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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.

Time wastes for no one.

This morning I woke up with an almost unshakable belief that it was Saturday. I think checked my phone three times to look at the day and the date before convincing myself to get out of bed and get some chores done before work…. And while this was undoubtably just a byproduct of the self care and Benadryl I partook in last night, this isn’t the first day I’ve woken up thinking it was another time.

When it comes to wasting time, to wishing time away, to looking forward and wanting to fast forward moments of my life, I haven’t always been innocent. To be honest, these days it’s usually more of a subconscious thought than one I’d actually wish on stars for, but nonetheless it’s there, in the back of my head, reminding me I am human and that there are no shortcuts to life’s great successes. But I’m also equally guilty when it comes to wanting to rewrite time, and while neither actually move me forward I don’t think I could put a finger on which is actually worse.

See, I find it funny that time moves slower on the days we wish it wouldn’t, and faster on the good times to remind us how fleeting things are. Last night I was watching my favorite show, and every week that it’s on I have to remind myself that it’s an hour-long program, because it never seems like it is. I find it funny how time is constant, but the feeling and the passage changes constantly. How a hard mile can feel like an hour but 10 seconds or less in a hundred dash can be long enough to change history. And don’t worry – I’m not going off on this tangent to be prolific, I promise, I’m just thinking aloud so I can get to my point — so here it is.

Time isn’t linear,

It’s cyclical.

But not for lack of trying, but because we, as societies, are constantly trying to best the plans that time has for us. Because we are so often too power hungry and privileged to realize that consequences don’t always affect us, but they do affect someone.

So——? So, we wake up, we go to work, we count the days of the week and whether we want it to or not we always get to Sunday night wishing we had two more days of rest over a Monday that we have to slump through. The days of the week rotate, the hands of the clock rotate, the whole damn world rotates, and our actions fall into cycles and ruts and sometimes we break it only to end up in a new cycle that may or may not be better than the last.

So, you see, one could argue that all things in the natural realm turn on a forward moving axis and that we are just along for the ride… so yeah, this morning I woke up thinking it was Saturday, but it wasn’t and maybe that can happen without consequence considering I was able to right what I thought I believed, but on the other hand, just last week the Supreme Court woke up thinking it was 1973. So while I sit here, contemplating how I could have missed a day, they’ve missed nearly 4 decades… which honestly is less surprising when you take a pause to note what motivates me and what motivates them.

See it’s one thing to look back at “simpler times” where we’ve contemplated and rewritten our youth to fit the narrative of who we are now. It’s easy to gaslight ourselves because frankly, the rest of the world has been doing it to us for years – but who is it actually benefitting? When we put ink to paper in these history books, when the victors claim truth in a boy who cried wolf situation – who actually benefits? Because it isn’t women, it isn’t democrats or republicans, it isn’t politicians, or anyone with or without a uterus. It isn’t minorities or people of differing genders and sexual orientations. Hell it isn’t even people who follow a particular religion or have spiritual beliefs.

See all of us are familiar with the phrase, time waits for no man. But the truth is, time doesn’t waste for us either. We don’t get to pick and choose how it moves, or chase alternate realities because time doesn’t forget injustice, it doesn’t sugar coat politics, it doesn’t provide power. Time is not to blame for the choices man makes and the time man wastes. It just moves – and it always moves forward. So why can’t we?

The things WE want us to be

You know, people tend to use the term over thinking as a one off or a write off. “Oh you’re just over thinking it.” Which actually, in most cases, acts as a dismissal. Something to say, “just get out of your head and go for it. Take the job, take the leap, date the guy, whatever the situation, stop thinking, and go for it.” And as much as I’d love to say it’s not that easy, that’s a write off too, because it’s not about easy. What it is about though, is fear, coping with past trauma, and avoiding whatever core issue that this issue is triggering. But most of all, it’s about an instinct toward recognizing patterns while also refusing to accept where they lead. (Aka – denial)

See, I don’t know about you, but as someone prone to overthinking, being an over-thinker is something I wish I wasn’t. And I only wish I wasn’t because everyone else has identified it as bad or unfavorable or made it seem like I’m crazy because of how much time I allocate to avoiding stuff that ‘could’ or ‘could not’ happen.

And sure, if you look at my past, most of the things I overthink wouldn’t surprise you but if you didn’t know me from a brick wall you wouldn’t think it’s something I deal with as often as I do; and obviously, that’s intentional but it makes it that much harder to be me.

On any given day I’d bet that 50% of my time is me overthinking – or reevaluating something I did or said – or anticipating what might come next. And to be clear, that’s a fictional assumption, but it’s also probably lowballing the situation. See, in a lot of ways that percent of my time becomes the kind of beginner code I programmed into a robot in middle school. A living embodiment of “if this:then that” situations. And the funny thing is that I also know life isn’t that predictable, but I am. Or at least, I could be.

I think the biggest check I’ve ever taken to my ego was at a Irish pub in 2016. I was at temple bar drinking and flirting and loving life when the guy I was talking to told me that I was not nearly as complicated as I believed myself to be. And among other sentiments on that trip, that simple statement tipped over the first of dozens of dominoes that finally made me realize that the only person who thought I was complicated, was the same person trying to solve herself like a god damn Rubix cube, when in reality she was more like a puzzle with a couple edge pieces that fell off the table.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s easy to say that we lie to ourselves every once in a while, but what’s hard is justifying the excuses of why we do it and what’s harder is justifying those excuses to people who occasionally know us better than ourselves. But you know what the real kicker is, no one knows us better than we do. But we hide behind the idea that they do because it puts it off us. So we think that if we can convince someone else, maybe we can finally believe it, but that’s not actually how it works.

As an over thinker I’m sometimes stuck in this cycle of thinking I can win – and to be clear I’m fighting myself- so I keep trying new ways to tackle the same surface problem over and over and over again until I realize that the problem I was trying to fix was just the top layer of what needs to be tackled next. And so I regroup and take a step back, I grab some water, and return to the ring to fight the next thing – as if there’s an end to the means.

Look, at the end of the day no one is exempt from getting in their own head, and it’s no secret that while others can take a step back, we’re trapped. But the important thing is that we take time to realize that we are the ones trapping ourselves. That we are the ones saying we can’t be the things we want to be. And it’s not easy, but once we can put a face to our demons, we can realize that the world is not about being the you that someone else wants you to be – it’s about living with who you are.

Don’t doubt you, to please them

You know, people tend to use the term over thinking as a one off or a write off. “Oh you’re just over thinking it.” Which actually, in most cases, acts as a dismissal. Something to say, “just get out of your head and go for it. Take the job, take the leap, date the guy, whatever the situation, stop thinking, and go for it.” And as much as I’d love to say it’s not that easy, that’s a write off too, because it’s not about easy – it’s about fear, it’s about coping for past trauma, and it’s about avoiding. But most of all, it’s about instinct.

Lately the narrative surrounding first impressions has been taking a turn. Most of us were raised to think that someone who we meet, who gives us butterflies, is someone we should pursue, but now people are saying “if they give you butterflies, run.” And the idea behind it is that lasting relationships make you feel safe and butterflies are this exciting high that our bodies get used to and then depend on. So when things calm down, we get bored and we bounce. And aside from internalized and externalized misogyny I think this is also why mothers tell their daughters not to sleep with a guy on a first date. Because the truth of the matter is, they’re either interested, or they’re not – and anything that happens in between is just grey.

Let’s talk about the grey

I can’t say where I developed the ideology that love is transactional. That dates should be reciprocated with something more than a thank you. That getting someone in your life and keeping them in your life means sacrificing parts of you to fit or compensate for parts of them. And I can’t place where I gained the impression that I owe so much more to a world that has chewed me up and spit me out, than I do to myself – but I fight it every day. And on days when I decide not to, where I decide to try to break the cycle, I quickly end up back at square one fighting a mind that’s trying to anticipate a dozen outcomes just to avoid the one or two where I get hurt.

So, in short, it’s exhausting being me.

But it’s also exhausting being right… On any given day I’d guess that a minimum of 50% of my thoughts are comprised of replaying conversations I’ve had (either during that day or anytime in the past should those memories be triggered) or curating what I’m about to say next or talking myself out of saying that thing because it would create all kinds of problems. Another 20% is tangents which means another 10% has to be allocated to reeling myself back in. Leaving a very generous 20% to play with but realistically it’s more like 15% after you take out anything related to tiktok.

Look, this isn’t minority report, my brain does not have a special algorithm that allows me to predict the future because if it did I’d probably a whole lot better off . I guess what I’m trying to say or even just emphasize is that 50% of my time goes to stuff I can’t control, 30% is distractions, 15% is realistically just in the moment people pleasing and the last 5% is a god damn clock app. And while I am completely and perpetually aware that these numbers are completely fictitious my point is that I’m now questioning my sanity as much as I’m grappling for control.

Accepting yourself and your thoughts

That said, lately I’ve been turning my own narrative. I’ve been trying to put myself out there and work with my emotions rather than control them, especially when it comes to relationships. And this isn’t a sign of me giving in, or compromising or lowering my standards to fit what life looks like for traditional 25 year old over-thinkers.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m trying to develop my own sort of butterfly effect (not the one with time travel), working with nerves and fears and instinct. Working on ways to better support myself and those around me by understanding that ideals I developed growing up, and the basis for my relationship experiences are just that, a basis. A basis, rather than a hard and fast rule.

Look when I started this blog I didn’t know much more than I do now. But I did value myself a lot less than I thought I did compared to now. Things I used to settle for, the attention and money I used to chase because that was what I thought made young people great — none of that matters as much as it used to. And that’s incredibly freeing.

See I used to think that I owed the world everything. I’d spiral down to the belief that I had to chase my fathers name and I had to make my own and that I had to be so fiercely independent because I wanted respect and I don’t know, power? Long story short I got trapped in intrusive thoughts and now I’ve turned certain parts of my overthinking into an asset. And I’ve done that by accepting myself and my crazy too.

The moral of the story

Look, at the end of the day no one knows you better than yourself (and maybe your best friend) but at the end of the day you can’t sacrifice you to please the them (men, women, mom, or dad) because even if your mind is dark and even if you have to replay moments to understand – it all helps you grow and make better choices than you did yesterday and hopefully today or tomorrow or next week you’ll trust yourself more.

And, if you can’t trust yourself everyday, then think about it this way – Even if this life takes a village, it’s up to you to build the home that lets those people in. So be brave enough to let them in but never for a second apologize for being you to be more palatable for them.

In other words, don’t doubt you, to please them. (You know, like the title says)

Seasonal “Defective” Disorder

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

Let’s get canceled before Christmas

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

That belief goes as follows:

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

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

Now wait… pause… Before you pounce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In conclusion

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

What is a “Real Adult”

Generally speaking, our society sucks.

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

Let me explain.

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

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

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

So let’s talk Control

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

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

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

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

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

In short – Adulthood is a joke

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

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

Give it bunny ears (tie it together)

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

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

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