Things I Cannot Do Smoothly Because of Anxiety

Most of the times my anxiety is not funny. When I am in the middle of a full blown panic attack, the last thing on my mind is laughing. But there are times when I am able to recognize just how ridiculous I am being.

There’s a constant struggle between two parts of my brain. One part won’t calm the fuck down cause it’s convinced that the world is about to end. The other part wishes it’s neighbor would stop freaking out because it just wants to go to sleep.

There are times when I worry about the most ridiculous shit. Shit that really does not need to be worried about. At times it prevents me from doing basic every day things. I still manage to do these things but it would go a whole lot smoother if I could just shut my brain off.

Here are just a few things that I am unable to do smoothly because of my anxiety.

Small talk with a stranger. Am I being annoying? I’m asking too many questions. Stop asking questions. Wait, what if I’m not asking enough questions. Find something to talk about. Except for the weather. Anything but the weather. “So, can you believe how cold it’s been?”

Have a go-with-the-flow relationship. There’s no “let’s just see how things go” with me. Either we’re doing this or not. I can’t spend time questioning where I stand. Even if you make it obvious, I need to hear you say the words, “We’re together.”

Have any kind of relationship for that matter. Haha, I was totally faking it before. If you do say we’re together, I’m still going to spend hours questioning where I stand.

Straighten my hair. Anytime I straighten my hair, I have this overwhelming fear that I will burn down my apartment. Numerous times I had to call my dad to go to my apartment and check my straightener. Then I started texting myself a photo of my unplugged straightener right before I left so I could reassure myself throughout the day. All of these tactics just weren’t enough. Now whenever I straighten my hair, I bring my straightener with me so I know for sure I didn’t leave it on and potentially burn down everything I own.

Go to sleep at a reasonable hour. You know what happens when I’m trying to go to sleep? I think of every little thing that has ever worried me in my entire life.

Watch any TV show that takes place in a hospital. Since I was little, I’ve had to avoid any TV show that takes place in a hospital. ER, House, Grey’s Anatomy. Can’t watch any of them. I’m a paranoid person on a regular day. If I watch a hospital show, I’ll spend the next 72 hours convinced that I have the Plague.

Read or watch the news. I know keeping up with current events is important. And I do it from time to time so I’m aware of what’s going on and so I don’t look like a complete idiot. But I do not enjoy it at all! The news has always been scary and depressing but right now, it’s almost unbearable.

Ten Books to Lose Yourself In

Last week was a bitch! I have so much to say about the outcome of the election but then nothing to say as well. I almost wrote several different posts since last Wednesday. I was never able to really find the right words to express how I’m feeling.

The hatred I’ve seen on display by so many Americans has been disheartening. I’m scared for the future. And I’m saddened by the division. We all need a lesson on kindness. And we need to realize that you don’t fight intolerance with intolerance.

There’s so much more I can say about my feelings from last week but I won’t. I can imagine that everyone has heard enough already. But I also couldn’t bring myself to go back to writing unimportant posts as if nothing has happened. So I’m going to do something a little different this post.

I promise that I’ll go back to posting rants about adulting being really hard but for now I wanna leave you with this:

When life starts to get overwhelming and scary, you can find solace in books. Here are ten books that I recommend to lose yourself in when your FB newsfeed becomes terrifying.

Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling – If you’ve never read it, read it! If you’ve read it already, read it again!

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – This book is terrifying. What makes it so terrifying is how believable it actually is.

Youth in Revolt by C.D. Payne – This is the most ridiculous book I’ve ever read and I mean that in the best way possible.

Matilda by Roald Dahl – The ultimate book for people who love books.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone series by Laini Taylor – I read this book when I was tired of the typical YA trilogies. You should read this book if you’re also tired of the typical YA trilogies.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – I have tried, unsuccessfully, to get friends to read this book. Maybe my lovely readers will listen to me.

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn – This book is a mind fuck and I love it.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Want a crash course on race in America? Read this book.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon – This book is long but don’t let that stop you; it’s AMAZING! It’s one of those books that you never want to end.

Persuasion by Jane Austen – Everyone is all about Pride and Prejudice but this is my favorite book by Ms. Austen.

My Obligatory Election Post

I wasn’t going to post this. I think by now we’ve all had enough election talk for at least the next 20 years. But before we find out who the new president is, there are a few things I need to say. (And what better platform than my blog? No one can stop me here or tell me to shut up.)

This has been the longest election ever and it’s FINALLY over. But not really.

Both candidates running for president are incredibly flawed. There’s no right choice here. I’m not going to spend this time talking up one candidate over the other. By this point, you’ve either already cast your vote or know who will be getting it.

My biggest issue with this entire election has been the division it’s caused. On one side, you’re an uneducated, ignorant racist. On the other side, you’re stupid and lazy.

A while back I made a post where I called all the people on my FB newsfeed posting about politics stupid and annoying. A family member called me out and said he took offense to being called stupid. He had a point. There was a hidden message there that anyone whose political views did not align with mine, is stupid and annoying. Shitty mentality to have.

Within the last month or so, the same family member has posted numerous memes about Democrats being stupid and unemployed, and suggesting that men voting for Hillary aren’t “real men.” Again, a shitty mentality to have.

It becomes a problem when we decide to group people into categories. Conservative or Liberal. Democrat or Republican. That’s not how the world works. That’s not how people work.

People. Human beings. Throughout this entire election, we’ve forgotten that “redneck Trump supporters,” “idiotic millenials,” “illegal aliens,” etc. are all human beings.

I’m about to get real hippie on you guys but hear me out. No matter who wins the election tonight, (or tomorrow morning depending when this thing is finally all said and done) we all need to live together in one country. We could have the greatest president these next four years (spoiler alert: we’re not going to have the greatest president) but none of it will matter if we’re so divided.

We need to learn to listen to one another better. We need to recognize that every single person has their own ideas and thoughts. There isn’t a perfect Conservative/Republican mold or Liberal/Democratic mold.

I know people who are conservative. I know people who are liberal. I know people who are Republican. I know people who are Democrat. I am friends with all of these people because these labels don’t define them. They are just a sliver of what makes them them.

So how about starting tomorrow we all start being a little kinder to one another. We all start listening to one another and trying to see the other side of an issue.

But as for tonight, you all have my permission to down a bottle of wine and fall asleep in a puddle of your own tears! God Bless!

Let’s Talk About Political Correctness

Political Correctness (PC) has been quite the buzzword this past year in the U.S. We’ve become too PC. We are sensitive babies. PC culture is ruining the country.

Considering that my views on social issues lean towards the left, this may come as a shock to you, but I partially agree with the critiques regarding this country and political correctness. I do think that we have become a little too sensitive at times. There is some Internet outrage every hour. And this outrage is usually directed towards something so insignificant.

I think a common misconception with PC culture is that it’s just the people on the left crying foul. Sorry but the overreacting plagues the entire country and all its inhabitants. (Finally something we are all on the same page with: being sensitive babies!)

The design of a Starbucks cup. A football player kneeling. The phrase “Happy Holidays.” In a time when our country is facing some really big issues, these are some of the things that people tend to cry out about.

So yes, in general, our country has become too sensitive. It shouldn’t matter whether a mall decides to put up a Christmas tree or not. A comedian shouldn’t be required to go on an apology tour because they made an off-color joke.

If when you refer to PC culture getting out of control, you’re referring to Apple replacing the gun emoji with a water gun, then I agree with you. I’m a girl who doesn’t think rape jokes should be banned. Do I think they’re funny? No. I also don’t find Aids jokes funny. What do I do if someone makes a joke about one of those subjects? Not laugh. I don’t research the person’s job so I can have them fired.

But let’s talk about what many people mean when they talk about PC culture, particurlay the walking Cheeto in the above gif.

Being tolerant of ALL religions and  nationalities is not ruining this country. Allowing two consenting adults to marry the person they love is not ruining this country. Letting people explore their sexual orientation and gender because it literally doesn’t affect you in any way is not ruining the country.

Don’t cry and hide behind “political correctness” when you’re really just angry that PC Culture doesn’t allow you to be racist, homophobic, or sexist.

Money Can Buy Happiness

Shut up i'm rich

Money Can’t Buy Happiness. A while ago on this blog I made some comments about my least favorite sayings. I completely dropped the ball on that post. I did not include my least favorite saying of all time: Money Can’t Buy Happiness. What a load of crock that is!

Before you start with the whole “even the richest person could be depressed” nonsense, I’m going to stop you. I get what the saying is supposed to mean. Love and family and inner peace…all that crap is what truly makes a life rich. Rich people have problems too. But here’s the thing, I’d rather take rich people problems than poor people problems any day of the week.

Money really can’t buy happiness? I dunno, having health insurance and a roof over your head and a warm bed to sleep in will make people happy. You know what all those things cost? Money!

Kenny Powers Dollar, Dollar Bills yall

Call me materialistic all you want, but here are just a few things that would make me oh so happy. If only I had the money to afford them.

1. Putting guacamole on my burrito bowl wouldn’t even be a question.

2. My fries would ALWAYS come with cheese on them.

3. I’d never have to wait in traffic to take the bridge. I can slide on over to the fast lane to the tunnel cause who cares about tolls?

4. There’d never be a scramble to find an ATM to take out money when I need cash. I’ll just use my credit card and pay that extra $0.10 a gallon.

5. Speaking of ATMs, I would be able to go to any one I want. No need to worry about paying that $3.00 service fee.

6. Having to wait a week for the sale to start before I can buy ice cream would be a thing of the past.

7. I could order all the take-out I want, all the time, and never have to cry about my life savings going to pizza.

8. Speaking of pizza: Unlimited Toppings!!!

9. Getting dessert after every meal would always happen.

10. And I realize that the majority of these have to do with food but here’s another thing I could get if money wasn’t an option: a personal trainer.

All the Things I’ve Wanted to Tell You These Past Three Years

Everyday at least one thing occurs that I would have wanted to tell you about. It could be something that happened with me or something that I saw. More often than not it’s something funny Daniel or Lucas did that I know you’d love.

Speaking of Daniel and Lucas, you would love them so much. You’d get a kick out of all the boys. I feel bad for them because they’re going to grow up without you. I always tell Christopher how lucky he is that he got to spend the first six years of his life with you.

He misses you a lot. We all do.

A lot has happened the three years since you’ve been gone. I hope you’re proud of me. I always think about that letter you left me where you encouraged me to always follow my dreams. I haven’t followed all those dreams yet but I’m working on it.

All the things I’ve accomplished the past year were a little bittersweet. Things aren’t the same if I can’t share them with you.

You were my person. The one I always wanted to tell everything.

I’m sorry I don’t talk to you as much I want to. I want to believe that someway you can hear me but it’s not easy. But I hope with all my heart that you can. I hope that you’re still out there somewhere and that you’re happy.

I hope you look down on the family you had to leave with pride. Sorry that we’re not quite as close as we were when you were alive. But we’re trying.

I’m sorry that sometimes an entire day goes by that I don’t think about you. But you’re always in my heart.

And sorry that I’m apologizing so much. I know you’d hate that and tell me to stop being ridiculous.

I just have so many things that I’d love to say to you if I were given one more chance to see you. But the most important thing I want to tell you is that I miss you. All the time. I miss your face. I miss your laugh. I miss your smile. I miss your cooking. I miss watching TV with you. I miss playing cards. I miss our trips to the supermarket. I miss venting to you. I miss your advice.

I miss you.

It’s the Little Things in Life

Last year, 2015, was one of the most difficult and stressful years of my life.

I had to move in with my dad and share a room with my younger sister. I was working a part-time job that required about 3 hours of travel a day to get to and from. This job barely paid me enough to afford the dollar menu at McDonald’s. And I was also finishing up grad school which included writing a 60-page thesis.

It was really hard for me to focus on anything other than the bad times. I felt like I had hit rock bottom. I felt like I was unhappy and stressed out all the time. If someone had asked me about some of the good times from 2015, it would be really hard for me to think of a single instance.

But there were good times. There were a lot of good times.

New Year’s Day of 2015, the first day of my incredibly shitty year, my sisters and I created a happiness jar. We decorated a mason jar. The mason jar would hold all my happiest memories for the year. Any moment or event of 2015 that made us exceptionally happy would be written about on a piece of paper and then placed in the jar. The idea was to read all the happy memories on New Year’s Day of 2016 to remind ourselves of all the good times throughout the year.

Before opening that jar on January 1st, 2016, if anyone had asked me how my 2015 was, I would have responded quickly with, “It was really stressful and not so great.”

However, all those memories I placed in my happiness jar throughout the year told a different story. They didn’t focus on the late nights spent writing papers or the depressed early mornings spent riding on a train to a job that paid next to nothing.

The jar was a nice reminder that 2015 wasn’t nearly as bad as I imagined. I had a lot of great moments in 2015. From my trip to California to random lunches with my sister to celebrating my nephew’s birthday, numerous things brought me incredible joy during the year. I was so busy between jobs and schoolwork that I didn’t have time to think about all the little moments that made life great.

And that’s how life always is. It’s the big moments, whether good or bad, that get all the credit. Getting married, births, deaths, graduations, lay offs, new jobs, etc. These BIG moments are the ones that get all the focus.

However, it’s all the little moments in between that make the big moments so significant.

People often describe their wedding day as one of the greatest days of their lives. And while that might be true, there were so many wonderful random days or moments that let up to that one big day. The first date. First kiss. First time you realized you were in love. The day he came over with soup and your favorite movie cause you were sick.

All those little moments that you don’t give much thought to are what really make life worthwhile. The moments that are easily forgotten when life becomes too busy (AKA when life is life).

When the majority of life is spent waking up, getting ready for work, going to work, coming home, and then getting ready to do it all over again the next day, it’s only natural that the big moments are the ones that stand out. The nights you spent staying up much later than you should have with your favorite people can easily be forgotten. But those moments are the real ones to cherish.

With New Year’s Eve just around the corner (Don’t make a face. It’s already the end of September. 2017 is going to be here before we know it), I challenge you to start your own happiness jar. Or shoebox. Or kitchen drawer. Wherever you want to store those memories. Just do it!

It’ll be a nice reminder of the moments that truly matter. And also remind you that life is a lot more amazing than we give it credit.