Wednesday, September 25, 2013

a few things that give me panic attacks in my 20s

1. Crowded clubs/concerts/venues with no chairs.

I'm sure there was a time when I simply quivered with excitement at the prospect of an outdoor music festival, a club with strobing lights and a place that required wearing heels - I'm sure that time came and I had fun and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Well that time came and went and sailed away on a ship then jumped off a cliff then packed a backpack and boarded a spaceship and is hanging out like really far away. The thought of sweating in a place where I can't sit really freaks me out. You might be thinking, "YOU BOUGIE HOE!" And to that I reply I am from a working class family and I am not a HOE! 

The truth is I get crazy anxiety if I know I can't sit down somewhere and there are like, a thousand sweaty bodies mushing into mine. And hey, I like camping. I like running and hiking and being outside and I wouldn't consider myself high maintenance. I'm simply saying there was a shift....a very definite shift and one day I woke up at 24 years old and thought, "My GOD! I hate crowds and a lack of chairs!"

Earlier this summer I saw Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake in concert and you know what the best part was?  It wasn't meeting and shaking hands with Ben Lyons:

Who is my future husband and was so nice and I absolutely geeked out. 

It wasn't walking past Kevin Federline and wondering why I was actually excited to be seeing him. 

It wasn't even Justin Timberlake belting out "New York, New York" and literally moving me to tears (which doesn't take much, I am actually crying as I'm writing this because Susan Boyle's "I Dreamed a Dream" just came on my playlist).


The best part was that we had seats. Did I sit in them? NO. Did I dance the entire time? YES. But did I have the OPTION of sitting down if I chose to do so if perhaps I felt a little spent? YES. 

And that made all the difference.

2. Checking my bank account.

This is my face when I log onto my bank account:

And that's all I have to say about that.

 3. Friends getting married.

It really stresses me out in a way I am not used to. It's not like I want to be in that position, but it's like WHOAH holy shit, is this where I am now in life? Is it? Because I'm pretty sure I just stayed up until 2am eating Trader Joes cookie butter and watching Doctor Who and then waking up late because of said late night TV marathon and deciding, "Eh, I don't really need to shower!" 

AND ALSO I can only cook like 2 things and I still read fanfiction more than anything else and I don't even know how to fill out a W-4 properly.....the list could literally go on and on.

4. Pilates/spin class/fancy exercise classes

I will never understand how someone in their 20s can afford to take fancy work-out classes. In LA it's so trendy and popular I actually feel like I'm missing out on a cool kid club. Then again, not everyone majored in acting and some people probably have super solid careers and all that, but I really feel like I am missing something. 

Does taking the stairs at work and leisurely jogs not count?!

5. Techno music.

My co-worker blasts techno music and it scares me. It's like if God was sitting around thinking, "HEY! What if a HEADACHE could be MUSIC? Oh, let's make TECHNO!!!!!!"

6. Less than 11 likes on instagram

It's true though and I feel gross for it. 

7. Facebook

It's old news we're the generation addicted to technology. I don't need another youtube video, short film, poem, ironic tweet about it. But I will say that the more time I spend on facebook the more depressed and anxious I become and it's a stupid, big dumb cycle. All of a sudden I'm overcome with jealousy for the success of my peers and people I graduated with...jealousy at how good someone looks, jealousy at relationships, at how everyone just seems to have EVERYTHING together. 

What I am learning in my 20s is this:

We all have very very very very very very very
 different paths. And I can't measure success against somebody else. Being in my 20s right now means just trying and failing and trying again, and discovering and experiencing and feeling. And it is hard and scary and confusing and wonderful, but that's where I (and so many other people too I think) am. 

For every panic attack I have in my twenties,  I also have an attack of AHH! This! This life right now! This is what I love! This city I live in! This dirty beautiful Los Angeles! These crazy friends and people I love! 

This! This is it. And it's just what I've wanted all along.




Sunday, September 1, 2013

skeleton bones

The first time I remember thinking I looked fat I was about five years old. I remember it clearly - I was standing in my bedroom. My hair was in pigtails and I had a shirt on that showed a little bit of my belly. I was sipping on a coca-cola and I remember catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror. My curly, wild hair was having a field day in the sticky Philadelphia summer heat, and my cheeks looked even rounder. 

"I look like a piggy," was the thought in my head. I voiced it aloud and I don't remember what happened after that. I think I sat the can of coke down and went outside and scraped my knees and forgot all about it.

Fast forward to fifth grade. A chubby little bookworm, oblivious to anything like fashion, hair straighteners and healthy food. I was ten. Ten year olds like me dreaded recess, loved hiding in my room and reading my American Girl doll books. Ten year olds like me were blissfully happy, not unhealthy but certainly not petite. 

Fifth grade was when I truly fell in love with writing. Fifth grade was when I held my knees as I sat on the ground in our classroom, in the middle of a school project, and the boy I had a crush on leaned over to me, a small and shy grin on his face and whispered, "You're chubby."

Fast forward to my senior year of high school where I ate less than 500 calories a day, ran 5 miles a day, and had a mental breakdown, dissolving into tears on a school trip because I ate a piece of bread. 

And fast forward to now. A 24 year old who runs, occasionally screws up and eats McDonald's in her car, alone, at 2:30am but the next day runs and forgets and doesn't care. 

Weight is an issue that most of us struggle with our whole lives. It consumes and consumes and consumes until food is the only thing we think about, until weight is what we put our identity in.

There are times when I'm my heaviest and it's embarrassing and I don't want to even show my face to anyone because I'm disgusted with myself. And it becomes a mind-lock. And a part of me is embarrassed and also guilty. Like weight struggle is some kind of woman bullshit or some other lie like that.

But it's real. I judge my worth based off of my size. I will sit on the couch and hide (which is really helping the whole size thing) because I don't think I'm good enough to go out with my friends, to go to a bar, to go to church. How sick is that?

"Hey friends, come to church where God loves everyone, oh but I'm going to stay home because I feel fat and afraid to show my face."

I think sure, it's amplified in a city like Los Angeles where there are more beautiful women than there are stoplights. And sure, you can say to me "there's always going to be beautiful women. you have to love yourself blah blah blah" 

YEAH I GET IT. No one who struggles with weight is looking for a lecture on why we struggle with our weight. ALSO you can't say to someone "But you're not even fat. You don't know what you're talking about." THAT'S NOT THE ISSUE, IT'S A REAL THING IF SOMEONE FEELS IT.

Of course it comes down to something so simple. That I am putting my worth in something that isn't eternal. I should be putting identity and worth in something that isn't of this world because really, this life is super fleeting. 

But people can preach bullshit at me all day long and it doesn't make me feel any better. It's not going to make me go for a run. It's not going to make me want to suddenly juice and love myself. It IS going to make me want to roll my eyes and tell them to shut up.

Sometimes when I feel one of these spells coming on - like this morning, when I looked in the mirror and cringed, I have to remember what makes my heart beat and who I actually am.

I am not what I eat.

I am not what I eat.

I am not how I look.

I Created the way only I am created. 

And you are you the way only YOU are created. 

People are embarrassed and ashamed to talk about weight issues, like it's too juvenile and stupid and like it means you don't love yourself. So I'm trying to rip off the band-aid and admit that yes, 98% of my thoughts are of how I can make myself look better.

But that 2%?

I know that other 2% is what I have to make everything else - 

I want to be able to look at a tree or the ocean or a cup of coffee or watch a movie and not have in the back of my mind, "I wish I was skinny enjoying this."

I think it's okay to want to better yourself and be healthy, obviously, but I just want to remember the truth of everything. I want to remember that God really does love me no matter how I look. I want to know that even if I don't craft or if I'm not petite or if I don't burn candles and journal as the sunrises, that God still loves me. That even though I'm not married, that I don't enjoy cooking, that I would rather live paycheck to paycheck and try to figure myself out, that doesn't make me any less of a woman, and a woman whom God loves. 

I want to remember that it's okay to doubt and question. I want to remember that even though some mornings I wake up and hate what I see in the mirror -- ultimately it's God's creation. We are DESIGNED and that is SO COOL and I don't want to forget that but I also don't want to sound all cheesy, ugh, LIFE, am I right?

I want to remember that this:

Is how I feel inside and that's actually a good thing. 

And that so whatever, sometimes the pie really is just better a la mode. And I just want to enjoy it. 

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