the need to make my life smaller

Buying things we don’t really need because we think they’re going to make us happy. Let’s face it, we all do it. Splurging on some fancy chocolate at the grocery store because it’s that time of the month and chocolate is a “necessity.” Needing “new” jeans or a shirt because your current wardrobe just seems so blah. Driving everywhere because we’re lazy. It’s a been a long day/week/month/year. I “need” a drink. Hanging onto everything we’ve ever acquired in our lives because we just can’t let go of it (like that scarf that you really like, but to be honest, you haven’t worn it in over a year). We’re all guilty of it, especially me.

So last month, two of my good friends out here in Fort Collins decided that they were going to do an “anti-consumption month” challenge. At first, I was just like, why would you do that to yourself? After reading their updates week to week, it seemed like they were struggling a bit, but after a while, they found that what they thought they NEEDED in their lives, were completely unnecessary. Anti-consumerism is basically the principle of reducing one’s impact on the environment, the world, and our consumerist society. It is taking away everything that one thinks they really need and living on only what they actually need. Sounds a little crazy, right? I thought so too. Sometimes you need to treat yourself. But is that really necessary? Maybe what you think you “need” isn’t so lovingly over wrapped in tinfoil and paper (aka those Chocolove bars that really hit the spot when I’m PMSing or stressed out).

Here it goes: Starting March 1st, I’ll be starting my own anti-consumption month (which will then hopefully turn into something a little more long term). The rules of the game? It’s simple. Live on what you only really need to live. Get rid of the things that I think I really need to hold onto. I actually already started doing this this month when I went through a bunch of my old t-shirts and realized that I hadn’t worn or wanted to wear about 10 or so band t-shirts in over a year. Why do I still have these? They’re currently in a vacuum storage bag under my bed until I find some way to get rid of them (but not throw them in the trash).

Since my friends’ lifestyle is a little bit different from mine, I had to do some tweaking in order to fit my lifestyle of what I really need. So here are the rules for Emily’s Anti-Consumption month 2k17:

  1. Spending only $30 a week on groceries. It’s actually amazing how much you can buy in the produce section of a grocery store. Works perfectly for my vegan lifestyle. I’m also going to start being good about bringing my own bags when I go grocery shopping (which everyone should do anyway).
  2. Eating out? Out of the picture (unless I have leftover grocery money).
  3. Set a budget for gas. Unfortunately, driving to work is pretty much my only option right now since it’s a little too far to bike to and I’m pretty sure the bus doesn’t go that far. Besides work, it’s time to get back on the bike for everywhere else I need to go.
  4. Goodbye alcohol (unless I have some leftover grocery money, and even still, this gives me a good reason to cut back on my drinking in general).
  5. As anyone in their 20s knows, there are some things that I can’t avoid paying for like rent, utilities, recurring monthly payments, you know.
  6. Tis (almost) the season for spring cleaning. It’s time to go through all those clothes and other random things that I still have and donate them/recycle them in some way. Kind of like when I started to pack for moving, everyday I would find at least one thing in my room that I really thought I didn’t need, put it in a box/bag and would wait a week. If I forgot about it, I didn’t need it. Same thing goes for this month.

So what’s the point of this? Minimizing my lifestyle and my impact on the environment and not giving in to this consumerist society. Granted, I am going to have to throw down some money for some unexpected things (like that traffic ticket I got and the doctor appointment I have this coming month, my pet rats need food as well, and I might possibly need to get my oil changed.. but some of these things are unavoidable unfortunately). The point is to live with the bare minimum of what I need to live. Live small and minimal.

I’ll be posting weekly updates on how I’m doing, so stay with me here. Thank you John and Kacie for inspiring me to do this. I know you’ll have my back through this (and maybe Sweet D too if he decides to do this with me).

Let the hunger games begin.

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Life advice: beauty is pain and not worth it, unless it’s free of charge

Okay ladies and gents, I have some life advice for you: never let an esthetician do a product demonstration on you if you have no idea what it is.

So I finally got a job and had my first day of work after a month and a half of miserable, boring and overall depressing unemployment. Turns out, it’s actually a decent job where I get a set, consistent schedule so I feel pretty spoiled after coming out of food service where it’s “Okay I work at 4.. so if I’m second cut I SHOULD be out by 10? 11 maybe at the latest? Oh. I have to close. 1am it is.” If you’ve ever worked in food service, you know the struggle. I feel completely spoiled with my set 8:30am to 4 o’clock Tuesday through Saturday schedule. Nights off? What? I don’t have to sell my soul and tinge my dignity for tips so I can make money? I GET A BREAK SO I CAN ACTUALLY SIT DOWN AND EAT??? WHAT IS THIS WITCHCRAFT?? This is what adults must feel like. It feels pretty nice. I’ll take it. Continue reading “Life advice: beauty is pain and not worth it, unless it’s free of charge”

2017 UPDATE: somewhat manic, mostly reasonable

Note to self: do not post manic ideas as a blog post.

That last post was pretty unnecessary. Manic induced ideas can be awesome. That’s how I came up with the idea to go to U of Edinburgh for school (to get out of taking the GRE) and the idea of painting skate decks for money (possibly still a good idea for side money). I actually did spend a large amount of time researching where to buy blank skate decks and what type of varnish to use, etc. etc. But as much as I would like to extend my artistic talents into the world of skating, I think I’m better off doing something more realistic now that my mania has subsided.

For the first time since moving to Colorado, I finally feel a bit settled. Why’s that? Well I’ll tell you why even if you don’t care.

I finally have a REAL JOB. I START TOMORROW. Like, big girl 9-5 job. Okay it’s actually 8:30 to 4 and I have to work at 7:30am on Saturdays but a set schedule? Damn I feel spoiled.

And then after spending a month and a half of unemployment, I had a lot of time to think about long term. Long term commitments are scary. I couldn’t even decide on what I wanted to major in in undergrad until I realized I might as well major in psych just because I had enough credits for it. Bad decision, but probably ideal for someone who wanted to graduate ASAP.

But anyway, I recently realized how much I hate modern Western medicine and practices. These drugs that doctors have been shoving down my throat since I was 14 have done nothing for my mental health besides permanently damage my brain and have only acted as a band-aid. Honestly, the happiest I’ve been is when I start with treating my body with respect. It’s cliche, but my body is a temple. Treating my body right is what will eventually lead to having a healthier brain. I decided a more holistic approach to my health would be a better long-term decision for myself. Through eating a plant-based diet and exercising regularly, I feel better. When I started getting outside more and more when I moved to Colorado, I felt even better. Waking up sober everyday (this is sobriety Day 9 for me!!) helps me feel more productive and overall better. Doing yoga and meditation before bed calms me down and helps control my anxiety. Drinking teas with natural and beneficial herbs in them have helped my body through this alcohol mental and physical withdrawal. And of course, I’ve been going to acupuncture every week for the last 3 months.

Initially, I went to an acupuncturist because my allergies since moving here had gotten so bad that I was getting sick every week and I felt like I was constantly miserable. Taking massive amounts of painkillers and Allegra and Mucinex would barely help and just felt like poison to my body. A month into acupuncture, I realized I hadn’t gotten sick in weeks. Either my body finally adjusted, or acupuncture really did help. Acupuncture can be used to treat an extensive amount of ailments so I decided I wanted to start working on my mental health since it seems that I’m finally no longer a prisoner of allergy induced sickness.

Leading this more holistic lifestyle based on Eastern medicine has began to fascinate me. Every time my acupuncturist puts a needle in my skin, I always wonder, “why there?” During treatment, I like to meditate. Yesterday, I told my acupuncturist that I wanted to work on my depression and energy levels, in which he then placed three needles in my head. My mind spiraled into a crazy, manic-esque state but at the same time, calm and reasonable. At the time I was still thinking about the skateboard thing but something in the back of my mind reasonably talked me out of it. Eastern medicine is my calling. Coming from a psychology background, this would be perfect. I want to treat mental illness with more holistic approaches instead of shoving drugs down everyone’s throat and telling them what they should and shouldn’t do to cope with their minds.

That’s the short version. Yesterday, I was a unstable and depressed mess. When I finally found passion in something, that finally subsided. I found a purpose. I found a goal. I ordered books off Amazon on traditional Chinese medicine and started my application essay for a couple of TCM schools. I’m suddenly inspired to learn again, and I’m excited. I can be the calm little center of our ever chaotic universe. Zen, focused, and passionate about something for the first time in my life.

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Also, no GRE scores required, did I mention that? Don’t worry though, I won’t ever abandon writing. My crazy mind will still be on the internet for all to see.

2017: the year of manic-induced ideas

Anyone ever go through phases where your dreams get so vivid that you wake up the next morning like “OH MY GOD I HAVE TO GO GET MY LIP RING REPLACED TODAY”? Yeah that totally happened to me the other day. I had this weird dream that my lip ring fell out and when I picked up the ring it was one long piece of wire that I had to wind into a ring shape and when I put it back in my lip there was blood EVERYWHERE.. and then I woke up. So yeah, I woke up and automatically ran to the mirror to make sure I still had a normal looking lip. Close call.

Okay and then last night I had a dream that I owned my own custom skate deck company. It was so vivid that I was putting my own designs that I’ve actually drawn or painted on skatedecks. So, naturally, I woke up this morning thinking, “hey, that’s actually an awesome idea.” I’m barely a skater myself, if anyone recalls my several instances of spraining my wrists during my phase of wanting to be a skater kid. I can go down a flat wide road without falling pretty well and… that’s about it. Maybe when it gets warmer out and there’s not ice everywhere, I’ll try again (Godspeed, wrists).

But for real, custom skate decks? I don’t know anything about actually putting together a full board with all the wheels and hardware, but I can paint. I picked out my skate deck purely because of the design (pink background with a unicorn with tentacles? How could I not get that one?) Okay, granted, the start up would be hella expensive. Blank decks start at $17 a piece (and that’s just for small skateboards), plus paint, lacquer spray, and MAYBE grip tape if I really want to get fancy. But man, I could make bank on that

Let’s start with my latest and greatest storm trooper jelly.

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The ever famous Marla image I printed on t-shirts
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Geometrical patronus?

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The original design for my calf tattoo..hmm
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And I think we all remember my jellyfish phase..
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And this is just cool. 

Start up material? Maybe. Maybe I’m just a little manic because I was really depressed last night and played Alice: Madness for like, 5 hours and what happens after I’m depressed? MANIA AND STRANGE DREAMS THE UNENDING CYCLE.

I should really calm down and not buy a blank skateboard and maybe just draw instead of thinking of company names for this manic induced idea. Wonder Decks? Manic Decks? That one might be more appropriate.

First Hogwarts, now custom skateboards. Where will my mind take me next? Mania can be a beautiful thing. What else am I gonna do while I’m not bound to a real adult job? Be a manic kid. It’s kind of nice.

Welcome to Emily’s second quarter life crisis

I think I like changing up my format for how I do my titles now. Or I guess, lack there of. I always hated making up titles for essays when I was in school but since writing a blog, titles can be the most challenging but most fun part because you WANT people to read your blog post. And what’s gonna get people to start reading? The title. Even if it’s irrelevant to the rest of the post like mine mostly am. But hey, that’s just my style. Off topic, random and sometimes not so PG. Continue reading “Welcome to Emily’s second quarter life crisis”

that time I wrote a blog post to stay awake in class

Guys, I’m literally falling asleep. I’m just writing so that I can stay awake. Help me. I’m trapped in a room that I’ve been in for the past 4 hours and I’m being forced to learn things.

Bed, I miss you. I’ll be there soon.

And yet I signed up for a 7:30am pure barre class tomorrow morning. Why do I do these things to myself? I only feel productive when I start doing the impossible. Like not sleep like a normal person then end up sleeping for 16 hours straight at the end of the week. Repeat the cycle.

I also kind of feel bad that I haven’t been posting as much as I have in the past. It’s been, what, 5 or 6 days since my last post? I have so much to talk about and yet nothing at all mostly because I’ve been starting to wonder if anyone actually cares.

So confession? I am not ready to move to Colorado. In a manic state, I completely jumped on the housing opportunity I found, and now that it’s become so real to the point where I can’t not go, I am fucking terrified. Cause first of all, there’s the drive. 24 hours in a car by myself (ok I’ll have Finn the rat with me, prepare thyself for pictures of Finn in different places across the United States. Like a garden gnome. But a live rat.) But I’m gonna need to stock up on some life changing cd’s to listen to because my car does not connect to my iPhone (hold on while I check the Apple store for fancy devices…..OK APPARENTLY ONE DOES NOT EXIST AND YOUR SITE IS STUPID SLOW). Hopefully Siri will also hold out for me on the way there so that I’m not stuck in the middle of Kansas chomping on corn and trying to hitchhike with a rat in tow. This is worst case scenario here, it’s worth thinking about. Like, if I were to end up hitchhiking, what things would I grab from my car and what would I leave? My ENTIRE LIFE is going to be in that car. I might leave my meds behind. I’ll probably take my 23rd birthday wine for sentimentality and a potential good weapon. And something to keep me calm (alcoholism at it’s finest that may or may not be left behind). But honestly I’d probably take my cast-iron skillet because that’s definitely a good weapon. You know. Just in case.

I think thinking of the worst case scenarios is what will keep me semi-sane. Blob broke it down for me when I was freaking out about everything I have to do before I leave (how does he manage to keep everything so simple? Nothing is complicated to him and I totally don’t understand it. It’s also nice knowing that he’s probably not reading this right now because he’s currently camping with his dog to contemplate his life. I expect a homeless man beard upon his return. Unless he actually just ran away and isn’t returning. Fine by me. I’m doing the same thing in August). So there is a lot to do but I think I’m just overthinking it. It’s also finals week. Granted, I have more time in my day now that I have an excuse to not wear makeup or make any real decisions about what I’m going to wear so that I can get ready to go anywhere in 15 minutes. Finals week is amazing in this respect. And unlike all the freshman, sophomores, juniors and newbie seniors, I am a burned out super senior who does not give a shit and goes with the motto of “C’s get degrees.” I’m ok with this. I’ve been in school for 5 fucking years. I don’t even want this degree because I don’t want to use it unless it involves me working in a rat lab (aka not working, just playing with rats all day and maybe make them run through a maze so that I can confirm with my boss that rats whose hippocampus is intact can remember where the treat is in a maze).

But anyway, yes, I will blog along the way to Colorado. While it is 24 hours of driving that I could do in one shot, why not take my time getting out there and see some stuff? How many times in my life am I going to drive cross country? Might happen again, might not, so I’m going to treat this like I’m not going to do it again. Who knows, maybe I’ll end up all the way in the middle of Montana because why not? Okay, my sister lives there so maybe I’ll surprise visit her (not really a surprise if I’m writing this here). And I’m going to be doing all of this by myself. No, Blob is not coming with me. Everyone’s been asking me that and he will not be following me. He may end up on my end of the country at some point, but no one is holding their breath for it. It’s fine. People come and go, but life doesn’t stop for anybody.

Besides kayaking the entirety of the Chesapeake Bay in high school, this is probably the biggest adventure I’ve put myself into. This is my rabbit hole. My head will come with me, but what is down that rabbit hole? Who knows. I might not be the same person I am today. I’ll go from East Coast miserable Emily to West Coast……….Emily?? I might still be miserable and anxiety ridden and still end up hiding under my desk because all the voices in my head are telling me that’s the safest place to be right now. But I could be someone else. Who knows. It’s a rabbit hole. Why not be curious?

My Wonderland awaits, for better or for worse.

Can’t you see the faces melting as the sun rains from their eyes?
Who are you to keep your head with the hearts that you hang behind?
Look at yourself, look in the mirror, don’t you see a lie?
That you tell yourself again a thousand times
And the truth that makes us laugh will make you cry
You want to die? No?
-Embarrassing favorite song from the All-American Rejects: The Poison from Tim Burton’s Almost Alice

 

that time that my mother told me to go to AA

The worst thing about mental illness is that you don’t realize it’s happening until it’s too late. You see the train coming, but you know that you have the sense to move before it gets too close. But trains travel a lot faster than you think.

So I just spent an hour talking on the phone with my mother. That’s seriously a record considering I only call her when I need something and I usually put the phone down and walk away while she’s talking and she doesn’t notice. 10 minutes is usually my limit. But it’s true: she told me I should go to AA. She does this freaky thing where she can suddenly get me to tell her everything that’s going on in my life from who I’ve hooked up with to how much alcohol I consume on the daily. Things that you usually don’t want to tell your parents. I am way too hungover for this shit. And shaking with anxiety.

I transitioned last night. So that’s a thing. Thank god it didn’t last long but Alice did leave me high and dry with a shattered phone screen. So that’s another thing. Drunk Alice me is apparently extremely unattractive. I asked Blob what he found unattractive about her and I think the word he used was the most accurate description of her: explosive. After angrily telling him to just go home after work instead of coming over, I started driving away and started crying, then called him and begged him to come over. I felt better once we got home and I cracked open my bottle of wine. Alcoholism at its finest. I don’t understand how that man puts up with me on a day to day basis. Or really anyone. But those who do put up with me I guess are the ones who are worth keeping around. And the ones who get up early and make you awesome breakfast after the whole episode are definitely worth keeping around. Don’t let your ego get too high, Blob. You still annoy the fuck out of me. This is just an appreciation paragraph.

Why do I cry so much now after having a total dry spell for a year? I might have to call out of work because I can’t stop crying. I’ve skipped class a few times because I can’t get out of my house without my face being a total wreck. Why do I wear so much makeup? My eyes are always red and puffy to the point that only black eyeshadow can cover up this damage. I am a wreck. You know how on the internet you find those little inspirational quotes that say things like “those who suffer from mental illness are the strongest individuals” and shit like that? Man, I don’t know who came up with that because we are such a train wreck. But I guess those who don’t have any mental illnesses would not be able to deal with the kinds of things I go through on the daily. I guess I gotta give myself some credit here. This is just an appreciation paragraph for myself. Bipolar disorder/DID is a gift and a curse. I can feel things that no one else has the ability to feel, which sounds great sometimes. Mania is awesome, who can argue that? But with mania does come the depression that just drags you down like you’re tied to a 3 ton boulder. Days like this are difficult. I’m trying to find some silver linings.

I really don’t want to go to AA. I’m such a stubborn person. I know I have a problem but I just can’t stand the thought of being Marla Singer in a support group. I am Jack’s wasted life. No thank you. So here I am today sitting at my computer and trying to get the courage to get up and out and hopefully make it through the day without having to end it on a drunk note. My mom told me to try not to drink tonight. I’ll try. I’ll try to color or play with my new hula hoop that’s coming in the mail tonight. I’ll try to not disassociate from myself. I’ll try to not run away from everything.

I’m always running from something.

I just can’t outrun my brain.