My Own Version

When I was little(r), my dad told me that I shouldn’t dye my hair because it was bad for me. I told him that it was my hair, and that if he didn’t like it, he didn’t have to wear it everyday. I look back at that and laugh. I was so stubborn, so convinced that I knew what was right for myself that I resorted to a simplistic sort of logic.

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(I’m the one with her mouth wide flipping open haha.) I went to prom that year as Cinderella. Literally. But while we’re looking, quick shout out to my beautiful friend: Amber for putting up with me since we were chill’uns. This is literally one of my favorite pictures from high school.

Anyway, I don’t want to flood this post with nostalgic pictures of me, but darn it, my hair looked so great in high school. Look:

See? I really did go as Cinderella. And the bottom right is my favorite picture. The top right is what happened after I dyed it again.

I’ve always done things my own way. Even if that means that I gather some really negative feedback. My hair was literally the most rebellious thing I have ever done. I have never done drugs, I didn’t taste champagne until I was 17 (from my parents’s glass at a wedding) and I didn’t have my first glass of wine until a week after my 21st birthday. I didn’t drive illegally, I almost always made curfew and I basically stayed out of trouble and did homework. But I needed to express myself the only way I knew how: artistically.

I’ve been in college since January 2012. I will be done in May 2020 (with ALL my schooling) and I have to say, since I started school and had jobs, I’ve been pretty much plain.I go to class, I go to work, my clothes grow more “professional” each year and a little less “punk-grunge-emo”. I’ve added weight when I added classes and I grow more “adult” with each passing day. But I crave the way I used to feel. Indestructible, flawless, powerful. I had problems. I was a little caterpillar struggling to fit in my cocoon. But I knew I just had to emerge and be beautiful. And now I struggle for the fierce me that I used to be.

So the thing is, I put off taking “care’ of myself for the future, when I regain control of my life. I’ll buy new clothes when I lose weight. I’ll get that tattoo I’ve been talking about for years when I graduate. I’ll work out more right after this stomach flu/period cycle/bad day is over. And suddenly I’ve reached the point where the out-of-control feeling is starting to look like I controlled myself right out of the life I wanted. I talk about self-care a bit, and I mean every word. But I guess I always interpret it as physical or emotional care. But mental and material care are really important too.

I always tell myself that I can’t do what I want because it will cost me something in the future. I can’t get my tattoos because no employer will hire me. I can’t keep piercing my ears for the same reason. I can’t be unprofessional because I won’t be as valued by society.

And then I thought about how many stupid times a day I stand in my own way. I literally control myself to the point that I have become an abusive relationship WITH MYSELF.No wonder I wake up spiraling because I feel trapped!

Here’s the most recent picture of me. Notice the rounder face, the longer hair that is basically the most natural color I’ve had since I was in 8th grade. (Doing my civic duty, no less!)

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This story does have one perk though!

Although I feel oftentimes that life is pushing me into the mainstream adulting model, I know that it’s not the end of the world. And if more people take what I have to say seriously, then I will keep my straight-laced, no shenanigans me. Because I know that I will change the world, I just haven’t gotten there yet.

Maybe this summer will find me with carefree hair and hair chalk. Maybe I’ll keep the long hair and just work out or something. At the end of the day, it just matters that I love the person I am-regardless of the consequences. Maybe I’ve just been scared to not love myself enough. And that must change. I have to regain my ability to do things my own way or risk losing the fabulous person I’ve worked so hard to become.

You Cannot Possibly

There is a professor, whom I have not had, but I will try my hardest to before I leave campus. He speaks with an accent that I cannot identify, but there are no malicious thoughts that pour from it. Several times a week he will bring in chocolates or donuts or the like and pass them out, or leave them for people to indulge in. Upon asking why he did so, the man answered,

“I’m collecting favors.”

He of course laughed about it, and as I said, he is in no way bitter about life. But when asked for a second time his answer was a little different.

“You cannot possibly be having a bad day when there is chocolate.”

And I appreciate that. I may not always take what is offered, but I can say that they way that he cares about the wellbeing of the office, the way that he seems so chipper all the time, that infectious spirit makes all the difference. 

I remember watching a video interview of a woman who was in a camp during the holocaust, talking about how her mother was able to bring two pieces of chocolate to the camp for her and how she ended up giving her piece to a pregnant woman after she birthed her child. The woman was later greeted in life by that very same child who then in turn gave her a piece of chocolate. I remember watching intently when the woman said her mother told her that she would save the chocolate for a moment when they really felt hopeless.

It would seem that perhaps there are a million reasons in which to bring chocolate into a moment: to regain hope, strength, to lighten the mood or to bring joy to someone. But I think it is the act of giving with the intention of making someone smile that has the greatest meaning.

  

Every Word’s The Same

I have to say

There seems to be a miscommunication

I thought secrets were for the living

But the only secrets are kept in death

If every second lasted just a second longer

Maybe the trust I thought I deserved 

Would shatter before my eyes

Instead of behind my back

My shoulder blades itch, 

Could you move the knife up and to the left?

Or should I just fall on my face

The beauty of the fall is my disgrace

Is that your heartbeat

Or is it just the echo of a chest that’s hollow

Because you’ve been a tin man your whole life

And I guess that makes me the one without courage.

It takes a tribe to raise a kid, but 

Maybe it was a village of idiots.

You thought you were so clever, so sweet

That I could save you from your own disasters 

You should have looked for a parachute

Because this plane’s about to go down.

I never thought it’d come down to this

A thief and a liar, oh but the twist,

We are the same, you and I

Connected by the handcuffed scars on our wrist.

  (Photo from Pinterest!) 

Thankfulness, Day 17

Where does the time go? We’re already almost done with the month, which means almost the end of the year (and the birthday of my husband and I). Today, I’m going ot come right out and say it: I’m thankful for stories.

I’m a sucker for a well-crafted story. I will stay up all night reading, I’ve been so in love with books that I’ll forget to eat, take them with me to use the rest room and all manner of devotions. But the thing I love about them most, is the way they stick with me.

Romeo and Juliet. Pride and Prejudice. Warm Bodies. Twilight. The Vampire Diaries. Sherlock. iZombie. Cinder. A Game of Thrones. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. F-R-I-E-N-D-S. 

I can tell you how each of these impacted my life, my outlook in some way or another and this is only the stuff I came up with in the first thirty seconds of thinking. Because I can come up with loads more. I promise.

A good story makes you remember what it’s like to be yourself while being someone else. A good story makes you forget yourself in order to be someone else. A good story makes you feel emotions that aren’t yours, recall details from the past which may or may not be “real” and makes you connect. But it is a great story that makes you do all those things while getting you to forget that all of that is found in the pages of a book.

Reading transforms you. You are no longer hunched in a chair, sipping on coffee. You aren’t even turning the pages. You’re witnessing heroic feats from the back of dragons, taking refreshment at an exclusive estate. You’re a willing participant in the greatest theater of all: your own mind. Because in the end, opening a great book is something that sticks with you. It makes you read just one more chapter even though you needed to get to sleep hours ago. 

And if I’m going on and on about books, why did I include TV shows and adaptations?

Because those have the possibility to alter your reality too. A great movie/TV show knows when to harbor secrets and when to pull out all the stops. A great movie/show will get you hooked with one liners and insider jokes. A great movie/show will cause you to forget that you have things to do, because you get to find out what happened to the characters at the end of the next episode (unless you’re waiting to find out what happened to Glenn, and then you’ll probably need to bathe and eat because it’s going to take a while). A great movie/ show will lead you to fall in love with that one character, and even though you know it’s a fictional character, if you ever met them in real life, they’d be your soul-mate, for sure. And just as you think you’ve seen it all, you watch that scene. You know, that scene and your world crashes down around you. You don’t understand how it is that anything will ever be the same and you think you might just have to give up watching it because it wouldn’t be right. But you come back anyway, because you just have to know what happens next.

And as the credits roll, the last paragraph on the last page comes to an end, it’s like saying goodbye. You know that you could alwyas go back to the beginning, but you know too much, you already know what’s going to happen. But you can’t live without the thrill of a good read/show/movie and you start over. You notice things that you didn’t before. Things that make you scream out SO THAT’S WHAT THAT WAS. And it’s like living the moments for the first time all over again.

It is those shows/books/movies that I refer to today. And I am fairly certain that without them, the world would be a much lonelier, boring place.

Thankfulness, Day 16

Today I am thankful. That’s what I set out to do, afterall. I wanted to change my attitude about the way I saw the world, just as I vow to do every year. And whether I’m thankful for abstract concepts or things which are very much concrete, I try to keep those ideals in my head, remembering the reasons why I’m thankful for them in the first place. Today, I could not find a concrete thing, so I went for the abstract. But before I get to what it is exactly, I think I want to share a story.

When I was a child and the all powerful “they” asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was a coroner. I was reprimanded for that answer, and was told that being a doctor was something I should want to focus on instead. I was five.

When I was in elementary school, I told people that I could heal them with leaves and would go around placing frsh picked leaves on any scrapes and injuries there were. I was then informed about germs and germ theory, and how there were things in motion about the way the body healed itself that I didn’t understand. I was 9. 

When I was in middle school, I thought I wanted to play volleyball. Although the season was tough, I lasted through it. I even become a valued player. I was told that quitters will never succeed and that even if I was completely miserable, I was not supposed to give up. I was supposed to suffer through it. (This advice did NOT come from my parents, but rather from the mother of another player.) I was 13.

When I was in high school, I assumed I could change the world and save everyone in it. I lost countless hours of sleep, cried with other people, uplifted spirits who were torn to shreds. It is then that I learned that if you really want to help someone, they have to want to hep themselves. I had been a pawn in the lives of people who soon forgot about my efforts, even though I never forgot about them. I was 15.

When I went to college, I thought it would be just like high school-something I could easily succeed at if I just paid attention. How wrong I again was. College broke through my assumptions an pinned me to the wall, beating me for my metaphorical lunch money. It was then that I learned that sometimes I will just know nothing. I was 18.

When I got married, I thought it would be just like dating, only my private life would become, you know-private. But it was then that I learned the true power of gossip. I was 21.

I’ve never fit into the mold neatly, or even altogether willingly. I’ve been too much of some things and not enough of others. People have used me as a way to see their own ends, just as I have done so to others. I have been to the depths of my soul, broken down by the hurtful words of bullies, who didn’t understand that the number on the scale, or the one which represented my bank account were not the things which defined me as a person. I have heard the hateful words of wellwishers, pushing me down paths that were more acceptable because it wasn’t right for “someone so gifted to be so morbid”. I have heard the lessons, felt the sting and have risen from my past, more alive than before.

Today, I am thankful that I was never quite right. I was always too much, or not enough. My heart came too big, just like my waistline and my bank account was never full enough. That I spent too much time hearing the cries of others and not enough time quelling slander directed at tearing me down. Am I perfect? Hardly! Am I bulletproof? Not a chance! I’m not a robot and words do hurt. But what I am is myself, and in then end, all that happened simply led me to be who I wanted to be-for all the exactly right reasons.   

  

The One With All The Problems

I’ve been trying to come up with a blog that isn’t preachy or condescending or depressing or overly critical, and I’ve come short almost every time. I know that my interests and passions are not those of others, and I respect that there are people out there with different opinions. I try to be understanding and accommodating of those differences. We all have different backgrounds, different vantage points and different futures. Each of them is valid and it is something of a marvel, truly. 

And then I remembered that this is my blog, and if I want to complain or preach or whatever else it is that I so choose, I can. I do not live in a country where I feel the need to be afraid of my words and ideas, and for that I will always be thankful. And it is with that in mind, that I would like to engage in a soapbox rant. But first, a little side note: I chose the title, because I’ve been binge watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S. in my spare time (when I have some) and I have a little bit of a nostaliga problem. Anyway.

If you say you are going to do something, do it. If you claim to be an adult, act like it. If you live in the apartment below ours and you feel like having a party in the middle of the night in the middle of the week, grow up!

But I guess that’s all besides the point, isn’t it? I mean, my real frustration right now isn’t necessarily the lack of responsibility shown by a lot of people, it’s the general lack of respect and common decency.

My parents were not perfect, are not perfect. But I know that. And as an adult, I know that they gave it their very best, every day. But the one thing I am exceptionally grateful for is the fact that no matter what they tried to teach me (I was a stubborn child), the lesson that stuck was respect. So naturally, growing up in a small town, with small town values and settings and friends, I grew a little too fond of the way we all knew each other’s parents and values. Some got a little rebellious, and that, I suppose you could say happens. There are also the people from that small town who never understood what it meant to be considerate and respectful.

I’m not perfect, and I will always be the very first person to admit that. The stubborn streak I had as a child, it only grew and with it, little spurts of anger accompanied by a large amount of ranting. But I know that when someone asks me to keep a secret, I do. When someone needs a hand, I lend one. When someone needs an ear to bend, a kind word or a healthy dose of reality, I am there 100%. Sometimes I need those things too. But I’ve found that outside of some of those lasting friendships I made in the small town I grew up in, not too many people understand that.

It’s all take and no give. And I can’t seem to wrap my head around that. 

 You see, the thing is that of all the things I listed up top about “understanding”, not having a code of conduct which follows a general “Don’t be a dick.” guidelines doesn’t make sense to me. How is it that you cannot seem to understnad that being an adult means being responsible, but also so much more than that. It means understanding that you aren’t the only person in the whole wide world who matters. It means working toward a compromise instead of calling in someone older or bigger than you to solve your problems for you. It means helping out, even when you think you are better than the task at hand (In which case you NEED to be helping out). Being an adult was never about a show for power-that’s being a child. Being an adult means taking the hard way every time so that you will be refined into a success story.

I also don’t understand people who leech off of their parents even though they are “adults”. My parents, whom I love, were not exceptionally wealthy while I was growing up. They worked hard for everything we had, and I saw that. I may not have always understood, but I do now. When I was an only child, I remember Christmases where presents stacked almost higher than the tree. When I turned 4, my brother had just been born and I was still well-gifted. By the time I was 8, my sister had been born, and there was a slight change in Christmas. By the time my brother and I were teenagers, Christmas was more intimate, more family oriented. And you know what? I knew at the age of 15 that my parents were working harder than ever to make sure we had everything we needed, let alone what we wanted. I understood. 

And when I went to college, I moved out on my own. I understood why life was so hard. Money comes from 16 hour shifts three days in a row, followed by a full day of classes, homework and then more work. It doesn’t just appear, it (like respect) has to be earned. When someone who didn’t understand that got in between my boyfriend (who is now my husband) and I from moving to a new apartment, I spent my  21st and 22nd birthdays back with my parents. It just so happened that my husband and I needed to move closer to campus and found two other college students who did as well and we all became roommates.

I’ve met people since then who need their parents for just one thing-money. They go out to eat every day, buy things they don’t need and have no time for, waste resources that could be conserved. I watch people, you see. And it greatly influences my perception on the world. Or maybe it just increases how confused I am by it. And there continues to be more confusion.

I spent my first year of undergrad thinking I wanted to be a pediatric oncologist. I had the grades, the study habits and the desire. A year later, I thought I wanted to be a nurse, because that was who I felt would help the most people. A year later, I settled into anthropology. I didn’t pick it for the fame or the recognition or the reasons I wanted to be a doctor or nurse. I picked it because, well, it picked me. And now, I get to look at cultures-but more specifically, I get to look at religious hate crimes and religious extremism (as well as the occult and all things mythological and religion based).

But why am I telling you all this? Because I have come across quite a few kinds of people in my short time on this planet, and I have only ever found three types I didn’t understand.

1. The ones who don’t know how to respect someone else, have some decency and responsibilty.

2. The ones who use thier parents for money, and cannot stand on their own.

3. The ones who are so filled with hate that they cannot fathom each other as equals.

When I look around, I see huan beings, filled with potential, open to the world. And it hurts my heart to see people hate so much that they do not see it too. It hurts my heart that there are people who only look out for themselves, their own best interests. I don’t understand, and I feel like maybe that’s okay.

  

This Little Ear of Mine

Well, I apologize, my friendly neighborhood reading community, that I have not been the blogging bee that I usually am.

As I guess I expected, my eardrum busted. Not fully the first time, but last night I got a full perforation. So now I can hear half as well as I could before and I mean, I’m gonna use this to develop my Daredevil and lip reading skills. 

So while I take a pause in my blogging, I want you all to know I’m working on my super heroine skills and I will return soon. 

Until my ear stops ringing,

M. 

Unless

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

I’ve been stewing on this quote for a while, brought to you by the great Dr. Seuss in The Lorax. I think on it often. And lately, it just bubbles to the surface, like life is trying to teach me that lesson.

The think about getting comfortable in my skin is that I’m not comfortable. But I’m comfortable with that. I’m so depressed I can barely breathe or I’m so manic I can barely take a breath. Or, in the moments between, I’m so empty that it’s like the breath has been knocked out of me. (See a common theme here?)

What I know is that life is hard. It’s hard in general, but there are things that make it harder. Invisible illnesses, visible illnesses, being different that society deems appropriate, being unique. Life comes at you with brutal force that knocks you down, and just keeps kicking. It takes you by surprise (and not always in the nice way) and brings you to the depths of your abilities. It gives, it takes and you are left to cope.

It’s a very exciting life that keeps me guessing. I wake up and find some days that I can’t get a hold on life quite yet and I wake up some days and grab life by the reigns. Other days I feel like life has gotten away from me. But that’s why this quote comes back to me.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if I’m depressed so majorly that I feel life leaving me. It doesn’t matter if I’m so apathetic that I just pass the day in a blur. It doesn’t matter if I’m so manic that I don’t sleep for a week and process everything at lightning speed.

What matters is that I always look for another day. 

The sun will rise again.

So, as I pass through the land of no feelings and into the land of (hypo)mania, I smile. Not because I’m happy, but because I know that unless I wait for another sunrise, unless I keep trying to get a handle on life, it will not get better.

I hope all you lovely folks have a beautiful day. _/|\_