Restless, IRRITABLE and Discontent

Sobriety is a beautiful experience, but it’s also a unique type of challenge. In early sobriety, there are a few rules you should abide by to stay sober:

Rule #1: Take it one day at a time. Don’t think about the problems of yesterday or let yourself “future trip.” Be present.

Rule #2: Stay away from people, places and things. In other words, distance yourself from friends who get you into trouble, bars you used to frequent, and things that might trigger you to drink or to use.

Rule #3: H.A.L.T. Never let yourself be hungry, angry, lonely or tired. These are some big triggers that drive us to relapse.

At 2 years of sobriety, I still struggle with these 3 simple rules. The most challenging for me at this moment is H.A.L.T. Right now, I’ll simply focus on the “A”, angry.

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I’ve never considered myself to be an angry person, but I’ve always referred to myself as someone who is “easily irritated.” After all of the work that I’ve done over the last 2 years, many of the things that used to really irk me, no longer bother me. However, I’ve compiled a list of the things that still drive me crazy and put me back into that “irritable” state of mind.

1. Being Left on “Read”

No one likes to be ignored. On the other hand, not everyone ignores us on purpose. I’ll be the first one to admit that I ignore my friends and family by accident on a daily basis! The difference between ME accidentally ignoring people and others who (possibly by accident) ignore others that really pisses me off is the use of the read receipts!

For those of you who don’t know what “read receipts” are, they are the little gray reminders that someone is ignoring your text– where it says “read” and the time your text message was opened. If you’ve turned off your “read receipts,” your friends will only see the word “delivered” in small gray writing under the messages they send you.

Maybe you don’t actually know if your “read receipts” are on, and if that’s the case, my anger is not directed toward you. However, I know many people who choose to leave those receipts on. I personally think that those who keep their “read receipts” on are freaking sociopaths. Why would you CHOOSE to drive your friends and family crazy? This is pretty much a subtle, passive-aggressive way of giving someone the middle finger and saying, “what you’ve sent me is unimportant and I want you to clearly understand how annoying you are.”

2. Public Restroom Door-Knockers

Some of you may be wondering, “why does this piss you off, Zoë? They’re just being polite!” Well, I completely disagree. Let me tell you why I believe that knocking on the door of a public restroom is, indeed, NOT polite.

First of all, bathroom doors have LOCKS. Some of them even literally tell you that the bathroom is in use when the door is locked. If there’s no way of knowing if the door is locked, do you know how easily you could find out if it is? Try opening it. Groundbreaking, isn’t it??

Secondly, if you don’t want to do a quick pull on the door (for some stupid reason) and think that knocking is a better way to find out if the restroom is vacant, let me ask you this…what exactly are you expecting to get out of your knock? A frantic “OCCUPADO!” from the person sitting on the toilet you need to use? That, not only is unnecessary to answer your question (because trying the handle would have done it much faster), but it also completely interrupts the peace of the current toilet-sitter. Think back to the last time someone randomly and loudly knocked on the door while you were peeing. How did you react? You probably squealed one the following interjections: “uhhhh..someone’s in here!” or “Just a minute!” or “OcCuPiEd!!” Wasn’t that extremely awkward or uncomfortable? Your private moment of incognito bodily release was very suddenly shattered.

Lastly, if you’re knocking to try to incite panic on your fellow pee-er so they hurry up, then you’re just kind of a dick. In summary, quit disturbing my damn “pee”ce. If you knock, I’m not responding. Sorry not sorry.

3. Mumblers

As a middle school teacher, I have dealt with a fair share of mumbling students. This is frustrating, mostly because it causes students to have to repeat themselves six times in order for little Billy-Bob in the back row to hear their answer to my question. However, I understand that KIDS tend to mumble in class because they don’t feel very confident in what they are sharing in class. I have patience for mumbling kids. Whom I have zero patience for are mumbling adults.

I know several adults who are in a constant mumbling-to-whispering volume and this seriously makes my damn skin crawl. Look, I probably went to far too many rock concerts in my youth and my hearing is slightly weakened because of it, but I’m still able to hear things people say if they’re speaking at an acceptable amount of decibels. When you chew on all of your words, it leaves me (and others) in the uncomfortable situation where we have to ask you to repeat yourself so many times that it gets to the point where we just smile and nod, looking like that seal from “Finding Dory.”

In other words, and let me say it loudly so you can hear me in the back, ENUNCIATE, FOOLS!

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We’re all human. We all do things that piss other humans off. We also all have our own lists of meaningless, little things that other humans do that inexplicably make us want to pull our hair out of our skulls. The point of writing this all down was to get it off my chest, drop the weight of the world, if you will, and to let others know that this annoying sh*t is so insignificant in the grand scheme of life, or more specifically, sobriety. Next time something small makes your eye twitch a little, be annoyed for a second and then let it go.

Run For Your Life

It’s Friday evening and as I sit in my bed, sans pants, I realize how long it’s been since I’ve taken a moment to reflect.

I’m at a place in my life where I feel stagnant, settled, but for the first time ever I can say that I’ve been content with my daily routine. This truly is a new version of myself.

I used to consistently be slapped in the face with the need for CHANGE– some kind of adventure to get my adrenaline going. Once, I was so overwhelmed by this feeling that I got a new tattoo and changed my hair all in one weekend. My past was full of on-a-whim plane ticket purchases and impromptu trips. I’d come to think that this desire for MORE only occurred because I wasn’t grateful for what I already had.

No one is perfect at practicing gratitude, but I think that past-me had it all wrong (as I’ve been realizing is usually the case).

You know how they always say that people “give up” on working hard in their relationships once they get married? Well, my situation is similar. I found a job, city and apartment that I liked, then I just went through the motions of my day-to-day life. Why push myself to grow when I’m already satisfied at my current size?

I think this is a common way to live for many adults. However, if we’re not actively trying to make our lives more enjoyable each day, we will eventually begin to regress. And my friends, I’m now having a revelation that I’ve been on a slow and steady decline since the day I decided to “give up” chasing more.

I used to have a tendency to always want more: a better apartment, a significant other, more friends, a better job, another degree. I thought those things would make me happy.

Those things, though, would never satisfy me. Even when I would get “more,” I’d be reminiscent of the times before I got it or I’d simply think, “this isn’t enough.” So I found a way of life that was acceptable and I planted my roots. I thought I’d never be able to make myself “happy,” so there was no point in chasing highs.

The crazy thing is, GETTING the high was obviously not making me happy, but CHASING that high? The chase was the exciting part. The chase was what got me out of bed in the morning. The chase is what made me feel productive and useful. Now I’m regressing instead of growing and I’m blaming the world for dealing me with a shit hand of cards after all I’ve been doing is “trying my best.” Face the music, Zoë, you haven’t been trying at all.

The problem is not the world; it is me.

Without those far away dreams to run after and work toward, what are we even doing with our lives? And once we attain those seemingly-impossible goals, it doesn’t mean that the chase is over. It means that it’s time to set a new goal. We SHOULD be looking to get better and better and better everyday.

To quote my favorite fictional bachelor, Ted Mosby, “If you’re not scared, then you’re not taking a chance. And if you’re not taking a chance, then what the hell are you doing anyway?” UGH, Ted would be so upset with me if he knew how I’ve been living for the past few years!

Hate feeling scared? Good news! Almost everyone else does too. That doesn’t mean we should all just quit trying new things or trying to achieve greatness, just because it’s scary.

Think about the most influential people in the world. Don’t you think it was terrifying for them to get to where they are now? They didn’t shrink from their fear; they ran toward their fears.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of shrinking. It’s time to climb out of our ruts, shake off the dust, and run toward our fears. Let’s run for our lives.

LUSH: Product Reviews

When I moved to Dublin in 2016, I wasn’t aware that I’d succumb to a new addiction– an addiction worse than alcohol or cigarettes.  My name is Zoë and I’m a Lush addict.

You’ve probably heard about LUSH, but if you haven’t, it’s a cosmetic company that sells handmade, 100% vegetarian products which are NOT tested on animals. They also have a black tub recycling program where you can bring in 5 clean black tubs (of any size, as long as it has the sticker saying so) and get a fresh face mask in return.  Not a bad way to promote recycling, right?  And trust me, it is not difficult to collect 5 tubs.

Anyway, I’ve become addicted to these products and the fact that they’re guilt-free since they’re ethically made and very affordable. Since I’ve tried so many of their products, I felt like I should share my opinions on them in case you were wanting to hop on the LUSH train but don’t know where to start.  

1. Mask of Magnaminty

I had to start with Magnaminty, because it is honestly my holy grail. You can get this face mask in several sizes, but I think I’m going to start buying it in the giant tubs from now on because I can’t live without it.  It’s an exfoliating face mask, which zaps away any breakouts you may have or stop the ones trying to creep up on you.  It leaves your skin feeling soft, fresh and oil-free! The 4.4 oz tub is $14.95 and the tub lasts you a very long time (especially the self-preserving formula) because a little goes a long way!

The ingredients in the self-preserving mask include:

Honey , Kaolin , Bentone Gel (Hectorite) , Talc , Glycerine , Ground Aduki Beans (Phaseolus Angularis) , Evening Primrose Seeds (Oenothera biennis) , Peppermint Oil (Mentha piperita) , Tagetes Oil (Tagetes minuta) , Vanilla Absolute (Vanilla planifolia) , *Limonene , Fragrance , Chlorophyllin (Chlorophyllin-Copper Complex)

The ingredients in the original mask include: 

Bentone Gel (Hectorite) , Kaolin , Honey , Talc , Ground Aduki Beans (Phaseolus Angularis) , Glycerine , Evening Primrose Seeds (Oenothera biennis) , Peppermint Oil (Mentha piperita) , Tagetes Oil (Tagetes minuta) , Vanilla Absolute (Vanilla planifolia) , *Limonene , Fragrance , Methylparaben , Chlorophyllin (Chlorophyllin-Copper Complex)


I’ve tried both the self-preserving and the original formulas and both are wonderful.  However, as you can see in the ingredient list, the original formula includes honey.  This makes it much more soothing.  The self-preserving formula does tingle a bit more on the skin, but to me, it’s a nice burn.  It’s like I can feel the mask working!  Therefore, I prefer this one.  If you have more sensitive skin or drier skin but you want to try this mask, use the original formula and only use it every other week!

2. Rosy Cheeks Fresh Face Mask

This mask isn’t something I’d normally reach for.  I’m always going for products which calm down breakouts or balance my oily skin. However, I tried this mask with my friend who was sunburned and wanted to fade the redness in his face. I, also being burnt to a crisp, figured it was worth a shot.  I can definitely say that this mask calms redness! It smells AMAZING– like a bouquet of fresh roses.  It also belongs in the fridge (because it’s a fresh mask) which cools down a sunburn extra well. Since it’s a fresh mask, this means it expires! So if you decide to try this out, make sure you use it up before the use-by date!


Now, I don’t suffer from dry skin, redness or rosacea, but I would assume that this mask would be a great one for you to try out if you do. The 2.1 oz tub is $13.95.

The ingredients include:


Glycerine , Kaolin , Fresh Rose Petals Infusion (Rosa Centifolia) (Rose Petals (Rosa Centifolia)) , Calamine Powder , Rose Clay , Fragrance , Rose Oil (Rosa damascena) , Benzyl Alcohol , Butylphenyl Methylpropional , *Citronellol

I’m unsure if I would buy this product just because of my personal skin needs, but I have zero complaints and it seems to do what it’s supposed to!

3. Aqua Marina Face and Body Cleanser

This was one of my first Lush purchases and honestly, I don’t hate it, but it’s not my favorite.  As mentioned before, I have oily, acne-prone skin.  This face wash is a creamy, moisturizing product, so personally I didn’t get the result that I needed.  I want a face wash that makes me feel SQUEAKY clean.  If you have drier, sensitive skin but also are prone to breakouts, this is probably a better fit for you.


I do have other issues with this product though.  First of all, the smell is not great.  It’s got this clay-like scent as if I’m sticking a handmade vase in the kiln and washing my face at the same time.  It also has large chunks of seaweed in it, which I wasn’t very fond of.  I didn’t think the seaweed did much in the first place, and then the big leafy bits would get stuck to my cheek or forehead and eventually just sit in the bottom of my sink until it eventually clogged my drain. No bueno. The 3.5 oz tub is $13.95.

The ingredients include:


Glycerine , Calamine Powder , Kaolin , Irish Moss Gel (Chondrus crispus) , Organic Aloe Vera Gel (Aloe barbadensis) , Fine Sea Salt (Sodium Chloride) , Nori Seaweed (Algae) , Sweet Wild Orange Oil (Citrus sinensis) , Patchouli Oil (Pogostemon cablin) , Carrageenan Extract (Chondrus Crispus) , Butylphenyl Methylpropional , Hexyl Cinnamal , Fragrance

Overall, I wouldn’t jump to buy this product again.  I wouldn’t totally count it out for everyone, though.  If you think this product would be good for you (say, if you have sensitive, acne-prone skin) I would ask your local LUSH store for a tester. Maybe the smell and seaweed bits won’t bother you!

4. Herbalism Face and Body Cleanser

I don’t want to say that I hated a Lush product, but guys…I hated Herbalism.  This face and body cleanser is marketed toward oily, “troubled” skin and all of the LUSH workers talked it up to me to be the best.  But I mean, it’s on my list of “LUSH worsts.”


This product has a very weird texture, first of all.  It feels almost like wet sand but a tiny bit…creamier? You have to wet your hand, then put the product in your wet hand and work it until it almost turns into a normal consistency for a face wash…but it kind of just dissolves?  I didn’t feel like I was getting any product on my skin, and if I did, it was only in big, sandy clumps.  This also molded over in my shower, which was a bummer since it wasn’t listed as a “fresh” product, but I didn’t care too much because I didn’t want to use it anymore anyway!


The scent is how you would expect something called “Herbalism” to smell: very earthy. It’s not a gross scent per se, but not amazing either. The 3.5 oz tub is $16.95 as well, which is pricey especially since mine grew mold in my shower after maybe a month.

The ingredients include:


Ground Almonds (Prunus dulcis) , Kaolin , Glycerine , Nettle, Rosemary and Rice Vinegar Extract (Urtica dioica, Rosmarinus officinalis) , Rice Bran (Oryza sativa) , Water (Aqua) , Gardenia Extract (Gardenia jasminoides) , Rose Absolute (Rosa damascena) , Chamomile Blue Oil (Matricaria chamomilla) , Sage Oil (Salvia officinalis) , Fragrance , Chlorophyllin (Chlorophyllin-Copper Complex) 

I’m sad to say, but I would not re-buy or recommend this LUSH product. Sorry, Herbalism!

5. Cup O’ Coffee Face and Body Scrub

I love this scrub! It smells like freshly ground coffee– like back in the day when you used to be able to grind your own coffee at Wal-Mart…remember that?? I’ve been recently obsessed with products that help with renewing the glow in your skin or correcting spots in your complexion (acne scars, dark spots, etc).  This product does that!  It’s very invigorating and refreshing and leaves your skin feeling squeaky clean (which, again, is what I look for in a face wash).  It’s also nice for your chest and back if you suffer from body breakouts. The 5.2 oz jar is only $12.95 as well. Talk about a bang for your buck!

The ingredients include:

Organic Agave Syrup (Agave Tequilana) , Kaolin , Glycerine , Coffee Infusion (Coffea arabica) , Talc , Ground Coffee (Coffea arabica) , Bentone (Hectorite) , Fragrance , Vetivert Oil (Vetiveria zizanoides) , Vanilla Absolute (Vanilla planifolia) , Roasted Cocoa Extract (Theobroma cacao) , Coriander Seed Oil (Coriandrum sativum) , Caffeine Powder , *Coumarin , *Limonene , *Linalool 

I will absolutely continue to buy this. However, you’re basically rubbing coffee grounds into your skin, so if your face is sensitive, I’d use with caution!  Otherwise I’m 100% behind you on buying this product!

6. Tea Tree Water

This is simply a toner for oily skin.  I think it’s very refreshing, however I don’t think it’s anything special.  Any toner will do the same thing, but this one is at least natural, cruelty-free and handmade.  So if you want to get the same thing as always but guilt-free,  I’d recommend.  It comes in a spray bottle which is different from most toners, and I feel like you wont over-use the product because of this. The 3.3 oz bottle is $9.95 though, which I admit is a bit steep for a toner.

The ingredients include:

Tea Tree Water (Melaleuca alternifolia) , Grapefruit Water (Citrus paradisi) , Juniperberry Water (Juniperus communis) , *Limonene , Fragrance , Methylparaben

Meh, it’s a toss-up for me on this one.

*–*–*–*–*–*–*–*

I had originally wanted to review every LUSH product I’ve tried here, but since the amount is overwhelming, I decided to only do six.  I hope these reviews help you decide what to buy and what not to buy at LUSH (as well as what to test)! Although there are a couple of negative reviews, I will always stand behind this wonderful company, and you should too!

(All ingredient lists were copied directly from the Lush website).

5 Lessons that I Wish I’d Learned Sooner

I’m 27 years old and I’m still constantly learning things that I thought I’d never need to learn. Sometimes we are hit in the face with realizations that make us think, “I should have known that!” I’ve recently learned 5 life lessons that seem like common-sense and could have been extremely helpful if I’d known these things sooner.

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1. Your coworkers are not your friends.

All human beings have a need for companionship. Even the most introverted people out there have the desire to make friends. It’s who we are.

As adults, it’s much more difficult to make new friends. You don’t have school to meet people in class, there aren’t many grown-up “extra curricular activities” where you can meet like-minded individuals (and if there are, you don’t have as much time to attend them), and friend-making apps are just awkward. I kind of think this is why people get married– for a 24/7 bestie.

Anyway, the only place you see people and spend most of your time is at work. Unfortunately though, your coworkers are not people you should see as your friends. Why? Well, the work environment is, with all due respect, a place of constant competition. Although humans are wired to find companionship, we are also wired to survive. Therefore, everyone you work with is looking out for one person–and one person only–themselves.

You may think you can trust your coworkers and maybe you generally can. However, if there comes a time where you stand in a coworker’s path to success, you’ll be under the bus before you even get to the stop. In other words, “Don’t f*ck with my paycheck.”

Ever wonder why you’re the only one who puts forth effort to maintain a “friendship” with your coworker outside of the workplace? It’s simple: Your coworkers are not your friends.

2. Just because you are comfortable with something, doesn’t mean that everyone else is comfortable with it.

Maybe to the more “woke” of us or even to those who are simply more aware of their surroundings, this is a big no-brainer. I, on the other hand, apparently have been existing in my own imaginary bubble where everyone agrees all the time for 27 years. So something I have learned about the hard way is: *NEWS FLASH!* not everyone is lax about most things.

Look, I’m not saying that I’m a go-with-the-flow type of person at all. I’m actually the opposite most of the time. However, I’ve realized recently that I see MANY things as “no big deal” that the majority of other people identify as important or even personal! Here are some of my experiences:

a) I’m not saying that I’m unprofessional, but…I’m not very professional: I’ve been in the workforce for almost 4 years now (yikes) and I’m still trying to getting a grasp on what it means to represent yourself professionally. There are obvious things that I understand, like “don’t wear a crop top to work” or “don’t flip off your boss,” but damn, there are way more rules that I actually didn’t realize were important. For example, when I worked at The United Nations (don’t get too starry-eyed; it was a mouse infested basement), I wore heels everyday because it made me feel like an adult for some reason. However, I’d forget everyday how much heels actually hurt your feet, so I’d take off my shoes under my desk. No harm, no foul, right? Right…until one day I didn’t even think about it and got up to give my boss something across the office in my bare feet. Halfway to her desk I realized I was shoe-less, but instead of turning around I just thought to myself “oh well, it’s no big deal.” BOY WAS I WRONG THOUGH because as soon as my boss saw my feet she chewed me out for being unprofessional. Okay…so wearing shoes is a big deal. Got it.

Unfortunately, I’ve been caught off-guard by breaking other professional norms too though: putting my feet on another chair (apparently showing the bottom of your shoes to someone is an insult in some cultures, by the way, eeeeek), chewing gum while teaching, wearing a beanie to work EVEN THOUGH I was having a bad hair day, being 30 seconds late to literally every meeting ever, not replying to e-mails in a timely fashion, accidentally calling my boss “dude” or the lovely few times I’ve accidentally let a curse word slip out when talking to my boss (no kidding– one time I overslept for work and woke up confused by a call from my D.O.O. and my first word of the day was a very loud “FUUUUUUUU**).

b) I’m an open book; one could argue that I’m too open: To put it bluntly, I don’t really give a rat’s ass about secrecy. Oh, we just met? Here’s all of my daddy issues. Let me tell you about how I’m an alcoholic, and maybe even read you a long list of my flaws. Look at all the different medications I’m on to try and keep me stable!! Incredibly embarrassing stories? Happy to entertain you. What else do you not really want to know about me?

The funny thing is that I’m only exaggerating A LITTLE BIT, and my shameless approach to life has gotten me into some trouble (shocker). Some of my actual friends have gotten upset with me because I’ve assumed that they also had no shame. One time a friend of mine (btw, at this time we’d been friends for over 2 years) was talking about how she was living with her boyfriend at his parents’ house, and I laughed and asked “how in the world are you guys able to have sex with his parents next door!?” Seems like a harmless and humorous question to me, but it offended her that I’d even ask about her sex life. I genuinely couldn’t wrap my head around why she was so uncomfortable with my question, but that’s because if she had asked me that, I’d probably have given her more details than she asked for. Who cares?! Well, she cares, and I’m sure there are many other people who feel the same way she does.

I have lots of other stories about times where I’ve assumed that my friends or even acquaintances or coworkers think exactly the same way I do, when in fact they do not, and I’ve triggered something unknowingly. I’ve gotta’ stop assuming shit, dude.

3. Saying “I’m sorry” too much actually makes the phrase lose its value.

I won’t go super into detail on this one since Emily wrote a whole article about why saying sorry kind of sucks, which I’ll shamelessly plug right here. But in short, I’m constantly apologizing for things that don’t need to be apologized for. It’s mostly stuff like, “sorry I suck” or “sorry for crying,” but am I actually sorry for feeling the way that I feel? Maybe I’m sorry for myself, but apologizing to someone else only makes me look weak, and then when I apologize for something REAL, it doesn’t seem significant. Learn when to say sorry and when to just be confident.

4. It’s not all about you.

I’m not a pre-teen in a graphic t-shirt that reads “It’s all about me” in big bold lettering. I also don’t explicitly say or think that the world revolves around me. No one does! However, I know that I’m not the only one who thinks that everyone is out to get me. This is what what I mean when I say that it’s not all about you.

For example, say that you’re walking down the street and decide to look down at your phone to check your e-mails. As your eyes are down, you accidentally bump into a woman, making her iced coffee fall out of her hand, spill onto her blouse and all over the ground. The woman immediately curses you out and calls you “ignorant” or “careless.” This sets you into either anger, irritability or negative self-talk. Maybe you were checking your e-mail because your boss just chewed you out for not replying to e-mails in a timely manner. The woman calling you “careless” and “ignorant” now triggered your own fears of being just that, even though you were only trying your best to fix a problem that originally made you feel that way! You think to yourself, “This b*tch doesn’t know what I’m going through! She can buy another coffee, but I won’t be able to buy anything when I lose my job!” or “I guess I can’t do anything right!!”

This is an example of making this negative interaction about yourself. We’re all guilty of this! Instead, trying asking yourself why this woman reacted the way she did. Maybe the blouse you ruined was a gift she got from a friend who just passed away. Maybe her bank account only had enough money to buy that coffee and she used it on that because it made her happy and helped her forget her financial troubles. Maybe SHE was running late to work where she was ALSO just chewed out by her boss for timeliness and now you’ve slowed her down and made her look even more of a mess. The point here is that we don’t really know what other people are going through. We also need to evaluate our own part in things. If you hadn’t been looking at your phone, you wouldn’t have spilled her coffee in the first place. This is a small example, but it can be applied to anything.

Sometimes we are so wrapped up in our own problems that we assume everything bad happening to us is directed toward us personally. This is not always true! Think about how much you think about yourself: your position at work, your relationship, how others might view you, your depression/anxiety, your family, your goals, etc. Something I never thought of was this– everyone else is also thinking about themselves most of the time.

I used to walk around worried that everyone hated me or that they were all plotting my demise (sometimes I still do). What was incredibly liberating is realizing that in reality, no one is thinking about me. Everyone is thinking about their own stuff, just like I’m thinking about mine.

On the same note, how many times have you hurt or wronged someone else because you were wrapped up in your own bullsh*t? The iced coffee example applies here too. We are not the center of the universe; it’s crazy to me that I never fully understood this simple fact, especially because I’ve never thought of myself as a selfish person.

5. Sometimes when you think that the universe is out to get you, it might actually be you sabotaging yourself.

This connects a bit to the previous lesson about how the bad things that happen to you aren’t always about you. However, this one is more about self-loathing when we see negative things happening in our lives over and over again and not seeing our own actions as the common denominator.

When it rains, it pours, right? There is so much validity in this statement. I’ve personally been in this situation myself for several months. For this one, I’m going to get personal so I can very clearly explain how I learned this lesson:

About 7 months ago, I was in a financial predicament due to my own excessive spending along with paying way too much for rent to live in my own one-bedroom apartment. My lease was coming to an end, so I was looking for 3-bedroom apartments with my now roommates so I could spend less money each month on living expenses. We finally found a place, but my credit score wasn’t high enough to get it without a co-signer or paying a $4,500 EXTRA down payment. I somehow figured it out, but I knew I was about to be very broke for a very long time after moving. In the midst of packing and moving, the first day of school with all online classes was quickly approaching, so I had to learn how to teach over Zoom correctly and prepare a million things for that. I was stressed, but keeping my head above water. 3 days before classes began, I was hit with a horrible shock: my uncle passed away unexpectedly.

My uncle’s death was something I could not control, but my negative spiral afterward was not the universe’s fault. I unknowingly sabotaged myself.

When my uncle passed, I had to miss the first week of school to go home for funeral services. I don’t regret missing that week of work, because I needed to be there for my family. When I got back to work, I was completely out of the loop. This school year was a totally new experience; we had to relearn how to teach effectively, our duties had been shifted to more useful tasks while teaching online, and the expectations of teachers and students were very different. I had to play catch-up while also moving into my new apartment and dealing with the sudden waves of crippling grief over the loss of my uncle. For about 2 months after returning to work, I felt like a complete failure, dropping the ball over and over and never being able to pick it back up. Every time I messed up at work, I frantically apologized and swore it would never happen again (this connects to lesson #3), but I continued to mess up.

I didn’t understand why I couldn’t get out of this hole I was in. I thought that the world was out to get me and everyone was watching and waiting for me to fail. Eventually it all caught up with me and I thought that life was treating me unfairly.

My psychiatrist brought to my attention that my troubles were caused by self-sabotage. I was constantly continuing to mess up because I was subconsciously telling myself “I’m only going to fail, so why bother?” I was not being abused by the universe, but actually digging myself deeper and deeper into a hole that was only initiated by things I couldn’t control. He told me the only way to fix this is to consciously take any and all opposite action– do things you don’t want to do. Clearly what I’ve been doing recently isn’t working, so I’m trying to take his advice. We’ll see what happens!

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What’s surprising to me about these life lessons is the fact that they seem so obvious. But it’s these seemingly common-sense ideas that we almost always learn the hard way, leaving us dumbfounded and confused. Remember though, humans are inherently flawed, so next time you find yourself thinking, “I should have known that already,” remind yourself that no one knows everything and that life is all a learning process.

Ghosting: Cowardice or Commonality?

Ghosting is a term that almost everyone has heard of. If you’re currently in the dating scene, you definitely know what it is and you’ve probably experienced it, one way or the other.

Dictionary.com defines “ghosting” (yes, there’s even a definition in the dictionary) as “the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.” Urbandictionary.com extends this definition to add that ghosting is “with zero warning or notice beforehand” and it’s done by “avoiding…phone calls, social media, and avoiding [seeing] them in public.”

Maybe you’ve been ghosted; maybe you’ve ghosted someone else; maybe both or neither situation apply to you. I know my own opinion on the phenomenon, but I wanted to ask around and see how both men and women, of multiple age groups, felt about ghosting. All of my interviewees will be kept anonymous, except for their gender and age. I’ll label each person with (M) or (F) followed by a number, so we can keep each interviewee straight.

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Age Group: 22-32This group has been ghosted before.

  1. How did it feel to be ghosted?

M1(22-32): It felt shitty.

M2(22-32):I’ve been ghosted more times than I can count. From dating apps, to after meeting someone for the first time. It feels superficial and terrible to be ghosted. Like someone doesn’t want to take the time to get to know me.

F1(22-32): I’ve been ghosted so many times that it should feel easy by now, but nope! I still feel like crap every time it happens. It’s like any breakup, except without the curtesy of being told that you’re being broken up with. So actually, it feels worse than any normal breakup.

F2(22-32): It makes you feel f***ing terrible. It makes you feel unworthy or undeserving of love. It’s a really dark feeling and effects your self-esteem. If it happens enough, it almost feels like you deserve it because you start to kind of expect everyone to ghost you. It’s really sad to say but sometimes these feelings of rejection last a really long time.

F3(22-32): It’s insensitive and something that can be easily avoided with open communication.

2. Did you ever figure out why that person disappeared?

M1(22-32): A lot of introspection led me to understand that I probably set off a lot of personal red flags for them. I had to not take it personally, but that took awhile. It was just incompatibility.

M2(22-32): There are numerous reasons why girls have ghosted me. I told one girl that I don’t have social media presence and don’t want to change that. Ghosted. The first date didn’t go well. Ghosted. I wasn’t texting back fast enough. Ghosted. But overall, these are only my assumptions for why they disappeared. I’m really blunt and honest, so if I say something that they didn’t like and then they stop talking to me, I assume it was because of that.

F1(22-32): Well no, not outright. Like, they never explained to me why they suddenly ghosted out. I assume that I came on too strong, and maybe that’s what causes every ghosting situation. What’s annoying about it though, is that it’s not like I told these people I loved them after 2 dates or something crazy. I guess it’s just easier for people to ignore someone than to tell them they aren’t interested.

F2(22-32): Maybe this is my optimism, but I don’t really think it’s ever anything truly personal. I think they were maybe filling a void, like I served a purpose and then it was over. I don’t think any of it was malicious. I think they liked me at first, I did what they needed me to do, then they were done. I think most people, when they meet someone, go into dating hopeful that it’ll work out (without real expectations) and as soon as they realize it doesn’t do what they want, they are done. On the other hand, some people start dating just because they’re curious or don’t want to be alone, so they’re not really interested. When the experience gets dull, they have no feelings so they can easily cut it off.

I overthink everything and if I try to talk to someone about why I think we might not work and it doesn’t go through to them, I know that we won’t work. Usually, if I can feel that someone is drifting away from me, I let them. I let the ball be in their court because I’ll be damned if I have to force someone to love me. This might cause people to ghost ME, because I might come off like I don’t care or like I’m indifferent. For example, if I text someone “good morning” two days in a row, I’ll not text them “good morning” again until they do it first. Dating is all a stupid game.

I do try to stand up for myself in a respectful way, though. Maybe this doesn’t even effect them, but I feel like I need to make it known. They usually don’t know how to react I think or maybe they don’t even care. I might not get my explanation, but I make sure they know that what they did was shitty.

F3(22-32): Whenever I get ghosted I just ask them and most of the time I don’t get answers. It’s whatever, because there’s no point in trying to have someone in your life who doesn’t respect you.

3. Do you think that ghosting is practical or justifiable sometimes?

M1(22-32): It can be…depending on the circumstances. Do you owe the person an explanation? If not, it should be viewed as a modern part of life or part of dating in this new technological landscape.

M2(22-32): Ghosting does have its purposes. Like getting out of a toxic relationship and needing to cut ties with that person. But I don’t think that’s the reason it’s so common with our generation. Our generation and the one after ours has been very superficial since social media started to control our lives. If someone doesn’t seem interesting enough on their profile, or they don’t text the “right” way, or they don’t look the way you want them to online, we use that against them. People don’t want to take the time to actually get to know someone to the point where their “flaws” no longer matter, because there’s always someone “better” online.

F1(22-32): Hmm..well I want to say “HELL NO” because I’ve been on the shit end of the stick so many times and I know that it feels absolutely horrible. But I’m a hypocrite I guess. I’ve done it before, but it was only when I’ve made it clear to the person that I’m uninterested and they’re still not leaving me alone. If someone is bothering you to no end after you’ve made yourself clear, ghosting feels like the only way.

F2(22-32): 90% of the time, no. I think the only time it’s fair is if the person is toxic. If you need to cut that person out of your life for your own well-being and you’ve tried every other way, then I can see how ghosting is justifiable. But if you’re just being a coward and don’t want to explain yourself, then no. I think that as a society, we have problems communicating in general. Two people can both be great, but not be each other’s “person.” If you can’t communicate that to the other person when you feel like it isn’t working out, you are only creating a bigger problem. Now that person you ghosted has self-esteem issues, just because you felt uncomfortable communicating your feelings. It’s a respect thing I think. We should care more about each other’s feelings than our own comfort.

F3(22-32): Ghosting is practical in situations if the person is being clingy or aggressive. However, you can communicate that, then stop answering, because at least they have an answer.

4. Have you ever ghosted someone? If yes, why? If no, why not?

M1(22-32): Yes, because they set off a bunch of my own red flags: codependency, neediness, the like.

M2(22-32): I have ghosted someone before. She displayed some obsessive behavior that wasn’t healthy, so I cut ties. I didn’t have a choice. she would find me and message me on any social media site, or even text me from a friend’s phone to get my attention.

F1(22-32): Ugh, yes I have. And I hate that I have. Like I said before, if someone is not hearing me when I make it known that I don’t want to be with them and they won’t leave me alone, I’ll ghost. I remember in high school once, this guy I knew legitimately asked me on dates all the time and I always said no. He’d even call me, back to back to back, after I’d hit ignore. He’d text me over and over and over too. Another example: today, I still get Instagram messages once a week from a guy I met a couple years ago and turned down for dates MULTIPLE times. You can’t reason with that.

F2(22-32): I don’t think I ever have. 90-95% of the time, I play for keeps. If I think a relationship isn’t going to work, I’ll tell them why I think that. But most of the time, I’m the one wanting it to work and they will be the one to ghost me.

F3(22-32): I’m a person who expresses how they feel. So I rarely ghost; if I did it was because they made me feel unsafe. I just tell someone I don’t think this is going to work out, etc.

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Age Group: 22-32 — This group has never been ghosted before.

**Questions 1 & 2 are not included for this group, as they not applicable**

3. Do you think that ghosting is practical or justifiable sometimes?

M3(22-32):I think it’s practical because it’s easier than hurting someone’s feelings by telling them you aren’t interested in them. But it is pretty cowardly.

F4(22-32): Absolutely! But not with a significant other…when it’s someone you’re romantically involved with, you wish you could matter enough to them to not be ghosted by them, so it should go both ways. However, ghosting friends or acquaintances or even exes can actually be practical in some cases.

4. Have you ever ghosted someone? If yes, why? If no, why not?

M3(22-32): I have. Usually because she’s too aggressive or doesn’t take the hint.

F4(22-32): I just did yesterday to a person who used to mean the world to me. I’m not holding a grudge but, I dropped everything for this person for him to just disappear. I’m not playing “pay back.” I just know that he’s hard on drugs and we are in completely different places in life. I could offer him so much, but would he take it for gospel? Not a chance. Then I’d be left in the dust. Even as a friend. So when he showed up in my inbox, I left him on read and that’s how it’ll stay, for my own sanity.

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Individualized Interviews (age 60-70) — Insight from “older” generations

-Interview 1: Female; Age 64-

Have you ever heard of “ghosting?”

F5(33-60): Of course!

Cool. So you know it’s when someone you’re dating or interested in disappears on you and stops replying.

What was the time frame (70s/80s/90s, etc) that you were dating around?

F5(33-60): I do know that but it is also a term that is used in HR now….I invite someone for an interview and they just don’t show up and don’t tell you they aren’t coming for the interview! I dated in the 70s and again in late 80s and 90s. No one used that term them. Guys just didn’t call back and you knew they were jerks.

Wow! I didn’t know it was used in that sense!! Nowadays, « ghosting » is a super normal way to show that you’re uninterested, because we can just ignore a text or block a number or unfriend someone on social media. It’s especially easy because a lot of people meet on dating apps now, so once you’re ghosted, you can be easily forgotten!

So not getting a call back was the way someone essentially would « ghost » you. How did it feel to you when this happened? Was it easy to move on from or did you often see that person around afterward?

F5(33-60): Depends….in the 70s it hurt my feelings and I probably saw them again because I was on a small campus. But in my ALL GIRL dorm, we shared info on guys like that and we comforted each other in kind of funny, probably insincere ways like…”screw him, it’s his loss.” After divorce, dating was different. I didn’t care if someone didn’t call me back, because I figured that he didn’t have what I needed for me and my kids. The kids were the best temperature takers for no-call-back guys. My son kicked a date in the shins one time and I never heard from him again. Now my husband…they didn’t scare him off even though they were kind of crappy to him in the beginning.

-Haha!! Clearly if he can’t handle your kid, he’s not worth your time!!

In the 70’s, did you ever try to get an explanation for why guys didn’t call you back? Or did you just sit in agony wondering why? Or did you do okay with brushing it off?

F5(33-60): You know, I was really ok with it I think.

Did you ever not return a man’s call without explanation? If yes, what was your reasoning? If no, why not?

F5(33-60): I’ll tell you what I learned recently that I was unaware of….I think I “ghosted” a fair amount myself, or tried to, but guys made me give them a reason. Social media has produced several old dates who ask to reconnect on FB and several have ultimately sent me an IM asking why I “broke up” with them in the 70s and sometimes I didn’t realize we were really dating! Listen to this….one guy said “can I ask you something that’s been bothering me all these years….why did you break up with me?” I couldn’t believe it…”seriously? Please explain.” He said I told him I was breaking up with him….(this was not a long term relationship) …because he was rude and wore jeans and then I started dating a guy who was ruder and wore jeans too. I do not remember ever saying anything like that but I remember having a hard time getting him to leave me alone! Two of my ex-husband’s asked me the same thing YEARS later, believe it or not. I find that so interesting and maybe a part of present-day ghosting? Some people carry that shit, of what feels like rejection, around for a LONG time– emotions run deep. It’s hard to be honest if you’re a decent person or if you’re with someone who is “insecure or a hanger on-er or maybe really in love?” Maybe ghosting is easier today because of social media and technology and it’s easier to hide behind disinterest than it was in the 70s. In the 80s and 90s, we were dependent on answering machines…your only option was not returning phone calls. We are emotional beings. And we are shitty to each other at times. Shame on us.

If you had to be dating today, would you think that ghosting is acceptable in some cases?

F5(33-60): If I was dating today….which I’m extremely thankful that I’m not and hope to never again….I wouldn’t ghost someone. I’d just be honest and say I’m not interested….thats the thing about getting older. Every decade, the filters come off and you’ve learned how to speak your truth, with kindness.

-Interview 2: Male, age 69-

Have you ever heard of “ghosting?”

M4(33-70): No…what is that?

So, “ghosting” is when someone you’re dating or interested in disappears on you and stops replying to text messages.

M4(33-70): Oh.. that’s crude!! Just kinda rude and mean and nasty…maybe if someone ghosts you, you’re lucky because you never have to talk to that person again. Shows their true colors.

What was the time frame (70s/80s/90s, etc) that you were dating around?

M4(33-70): I dated mostly in the 50’s I’d say.Did you ever have an instance while dating in the 50’s where something similar to “ghosting” happened to you?

M4(33-70): My wife tried to ghost me once I guess! I took her out to a dance for our first date and a week or so later I stopped by her house to see her. I guess she didn’t feel very pretty at the moment so she told her mom to tell me she wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t talk. I guess her mom made her call me anyway so it worked out!

Did you ever try to “ghost” someone else?

M4(33-70): Hmm..I had a couple of instances where I guess I didn’t quite “click” with a girl but I couldn’t just ignore her. I’d just tell them I didn’t want to go another date.

Why do you think that this “ghosting” phenomenon didn’t exist when you were dating?

M4(33-70): Well, for one thing, we didn’t have the technology that you guys have today. I think this technology creates this crudeness, or ability to be completely unattached. We didn’t have caller ID, so we didn’t know who was calling us before we answered, therefore we couldn’t just ignore their calls. We also didn’t have personal phones, so since I lived at home with my parents when I was dating, they’d answer and I wouldn’t have much of a choice but to be handed the phone when it was for me. Not wanting to go on a second or third date was very personal and you couldn’t ignore the situation. You had to tell the other person how you felt.

If you had to be dating today, would you think that ghosting is acceptable in some cases?

M4(33-70): I think my generation sees it completely differently. I’d personally never ghost someone, but it’s because I think it’s rude and wouldn’t want it to happen to me. I have friends who’s husbands have passed away and are dating today. One friend was telling me how she just told a man she didn’t want to see him again. I think we don’t know any other way to end it, so we just tell the truth. I think it’s better that way.

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Summary of findings

After interviewing these five women and 4 men (as well as 5 other people from the age range of 22-32 which are not included in this article) and compiling their responses, I found some trends!

Trend #1: Although every interviewee from ages 22-32 think that ghosting someone is disrespectful, insensitive or cowardly, they still think it’s justifiable sometimes and most of them have ghosted someone themselves!

Basically, we know it hurts when we’re ghosted, but we don’t always think about that when we decide to ghost someone else! It’s an endless cycle. Like F2 said, “you are only creating a bigger problem.” What’s that rule about doing to others what you would want others to do to you?

Trend #2: Those who have ghosted someone else before, did it because they found the other person to be either too “clingy” (or quite frankly, annoying), or toxic to their lives in some way.

If someone needs to be cut out of your life for personal safety and mental health reasons, it seems to be a consensus that ghosting is the way to go.

When it comes to ghosting someone for being “clingy”, I think we need to ask ourselves, “was I clear with this person from the beginning what my intentions were?” If yes, maybe ghosting is fair. If no, we should ask ourselves, “have I led this person to believe that I’m more interested in them than I truly am?” If yes, TELL THEM THAT. If no, TELL THEM how you’re feeling–about how they are coming off to you. Maybe they’ll fix it or maybe you’ll mutually figure out you’re not the right fit for each other.

If you’re someone who’s been ghosted a lot and can’t figure out why, ask yourself, “was I being toxic in some way?” or “have I been hurtful with my words or actions that I didn’t see as hurtful before?” If yes, there’s the issue. If no, ask yourself, “did I seem way more interested in them than they did in me (did I always text first/double-text/give compliments but not really receive them back?)” If yes, that’s what caused it. You came off as “clingy.” If no, they played you, and you don’t need that person in your life. Like M4 said, “maybe if someone ghosts you, you’re lucky.”

I personally have learned a lot from this part of my interviews. There are some moments in time where I’ve been ghosted and I can now see that I came off as overly-eager. I’ve also learned that I have ghosted some people without first making my intentions incredibly clear. I think we all have something to learn about ghosting!

Trend #3: Those who have been ghosted, describe this specific way of being rejected to be more hurtful than a common breakup.

It’s obvious from the responses to question 1, that getting ghosted leaves you feeling small and worthless. In other words, it makes you feel “shitty.” The difference here is that many people who are ghosted seem to carry that feeling of rejection around for longer than expected, presumably because they are left with unanswered questions: Did I do something wrong? Are they seeing someone else? Is it something I said? Did they judge me too quickly? Why couldn’t they just tell me what they were feeling?

M3 mentioned that ghosting is a better alternative to “hurting someone’s feelings,” but in reality, it seems that being ghosted hurts your feelings more than if you were simply told the truth.

Trend #4: Technology is the culprit.

Not only did the “older generations” note that the use of modern technology causes feelings of detachment from one another, but even a few of those interviewed that are between the ages of 22-32. It’s no surprise that the use of social media, dating apps, texting and even caller ID have made it easy to cut ties with someone and avoid the awkwardness of explaining how you feel to someone. Maybe technology has made everyone more closed off, more socially inept, or even more insensitive. As M1 pondered, should we all just accept the ghosting phenomenon as a “part of dating in this new technological landscape?”

*–*–*–*–*

In conclusion, we can almost all agree that the ghosting phenomenon sucks. Like Lizzo says, “truth hurts,” but it’s clear that ghosting hurts even worse.

Workplace Abuse: Calling Out My First Boss

I’ve always been a hardworking individual. Most of my self-esteem comes from knowing that I’ve done a “good job” at work, or that I’ve somehow helped to make someone else’s life easier by going above and beyond with my workplace duties. Unfortunately, my self-esteem is also adversely affected by things I do at work.

I’ve noticed a pattern in my own thinking while searching for ways to improve my self-esteem. When I find myself spiraling into negative self-talk, it’s almost ALWAYS set off by not feeling good enough at my job. I have numerous pieces of evidence to prove that I’m a great teacher: thank you notes and drawings from students, noticeable academic growth in my classes, obvious feelings of mutual trust and love between myself and the kids I teach. However, I’m never able to see those beautiful and positive things as they are. Instead, I find dozens of reasons every week why I think I’m doing terribly and will most definitely be fired.

Why do I think this way? I’ve found a connection from my past that seems to explain it: My first boss ever was incredibly abusive.

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I’m from a small town in southern Indiana, of around 17,000 people. That seems like a large number, but in reality, everyone knows everyone. In middle school, I went to the very small Catholic school in town, Rivet. This school was so small, that they allowed off-campus lunch for kids who were legally able to drive. Most kids, though, chose to walk to some of the cafes on Main Street for lunch. One of those nearby lunch-spots was a little cafe and caterer, owned by one of the Rivet families.

When I was fourteen, one morning at Rivet I heard an announcement over the loudspeaker saying that this cafe was looking to hire a dishwasher. Being the hard-worker that I am, I was incredibly excited by this opportunity. I’m not even 16 yet and I can get a job! I was ready to pounce. However, also being the socially anxious human that I am, I was too scared to go out for the job on my own. I asked my best friend at the time to apply for it with me, and she did. Luckily, my friend’s brother’s girlfriend was a waitress there at the time, so we got the job. I was SO excited to start. A couple of weeks later, on a Saturday at 10:30AM, my heart pounded out of my chest as I walked into the cafe with my friend in our green polos. My new boss, my first boss ever (who I’ll call “Patty”), introduced herself with a clearly fake smile and overly-chipper demeanor. I didn’t realize what I’d gotten myself into.

What it Was Like

My first day on the job was spent washing dishes from 10:30 to 4:00, being scolded for spraying the dishes with too much water or asking too many times for help putting away dishes that were stored in high places. My friend got to be trained that day as “waitress helper.” I eventually got to be trained as “waitress helper” too, but I didn’t get to work as one very much until my friend eventually quit. I knew I was hired on as a dishwasher, so I had no issue washing dishes…but my friend was hired for the same position as me and didn’t have to! Luckily, it didn’t take my friend very long to quit, so I was out of the kitchen and into the front of house. Everything seemed to be looking up, but unfortunately, it all went downhill from there.

#1: I was never appreciated.

The title of “waitress helper” was the name my boss came up with, because the role was honestly so many jobs in one that nothing else fit. After a few years of being a “waitress helper,” I came up with my own job title: “Patty’s bitch.” The waitress helpers were hosts, greeters, food-runners, baristas, decorators, table-bussers, phone-answerers, delivery drivers, organizers, errand-runners and anything else that Patty may have needed us to do. I legitimately picked up and dropped off her kids somewhere once and even wrapped her Christmas presents a few times.

I like to be busy, so having a million things on my plate actually keeps me motivated to work. What I don’t like so much is doing a million things for someone and getting zero appreciation for it. Here’s one small example: As a waitress helper, as soon as you can drive and get your own car, you are made the delivery driver. The cafe delivered lunch to hospitals and doctors’ offices as well as to some apartments. However, deliveries were always HUGE. A typical delivery to the hospital would be at least one large box full of meals in paper bags, sometimes a couple plastic quart containers of soup, and a few full drink carriers in another box. My petite self would have to carry these giant boxes through the hospital (with literally no one offering to help me, by the way) and set up all the food in a lounge. Then I’d rush back to the restaurant to grab another delivery, and the cycle would continue. Another messed up part about deliveries, was that I often had to deliver to old men in this gross apartment complex. These apartments smelled like cat pee and stale cigarettes and all of the lighting was similar to that of a horror film. I’d grab my giant box of soup and sandwiches, then I’d have to walk directly into a man’s apartment, find his kitchen table, place all the food there (with the old man watching me from his recliner) and leave. After a full day of deliveries, which I was not allowed to take tips for, I got my “delivery payment” of a whopping $5. They gave me five dollars for gas compensation. Doing deliveries made me feel SO unappreciated, uncomfortable and frankly, unsafe. I had no choice but to do it, though. If I didn’t ask “how high” every time Patty told me to jump, she’d make it very clear to me that I was replaceable, which leads me to my next point.

#2: I was constantly reminded that I was insignificant.

This was a part-time job at a local cafe. It was also my first job. I had zero expectations and nothing to compare my treatment to. I didn’t realize that I was facing daily abuse from my boss until I went to college and picked up a waitressing gig at Applebee’s. On my first week of waiting tables at Applebee’s, I made a mistake when I input someone’s order and forgot to mark that a man wanted his salad to come out before his meal. When I brought out his steak and salad at the same time, the man threw the salad across the table, and with lettuce and Ranch dressing flying everywhere, he shouted “F*** YOU! I don’t want this f***ing salad anymore! It’s too late!” I picked everything up and ran to my manager crying, apologizing profusely for messing up and assuming I’d be fired on the spot. To my surprise, my boss went over to the table with a to-go box and told the man to get out and not come back. She said his meal today was free, but she would not tolerate his treatment toward one of her waitresses. I’m still blown away by the fact that my boss stood up for me. She trusted me and cared about me, and I’d only been working for her for a little over a week! This experience opened my eyes to how unacceptable my treatment was by Patty at the local cafe in my hometown.

The reason I started this section with an anecdote from my time working at Applebee’s was so I could really juxtapose the way those 2 bosses treated me. Keep that Applebee’s story in mind as you read the following very true stories of what I endured with Patty as my boss.

Exhibit A) Remember, I started working for Patty at age 14. One summer when I was 16, she told me I needed to clean and re-organize all of the catering stuff they had stored on shelves in the basement. I was actually PUMPED for this task, because I love to re-organize and de-clutter spaces. It also meant I could hide away in the basement with my headphones in everyday for a week and I didn’t have to listen to anyone telling me what to do all day. When that week was over, I felt rejuvenated! The basement looked incredible; Patty even said so herself!

The next week, Patty hired on a new waitress helper and even hinted that I might get to be a waitress soon (which absolutely did not happen, but I think she purposely gave me that hope every once in awhile just so I’d work even harder). Since I’d been a waitress helper there longer than anyone else, Patty wanted me to train the newbie. She welcomed the new girl with that same artificially bubbly smile and had me walk around the restaurant with them to show her where everything was. We brought the new-hire to the basement to show her the freezer, laundry and catering supplies and Patty gave a fake smile and said, “Zoë just re-organized this basement! Doesn’t it look great? Zoë is our superstar, she’s been here awhile and knows how to do it all!” Her praise made me feel so special and loved, but only for a short moment. Before I could even thank her for the kind words, she turned to me inquisitively, with her fake smile starting to fade and said, “tell me, superstar, what are the soups of the day?” My stomach dropped into my shoes. I was whisked away with Patty and the new hire as soon as I got into the building. I didn’t have time to even look at the soups yet. Luckily the first three were always the same. I replied, “Um…cheese broccoli, tomato basil, potato…I’m not sure about the others. I haven’t gotten to look yet.” Patty turned her head to the new hire with a fresh fake smile and said, “Forget everything good I said about Zoë.” Then, while still facing the new hire, she said to me, “Get upstairs and learn the soups, Zoë.”

These are the exact words she used. The experience is so etched into my memory, because I was terrified of losing my job and I had never felt so small. I’m sure that Patty has no memory of this conversation. The immediate flip from telling me that I’m amazing to saying there’s nothing good about me was consistent throughout my time at this cafe; that story is just one example of it happening at a moment’s notice. Usually it would be more like one or two days of praise followed by several days of making me question why she hadn’t fired me yet. What’s messed up is that eventually, I truly believed that I deserved to be fired. Those were Patty’s mind games.

Exhibit B) After that moment in the basement, I recognized more and more that Patty was a cruel person to work for. However, I was still afraid of losing that job. Mama didn’t raise no quitter, but mama didn’t say I had to love every minute of everything I start. So later that same summer, I was at my best friend’s house for a sleepover on a Friday night. I always had to work on Saturdays from 11-4. My friend’s big sister brought up the idea of going to Patoka Lake on Saturday. All of my friends could go except for me. I wanted to go so badly. I didn’t want to miss out on lake adventures for 5 hours of torture that would leave me with only 33 more dollars on my paycheck. I was 16. I deserved to be 16 for one Saturday, so at 10:00AM I called in sick. I spoke to the front manager and all seemed to be okay. I was good to go to Patoka Lake! Then about 15 minutes later, I got a call from Patty.

Patty verbally attacked me for calling in sick. She said I probably felt well enough to work. I told her I didn’t and even added in that I had a doctor’s appointment scheduled. She retorted “Which doctor? Because most doctors’ offices aren’t open on Saturdays.” I stuttered around but stuck to my lie. She called me a liar and said if I ever called in sick again that I’d be fired. So I never called in sick again, and I worked there for 4 and a half more years.

I was lying…but honestly, who cares? Looking back on this moment as an adult, I realize that she had no right to accuse me of lying in the first place. She had no right to even ask questions. If I say that I’m too sick to come to work, ONE TIME in 2 years of waiting on you hand and foot, you should just say, “We really need you, but I understand and I hope you feel better.” But then again, Patty would never tell an employee that she needs them. She likes to bully her employees so think they’re worthless so they try harder to impress her.

I have countless other examples of mistreatment, but in order to stop this article from becoming a novel, I won’t list more. I think that a clear picture of “Patty” has been painted.

*–*–*–*–*–*

How this Abuse Affected Me

I consider Patty to have been my abuser. I trusted this adult, as a 14-year-old child, to respect me, care about me and help me grow. Instead, she used my desire to please others and manipulated my already low self-esteem to make me think she was doing me a favor by giving me the job. She constantly built me up just to quickly break me down until I no longer felt worthy to be an employee. Her abuse affected me in more ways than one.

#1: Physical Effects

In high school, one of my best friends needed a job, so I put in a good word and Patty hired her on as a waitress helper. My friend, being older than I was when she was hired, saw through Patty’s fake-nice façade almost immediately. On one of her first days of work, Patty sat down for a “free” lunch with us at the cafe. The whole time we ate, our boss spoke almost explicitly about herself. She’d say, “My life is hard, ladies, because no matter how busy I am, EVERYONE wants to talk to Patty.” She then somehow got on a tangent about how if we ever were caught smoking pot that we’d be fired and that she believed that smoking pot one time would give your future children birth defects. I was used to hearing her nonsense, but I could feel my friend’s eyes rolling into the back of her head.

My friend worked there for about a year. Before she quit she told me that every morning before work, she got a horrible stomach ache from anxiety. I never thought about it that way, but I had a stomach ache every morning that I had to work too. It was like clockwork. I didn’t think about it until my friend told me about that, but this job I had was causing me so much anxiety that it started to show up as physical symptoms. To further validate this, after I quit working for Patty, I never had another pre-work stomach ache until I worked at a terrible elementary school. By then, I knew my body was telling me to quit working there, so I got out. That’s why I teach middle school now.

#2: Subconscious Effects

I worked at Patty’s family cafe for a total of 6 years. It’s now been 7 years since I’ve worn that green polo and I’m completely serious when I say that I still have regular nightmares about working there. They usually have to do with me being scheduled to work and not knowing about it and them threatening to fire me if I don’t get to the restaurant NOW. Most of these dreams take place in present-day, by the way. They tell me I’ll be fired if I don’t get to work even though I live in NYC, and dream me is still in panic mode, racing back to my hometown and trying to find my polo so I won’t get fired (even though I have a whole career in NYC that is undoubtedly more important). How can Patty still be torturing me in my subconscious today?

#3: Effects on my Self-Esteem

As aforementioned in the introduction of this article, the 6-year cycle of workplace abuse I endured has made a real impact on my psyche. After walking on eggshells from age 14 to 20, I’ve internalized the idea that I’m insignificant at work, that I’m 100% replaceable and that for each of my accomplishments, there are 5 more mistakes I’m doomed to make.

*–*–*–*–*–*

Today, I have a career that I can be proud of. I’m able to see my accomplishments, but I’m still struggling to not let my “failures” overshadow them. I’ve even explained the issues I have with workplace confidence to the principal at the middle school I teach for, and fortunately she is the most caring and understanding leader that I’ve ever followed who hears me, sees me and wants to help me grow.

It’s through remembering my positive experiences of other places I’ve worked that I can realize my worth. My current principal believes in me. My boss at CAMPUS English Language School supported me. My boss at Infinity English College trusted me. My bosses at the other part-time waitressing jobs (Applebee’s and Red Lobster) cared about me as a person.

Last summer, I went to lunch at that cafe. Patty saw me, but pretended she didn’t. I decided to stop her to say hello and she acted like she didn’t know who I was. Patty always loved to make me feel insignificant.

In reality, Patty is insignificant in my life. I only hope that something changes at that restaurant, if it hasn’t already. She will probably never change though. At least I know that I’m growing and changing everyday, and I will no longer let my first boss have power over me.

Addicted to Everything: The Science Behind Addiction

Have you ever heard of an “addictive personality”? I used to think that this phrase described me to a T. Once I start something, anything, my brain zeroes in on it and I’m completely obsessed.

For example, when I start a project, I must finish it in one sitting. If I don’t finish it right away, my brain will not shut up about it until I do. My friends in college used to think I was insane, because instead of working on long essays in small chunks over a few weeks, I would sit in the library for 7 hours and do it all at once: the research, the notes, the drafting, the editing and the submission.

Then, at age 24 I was diagnosed with ADD. “Ooooh okay, THAT’S my problem!” Yes, this was something I needed to get under control, but even after being medicated and subsequently more able to put down a project and pick it back up later, I was still noticing a cycle of complete obsession over everything.

At age 25, I came to terms with a very destructive mental obsession over alcohol. I realized that I was doing that thing I always do, where I love something so much that I’m unable to stop. Only this time, it was wreaking havoc on every part of my life, not just my mental health. So I got sober. Everything started to feel better. “Okay, so ADD and alcoholism are my problems. Now that those are fixed, I should be fixed!”

Nope.

Actually, now that I’m no longer mentally obsessed with being drunk all the time, I have this space in my brain that needs to be filled with something else. After I got sober, I noticed that my “addictive personality” has moved to the forefront of my being and turned up to 11. It’s not an “addictive personality” that I’m dealing with. I’m just an addict.

But why am I an addict?

The downside of being a sober alcoholic and working on myself is the fact that I now can see everything I dislike about myself that I used to be able to completely ignore. After a 3-month crossword puzzle binge (seriously, it was a binge; I completed at least 6 puzzles a day) I got frustrated with my tendency to obsess over simple things. I wanted to know why I am the way I am, so I decided to do some research.

Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer for why I’m like this. There are actually several different factors that make a person more susceptible to being an addict. A sobriety program that I belong to taught me that we, addicts, are born this way. I like to believe this to be true, so I specifically looked for some scientific data to back that up. Here’s what I found:

-Genetics

Epigenetics play a big part in what makes someone an addict.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “children of addicts are 45% to 79% more likely” (NIAAA) to struggle with addiction compared to those with non-addicted parents. Research by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains that although this correlation may be due to environmental factors, such as exposure to adults abusing drugs and/or alcohol, epigenetics play a big role as well. Epigentics basically means DNA being changed because of environmental needs, or by the choices people make in life. For the sake of my argument, I’m focusing only on the latter reason for DNA to change. Researchers explain how epigenetics contribute to the making of an addict with this example: “…when a person, [for example,] uses cocaine, it can mark the DNA, increasing the production of proteins common in addiction” (NIDA). This marked DNA is then passed on to that person’s offspring, and voila, a new addict is born.

So, one reason I’m addicted to everything is because my father is also addicted to everything.

Cool…but what is it about addicts that makes us the way we are in the first place?

-Wiring-

CT Scans show less dopamine receptors in the brains of addicts versus those who are not addicted.

The brain is an incredible organ. Apparently, as an addict, it’s scientifically proven that my brain is wired differently than others’. I was born with a gene that makes me prone to addiction, but that doesn’t mean I was doomed to be an alcoholic. What activated it was when I put alcohol into my body for the first time.

When a person who is prone to addiction puts a drug into their body, the part of the brain that I’ll call the “pleasure center” goes haywire. The pleasure center of our brains is where dopamine is released, or in other words, one of the “happy hormones.” When we do positive things, our brain releases dopamine. This reaction exists to reward us for doing good things, like passing a final exam or helping your neighbors fix their sink. However, drugs make an addict’s “pleasure center” confused, because it releases way more dopamine than it normally would, giving us the biggest high ever…until it doesn’t. This is why addicts need more and more and more of everything, because nothing ever releases that BIG dopamine jolt like drugs do. Eventually, drugs become the main source of your “happy hormone” as your tolerance builds. The National Institute of Health explains, “these brain adaptations often lead to…becoming less and less able to derive pleasure from other things they once enjoyed, like food, sex, or social activities” (NIH). This explains why even if addicts are sober, they find themselves doing other things in excess.

Okay, this all makes sense! But why did I have to be one of the addicts that chose to start using in the first place?

-Mental Health-

People with mental health disorders are more likely to use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate.

Remember, the studies I referenced above did not say that children of addicts were 100% more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol; it stated that we are up to 79% more likely to do so. I just happened to be one of the “lucky” ones.

In my program, I’ve heard people describe someone they knew as “an alcoholic who never took the first drink.” We know that addicts are genetically predisposed to addiction. We also know that when an addict tries a drug, it kickstarts that addictive motor in their brains. But why feel the need to try drugs in the first place? This is where mental health plays its part.

Sometimes, people who battle mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, “attempt to self-medicate with drugs and/or alcohol in an effort to numb the symptoms associated with their condition” (Lifeworks Rehab Surrey). So basically, if you’re born with that addiction switch in your brain, but you don’t suffer from mental health disorders, you won’t feel the need to ever flip that switch in the first place. However, you might still find yourself with an “addictive personality” because everything you do that releases your “happy hormone” pushes that switch just a little bit more toward the on-position each time you do it.

_______________________________________________________

I am capable of becoming addicted, obsessed, with anything and everything. My first year of sobriety was spent being absolutely addicted to Kraft Deluxe mac n cheese. I ate it almost everyday. This is not an exaggeration. My food jags extended to a few other things too. I went about 6 months or more eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Crunch Berries everyday. Then it was cookies and cream Pop-tarts. Then it was Oreos. Now it’s sparkling water and Diet Coke.

My phases of addiction do not only extend to food and drink, however. I’m also easily addicted to activities. Remember my crossword puzzle binge? Once I find joy in an activity, I constantly think about it and cannot stop doing it. “It’s normal to want to do things you enjoy all the time!” Yes, but there comes a point where it’s no longer a hobby and has become an obsession. There is a problem with anything you get addicted to, even if they are seen as harmless leisure activities. Leisure activities aren’t just for relaxation to an addict; they are an escape from what we see as our harsh reality. They are what send us into that desired dopamine high.

I’m still trying to figure out how to find balance in my life as an addict. It helps, though, knowing why I am the way that I am. I hope that any readers who struggle with addiction or who know other addicts can find some clarity in the fact that science proves we are not crazy. We are not careless. We are not ungrateful. We are not lazy.

We are addicts.

Works Cited:

  1. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) | National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). (2021). Retrieved 12 February 2021, from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/
  2. NIDA. 2019, August 5. Genetics and Epigenetics of Addiction DrugFacts. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/genetics-epigenetics-addiction on 2021, February 12
  3. NIH. 2018, June 6. Understanding Drug Use and Addiction DrugFacts. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-use-addiction on 2021, February 12
  4. Why Are Some People More Prone to Addiction? | Lifeworks Rehab Surrey. (2021). Retrieved 12 February 2021, from https://www.lifeworkscommunity.com/blog/why-are-some-people-more-prone-to-addiction

Learning to Love Yourself as a Woman

Self-love is a feeling that most, if not all, women struggle to possess. In a society where we are constantly given mixed signals, it’s no surprise that we have a tough time loving who we are!

We have come a long way since our foremothers fought for the right to vote. Women are working hard everyday in professions that were only seen as “a man’s work” for centuries. We have the freedom to get an education and pursue any dream we have and if we want to be a stay-at-home mom, then we can be! But we don’t have to be. Hell, we even have a WOMAN IN THE WHITE HOUSE (btw, happy inauguration day, Madame Vice President)!

However among this growth, we women still have a long road ahead of us to equality and fairness. Yes, on the outside we are equal, but in reality we are given subtle reminders that we are never good enough. These hidden messages, mostly through media, are why it is so hard for women to fully love themselves.

Let’s first look at the most obviously critiqued area of a woman’s life: her appearance. TV commercials, magazine ads, Instagram models and even Hollywood stars send women everywhere a message that we are not enough. We’re told that we aren’t skinny enough or pretty enough or that our hair isn’t shiny enough and our pores are too big, but our boobs are too little. Then, we’re reminded that confidence is the sexiest quality we can have, so just be confident in your own looks. How are we supposed to be fully confident in what we look like when we can never live up to the perfection we see on television? If we can never find love unless we love ourselves first, then how will we ever find love?

This leads me to my next point: our love lives. Even though we are beyond the time of dowries and old maids, it seems like these values are still somewhat etched into the minds of society. We’re told to focus on growing our career and being happy with ourselves before we find love, but when you’re still single in your late twenties as a woman and watching your friends on Facebook settle down, it’s hard not to think, “I’ll be alone forever…with a fantastic career.”

Whether we like to acknowledge it or not, women who want to have children kind of DO have a biological clock ticking in the back of their minds. So it’s challenging to not freak out every time we see another Instagram wedding hashtag and download every dating app that exists, even though we deleted them all 3 months ago because they sucked. Then it’s a downward swiping spiral, full of overthinking and “playing it cool” because being honest about what you want will make you look crazy (because women are too emotional, of course) and men don’t want an overly eager woman because they just want to keep things “casual” BECAUSE MEN DON’T HAVE A BIOLOGICAL CLOCK. After swiping for months and being ghosted by 4 more “cool and casual” guys, we give up, delete the apps again, and tell ourselves we’ll be alone forever unless we learn to love ourselves.

And the cycle continues.

Ladies, self-love seems like an impossible feat. I’m currently struggling with this myself, so I’m no expert by any means. However, these are some things I’m doing (thanks to my therapist) that are actually quite helpful.

1. Negative Self-Talk: Catch it. Check it. Change it.

I’m so used to insulting myself that it doesn’t always occur to me when I’m doing it. I remember in my mid-year review at work last year, I had to do a self-reflection and write some “glows” and “grows.” After my supervisor read through the long list of grows I gave myself compared to the 2 or 3 glows, she said something along the lines of, “wow, you really kicked your own ass here.” The crazy thing is, I truly had been telling myself “I suck at my job” for so long that I couldn’t think of anything good to write about my performance at work.

I called my AA sponsor that day and she told me a catchphrase that everyone needs to hear and put into good use: Catch it. Check it. Change it.

Catching it, that’s step one. Pay attention to how you talk to yourself more closely. Catch yourself when you’re getting into a negativity rant. Notice it. Acknowledge it. Before anything can be fixed, it must first be recognized as a problem. From there, I wasn’t sure where to go next.

I spoke to my therapist later on about it and he gave me some awesome advice. He said, “Whenever I hear that negative voice in my head telling me I can’t do anything right, I tell it, ‘I’d like to see YOU f***ing try it!’ I laughed so hard, because it’s like you’re having an argument with yourself, but then one day I actually did it. I was so empowered. Then, every time I noticed my negative voice telling me I’m ugly or stupid or worthless, I started arguing back with retorts like, “You’re ugly, negative nancy” or “I know you are, but what am I?” or the simple and satisfying, “F*** off, asshole!”

Let’s face it, your inner negative voice is an asshole. How do we treat mean people in real life? We either ignore them and be the bigger person, or we tell them off. I’m a New Yorker at heart, so I choose the more aggressive method. It always works. Once you notice your negative voice being an asshole, check it.

The last part of this sequence, change it, seems like the hardest part. However, once you get a hang of stopping your negative voice in its tracks and telling it to shut up, you gradually begin to see a change in your thought patterns.

Imagine that your confidence is living in an apartment in your mind. At first, your negative voice is like an annoying roommate that eats all the food in the apartment and never leaves your confidence alone. Doing the “catch it” and “check it” steps is kind of like, helping your confidence kick the negative voice out of the apartment. That negative voice will always be around, though, because it only moved in next door. Now when it comes knocking, your confidence can more easily keep the door shut to it. Does my extended metaphor make sense?

2. Positive Affirmations

I get it, this sounds dumb and you assume it won’t help your self confidence. I always felt that way…until I tried it. Here’s how I went about this. The first day, I wrote out 3 compliments to myself that I already sort of believed to be true on sticky notes and stuck them to my mirror. Then, when I looked in the mirror, I read them out loud. Everyday, I’ll add one new compliment to my mirror. When I feel like I 100% believe the compliment, I’ll take it down. But I’ll never leave my mirror empty.

My best friend does something else that I think is really cool. She has a whiteboard on her door with three reminders to look at everyday. She has the categories “one thing I’ll accomplish today,” “one thing I’m letting go of” and “one thing I’m grateful for.” She changes the first and third everyday and leaves the second one up until she feels like she’s moved on with the thing that’s bothering her. It’s a simple and affective way to affirm your worth everyday!

3. Setting Intentions

Every morning, I have to set my intention for the day. If I forget to do this, I find myself irritable and negative all day. For me, setting my daily intentions comes in the form of a “prayer.” I’m not religious, but I’m very spiritual and I trust the universe. So my prayer is to what I call “Lady Universe” or “Mother Earth” or even my higher-self or passed loved-ones. I always ask for things to be taken away and replaced with its positive opposite. These are my usual 2: “Take away my dread and replace it with motivation” and “Take away my fear and replace it with gratitude.” I’ve recently added, “Take away my self-doubt and replace it with self-love.” I’ll repeat those intentions in my head until I feel ready to get up and start my day. It always makes my day better!

If you feel uncomfortable praying, you can just as easily repeat your intentions in your head without addressing it to some higher power.

This can be hard to remember when we’re busy. I wrote a sticky note and put it inside my laptop so I see it and make sure I “pray” or “meditate” before I start working.


We women are incredible, even if we don’t realize it about ourselves everyday. Whether you try out my methods or think of your own ways to practice self-love, it’s so important to keep yourself first, but not because loving yourself will make others see you as confident and maybe love you more. It’s important to love yourself because you are worth it.

Airport Tips and Tricks

It’s that time of year, folks! The holidays are coming, which means that most of us will soon be heading home. Maybe you’re lucky enough to be able to drive back to your hometown, but to those of you (like me) who cannot, you have a dreadful flight ahead of you. Not to mention the extra concerns you have to think about due to COVID. Here’s the truth: no matter how much fun it is when you get to your destination, you must first go through airport hell. I’ve compiled a list of tips that can make your trip a bit easier, internationally OR within your country.

1) Vegetarian


No, I’m not saying to stop eating meat.  That’s just crazy.  I like a good hamburger as much as the next person, but listen:  When you’re on an international flight with a hot meal included, resist the urge to order the meat.  When the lady comes around and asks, “Chicken or vegetarian?” ORDER THE VEGETARIAN.  You know why?  That chicken is going to have the consistency of rubber and the taste of plastic and your vegetarian lasagna is going to be cheesy and spinachy and everything good in the world.  So trust me, meat eaters, vegetarian plane food is worth it.

2) Window Seat


I’ve always chosen the window seat, but sometimes you can’t help what seat you’re given.  However, if you do have the option, GO FOR THE WINDOW. In this seat, you can decide when the blinds are closed or open (we all know that asshole that leaves the window blinds open the whole time and the sun shines perfectly into your retina when you finally get comfortable enough to sleep). Speaking of sleep, when you have the window seat, you are given more options to find that (limited) comfort you require to do so. There’s the wall to lean on, for one. You can also put down your tray table and lay your head on that, in the traditional school-desk-napping style, without blocking your neighbors from the bathroom. HOWEVER, if you have the pleasure to sit by the window, don’t look out the window when you’re over the ocean. I don’t care how macho you are…looking out into a vast sea of emptiness can make you hyperventilate faster than the amount of time it takes for that adorable baby next to you to stop being adorable because it’s screaming its head off.

3) The Security Line


I have a few pointers to help make the security line less annoying.


-Hats:  Don’t wear them for your flight.  I get it; they’re cute and cosy!  But as soon as you get in line you have to remove said hat and your hair is not going to be okay. Trust me.


-Shoes:  You have to remove your shoes in line and I’ve learned the hard way to never wear your lace up combat boots or your converse that are tied so tight that you can’t slip them on and off.  You’ll be holding up the line and fumbling and throwing things everywhere…just wear something easy to remove and put back on.

-Water Bottle: I always carry a water bottle with me because hydration is important (duh!), but I’ve made one mistake a thousand times– leaving water in my bottle when going through airport security.  I know you can’t have liquids, so I’m forced to chug an entire bottle of water in about a minute so that I can keep my reusable bottle.  It’s kind of like an episode of Fear Factor: drown yourself in drinking water in an airport.  So don’t do that.  Also, why don’t I just throw the bottle away?? Because buying a new one in the airport is going to cost me $20 and I’m not about to waste that.  Just bring an empty water bottle through and refill it on the other side.

-Carry on liquids: You should all know that there’s a limit to how much liquid you can have in your carry on. However, don’t forget to put them in a Ziplock before you leave home! Some airports keep these baggies on hand for you, but many do not. Therefore, say goodbye to your tiny hand sanitizer and lotions. OH and if you carry a purse or a small bag daily that you plan to bring on the flight, check for any over-sized bottles of liquid beforehand! I have lost SO many expensive creams, sprays and even cough syrups because I forgot they were in my purse and was forced to throw them away. Trust me, it’s not a good start to your travel experience.

4) Waiting to Board


This is so boring, right?  Sitting by yourself in an uncomfortable chair for hours is not something many people enjoy.  My advice is obvious:  take advantage of the wifi and for god’s sake remember your phone charger and head phones.  The most important thing I can tell you to do, though, is to talk to your traveling peers.  You’ll know who is willing to talk.  I’ve had many interesting conversations with people that I never would have met if it wasn’t for the waiting time at an airport.  It makes time go faster and also they’ll probably watch your bags so you can go pee without lugging your life along with you.  (PSA: don’t just trust anyone with your bags…use your intuition.  Most people have good intentions, like you.)

** 5) COVID

This section only applies to us “frequent fliers” while Coronavirus is a very real threat. Honestly though, I’m unsure if this will ever change. Anyway, in your taxi, in the airport and on the plane, WEAR YOUR F*%!ING MASK. Also, be sure to carry hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes in your carry on. Oh, and keep your distance from others, please! I won’t go into detail about why this is so important because I’m not your mom. I’ll end it with this: follow the guidelines.

Safe travels and happy holidays! xx

The Price of Being a Female

It’s 7:00AM on a Tuesday. You roll out of bed after turning off the blaring sound of your alarm and shuffle to the bathroom. As you start brushing your teeth, you rub your tired, crusty eyes and glance up at the mirror. WHAT THE HELL? You move closer to the mirror and zoom in on the patch of brand new zits on your forehead. You quickly rinse and spit, so you’re able to use both hands on the demolition task you’ve just been assigned.

After successfully making your skin red and blotchy, you mosey back into your bedroom to get dressed for work. WHY DON’T I LOOK GOOD IN ANYTHING I OWN? You think to yourself as you throw another fitted dress onto the floor. You settle on something baggy enough to cover up the apparent 10 pounds you gained overnight. Flustered and feeling disgusted at yourself, you make your way out the door just in time to catch the bus.

Fast forward 6 days. You feel less disgusting and more like yourself. It’s lunch time and you find yourself eating dessert first. YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE, RIGHT? About an hour later, you’re hit with a stabbing feeling in your gut. It’s almost like someone with sharp, french-tipped nails is using your insides as a stress ball. DAMMIT. You know this feeling all too well. You’re too busy at your desk to run to the restroom, plus cramps usually start awhile before you bleed. You dig out some Midol from your purse and swallow a couple down with your iced coffee.

1 hour later and you feel that dreaded ooze downstairs. SHIT! As you run down the hall to the restroom, you realize that you’ve forgotten a tampon. Luckily, you have 75 cents in your pants pocket to get one from the machine. After assessing the damage (on your favorite pair of underwear, of course) you glance into the mirror as you wash your hands. THAT EXPLAINS THE BREAKOUTS AND LOW SELF-ESTEEM. DUH.

If you were born with a uterus, you can probably relate to this chain of events. Every month, we wonder why we are so disgusted with ourselves and then one week later, like clockwork, we are reminded again that it’s all caused by hormones. Every month we shell out an excessive amount of money on tampons, pads, panty liners and pain killers. Why is it so expensive to simply exist as a female?

Let’s have a little run-down, shall we? On average, this is how much we spend on period products:

-1 box of 36 tampons, $7

-1 package of 44 pads, $6

-1 package of 100 panty liners, $6

-1 bottle of Midol (40 count), $7

-1 bottle of Pamprin (40 count), $7

According to Pandia Health, a lifetime supply of tampons at the price listed above would cost $1,773.33. Let’s say you work full-time at a minimum wage job. You’d make around $15,000 a year, according to USA Facts, so my calculator says that’s $1,250 a month. That means you’re spending more than a month’s wages on something you NEED, that males don’t have to buy. On that note, there’s actually nothing that males HAVE TO buy on a regular basis. Razors? Not a necessity. Deodorant? Toothpaste? Ok, but women need to buy that stuff too. Also, you can argue that those things aren’t exactly a NECESSITY.

Let’s look further into that dollar amount. What can $1,773.33 buy you today?

  • 1 brand new Apple Macbook Pro AND a brand new Ipad AND an Apple Pencil
  • A decent used car
  • 14 monthly unlimited subway cards in NYC
  • 3 8-day passes to Burning Man WITH parking passes
  • A first-class plane ticket from NYC to Bangkok with only one layover
  • 7,092 rolls of Cottonelle toilet paper

Need I go on? I could, but I think I’ve made my point.

Today I read an article that Scotland has unanimously voted to make all period products free for all those who need them. Schools and universities will provide tampons and pads for free in the restrooms, and the government will provide those things for free elsewhere.

Don’t you think the whole world should follow Scotland’s example? I think free period products are a right. Period.