Today…

Today, I had to work very hard to contain my rather unrestrainable wanderlust. Today, I had to be smart, and logical, and all those other boring things adults have to do. Today, I had to think about how to pay for dental insurance instead of where I would be drinking next.

Today, I adult-ed. And it was terrible.

I found the most amazing deal I think I’ll ever find. $375 for a roundtrip ticket to Paris, France, and hostel rooms for $25 per night. I had to beg my parents to convince me not to do it. I don’t exactly have money, but I have over $700–and that’s all I’d need for Paris. Who needs food when you’re literally in Paris? Certainly not me.

But I had rent to pay this summer. I have groceries to buy. I need gas to get to my internship and whatever job I end up with. I can’t just go to Paris.

So instead I started planning a trip to Canada. Granted, it’s not as exciting or exotic, but it’s also much cheaper and will hopefully satisfy my need for travel just the same…or just enough to get me through the summer until I have a job that will give me enough money to go somewhere new. I miss being able to go to another country for a weekend while I was studying abroad.

Kids, don’t grow up. Or if you do, do it nice and slowly.

How to last two weeks in your home town

 

Quite honestly, I have no help for you. None at all. I’m just sitting here in my hometown trying not to be drunk 24 hours a day. I graduated college four days ago, and I feel nothing except boredom.

I start my internship in exactly fourteen days, and they just can’t pass quickly enough.

Things that have changed since I started college:

  1. I part my hair in the middle.
  2. I drink a whole lot more.
  3. I kind of know a little bit more than when I started.

And that’s it. Tomorrow I will go to an exercise class that is something like kickboxing. It will take up approximately one hour of my life. I’m not sure what to do with the other 23.

Here’s a hint: freelancing is difficult. I read on The Financial Diet that I should have “side hustles”. I didn’t even know what that meant, at first. Now I feel pressure to have one, and nobody seems to be equally interested. Upwork.com is rather useless, and I can’t trust anyone enough to actually put in payment information. Wyznt.com is pretty reliable, but I also know for a fact that there are people much more knowledgeable than I am on there.

Who would seriously trust this graduated-alcoholic to tutor their child? I did well on my SAT’s but Jesus, I wouldn’t trust me with much.

Basically, I’m in the middle of this slump. It’s a life slump, and I’m just biding my time until I move to Rochester to start my internship. There’s a lot of drinking, a lot of tanning, and a lot of almost losing my mind with boredom. I love my family, but all I want to do is go to bars and have “fun”, whatever that means. Too young for suburbia, I am. But I guess I can offer a few tips:

  1. Be drunk.

And I’m talking spend a ridiculous portion of the day drunk. As long as you have nowhere to be (and, let’s face it, you’re at home so you don’t have to be ANYWHERE) just keep drinking. Alcohol makes the most banal situations seem exciting. For example, today a mosquito bit me. You’d think I’d just been attacked by ISIS with how I reacted. Alcohol will make things interesting–I make no guarantees about whether it’ll be bad or good interesting.

  1. Eat a lot

That bikini body you’ve been working on for oodles and oodles of time? Say goodbye to it. In the few weeks that you’re home, you’ll start eating everything. I don’t even like greasy foods, but I swear I ate four pieces of pizza in one day. Mozzarella sticks that make my stomach feel sick after consuming? Whatever, bring them on. I’ll eat it and it’ll pass about fifteen minutes of the endless time of being home.

  1. Text a boy you found on a dating app

Is he a serial killer? Who can tell? But he’ll amuse the hell out of you for the two weeks you’re stuck in the hell called home. He’s probably doing fun things in the city while you sit and rot! Get him to tell you about it so you can live vicariously!

That’s all I have for you. Until next time.

 

I’ve been missing.

My deepest apologies for nearly a month without posting. I’ve been…busy. I swear, I’ve used the time wisely. How, you may ask?

I have an internship. An editorial internship. As in “related to what I want to do”! It’s unpaid, mostly because it’s an independent, non-profit publishing company that runs on grants, but I’ll be working retail and hopefully some side hustles throughout the three month period I’m interning. It’s a small company, about three people actually on-staff, but that means I’ll actually be functioning as one of their staff. I’ve been assured there will be no coffee-fetching!

Basically, this place uses their interns as extra employees, so I’ll be editing manuscripts, corresponding with authors and distributors, and everything in between. There are even some author events that I get to attend! I don’t know if anyone can tell, but I’m very excited about this opportunity.

I also have a lot of respect for the company itself. Their goal is not at all to make money—it’s to spread good literature and poetry. It’s definitely a company I’m proud to be a part of, with people that I am delighted to learn from.

Besides the internship, I also have my first non-school apartment! I found it all by myself after scouring over one hundred Craigslist postings and visiting four different locations. I also argued down the rent by about $30. I’m officially an adult.

However, to detract from my adult-ness, I will be depending on my parents for half my rent. There’s no way I could make enough working part-time to cover rent each month, so my parents have very kindly consented to split it with me. They’re incredibly wonderful people who want to make it as easy as possible for me to get my “start” without making me dependent on them. I think they’re also just excited this whole publishing idea has resulted in something tangible post-graduation.

The truth of the matter is that I’ll probably move back into my parent’s house at the end of the summer. Honestly, I’m not very upset about it. Although I still want to move to New York City and working at a large publishing house, I also want to be able to save my money and maybe even spend a little more time with those lovely parents of mine.

I’ve felt very ready to graduate and leave school lately. It definitely has something to do with the exciting future I now actually have, but I think it’s also because I’m just ready to move on. For a while, I was really panicking about leaving school. All I’d done for sixteen years was learn, write academic papers, and just be a student. Not that it wasn’t hard work (oh my goodness, it was) but it is a limited perspective. I was incredibly worried about taking on the unknown, as I’m sure many students are.

That friend that wasn’t excited to go to graduate school? She’s decided not to go for a year. She’s facing far more unknown than I am, but we were equally miserable about starting our Big Person lives. Now? Now I can’t wait for my new start. I want to meet new people outside of my very small college, I want to really perfect my writing and editing, and I want to be able to focus on things like this blog. I want to focus beyond when my next test is, or the next assignment is due.

I graduate in two weeks, and although I’m apprehensive, I am not scared. I’m excited. It’s the feeling in your stomach right before a roller coaster drops. The anticipation.

I’ll keep this blog updated more frequently now (hopefully), and I’ll try to share any internship/side hustle information I can. After all, the whole purpose of this blog in the first place was to share ideas, talk like a nerd about books, and hopefully get some help myself.

My deepest apologies for nearly a month without posting. I’ve been…busy. I swear, I’ve used the time wisely. How, you may ask?

I have an internship. An editorial internship. As in “related to what I want to do”! It’s unpaid, mostly because it’s an independent, non-profit publishing company that runs on grants, but I’ll be working retail and hopefully some side hustles throughout the three month period I’m interning. It’s a small company, about three people actually on-staff, but that means I’ll actually be functioning as one of their staff. I’ve been assured there will be no coffee-fetching!

Basically, this place uses their interns as extra employees, so I’ll be editing manuscripts, corresponding with authors and distributors, and everything in between. There are even some author events that I get to attend! I don’t know if anyone can tell, but I’m very excited about this opportunity.

I also have a lot of respect for the company itself. Their goal is not at all to make money—it’s to spread good literature and poetry. It’s definitely a company I’m proud to be a part of, with people that I am delighted to learn from.

Besides the internship, I also have my first non-school apartment! I found it all by myself after scouring over one hundred Craigslist postings and visiting four different locations. I also argued down the rent by about $30. I’m officially an adult.

However, to detract from my adult-ness, I will be depending on my parents for half my rent. There’s no way I could make enough working part-time to cover rent each month, so my parents have very kindly consented to split it with me. They’re incredibly wonderful people who want to make it as easy as possible for me to get my “start” without making me dependent on them. I think they’re also just excited this whole publishing idea has resulted in something tangible post-graduation.

The truth of the matter is that I’ll probably move back into my parent’s house at the end of the summer. Honestly, I’m not very upset about it. Although I still want to move to New York City and working at a large publishing house, I also want to be able to save my money and maybe even spend a little more time with those lovely parents of mine.

I’ve felt very ready to graduate and leave school lately. It definitely has something to do with the exciting future I now actually have, but I think it’s also because I’m just ready to move on. For a while, I was really panicking about leaving school. All I’d done for sixteen years was learn, write academic papers, and just be a student. Not that it wasn’t hard work (oh my goodness, it was) but it is a limited perspective. I was incredibly worried about taking on the unknown, as I’m sure many students are.

That friend that wasn’t excited to go to graduate school? She’s decided not to go for a year. She’s facing far more unknown than I am, but we were equally miserable about starting our Big Person lives. Now? Now I can’t wait for my new start. I want to meet new people outside of my very small college, I want to really perfect my writing and editing, and I want to be able to focus on things like this blog. I want to focus beyond when my next test is, or the next assignment is due.

I graduate in two weeks, and although I’m apprehensive, I am not scared. I’m excited. It’s the feeling in your stomach right before a roller coaster drops. The anticipation.

I’ll keep this blog updated more frequently now (hopefully), and I’ll try to share any internship/side hustle information I can. After all, the whole purpose of this blog in the first place was to share ideas, talk like a nerd about books, and hopefully get some help myself.

let’s talk about damaging books

Like all thirteen-year-olds, I loved Twilight. I thought Bella and Edward were the be-all-end-all of love stories. I read those books ferociously and argued with anyone who tried to tell me they weren’t the next great American series.

Then I got older.

Aside from the fact that the books are written so poorly a monkey could’ve made them, they’re hurtful to the young girls who read them. And I’m not being sexist (marched for women’s rights and everything in January), it’s just statistics. Young girls picked up those books faster than a new LipSmackers lip gloss. Overwhelmingly, these were young girls going through a difficult and confusing time in their lives, looking for something to escape into and idealize. I know several people who, as they’ve grown, have realized just how much these books messed them up.

The character of Bella. She’s blank. I’ve heard it often said that the reason so many girls loved her character was because she didn’t have one. She was this amorphous blob that any young girl could put her own personality onto Bella and feel understood. Here’s why that’s a problem: you start to think you’re her.

As a twelve-year-old, I was feeling weird and shy, generally of the “look at me and I’ll spontaneously explode” variety. I didn’t think I was particularly pretty or funny, although I had some moments, and I loved to read. I had brown hair, brown eyes, pale skin, you know the drill. Bella not only looked like my physically, but she acted like me. Nervous, uncomfortable with attention, she’s every preteen girl. Not only that, but everyone wants to date her and be her friend. She comes to a new school and in a matter of days has three boys falling over her, and that’s not including Edward or JACOB.

I’m sure Stephanie Meyer didn’t mean for this to happen, but she included Bella’s weight in her description.

The problem here is that when you’re specifically writing to younger girls, you have to be careful what you include. For instance, that horrific mess of a book, Beautiful Disaster, shows a textbook abusive relationship as something to yearn for. Although Meyers does the same thing, she also creates damaging beauty expectations for girls.

For instance, I and at least one other person I know started dieting to reach the weight of 110 pounds—Bella’s weight. Because if we could look like her, people would want to be our friends, too…right? Boys would want to date us, we’d be popular and universally liked. As a preteen, that feels like the most important thing; being accepted. At a time when your limbs feel like rubber and your face looks like an angry over-heated bagel, someone giving the perception that a certain character with very specific body measurements sticks in your head. I would have made myself grow to five foot four, if it were possible. Alas, I’d have to stick with not eating to get the goal Bella weight.

Now, let’s get into that abusive relationship.

It’s played off like he’s just protecting her, and of course he has to! How is she supposed to deal with rogue vampires and werewolves? It calls for extreme measures.

Like removing parts from her car so she can’t see her friend. Or WATCHING HER SLEEP by breaking into her home for months before they’ve even had a real conversation. It’s downright disturbing. It’s the stuff you see in thriller films, where the love interest is secretly a freaking psycho.

But, young me thought this was the epitome of love. That was what I was searching for in everyday life. The impression those books and characters made on me was so strong, it was actually damaging to my development. I was withdrawn and moody because that was how Bella was, and apparently people liked that. I was starving myself to get to what I thought was the perfect weight. I was completely changing my personality to fit what I thought people wanted, getting my cues from Twilight.

I think authors often forget the affect literature can have on the audience, especially the unintended audience. But, at the same time, I’m really not sure how they’re supposed to consider that. At what point does it become censorship, or a limitation of freedom of the press? Where is the line between protecting kids and smothering them? How are they supposed to account for a very young girl taking too much out of a book? And does the blame lay entirely with the author, who simply wrote a story, or does it lay with the culture in general? I’m inclined to lean towards the latter.

self-care for those who suck at it

Having lived with severe depression for about eight years, I can tell you a lot of things about the disease. It’s debilitating, it’s hopeless, yada yada yada. Chances are, you already know what depression makes you feel and do. Or, more accurately, what it doesn’t let you do. There have been times when I’ve gone days without showering, simply because the effort of getting up and standing for ten minutes seemed overwhelming.

I also have a very good friend who frequently has depressive episodes that keep her from eating properly, taking care of herself, and doing well in school. It is from my own experience I am sharing some tips about how to help a friend with depression, or help yourself. Depression makes you feel inhuman, and self-care can actually help to put you in a better mind frame. It won’t fix anything, but it will remind you that you are a living, breathing human who deserves some care.

This stuff seems stupidly simple to people who aren’t going through a mental illness, but it’s often the difference for me between a three-day episode and a two-week one.

  1. Shower

I cannot emphasize enough how much better I feel once I’ve showered. As I’ve already said, my episodes usually leave me without energy to feed myself, much less take care of my body. This is not something I can manage in the middle of an episode, though. It’s something I do towards the end to help pull me out of it. It’s very symbolic, washing away the past, starting new. You also just forget how nice it is to feel like a human being, with clean hair, shaved legs, and the scent of body wash on your skin.

With showering comes a lot of other self-care things, such as moisturizing your skin, maybe using a face mask. I’ve recently started using the L’Oreal Pure Clay masks, and they make me feel like I’m washing away all the shit from my episode. It’s just helpful to me to have a physical representation of my mental state.

Whenever my friend (let’s call her Allison) tells me she’s trying to yank herself out of an episode, I remind her to just go and take a shower. If it doesn’t help her actually feel better, it at least helps her present a solid face to the outside world. It’s bad enough your head doesn’t feel like it works, you don’t need the rest of the world to be asking you questions constantly about it.

  1. Environment

One of the other things I make sure to do when I’m towards the end of an episode and looking to shorten it as much as I can is fix up my environment. As unpleasant as this sounds, my room always ends up with a very stale smell after an episode, mostly because I keep my door and windows closed and rarely leave my room (also, the not-showering thing. So gross). A really easy thing I do for this problem is light some candles. If I can, I open the blinds to let some natural light in. Depression makes you feel like there’s no point to anything, but if you can manage to go through some of the motions, it’s almost like you trick your brain into following suit. Right now, my favorite candle is an older Bath & Bodyworks one from the fall (it’s not in season so it was on SALE. It’s the little things that get you excited). It smells glorious while not being too overwhelming, perfect for fake-airing out my room when windows seem like too much.

If I have any energy towards the end, I pick myself up and just clean up my room a little. It helps focus my brain when nothing else will. In case you don’t know, depression often puts a kind of filter over everything. It’s like when you’re tired and you can’t seem to think straight, except it’s all the time. When I’ve gotten some energy, I just try putting my clothes away, or taking dishes to the kitchen and cleaning them. I’ll throw some pictures of friends on the wall to make my room seem less like that of a mental patient in an asylum. You know, the normal things.

  1. Do something you enjoy in little pieces

For instance, I pick up one of my favorite books and just read a few pages. Reading has always been something of an escape for me, as well as for thousands of other people. There’s something so comforting about being between the pages of Harry Potter, where I know everything will work out in the end. Another favorite is The Night Circus, which I’ve definitely noticed before.

If I’m lucky, I’ll get completely absorbed in the story and be able to almost take myself out of my depression, even from fifteen minutes. It doesn’t last very long, but it’s a welcome relief from the nothingness.

Books have always been able to excite some kind of passion in me, whether it’s the nostalgia of Potter or the newness of other fantasy books.

It goes without saying that these things don’t work for me every time. Depression specifically makes you lose interest in the things you love, or things that normally make you feel better. And, I’ve noticed that the above really only work for me at the tail end of an episode. At the heart of it, depression knocks me on my ass and even reaching for a book is completely impossible.

That said, I try to do anything possible to make sure the episode doesn’t last too long. Luckily, my medication has been able to lessen the severity and length of episodes, but I still need a little help. That’s where this list comes in. It’s just some stuff that reminds me I’m a living person who, often, is able to enjoy things.

Portugal.

The sun is out with a brisk wind and I keep thinking of Portugal. I was there for all of two days while I was abroad and each day was full of sunlight and warmth. It was an amazing feeling. I was travelling from England and I had a few extra days without class Flights to Faro were €9.99. Being something of an opportunist, there was no way I was going to pass that up. I’m so happy I took that trip.

First of all, Faro is not a tourist city. Everyone and everything is local, and no one is trying to cheat you. The city itself isn’t crowded or congested, but there are people going about their everyday lives.

It isn’t on the sea, but there’s a small marina so that you can smell the freshness in the air. It smells like heaven. The sun beats down on you and it feels like summer. It was 65 degrees when I went there, and I soaked it all up. I sat by an old church in the sunlight and wrote in my travel journal.

Faro is so peaceful. There are cars and buses and whatnot, but when you walk even a little further away the place goes silent. All you hear are the birds and rustling winds in the trees. There are mini parks all over, so it’s not hard to feel like you’re not in a city at all. There’s even a park with peacocks roaming around it, as though they were just meant to sit with humans.

The shops aren’t spectacular, but that just adds a little something to the city. Instead of searching for souvenirs, you look around. I don’t want to sound like one of those hippies who doesn’t think we should have cell phones, but it is very relaxing to almost forget that world exists.

I spent a lot of time laying on a bench like a homeless person (or a whale) feeling the sun on my face. Coming from England, I hadn’t gotten a lot of sun for a few months. I appreciated every day that fell on me.

I didn’t have time to do any of the site-seeing—I was there for only one full day. But my hostel had beautiful reed blinds and light coming from all directions. I didn’t get to see the famous Bone Chapel, but I got to explore a new city. My feet were on brand new ground. Everything was beautiful. I miss it. If I could go back to any of the wonderful countries I saw, I’d go back to Portugal.

when I am silent…

Prompt: When I am silent I have thunder inside…

When I am silent it means you are not worth my time. You are not worth articulating my thoughts in a coherent phrase so that you can follow my thought process. Some would say this equals arrogance. I say it equals a screening process.

I offer my opinion when you say something interesting…or incorrect. I can’t help it, I want to put you in the right. It is in my nature to tell you when you’re wrong, and to help you correct it. Because I know what you’re saying, but chances are no one else does. Your clarity is important to me, so I will help you at any cost—especially if you’re nice to me.

I understand. I’m not an easy person to get along with. I know this about myself, and I’m constantly working on it. I know my own failings, and I’m mad about them, too.

But I ask you to look to the light. Look at my good characteristics rather than what I’m lacking. Because it’s so much. But isn’t that so human? I am human. I am living and I am breathing and I am struggling. I’m doing my best. I’m sorry if that doesn’t translate.