An Ode to My A.D.D. Brain

I’ve been meaning to write this article for awhile now…but somehow I kept forgetting. This is one example of how my Attention Deficit Disorder manifests in my daily life.

I never knew that I had A.D.D. growing up. I also never really understood what A.D.D. was, though.

One day, I went to a psychiatrist to see if I could get something for crippling anxiety and debilitating depression. I thought I’d leave with a script for a higher dose of Lexapro and maybe some Xanax, but lo and behold, I was hopping on a bus with some Vyvanse coupons and a sense of utter bewilderment. “I always did really well in school,” I thought,“what in the hell did I say in there for this doctor to diagnose me with this?” I immediately assumed the doctor was wrong (because apparently I’m smarter than all doctors), but I remembered some fellow college classmates who would have killed for a Vyvanse prescription. I figured I’d see what all the fuss was about. Maybe I’d end up cleaning my whole apartment or something? “It’s worth a try.”

It took me about a month to finally try out my stimulants, as I’m smarter than all doctors AND pharmacists. The first day I took it though, I couldn’t feel much of a difference. I did get a lot of work done that day, but I didn’t owe it to a pill. “I had a motivated day, that’s all.” After a whole week of taking them as prescribed, I started thinking to myself, “wow, I think this is actually doing something good…does this mean I have A.D.D.?”

I told my psychiatrist after 2 weeks of being on the stimulants that they actually worked. He looked at me like, “no duh” and from then on, my appointments with him have been all about my attention deficit struggles. Okay doc, I buy it.

Even though I always earned “good grades” in school, I still had A.D.D. It just manifested in different parts of my life. Now that I’m out of school, my A.D.D. bitch (let’s call her Addy) shows up loud and proud in many more noticeable ways, even if I’m medicated. Here are some things that I do that make me want to punch Addy in one of her stupid wandering eyes:

1. Needing reminders to remind me to remind myself to do things

…aaaaand they still don’t work most of the time. I’ve tried calendar invites, post it notes, e-mailing myself…I even bought a dang Apple Watch so I could record voice reminders. The thing is, if Addy isn’t in the mood to do it, she is not going to do it. Stubborn bitch.

2. Pissing off all of my friends and family by never texting them back

…okay, not NEVER, but certainly often. I’m sorry; when I open up text messages I always plan on responding to them. The issue is that I could be typing out a response when I think of something I needed to do earlier, so I close out the text message and starting working on that thing. Then when I finish that, I think to myself, “Oh! I need to text her back!” But instead of immediately going to text her, I immediately think of another thing I needed to do. That happens over and over until I go to sleep at night and wake up from an aggressive blue bubble that only says, “???” which of course I ignore, because I’m already thinking about something else.

3. Taking my Vyvanse, checking Facebook for a second, then finding myself 4 hours deep into a “New York Virtual Garage Sale” page wondering what the hell happened

I kid you not, Vyvanse is one helluva drug. It definitely helps you focus, but if you’re not careful, you’ll probably end up focusing on the wrong thing all day. Ask Addy about the time I had an obsessive shopping spree for stickers when I was supposed to get my laundry done. Wait, that’s happened on multiple occasions…

4. Asking my students “Where did I put my phone?” and “Which one of you stole my pen?” every 5 minutes

…it’s always on some random kid’s desk, or even worse, in my pocket. I used to make fun of my French teacher for being scatterbrained and crazy but…now I am her. My 7th graders think I’m nuts because I’m always bouncing back and forth from topic to topic and running around the room. To be fair though, my A.D.D. teachers were always my favorites.

Unfortunately, this extends beyond my classroom. Ask my roommates what my most asked questions are. They’d tell you: “Where the heck is my vape!?” or “Do you know where my phone is?” or “How did I lose my remote again?”

–*–*–*–*–*–

Having A.D.D. can surely wreak havoc on your life. What’s important is knowing how to control Miss Addy in a way that works for you. I’ve noticed that if I ever want to get anything done, I have to write a checklist with even the simplest of tasks included. Seriously, I’ve written “take a shower” on a checklist before so I wouldn’t forget.

I hate on Addy a lot, but I do need to recognize the good things about myself that thanks to her. So this an ode to my A.D.D. brain: thanks for my quirks, my creativity, my flexibility and my eccentricity.

But seriously…has anyone seen my phone?

When to Drive & When to Fly

It wasn’t until I moved to New York that I learned it’s a very fly-over-state of mind to say, “It’s only 8-10 hours, let’s just drive.”

The people here generally like to get from Point A to Point B as fast as possible, whether that’s from Midtown to East Village or New York to Indiana – whatever the fastest way is, it’s just usually the first (and only) option, but rightfully so. Why give up 6 more hours of your life than you have to? It’s gotta be worth the extra couple hundred dollars to just fly somewhere, you get those extra hours to spend at your destination versus getting to your destination.

Right?

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Honestly, debatable.

The last two years I recently have been opting to drive home more versus flying. This is because driving gives me the desired flexibility to leave whenever I want and to also make stops along the journey to my destination. The last several holidays, because I drove, I was able to do a Tour de Fam (& Friends) and see nearly everyone I love in one fell swoop. I made a couple stops in Pennsylvania, a couple stops in Indiana, and then made it to Kentucky to spend the longer part of my vacation there.

It was also when I began to optimize my drives like this that friends went from, “Yikes, driving 12+ hours to get home?” to, “Oh you get to see everyone? That makes sense, that’s super nice.”

It’s lead me down the path to always question if I’m using my time to the best of my abilities. Sure, the 2 hour flight is great, but that’s 2 hours in the air – it’s not taking into account the commute to the airport, the wait at the airport, waiting for baggage when you land (followed by the anxiety of “where’s my bag?!”) then followed by the commute from the airport to wherever I’m going next. So honestly the whole ‘saving time with flying’ thing, if you’re staying on the same coast, is kind of debatable.

That all being said, don’t get me wrong – I’m a firm believer and lover of air travel. Toss me on a plane any day, let’s go. But I recognize that there is a time to drive and time to fly.

When making the decision on whether or not to drive or fly, I simply ask myself if there are at least three or more benefits to driving that would not be gained if I flew.

These benefits for me are typically:

  • It’s more cost effective
  • I get to see more (people and places)
  • I get the flexibility to leave whenever I need to (I also have no issues night driving)
  • If something comes up and I need to cancel my plans, I’m not out any money

Now to get all existential here… life is one big trip.

The trip has multiple stops, think backpacking across Europe vibes, and throughout the journey we are constantly faced with the option to either hop on a plane to the next country or maybe we hitch a ride over to the next town and continue to soak in this country a bit more deeply (and then casually make our way over to a new country without even realizing it.) Sometimes the drive is sketchy, sometimes it’s long and tiresome, sometimes the vehicle has no AC; but God you just know it’s a ride you’re going to talk about for years to come. You can really feel the character-building just stripping you from the core, but in the best way.

That all being said, sometimes, the drive isn’t worth it. You’ve actually exhausted that country and it’s time to hop on a plane and get the hell out of Dodge. You need the kind of rapid change that only a flight can offer, because you need that change faster than a freight train – you need to be gone like yesterday.

Life is all about deciding when to drive and when to fly. There are no wrong answers either, just decisions between swift change and gradual change. I can promise that you will always get where you’re meant to be, whether it’s in the most efficient way or the most ass backwards way… you’ll get there.

So make your choices and make them with conviction, what do you have to lose?



Immortalizing the Days: March

So March is over?

As mentioned in my January article, for 2021, I’ve decided to do two things in order to immortalize my days, so when the year comes to an end I have a physical reminder that not only did I do everyday, but everyday I felt, created, explored, cleansed, and consumed.

The first thing I’ve done is downloaded this app called 1 Second Everyday where I upload a little snippet of 1-1.5 seconds. It gives me a little thing to look forward to each day and is the little push on certain days to just do. Then it becomes fun evidence on the days where it seemed I didn’t do anything… that I did actually do something.

Here is what March looked like for me, I’d title it, “Moody March” beware those ides, am I right?

. . .

The next fun adventure on my immortalization trek, is something I came across somewhere on IG (I can’t trace back the origin unfortunately) but it was to create a Spotify playlist and add one song everyday.

You already know how ya homegirl feels about playlists, so obvi I was so down for this I couldn’t make a playlist fast enough.

Each song that I add everyday is either one that had been an earworm, maybe a new song that struck a chord with me, or a perhaps there was a day so radical it was easy to find a song that perfectly embodied the day. March starts with Shut Me Up by Mindless Self Indulgence (LOL)

. . .

Feelings after experiencing my video and playlist on 4/1/21:

So, uh, my playlist got SUPER weird this month – so if you’re following the music journey with me… I have no explanation other than it was a moody, angsty month.

The video? Vibes. This month was so busy, there was a lot of times I nearly forgot to take a video (which maybe is a fun sign of life.) Either way, there’s been a lot of learning curves I’ve taken at full speed, I got a title change (aye-oh), and honestly – I feel like I’ve been in a constant state of yikes. Sum of March: I need a vacaaaaaaaaaaay.

Five things learned in March:

  • If you can’t handle the heat, there is no shame in leaving the kitchen
  • Early birds are not better people than night owls. Just because someone is a morning person, it doesn’t automatically make them better at life or adulting than you, my dear night owl. If anything, it just means their freak outs start hours earlier 😉
  • Stop trying to make flourless banana bread happen. You remembered the banking soda and it’s still weird, but not in a good way.
  • If you don’t take yourself seriously, how do you expect others to?
  • You always have more people rooting for you than you think. It’s easy to think the world is out to get you, but don’t forget about your secret cheerleaders, prayer warriors, and vibe senders – they got you.

. . .

. . .

Wedding Planning: COVID Edition

“…they can eat corn dogs and sit in their cars.” ~ Iliza Shlesinger Unveiled Netflix special

That’s pretty much how I feel right about now when it comes to wedding planning. It’s overpriced, overrated and would not recommend. One star. Before I go any further talking about wedding planning during the second part of a global pandemic, let me go back to August 2019.

The Proposal: August 31, 2019

Eric and I have been together a little over a year and a half. I had moved in with his family the month before, right after my parents had moved to Florida and I had started a contract job hoping it would lead to a full time position (Spoiler alert: it didn’t.)

At some point, one of Eric’s family friends had given us tickets for a cruise on the Belle of Louisville which we had been saving for a fun date night. He finally had a Saturday off, so we seized the day and got ready for a day on the river. We didn’t have the lunch cruise ticket, so we got some snacks on the concessions and ate lunch – we’re pretty low maintenance.

We were sight seeing on the boat and I was talking about angles for photos, when he abruptly told me I might what to put away my phone. I turned around and there he was on one knee, proposing to me with my mom’s ring. I was so happy, I immediately said yes. Then I FaceTimed with my parents a few minutes later and then my little sister when she was on break; I just could not contain my excitement.

When we got back to the house, we drank sparkling juice and went out to lunch to celebrate, our friend Libby (who gave us the tickets for Belle of Louisville) came out with us to celebrate the news. I soon found out the story of how he had asked my parents permission about five months earlier, I was so happy and touched. We then told our remaining family and friends before we made the official announcement on social media later that day.

The Planning

The original wedding date would be our three year dating anniversary, January 2, 2021. That would give us a year and a half to save up. Then March 2020 happened: COVID came to Kentucky.

I was unemployed for almost six months when I started a retail position at the end of March; so I had to train for a new job while being six feet away – which is probably as awkward and effective as it sounds. Through all of the societal changes though, we were still planning the wedding as usual. Hoping things would be better as it got closer.

During the summer, we had our original plan and a back up plan in case COVID was still a thing come 2021 (Spoiler alert: it is.) I was having a Sunday call with Mom, she could tell I was overwhelmed and stressed about essentially planning two weddings. So Eric and I talked and we decided in October we would make the call if we should move the wedding to a new date or not.

October came and we decided on May the Fourth for our wedding day, for obvious reasons – the wedding and reception is Star Wars themed. So having the wedding on May the Fourth (aka Star Wars day) made sense and felt serendipitous. We decided to have the reception that following Saturday. I know this means I would have to do hair, make up, wear my dress and all that jazz twice, but we have to adapt.

We decided to have a small in-person ceremony and live stream it for our other guests. I created a group for the virtual wedding on Facebook and I created an account on a streaming app. Then I just share the link so guests can sign up for notifications on when it starts. (Reach out if you want pointers on how to do this!)

The Nightmares

THE VENUE

We had three venues we liked. The Louisville Planetarium, my church, and the Olin Guest House. The planetarium still isn’t open, due to COVID they may not open until the fall or spring of next year. The church will be in the middle of remodeling during that time. So luckily we still have the guest house.

THE FOOD

I am so tired about hearing about issues with food. Yes, I want people to have good food. I wanted a pasta bar, well there was an issue with people not wanting to get red sauce on their nice clothes. I compromise and say, okay I’m doing a taco bar. No body wants to eat finger foods at a wedding reception. Mexican food and pasta are my favorite foods (not at the same time though.) Here’s my thought… eating food can be messy, accidents happen sometimes people spill food on selves and that’s why it’s called accident. You can be the cleanest person and still have a drop of queso on your shirt, it happens.

THE NEW SOCIAL RULES

I think this speaks for itself, *ahem* CDC guidelines.

What I’ve Learned Throughout This Mess

You can’t make everyone happy. It’s our day, I want to do want makes us happy. And this experience pointed out it’s important to be flexible and I’ve learned to adapt, like really adapt, to challenging situations. In the end it’s about Eric and I getting married and wanting to spend the rest of our lives together, not the venues or food. I just want to be happy and have a good time. That’s all.



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.

-*-*-*-*-

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!

-*-*-*-*-

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.

To get f*cked or to get f*cked over– is that the new question?

We live in a time where you pick your partners by a swipe of the finger. We judge based on looks and most interesting bio. We live in a world where “Netflix and chill” is now considered a date, instead of someone coming to pick you up to do some fun activities and then drop you off at your front door with a kiss (where the hell did the butterflies go)! We live in a world where our real life meet-cutes are, “I met them on Tinder, haha” or “I was so drunk that I just literally fell into them” or “I was twerking at the club and they said I looked hot” (how romantic).

We live in a world where marriage has turned into just a legal form, instead of two souls becoming one. Where loyalty is a word from the past, because cheating is as easy as going online or to the gym or to a bar to find your fuck. Because that’s what it is isn’t it? No one makes love anymore; no one sticks around long enough to know if this could be the one. They stick around for only right now…and people wonder why we get so “crazy” as they put it, or they are pissed because you have trust issues (oh, I’m sorry, am I supposed to ignore the world around me and how fucked it is?).

I live in a world where you are either cheating on someone or you’re getting cheated on. It doesn’t seem to matter how long a relationship has lasted– if someone catches your fancy and you get the urge, people act! No control. No one seems to think, “I’ve been with this person for 8+ years. I have 2 beautiful children with them and I have built so much with them. I can’t throw all of that away!”

I once saw a married man ask a girl, “do you want to go out to my car and fuck?” She replied, “if it was a Mercedes, sure, but it’s a Ford Fusion and your car seats are in the back so, no.” (my jaw hit the floor ladies and gents because this was an actual conversation).

I’ve seen two married people fucking around with one another, not giving a fuck if their spouses found out. On social media, he was the perfect husband: praising his wife and how much he loved her. But then he’d message this other woman saying how he wants to fuck her, asking if she can come over on Saturday because that’s when his wife will be out of town (this makes me truly sick when I see things like this).

I’m genuinely dumbfounded by it all.

I miss the concept of true love with a person, accepting them for good and bad, building a life (with them a start, middle, and end), with no fucking around, with no one cheating or having wandering eyes or leaving just because it got a little hard. But this hardly exists anymore and it is so rare to find someone with the same mindset…

So I guess, “To get fucked or to get fucked over?” really is the question.

-The Ramblings of a Madwoman

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.

Evolution: Embrace It

“People don’t change,” whispers a scornful, bitter friend.

We’ve all been told vehemently that people don’t change, “If they sucked then, they’ll suck now,” and all that yada yada. Which in all fairness is true for some people – some people really do just suck (forever), but for the vast majority of the population: we are not doomed to suck forever.

To be the same forever goes against the grain; we aren’t meant to rinse and repeat our entire lives. This isn’t to denounce routine by any means, but it is to embrace growth. You shouldn’t be the same person you were at 17, or even the same person you were last year. Every day lessons should be learned, every day we should be striving to be better than yesterday.

When you move to New York, the first thing that people will tell you is to remember that there is always someone better.

This is meant as a warning that the dating scene is hard because in the back of your mind (and your date’s mind) is the lingering thought, “Hmmm… is there someone better? Is this investment worth it?” Not to mention the whole competitive job scene has an underlying tone that you are replaceable (which isn’t necessarily a lie.) But it’s true, in life there is always someone better, but there is always someone worse too. It’s a double-edged sword.

So let’s take that knowledge introspectively: there is always a worse version of myself and a better version, and it’s in the power of the present version of myself to decide how I pan out.

To break that down, lately before I do something mildly destructive I audibly tell myself, “Girl, don’t do that to future you. Don’t put her through that. Don’t give her chores for later.”

The tendency to coddle our present self is in and of itself: self-destructive.

Present you is already having a bad day, case closed. Done. Past you already wasn’t equipped to deal with it, so what are you going to do for future you? How are you going to try to set her up better, make her more equipped to handle a similar mess in the future? How are you going to e v o l v e from this?

If you don’t evolve, if you reject the universe telling you that your current state of being is not sustainable – you are doomed to rinse and repeat. If you don’t learn from the bad day, that bad behavior, or that explosive encounter with someone more woke than you – then these things will always happen to you like groundhog day. You will get stuck.

Change is an old friend that comes when you least expect it.

Sometimes we get to embrace the change with open arms, but other times… the change is too much and not our cup of tea. That being said, we all change way more than we give ourselves credit for. Just last week I was able to talk myself out of hitting snooze everyday simply by asking myself, “Will the ten extra minutes change your day? Is it worth it?” Each day it was a clear answer, the snooze was not hit and I got out of bed earlier than usual.

But this week, I’ve not seen the same rationale and argued that yes, ten more minutes will actually make or break my day. Yet instead of that extra ten minutes domino-effecting my morning, I cling to the beneficial mindset I made last week and make compromises. Meaning if I sleep longer then this is how my routine will get altered, etc. Really, I’m refusing to allow myself to ‘sleep in’ without holding myself accountable for the effect it will have on the rest of my morning.

So you see, the person I was last week, I’m not her today, not completely. The person I was last year? Don’t know her. This is to say, if you knew me in high school or even college, and our friendship didn’t withstand the test of time: you don’t know me, nor I, you.

“You’ve changed,” whispers a scorned, bitter friend.

“Funny how that happens, isn’t it?” I say with a smile.


Dropping this Affirmations playlist as a reminder to embrace your evolution, but also don’t be too hard on yourself today ❤


The Universe Screams Perception

Perception. Life is all about perception.

You know that weird thing that happens where the universe starts to send you the same message over and over again, but it takes the third, fourth, or millionth time for the message to actually come through? The message finally hits home hard enough, reverberating in your mind, and you finally say to yourself and the universe, “Okay, okay – I get it…

Lately the universe has been screaming out one word to me: Perception.

Where it started:

Late at night, as I’m trying to go to sleep, my brain loves to torture me with embarrassing things I’ve done throughout my life, dangle the tasteless words I’ve spouted at others, and really just hammer in that I’m a terrible, heartless person. After I hear a dizzying bout of my own words, I then take a deep dive into a vicious wave pool of the hurtful things friends and family have said to me (or about me) throughout my life, “Nobody really knows who you are,” “You don’t have much of a personality,” “You’re a two-faced bitch,” “You’re soulless,” all of which effectively drive the point home.

Yet, as I flail about the torrent of self-loathing, I take a minute to refocus – to reel it back in. None of that matters, what matters is where I am now. Not the big picture macro-now, I mean the micro-now. I focus on the task at hand: relaxing and getting some rest. I remind myself that the past is done, those people probably don’t remember these moments anyway. In this precise moment the past doesn’t matter, only the micro-now matters.

Where it went:

Nobody really knows who you are.” This is the late night phrase that has been sticking to me like static-y cellophane throughout even the daylight hours. I’ve just had a hard time shaking it lately. This was something casually said to me in high school by an incredibly close friend. They said it offhand, and I remember being completely jarred by it.

I always felt a tad out of place in high school, all of those kids had grown up together, I randomly showed up freshman year and most people assumed I was older because they didn’t know me. But a little over halfway into my high school career, I had become involved enough to genuinely feel like I was leaving some kind of footprint with my classmates, and like I was becoming a part of this general air of familiarity carried between these hundreds of kids.

Then my friend made that statement and it completely altered the perception I had of myself. My gut reaction to their statement was that they were wrong. But my audible response to them was, “Well, I still don’t really know most people anyway, so that’s fine.”

But it wasn’t fine. That one offhand, careless statement made by a friend… I gave those words so much power that they still have a hold over how I see myself in the eyes of others. Consistently throughout my life, well since sophomore or junior year of high school, I have always assumed people don’t know me. All because a trusted friend, an ally in life, told me so.

Where it’s going:

What has been most difficult lately is trying to understand why that memory decided to resurface so fiercely and persistently. Why has it been the ringing in my ears? Is the universe trying to communicate something to me?

Then today, the universe screamed its violent message at me, using my cousin as a catalyst. My cousin posted a video and somewhere in there she said, “Everyone in the world has a different perception, even if they’re seeing the exact same thing.” What’s comical is that this message from the universe landed like an edible – aka an hour later.

An hour after watching my cousin’s video, I sat up in a stark realization: I let the perception of another impact my own perception of myself. Which is incredibly unfortunate, I can’t help but wonder how many opportunities I’ve missed due to this lack of clarity in myself? So within the time I’ve been writing this article, I’ve been tumbling down rabbit hole after rabbit hole of realizations. Most importantly, I’ve come to understand that I stopped believing that friend’s statement long ago, their words have not been my truth for quite sometime now.

Since moving to New York and starting my career nearly four years ago, I’ve slowly been coming into my own power and understanding the impact that my voice can have. I have come to understand that I am incredibly capable of commanding a room, that I have an infallible confidence if I so call upon it, and that I have the power to decide whether I am noticed or whether I hide. I am in charge of the perception I project – whether it’s yours or mine.

. . .

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.