and now for something completely different

Yesterday morning I went into the city before 10am, which is the equivalent of 6am anywhere else when it comes to NYC on a weekend. I got out of the house early because I had to capitalize on my morning energy to accomplish my mission: replacing the worn out 10+ year-old items in my closet.

I’ve been buying cheap clothes for a long time – not just cheap, but the cheapest of cheap. Not like…decent brands on sale, but the $4 shirts you get at TJ Maxx. I think it works well when you’re a teen and playing with your style for the first time (and also growing!) but I carried the habit into adulthood mostly because I was never making enough money to even consider buying clothes that were over $10-$15 per item. If I found something cheap, I tried it on – if it fit, I bought it. It didn’t really matter how the clothes made me feel, or if they offered any potential to last more than a year before falling apart.

I’m already off on a tangent. Essentially, I’m trying to execute the whole “have fewer things but of higher quality” idea, particularly when it comes to buying clothes I want to wear. I went shopping with that in mind and was pretty successful! I caught myself holding several shirts for $4.99 at one point in TJ Maxx (yes I went shopping on 5th Ave and still ended up at TJ Maxx) but I checked myself and put them back. I know you too well, $4.99 TJ Maxx shirts.

I shopped with intention yesterday and felt very satisfied, which is my segway into this post’s real topic: becoming the homemade toothpaste lady, but not overnight.

Right? Okay.

My dad stayed with Sean and I for a few days around Christmas, and brought up (multiple times) that there’s no point in recycling anymore. Of course he doesn’t mean that, he’s just fed up with the way the world works, as we all darn well should be.

This is embarrassing to admit, but I really didn’t know until he told me a few weeks ago that China is no longer buying our recycles because we can’t be bothered to 1) clean them or 2) recycle the right things. This has been going on for close to two years, according to this NYT article from 2018. Was this big in the news a while ago and I just didn’t notice?? Again, embarrassing.

Anyhow. Upon learning this information, I decided to recommit myself to something I’ve wanted to do for a long time but never got very far with: no longer purchasing products that are sold in single-use packaging.

If you’re on social media, you’ve probably seen the gals with the pantries entirely comprised of fancy dry goods in mason jars, living off of their own gardens, either buying top shelf organic/recyclable/chemical-free/etc skincare products or alternatively, spending their days making products for themselves from scratch. I’m inspired and intimidated, and I feel like I’m not alone. I know that “we all have the same amount of hours in the day” and “no one is too busy to make a difference” but I am definitely too busy to go that freaking hard, Penelope and your homemade charcoal toothpaste.

So I let that be my excuse – if I don’t think it’s realistic that I could ever be on that level and I already do a little more than the minimum when it comes to living a sustainable life…why take it any further?

Admittedly…not a great attitude. If we’re all thinking that, that’s a collective HUGE difference not being made.

Going into the new year, I decided that it’s worth trying to change one thing at a time. Y’know, rather than trying to overhaul my entire life, going into panic mode and abandoning ship. I figured it wouldn’t be hard to come up with one thing that we buy/throw away (the packaging obviously) on a very regular basis. And it wasn’t! Because we are both addicted to…

Coffee!

We go through at least one coffee bag per week, and would definitely go through more if I didn’t have a café at work. Sean does the grocery shopping and is very loyal to Trader Joe’s. We usually end up with the coffee from TJ’s that comes in the classic shiny, not-really-paper bags like this:

I’m not a giant, that’s just a really small coffee bag that came as part of a sampler.

Staring at the coffee in our kitchen, I asked the internet a question to which I already knew the answer: are coffee bags recycleable? No, of course they’re not, unless they’re paper. This wasn’t too upsetting of an answer, for surely we could just start buying coffee in paper bags. Trader Joe’s must have this option.

I asked Sean to check the coffee situation on his next trip, and we both forgot. For three weeks. I was in Trader Joe’s yesterday and I still forgot to check.

I did step out of my comfort zone and go to Whole Foods on New Year’s Day where I saw a few options…one being that you can fill your own paper bag, but it’s mostly with the beans, not ground coffee. They do have a grinder there, but of course I’m too intimidated to use it.

Option two is to buy normal plastic-y bag coffee.

Option three is do what I did – spend $13 on prepackaged coffee in a paper bag.

Sustainable with regard to the earth? Yes. Sustainable with regard to my wallet? Obviously not.

I finally found my (temporary) solution last week, when I noticed that Sean brought home coffee in a can. Ah yes, cans. Do you ever just forget that things exist and spend too long trying to solve a problem? After Google confirmed that I could recycle my coffee can, I looked up at the sky (ceiling) and sighed. At last.

On a not entirely coffee-related note, I definitely want to toughen up and be less weird about doing things outside of my normal grocery store experience, like grind some coffee in that Whole Foods grinder – a seemingly not too difficult task. I think that the price per pound would still be insane, but it’s more about the task itself and my apparent grocery store anxiety.

Something else that I never noticed because the Whole Foods near our house is still pretty new (and I avoid the ones in Manhattan as much as possible) is that they have a pantry at the front where you can fill bags with rice, beans, nuts, and other dry goods from large jars. As far as I could tell, you can’t bring your own container to fill, but it’s possible that the produce bags they offer are biodegradable or something like that. This is something I will have to find out. My fear, again: the prices will be insane, and i’ll somehow spend $17 on a tiny bag of almonds.

It’s crazy how standing in the store the other day, assessing everything as questions ran through my mind, I reached a place of “f*ck this i’m getting the stuff already in bags.” Over something that’s really not tricky – just different. And to top it off, I’ve placed this assumption on this method of shopping that it’s going to cost way too much money. I mean, it’s Whole Foods, so I feel like I’m probably right…but still. I’m definitely an example of how people end up staying in their routines, longing for change.

…but I have coffee in a can now, so I’m pretty much just waiting for Ellen to bring me on her show as an eco-hero.

I realize I don’t get a lot of comment engagement, which is still cool with me, but if anyone wants to talk about a change they’d like to make to help out our toasty planet, I’d love to hear about it! My next small goal is to sort out our cleaning products – with a larger goal of setting up a compost. Ambitious and possibly illegal where I live. Because of all the skunks.

On that note, I’ll see myself out.

just stretching my fingers

Has it been two months? Oops. The excuse this time is simultaneously pathetic and wonderful. I lost myself in my work (work-work, y’know) and abandoned all semblance of time management in my personal/creative life…but I secured the job! They’re going to keep me as a full-time hire, so I will no longer be an outside contractor. Have I finished reading a book since September? No! I don’t care. Honestly. If I had to use all of my tentacles to desperately clutch only one thing for the past few months, this was the right choice.

I’m attempting to reintroduce balance going into 2020. We know I love a list, but my 2020 list (which is not yet complete) features more broad intentions this year that I think will lead me to develop some new and improved habits. Sure, there’s a dash of the classic “go to the gym!” and “make more art!” but the approach is a bit different this time. There’s less rigidity this year. I don’t want to fall into any “all or nothing” traps that I’ve set for myself, so I’m not setting them. With regard to my personal projects, I’m keeping some Austin Kleon quotes (from “Show Your Work!”) in mind:

  • “You don’t find an audience for your work – they find you.”
  • “Think about your work as a never-ending process.”
  • “Amateur – an enthusiast who encourages her work in the spirit of love.”
  • “Be on the lookout for voids that you can fill with your own efforts.”
  • “Forget about being an expert or a professional, and wear your amateurism on your sleeve.”
  • “Be a documentarian of what you do.”
  • “Focus on days.”
  • “Don’t let sharing your work take precedence over actually doing your work.”

So I should document and share what I do, but not let sharing overshadow the doing. Which means establishing some discipline in my art life – not in what’s being done, but just that I do it…at all…

…I think this is the right time to tell you that (at the time of writing) I’m the only person in this coffee shop at 10:00am on the Saturday before New Year’s, and the managers are 100% looking at me from around the corner with expressions that say “how nice that we’re remaining open for this one chick to sip a latte for an hour and stare at a wall.”

There will undoubtedly be some changes coming with this website and ideally with my engagement with others on it, as well. I’m excited. I’m still mapping out what I want to achieve, but it’s a very ongoing variety of work and in the meantime I just wanted to pop in and say hello, I’m still here.

One other timely thing I wanted to bring up: it’s that time of year when Instagram encourages you to share your “Top 9” (top nine most liked posts) from the year as sort of a “these were my best moments of 2019” tribute. Instagram’s algorithm allowed me to notice that Nina Agdal, a professional model with over 1 million followers, posted the following on the subject:

“I’m not gonna let Instagram tell me what my top 9 of 2019 is gonna be cus i know it would just be pics of my tits and ass so i made my own.” – @ninaagdal

Nina then included a self-made picture collage featuring shots of her holding her new nephew, a screenshot of a personal best on a run, and a selfie after getting her driver’s license, among others.

…I love this idea? I don’t know if she originated it, but big shout-out to you, Nina. I really doubt anyone’s most-liked posts truly reflect who they are and the most special moments of their year. Unless…no, I can’t come up with an exemption. So here’s my top 9 of 2019! Safe celebrating to all and to all a hopeful, fresh start. 🙂

2019 featuring a very well-executed surprise birthday party, my first sloth experience, moving in with Sean and starting our garden, exposing my blog on Instagram and being blown away by the response, acting alongside some of my favorite actors and TV characters, publicly posting poetry despite being terrified, getting my current job and 24/7 access to free coffee, standing up for a cause I love, and wrapping it all up at home & with family (and delightfully ugly sweaters).

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.

“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 🙂

helpful things I learned from the worst book I’ve ever read (no, I’m not telling you the book)

Be a good representative of your community.

No matter which hat of my many hats is most prominent on my head at any given time, I want to represent that hat in an honest way. It’s not about proving why I’m right as the only American in the room, or only feminist, or only Penguins fan, whatever – it’s about being a positive representative of that group and acknowledging, not making excuses for, fellow group members behaving badly.

Don’t present your opinions as facts.

In your heart of hearts, you know if a strong opinion is really just that: an opinion. Even if it’s a core value of yours. You can express that idea if you need to, but to paint it as a fact is irresponsible. It’s not even so much about the people you offend, but the people you mislead.

Don’t tell half truths.

You’re misrepresenting yourself by doing this, and people will notice. If you’re presenting yourself as something, be that something. Do the thing, even if it’s ugly or embarrassing. Don’t do a “version” of it. Do it for real.

Check your privilege.

Please. Especially if you’re up on a soapbox telling people to live a certain way. Acknowledge such things as systemic barriers, whether it’s to do with racism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, allllll of it…before you go off on someone about what they’re doing wrong and what they should just *poof!* go off and change about their lives. PS: If you goof up, (I’m already questioning if “systemic” was the right word to use – I think so?) own it! Let people teach you. Make an effort to learn. Grow.

If you used to be an apple and became an orange, your former apple-ness is no excuse for you to shame other apples into also becoming oranges.

Yeah…no. “I used to be lost, too” is not something to say to someone who is living their truth and harming no one. If you used have…let’s say, “a similar lifestyle” to someone you’re preaching to, that doesn’t make it okay! What in the world! You could have been a literal sex worker and changed careers, that doesn’t give you any more of a right to slut shame anyone. Dang, people. I’m getting angry again.

Do your research.

Just because you think you are sharing a humorous, uncommon, groundbreaking secret does not mean that the rest of the world is on the same page. “Everyone, I have a big secret. I [insert pretty tame and normal grooming habit]. I know, I know! This information makes me quirky and bold and real. Please clap.” Maybe try talking to people, or reading articles or books by people on similar subjects, and then don’t publish something that makes women think “am I supposed to feel weird about this?”

Anyone can write a book.

Biggest takeaway. So go for it! Follow your dreams! If you can help it, try not to write something that makes people cringe (unless it’s in the Stephen King spooky-cringe sort of way) but otherwise just have at it. Heck, try to get it published. I can just about promise that whatever you write, as long as you write from a place of truth, will be 1000000x better than something it seems too many people have read.

🙂

if I get one more recruiter email for a vague marketing position I swe-

Hello! It’s Wednesday, so according to my boss (who is me) I must share something today.

How about a recap?! This past week, I:

…went jet skiing for the first time (as a passenger, anyway). Séan loves being on the water and I believe this is his favorite way to be on the water. Mine is kayaking. Or a pool float. But it was pretty cool to see the Statue of Liberty from an unfamiliar angle and to fly past the piers & under the Brooklyn Bridge. Plus it was my own Hitch moment, minus getting kicked in the face. And Will Smith.

…tested out the newly-tidied back patio with a couple of friends. We startled the most precious tiny skunk family by intruding on what is rightfully their space late into the night. I also didn’t realize the wifi wasn’t reaching out back and used all my phone data playing a lively “BBQ playlist” whilst outside. Good.

…sampled beautiful Chinese food at brand new restaurant that I don’t believe has opened officially, yet. Also, took a gamble on a Mexican restaurant in Hoboken and a bar/bistro in Jersey City, both of which were new to the two of us. Everything was delicious, and I’m not even hungry right now so you can trust my judgement. (I don’t love going out to eat while unemployed but I only fight Séan on the subject when it’s getting to be a lot. I’m trying to stop being the brat who takes enjoyment away from him. I’m a very cheap date, anyway, and obviously great company so come on.)

…found a coffee place nearby that brings out my productivity!! This is huge for me. I moved here in April and it took me this long to start exploring…but hey, it’s happening. Not to “not appreciate the now” and all that, but I’m looking forward to the weather cooling down even more now that I’ve discovered this cafe. It’s a long enough walk away, but it will be such a beautiful walk in the fall and coffee will be even more enticing when it’s not 9000 degrees out plus humidity.

…had a nice 14.5 hour workday on the set of a project I know very well, and got to watch my favorite actors play my favorite characters. I don’t usually act in anything I watch, or vice versa, but this was the most perfect exception.

…applied to so many jobs! I’m finally zeroing in on jobs I truly want to do, which I’ve found requires looking outside my usual sources. Which makes sense – those websites haven’t served me well thus far (except Craigslist, I ❤ Craigslist) so I was due for a change in approach. I’m now on just about every job-search platform in existence, and have learned a very valuable lesson: TURN OFF THE THING THAT LETS RECRUITERS REACH OUT TO YOU.

…posted some of my writing (the stylized, poetry-type variety) on Instagram for everyone to see. That’s a scary new thing I’m doing. I stand by my man Austin Kleon though, and his insistence on sharing your work throughout the process. It won’t serve me well to wait until I’ve been confidently writing and editing for years and then start sharing. You just gotta do. And be imperfect. And get there eventually.

My body has been a little funky and achey, but nothing I can’t manage. Séan and I did a lot of walking around on the Fourth of July, which was a very hot and sunny day here. I’m usually good with long walks, but I’ve learned that the hotter it is, the less my body can cope. Not that anyone feels good after a lengthy walk in oppressive heat, but my bod is pretty dramatic about it. My left side gets all worked up, my face gets super flushed, and the headache comes on strong. (I always wonder if my light sensitivity is a leftover concussion factor. Remind me to look into that.)

I forced us to head home before restarting the day and took a nap so deep I may have been dead. I knew I needed it, and I was able to bounce back because of it. I’m in the endless process of trying to pace myself a bit more and not be the “hell yeah let’s do it” girl I want to be, at least not all the time. I have to parent myself a bit more, but I’m getting there. I have a tendency to carry the “lost” moments (or the things I said no to) with me, but looking at that list of things I did do last week, I can take a deep breath and smile.

I’ve been reading a lot of good things lately but I also keep discovering more and more artists to fall in love with: would y’all prefer a list of independent artists who make weird/awesome things and could use some support, or a what-I’m-reading-lately type post next time? I realize no one will answer this question, like when beauty bloggers say “hiiiiii guys, SO MANY of you have been asking for me to do a (blank) video-” and literally no one asked. But just in case anyone has an opinion, please bless me with it. Thank you.

Don’t forget your sunscreen and chins up, you’ve got half the week left. Do something good with it.