69 Days

We’re in the countdown stages now, folks. Ben and I are moving across the country in just 69 days. And I’m starting to wonder what I was thinking. Not in the “reconsidering everything” way, but rather in the “is that even enough time to redo everything” way. FOr better or worse, our lease is up in 70 days and we’ve already filled out the “intent to vacate” form. So where does that leave us?

Well, in a time of great transition, apparently. Both of us have a very busy summer ahead, and it’s all for the sake of making our move smoother. We’ll be traveling nearly 800 miles to relocate in yet another college town (albeit, one that’s 6 times smaller than the one we live in now). I’ve used Google StreetView enough to realize that it’s nothing like I’ve been expecting-and that that’s okay. I knew when I applied to places that I wanted a change, and that’s precisely what I got.

Anyway, I’ve also begun reaching out to people to ask if they’d like to meet up one last time. And I’m making a couple journeys to my hometown for similar reasons, but on the whole, it’s time to break away.

When I was in high school, I told everyone that I’d leave Ohio and I’d never ever come back. I was so full of hostility towards the state that I couldn’t see ever staying here. And yet, 6 years later, I’m only just preparing to leave. And that’s okay. My intentions, although not at all as furious as before, have not changed. My parents are both from this area, but they met out in the west. Ben and I met here and we’re off to the west as well. Not because I feel a sense of destiny to our pending location, but because I need to go.

I had a hard time explaining to Ben why it was that we needed to leave Ohio. I explained it poorly for the first several times. (He wasn’t opposed to the idea, he just didn’t know why I was so insistent on it.) I’ve never been out of Ohio for longer than a small family visit every now and then. I’ve made stops in the surrounding areas: WV, TN and I’ve even been to MI, NC and TX (we flew). But never more than just a few days, as I said. And when I proposed Seattle (not where we’re headed, however), Ben didn’t quite understand why I desperately needed to go to a place I’d never even seen. So I’m going to try and explain it to you. Thankfully, it’s more coherent that it was the first few times.

I’ll be honest, I feel a little lost. Like I don’t really belong here. I’ve felt that way for many years. Like being at a friend’s house and knowing you’re not home, but staying there for a long time. It’s warm and inviting, you never feel like an intrusion, but ultimately, you feel an increasing need to move on. One day, you finally can’t take it anymore, and you announce you’re ready to go home. But your home was burned down, and that’s why you’d been staying with them. You know that the place you belong is somewhere, but now you have no idea where it is. You just want to find it and be at peace.

That’s how it feels.

I struggle a lot with the idea of destiny. I flip between feeling worthless and feeling destined for greatness. Especially when reality sets in and I have to look at all the choices I’ve made as a pathway to where I am now. Surely, the amount of struggle means that I’m going to do something great, that I’m going to change the world, right? But in the end, that’s not a guarantee. I can work towards it, and I am, but it may not happen. So what then? Because I’ll be honest, some days it feels like I’m needlessly suffering if I can’t change everything.

ask-believe-receive_thumb

So in these next 69 days, I’m going to be working on my manifestation skills, honing them into reshaping the way I think. I will be big.

That’s what a friend and I’d been talking about lately. How we only ask the universe for the things that we desperately need and no more. But it’s never really working in our favor. Because we weren’t born to be timid and weak and hushed. We were born to be wild and courageous and loud. So I’m done asking for the bare minimum. I want the world. I want all of it-the good, the bad, the happy, the frustrating-all of it. Not because I am entitled to it, but because I am stardust and if I can make universes, surely I can be big enough to change my own destiny.

Fear v Courage

There’s a lot to be said about courage and fear. Everything I’ve seen is usually in response to some vague stressor that makes us feel doubt, concern and general consternation. And I think that that’s worth mentioning. However, I want to do a good old fashioned mental health blog today. The kind that’s more or less just preaching to myself.

In Facebook, you can look at all the things you posted on that day throughout the years. And today pulled up a piece I’d done here that was designed as a letter to myself. I talked to myself about abusive relationships, about self-hatred, about perseverance. And all of those things are important. But they’re not the only things I need to tell my younger self.

Anyway-fear. I found myself at a place mentally where I knew I wasn’t poised for success. But I’d convinced myself that it was completely necessary for me to be there. I told myself the list of reasons I had to be there, and then told myself that list again. And the louder I yelled that list at myself, the more I hated why I was doing it. So I shushed that voice that told me I had to and I got out of it. The list of reasons isn’t gone, but I sure am.

Do I have a plan? Nope-I have like 12% of a plan.

But what I do have is my mental health. And as I told someone today, that feels very selfish. That person then told me that mental health is never selfish.

And they were right.

I was so caught up in the embarrassment that I was going to ignore the voice telling me I had to because I couldn’t be happy with it. And I looked down.

I’ve told you this story. About how a little girl said the four words that changed my life. I wish for this. And the truth of the matter is, I couldn’t bring myself to say those words. So I left. I made myself feel better, happier. I chose me over all the reasons telling me “them”.

So here’s the deal.

Courage isn’t the thing keeping you rooted to the bottom of the ocean, fighting the tides. Courage is the thing whispering quietly to uproot yourself and be free. Fear isn’t getting swept up in the breeze, not knowing where you’re going. Fear is never leaving the mundane because you’ve convinced yourself not to take chances.

And so I took a leap of faith. Which was rewarded by an opportunity. I am pleased to announce that I now have a series on Channillo! You can find out more at: Coffee and Criticisms

I Am A Pre-Existing Condition

With all of the things going on in the United States these past few days, it can be tough to want to keep looking at the same daunting information. I know-really. Because a quick Google search for US news leads you to headlines about the healthcare bill, religious freedom bills, Penn State death, the GOP, the EPA, and a whole host more.

Searching Google, then, for the AHCA (aka: TrumpCare), you’d be compelled to scream. And I’ll be the first to admit, I reviewed all the information I could, watched the Rachel Maddow show to blow off some steam and then I ranted to my husband. A lot. Because, as I know a lot of you can empathize with, this felt like yet another attack on my identity. Not only that, it’s an attack on my education, my career, well, just about everything I suppose.

Here’s some important things to note:

-Go to your insurance manual/provider-look up all of the conditions they have the right to deny coverage for. Check off how many pertain to you (and your dependents). The greater the number, the more likely you’re going to be without insurance.

-Do you use Medicaid/Medicare? Cause that’s another tick in the “probably won’t have insurance/insurance I can afford” box.

-Do you use Planned Parenthood as a reproductive healthcare provider? Add some more ticks to those boxes.

Now, there is one small piece of hope. The Senate is much harder to get it to pass. And in order for it to be the ACA replacement-it HAS to pass the Senate. So that means we have time to call/fax/ResistBot all the Senators.

If you’re savvy with Twitter, you’ll have no doubt noticed the last couple of days have been filled with the hashtag: IAmAPreExistingCondition. That is in direct response to the House voting to approve this heinous bill. And that’s where the title of today’s post comes from.

Now I know-this post has been the Campbell’s Chicken Noodle of political posts (super condensed, no surprises) but the important things to take away are that activism is hard-but necessary and together, we will overcome.

Time Flies

Heavens! Where has the time gone?

I finished undergrad!

Mercury retrograde ended!

I’m running a book giveaway! (Check it out: here!)

I’ve opened my Etsy shop! (Check it out: here:))

I’m preparing for law school-going about my daily duties like a mad woman. I’ve applied to jobs-which will be something. I don’t know that I’ve had a chance to accept that I’ve successfully completed a huge milestone-but I’m confident that will come up soon.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month ended, Mental Health Month began.

I’m going to have a couple excellent posts coming up: one about healthcare, one about a new book press, one about…well, you’ll have to stay tuned!

Stay safe. Stay valid.

M.

NISVS Report Released

***Trigger warning: discussion of sexual assault/intimate violence report*** 

For those of you who have followed since I started this journey, you know well that my passion lies in stopping rape culture. So I’ve been long awaiting this National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey report. It covers the years of 2010-2012 and brings to light some information about sexual violence and partner violence. This information includes things like:

1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men in the US experienced sexual violence. (RAINN has female incidents at 1 in 6 and male incidents at 1 in 33-so this is a BIG increase in reporting.) 

1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men in the US experienced stalking.

23 million women and 1.7 million men in the US have been the victims of rape.

27% of women and 11% of men in the US experienced intimate partner violence.

41% of female victims say their assault happened before the age of 18.

24% of male victims say their assault happened before the age of 18.

The CDC offers a “highlights” section which contains the statistic I’ve listed above, but also contains the full report of 272 pages. I’m making my way through the report as we speak and on the whole find it to be, well, dark. Some questions I have as I go through this report:

-Mention of LGBT individuals who maybe don’t use a binary gender?

-Religious overtones and motivations?

-Cross cultural examination? 

-Mental Health concerns?

I read in the report that they conducted a telephone survey. This concerns me for a couple of reasons: first, even though the sampling could have been random (through a random number generation system) does this represent an actual sample of the total? Second: almost no one I know answers the phone for numbers they don’t recognize. The report said 41,174 interviews were taken, but in comparison to the 321.4 million people who live in the United States, that’s a small thing. In fact, that is 0.0128% of the population (meaning 1 in 8000 people were contacted). 

States that ranked pretty low (comparatively) were (going from east to west): West Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah. Highest reported numbers came from (east to west): Maine, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, Washington and Oregon. The lower statistical states had a prevalence of 29.5%-34.1% and the higher statistical states were 38.6%-47.5% prevalence.

I invite you to look into the report, as I will be spending what little time I have spare as a way to prepare for law school. Stay safe out there, folks.

You’re valid. You’re irreplaceable. 

The Department of Anthropology

Today’s post is just an appreciation post. For people who don’t see me often, this will not mean anything to you. But it does to me. I’m sad because at the end of the week, I have to leave my job. It’s a work study position and because I’m graduating, I’m no longer eligible to be there. And so, today is my dedication to that.

When I applied to work for my department, I was terrified. I needed a job, I thought I was going to have to go back to fast food and be miserable for the rest of my time in Columbus. I was terrified because I didn’t know my way around campus, I didn’t know anyone in that office and I had no idea if they’d like me. I remember a young woman talking to me in a cheerful, sing-song voice, being introduced to the stern looking keeper of things and information and being introduced to the fiscal officer who appeared strict and dauntingly professional. And as I said “hello” in what I can only assume was the most pathetically timid voice I could, I was employed. I would meet my coworkers-a young man with an inviting smile and a knack for forgetting things and a young lady who had the most infectious laughter and a great eye for scarves. She intimidated me because she got on so well with my new boss. A few weeks later, we gained a sassy newcomer with the coolest hair I’d ever seen.

How silly that all seems now.

Although I thought that I had only applied for a job, what I applied for was a position as a member of a reliable, close-knit family. And that’s why it breaks my heart to let it go.

My boss has the most impeccable taste in clothes. And not only that, she believes the best in everyone. She’s willing to start each day on a completely new page-no matter what. She laughs everything off, offers advice as sincere as any person can and she goes out of her way to help people. She has this thing for fountain pens and it’s hilariously superb. No matter how many times we worked on her desk, it was always filled with work-not because she was lazy, but because people know how great she is, so they give her more. I’ll miss the way she always gets coffee and baked regular Lays-because they never carry barbeque, and the way that no matter how crappy her day may be, she always has time for you.

The keeper of things? She’s the biggest nerd I’ll ever meet-and I mean that with the utmost respect and awe. We chat about books, politics, television, you name it. She completely understands what I’m talking about when I discuss farm life, she’s wicked busy and even though at first I thought she hated me, it turns out that she’s been on my side since day one. Her phone ringer is usually something from Star Wars (or Doctor Who) and if you can do it yourself-she can do it better (that’s not her saying it, I’m telling you so that you know). She’s got that Italian sass (which is hilarious) and she inspires me so much. We laugh about preparing for the zombie apocalypse while we run, she has a Harry Potter Christmas tree, she shows her dogs and is hands down the most interesting person I will ever know. She calls me “mini-RBG” and not once has she made me feel like I’m just young and naive. I’ll miss the way she keeps me on my toes, shares her popcorn with me and reminds me that I can absolutely be myself and help other people-no changes necessary.

If I ever thought that my enjoyment of the undead and the fact that my husband and I spent our honeymoon watching Game of Thrones could lead me to being on someone’s good side, I doubt it would have been the good side of our fiscal officer. He works so hard-and his attention to detail is on another level entirely. His granddaughter is adorable, and you can absolutely tell that he has a heart of gold-dedicated to just her. He always listens intently to my stories of field dressing the deer we hit with our car, no matter how many times I laugh about it and he makes me feel like I’m at least moderately funny. He’s absolutely always reliable, he always finds a way to make things work and even though we don’t interact as much as the others, I know that if I were ever in trouble, he’d be the first person I asked for help. I’ll miss the way he hates spoilers, so I have to edit out my reviews of the shows and the way he’s loyal to a fault.

I didn’t know the guy work study long, but he was a gentle soul. And I hope he does well in his life.

The scarf-clad work study and I greet each other each time we work as each other’s “favorite person”. We snap each other (on Snapchat) and she still absolutely has a great taste in accessories. The thing is though, when I met her, I thought she was super affluent-because of the scarves. She’s one of the only people I’ve met since I moved to the capital that knows about Liberty’s Kids and Sagwa and PBS Kids television-hallmarks of the parental types who didn’t pay for cable because it was a waste of money. Her laughter, as I mentioned is super infectious, but it’s also sincere. And I love that-because so often there are reasons to forget how to be sincere. She’ll still be there in the fall, and I hope that I can stop by some time-because she makes my day so festive. Plus, she totally sang Happy Birthday to me in Swedish-and we all need to have a friend like that.

The newest coworker is (hooray!) going to have a baby in the fall, and I think that that makes me some bizarre form of fairy god-aunt, but titles schmitles. Her hair still rocks, even though she totally cut it all off. When she first came in, I was told that she was shy and that was about it. I’m here to tell you, that is a lie (thank goodness our snaps aren’t public-we’re a riot). We usually don’t end up working together, but when we do-not much work gets done because we are chatting and getting into trouble (probably), but everyone knows that we’ll get everything done along the way. She shares my delight of all things Tim Burton and she convinces me that it’s a great idea to order lunch so she doesn’t feel alone. We also absolutely will be running for president/vice president some day and it’ll be the most epic thing humanity has ever seen.

There are, as with any family, the extended members-the janitor lady who is always exceptionally nice-so we save her donuts and brownies and cake. She’s so nice and she even called to let us know that she’d be away for a few days because she sprained her hand. There’s the tech guy who has more fun hanging out with us than he does other tech guys, so we pull up a chair and listen to him talk about deli meat, life in Upper Arlington and crazy news about life in general. And of course, a host of faculty that will forever hold my favor.

I know that I was only there a short time, and that I have no reason to be so attached-but I am. They’ve been the support, the driving factor behind not flaming out of the big city. Any time I have a problem-with life, school or in general-I know that they can help. And I think that’s what family is. I can only hope that I may be so luck as to find a similar set up in law school, but I can’t hope for anything better, because my Anthropology family is the best there will ever be.

So I won’t say goodbye, because families don’t do that. I’ll just say that the next time I see them, I’ll be a lawyer/social worker and I’ll be ready to take on the world-just like each of them prepared me to do. I’ll miss them, I’ll think about them often, and I’ll carry this honor of having shared my time with them with me.

unconditionally and irrevocably in love…

with COFFEE.

tl;dr: I rant about my week in coffee and then tell you all the cool things I’m about to do.

This post will have no bearing on your day, on your wellbeing or really even on anything at all. Today, I’m giving myself the right to just write. And I want to tell you the story about this past week, as it pertains to my very favorite beverage.

So I stopped drinking soda (pop-whatever) at the beginning of the semester. I told my brother that we were going to compete for who could be the most healthy/fit by Christmas. So off the list it went. Since then, my only substantial form of caffeine has been coffee. And even before now, I’ve been a devoted coffee drinker. Since like 8th grade. It’s a huge part of my life, and I totally inherited it from my parents (who consume 2-3 POTS of coffee per DAY between them). And anyway, I drink tea, water and coffee. I still make my own in a little percolator and it’s great-saves me money, tastes fine, I customize it, everything’s wonderful.

So I went to the store a couple weeks ago and bought everything I thought I’d need for the month. I meticulously plan and so far, I’ve been spot on-except for one kinda important thing: creamer. I hadn’t realized I’d be so stressed theses last few weeks with law school and current school and all the things, so I’ve been pounding down the coffee like it’s an emergency-because for me, it was.

So long story short, I ran out of creamer. On Sunday. My busy schedule prevents me from just popping into the store in the mornings, and I’m exhausted at night (but could reasonably do so). I chose not to go Sunday. I chose, instead, to do a LOT of homework and get ahead. Monday, I lucked out and it was office coffee day. Excellent. Tuesday, I made a mocha-ish coffee out of black coffee and hot chocolate mix (no milk) and it was bitter and I didn’t like it, so I only drank half. Wednesday, I used part of my last giftcard to get Starbucks (becuase HOORAY). Thursday, I drank orange juice. FREAKING ORANGE JUICE. And I was exhausted the whole day. I got fairly nothing accomplished. It was awful. Friday, I asked my husband to grab me a coffee from the library before he went about his day. Yesterday, I tried my hardest to drink my coffee straight up, but I wasn’t built for that, so I just chugged water all day.

Today. Today I realized that I had a really problematic love-hate relationship with my coffee/creamer balance and went to the store specifically for just creamer. Now, thankfully, I live only a block or so from the store so it wasn’t that bad, but I battled Sunday-post-church traffic specifically for a bottle of creamer.

Anyway, I really wanted the Hershey’s Chocolate Caramel one, and it only comes in a small bottle, so I’ll be out again before the week is up. Which is a shame, but this is my very last week of undergrad, so I think it’ll be alright.

That’s right. I have exactly 7 days before I’m 100% done. I have 2 more finals (I did the rest last week) and then I’m done-one on Wednesday and one on Sunday (I know-a Sunday final????? But it means that when April is done, so am I).

And I know I did the alphabet review of my time in undergrad, but I think on my last day (just 7 days from today) I’m going to share with you all the letter I wrote to myself for when this day happened. I haven’t quite decided yet, but I think that if I make it public, then I’ll be able to come back to it-regardless of where I am.

Anyway, happy Sunday! Let the countdown begin.

Oh! Also!

I’ve got some epic-cool things happening VERY soon.

  1. I’m going to be hosting a raffle for Nico & Tucker: Full of fun prizes and swag
  2. I’m going to start writing for Channillo-finally get those stories pub’d
  3. I’m going to open an etsy store-where I can sell essential oil stuff and things
  4. If you’re interested in reading an ARC in exchange for writing a review (it can be short!) PLEASE let me know-I have a couple, in a few different genres. You’d really be helping me out. I market books for authors (so these are THEIR ARCs, not mine) and that’s how I pay for college and coffee.