I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it here, but I have a complicated relationship with food, and sometimes I get anxiety over it.

Right now, for example, I am starving. For breakfast (around 10) I had french toast with a strawberry/blueberry syrup I made. For lunch, around 3, I had a hamburger.

It’s 8:40 pm. I started feeling hungry around 7. I got a headache from not eating thirty or forty minutes ago. My brother and sister have told me a total of 4 times that there’s food downstairs and I should come down and have dinner with everyone. And I’m definitely hungry.

But the thought of going downstairs and getting a plate of food is terrifying to me. Thinking about eating is making me nervous. I feel tense. I can feel my heart beating faster, my breaths coming in shorter and closer together. Writing this down is making me cry. I keep telling myself I should go eat but—I—can’t—do—it

I know it’s stupid. I know it’s irrational. I know it’s bad for me, refusing to eat. But the only way I can stay calm is by telling myself that I’m not going down there, I don’t have to have dinner, I can just stay in my room…

“so i’ve been thinking lately that i should try to grow up” —tonight alive

Last week my uncle called to talk to my dad and I answered the phone. He was surprised that I was home at 11 am on a weekday (I guess he doesn’t know that I’ve been home at 11 am on most weekdays for the last couple of years… wowthatsoundsreallybad), and when he asked why I was at home and not at work I said that I wasn’t working, currently, but was looking for work. I made the same (admittedly flippant) remark I make to just about anyone* who questions my job status: “Honestly at this point I’d take just about anything. I can’t really afford to be picky, haha.”

*I really do mean anyone—the other day I got in a ten minute discussion with some random guy in line at the grocery store about not settling for the first thing that comes my way

And that’s when the lecture began. At first it focused on my language: that I’m “hoping” to get a job, that I’m “trying” to figure out what I want to do. Basically the idea was that unless I am more proactive and clear about what I want, I’m never going to get anywhere. I can’t just sit around complaining about wanting to do things; I have to actually go out and do them. I can’t just say that I want to get a job; I have to actually go out and get one.

This is by no means an earth-shattering revelation. I’ve said as much to myself, before, that I can’t just apply to shitty jobs I’m not even interested in and expect opportunities to fall in my lap. But for someone else to say it to me…. man. My initial response (internally, anyway. I definitely didn’t say anything to him out loud) was anger. I immediately thought that he wasn’t being fair, that he didn’t understand my situation, and that, well yeah, it would be easy to go after what I wanted… that is, if I knew what the hell it was that I wanted to do, and isn’t that what I’ve been struggling with since I started college? But then I thought—he was still talking, by the way, being all motivational and what not—if my immediate response was to get angry and defensive and to make excuses for myself, it probably meant that there was a grain of truth to his words, and that dumb grain of truth was like a pebble that gets stuck in your shoe: for such a small thing, it sure has the power to make you very, very uncomfortable. So I listened more attentively to my uncle, and when he had finished speaking, I thanked him sincerely for his words (meanwhile my dad, who knows that it’s my uncle on the phone, is waiting in the background a little impatiently for me to just give him the phone hahah).

As annoying as it was to hear, I ultimately am really grateful for my uncle’s tough love. This is real life and not a book/movie/tv show, so it’s not like I heard a motivational speech and immediately all my problems went away. But I have thought a lot in that last week about what he said. A friend put a link on Facebook to an HR assistant position the other day and I’m planning on applying. I think at this point it might be a long shot (the post said they were looking for someone immediately and it’s been a few days), but I’m going to try anyway. I spent most of the weekend completely reworking my resume, which was one of those things that I’d acknowledged that I needed to do and had said over and over that I was going to do… and yet never got around to actually doing (Look, Uncle! Progress! I even changed the color and layout! It has yellow accents instead of blue, now! ☺). So even if nothing else comes from this, I’ve got an improved resume (and attitude! …is that cheesy? haha), and hopefully applying to this job will hopefully make me less anxious about applying to other jobs (because this is totally a thing). Whoooo. 🎉♥

“rid your devils” —wild child

Happy New Year!

It’s been awhile, but I just wanted to write down my goals for the year so I could have them somewhere that isn’t a random scrap of paper or one of the many little notebooks I keep in my purse or around the house or whatever, so I can find it later.

  1. Create more. I was building tiny scale models and painting inspirational quotes and greeting cards around Christmastime and it was nice, idk, to make things happen on canvas and paper. It’s also really… calming, I guess, to have something to concentrate on. At first I was thinking I should specifically paint more in 2017 but if I think about it I feel that way when I’m baking, too, or decorating cookies or whatever, so I just want to keep creating. It’s pretty cool to be able to make something where before there was nothing.
  2. Go outside more. When I was in college, whenever I got really stressed out over a problem set or a paper or was just in general inside my own head too much I would walk away from what I was doing and sit outside for awhile. It’s a good way to get some perspective, and remind myself that the world is a lot bigger than whatever I had going on in that moment. I don’t know if that would be calming for everyone but it definitely is for me. These days, there are times where I literally do not leave the house for days, and I just sit around at home feeling useless and horrible about everything, but then when I finally do leave the house (even if it’s to drive my sister somewhere or run an errand for my mom) it’s like I can breathe again and I feel better about things. I don’t know why I keep forgetting that it helps. Somehow, in college it was just a lot easier to remember to do go outside for a bit when things got to be too much.
  3. Get a job. I hate making this a goal but I do think it’s important. If I’m unhappy with the state of things currently, I should do something to change it, right? If I feel like I wake up every day and there’s no reason, I should find some, or at the very least, have something to do every day that gets me up and into the world.
  4. Eat better and exercise more. This is pretty broad, pretty vague, but… oh well. On eating better: The idea, basically, is to stop punishing myself when it comes to food. Stop refusing to eat for no reason, stop eating a bunch of random crap, stop making myself sick in these ways. Make myself real food, eat only when I’m hungry, etc
    And on exercising more: I guess the idea is just to do more. More than my current “nothing” shouldn’t be so hard, right? Whether it’s taking a twenty minute walk a couple times a week or actually doing some of the Daily Burn stuff Jess has been trying to get us to do for months, I know I should (and actively want to) do more.

I think that’s about it.

“time for giving all you’ve got” —Run River North

*it was reeeally hard to pick a line from this song ahaha
Was so negative in my last post I meant to write a follow up to say that things worked out and it wasn’t all ideal but it worked out, and this week is just as hectic and stressful as last week only perhaps moreso because that cold I’ve been fighting (and, let’s be honest, barely winning against) has officially over taken me and today is day 3 of feeling like complete SHIT because I am headache-y and sniffle-y and congested and exhausted all the time and always

Tutoring tomorrow is going to be rough because I can barely think straight, but I know she has midterms next week so I can’t bail on her———

But the last two weeks have just shown me again and again that some days are hard (and some days are REALLY hard) and I feel like more and more is being placed on me and it’s getting harder and harder to feel okay with it BUT despite everything, things are going to be okay. Maybe there is no reward for killing myself for my family and maybe they don’t even realize that I’m having a really hard time right now and maybe they never will acknowledge either of these things but I’m still here—

I’m alive and I’m breathing—
even though I don’t always want to be—
and every day is a gift—
even though I’m not always as thankful as I should be—

I’m still here
I’m still here
I’m still here

“Your mess is mine”   —Vance Joy

Since my sister is commuting again and my other sister has to work, too, we no longer have extra cars, and, as I predicted, everything is hectic. Today I wanted to look up a few jobs (not apply for anything, just find a few postings) and prepare for tomorrow’s tutoring sesh. Dad drove my mom to school before taking the truck in for some maintenance stuff. Somehow they forgot the tiny detail of oh yeah there’s a kid in the house who needs to go to school or whatever, and there was no one to take her so my brother, stand up guy that he is, cut his morning routine short so he could take her to school before heading to work, even though, 1) his work is sixty miles away and 2) her school is ten miles away in the opposite direction.

I waited for my dad to come home, then I went shopping to buy stuff for dinner and for my sisters’ class (they try to bring a sort of snack for the kids each week) and got home at 1:30 (still trying to figure out HOW that took so long). So then it was a mad rush to make meatballs and prep puff pastry and make an apple filling for turnovers, all before 3:00 at which point I had to leave to pick little sister up from her drum lesson (small mercy: I don’t have to worry about picking her up after school on Tuesdays) and then we went straight to my mom’s school, where we waited for her to come outside for what seemed like forever (but was in fact only about 20 minutes). Then we got home and it was 4:30 and… my parents were annoyed with me because dinner wasn’t ready, and the turnovers for my sisters’ class weren’t ready, and the house was a mess, and there were so many dishes, and…

Tomorrow will suck, too. I will wake up and drive my mom and sister to school and, to accommodate everyone’s schedules, I’m going to have to be dropped off at my tutoring session tomorrow. This isn’t a big deal, except that going to their house is so. awkward. I go in, sit down, we go through her homework, and before I can do anything else (because I don’t know if she really gets the material, so I want to do extra problems) she gets her mom, who pays me, and then they both stand and stare until I put my stuff away and then they walk me towards the door and the “okay your job is done go away now” vibes are uncomfortably strong omg omg omg I get a little anxious thinking about it. It’s literally five seconds at the end of the session but it’s so uncomfortable it makes me want to quit. But being dropped off isn’t all bad.

Pro: My dad will be the one driving everyone around for once, so I’ll have that little bit of assurance that they don’t really need me here, that it’s okay if I leave (because let’s be real, for my own sanity, I need to get out of here).

Con: I can’t just leave at the end; I’ll have to wait for someone to get me. Will I wait inside or outside? God, the thought of waiting inside makes my stomach hurt. But waiting outside seems awkward too?

Pro: I won’t feel guilty about forcing my sister to take the train to work*

Con: I am bitter and awful and even though I would feel bad if she had to take the train, I will be irritated that she ISN’T taking the train and making life easier on everyone else OHMYGOD I AM AWFUL (see below)

*That awful part of me just keeps whispering that when I look for jobs far from home, my mom just says “Well it better be near a train station because it’s not like you have a car,” but when my sister gets (another) job far from home, everyone is jumping through hoops and bending over backwards to make it work so that she can take a car and not have to take the train. Ughhhhh dwelling on this stupid detail is NOT helping me be less bitter and awful about everything ugh I hate myself sometimes whyamisoawful

“so sick, so sick of being tired, and oh so tired of being sick”   —Taking Back Sunday

Last week my sister went on a job interview. I’ve actually gone with her for her last few interviews; we’d drive out together and I’d just hang out at a Starbucks nearby and try to get things done while she’d be impressing the pants off of prospective employees. This time, though, her interview was on a Wednesday, which is fine except I’ve started tutoring a girl in calculus on Wednesdays, so I didn’t go with her.

Her last few interviews she’s told me a lot about, everything from walking in and not knowing where to go to what kinds of questions they asked her and how well she thought it went. This time she told me nothing (although I overheard her talking to dad about it and there were some pretty noteworthy moments in that interview, haha). I was driving down the street, on my way to my tutoring session on Wednesday, and I was barely a few houses down when suddenly I just knew. Even before her interview, I knew. She was going to get that job, she was going to go car shopping, she was going to move out.

Then Thursday morning she gets a phone call. The job is hers if she wants it, and could she please make her decision by that afternoon because they’d like her to start Monday.

And I’m proud of her, I am. But a small part of me (and this part, unfortunately, is small but not insignificant) is jealous. I’ve been applying for jobs for the last two years and had to turn down the one job I was actually offered because of transportation issues, but my little sister has been unemployed for all of five months and is already employed again.

I shouldn’t feel jealous I know I shouldn’t I was literally saying to my friends a few days ago how guilty I’ve been feeling because I haven’t actually submitted an application in about a month so I really have no right to feel jealous because it’s not like I’m doing much in the way of finding a job right now but it’s not my fault, entirely, because somehow all the stuff that needs to get done around the house—all the driving, all the shopping, all the errands—fall to me and I’m tired all the time, she never has to wake up at 6:30 to take Veronica to school, she doesn’t have to take her to practice and wait around for ages and then come home and do all the shopping and make sure there’s always gas in the car and help mom at school and help her grade papers at home, no, she gets to wake up at 11 if she wants to and spend her time doing things she wants to do and not what other people need her to do and I can feel that small-but-not-insignificant part of me grow larger, more jealous, more defensive but, like, so what if I’m tired all the time and have had a cold for three weeks that refuses to go away I haven’t been applying to jobs I don’t get to be jealous I have no right to be jealous and yet… and yet… and yet….

(deep breath)

They’ve started car shopping, though she hasn’t bought one yet, but this means that until she does she’s using my mom’s car to commute like she was for her last job. Which means even more driving for me, because now I get to drive my sister AND my mom to schools on opposite sides of different cities, which means I will be even more tired and have even less time and I don’t want to be this jealous and bitter and awful person but I’m so tired so tired s o t i r e d s o

“This is the story of a girl…” —Nine Days

This is a story in which absolutely nothing happens.

Earlier this week, I was driving home after dropping my sister off at school and I parked the truck on the side of a road and turned it off so I could play Pokemon—the reason isn’t that important. A minute later, a police car comes driving down the street, slows as it passes me, and then parks along the side of the road, maybe fifty feet in front of me.

As soon as I saw the police car, I froze. I sat very still and panicked, then forced myself to take a deep breath and continue what I was doing. Then, a few minutes later, after I had taken over a gym, I carefully put my phone down, made sure my seat belt was on, turned on the car, put on my turn signal, pulled into the road, drove—slowly—down the street, signaled a right turn, stopped at the sign, and saw the police car make a u-turn and drive away as I turned onto another street.

This is a story in which nothing happened.
This. Is a story. In which nothing. Happened.

N o t h i n g  h a p p e n e d, and yet, the whole time I was driving in view of that officer, and even the rest of the way home, I felt nervous. I drove more cautiously than I usually do (and I am already a pretty cautious driver). I kept checking my rear view mirror for police lights. I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I wasn’t being loud or bothering anyone. I can’t even be sure that the officer saw me or cared that I was there. For all I know, he/she was playing Pokemon, too. For all I know, he/she took a wrong turn and parked on that street to look up directions or take a phone call or appreciate the stillness of a quiet morning.

This is a story in which nothing happened.

But when I saw that police officer, my first reaction was fear, and that bothers me. Over and over again I see people who look like me in the news, harassed and killed for merely existing, and the thought that I could become one of those people scares me. The color of my skin doesn’t matter, shouldn’t matter…

Nothing happened, and yet…

peas romaine calm

Sooo…. I complain a lot.

Reading through some (okay, most… okay, all) of these blog posts is honestly pretty painful. I swear I’m not like this in real life! I’m pleasant to be around! I’m a fun person! Or… okay, maybe I’m not a fun person, exactly, but I’m not so (for lack of a better word) sullen, either. At least I don’t think I am.

So here is something that I cannot conceivably tinge with negativity: MY BROTHER (aka my hero) FIXED THE OVEN!!

No more toasting french bread on the stove piece by piece. No more finding clever ways to use the microwave and stove where it would be easier to just use the oven. No more crying over bread/cookie/pie recipes I can never make. No more baking cookies in the waffle iron… okay we might still do this occasionally, but it won’t be because we have no other choice! After nearly a year of a barely functioning (and for the last few months, not-at-all-functioning) oven, I can now bake all the things. I’M SO EXCITED 😁

“I’ve never any time to play; it always seems to slip away.”   —Copeland

I went to brunch with two friends today and as we were leaving we made tentative plans “for the 17th.” We say our goodbyes and I’m searching for my keys (note to self: CLEAN YOUR PURSE) and my friend says, “Okay, so I guess I’ll see you next weekend?” and it literally was not until that moment that it hit me that the 17th is less than a week from today, and like, wow what is time and how do I never seem to have enough of it? It’s blowing my mind that this month is already nearly half over and I haven’t done anything.

I have a million tabs open on my computer at all times, but I haven’t applied to any jobs in the last few weeks (I know) and I’ve been staring at this debt lawyer’s information for over a month (I know) and I keep saying I’m going to fix my resume and I’m going to finish my sister’s birthday gift (her birthday was in April, nbd) and I’m going to clean my room and do my laundry and be a responsible human being—or at least some semblance of one—but I’m always sick or I’m running other people’s errands or I’m driving my sister to school or to practice or I’m grocery shopping or making dinner and I’m so tired all the time… occasionally I do have a day where I’m not running errands or helping my mom out at work, but by the time one of those days comes around I’m so tired of doing stuff all the time that I just want to not do anything, so I put off doing my stuff. The problem, of course, is that “later” inevitably becomes “tomorrow” and “tomorrow” becomes “next week,” and somehow all this time has passed and I’m realizing that once again I’ve managed to waste it.

I don’t think I’d mind the passage of time so much if I weren’t in the same place as I was a week, a month, a year ago. Time keeps moving and I’m standing still and I just can’t grab onto it, and I’m kind of afraid that I’m going to wake up one day and be 30 and still be the same as I am now and that is fucking terrifying. It doesn’t sound like it should be possible but… how much has really changed for me in the last 2 years? I haven’t had a job, I’m still at home, I’m not doing anything I want to be doing… I am static and life is happening around me. Weeks pass by and I can’t move. Time eludes me and I don’t know to catch up.

 

“this is my therapy.” —relient k

Once, when I was in high school, my dad asked me if I wanted to “talk to someone… you know, a professional, about… how you feel about things.” I said no, thank you.

My first year in college, the Dean of First Year Students was meeting with every new student (my college was small, okay) and it wasn’t a big deal, I just said I was homesick and not really used to being around new people all the time. I mentioned that I spent most of my free time alone in my room. She asked if I had thought about talking to a counselor about ways to overcome my fears. I mumbled that I was going to be late for class (I wasn’t).

My final year in college, no less than three professors suggested that I take advantage of the student health center’s counseling and psychological services, all within the same calendar month. I smiled and promised to think about it (I didn’t).

During my first (okay let’s be real, only) internship after college my manager acted as a sort of quasi-therapist for me, and suggested on a number of occasions that I find a really good therapist. I declined, and ignored her attempts to talk about things after the internship ended (although to be fair, it was during a specific period in which I shut everyone out, even people who weren’t trying to get me to talk about my feelings.)

Honestly, therapy has been brought up to me on more occasions than just these. But I’m very resistant to the idea, and I don’t know why. I’ve suggested therapy to other people, but I am incapable of taking my own advice. It’s a sort of exceptionalism: I think that it’s a good idea for others, but not for me. Somehow, for me, it’s different.

I think that I can work through things pretty well on my own, and that as long as I’m honest with myself about how I’m feeling and willing to work through things I’m okay. I guess that’s kind of how I use this space. I have, however, noticed that I only find myself here when I’m feeling badly, and that bothers me. I’m not so dreary all the time, I swear! I just have to somehow make more of an effort to write posts when I’m feeling good about things or even just okay. So. This is a resolution to write more, not just when I’m at my lowest, but also when I’m at my highest and also when I’m somewhere in between.