Life Lessons

Being the Bigger Person Sucks

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*Full disclosure:  This is going to be a long winded post full of angry complaints.

Back in March, I moved out of my apartment into a new one. Moving can be incredibly stressful. I wasn’t looking forward to moving yet again. But I knew it would be worth it. My older sister recently bought a home that came equipped with a one bedroom apartment on the second floor. The new place would be brighter than my old apartment, cheaper, and I’d be practically living with my sister and my adorable nephews.

And best of all, I’d be escaping my dreadful old apartment.  This apartment was a disaster in so many ways. It was a side apartment in a home, so I was renting from the family who owned the home. From the family to the conditions of the apartment when I moved in, I never had an actual moment of peace in my old apartment.

I briefly mentioned this in a previous post about moving and making horrible choices. When I first moved into the apartment, it was insanely dirty. I had to spend a good week scrubbing the place for hours after work each night before I was able to move in comfortably.

So I started off in my apartment with a bad taste in my mouth, and things just got worse from there. The wife in this family was a monster. Thankfully, I never experienced her wrath personally, but it didn’t mean I was immune to it. I would wake up at all hours of the night to the wife screaming uncontrollably to her husband. The screaming did not stop during the day. During the day, it was directed towards her kids and then her husband some more when he would come home from work. The only time I had peace in my apartment was when the owners were on vacation.

Then there were the bugs! One fateful summer night, I noticed a flying ant on the wall of my bedroom. I freaked out a little, killed it immediately, but thought nothing of it. It was the summer. Bugs finding their way into the home is inevitable. Then around midnight, I went to the bathroom. When I came back, I saw a few more flying ants. Then I noticed a scratching noise by the window. I pulled aside my curtains and saw a swarm of flying ants right outside my bedroom window.

I packed a bag and fled my apartment as fast I could. Now my landlords are pretty horrible people but thankfully they have their limits. As soon as they knew of the problem, it was handled. However, it doesn’t change the fact that I had to flee my apartment in the middle of the night. I was also incredibly understanding about the whole situation and didn’t demand a thing from my landlords. (Knowing what I know now, I should have refused to pay half month’s rent.)

With all the above being said, it’s no surprise that I was beyond happy to be changing my living situation. Little did I know this was just the beginning of my problems.

My landlords were supposed to mail me my security deposit after I moved out. Three weeks pass and still no check in the mail. After spending an entire weekend attempting to reach my landlords, I finally get a text back that it’s in the mail and should arrive shortly. Another week passes and still no check. After talking with my landlord again, it’s determined that the check must be “lost” in the mail (AKA it was never mailed out). She told me she’d leave it in the mailbox for me to pick up later that day.

Thankfully when I arrived at the mailbox, the check was there ($200 less than what it should have been), and it was accompanied with a letter. A poorly written letter filled with lies.

My lovely landlord determined that I caused thousands of dollars worth of damage, but out of the kindness of her heart she only deducted $200 from my security deposit to be fair.  (I recognized the $200 deduction for what it was: it was just the right amount to sting but not enough for me to really cause trouble over.)

Spoiler: I did not cause thousands of dollars in damage. If anything, I left that apartment in better condition because it was actually clean.

The best part is that my former landlord claimed the apartment smelled of cigarette smoke. Aside from the two puffs I had in the 6th grade to look cool, I have never smoked a cigarette in my life.

When I first got the letter, I was livid. After ranting and raving to my sister, bf and anyone else who would listen, I sat down at my computer to write my own letter. This letter let my landlord know what I felt about her grammatically-challenged letter and how living under her household for the past year crushed my soul.

I basically let her know all the ways I thought she was a horrible human being.

I never sent the letter. I wanted to. And sometimes I still do. But I recognize there isn’t much of a point. One of three things will happen:

1. It gets lost in the mail. If this happens, I’ll never actually know if it was received. There is no satisfaction in this scenario.
2. She gets the letter, reads it, doesn’t recognize her horrible traits laid out for her, assumes I’m just bitter, and throws the letter away. Once again, this scenario brings me no satisfaction.
3. She gets the letter and immediately becomes as irate as I did when I received my letter. She decides to contact me to retaliate for my letter. This scenario just brings me headache and drama.

So I left the letter sitting in my drafts untouched. I decided to be the bigger person, but it doesn’t feel good. There is a huge part of me that still wants to give her a piece of my mind.

If I ever run into her, I can’t promise my bigger person stance will last. That will probably result in a whole new post.

Stay tuned!

Things I’d Like to Do in Theory Only

In my head, I am a wonderful person. I have all these grand ideas on what type of person I’d like to be. This imaginative idea of myself is always cheerful, is put-together, exercises, and never leaves things on her to-do list left undone.

I attempt to live up to these standards but nine out of ten times I fail. I don’t go to sleep early enough at night. I don’t eat healthy enough. Some mornings I don’t even have enough time to brush my hair before walking out the door.

This ideal Liz also stays up-to-date with this blog. She regularly posts new articles. When she thinks of something new to write about, she immediately gets to her laptop and starts typing away. She doesn’t have dozens of unfinished drafts.

Unfortunately, you guys are stuck with the real Liz and I am sorry about that. The real Liz has the best intentions. She just falls short. I always say I want to write in here at least once a week but life seems to get in the way. If I’m not too busy to post, then I’m too tired to post.

I am going to try my hardest to keep up with this blog from now on. There is so much I want to write about. I just need to find the time to write.

I realize now that I will fail. There will be weeks and even months where I push off writing here. Just know that this blog is not the only thing real life Liz puts off and doesn’t follow through with. There’s a long list of things. In my head, I’m a great person. In reality, not so much.

In an ideal world, I’d be the type of person who…

Goes shopping on Sunday and prepares food for the week. Who never lets food go to waste and winds up buying lunch the whole week.

Wakes up early enough every morning to leave the house with my hair done and makeup on.

Keeps up-to-date with current events and always knows about the latest news or scandal.

Makes time to fit at least 30 minutes of exercise in my routine daily.

Doesn’t eat brownies and ice cream for dinner.

Is able to always have time for work, family, friends, my bf, and myself.

Actually donates their time to a worthwhile cause and not just think about it.

Doesn’t just pin a million recipes but actually cooks them.

Always has a tidy apartment. Clothes are always put away, dishes are never left in the sink.

Doesn’t just talk/think about all the things they want to do or the type of person they want to be. I would just do.

I really gotta start working harder to live up to the standards of fictional Liz.

Things I’ve Come to Terms with at 31

I turned 31 a few weeks ago. For the most part I have come to terms with my “old age.” The number is just going to get higher so I should stop fighting it. I did have a very small breakdown about officially being in my thirties but overall I dealt with it. Entering a new decade has definitely had its perks.

Your twenties are all about trying out new things and finding out who you are as a person. Want to move to a different place every year? That’s what your twenties are for.

Your thirties are a lot more mellow. Don’t get me wrong. I still want to try new things. There are plenty of places I still want to visit. Hobbies I still want to pickup. Books I eventually want to write. But my thirties have definitely shown me that there are quite a few things in my life that are set. I plan on spending my thirties embracing the little things that make me who I am and stop trying to change them.

Staying up all night will never happen again. This one makes me a little sad. When I was younger, “breaking night” while having a sleepover was one of my favorite things to do. Now, the idea of staying awake the entire night is torturous. A sunrise is a sunrise. I don’t need to see it. Let me sleep.

I will never dance well. This always used to be something I was embarrassed of: my horrendous dancing skills. Sadly, I was never blessed with rhythm but I am done fighting it. Next dance party I attend, I’m letting my inner-Elaine run free without any fear of judgment.

Being sexy will never come natural to me. This isn’t a self-deprecating comment. I am not saying that I’m never sexy. My boyfriend thinks I’m sexy. However, if I actively try to be sexy, I have the opposite effect. A striptease from me is a ball of awkward and will most likely end with me somehow getting stuck in my lingerie in a fit of laughter.

I will never enjoy exercising or eating healthy. I am still going to do it. Since I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more and more concerned about exercising and eating healthy. I’ll continue to give these things a chance for health reasons and all that nonsense, but I’m not going to like it. My couch will always be more appealing than the gym. I’ll always love cupcakes more than kale.

Being a millionaire is not in the cards for me. Why did we think we would be rich when we were younger? I considered having a nice car and my own home by the time I was thirty inevitable. Getting rich seemed like it was an attainable goal back in the days. Boy was I wrong. Now I just want to make enough money so I won’t have to work until I’m 80-years-old. The new American dream!

A day at Bed Bath and Beyond is now my favorite way to splurge. Partying it up all night at the latest club? No thanks, my apartment has $10 bottles of wine and Netflix. Dining out at that hot new restaurant? I’ll take my own cooked meal and sweatpants. Do you want these 20% off coupons at Bed Bath and Beyond? OMG yes! Clear my schedule. I need to spend the next several hours buying gadgets for my apartment. This toilet seat easily removes to make cleaning a breeze! (This toilet seat is a real thing and I absolutely love it.)

A feeling of impending death will always overcome me after a night of heavy drinking. My body can still handle a glass or two or three of wine at night to unwind. I can wake up from this ready to start my day. However, bring in the hard liquor and shots and all hell breaks loose. I can kiss productivity out the door for the next two to three days. That is how much time I’ll need to recover.

I’ll never pick up and move to a new place without a set plan. When I was in my twenties, I always entertained the idea of picking up and moving to another place. I still like this idea but it is a lot more reasonable. I would like to leave New York one day but not before I have a job secured somewhere. I have become a lot more practical in my thirties. That may sound depressing and boring, but do you know what isn’t boring? The ability to buy food and pay rent!

It doesn’t matter what other people think of me. I spent so many years of my twenties in a perpetual state of anxiousness. What others thought of me mattered way too much. This made friendships difficult. Relationships challenging. It made life in general rough. I am so over that nonsense. Here is something that young people really need to remember: The opinions of others truly do not matter. Life becomes a lot more free when you live it exactly how you want and now how other people want you to.

It’s Okay to Not Feel Okay

The past few weeks I have been in a bit of a funk. I haven’t spoken to too many people about it because I really don’t know how to put into words what I’m feeling. There isn’t a specific event or occurrence that I can attribute to my depressed state.  I am not sure why I’ve been feeling the way that I have. I have just been feeling down.

When I get into a funk that has no real explanation, it always makes me feel worse. I have a roof over my head. I am relatively healthy. I don’t go to bed hungry. I have a job I enjoy. There is no real reason to feel the way that I do.

The lack of reasoning results in feelings of guilt. So on top of feeling down, I also feel incredibly guilty. Clearly I am overreacting and being ungrateful. I’ll often invalidate my own feelings. Instead of accepting the things I’m feeling, I fight them. This action has a tendency to simply make me feel worse.

There’s a major flaw in this way of thinking: All feelings are valid. And sometimes feeling shitty is just a part of being alive. In fact, I may question your humanness if you are ALWAYS happy. There is no way that is healthy.

So I’ve been feeling a little down. It could be the long winter. It could be my upcoming birthday which always fills me with doom and existential thoughts. It could be a chemical imbalance. Or, and the likely culprit, it could just be life.

Sometimes life is really awesome and sometimes it’s really shitty. It is okay for your mind to react accordingly. If you ran a mile or worked a 13 hour shift, no one would fault you for being exhausted. The same thing applies to your mind. Life can become exhausting and overwhelming. Allow your mind to take a break without feeling guilty.

If you find yourself going through a funk, don’t fight it. Recognize all the things in your life to be grateful for. Don’t brush them off. However, don’t use them as an excuse to invalidate your feelings. Healthy people can get depressed. People with a roof over their head and a job can feel anxious.

Remember: All feelings are real, even the crappy ones.

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.

The Other Shoe Is Always Going to Drop

My favorite line when I start dating someone new is, “I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

Those first few weeks/months of dating someone, things are as close to perfect as they’ll ever be. You’re both on your best behavior and trying really hard to impress one another. The guy never cancels, always texts on time. The girl always has her makeup and hair done, never complains. Everyone is trying to be the most perfect version of themselves.

I spend a new relationship just waiting to see when this blissful period will end. Because it always does. It tends to end in the most horrifically dramatic way possible. The guy doesn’t just stop canceling, he stops making plans altogether. He stops texting right away and instead takes 3-5 business days to respond with an “lol” or an “ok.”

This is never fun and it’s the reason why I always enter a new relationship with skepticism. I know the other shoe is going to drop. It’s not a matter of if but a matter of when.

However, there is something that I need to realize: the other shoe is always going to drop and that’s OK. What matters is how it drops. If it drops but I’m able to pick it up, slip it back on, and keep on walking, that’s alright. It’s when the shoe drops and breaks so badly that it’s cheaper to just buy a new pair than take them to get fixed, that I need to worry about it.

The other shoe is always going to drop. That new period in a relationship I just spoke about – the one where everyone is on their best behavior – is nice but it’s not sustainable. Perfect bliss in a relationship isn’t real.

Relationships are messy and complicated because people are messy and complicated.

You shouldn’t want that perfect bliss to last forever because then you’re never really seeing the person you’re dating for who they truly are.

Now this isn’t to say that a person should do a complete 180 when you’ve been dating a few months and stop trying. But this is saying that a person shouldn’t be afraid to show different parts of themselves, even the not so great ones.

I’ve come to realize that I look forward to the other shoe dropping. Show me what makes you YOU. I want the authentic version. Not the version who is on his best behavior because he’s trying to impress me.

What makes you sad? What makes you angry? What are some of your annoying little habits that you kept in check our first few dates?

I am not looking for the perfect version of you. I’m looking for the real version of you.

This is exactly why not only do I realize that the other shoe is always going to drop but I look forward to it.

The Steps Every Girl Goes Through When Cutting Her Hair

Now when I say cutting her hair, I do not mean getting a trim. I’m talking about when you decide to take the plunge and cut off several inches of your hair. Or if you’re feeling really bold, decide to shave off everything. (For the sake of eyes everywhere I will never be doing this.)

The movies would have you believe that chopping off all your hair is simple. All a girl needs is a traumatic experience, a hotel room mirror, and some rusty scissors. A few snips and she’s walking out of there like she just stepped out of a Pantene commercial and ready to kick some ass. If I find myself in a hotel room with a rusty pair of scissors, the best I’m walking out with is a trip to the ER for a tetanus shot.

There is a lot that goes into finally deciding to cut your hair.

It all starts when you realize your hair is getting too long. You’ve started washing your hair every other month because styling the Godforsaken mop on top your head requires 10 free hours and the arm strength of The Rock.

You know that a cut has to be scheduled sometime in the near future.

You start doing research for cute hairstyles. There are so many adorable short hairstyles and everyone looks so good. (You don’t take into account that all of these females you’re looking at have had their hair and makeup professionally done because you’re an idiot.) You think, “I can totally pull of a lob.” (A lob is a long bob for those not paying attention.)

You save several photos that you really like and start showing them to everyone you know. Obviously they all tell you that it’s adorable and you’d look great.

You finally decide to call your hair salon and make the appointment.

The day of the appointment comes and you’re feeling excited. You’ve got all those photos on your phone ready to show the stylist. You also rationalize that you’ve got to lose at least 10 pounds after the majority of this mess is off your head.

You sit down at the chair after your hair has been washed and the anxiety starts to kick in. The stylist asks what you want done and you falter. “Maybe I don’t want to cut it short. Maybe just a trim. I could always cut it another time. If I cut it now, I can’t change it.”

You go back and forth with the stylist about just how short you actually want it. Shoulder-length. At the collar bone. Right below the chin. You’re like a deranged auctioneer trying to sell off as little of your hair as possible.

After much haggling and debating, a length is finally decided. It’s not quite as short as you originally planned but still several inches shorter than what you’ve got going on now.

Fear starts to seep in when you see all your luscious locks start to fall to the floor. That’s right. The mop on top of your head suddenly becomes a luscious mane and the monster with the scissors is taking it all away.

You eventually calm yourself down. The hair is already cut. This is what you needed. It will all be OK.

When all the hair has been cut and your new short hair has been styled, you look in the mirror to view the results. It looks great! It’s so healthy-looking. You’re so satisfied with your haircut that you over tip the stylist. It’s all good. She deserves it for dealing with your mane.

For the next three days you constantly check yourself out in every mirror that you pass. You look good. You feel confident. You love your new hair.

Then you wash your hair for the first time and realize you’ve made a terrible mistake. You want to find the animals who claim that short hair is the best because it’s so low maintenance. Who invented this myth? Who do I have to punch in the throat? Short hair is so far from being low maintenance. How did the stylist make it look so beautiful? How did she get it to bounce the way that it did? And OMG I can’t even just throw it up in a ponytail without looking like a crazy homeless person!

But eventually things start to settle down. You learn how to style this hair and make yourself look presentable. The short hair starts to grow on you.

However, you vow never to cut your hair short again. That is until the next time your hair grows to unmanageable lengths and you repeat the process all over again.

And now here’s a shameless selfie from someone who recently cut her hair and knows all too well what each of these stages feel like.

me