12-Step Programs

I wrote this as an assignment for my “Addiction Studies” course. I thought I’d share it on here. 

07 May 2013

Addicts– an anecdote

 

Addicts– what to do?  I’m not referring to a specific type– agree or disagree, I’m an adamant believer that an addict is an addict is an addict, whether a lush in L.A. or a junkie in Seattle, to generalize for just one moment. Being the daughter of one beautiful, prodigal, outlandishly cunning woman, a woman whose torrented life owes something, if not everything, to the astounding powers of meth, I’m inclined to say that some, if not all, addicts are innately smart people. I say that, but I really don’t mean that, because the reality is, hanging around addicts is weird. Addicts are weird. They are negative people, terrible, even, and their behaviors, most of the time, just really cannot be justified. Because when you’re an addict, and you’re looking to get high, all you really care about is when and how you will get that next fix. That’s a stereotype. It’s a cliche, nowadays, and it’s smothered in the PSAs. But those facts don’t erase its truth. Addicts are bad people. This is true. It’s so true. I hate to admit that and it’s difficult not to hate myself for admitting that out loud, but objectively, that’s how it is. Primal ethnology of substance indulgences aside, addiction just isn’t rational.

Sometimes, an addict is even aware of this fact. Just earlier today, I had a conversation with an old friend where she recalled moments from a few years back in our history. Just a few years back, I might have been duly in the process of performing a favor for her– like picking her up from some house, and driving her home to mine. My house– I was driving her “home” to my house, where she was “temporarily” staying. I would usually offer her food along the way, food she would always refuse, or at best, pathetically pick at. Anyway, as she recalled today on the phone, she empathized with her past self in order to shed light on something I myself was suddenly experiencing, remembering what it felt like to  have her fix in her purse, along with the paraphernalia with which she might use it, all while being in my car on the way to my house and literally hating my guts simply because I existed. Literally, in these situations, the fact of my existence was the only barricade from her using. So, in the midst of performing for her a favor, I was somehow the devil incarnated. I’ll say it again– she knew that this was not rational, let alone fair to me, but therein lies the mindset of an addict. When you want to get high, that need trumps everything else. Every single thing– especially the ability to be loving to those who care for you, or at the very least, a decent, commendable human.

With this anecdote in mind, I ask you– what do we, as a society, do with these addicts? I’ve already hinted that I believe some of them to be the smartest people alive. Having been raised by an addict, and grown up around it, and even having for a breeze used  the things myself, I can’t deny the fact that I am concerned for these people. Try as I might to distance myself from them (I moved 1000 miles north to escape my dark and twisted past) I can no longer deny the fact that I care about these people, and even feel somehow that I am linked to them. The thing with drugs, and the people who use them, is that they are so profoundly lonely. The very act of ingesting a drug shockwaves you straight into a vacuum. It’s the most isolating thing that you can do to yourself. I mean that wholeheartedly.

 

Alcoholics Anonymous — a brief (and biased) history

 

Notable psychologist Carl Jung went so far as to deem substance dependence as “medically helpless”. That’s a pretty bold statement. So how did people respond?  Bill Wilson and his doctor friend provide a big example. Together, they one day decided, while chatting it up in Akron, OH, that the solution to this “medically helpless”, profoundly isolating epidemic was to start up grassroots support groups in empty churches and abandoned basements. The idea was that, over shitty coffee and too many cigarettes, people would come together and talk about the horrors their habits created for them and how difficult the sober life is. Bill Dub and Dr. Bob Smith designed a thoughtful, well-intentioned “twelve step program” and called it Alcoholics Anonymous. They published a book by the same title (but nicknamed The Big Book) in 1939 and before anyone knew it, this phenomenon went viral. People all over the country started gathering in basements, passing the book around while scrounging for shitty coffee and filling churches up with cigarette smoke. It became the alternative solution to prison sentences– don’t lock an addict up, simply force recovery upon them! Recovery through these meetings.

Look, I don’t mean to sound harsh, but this system is horribly flawed. While I will gladly admit that AA seems to work for some people, my dad being one of them, it is not for all people, and I think oftentimes, the program does more harm than it does good. My dad is a lonely guy– he divorced and never remarried. He’s a little bit antisocial, and his kids are all grown up. He’s in astronomical amounts of debt, etc. For him, AA is a place where he can go and be a part of a community. AA is where he has friends. So for my father, woo hoo, AA is a wonderful thing.

On the flip side of that coin, there is my marvelous mother. My mother is a lot of things, and a willful, independent spirit is definitely one of them. AA is detrimental to these types of people. A willful person needs to live under the impression that every single decision they make is their own and theirs only. Even if that decision is an objectively bad decision. AA is the opposite of that. AA means admitting that you are a “medically helpless” person, and that you need these meetings to recover. AA leads you to believe that recovery without these meetings just simply isn’t a thing. Add the layer of these meetings being forced upon a person, and you might as well just forget it. My mother recently admitted to me that AA always only increased her desire to get high, and only sometimes was that desire physical– it was often just her form of petty rebellion. Granted, my mother might be an anomaly here, but I’m really not so sure.

 

Alcoholics Anonymous– My (most recent) Experience

 

On Wednesday April 24, 2013, I attended a “Sober and Free” Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in a church on 10th ave. I attended with Amber, who I know from my film studies program, because I thought the “buddy system” might alleviate some of the awkwardness. As I mentioned, I grew up with addict parents, one who recovered and one who didn’t. These meetings were a part of my upbringing. I remember attending them as a child with my father– the parent who recovered. There was always lots of smoke, a ton of coffee (which I drank gleefully loaded with cream) and loads of Tootsie Pops. The bartender would always give us an extra Tootsie Pop if we received a wrapper that had a “star” imprinted on it. Wanda, one of the regulars, would always give us strawberry candies that appeared from the depths of her handbag. She smelled like cheap perfume. My sister and I mostly just played in the arcade area, sometimes pool but usually pinball. Occasionally, only occasionally, would we sit in on the meetings. I’ll admit that I never really paid attention to what was said and my favorite part was always the hand-holding circle in which the Lord’s Prayer was recited.

Anyway, this meeting with Amber was different. I wasn’t sure whether or not it would be a good idea to tell her that I had a history with these things. Being transparent and radically honest, I ended up telling her. I didn’t tell her everything, but I told her enough so that it was clear that I, unlike her, was not feeling voyeuristic about the project because I, unlike her, had grown up with the phenomenon. I really did not know what to say because since moving here, the whole ordeal has seemed so very distant to me– at least, up to this point. This class has triggered a surge of memories, and it’s been very challenging, confronting that fact. I alway told myself that, despite everything, I am not my parents. I have always been so sure to make it a noted point that I am creating a life that is separate, even radically different, from the lives they chose to live. I’m losing sight of that.

Anyway, again with Amber, I agreed that despite my past, we would both just tell the people that we were student observers. I was skeptical of this, but felt awkward, because I could tell that Amber felt awkward, about my having addict parents. Not that I blame her, I don’t at all because it’s sort of an awkward thing– unless, of course, you’ve lived it. But then, it’s sort of an even more awkward thing– because we’re supposed to be honest about our experiences, and accept each other’s diverse perspectives for what they are, right? But things like alcoholism, and meth addiction, are still just so unbelievably socially unacceptable. As they really should be, because if the definition of “socially unacceptable” is behavior that is a threat to humanity, well, those two diseases definitely fall under that umbrella.

Moving on– we knew we’d reached the right place when we saw people hugging through the windows. An older woman greeted us, and told us that we were more than welcome to sit in. Amber did most of the talking, I never really talk much when I’m in group settings. The woman (whose name I forget) told us that it was multiple people’s birthdays, and that they always celebrated such things at the end of the month. She offered us some homemade fruit cake, and while it looked delicious, I was stuffed from the ramen that Amber and I’d had for dinner. The meeting itself was less than profound. Maybe it was the fact that I’d had a long day, or that I’d insanely over eaten just a few hours before, or that I was nervous and anxious and riled about being there in the first place, but I just really was not impressed. I remember feeling sad for everyone in the room, I do remember that. I remember recalling how tragically alone people are in their addictions. And that maybe, just maybe, AA was a good thing.

We ended up, somehow, at a “gay” meeting– other than our greeter, we were the only ladies present. Which was comforting– not to sound uptight but it was comforting to know that no one in the room was interested in oogling (at us, anyway.) It also might be a strange coincidence that they were reading the “We Agnostics” chapter. Honestly, I’ve never really picked up the book in my life, I know I shouldn’t knock things that I haven’t tried, but like I said, I’m just really not a fan of this system. I thought that this chapter was alright. It seemed like it was trying to acknowledge the lonely, defensive place that so many addicts are coming from. Still, the meeting was kind of low energy, and no one’s story really blew me away. They were all just variations on a theme– “I didn’t want to give up everything, until I realized that I had to. I didn’t want to admit that I needed AA, until I realized that I had to.” I mean, in a lot of ways, it makes sense. When you’re addicted to something, you don’t care about people. This means that people cannot really truly care about you, either. That’s what I mean, by isolating. Or that’s part of what I mean. All that said, I just really don’t get AA. One of the guys even mentioned, after the meeting, that he hoped we didn’t stereotype them based on ‘the movies”– he seemed to think that the movies were inaccurate depictions of AA meetings. Maybe he’s right. He’s probably right. I still don’t get AA.

 

Narcotics Anonymous– an anecdote

 

If I think that AA is flawed, that is nothing in comparison to my thoughts regarding NA. NA is poison. Literally, poison. Founded in LA about eighteen years subsequent to the founding of AA (1953, to AA’s 1935) in California by Jimmy Kinnon and others, I am not sure what he was thinking when he thought it would be a good idea to invite the gamut of addicts into one cigarette-smoke-saturated basement. I know from first-hand experience, that for many, NA is where you go when you are not serious about recovery, but are actually looking to meet new “connects”. For those who are serious, AA is a surefire option, regardless of your addictive tendencies.  I acknowledge that this is probably not an “across the board” phenomenon, but I certainly think there is something to it, and as I’ve said, I’ve seen it up front. My mom admitted to me that she met some of her best “connects” in NA. Again, I don’t mean to sound harsh, but this is how I feel, and I don’t know that my mind will change.

 

Narcotics Anonymous– my experience

 

I didn’t go to another meeting. I could have, I would have, I should have.  I could even have pretended to and just made something up.  For the purposes of this class, and this paper, though, I just am not going to do that. The truth is, this class is triggering for me. While it shames me to admit this, I recently relapsed. I don’t mean to make you uncomfortable. I certainly don’t mean to say that I relapsed because of this class. I didn’t. There are so many factors that went into this behavior– this choice– beginning, perhaps, with my own hereditary temperament, and following with my environmental upbringing, continuing with loads of factors in between, and maybe culminating in the fact that I ended two unhealthy relationships over the span of just one week. I could mull over the fact that I share a studio apartment with a man I am not dating and that I have no space, let alone time, to myself, or the fact that I am graduating with no plans in just one month (assuming I pass my classes). I could even self-pity over the admission that I feel uncomfortable with the way I’ve lived my life up to this point. The excuses are honestly endless.

The truth is, triggering as it all is, even “trite” and “voyeuristic” as it all seems to me sometimes, I was meant to be in this class. This is my final opportunity to look my demons in the eye, and tell them that they bore me. That I know longer need them. That I’m not that person anymore, that I’ve outgrown this layer of my flesh. Even though I relapsed, I know that I can move on. And I can accept that it’s a part of me. Will always be a part of me. It’s a process, it will always be a process, but as I mentioned earlier, I care about this world, and the people who inhabit it. I mostly care from a distance, but never a day goes by when I don’t wish that there was more that I could do. I know I’ve been critical of the system– and have probably failed to sufficiently back it up. I don’t even offer an alternative– because I’m not sure what that would be. I just know that, as it is now, the system does not know or even appear to want to know how to treat the addicts of our world. Of course, there are individuals within the system who seem to demonstrate a little bit more insight, and intuition regarding the matter (like you, I would say you come from a place of caring) but generally, it doesn’t seem as if most individuals that make up the “system” truly care about the individual persons beneath the addicted layers. Again, as I’ve also hinted at, this tendency is almost rightfully so, because the addicts tend to make it so hard for you to care. Even in cases where caring is present, it’s a feeling that is nearly impossible to sustain– my relationship with my mother provides a classic example of this tension.

My roommate recently told me that I ought to own up to my messiah complex. I never thought of it that way, but perhaps he has a point. I spent my entire childhood wasting my birthday candle wishes on one single wish– that my mother would recover. That she would learn to love herself. It never happened, and to this day, I can’t bring myself to wish on anything ever about anyone or anything under any circumstance. My friend wanted to blow away on dandelions  just last weekend, and that innocent impulse in him literally sent me down into a deep wormhole of sadness for a good five minutes. It wasn’t his fault, and it certainly wasn’t rational, but there you have it– sometimes, emotions just are not rational. Emotions actually are not considered to be “rational” at all– but they’re important. They are so important, and in some ways, they are the root source of my interest and engagement with the world around me.

The truth is, this paper is very hard for me to write. I feel like I have so much to say– so much pain and memory stored up. It’s all so cloudy, and I really don’t know where to begin. Let alone, how to do it all the justice that it deserves. I want to write something cathartic, I want to write something real. Maybe this isn’t the paper  that you wanted, but it’s the only paper I could write. I hope I go back to it, and make it the memoir it deserves to be. I didn’t realize until now how profound my need is to express these experiences in writing.

I guess I’ll close on a story about a girl I discovered on Tumblr. I found her last week, while I was perusing the “drug” tag in the moments preceding my relapse (don’t even get me started on online “support” groups, that are so the opposite of supportive!) Anyway, in this teenager’s “about me” page, she tells the world all about how she has the “perfect life”– the perfect family, the perfect house, a pretty face, and a place in the “popular” crowd at school. She goes on to say that she is bored, and wants something “different”. A line separates her story, and she tells us that, three months later, things have changed. She’s lost her virginity, tried pot, and become addicted to meth. She chronicles her stories in a very vivid, episodic manner. She writes quite well. It’s surreal, to me, reading these stories. I feel like I’m almost re-living tales from my own past– I remember it all so clearly, and I see exactly where things might be headed for this poor girl.

I started talking to this girl, gently extending a hand. She’s already at a point where she is trying to get clean– on the one hand, she has her “getting high” boyfriend, and on the other, there is a boy in her life who loves her, but can’t be with her unless she gets clean. I hope she ends up with the right one, I hope she gets clean, and I told her so. I told her that I know how hard it is to let go of people who you care about, but that sometimes, you just have to, because they are literally poison. Most importantly, I think, I told her how good her writing was– I told her all about her potential, and her strong sense of voice.  She told me that no one ever told her she was a good writer, so she “never knew if she was or not.” That made me happy– knowing that I saw someone’s potential, and helped them to become aware of it. It’s really important that in someone’s early life, someone else pays attention enough to notice that they are special. It’s important to be told so, in a manner that is honest, inspiring, and supportive. This brings me back to my original point that addicts are so smart. I really think that some people are just so smart, and so acutely aware of everything around them, that it becomes overwhelming. It becomes simultaneously overwhelming, and in some cases, so pathetically boring, that they seek out some things to either numb the pain, or spice things up, or some weird combination of the two. It really just all comes down to love, though. If you have people who love you, and care for you, and let you know that you are special, you have something that nobody can ever take away from you– the beginning of some self-worth. If you act on these encouragements, you are even better off– activities. Creativity and activities are the ultimate anti-drugs. I just hope it all works out. I hope this made some sense. I hope I can continue to write about this, and maybe arrive at some sort of higher truth. It’s really hard to say.

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Intuitive Eating

I’ve spent a good portion of my Thanksgiving Break, not necessarily catching up on homework but powering through this book, Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. If only I’d have discovered this book at 16!

I don’t really feel like getting into it but it’s been a fascinating journey, to say the least. Fascinating, and enlightening.

It’s inspired me to 1. Stop posting about food— probably, no one cares, and definitely, it’s not helping me form a healthier relationship with food. Exceptions to this might be meals I cook up that I’m especially proud of and that happen to be particularly photogenic. Like tonight’s dinner, for example 🙂

 Sweet potato burger on whole grain flax toast, with caramelized onions, kale, and homemade hummus. Anyway, onto

2. Stop posting about exercise, with the exception of my running log, which I will maintain simply to track my progress because I’m interested, and which I will probably keep to the basics, including only major milestones or moments of actual interest. What I do or do not eat before or after is probably of little interest and definitely not making me feel better about life.

3. Up my carbohydrate intake– I know I just said that I will stop posting about food, but I realize that I have been neurotically obsessed with my carbohydrate intake– I even ate a black bean burger the other day, and ate it with a fork, because I was afraid of the carbohydrates in the bun.

Anyway, point being, if I’m going to be running, guess what? I’m going to need more carbohydrates. According to a chart in this book, two miles of running requires approximately three slices of bread– whether or not that’s accurate for my body type, I have been craving carbs more since I’ve been running more, and I need to honor those cravings, not suppress them. I’m actually harming my metabolism and muscle-forming process by restricting them!

Like I said, the book is too good and too long to go into at this point, but I’m going to post the “Intuitive Eating Bill of Rights” so it’s quick and accessible for me.

1. You have the right to savor your meal, without cajoling or judgment, and without discussion of calories eaten or the amount of exercise needed to burn off said calories. 

This means taking time out of the day to eat. More on my distaste for the pace of life expected for adults in this country later……

2. You have the right to enjoy second servings without apology.

3. You have the right to honor your fullness, even if that means saying “no, thank you,” without explanation, to dessert or a second helping of food. 

This will be especially important for me to remember when I’m visiting my grandparents next month…..I, for a long period of my life, blamed my grandmother for my chronically distorted relationship with food. More on that later!

4. You have the right to stick to your original answer of “no,” even if you are asked multiple times. Just calmly and politely repeat, “No, thank you, really.” 

Love how they thought to repeat this right 🙂

5. It is not your responsibility to make someone happy by overeating, even if it took hours to prepare a specialty dish.

Good for couples 🙂

6. You have the right to eat pumpkin pie for breakfast (or cereal for dinner!), regardless of judgmental comments or rolled eyes.

am in control of the bacon, as my house mate joked the other day. I had cereal drizzled with my home made walnut butter for lunch today, and a brownie to boot. Okay, I know I’m not supposed to be posting about food anymore, but that just goes to show you. Eat what you want when you want it, and fuck arbitrary societal cues 🙂

While I’m at it, I might as well list out the Ten Principles of Intuitive Eating, also for easy access.

1. Reject the Diet Mentality

2. Honor Your Hunger

3. Make Peace With Food

4. Challenge the Food Police

5. Feel Your Fullness 

6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor 

7. Cope With Your Emotions Without Using Food

8. Respect Your Body

9. Exercise– Feel the Difference (between calorie burning and feeling good)

10. Honor Your HealthGentle Nutrition

You know, I may or may not walk through my own steps on this blog. But that would contradict my previous statement to stop posting about food. We’ll see.

Back to reading this book, then off work at 9:30, then home to dinner, homework, and sleep!

On Holidays (and Dreams)

I’ve been having some wild dreams lately, and some have been worth mention, if I could only justify allotting the time. That, and simply not having the proper environment…January can’t come soon enough.

Yesterday, I got a text message from a friend which I think was well-intentioned but managed to upset me at the core of my being anyway. I tried to rationalize it in my head, first by trying to accept the “compliment” I think he meant, and when that failed, writing it off as drunken sensitivity and figuring I would probably care less in the morning (and knowing that of course, I still would.) I don’t particularly like when this happens, because when the core of my being is upset by anything someone might say to me, I start to question my entire relationship with that person. If that sounds dramatic, it’s because it probably is, but my relationships are near and dear to me because I choose to engage and work toward developing so few, so it’s a two-way insult when someone upsets me– they’re not only upsetting me by speaking aloud their train of thought in question, but they’re insulting me, too, because by not living up to the standards to which I hold them and their character, they remind me that I must be a terrible judge of character after all, and how foolish have I been and —stop. Come back.

It’s hard to be my friend, and I know this, and this is part of why I try to subscribe to the whole “what other people think about you isn’t your business.” mode of living– someone’s company speaks volumes enough, so why bother going into specifics? I personally try to avoid specifics, but he gave me a specific and it upset the core of my being and now I don’t know what to think. Thank goodness for my dreams 🙂

I talk to myself in my dreams and I teach myself valuable life lessons. <– the log line for an experimental short, maybe, but also a truth I am proud to wear. In my dreams, I confronted the culprit (my friend) and he reacted exactly as I would expect him too, questioning why I was upset by that and what he meant was X but he’s sorry I took it that way and yatta yatta. He ended by telling me that he could say X about me and that he loved Y, as well, but that he didn’t want my confidence and security to have to come from him. What a beautiful truth! It is exactly what I would say to a friend in my own position and frame of mind, and apparently, it’s what I would say to myself, as well. Go sleep, go subconscious, go mind and spirit connectivity. If I could only enhance my mind-body connection..

Anyway, long story short, I’m still slightly upset with my friend and I may or may not be over it by the time I see him again, but either way, he is (or I am) right, no one is responsible for your confidence and sense of security but you and nothing anyone says or does is going to make any hoot of a difference until the thought pattern within transforms itself.

Onto Thanksgiving and the holidays:

Since I came to college, I haven’t had much taste. “Home” completely blew up in my face just after I left for college, I don’t need to go into more detail than that. A brief history of my past four Thanksgivings:

2009: I volunteered to feed the homeless at a shelter downtown. Honestly, I needed the hours to complete a service learning assignment, but I didn’t really have anywhere else to go, either. I could have spent it with my roommate’s family, but I wanted the room to myself for the weekend. I volunteered alongside a family, and I remember thinking it was neat that those parents were teaching their kids good service. I also started to wonder how the rest of Seattle proper felt about Seattle U students taking over Capitol Hill, and what assumptions people made about me when I told them who I was, where I was from, and what I was doing in Seattle.

2010: My friend JJ and I cooked made a giant mess in the Chardin kitchen. I tried to make my mom’s old stuffing recipe, and I think it sort of panned out. I feel like stuffed celery was also involved. We definitely ended the night with my friend Megan’s mac and cheese recipe, a box of Kraft (ew) with sour cream, salsa, and Red Hot sauce mixed in. Sounds disgusting, because it is disgusting. Apparently, this was the first time my friend had broken vegan in over a year. Oops. Sorry. So glad I don’t eat processed food like that anymore 🙂

2011: Last year we had a beautiful vegan Thanksgiving. We started the day with Mimosas (thanks to Marci) and throughout the day, ate a beautiful vegan parfait, a tofu scramble (both more thanks to Marci) and stuffing provided by me. The stuffing was a success this year! Mushrooms, celery, water chestnuts…never fails 🙂 I made more stuffed celery, and I know my other roommates cooked up some things as well, but I don’t remember…I ended up inviting my co-worker and his buddy over, since they lived down the street and had no where to go. We for some unknown reason decided to shot gun a bunch of beers, and I ended up getting wasted and making some interesting decisions. Overall, one of the best Thanksgivings I’ve had. Here’s a picture to prove it 🙂 Image

2012: I was the first to wake up in my house, as usual, so spent my morning talking on the phone with my Grandmother and making Maple Cinnamon Walnut Butter and a Lentil Walnut Loaf Cake

Image

Together, mom and I made Green Bean Casserole, she put a spahgetti squash in the oven, she mashed up some potatoes, and we made our usual stuffing, which was only okay this time around. We talked in depth about the family history while cooking, and the conversation was intense but interesting. Ryan brought down a pumpkin pie which had been mailed to him anonymously, and Sophie mashed up some sweet potatoes. Jenna made stuffed mushrooms and spanikopita (Spanish Coconut for those who can’t pronounce it.) By the time we were getting ready to sit down, I was so full from the snacking while cooking 🙂 We were just talking about past Thanksgivings and the fact that there are always traditional foods that everyone makes but no one actually likes, one of which was candied yams. Sophie’s friends arrived just in time, and what do you know, one of them proudly carried a platter of candied yams. Even she agreed that she never really liked them, just made them habitually. Someone else had some Green Bean Casserole, but mine was the one that got devoured throughout the evening, which was good for my cooking confidence, and Mom soon had to go home. She left on rather a dramatic note, which was upsetting. I took a nap for an hour (cooking is exhausting!) even though Sophie’s friends had just arrived, and when I went back downstairs, everyone was glued to their original positions at the table. I found this to be weird, but the conversation was lively enough, and four bottles of wine were being passed around. I joined the conversation, and the wine-drinking as well, and the night ended with dart throwing, hula hoop twirling, bicycles crashing, and the fire poker banging to the floor more than once.

Overall, it was a solid evening, and while I was upset about my mom, and my family in general, at that, I was able to enjoy myself, talk with people, and even make a potential video connection! I cooked more than one dish, and I cooked them well, and while our kitchen this morning makes me want to throw up, life’s gonna be alright 🙂

What is Normal, Anyway? Part 3

Going to actually finish this thing, then get back to some real posts 🙂 Again, I copied this from Madison’s blog, and preserved her meme ad-ins as well, because they were each of them so touching. And so cleverly placed, as well!

21. What is a common misconception that people have about you?

I have a few issues with this question. My main issue is simply, I really do try to live by the “what other people think about you is not your business” rule. As difficult as that can sometimes be. Anyway, I’m a pretty polarizing person, and I like to think the “cool” people get me. I don’t really care to ponder what my peers do or do not think about me but I know for sure I can come off as stuck up, judgmental, lower class, upper class, socially retarded, etc. etc. Some of these “misconceptions” are not misconceptions at all but honestly, if you do find your way into my circle, you’ve found yourself a loyal and devoted (if not always available or healthy) friend for life. At the same time, some of these “misconceptions” are indeed “misconceptions”, but I’m not going to waste my time proving it.

22. What is something no one can take away from you? 

Madison said it–my mind, more explicitly, my thoughts, my feelings, my experiences, my opinions, my ideas.

23. What is something that you would hate to go without for a day?

Water. But that’s primal. So maybe chap stick, or lotion, though I have done both (it isn’t pleasant…)

24. When you look into the past, what do you miss the most?

“Crawl back into bed to dream of a time where you loved things just because, like the sick, or the dying…” Jenny Lewis says it best, and Madison again touched on it. I miss being care free and “loving things just because.” More than that, I was more observant when I was younger, I put clues together more easily and intuitively. Now, I’m so clouded by stressors and fears and obsessions and worries, that I’m not always aware of what’s going on. When this happens, I sometimes feel like I’m two steps behind everyone else, though spiritually and experientially I feel light years beyond “everyone” else or at least, my peers….

<– totally did this, and still do sometimes.
25. What memory from the past year makes you smile the most? 
Sorry, but that’s private. Some things are private with me, and my smiles are definitely one of them.

26. What is the number one change you need to make in your life in the next 12 months?

I need to work on my organization. I need to be more financially responsible. I need to have a healthier relationship with food, my body, my appearance, etc. I need to exercise my creativity. Blah this list is growing rapidly but basically organization. Everything else will fall into place if I can work on enhancing that…..

27. If not now, then when? 

When I move into my new apartment? That’s in January. Excuse, I know, but seriously, I can’t be productive, creative, or clear-thinking until I can finally come home to a safe environment…….It’s been 21 years since I’ve had one of those, and I don’t care how hyperbolic that sounds, it’s the truth.

28. What have you done that you are truly proud of?

Survive. Not be my parents. Make it to college, do well in college. Screen one of my first films in a local festival. Love. Allow myself to be loved. Find my way. Keep going. Trust myself. Trust others. A lot of things, you know.

29. What is something new that you have recently learned about yourself?

I can run further and harder than I think. My body is stronger than I think. And did you know? Since I’m a woman, I have the ability to maintain my own life plus the life of a developing fetus inside of me for nine months in times of emergency or famine. Of course, evolutionarily, this makes perfect sense, but I had never really thought about it. Also, not to be sexist or encourage dichotomies, but men are less likely to be able to survive in like extenuating circumstances 🙂 Thought that was pretty neat. Go women.

30. What do you want to remember forever?

This falls into the category of “private.”

31. What could society do without?

My answer is similar to Madison’s — “The negative criticism of body image.” Expanding upon that, I make the bold statement that the world would be a better place could we abolish the concept of expectations. At least, expectations so far as physical attributes go. While I think that some traits are, in fact, objectively beautiful, as Donne says, no man is an island….Person y’s negative body image affects the greater scheme of the world just as your positive body image does, but why allow the two to cancel each other out? While person X with objectively beautiful figure should celebrate them self and their beauty, they should work also toward embodying celebratory personality traits, a celebratory intellect, celebratory productions or creations, etc. And Person X’s celebration regarding their objectively beautiful figure should never be cause for Person Y to mourn.

32. What is one thing, right now, that you are totally sure of?

I’m loved, and I’m going to be okay.

33. If you had the opportunity to get the message across to a lot of people, what would that message be?

You’re beautiful, you’re loved, and you’re going to be okay. And stop expecting things from other people, why set yourself up for disappointment 🙂

34. What is something you said you’d never do, but have since done? 

I said I’d never get lower than a C on anything, yet when I got my science test back….

35. What is something that you changed your mind about as you’ve grown older? What love is and isn’t, where I wish to live, what I wish to do…a lot of things, shockingly.

36. What didn’t last forever, but was still worth your while?

Past romances and/or friendships. Of course. I like to think of myself as a teacher of sorts, because I know most people I encounter end up learning a lot from me (if not factually, spiritually, emotionally, or intellectually, definitely.) On the flip side, I tend to attract people who in turn act as teachers of sorts for me. It’s a win-win situation and most tend to be sprinkled with good great times.

37. If you could go back in time and tell a younger version of yourself something, what would you tell? 

You are beautiful, and you’re going to be okay. You are loved, and you will find mature love. At the same time, you’re not the only one who’s hurting, so be careful what you say and do, because you never know the impact your words or actions might have on someone close to you. There’s a lot I would say, as I’m sure is the case for most people. That’s life, isn’t it?

38. If you were dying in 60 seconds, what would your last words be? 

Private. Honestly, I feel like these types of questions are misleading. What is the essence of a person? Can that be defined (or disputed) based on the arbitrary chunk of words that come out of their mouth in those final moments of their life? I could give you something “profound” that I would ideally utter as my last words, but I doubt it’d be a realistic representation of what would actually come out of my mouth. A person can’t be essentialized in a sentence, no matter what period of that person’s life said sentence is uttered.

39. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you have done?
What criteria would even measure that? I mean, objectively, at this point, probably yes. Speaking tangibly, and materialistically. But who’s judging? What factors are running in the background? I think there’s definitely something to be said about the things I’ve given to the people who matter to me, but maybe that’s just me.

40. What questions do you often ask yourself?

Why am I not more productive? What do I think? What am I trying to say? What do I actually think? Why can’t I ever arrive at a decision? Both sides have valid points, yes, but why for the life of me can’t I pick one?

Also, I agree with Madison–  “Why do I feel like I’m the only one going through some things? I realize I’m not, but it’s hard to remember that there are others out there just like me. No exceptions.”

Basically, everyone is struggling to some degree, even if their struggles are not necessarily your own. And whatever the worst thing that has happened to a given person is, that’s the worst thing that’s happened to them and it sucks. You’re not special or more singled out simply because your “worst thing” is more traumatic than their “worst thing.” Period, end of story.

Survey Part II :)

Getting a little bit post crazy again, and a little self-indulgent maybe, but my creativity has been dry lately and since I have about 3 papers to pump out by tomorrow…..one of them being an “instant expert” paper…I give you more of that “What is normal, anyways?” survey!

11. Who makes you feel good about yourself? I am super lucky to have an amazing support system full of beautiful, creative, and intelligent people who make me feel like a princess. It’s a small support system, but it’s a strong support system, and I’ll say it again, I am very lucky. As for specifics, these people include friends from high school who are scattered about the country but still important and very much integrated into my life, friends and lovers that I know in this city, and my sister.

12. What are the top three qualities you look for in a friend? Good question. I don’t “look” for anything necessarily, but I am quite picky when it comes to choosing friends. From an outsider’s perspective, it probably doesn’t make very much sense at all. Common threads my favorite people all seem to share (despite being so radically different from one another) are intuition, emotional intelligence, radical acceptance, independence, an interest in the arts, spontaneity, passion, a profound ability to “face adversity” <– hate that phrase but let’s just use it because it gets the point across. I could list more but that’s a strong enough base, I think.

13. What has the fear of failure stopped you from doing?Weird question — are you referring to at this point in my life now? Or in the past? In the past, fear of failure has stopped me from joining clubs, volunteering at places, auditioning for things, applying for things….Lately, it’s stopping me from making more films and writing more.

14. What is something you’ve always wanted since you were a kid? To be on my own in an amazing city with beautiful, creative, and intelligent people as my friends and the  security to pursue the things I wish to pursue. Sounds general, but I’m so ever changing that it almost has to be.

15. What stands between you and what you want? Money, core credits that I need to fulfill, time, guilt and obligations in regards to my family….those things 🙂 Hey, at least most of these are issues that will figure themselves out 🙂

16. What do you do when nothing else seems to make you happy? Sit in bed and listen to music. Drink hot cocoa. Watch a movie. Go for a long walk. Actually, going for a long walk does wonders for me. When I’m down, it’s very difficult for me to force myself out of it, so I usually just try to ride it out like I would were I to come down with a cold, or sprain my wrist, or something.

17. When did you first realize that life is short? Is this a question? It’s something I’ve always been aware of, but it’s also something that I’m never quite moved by until a significant amount of time goes by between one point in my life and another. It happens in that epiphonal moment where I realize how radically different my life is from my life at a specific point in time. Things that trigger this awareness are universal, I think, things like friends moving away, moving into a new house, going away for college, preparing to graduate from college, breaking your record in regards to your relationships and how long they do or don’t last….

18. What do you need to spend more time doing? I don’t like the phrases “you need to” or “you should” because I don’t like forcing things nor do I like obligations, but for my own good, I could pay more attention to managing my finances and budgeting (this includes actually paying my hospital bills…), I could actually start going to class regularly, and I could be spending far more time on my homework, on my weekly papers, on reading up about politics and the arts, etc……I need to read more, I need to watch more films, what are you trying to say!

19. What issues do you continuously refuse to confront?  Financial issues. I stick my head in the sand when it comes to that……..

20. What is that a lot of people do that you disagree with? Oh, good question. Anyone who knows me knows I’m always down for an opportunity to get preachy and moralistic 🙂 You know, the above meme sort of sums it up for me. People expect things. They expect things from other people, and more often than not, those expectations are completely unrealistic. It isn’t fair to the person acting as the “object” of one’s expectation, and it isn’t fair to the person expecting something. Shakespeare was right, it does lead to heartbreak, but it also leads to profound disappointment, conflict, tension, guilt, shame, and all sorts of negative emotions. The only thing I personally expect from any of my friends is that they are loving, supportive, and accepting of my individuality. And if it ever gets to a point where they can no longer fulfill any of those “expectations” honestly, I expect that they will walk out of my life in a mature, “let’s just live and let live” type of manner.

That’s all for today. I’m going to look at apartments today! Very excited. In fact, I’m going to be late in meeting my friend because I was doing this instead…One day I’m going to learn to be on time to things.

Silly Saturday because I can’t think of a better acronym.

Yesterday, in my body image / eating concerns group we discussed …. body image, believe it or not. We discussed the media, the problems with the BMI system, the non-existence of most “women” seen in advertisements, etc. We watched some videos from the Dove Campaign and we listed out the traits we associate with “super models” and the life qualities they seem to embody through advertisement. Through these lists, we were able to illuminate the false correlation between being “model esque” and happy, successful, loved, etc. Not to mention, the (lack of) relevance being intelligent, creative, kind-hearted, or productive seems to have on the lives of these so-called “perfect” women. There were four of us present today, five including our therapist, and it was raw, it was rough, it was rewarding.

I don’t really feel like going over it, honestly. While I’ve been working really hard at keeping my own behaviors under control, I have good days, I have bad days, I have days where I’m not concerned about it at all….Lately, my body image seems stuck in the simply “alright” category, paired with much hounding over how little of my time I’ve been devoting to exercising. I was doing an hour of Pilates four-five days a week just last month. Now I run twice a week, on a good week.

That isn’t even the point. Honestly, I’ve been self-conscious not necessarily about my looks (though, more and more every day I try to minimize the amount of times I have to look into a mirror), I haven’t stepped on the scale in weeks (I’m afraid to, and there isn’t much point, anyway.) Instead, I’ve been concerned with my so-called “eccentric” personality and habits. I don’t think I’m an ill-mannered person, I think I have some degree of social awareness, but there are days when I feel judged by persons making up my surroundings, not only on campus but in the greater Seattle area….A friend told me the other day that he “would have gotten bored of me weeks ago, except for the fact that nothing I do is normal.” Sometimes, I really do feel like I’m from a different planet, and that should be and is a good thing, I must believe that, but it can’t be a great thing until I learn to not only embrace it but harness it for good and creative ends as well.

Now, I know virtually everyone is absurd in their own way, we’re all unique, and defining “normal” is as futile a task as intelligent discussion with Todd Akin probably is. I don’t mean this to be a pity party, but living in this city is just such a weird thing for me, still. I I feel like I still have much of the Las Vegas lingo ingrained into my personality and my shoes are falling apart, yet I go to Seattle University and have a 3.8 GPA.  I drink my water out of a mason jar and shop at the central coop yet I can’t sing along to every Nirvana song that’s ever been written, nor could I tell you the first thing about the latest musical trends as seen on Pitchfork. I hang out at the Northwest Film Forum yet I’ve never seen The Godfather all the way through, and I have a talent for all things writing yet only learned to pronounce the word “succumb” about a year ago.

I know everyone struggles with these day to day nuances of fitting in yet maintaining individuality and keeping up yet honestly assessing one’s own interests, strengths and weaknesses. I get it, these things are not unique to me and yet …. I’m so radically honest, I don’t want to play “the game”, I’m painfully self-aware and independent to the point where I not only isolate myself too much but refuse to keep up with trends for the sake of impressing you in conversation. At the same time, I have a profound need to outdo you in conversation. I can’t relate to my peers, yet I’m too young for the older crowd because apparently, people from the older crowd don’t even expect me to know Fleetwood Mac.

Sometimes, I just feel like I can’t win and that I might actually sprout wings, horns, or turn green, or something. I’ve been bullied for being “weird” since elementary school, and maybe I should just accept that that isn’t really something that just stops, no matter how “mature” or “old” or “enlightened” the rest of the world supposedly grows. Not to mention, I’m an individual, right? I give zero hoots what other people think, right? I’m friends with fascinating, dynamic, and ethereal individuals who love me simply because I’m such a nutter, yet that isn’t always enough and I still can’t quite figure out how it all makes sense … being so unconcerned with what other people think on the one hand; being so painfully upset by the slightest instance of rejection or even off-putting behavior directed your way on the other. Even when said behaviors come from people you neither admire nor even respect! In some (many) cases.

Some self-love seems to be in order, before this little “I’m too strange for the world” crisis of mine spirals out of my control. I really am trying to come to terms with all things “Dalyce.” I took this from Madison (Eating 4 Balance) and really appreciated most of the media she included, so I’ve preserved that as well. Madison, if you ever read this, I hope you don’t mind!

What is normal anyways?

1. What can you do today that you were not capable of a year ago? I can engage in a conversation that begins with my least favorite question, “What do you do?” Sounds elementary, but I used to abhor this question (still do in a lot of ways, but I’m learning to embrace it as a part of reality.) Not only that, but though it’s still a struggle, I can even participate in this conversation without self-deprecating, and I’m on my way to figuring out how I can do this without revealing too many negatives about my past and up-bringing.

2. What has been on your mind most lately? Europe. Nebraska. Politics. Individuality. Romance. Writing. Possibility. How people connect. How people don’t connect. How I’m probably from Titan. How I’m not actually. How I’m restless and dreamy as ever and lately, and how I want to be anywhere but here.

3. Right now, at this moment, what do you want most? To be finished with school, to be a paid and valued copy editor on some book / website / blog / newsletter related to the arts, to live in a more ideally located apartment with my best friend, to know how to speak French, to move to Europe, etc. etc. etc.

4. In order of importance, how would you rank: happiness, money, love, health, fame?Health, love, happiness, money, fame. If that feels like a strange order, here’s my reasoning: There is no happiness without love, and no love without health. Money is, unfortunately, often required for health, but it is not a good thing in and of itself, and fame would just stress me the fuck out.

5. What word best describes how you’ve spent the last month of your life? Avoiding. <– going to keep Madison’s answer, unfortunately this is true for me, too.

6. What is the number one motivator in your life right now? Knowing that I have love and support in my life, and that while I may go through elongated struggles, I’m going to graduate soon, I’m going to find a fulfilling job, I’m going to be able to travel, I’m going to learn to harness my creativity and make documentary films and I will get healthy and fit and run marathons and climb mountains and everything’s going to be okay.

7. In one sentence, who are you? I am Dalyce — radically honest, profoundly independent, painfully self-aware, deeply but secretly loving, frustratingly inconsistent, and incomparably passionate though only in waves.

8. What do you want to be known for? Being real, being wise, being understanding.

9. If you had to move 300 miles away, what would you miss the most? Everything about this city is breath-taking and amazing to me, so I would miss the city itself. Other than that, there are definitely one to two humans from whom I really don’t wish to part…..

10. In one year from today, how do you think your life will be different? If you know me at all, you know I resent the thought of projecting or expecting anything about the future, the future to me meaning what I may or may not be eating for dinner this evening. So, keeping true to that but while attempting to remain hopeful and optimistic, let’s say I’ll live in a more ideal situation, I’ll be more fit, I’ll have a healthier relationship with my self and with food, I’ll be a better cook, and I’ll be writing / copy-editing consistently.

Okay, I think that’s all for now. This survey is considerably longer, and I’ll probably fill out the rest at some point because it’s important that I maintain constantly that sense of who I am, what I think, what I want, where I’ve come from, where I intend to go, etc. etc. and while some of these questions may or may not feel generic, they’re exercises and it helps. Off for a run and a mini trip to the grocery store, have a great day. I leave you with one of my favorite songs, though do note it’s not my favorite performance of the thing. 

Remember to reconstruct (MIMM?)

Remember, remember, the fifth of November….

I wonder how many of today’s blog posts open with this old poem? On past November 5ths? In past articles, editorials, and asides? Past conversations? I know for certain that on November 5, 2010, this poem sparked a conversation.

Oh, Brandon & the old MPC crew. How it’s changed. How it hasn’t. The youthful, innovative if not always pungent or pleasing energies of B, Br, and S are long gone. Like I say, they were not always the most inviting or constructive of humans (Br in particular) but they sure were (are) great minds full of creative insights and tail spins.

Speaking of great minds, I have one of those, too. Why can’t I let myself believe this? Why can’t I tap into it? Because I can’t believe it. I cannot create until I can believe.

What types of work do I aim to create?

What do I want in general?

Seriously. What types of humans do I wish to attract into my life? How can I embody like traits? 

D&M had “nothing but good things to say about me” and I guess impressions matter.

G says I’m “at the level”, A, he sees it, too. R saw it, C has always seen it, and my professors see it, though they say I’m inconsistent.

Stop. These are all men. Why should my worth be so dictated by men and what they do or do not see in me?

Danny once told me that “Children are meant to be seen and not heard.” I didn’t like that. I didn’t like that at all.

Which women have seen my worth? Did it affect me? In my younger days, it did. Ms. Justice. Ms. Huntly. Ms Tompkin. Mrs. Prock. I’m noticing that women were the prominent shapers of my self-perceptions and confidence levels while growing up. Now that I’m (supposed to be) grown up, I’m realizing it derives more and more every day from how I can (or cannot) relate to men.

Sharon Cumberland saw my worth and told me, “You have a great mind.” But women keep their distance. Or do they? I don’t think I have much trust for women. I have a few female friends in this city toward whom I feel trust and comfort, and maybe a few more scattered throughout the country, but other than that, when it comes to women, I am quite cold if not closed off entirely. Actually, I’m like that toward most humans in general, regardless of their parts, but it’s especially bad with women, because with men, I can at least flirt with them and I hate to admit that out loud and on this blog but it’s true and I shouldn’t deny it.

Gender dynamics and alarming anti-feminist implications aside, back to my developmental exercises.

What is the crowd of humans of which I wish to be apart?

Which humans make it up? 

Who are these people, I mean to say, and what defines them?

People are multi-faceted. I know how to relate to people on a personal level, but I want to be a part of something that is bigger than that. Feelings are important and I value all of my relationships but the world is bigger than the sum of its individuals and my being is bigger than the sum of my feelings and how can I harness my energy and be a part of this bigger thing?

What do I wish to be a part of? I’m doing it again. I’m talking in circles.

I dread even attempting answers at these questions because I don’t wish to put more stress on myself but let’s list some common sense answers (trite as those feel.)

I can work toward:

  • Watching and knowing more films, reading and knowing more literary works, experiencing and knowing more local displays of art, reading and knowing more history
  • Volunteering at more non-profits (and committing…)
  • Keep up with current events and have my own opinion
  • Be interested in other people’s work
  • Be interested and aware. Period.
  • Ask questions

Be interested.

I’m “at the level”, that was never a concern. But I lack the substance to back it. The mold, the concrete, the fudgy insides, call it what you want.

What is substance? Knowledge? Boldly stated opinions? One’s ability to face adversity? Concrete understanding. Rich understanding. Understanding through all of your faculties (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual.)

I wish to be attentive, aware, and articulate all of the times about all of the art forms.

Only then can I truly begin my own creative process. And once that happens, we arrive at more questions….

What type of art do I wish to create? 

Am I an artist? Can I even claim that label?

I have a voice, surely. I have presence, absolutely. But is that enough?

Assuming that it is, how do I constructively harness it?

What do I wish to make?

What am I trying to say? 

Is what I wish to say even relevant?

Do politicians actually  believe the statements they make? I find it hard to believe that Mitt Romney truly disbelieves in the concept of global warming. 

What am I trying to say?

What do I believe? 

That’s what I did during my 9:40 class. I would apologize for my lack of attention but I’m sick of being conscientious. A friend of mine told me that I was rather conscientious. I already knew this, of course, because I’m conscientious. And he told me that it’s not necessarily a good thing. Not to say he was trying to criticize, but he told me he thinks it’s a direct result of someone with an unpredictable parent. Which makes sense, in a way. With an unpredictable parent(s) or environment, you’re forced to be perpetually at the ready and able to act accordingly.

These are my thoughts and this is a process and I don’t know where that leaves me but I can feel myself changing and I can feel myself growing and the sadness I felt seems to be making its rounds amongst my friends and I hope they’re okay I wish I could just hold and comfort and love, love love all of them but I don’t have the time and neither do they and I’m not sure how to feel about that but we’re all going to be okay.

Question of the day: Any developing artists reading this, or developing humans in general, I invite you to answer any or all of the questions asked above! I’d love to hear your perspective on things, as well as get a feel for your own current state of development.

Fitness Friday rolls in November! (As If)

Just kidding. Except not really. This week has hardly been about fitness. Which is unfortunate. I’ve hardly slept in three days, and my exercise has consisted of a few warm-up Pilates moves, walking to campus, biking around, walking from the grocery store, you know. I did go for a run this past Monday but other than that, it’s been a pretty rough week, mostly because I haven’t slept but also because it was my “mid-terms” week and also because I haven’t been dealing with stress in quite the healthiest of ways.

Moving on. October is over, I can hardly believe it’s November. What a month! I screened a film in a festival, became obsessed with Pilates, became unobsessed (but still interested) in Pilates, became addicted to Green Monsters, decided to start training for marathon-racing, turned in more late assignments than I’ve ever turned in in my life, missed more classes than I’ve missed in my college career, quit smoking, rekindled my love for writing, rekindled confidence in my voice and my writing, watched a lot of Hitchcock, kicked a fever, kicked a wave of depression, kicked a bunch of leaves, had epic kitchen failures, had epic kitchen successes, started blogging again, decided to join a food / eating concerns / body image-themed therapy group, thought about how I’m going to market myself for post-graduation jobs, gained more encouragement in regards to my writing, baked a ton, spent all my money on groceries, joined the Central Coop, and most recently, decided to start making steps at changing my living arrangements.

Long list. I also spent my Halloween in a real haunted hotel. Okay, I don’t know if it’s actually haunted but they say it is and it is sure filled with history and haunted with memory if not ghosts. A friend of mine was screening a film he’d shot at said hotel, and I stopped by after my long twelve-hour day to not only support but also to indulge my childhood fascination with haunted houses, my thoughts on manufactured frights vs. real life hauntings, and to hear some bites of history I just knew he’d be able to provide.

November Goals (Short-List Because I’m Brain Dead) 

1. Run at least 3 times a week! My first week of “training” has sort of been a failure.

2. Do Pilates (1 hour, at least!) at least twice a week.

3. Learn to budget, budget, budget. Just because I stopped smoking and cut back on drinking does not mean I can spend every penny I earn on expensive groceries…..

4. Find a way to stay engaged in my school work and carry this quarter through with a strong finish despite a rocky start.

5. Stop over-eating! Stop obsessing! Eat slowly! Eating is sacred!

6. But still eat.

7. Bake for people.

8. blah. get sleep.

9. Research apartments and hopefully finalize the move / find a replacement for my current situation!

I’m realizing this post has no focus but my brain, honestly, has no focus right now. The main things on my mind are 1. food / eating concerns / body image group and 2. my decision to consider moving

On group: I’d like to post a reflection / illustration piece that gets at the core of my first experience with this but I’m not sure how to do that without breaking anonymity / keeping true to positivity. Not that I had a bad first experience, I definitely didn’t. But when I can figure out a healthy way to convey this, expect that soon.

One thing I will share — one of the group rules is no eating, for obvious reasons, and of course, what happens to me, my stomach starts growling about halfway through the thing, so awkward, I hope I didn’t trigger anyone, God. My stomach hasn’t growled like that since high school when I was sitting next to a guy in history class who I thought was sort of attractive. or something. Stomachs never growl unless you’re in a room full of people and everyone’s really quiet. Didn’t you know that?

On moving: I’ve finally come to terms to the reality that my living arrangements are no longer ideal. To say nothing against any of my house mates, I feel I’m able to be neither as happy nor as healthy as I’d like to be so long as I continue to live as such. I’ve been suppressing these types of thoughts for some time now, because I really can’t afford to live anywhere else, plus, I’m comfortable with everyone, plus moving sucks, anyway, but I faced it head on the other day. I (thankfully) already have someone who’s also looking for a place and I think we could make it work. Hopefully everything goes according to plan, if they do, ideally, I’ll be able to make moving a reality by January at the latest. Apartment living, here I come! (so, I hope.)

Why am I posting when I can hardly think? I do not know. I leave you with this.

Question of the day: What’s your best “my stomach is growling and this is quite awkward” story? The best thing about this experience is, I know it happens to everyone occasionally, as do most “embarrassing” things that I only think happen to me and me exclusively, because we’re all human and it’s sort of beautiful how much we have in common despite being so utterly, often painfully, different.

halloween stories (zombie palaces)

Happy Halloween. I have a lovely 12-hour day ahead of me tomorrow, and an early wake-up call on Thursday. That said, I’m sure my Halloween will be filled with enough thrills.

I wrote this essay a while back, for my non-fiction writing class, about zombies & childhood demons. I hit an emotional wall that I didn’t actually end up quite leaping over but if you’re interested, it sure feels fitting for the theme of the day.

Zombies Here 

Question of the day: Tell me about the metamorphoses of your Halloween costume? Not really a question, but I’m interested. 

I know personally, I always come up with a brilliant idea around July, or August, or so. Sometimes, it’s earlier than that. I always tell myself I’m going to start sewing / constructing / collecting parts for said costume idea ASAP, and look like a rockstar on Halloween night. Those plans….hardly ever actually pan out, and I usually end up copping out, and just throwing something together from my closet. That said, I’d be interested to know how you personally handle Halloween costumes.

Marvelous In My Monday (#2)

Honestly, these “acronym themed days” are sort of cheesy to me but I sort of like them as well. Of course, because that’s sort of how I feel about everything. Anyway, feeling much better about things today. I feel more engaged in my school work and I successfully made my own hummus and cashew butter yesterday. Something amazing is in the oven right now and I’m finally getting this baking thing down. The chronicle below can be found in my “running journal” page but I decided to post it on here because I don’t have much else of interest to speak about right now, or that I feel like blogging about, at any rate.

Monday, October 29, 2012 (Day 3) 

Nutrition Episode

Woke up and had some coffee with 1 TBSP of Silk French Vanilla Coconut Milk Cream, a Green Monster, and a slice of Udi’s Gluten-Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread with some soy-free Earth Balance. This happened between 8:30 and 9:30. Ate an Iced Gingerbread Clif Bar plus more coffee with almond milk during my class between 9:40 & 10:45.

Workout, Route, and Music Episode

Today, I did the Volunteer Park run I was supposed to do yesterday. I started on 13th and Columbia, ran up to 16th, and from there, straight to Volunteer Park. As for music, today was sunny but stormy. The wind roared a riveting rhapsody to me as I ran through the neighborhood, leaves floating all around me in a beautiful autumn menagerie…….In other words, I left my iPod behind. The run would have been nearly 5 miles had I completed it, but here’s what happened: running up from 13th to 16th killed me — I think I took it a bit too rapidly. I walked about 10 paces after making it up the hill, then picked up again with the jogging. Successfully jogged all the way to the park, and started continuing down along the park trail, when I slowed to a walk and simply got lost in the park’s beauty. I found myself at the water tower, which I ran up and around. I (sort of) ran back down, where I slowed to a walk again, and simply walked back to campus down 13th ave.

Feelings Episode

Like I said, was feeling a bit weak in the beginning but as I pushed myself to keep going, I felt much stronger. I’m not beating myself up for not completing the run, I did complete the run there, which in itself is 2.4 miles. I made it back to campus in about 45 minutes, which isn’t really bad, considering I sort of took my sweet time on the way back, and at the park especially. I can’t say it enough, it was such a magical day! I thought of all of the feet who’d previously tread that very same trail and I thought about the water tower and my first time heading up it and my friend who runs up it before work every day and all of the people who I’m not responsible but am somehow responsible for because I said yes to him said yes to her said yes to her said yes to him and everyone is interconnected and I really am blanketed by this city I just only need to realize it and maybe I was suffering from a B-12 deficiency, I wasn’t taking my tablets properly and maybe it’s all in my head but I’m feeling much better and stronger about things and these past few weeks of sadness have been so incredibly sad and I know I’m not the only one feeling it but I really do love this city and I know I’m where I’m supposed to be and everything is going to be okay, no, not okay, things are going to be great because they already are if I would only just open my eyes and see it.

Post-Run Nutrition Episode

Rode my bike home and heated up some of the Lentil Sloppy Joe’s I had in the fridge. I had some of that on one slice of Udi’s Gluten-Free Millet-Chia Bread, and another slice of the same with my first-ever batch of home-made hummus! It was delicious, and felt like the perfect “carb-protein” ratio for a post-run meal. Not that I actually know much about that but my body knows more than it thinks it does.

That’s all for today, going to drop off these….baked goods…..assuming they turned out alright, go rent some DVDs, head to rehearsal, and catch up on homework. Mondays really are my favorite days of the week this quarter, which is strange (they’re the days in which I have the most “free time.”)

Question of the day: 

Life is full of ups and downs, we all know this. What’s your healthiest plan of action in regards to “kicking” any ruts you might find yourself stuck in?

Personally, I normally just recluse for a while. I go about my daily routine and complete my responsibilities as needed but I might flake out on some of my extra-curriculars, and I definitely flake out on friends. I’m terrible at faking things so I try to minimize my time spent around people, because I don’t like weighing people down with my ish, especially people that I care about. I try to stay as active as possible, but the main thing that gets me through is, I know it’ll pass. It’s like being sick — there isn’t much you can do for a fever other than drink tea and bundle up, and dream about health & comforts. Why would it be any different with mental sicknesses?