Thursday, November 29, 2012

Almost-anniversary

This morning, I put an old cd in the car stereo and was thrown back to three years ago, exactly. When I say exactly, I mean exactly this time of year. The time of year where I don’t really believe it’s still Fall, but I guess it is, and I’m ready for Winter, and frustrated that we don’t get as much snow as we used to anymore. Three years ago, I’d just started seeing my boyfriend, and a cd with a mix of songs very similar to the one playing was always playing in his car. We drove around together a lot. He drove out to Worcester, where I was going to school, to see me, almost every weekend. Or he’d pick me up from the train station. We’d go out to dinner frequently, or to a movie. Our first dinner and a movie date was to Bertucci’s and then to see Ninja Assassin. The dinner was good (I was too excited to eat, I remember the server came over to make sure everything was okay because I didn’t eat much and he had a trainee in tow, I felt very self-conscious), the movie was awful, and we had so much fun. It was that really special time when you’re just getting to know someone and every new realization that you have “so many things in common!” is pure bliss.

Beyond my depression, I am ruled my nostalgia. I laid the groundwork for a lot of my more nostalgic moments during the height of my depression, during my high school years. Even earlier this Fall, or at the tail-end of Summer, I had moments where I felt like I could close my eyes, and open them to find myself in various times past. Sometimes it’s high school, especially walking to and from school with music playing on my Walkman or iPod mini. Sometimes it’s college, and a feeling of security and confidence, walking from the 8-bedroom apartment that I lived in, just down the street to a class or to work.

Music is a trigger for me. The band Everclear is a major one, but it’s morphed into a feeling more than a memory now. I feel comfortable in my bones. Listening to the mix cd this morning, I was wrapped up in the feeling of that new relationship, budding three years ago. It doesn’t take much for me to mentally go back to that time, these days, since I’ve been hyper-emotional. For these things, I’m not complaining, I just wish it wouldn’t happen with sad stuff too.

Me (age 7 or 8) and Dolly, grandparents' dogMaine is a trigger for me. Just being at my grandmother’s house makes me think of being a kid, visiting there. I remember begrudgingly eating mac & cheese (my sister was more of a fan than me, funny now because she doesn’t eat cheese and I don’t eat wheat) at the tiny table in the kitchen, my grandfather sharing snacks with us or giving us treats. The pictures on the cork board in the kitchen have not changed in many years. There’s a sequence of photos that features each of the kids in my family (meaning my sister, my brother, and me), as babies, being washed in the bathroom sink at my grandma’s, and sitting on our dad’s shoulders. It wouldn’t feel right if any of those photos were removed. I think the thing that makes that place the most special is that nothing changes much. Going to Maine gives me a sense of safety that nothing else can.

It’s a little early to rejoice on my boyfriend and my 3-year anniversary of dating. We’re about 3 weeks out from it right now, but right now is me feeling thankful and blessed for what we have. I don’t think it’s going to end just yet :). Our annual Winter Date has kind of become an anniversary tradition, even though the first technically occurred before we were a couple. This year, it’s my duty to come up with something. We’re going casual: indoor rock climbing! I just need to find somewhere awesome for us to eat lunch or dinner.

Here’s a nice photo of us from my aunt's wedding in May (maybe I should go back to purple hair):

I totally gave him that shirt

And just to inundate you all with even more text: I am really looking forward to Christmas and New Years. I should really get on making my gifts (applesauce for everyone!).

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Links and blatherings

If anyone has interest in an EPIC Paleo Holiday giveaway, please click this link! It's the usual "like" on Facebook for entries deal, but there are also links to share with other people. Anyone who clicks the link gets extra entries (so yes, clicking that link will get me more entries). Gift card to US Wellness Meats, Le Creuset set, a smoker, an assortment from PaleoTreats... It looks amazing. Don’t worry, parents, I will give you the smoker. That would be an awesome addition to the annual Easter party (though I still seriously think we should roast an animal on a spit in the yard some year).

Am I the only one disappointed by the lack of snow so far today? There was a whisper of flurries this morning, but that’s all so far. My hopes for a White Christmas have mostly died at this point. Global warming is winning. Maybe I should move to Canada. But wait! As I write this, more snow is starting to fall. If only I had some hot chocolate to sip, then I could feel all cozy at work.

For funzies, here’s my Mustang:

It’s a mess and I’m falling in love with it.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a link post. I don’t have much to share today.

  • deciding to trust other woman again – For a long time, I have said that most of my friends are guys. In college, this was definitely true. It’s only now that I’ve graduated that I’ve started to be more friendly with the woman in our group of friends. I have this persisting feeling that I don’t know how to be friends with women. There were definitely girls growing up that treated me badly and I let myself get hurt by them, but I also had a really good girl friend in high school. I have no idea how I ended up like this. I emailed the author of the blog post about the blue fuzzy coat mentioned at the end… I think I could use a friendly, fuzzy hug, and I know enough online folks that I think I could find someone to pass it on to :) Fingers crossed!
  • Autism: Traffic pollution linked, study suggests – To be fair, there are so many things that people come up with as possible reasons for various disorders. (I do not think vaccines have anything to do with it.) I just don’t understand why people seem so resistant to the idea that toxic chemicals could make you sick. I try to keep an open mind about all theories behind illness and review the evidence I can find to come to my own opinion. There’s plenty of information out there!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Resolve.

2012 has been a challenging year for me, but I’m really proud to be able to say that I’ve made a lot of progress in all my goals. My body may not be cooperating in the way that I would’ve liked it to be at this point in the year, but I know what will help. It’s just a slow path. In the long run, it’s the best path for me. I am hopeful that I will see improvements before the end of the year.

Today, I’m not writing about giving thanks. I’m writing about resolve. This year was all about health for me. I struggled in all aspects of it. Sometimes, it was the way I ate. Other times, it was the way I thought. I hit some really low points, repeatedly, but I also had some really high moments. This year is the first time in ages that I felt like I was able to think clearly and experience long periods of time free of anxiety or depression. When I compare this feeling and behavior to past years, I actually cannot remember ever feeling like this before.

Some of the progress I’ve made over the past year is through changing words in my thought process. Is it that I “shouldn’t” eat this French fry, which was born in a vat of rancid and hydrogenated oils, and will make my knee hurt and stomach bloat? Or is it that I “can’t”, because my health is worth more to me than a brief, but satisfying, crunch? My diet is not like most of the ones that people eat around me. To many, it seems restrictive. To me, it is essential. I do not feel saddened by not eating donuts for breakfast, lunch, dinner, which is something that I used to be able to do, seemingly, without consequences. Now, even smaller amounts of refined sugar are problematic for me, both for body and mind. If giving up sugar, wheat, soy (which I’m sensitive to anyway), and legumes leads me to be happier and healthier, that’s excellent! I still have a lot of options for food. Who doesn’t love meat and potatoes, after all? (Crazy people, that’s who…and vegans.) I don’t understand why/how people get so emotionally attached or defensive over things like a bad of chips. Why is that such a difficult thing to give up? The addictive properties of some of the ingredients in processed foods could certainly play a role. I won’t pretend to understand: I was never a big junk food eater. But pastries, man! I could eat bread stuff all day. No longer.

This photo just made me giggle.
On worse days, it can be difficult to go out in the world and maintain my resolve. It’s come to the compromises I’ve made with myself to get away with a overly processed treat or snack here and there are now compromising my health. It adds up. Some people realize it sooner than others (diabetics are a great example! it can be mitigated or improved greatly through a low carb diet), some people never do. That’s okay, it’s their journey to follow. My journey is one to health and I want to get there I soon as I can so I can enjoy it for the rest of my life.

After discussing a friend’s between-holidays plans, I’m contemplating sticking to a whole Whole30 plan after Thanksgiving until Christmas. It’s easy for me to say “except butter” or “except yogurt” or “I’ll have wine just this once”, but the whole point of the plan is to be 100% compliant to it. That way, you can know for sure if you are experiencing improvements. I don’t know if I’ll be able to be 100%, but I am going to try my best. My health depends on it.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sweaty carnations

Thursday morning, I woke up and did not go on my computer. I’ve been making a bad habit of wasting time on the computer in the morning lately, instead of focusing on getting ready for work or making a good breakfast for myself. So, finally, I had a morning where the computer stayed off, and I remembered to check for important emails on my smartphone instead. Lo and behold, I had an email with the subject of,

You won a ticket to see Amanda Palmer at Paradise Rock Club on November 15th

What. What? Wait, really? Did I seriously just win something with one of those Rafflecopter widgets? I enter those things all the time and I have yet to win a single damn kitchen utensil, but I apparently had just won a concert ticket. Wow.

I purposely didn’t think about it too much during the day. Getting to the venue is kind of a trek for me on the T. I’m pretty used to 15-30 min trips and generally don’t go further than that, but it takes an hour to get out there in traffic. At least the T is pretty simple; I only had to switch trains once. My biggest fear about the whole thing was going alone. Not for safety concerns or anything like that, but just because I didn’t know what I’d do with myself.

The answer was to have fun, of course.

I was given a VIP sticker with the date when I picked up my ticket at the box office window. I don’t know if it would have gotten me anything cool (a chance to meet the band), but I didn’t put it on till after the show was over and I approached the merch table for a t-shirt. It took me some time to really open up when Amanda Palmer came out with the Grand Theft Orchestra for the main set. I sang to songs I knew (most of the ones from the new album, because, fortunately, the lyrics are pretty easy for me to understand without Googling them), danced to ones I really liked, and made a point of standing in the crowd. At one point, I realized I was about 20’ away from a person whose pictures I’ve seen, words I’ve read, and music I’ve admired for years. It’s been way too long since I’ve felt awed like that.

In college, I followed around The World/Inferno Friendship Society a lot. I went to at least 12 of their shows over the course of a couple of years. I’m not sure when I stopped going or why exactly. Their newer music doesn’t really appeal to me, but I stopped going before that came out. When I was going to those shows, I felt like I was part of a community. I posted regularly on the band’s forum and built up a bit of a tough skin against jerks on the internet (there were plenty on that forum). I got to know people a little, at shows and online. Being in the pit for those shows, you expected to get hurt and I always cherished my bruises for the days that they lasted. There was something humbling and unifying about being sweaty, loud, and open among all those other people, doing the same thing. And then you’d go to shows where there weren’t as many fans, and you’d make your own spirit.

At the Paradise last Thursday, I felt like I had a little taste of that again. Amanda Palmer’s fan base is notoriously kind and welcoming, from what I’ve read. I did not have the guts to speak to anyone or try to strike up conversation (how do you do that, anyway, when you can’t really hear anything?), but at some point during the show, I looked around at the crowd. I saw tons of other people, all kinds of people, looking like they were having a blast. Singing along. Dancing well. Dancing badly. Jumping. Laughing. Smiling. So I gave up and I did too. I’ve really missed that feeling. I don’t really know if I can explain this feeling to other people that well, or if all this writing makes much sense to anyone, but I really hope other people can experience it like I have.

Afterwards, I was slightly deafened, hoarse, and the adrenaline suddenly left me. I felt sick. The train ride back was chilly and uneventful. I checked for more tour dates and it looks like Amanda Palmer & the Grand Theft Orchestra will be engaged in Europe for several months after this tour is over. I am hoping I can squeeze other concerts by other bands that I like into my budget. It’s nice to know now that I can survive and even enjoy a night out someplace new on my own, but dragging along the boyfriend to see a band that we both enjoy is always fun, too.

And thank you, Amanda, for making me feel just a little freer for one evening. It was really lovely.

I forgot to include: the carnation shown was tossed out into the crowd when the band came out on stage. I didn’t catch one, but I smelled them randomly during the show, in the midst of booze, sweat, and BO. It was a strange mixture, but it felt fitting somehow. I found one abandoned by the T stop outside afterwards and it’s hanging out in a shot glass on my counter.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Becoming I/me/mine

373952970yBMKSF_ph
Yes, I keep tons of old photos. This is my legs, prior to the key-chucking, circa June 2005.
I was thinking about rings this morning (don’t read into that) on my way to work. One of my favorite and most defining rings is in the form of a skeleton key, wrapped around my right index finger. I have always worn it on that finger. It was originally gifted to me by an ex-boyfriend, but I’ve worn it so much since I got it that most people just associate it with me, and not where it came from. Even I don’t think about its origins, most of the time; it’s just a part of me. I’ve been in love with the imagery of skeleton keys for a long time now, ever since I found one at my parents house. I used to wear it around my neck, until I tossed it off a cliff in a local forest park, in a gesture of defiance.

In the never-ending journey to become who I want to be, I’ve found that my identity might be a lot more obvious to other people than it is to me. When I think about graduating college, I think of it as just something that happened to me. If I think about how I used to view other people who have graduated, as so adult and accomplished, I realize that there is no reason why that can’t apply to me as well. I’m an adult! I’m accomplished! Making it through 4 years of college is no small feat. I’m actually quite proud of myself for that. When I envision myself as some stranger wearing many rings on her fingers, I see the kind of person I always wanted to be. I don’t think I can really explain who she is in words, but the image is clear to me and I am astonished that I let myself be so blind to the person I’m becoming.

One little gesture of defiance at a time.

Friday, November 09, 2012

One link at a time

I read this article today and thought it would be fun to break down my thoughts on some of the points made.

18 Things You Should Say Yes To

1. I have to admit, I feel really grungy when I actually do this on weekends, but it also feels really good. Full disclosure: I tend not to shower on those days and feel slightly rebellious getting all stinky and doing nothing. The shower before I go to bed feels oh-so-good.

3. Good point. I’m trying to take it easy on the sugar so I don’t end up with migraines again (that was the “problem of the week” this week), but out with friends, dessert is definitely a good idea.

5. I am completely guilty of fake-checking my phone. Generalized Anxiety Disorder means I have anxiety to some degree about most things. Having a buddy with me makes it a lot easier, and I think that’s true for most people, too. It is also why I will drag my boyfriend to any and every wedding I am invited to, when +1’s are allowed. Not to mention I get to see him dressed up.

7. I am guilty of this and it’s not a good thing. I have a few friends that live far away, or even just not-terribly-close and I am abhorrent at keeping in touch. Phone calls make me nervous. I hate talking over people. I could still improve on this, though. Then again, they could be reaching out too! ;)

9. My hair is pin-straight. It’s boring. Hence, the pink.

10. My favorite part about going up to Maine to see my grandmother. Sometimes sitting and doing nothing, or reading Reader’s Digest is such a good feeling. Funny note: my grandmother bought me a subscription to Reader’s Digest. I only read them at her house because they’re there, not because I like them all that much! The jokes are good, at least.

11. See my recent wedding outfit. That’s exactly what it was.

17. Some of my friends parents are actually really cool people. I’d love to talk to them more and…well, I just don’t know how. I’m pretty nervous about ever inviting someone “grow up” to dinner. I make pretty lazy meals for the most part, so that would mean extra effort to make something “nice” and then what if they don’t like it?! What if it comes out bad?! I need to figure out some way around this, or just start showing up to get fed. I don’t think they’d really mind.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

New England weather

I’m terribly jaded and biased when it comes to weather in New England. I’ve lived in Massachusetts my whole life, and while I have travelled a bit and experiences other climes, this is home to me. So when everybody said a Nor’Easter was on its way in, I shrugged. My reaction turned out to be appropriate. I know other areas of MA or the North Eastern US got hit harder, but the snow was already getting washed away by the time I got out to the car this morning, before 8AM.

View outside the window at work. I've enjoyed watching the seasons change from here.

I no longer wake up when the plows go by at night. I always used to, in school, even through college. Falling back asleep with a smile on my face, knowing there’d be snow on the street in the morning, was a beloved ritual. Even if I was pretty groggy this morning and I know it won’t last through the day from the rain, I was still happy to see the slushy snow and clear it off the car. Maybe it’s unsafe for me to be unafraid of driving in it. Oh well. Between watching the road and glancing at the mirrors, I smile at the mid-Fall scenery on my way to work. I take things a little slower, not just to avoid skidding tires, but to soak in the masked daylight.

Other view from work. Yes, I'm surrounded by empty cubicles. I love it.

I’d really miss weather like this if I ever move away from New England, Seasonal Affective Disorder be damned.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Links for a Wednesday

  • How to NOT Gain Weight During the Holidays – Here’s the thing: what’s so bad about this? Okay, yes, maybe you are actively trying to lose weight, or for whatever reason, you cannot allow any excess bodyfat aside from what you have to be added onto your frame (medical reasons are a good one), but gaining weight in the winter time is not such a bad thing. It’s a personal decision, I suppose. You can chose to eat well, in the manner of your choosing, in a way that will not make you gain excess body fat, or, you can choose to indulge a little more, or eat more starches, and put on a little fat to keep you cozy this winter. I’m not saying eat all the pie (but maybe you should, pie is delicious), but don’t deny yourself things if you really want them! And no, I don’t condone “everything in moderation”, I’m just saying that you should be happy with your choices, and not resentful. I’m probably not going to eat many grain-based foods and that is partially choice, partially necessity, but I’m happy with my options.

Note: I have no idea of a little fat would actually keep you cozy. I was pretty uncomfortable with myself 15 lbs ago (two years ago), so I can’t speak from personal experience. I just thought it sounded cute. Sometimes I think I wouldn’t mind being a little curvier, but then I get anxious about it and am pretty happy with how things are now.

  • 5 Excuses that Keep You Unhealthy (and how to Destroy Them) – I’ve fought with all of these points at various times. I feel like I’ve mostly gotten a handle on 1-3, but 4 and 5 are still pretty tricky. I hate running because it’s physically difficult for me. Not (just) because I’m out of shape, but because my hips are perpetually crooked and it makes it difficult for me to place my feet the same way. I don’t like people to see me, so I don’t run. The solution to my problems is “just do it”. Budget allowing, I plan on signing up for some kind of fitness class offered by my town’s community group this Spring.
  • I don’t want to have a baby – I wonder, sometimes, how many other women are out there in the world, in situations similar to mine (financial, age, relationship status…any or all of the above), who feel conflicted about this. I grew up seeing most parents around the same age as my own. They had kids in their late-20s or early-30s. As I reached legal adulthood, I started noticing more people close to my age having kids, even right out of high school. I know a married 25-year-old mother of 3, who I believe wants more kids. I feel terribly confused about it. I have no idea what the right choice is for me. I am afraid to write about it because I’m afraid of being judged. I want a baby (someday), but sometimes I want one now. I wish it was as simple as blaming it on hormonal fluctuations, but it never is. The good thing is, when you have a trusting and loving partner, if they aren’t ready, that kind of keeps things at a standstill. That is probably for the best.

That last link goes to my new favorite blog. It’s really brilliant. Reading her articles makes me feel enlightened and brave. It makes me want to write more, about anything.

Voting experience: take 2

My alarm went off at 6AM this morning. The apartment was warming up already, possibly trying to make up for 3 weeks of no heat because I drained something that needed re-filling, but I was tired. I crawled back into bed, sweating, but got up at 6:13. There was no way I could sleep in this morning. I had to vote. I’d purposely set my alarm early this morning in order to vote, and there was no way I was going to be able to wait all day to do it.

I barely ate. I made a pumpkin mug cake and took my  morning supplements. I fed the cat, got dressed, and headed off to the local elementary school. On the way there, I was suddenly overcome with emotion. I was excited, I was hopeful, and I was also terrified. I imagined watching the poll results come in on the TV tonight (something I remember doing in high school, but realistically, I’ll probably use the internet) and crying, no matter the outcome. I guess I’ve been a bit sensitive lately. My boyfriend’s schedule has changed, so if it’s determined tonight, at least he will be there with me.

The line curved around the block. Apparently, there were separate lines for different precincts. I’d had no idea I was supposed to know which was mine. Another  person in line pulled out their smartphone to figure out theirs, so I took a peek: precinct 4. (Un)fortunately, I was in the right line, which was also the longest. I didn’t have my smartphone on me so I just people-watched as I waited and shuffled. It was cold, but I wrapped my scarf around my head and kept my hands in my fleece-lined pockets. I thought about maybe picking up a new winter coat at TJ Maxx, something that will cut the wind on the scooter. A little boy approached the school with his mother and sister, and loudly exclaimed, “You’re voting!” A chuckle rose from the line and I stayed smiling for a little while.

Once inside, I wished I’d brought cash with me. I rarely carry it, but there was a bake sale in the entrance and a cup of coffee would’ve been nice. I don’t drink it often, and I don’t rely on caffeine, but I wanted to support the school. The warmth would have been welcome. As I got up to the registration table, I smiled, gave them my address and name, and thanked the volunteers. I found an empty station, filled in the bubbles on my ballot with the provided felt-tip pen, and walked to the back of the auditorium, where I’d spotted another table and a ballot machine. They confirmed my address and name again, I handed over the ballot, and watched it go in. If I ever volunteer on election day, I’ll suggest that someone stand in the lobby to tell people what to do in terms of receiving then turning in their ballots, because it wasn’t clear to me at all. Not everybody is a veteran voter!

This is a large country, but today, I really felt a part of it. I think it’s okay for identities to change and fluctuate on a day to day basis. There is no doubt in my mind that I’m an American today. I went through a brief period in college when I was convinced that I was some kind of anarchist, and not patriotic in the least. Time passed, I met more people, and I grew up a little. I’m proud of my heritage and I believe in the country that my grandparents moved to. This is a land of promise and opportunity. I feel extremely blessed that I have been able to experience it in the ways that I have. I was hospitalized, and my parents were able to pay the bills. I went to college, my parents paid for a large portion of my tuition, and now I’m employed and steadily paying off my loans. I know not everyone my age is in the same situation as I am, even people older than me who are struggling with loans. I really hope that, if not from this election, my vote will count towards changes to help other people have experiences more like mine.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Elections, and my fear of them.

Elections are another one of those terrible things that make me feel ill-equipped to be an adult. After recently discussing how adolescent I still feel most of the time, a surprising number of people chimed in to tell me that they too still feel very young in some respects. Some of those people are middle-aged.

It’s all perspective.

So here I am, fumbling my way  through my second presidential election. I feel ill-equipped because

  • I don’t know how to/can’t find reliable information on what the candidates stand for. Even their own websites are impossible to navigate, and the content there is mostly fluff. Honestly, I’ve been using wikipedia just to look up their personal histories and history of votes. I’m pretty comfortable with this method, but I wish there was a standard for this kind of information, or some kind of questionnaire that has to be filled out that doesn’t allow for us much wishy-washiness.
  • I didn’t even know that I have to vote for my state senator on election day this year (I guess it’s not every year? I’m rusty on that whole procedure). Two choices doesn’t feel like enough (though I feel the same way about the presidential candidates).
  • I didn’t know until last Friday night, when approached by a man at 8PM on a residential street while walking to the movie theater, that we also need to vote for House Representatives. Now I need to go brush up on what on Earth those are, and who is running. Why are there 3 candidates here?
  • I have no idea what will be the best way to watch the results come in, and roughly what time the outcome will be determined by.

Pretty much all of this stuff is not taught in schools, or at least not in mine. I think these are the kinds of things that society expects parents to teach their kids. I remember going with my parents to the town hall when I was very little to watch them punch holes in cardstock. I think I got to pull off the tags that stayed behind, and years later, thought about the stuck tags in Florida messing up the process. It’s mostly retirees down there, right? I guess they didn’t have their grandkids with them to clean up their ballot paper. It was fun to be part of the process, even if I didn’t understand the national (global, really) impact of those slips of wood pulp and ink. Now I am participating in elections and having a say and it feels so huge. Nobody told me how important this would feel! Because it is!

I was really saddened, recently, to read about a number of people who are completely eligible, and yet do not vote. They say their vote really doesn’t matter, they don’t want to support a corrupt system, that the lesser of two evils is still evil etc. I just cannot wrap my head around why you would not take any opportunity to have your say. Sure, I agree, we could use some changes. I don’t like the bipartisan system. I don’t like that the popular vote does not ultimately determine the presidency, but I am willing to work with what we have until I can come up with a better way to effect change.

Please vote tomorrow, if you can. Utilize your rights as a citizen.

I have never felt more scared for my future. I have actually found myself seriously wondering about the logistics of moving to Canada.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Halloween 2012: What I wore.

Wearing footed pajamas (with skulls wearing pink bows) yesterday evening was one of the best ideas ever. No, really. Ever. I dressed up a bit for work (missed the costume photo because I was on a call), but by the time I got home, I just wanted to veg and relax. My boyfriend’s Christmas present last year as footed pajamas (with ninja monkeys!), so we totally had a couple costume thing going on. No.

Really.

Don’t deny me my laziness.

Not seen: t-strap heels

What can I say? I like my brows arched and hair messy.
We got very few trick-or-treaters, but my favorites were the pre-teen and young teenaged girls, because they complimented me on my ensemble (hair, nostril piercing, and pajamas). Little did they know, two out of 3 of those things are everyday wear for me, and the PJ’s are worn at least 3 nights out of the week. Or mornings. It’s cold in my apartment and I don’t like getting dressed immediately. Don’t judge, you’d do it too.

It’s probably egotistical and a bit odd to say, but I see myself as a kind of beacon of hope for young girls. “You too can grow up and be weird, someday. Just like me.” As a kid, and even into my teens, I was terrified of any older kids or young adults! I have no idea why! I was afraid they would make fun of me, I think. I hope that kids are not afraid of me, and I think that is the case, since they often ask about my hair or piercings. It makes me feel like I can be a bit of a bridge for those kids, so they might feel a bit more hopeful about their potentially weird and amazing futures. I like to think that I can be that adult that kids won’t be afraid of. It really makes me wish I’d gone into teaching (though I’m sure my hair and piercings would not have been acceptable) and is a great motivator to write more stories for young adults. Getting started is the hardest part.