Wednesday, March 23, 2016

What Turning 36 Has Taught Me

Taken a week before my birthday
March 22nd marked my 36th year on this earth. I have learned a lot in my 30's. One of the things I've learned and embraced is that age is merely a chronological measure of your existence and is by no means a definition of who you are as a person. Leaving your twenties isn't a death sentence. Getting closer to 40 isn't either. There's so much rigidity in society with how we should be at a certain age, and I fell prey to that myself when I had my quarter life crisis at 25 because I wasn't married (actually, I had that crisis first at 24, because my sister had gotten married at that age and I felt I should be by that time, too). I felt some panic last year as I turned 35 because I was in a long term relationship with no sign of marriage in sight. Today I turned 36. I'm single, and I'm okay.

I've seen so many articles online that say "Things you should definitely stop doing/wearing once you hit your 30's" and I just wonder who made these arbitrary rules? A lot of them have to do with how a woman looks and that's just utter bullshit. Ladies, regardless of your age, be you. Do what you like, wear what you love, and if you want glitter and loud makeup, fucking go for it, girl. Why, all of a sudden, when we enter our 30's are we expected to shrivel up into dull beige beings with matching pantsuits? I rock business-casual Goth on the regular.

I honestly don't understand the phrase "act your age" either. What does  that even mean? If I acted my age I'd... have kids? No thanks. A former friend of mine told me on the eve of my (I think) 32nd birthday when my ex and I were trying to plan a trip to New York City with the express intention of clubbing (because I love techno and had never experienced a club before) that I shouldn't be concerned with going out and clubbing at my age. What? So wither on the couch and watch reality TV like you? No. Thanks.

One valuable thing I learned from my mother is "you're never too old." While there are times I feel like the oldest person in my degree program (I'm not) I'm at the right place in my life to go back to school. I started thinking about graduate school in 2009 (I couldn't believe it had been so long, I honestly thought 2012) but never made the leap. I wasn't ready, mentally or emotionally. I had work to do, and lessons to learn. Entering graduate school at 35 with a goal to graduate at 37 is right for me now. I certainly wasn't ready in 2003 when I got my Bachelor's when I didn't even know what I wanted to do with my life since I realized I didn't want to be a teacher 4 years into my degree. Now I know that in my heart of hearts, I am an educator, but not teacher material. My opportunities are limitless and opening up in front of me. I am in the right place, at the right time, for me.

So if we take anything away, remember that it's okay to be in your 30's and single. Wear the thing, have the fun, and live life. You're never too old to go after a dream.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Knowing You've Made the Right Decision

Yesterday was a very bad bipolar day, and I almost didn't go to class because I wasn't in a good headspace to deal with people. I did end up going, however, and I'm glad I did. Have you ever had one of those moments that just affirms a decision you've made as the right one? Yesterday was my Social and Behavioral Health class, and we had a guest speaker that spoke to us about ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences). As a means of introducing her work, she gave us some pretty stunning statistics on food insecurity in Maine (as well as some other stats that were equally depressing). I wanted to cry. In fact, on the way home, I did cry a little. Hearing the statistics reaffirmed my decision to get my Master's in Public Health and stay in Maine after I get my degree to help people. I even rambled on at a friend last night about it. I love my home state. I love the people in it. As much as I present myself as pretty misanthropic, I care. I empathize. I want my wonderful state to thrive and be healthy. I want the people in the rural areas to have the same access to care as everyone else. I want to use my shared experiences to help others, like I've used this blog. Now I just need to find my place after graduation.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

I'm Having a Bad Bipolar Day

While my Bipolar Disorder has been pretty well under control recently, every now and then I have a bad day, where my mood cycles unpredictably. Today is one of those days. I'm cranky still from some frustrations from the night before, I'm tired because while I was exhausted last night I couldn't sleep, and woke up hours before my alarm was set to go off. I'm stressed because of weather. I'm stressed because I have a paper due tomorrow at midnight that I haven't started. I have a general "fuck everything" attitude right now but at the same time I'm on the verge of tears for no goddamn reason. Also, I'm on my period and cramping is awful. I haven't had a day like this in a long time, where I feel like an angry ball of frustration and fuck it. I don't want to go to class tonight but I do because there's a guest speaker I'm interested in. It's an hour drive and the weather is gross and I'm tired and crampy and have that paper to write. But I literally don't want to do anything but lay in bed and sleep and be grumpy.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

You Are Not Entitled to a Wedding Invitation

By popular request, my wedding invitation rant, straight from my Facebook. Cut and paste for your pleasure! Nothing has been added.

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I know of a few people planning weddings right now. Wedding planning is stressful as hell, and weddings are expensive. So when people post about their happy day, whether it be the initial "we're engaged!" announcement, or progress on their venue, etc., the appropriate response is "congratulations!" Appropriate responses do NOT include "I had better be getting an invitation!" or "I'm invited, right?"
What the fuck makes you so entitled? You're not. The couple is under no obligation to invite people to avoid hurt feelings, whether they be friends or family. Weddings are EXPENSIVE. Not only is the couple paying for venue, photographer, officiant, etc., they are paying FOR YOU to be there. You're getting a free ride on them, and if they decide not to invite current or former coworkers, distant relatives, YOUR CHILDREN, or not allow a plus one, that's their decision, because you know what? It's THEIR day, not yours. Nothing about it is about you actually.
And demanding/asking to be invited is rude as hell.
I know someone who was asked CONSTANTLY about an invitation to her special day, someone she didn't particularly want to invite, and it made her uncomfortable. Wedding planning is stressful enough to begin with, don't be the asshat that adds to the stress because YOU, as a special motherfucking snowflake, HAVE to be invited or the world ends.
If someone does you the honor of inviting you to their wedding, be gracious. And for fuck's sake, dress up. Nothing says "I don't really care" than showing up to a wedding (or a funeral, for that matter) in jeans and a t-shirt.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Valentine's Day is a Load of Bullshit

I don't think I've ever ranted about Valentine's Day before, but I'm kind of glad I waited until now, because my thoughts are a bit more cohesive about why I intensely dislike this "holiday." And because I like lists, let's do this in list form!

1. If you love someone, show them every day, not just on one arbitrary day a year. Let's start off with one of my biggest gripes about Valentine's Day in general, and that's the fact that it seems like a "catch up" day, the day you really have to prove to your significant other that you really, really love them, and here's a stuffed bear and chocolate to cement that proof! I'm sorry, no. If you really truly love someone, you should treat them like  gold every goddamn day, not some arbitrary saint's day in February (surprise, it's another Pagan holiday turned Christian feast). You should want to spoil them with affection all the time. Getting your partner little "I love you" gifts shouldn't be reserved for one day a year. If they matter, show them every day that they do.

2. It's sexist as fuck. Yes, it's sexist. Let's think of the marketing. Everything about marketing Valentine's Day is about getting her gifts. It plays into the stereotype that women are shallow, greedy princesses and if you don't get her just the right gift, everything is ruined. Where are the advertisements aimed at gifts for men? Where are the gifts for men in that aisle that is a sea of pink and red and teddy bears?

3. It's terribly heteronormative and exclusionary. What about homosexual couples, transgender couples, and nonbinary individuals? Why don't I see people of color in advertising? Valentine's Day marketing tells me that it's a holiday for middle class, heterosexual, white people. And don't even get me started on how shitty it makes single people feel to see all this emphasis on love and being part of a couple and having it shoved down your throat at every turn. I'll even admit, it gets to me a little, and I'm happy being single.

4. Speaking of marketing... it's just a holiday for sales boosting anyway. I mean, think about it. It's February. Between Christmas/New Year and Easter (and I understand this is theocentric as far as Christian holidays) there really isn't a major holiday. Something needs to stimulate economy. In the winter, flower shops don't do as much business, retail locations are down. Why not market giving flowers and chocolate as a solution? It's big business. It's an $18.6 billion holiday.

These are my big 4. I'm sure there's more reasons floating around in my noggin about why I think Valentine's Day is bullshit. But for now, that's it. Monday, I'm going to enjoy the marked down chocolate from this commercial day.

Also: Valentine's Day engagements are tacky. So are weddings on Valentine's Day. Sorry. Be original.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Get the Fucking Tattoo

I hear "I'll [insert activity] once I lose weight" a lot, and I'm guilty of it myself. I told myself, through my 20's "Once I lose weight I'll start getting tattoos." I hit 30, hadn't lost weight, and realized "why am I waiting?" I'm lazy. I hate exercise, love decadent foods. I manage to maintain my weight but I don't lose it, and I'm honestly not trying too hard. If I had stuck to my "I'll get tattoos when I lose weight" idea, I would never have gotten tattoos. At 30 (almost 31, looking back at the picture on Facebook), I got my first tattoo, pictured on the right. Look at my fatness. That's my body, and I own it. And I have adorned it. Now, I do have a much more flattering picture taken with my stomach sucked in, at a more flattering angle that makes me look much thinner, but my point is, I'm lumpy, curvy, chubby, and if I'd waited for all that to disappear, I wouldn't be as happy in my skin because honestly, I've wanted tattoos ever since I was a kid, and I know that that's how I want my body to look. I don't care about being skinny. I don't particularly give a fuck about what others think of my fatness either. Tattoos aren't just for skinny people. Fat people aren't regulated to arm tattoos where it's less offensive to be fat. One of the tattoos I'm going to plan out with my tattoo artist is a sternum tattoo which, if  you search on google, appears to be a skinny person tattoo. There are only a few images of chubby girls with sternum tattoos. But you know what? Fuck it. I want it, I'll get it, and I'll rock it.

During healing, same person, better angle
Stop waiting. Stop delaying. If you keep telling yourself you're going to delay what makes you happy until you lose weight, you'll never be happy. A friend of mine mentioned wanting to cosplay a favorite character and told me "if I could lose weight, I'd totally do it." My response was "just fucking do it, dude." If you want to lose weight, and you do it, and work toward it, awesome. But if you struggle or just aren't motivated, why deny yourself? Be happy. As the kids say, you only live once. So if you're fat, stop letting society tell you you can only have certain clothes, accessories, engage in certain activities. And for fuck's sake, stop thinking you're unattractive to others because god knows, I get more ass than some of my skinny friends.

You're allowed to feel beautiful, sexy, confident, regardless of size. If you want to express yourself in a certain way, just do it. It's okay to love yourself, regardless of size, and it's also okay to want to change if you want to. It's okay to be happy, I promise.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Let's Stop Policing Each Other, Okay?

Lately, I've gotten back into doing makeup, so I turn to the Internet for inspiration. I already live on the Internet, so I can see what a horrible place it is. People, especially when it comes to makeup, are so hell bent on cutting others down instead of building them up. It runs the gauntlet from "you would look better with less," "I don't need all that crap on my face" "girls who wear makeup are insecure" "this is why I have trust issues" (followed by "take her swimming on the first date!"). There's more, so much more. Beauty blogger and makeup artist Samantha Ravndahl  quite succinctly talks about makeup shaming in an older video on her secondary channel.

What does it matter if a girl wants to draw on her eyebrows? I, personally, am not a fan of the heavy, fade-in-front Instagram brow, but you know what? What other people do with their makeup doesn't affect my life. And news flash, neither does how someone does their hair or the clothes they wear. Makeup is a means for personal expression, and if someone wants to contour the hell out of their face, or overline their lips, or draw on eyebrows, or wear minimal makeup, it's their choice. No one else's. Want to get lip injections? Awesome. I personally love Kylie Jenner's lips. Boob job? Rock on, because I'm not brave enough to get one myself. There are these outmoded "rules" to makeup that are more about controlling a woman's appearance than actual "beauty." Rules designed, in part, to design women that are appealing to men. Those rules need to be thrown out.

However, before we can throw out those rules, women need to stop cutting each other down. Don't like someone's makeup? That's okay. What's not  okay is to tell her she's ugly, insecure, a slut, a clown, etc., etc.. Instead, we should be building each other up. It takes so much more effort to comment negatively on a picture on Instagram, a video on Youtube than it is to just scroll by. Why are you so concerned with how another person looks? It's like the women who try to tell other women that leggings aren't pants. If you want to wear leggings, go right ahead. I'm not going to argue with camel toe. And bigger girls can wear them too. Let's stop policing each other's bodies and appearances, okay?

I see it all the time on Facebook. The fat-shaming memes are the worst, especially when paired with the exploitative and violating "people of Walmart" posts. Why the fuck are you making fun of the appearance of some stranger and posting it on the Internet? What if that was you? So what if you think their outfit is ridiculous, does it affect your life at all? No, it doesn't. That's a person you're publicly shaming, a person with feelings. It's disgusting and it needs to stop.