why yes there is a small, lavender-filled sloth in my sweater, thank you for asking.


So…that’s where we landed with the sign.

The first ever National Period Day was last Saturday and as promised, I made my way over to city hall to add my voice to the crowd. For my first rally, it far exceeded my expectations. I think I had expected at least some small negative element to come along with attending a rally because of the nature of the event. Something along the lines of people making fun of our cause, bad weather, general confusion/disorder…a riot…I don’t know.

Nope. It was a beautiful fall day, everything was well organized, and I could tell by the faces in the crowd as I watched from behind the numerous featured speakers that people were listening and learning. I’d have to say that was my favorite part, watching women (and men!!) nod their heads with furrowed brows as they absorbed the stories and harsh facts being shared. Unfortunately, as I was on the top step, I couldn’t hear about 70% of what was being said…but the bits I could hear were powerful. I reached out to PERIOD’s NYC chapter to get a list of names which they kindly (and quickly) passed along, so I’m hoping I attribute the right moments to the right people.

Back to the sign. I was nervous about the sign I made, I must admit. It wasn’t exactly the “end the tampon tax!”-type signage I saw in many different, creative forms last week. I mean, let’s call it what it is. My personal experience, plus a meme. Also, the ONLY meme sign I saw. The majority of the protesters were college students – how is that possible that my elderly 25-year old self had the only meme poster?

I figured that I would be surrounded by people whose knowledge about period poverty, the tampon tax, and menstrual inequality far surpasses mine. What I hoped to do (and I think succeeded in doing) was branch off of the idea that we need to stop thinking about health and women’s/menstrual health as two separate things. I believe it was Megha Desai of the Desai Foundation who dropped the quote that 71% of girls in India don’t know what a period is when they first get it. That’s a huge health education issue, and the lack of conversation where we need it is the same issue that keeps people un-diagnosed and untreated. Especially when the issue involves body parts or functions that no one seems to want to talk about. There’s an overarching theme of needless suffering, confusion, and embarrassment, and that’s where I feel the direct connection between why I write, and why we were all there to fight.

Magically enough…the events of Saturday the 19th sort of set the tone for the following week.

To keep the complaining minimal, I have to say it was a challenging week. I was lucky enough to have the worst pain hit when I was at home, and was able to manage at work with a million bathroom breaks, tons of water, and my sloth hot-pack tucked inside my sweater. Wednesday night was some of the worst pain I’ve had in a good while, which I file under “interesting” rather than “the end is near” because I’m still very happy with the long streak of good fortune that I’d been riding since around April/May.

Wednesday night brought the familiar feeling that something is swollen and pressing up against things under my left ribs, as well as soreness to the touch. I’ve never broken a rib (that I know of) but I have a feeling that the pain of a few bruised or broken ribs can’t be a far cry from what was going on that night. My ribs do click about (“click about?” okay) sometimes, depending on the position I’m sitting or laying in, but I chalk that up to my floating ribs just doing their thing. Flashback to that massage therapist telling me that the left side of my back is raised in a way that my right side isn’t. The mysteries, they just keep coming and they don’t stop coming.

It was also strange that I couldn’t get any relief whatsoever from a positional change. My choices seemed to be fetal position: pain level 10/10 – anything else: pain level 12/10. I went so far as to take Tylenol *gasp* to get myself comfortable enough to go to sleep. I never take Tylenol. Not for any particular reason other than feeling like I’m not really addressing the issue. But if you don’t know what the issue is…what are ya gonna do? You’re going to be friends with Tylenol, I guess.

Today is Sunday and I’m feeling pretty decent. Which is odd, considering I was the worst yesterday and ate nothing but high fat and dairy-filled foods (an avo/egg/cheese breakfast sandwich, cream of mushroom soup, a quesadilla, a massive ice cream) AND drank. Beer, of all things. I did chug water throughout, though, and maybe the universe is being forgiving today because I made that tiny effort? I’m the perfect example of that person who eats like a saint all week and then throws it out the window come Saturday.

This week will bring its own challenges. I love Halloween, and I’m neither concussed nor couch-bound with an ankle injury this year, so I’m hoping to do something. I’ll have an office party this week, as well as my cousin’s concert on Halloween, and then hopefully a get-together on the weekend as well. I won’t be home to hand out Halloween candy, which is a shame, but I’m sure I’ll see all of the adorable dogs kids in their costumes throughout the week. I must embrace being the girl who eats and drinks in moderation despite the company I keep, which is worth doing if it prevents a repeat of last week.

I hope all of you Halloween fans get to do just the right amount of something festive, whatever that may be. I highly doubt that I’m alone in feeling a bit of anxiety that always comes right after Halloween. For me, it’s the turning point into a season that hasn’t been the best for my mental health. When the costumes are put away and the candy gone, and society speeds right into family-centered holiday season mode, I can’t help but feel the pressure to be better this year than every year past. Be happier, more excited, things like that.

In admitting this, I’m hoping that anyone reading who relates knows that they are so not alone. What’s probably not going to make you feel better is comparing your holiday season to everyone else’s on social media, so don’t be afraid to take a break from looking at other people’s lives. You don’t need to enter the competition of best picture at an ice rink/cutest “cozy post”/lengthiest post about gratitude coupled with a very flattering picture of yourself if it doesn’t bring you joy. Find the balance of doing for yourself and doing for others that gets you through, and don’t beat yourself up for negative thoughts. My way of letting them out is through writing (in my personal journal of evil thoughts, not here) so I’d definitely recommend that route. But find your own if writing isn’t for you! (No, I don’t have any suggestions, because writing is #1.)

Well wishes to everyone’s brains and bodies. We will be okay. ❤

there’s a joke to be made about standing up for standing…

I know that nobody knew this already, but time really flies when you have a steady job. Wild.

As a general update, I’m still very happy with my new position and have now been there long enough to dismiss my main (and pretty much my only) concern about rejoining the “nine-to-five” crowd.

My somewhat silly fear regarding getting back into the office grind was the correlation that seemed to exist between my increased pain and frequency of illness, and the last time I was working at a desk for 8-9 hours a day.

I don’t have any concrete, scientific reason to believe there’s a connection between the two, but the whole four months that I worked 7:00 – 4:00 in a moderately stressful environment and was spending quite a bit of time (see: 3.5 hours) commuting a day, I felt like I was barely keeping my health together. I mean, there was the stroke code day, at least one other ER visit, and a bunch of chaos in between just within those four months.

Maybe it wasn’t the “style” of work and the environment, but the stress of it all. It’s also really hard to get up before 5am, which I did regularly. On top of that, I was not the happiest in my personal life at the time, which surely added to the garbage pile of conditions that contributed to my feeling run down all the freaking time.

The odd part, and the part that made me feel like it was the desk work that was messing with me, is the fact that I’ve never experienced symptoms while waiting tables that were anywhere near as intense and frequent as they were during those four months. Working as a waitress is physically demanding and definitely stressful, but wasn’t really problematic for my health. What gives?

All of that aside, I have to give credit to the way my current company emphasizes wellness. I probably switch from working sitting down to standing about five times a day and I relocate from room to room, as well. At certain points in the day, I find I’m much more focused at a proper desk, but at other times I find the light music and atmosphere of our cafe-style kitchen area to be extremely relaxing while I work through my to-do list. Not being confined to one desk & chair for hours on end definitely contributes to my staying sane at work and, call me crazy, I think helps my blood circulate…? Naturally, I still don’t know what’s so odd about my circulation (other than the very comforting information I was given by my doctor that my heart “doesn’t take as much blood back as it should”) but I know it’s funky, and I know switching up the position I’m in helps prevent fatigue, lightheadedness, and that fun feeling of weakness in my limbs.

Anyway, that was a long road to get to this other super cool perk: pretty much anyone can work from home whenever they need to.

My first cynical thought was that people must abuse this privilege, but from what I’ve observed, I really don’t think anyone does. It’s a great option for those who aren’t feeling well but know they can still get work done from their laptop. It’s been one month and I haven’t even had so much as a cold, which I expected would happen immediately after getting back into an office environment. Shout-out to discouraging people from coming to work sick!

Knowing that I have this option is also a HUGE relief when it comes that one day a month that I’m barely comfortable leaving the house for fear of…well, disaster. I haven’t figured out how to bring this up to whoever I’ll have to speak to about working from home that day, but I figure I’ll just talk to one of the many females in the office about how to go about the whole thing. The thought of not having to spend that whole day paranoid, getting up from my seat once or twice an hour…oh my gosh. It’s like Christmas morning, y’know?

Annnd with that in mind, remember when I brought up Nadya Okamoto, the found of PERIOD: “a nonprofit that gives women access to the period products they need to feel confident and clean every menstruation cycle, no matter their income” (from the PERIOD website’s “About” page)? Well, I finally found a very cool way to get involved, which I want to share.

On October 19th, there will be rallies in all 50 states for National Period Day. The fact that I feel this immense relief and gratitude over being able to stay home when I have my difficult days makes me feel even more frustrated for those who don’t have that luxury, or even the ability to afford the most basic period products just to get themselves through the day.

This link will lead you to information about the rally. If you want to go to the one in NYC, let me know! If you’ve never rallied before – don’t even worry about it, neither have I. I don’t know what’s going to go on my sign, but I have a week to figure it out. It’ll almost definitely involve a meme.

If none of this is for you and you’re wondering “is this the whole post?” …yes, yes it is. But for all of my people who:

  • have had their pain dismissed by doctors for being “just period pain”
  • have gone out for the day just to rush right back home and stay there until it’s over
  • have experienced doctor’s office frustration tears
  • have lied to their employer for fear of grossing them out with the truth
  • have been made to feel “gross”
  • have ruined clothes
  • have had to buy emergency replacement clothes
  • just want to stop having to put so much thought and energy into both taking care of yourself and also feeling like you have to hide all of it

…the more people who show up to events like this, the more likely the issue is to be taken as seriously as it needs to be, someday. Someday soon, hopefully.

I haven’t made breakfast yet and I’m already thinking about lunch

Remember in that last post (3 weeks ago, my bad) when I wrote this:

“Here’s the thing: Unless I find a fantastic contract/short-term job that pays well and offers a nice chunk of consistent work for a while, I’m looking for a job that I can stick with.” ?

I DID THAT. I GOT A FANTASTIC CONTRACT JOB THAT PAYS WELL AND OFFERS A NICE CHUNK OF CONSISTENT WORK FOR A WHILE.

It’s so good. I wish I was comfortable writing about it in more detail, but I think it’s good internet practice to not be super open about where you work. Especially if you write rather candidly about your personal/health issues. However, it’s a fantastic company, a great team, and they have been so patient with me as they gradually realize that I have no prior experience doing the thing I do now. Luckily for them, I love learning, and when I commit – I commit. I’ve been doing little else for the past two weeks besides going to work early, coming home late and making sure I take care of my brain and body in the meantime so that I can be on my game at the office.

…actually, I will give you one detail. I don’t know how many of you read this from NYC, or if this exists outside of the city, but my office is part of a group catering program called “Stadium.” The way it works (and it differs depending on where you work) is that everyone can get a lunch order of $15 or less delivered from any participating local restaurant three days a week at no cost. This really means a lot to me. I love eating. I’m also weird about spending money on food, and was prepared to come every day with my lazy girl packed lunches to avoid going out and spending $10-15 on a daily basis. Now I get three free, healthy, big meals a week. This is how you get happy and grateful employees, people.

It’s such a relief to feel a bit more stable, finally. I’m still sorting out my routine as I go into Week 3, but for now I feel like I’m doing enough. I don’t want to push it by trying to add trips to the gym or anything else into the mix. Being that the job is contract and that I’m so happy there thus far, I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to perform very well. Admittedly, it’s a big routine adjustment. Thankfully, my health has been pretty fantastic lately – but the minute I start slacking on my 8 hours of sleep, I feel it all over. Last week I thought I could handle going to a fairly low-key concert on a Monday night, but when I checked the time and saw that it was 10pm, my anxiety kicked in hard. I insisted on leaving at that exact moment despite there only being maybe 10 minutes left of the show, and made myself look a bit intense in front of some people I had just met. Again. Whoops.

It’s hard to live here and say “no” to things just because you need to, and not because you have other plans. Although, I guess I did have other plans that night…preparing for the next day and getting a good night’s sleep. Also, avoiding an anxiety attack is sort of an ongoing plan of mine. But who’s going to say any of that? There is always, always something going on on New York City and I think that there are a lot of people who work long, weekday hours that feel the pressure to cram their whole life in between Friday night and Monday morning, and even in the post-work hours during the week. I’m that way too, to an extent…but honestly, my concern with saying yes to things usually comes from caring about what people think of me rather than feeling left out if I don’t go. I mean, is anyone really cool with being the friend/coworker, or even girlfriend who “never goes out?” Again, unless you’re some kind of weirdo enlightened person who really doesn’t care what people think. Imagine the potential for an embarrassing situation, though, just based on my body’s unpredictability. Picture it: I go out for a social night with my coworkers one evening after work, not knowing that my kidney is up to his old tricks. I have one sip of beer, projectile vomit, and fall asleep.

…it’s not out of the realm of possibility. (If this reference makes no sense, please refer to “big ankle keeps on turning” from last December.)

Anyhow, I’ll figure that out as time goes on. The mission right now is to keep writing. My windows of time are between 8-8:30am when I hang out in the park by my office (because I am the master of being too early always) and between around 7:00-10pm. It might sound unlikely that I’d actually write in the park, but I’ve been doing it! I have 4,000 waitress notepads lying around anyway, so now I carry one in my work bag. It’s harder to get into a writing mindset with this new job solely because I’m not used to work that’s mentally exhausting rather than physically, but eventually as I keep growing into this position, I’ll be able to do my job with less strain on the brain.

Needless to say…I’m glad I held out. I was really so close to settling – I had even gone through orientation at that retail job the day before I found out my current company wanted to hire me. My gut remains good to me, and there was no doubt in my mind when I said yes to this job that I was doing the right thing.

To conclude this self-congratulatory post that really doesn’t contain anything important whatsoever, I’d like to show off these pictures from Sean and my last trip of the summer to Philly/Atlantic City a few weeks ago. I feel like I’m really stepping up my blogger photography game. I mean, I didn’t even take the good pictures, that credit goes to strangers on the streets. But still. Progress.

“of course I’m proficient at Excel” and other slight exaggerations

I love how every time I come back, I start with “I didn’t mean to not write for the past two weeks orhoweverlongwhatever” and then give you some weak excuse for my absence.

Anyway, I’m going to do that again. But this time, the excuse is very what the heck.

In my defense, I thought I had a job. Twice. As far as I know, I do have a job right now. But do I? Let’s investigate.

Job #1: Dogwalker

Being that I’ve owned multiple dogs, have professionally cared for dogs other than my own, have a clean record and common sense, you would think that I could pull off the task of getting hired as a dog walker…and technically, I did. I went through two interviews for a dog walking position: one with an office manager and one with the owner of the company. Then I had a whole 5-hour shadow day that involved meeting dogs and going on walks, learning how pickup and drop-offs work, and learning how to use the company’s app. It went really well, and I’m not just saying that because I have inflated confidence. The dogs liked me, the staff seemed to like me, and my shadow-ee even assured me that I’d get a good review. Not too sure about “shadow-ee” as a word, but I’m going to press on.

The night after my shadow experience, I received the “congratulations you’re hired!” email and was instructed to fill out some paperwork and send it back to the office. I went to my local library the next morning to print everything (cost me $2, mind you) and had all of it filled out and sent back within a few hours.

Just over an hour after I sent everything back to the office, I received a response from the woman with whom I had my first interview and had been emailing this entire time. This email stated rather abruptly that something “came up” and therefore they had to rescind the offer. Good luck, though.

…okay. These things happen. It could’ve easily been something weird on their end, like realizing that they had overcommitted to hiring new people and ran into a financial problem. And yet. Despite having a clean record and no weirdness to even turn up during a background check, the paranoid part of me became fully convinced that something sketchy and awful did come up to lead these people to think that I wasn’t suitable for this job.

I asked, very politely and with a disclaimer that I fully respect the company’s decision, if I could have any more information about this sudden change. I mentioned, per the advice of one of my lawyer friends (thank you, love you) that I had shared quite a bit of personally identifiable information with the company, which gave me good cause to be concerned about the sudden change of plans.

Alas, I received no response. This still seems a bit weird to me, but I did see with my own two eyes that the place is a real business, and I have no money for anyone to steal from me even if they wanted to…so what is there to worry about, I suppose.

To the dogs I met that day, it was a true honor. To the dogs I’ll never meet…I still love all of you.

Job #2: General retail!

I’ve never worked a “traditional” retail position, since my preferred method of self-inflicted torture is food service. I have worked in sales – I’ve sold liquor and art and decorative bobbles and sandwiches, but all of those sales experiences took place in nontraditional retail spaces. For example, I managed a food stand at the US Open, once upon a time. That was a three week gig. Everything else, I sold in markets – Union Square, Rockefeller Plaza, other…parks, y’know. Just me and someone else’s iPad and card reader passing the days away under a tent.

However, there’s a store near my home that’s been hiring for a while, and I happen to like the brand and love the atmosphere of the store itself. I applied last week and after a pretty low-stress interview, was hired on Friday. I was told that I’d be hearing from someone about a group new-hire orientation that would take place once the manager got back from vacation.

I don’t know, guys. It’s been a week and I haven’t heard anything at all. What’s the story, here?

Part of me is convinced that the second I post this, that’s when I’ll get a phone call or email, and I know I should be rooting for that to happen. It’s well past time I get a bit of regularity back into my work schedule.

At the same time, I’m anxious, just as I always am when I’m about to start a new commitment. Part of my brain screams “their silence is a sign!! Keep looking for something else, quickly! Before they orientate you and you’ll feel too guilty to ever leave!”

I’m really trying to nurture a more reasonable part of my brain lately, the part that quietly suggests that I have to stop running away from everything the second things get real. It doesn’t help that two days ago I received a whole seperate email asking if I was still interested in a position I applied to three months ago. I said yes, because I’m chaotic! So now on top of not knowing what’s going on with the job I agreed to, I’m actually hoping to hear back from a job I originally went after three months ago.

It’s funny how much guilt ends up playing a role in this job search process. I’m blessed to have more than a few people in my life who have offered to help me find something within some office or another, or have advised me to pursue a certain industry over something else based on their own struggles and experience. Again, I’m so lucky to have people willing to gift me all of this advice and assistance. It just…feels really bad when I say “thank you” and then proceed to (mostly) not do any of the things I was advised.

See, I’m walking a very thin, confused line between being quite picky…and desperation.

Here’s the thing: Unless I find a fantastic contract/short-term job that pays well and offers a nice chunk of consistent work for a while, I’m looking for a job that I can stick with.

I don’t even mean as a “career,” necessarily. I don’t think I’m there yet, unless again, I get really lucky. It can be a survival job again, I’m okay with that. BUT if it’s a survival job, it cannot take up every waking hour of my life, preventing me from pursing anything else.

Let me add, I fully recognize my privilege in being able to say that. At the moment, I have financial support and I don’t have any dependents. This is in no way meant to shame anyone whose survival job(s) do take up every waking hour of their life, because they do not have a choice. That is a very real situation, one that surrounds me every day, and my awareness of that reality is part of why I’m so anxious to start myself down a road I want to be on as soon as possible.

The dog walking job wasn’t meant to be forever, just a source of some income while I carried on looking for something else. The retail job is a bit better – doesn’t pay much, but would be enough, and would still leave me some breathing time to piece together a long term plan. That job from three months ago would be a big commitment, but only for three months as it’s a contract position…and the pay would be worth it.

Positive side-note: it sure is nice to get back into reading lots of books in my downtime! AND I’ve successfully forced myself back into yoga! Yay! Something funky is going on with the circulation in my left leg and I’ve noticed that those left thigh veins are getting darker (and more painful??) so I’m trying to stretch myself out and flip myself upside down and whatnot more often. I’m holding myself to doing at least 2 out of these 4 things every day: yoga, writing, working out, and finishing a book. It’s going well. Small challenges, y’know?

Whatever happens with work, happens. It can’t get me down. This is my favorite time of year. It always feels like rebirth – the chaotic party marathon that is summer coming to an end, the change in the air and the comfort of settling into something fresh with new intentions.*

I hope you’re feeling good. Don’t forget to slow down. Use your library card. Flip yourself upside down. Walk someone else’s dog. Follow your dreams. Etc.

x

*Most blogger-y thing I’ve ever written, dear God. Sorry.

The end of August in pictures 🙂

well, this post is happening.

Happy one month until autumn! Here’s hoping I lock down a steady job soon so I can afford rent insurance my student loans an unnecessary amount of sweaters!

I’ve been reluctant to talk about what has become a major part of my quest for pain relief because I’ve been worried about crossing the line between honest, personal writing into TMI territory. I worry about making my many, many readers uncomfortable. The sacrifice is…I’m not making any progress, and I’m not initiating any conversations that might help someone else make progress. No one benefits.

With this in mind, today I’m going to do the uncomfortable thing and finally talk about…birth control! Annnd…PERIODS! Did I just lose all the men?

There’s a question I love to get when I’m having myself a good ol’ ER visit for my mystery flank pain or any other symptoms. “When was your last period?”

I admitted to a male ER doctor on one somewhat recent visit that it was currently happening, and that right there ended our conversation. He told me that some women experience much more severe cramping than others, even in unexpected areas of the body. The only reason I had gone to the ER at all was that I was experiencing similar symptoms to the stroke-code day, and had been told that I should absolutely go to the ER if those symptoms ever came back.

Some background info for ya: I switched from a hormonal birth control pill to a copper (non-hormonal) IUD a little over a year ago, hoping that my anxiety and depression would calm down. I had a feeling the two were related. Luckily, they did get much better after the switch. Things aren’t perfect, but mentally I feel a thousand times better than before.

With this swap came a sacrifice. I never had a difficult period while on the pill, but things took a 180 with the IUD. I expected everything to level out after a few months, but this did not happen. Now I have a few days a month where I can’t really leave the house. For the most part, I think it’s worth it to feel like myself again.

I’ve kept a log of my pain and symptoms for years (without much consistency), but only at the start of 2019 did I start tracking those symptoms in correlation with that time of the month. I don’t know how surprised I should be, but there is a bit of a pattern. My left side pain, lightheadedness, fatigue, and even UTI symptoms that have been present for years and years tend to act up during and before the uterus party kicks off. To note: I experience instances of left sided flank pain (typically right along the bottom of my ribcage) at random points in the month, too. But…my symptoms also consistently get worse at the same time each month.

What does it mean?

I don’t know. I tried to talk to my OBGYN about it at my last appointment, which I believe I wrote about in minimal detail. Specifically, I wanted to learn about ureteral endometriosis from an expert and not just the internet. As it turned out, I don’t believe my OBGYN knew much about ureteral endometriosis at all. He insisted on performing an “examination” and told me that because the area wasn’t tender to the touch, I probably didn’t have it. I tried so, so politely to ask if my ureter would be the tender area rather than where he had examined, reminding him that I wasn’t talking about your usual endometriosis, and his response was more or less a hesitant “nah”. Anyway, that was about my 10th bad experience at that office so I’m pretty done with them.

You know what’s crazy though?

Just in my very light research that I’ve done on possible conditions that are related to the menstrual cycle and/or all of those crazy organs down there, I’ve come across SO MANY conditions that I’ve never heard of.

SO. MANY. Not that they all have anything to do with my symptoms, but oh my gosh there are so many different potential problems that women can experience.

Thoratic endometriosis? Interstitial cystitis? Mittelschmerz?

Also, the amount of women/menstruators asking each other questions via online forums is equally great to see, and terrifying. How did we become so reliant on turning to each other for answers when we’re all meant to see doctors who are trained specifically in these areas? I know full well that there are tons of incredible and dedicated OBGYNs out there, but at the same time…the situation proves that we’re a long way from where we need to be.

Health education is a big part of this, as well. I remember the first time I was diagnosed with a UTI, before we knew it was a chronic/mimicry situation, and thinking “why did I not learn in health class that girls should use the bathroom after sex?” Seems like some basic preventative information, no? Simple things! Not to mention, I didn’t even know there was such thing as a non-hormonal IUD. The way I felt all of those years could’ve been avoided. Who knows what a difference that might’ve made?

I know I’m one of those people. I talk a lot and get fired up about things, but I haven’t done much to enact any change. I knew when I made this blog public that I was far from having my goals figured out. Y’know, big picture goals. Still, as I say all the damn time, we all have to start somewhere. In the meantime, I have a collection of posts where I rant about things for me to look back on when I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing…so there’s that.

I’m going to lay on the floor now with ice on my ribs and continue to try to control my hormonal acne with a very uncomfortable bee venom serum. Yes, it stings. Yes, like a bee sting.

I’m leaving you with a recommendation of someone to pay attention to: Nadya Okamoto

Okamoto is a Harvard college student who founded PERIOD, the menstrual movement – “a global, youth-powered non-profit that is fighting to end period poverty and period stigma.” (I took that directly from her organization’s Instagram, @periodmovement.) I love what she’s doing. If you’re a college student, you can start or be a part of a PERIOD chapter on your campus. I’m still working on figuring out what I can do for her cause as a non-college student with no money – but I’m sure there’s something. Oh, Okamoto also wrote and published a book. Pfft. No big deal. Bet she doesn’t know how to mime.

Alright, it’s floor time.

(…watch out for Séan’s foot)

sharing is not caring if you’re being ridiculous

It started with my being at a film shoot last Wednesday. “I’ll post on Thursday,” she said.

Thursday I had a job interview, after which I rewarded myself with having a baking party and falling down a podcast rabbit hole.

Friday I had a second job interview and then must’ve done other things, because I certainly did not post anything.

Saturday was my family reunion, and Sunday I watched Manchester United destroy Chelsea and then went to see Hootie and the Blowfish (none of that makes sense to me, either).

Monday I walked 500 miles with one of my favorite people from home who was visiting the city, and yesterday I shadowed someone as a sort of third interview. Then I fell asleep.

ANYWAY, that’s my alibi. So here we are now, a week late. I’d say sorry but I feel like I’m doing everyone a favor by not posting when I don’t have any real thoughts to contribute to the world.

This is a subject I spend a lot of my limited brain energy thinking about – whether or not I have the right idea by even trying to publish posts on any sort of schedule.

I like that it’s a way to practice holding myself accountable when no one else expects anything of me. I think it’s good to have things like that in your life. It’s like working out.

Also like working out, writing works best when you just do it. Do the little bit. Write a poem about a stranger or arbitrary object. Start 50 novels and abandon them all, if you feel like it. As long as you keep writing and paying attention to what works versus what doesn’t, I don’t see how you won’t end up making progress. I look at my past posts from time to time, and I’ve found that having the distance between the day I wrote it and the present makes it much more clear what I could’ve done better. It helps me figure out how I might try to express something differently next time.

There’s that other thing about being a “blogger” (*scowls*) that would require me to post consistently. For the sake of growing my “brand.”

I picture a wild-eyed male actor in his late fifties or so who only wears turtlenecks and has hair too unkempt to be hip at his age who has never taken a paid gig because of his “artistic integrity.” I realize that maybe I’m the blogger version of this cynical jabroni. Should I be this way? Some would say no, but I say yes because it’s the way I am and therefore it is what it is.

There’s a lot of “this happened to me today, and my realization was profound” going around on these influencer Instagram accounts and blogs. It’s always something that happens to the writer, not something that happens to someone else. Or if the event does happen to someone else, the story is really about how the writer went through a moment of realization.

“Hey guys. I have something important to share.

I was outside (in my favorite Savannah Wide-Leg Denim Overall by Free People, link here #fppartner) tending to my sunflowers, when I noticed that all but one of the leaves on the bottom two feet of the stalks had shriveled up and died. The leaves looked more and more green as they got closer to the top. These were the leaves closest to the sun, because the sun is up in the sky.

It occurred to me that your position is your power. Sometimes, the system is designed for some to thrive and some to barely survive. That’s nature, and the nature of life. I was born a bottom leaf, but I’m strong, and I am hanging on. I want all of you to keep hanging on. Be that one not-dead leaf. xoxo. *leaf emoji* *green heart emoji* *muscle flexing emoji*”

Do we need more of this? I’m just one gal with one opinion, but absolutely the heck not.

I’m losing my mind lately over everything I see on the news, and additionally, all of the absolutely made-up news I get to watch people share on Facebook. Posts shared that serve no purpose other than to make another group of people angry. Why? Are we not busy enough? Are we angry about so much ourselves that we want to spread it around to others? I don’t respond to any of these posts because I think progress will only come if we ignore nonsense and channel our anger towards actual change. But maaaan I am operating with a short fuse lately.

We need facts. Just facts. And videos of otters and cookie recipes, they can stay. Also, harmless memes.

…I love writing “harmless memes.” As if we ever thought memes would become politicized.

I hope no one takes this as an attack on creative writing, or motivational writing, (except for the kind on which I based that sunflower example, because I am totally attacking that). That’d be like saying all styles of painting that aren’t Renaissance portraits are useless and dumb. No.

All I’m getting at is that there’s an obsession with adding and adding and adding content into society via so many outlets, without a whole lot of regulating, and it’s hard to find two critical types of information: what’s urgent, and what’s true.

If you write acrostic poetry and that’s your “thing” – no problem, you keep doing you. I’m just hoping that we’re heading towards a shift where people start questioning the validity of what they’re sharing before they share it. Or in the case of sunflower influencer: is this what people need? Is the post maybe kinda tone-deaf? Am I just posting because I need daily content and I haven’t left the house today?

Let’s be responsible! It’s sexy! Facts are great! Real research is awesome!

That’s it. That’s the post. I have some pictures to prove that I really was busy this past week and because people are more likely to read a post with pictures. That amount of catering to what works I am willing to do, but mostly because I’m proud of my phone photography. G’bye!

things I know: a little bit about John Updike, and nothing about the economy

We are going full stream of consciousness this evening, folks.

I am very burnt out with regard to my job hunt. I realize that feeling burnt out is just part of the job-hunt territory, much like working in the service industry. When it comes to both, you know going in that feeling burnt out isn’t an “if” but a “when” situation. I can safely say that most people accepting a full-time serving position (in NYC, mind you) are not thinking “…you know what will never get old? This!”

I was riding a nice wave of motivation and productivity for a good few weeks with little to show for it, aside from a lot of additions to my “jobs applied” Google sheet. A law firm toyed with me a bit and then a hotel, but I couldn’t hook either of them. To tell you the truth, I think part of the problem is that a large part of me still doesn’t want the jobs to which I’m applying. I’m still a bit confused as to what I’m trying to do, here.

What I’m realizing is that the job posts I’m excited to see and would be fired up to apply to, I can’t actually apply to because I’m lacking the necessary educational background and/or experience. The other day, my dad told me about some study revealing that men are more likely to apply to jobs where they don’t meet the qualifications than women are. Let me just say, I do believe in pushing for the things you want, and I’ve definitely embellished on my experience at times in the past when a job seemed too perfect. We have to acknowledge, though, that there are times when you really do need a specific background to apply for a job. Some examples:

  • working at an animal rescue (no veterinary skills, college-level science education, or experience working at a rescue? welp!)
  • environmental conservation (unless you want to try to get people to sign petitions on the street, the other jobs aka the ones I would want involve at least some amount of environment science background, and/or field work)
  • videographer (I have no camera, software, extremely limited software skills, and no portfolio. I know what you’re thinking: well then, fix that! …Friends. I would love to. That stuff is e x p e n s i v e. I need a job just to afford to prepare for that job.)
  • anything in a library (there’s a specific masters you need for that, too. the heck!)

These are just some examples off the top of my head, but I’ve spent the better part of the last three years sorting through all sorts of job openings, trying to figure out how to spin my experience to show these hiring teams “look, I may not have exactly what you’re asking for, but I’m a hard worker, I’m good with people, I believe in going the extra mile, and I’m very willing to learn.”

Anyway, my point wasn’t to be complain-y about the job hunt, here. There are as many exciting aspects as annoying ones, especially those magical moments when I come across something that I feel fits who I am and the way that I work.

My point was to wonder out loud…why are liberal arts degrees even a thing?

Okay please stay calm, liberal arts pals. I have a liberal arts degree. I had the best time in my English classes, seriously. They shaped the way I read, process, write, perform research, and more. I hated the core classes I was forced to take, like marketing, math (even that one math class for English majors was a struggle) and microeconomics. Those classes were the most challenging ones for me, and I definitely did not have a “knack” for any of those subjects the way I did for writing literary research papers.

In retrospect, I should’ve pushed myself to study something that didn’t come easily to me. I know I would have still loved reading, writing, the arts – you name it. My grades wouldn’t have been as good, but I would’ve learned things I can’t learn without guidance from professors.

Wouldn’t it make sense if we went to college to learn how to do something that you can’t learn how to do without college?

(the radical part) …and if those were the only degrees offered?

Imagine I had a biology degree to fall back on right now while I pursue writing endeavors. Or had a degree in accounting. Computer science. Information systems. (Is that something? It sounds like something.) I’m willing to bet I’d at least get more interview offers when I send out for jobs, because having degrees of this sort means that you have entire special skill sets that other people (like us English majors) don’t even know exist.

That’s gotta be super handy.

Maybe I’m making a terrible point, or making a decent point terribly, but take it from someone who is faced with “profiency in [blank, blank, and blank] required” on a daily basis. It used to be Microsoft Office, Google Suite, and maybe something to do with Excel specifically. There’s so much more now, it’s insane! The proactive person in me would try to find a way to learn how to use different software programs via YouTube videos or attempt to purchase that software on the cheap and self-teach, but this still brings me back to the same point: if I end up having to put in this extra work anyway, what is this degree I currently have really doing for me?

Could/should someone have warned me that I chose a luxurious degree that should really be reserved for fancy rich people who want to sound “well-educated” at social gatherings? Should I not have studied something to do with science or computers and numbers and then joined my local library immediately post graduation? Would it be okay to be sort of meh at writing essays, but for the sake of being a financially stable human who pays their rent on time? Is it fair to expect sixteen- and seventeen-year olds to have the sensibility to realize that just because a college offers a degree program does not mean that it’s going to be of any real value to you after graduation?

I can’t be the only English major on here, so someone please help me out of this black hole.

I’d love to to hear some takes on this from people with all sorts of educational backgrounds! I’ll go back to my regularly scheduled browsing through jobs tomorrow morning, but it is nice to stop and have a giant “what the absolute heck” moment once in a while.

Also here’s a picture of what is – I kid you not – the most valuable thing I have to to show for all of my college loan debt.

This performance is my clown-ing achievement. *cries*

PS: I know there’s no point in getting hung up on “I should’ve done this thing differently!” I’m also very grateful that I’m where I am in life right now. In that respect, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m just pondering the whole idea of certain liberal arts degrees, and wondering if we could help younguns make more informed decisions about higher education and what’s worth their time (and debt) – that is all! Cheers 🙂