and sentences were almost always improperly punctuated, not for lack of knowing how to but because my cadence and the way my brain flowed, never followed traditional rules. In my head sentences don’t start and stop. They just move. Fast.

So I guess, [to be a narcissistic stereotypical writer for a second] In more ways that one, my stories were never meant to be read off a page, but rather heard and felt and seen. But maybe that’s why I often find myself stuck. Maybe that’s why the main character in my stories was was never really me, but my braver and more self assured contemporary.

My contemporaries and me

When it came to storytelling I was always good at building the scene, but when it came to characters, I wasn’t the best at delving deeper than skin deep. Characters always followed the typical tropes of popular shows and movies. The conflicted jock, the boy broken, the promiscuous girl who wanted more, the nice ones, the mean ones, and all the ones that were always understood more easily than I felt I was.

I fancied myself an enigma, and it took years to figure out that’s something I never was.

Which, I guess, is why I found it oddly relatable when I recently heard an interview where Halsey talks about being young and thinking we’re the main character of everyone’s story.

“You are not the main character”

But I guess, back then, when it came to my stories on paper, I thought I was.

Just Rachel

It’s wild to me, the way life works. The way we are raised to create a sense of self, but also a self that fits into the mold of others. We are meant to be unique, but often only within the bounds of what others find palatable.

And while society is slowly growing away from this, for most of us, it is still very much an issue of who am I, (vs) who can I be? In certain spaces.

“It’s a hard concept to understand in your twenties…”

It’s sometimes strange to think that things don’t happen to us. But things do happen in proximity of us and because of us; and that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. And yet all the while it’s still up to us to take accountability for the things we do and accept that we can’t change the things that are beyond us.

“the most important and difficult lessons to learn in your twenties, you are not the main character of everyone else’s story.” She said. “You’re the main character of your story. But not everyone else’s.”

Halsey

And as someone in my twenties, obviously this resonated with me, I mean, duh, I’m writing a whole blog around it. But also, as a human being of any age, I think this is something all of us need to hear sometimes. Because we all find ourselves a bit too self important sometimes. And we all have things that we refuse to change.

The funny thing is that for most of my life I often haven’t felt like the main character — of my story or anyone else’s. And on the times when I should have or was meant to, I really didn’t want any part of it. But then again, maybe that’s a tell tale sign that we are because sure, I’ve been selfish, I’ve made things about me. I’ve taken anecdotes too far because I think something I say could help and beyond that I’ve even taken something personally when it really wasn’t about me.

I’ve been the girl that thinks she’s important.

But I’ve also been the girl that was shown she wasn’t. (And at the time I accepted it)

Or at least I’ve wanted to be important. And who hasn’t? Ur maybe the difference between a sense of main character syndrome and just wanting people to know you exist is that you need to learn to matter to you, so you don’t feel the pressure to matter for everyone else – because you won’t and you can’t always be that for them.

Moral of this story

Truth is, I don’t really feel like a typical 20 something and I certainly don’t feel like main character. And more than that I stopped pretending to be a hero in my stories a long time ago. So I guess at the end of the day I don’t want to be the main character right now, and I don’t really wanna be the hero either – but I’d love to explore being the villain for a little while at some point…. But I feel like that’s more of a story for next week.

Knowing, Not Knowing, and things to Unlearn

Before we get started here’s your fair warming that this piece might be part one of a saga. Self awareness is hard so, should you choose to stay, bare with me.

Subconsciously, we’re all geniuses. Consciously…. Not so much

Alright I want you to think about your kidney, think about where it is in your body. Think about what it does and all the crap it has to deal with. Now, most of us have no conscious clue of where our kidneys are – but in order for our body to work, our brain has to subconsciously know where each vein and muscle and piece of tissue is. In other words our brain knows, because our brain has to keep everything working, but if our brain knows, why don’t we? If our brain knows, and we don’t, then what else are we lying to ourselves about? How much do we know, not know, and need to unlearn?

Sight, truth, and knowing

Now, think about your nose. How much of it can you see if you really try and think? Not much. But that’s a trick. Supposedly, we can see all of it, but our brain blocks it out and tricks us, because we can’t handle it. And so this got me thinking. How much of me, the way I think, the way I act, the way I scrape my teeth with my fork when I bite into food, how much of this is instinct? How much is conscious choice? And how much of who we are, is simply attributed to our “factory settings?”

Nature vs. Nurture

Now, I know what you’re thinking. That factory settings are the same as what we’re programmed with and how things change over time. And to a mild extent you’re night. But when I talk about factory settings I’m more looking at life through the scope of conscious decision making and how most of us gaslight the hell out of ourselves to negotiate what is true and what we can’t handle if that truth was true.

So as an example – is straight the base line natural setting of sexuality? Or is straightness the factory setting that we adhere to even though sexuality about is meant to be about what feels good and society is just to blame because it determined that keeping people in boxes is more digestible. In other words, there’s nature, there’s nurture, then theirs society. And while not all of us choose to 100% get in boxes and conform – some of us have to work to understand and even unlearn the factory settings that were molded into believing.

Learning and leaning away from “Factory settings”

The idea that we exist similar to that of an IPhone IOS update might strike you as odd, but taken in the context of internalized misogyny and internalized homophobia, in insecurities and the seemingly continental United States ideal that all of Africa is huts and hungry people (which it’s absolutely not) – it isn’t insane to assume that many of us have been programmed via nature and nurture alike to condemn ideals and hold tight to others. It’s no surprise that after being gaslit in our most formidable years that we continue to believe the voices that hurt and condemned us. But it is surprising how few of us dive in and do the work needed to reset and reboot ourselves because, frankly, It’s not insane to, at a certain point, question… am I doing this for me, or am I doing this to get by. Do I actually like x,y, or z or was I trained to respond to these things in these ways. And while the obvious examples are the big ideals in prejudice, like race and sexuality it’s also as simple as asking the kid in class who misbehaves, “what did you do this time” rather than, “why? Why did you do this?” It’s as simple as changing the narrative from – I endured this, so you can survive it too – to – I survived this so you wouldn’t have to… and luckily I think some aspects of our world are starting to warm to that idea, but we are definitely still very far off from making it common practice.

My point? Assumptions are dangerous. Bias is dangerous. Prejudice is and can be deadly. But there’s nothing more dangerous than settling into assumptions you’ve made about yourself because yes we all create a narrative of who we are, but we also allow others to flip the script and write it for us too and the fact of the matter is, they don’t know us like we do… then again sometimes we also allow ourselves to revert to “factory settings” and in the end, that doesn’t really benefit anyone either.

The reboot

So, like I said earlier – sometimes I wish my brain had a check engine light. One that could tell me when I need servicing, when I’m out of gas, when I need an oil change or my tires rotated. (None of this is sexual innuendo so.. mind and gutter need to detach.)

Look sometimes I wish I had someone or something in my brain that could check me and tell me how much of my personality has been updated or upgraded and what is still just adhering to the factory settings. And yes I could go to therapy… but realistically and as a millennial, that’s more expensive then avo toast and frankly it’s not immediately gratifying enough.

Sometimes I just want to see my nose

Look, most of us have heard the forest through the trees argument. And all of us, knowingly or not have fallen into habits of believing what’s easy over what is right and believing what makes us fit in over what could make us truly happy. (And if you don’t believe me just find any tiktok lesbian because a lot of women figured a lot of things out in the past year and most of them aren’t in their early years.) being able to identify what you know, what you don’t know and what you need to unlearn ISNT EASY – and it’s also not concise or succinct, so I apologize.

I guess what I’m trying to say, in my own just Rachel way, is that I’m in this process of working with my settings. I’m trying to be more intentional with my actions in relationships and in friendships and in the work I do here and at the place who pays my bills. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m trying to do the work and trust me it sucks, but it’s also really great to feel like I’m developing the kind of relationship where I can actually trust myself.

So I guess to wrap it up, for now, I’ll just say that my advice is to ask more questions. Especially when you don’t think you’ll like the answer. Because it’s about time you make conscious decisions in terms of what you want for yourself and not just what others want for you. I guess it ties in to that stuff I said about changing you to please them.

And honestly, at the end of the day, it’s just about working on what you want and resetting your expectations – because sometimes it’s not worth lying to yourself – and it’s never worth it to gaslight yourself just because it’s something you were conditioned to do.

New – Years

I’ve never really loved the concept of birthdays. Not in terms of the celebrating or the cake (I do love cake) but in the practice of hyping one day up to be more transformative than the last. The way we celebrate birthdays – past the age of themed parties and the party favor era, tends to perpetuate this idea that we should feel different or feel more like a certain age. But the problem with that is our pre conceived notion of what that age “should” feel like, when we have no basis for understanding it because we haven’t felt it before. So I don’t know about you but, more often than not, I don’t “feel” different or like I’m a certain age. And I mean, sure, the hangovers started hitting harder after 22 but it wasn’t an over night sensation or anything, it just gradually became more and more unbearable until I decided to adapt. And for me, the concept of New Years strikes the same way. See it’s not the celebration I take issue with, but the idea that January first brings new habits or allows us to remake ourselves. But realistically, all this does is just tee us up to fail – because unlike the date, discipline doesn’t just change in a day.

Look I’m not trying to be a pessimist. I just think we should do things differently. I think we should build change when it’s called for, not when it’s popular or convenient. I think we should celebrate days as they come and not place pressure on a select few to be more transformative than the rest. And this doesn’t just go for personal habits or changes. Throughout our society we put so much faith on particular days. On big moments of change, but in doing so we avoid giving credit to the people and things and thoughts and moments that actually got us there. Think about the biggest changes in your life. A marriage, a loss, a revelation. These things rarely happen suddenly. Getting a job, writing a book, even making a sandwitch – the steps that go into making these things a reality, arguably start long before you put two slices of bread from the loaf or place pen to paper.

Change just simply doesn’t happen overnight. So why do we continue to put stake in these things and these quick fixes? (Rhetorically speaking)

All this said, this year I’m approaching change differently. And more specifically I’m approaching days differently. Over the past couple years I found ways to resolve my goals as they come – no longer waiting for tomorrow or Monday or a new year. And I intend to continue that trend. But I also want to start enjoying smaller moments. I want to be braver and smarter when it comes to speaking my mind, I want to respect myself and my relationships where they stand. I want to be honest with myself when it comes to what I can handle and what needs more work/patience. And despite how this may come off this isn’t a New Years resolution. It’s just a resolution to do better and be better than yesterday. And the way I see it, that’s all I could ask for.