2015: Year of the Chill Pill

In the spirit and time of the new year, new beginnings, and an increase in sales of self-help books, I thought I might talk about something here (No way! You’re going to talk about something?! On a blog? Ohhmahhgersh).

When things are just a part of who you are, you don’t give much thought to them. So when people used to say things to me, like “you’re so chill!” and “why aren’t you stressed out about this?” I make one of those “uh wut” faces and kinda look at them like “uh sorry wat you let things get to you?”. Maybe it’s because I’m blowing in the wind just trying to by or listen to a little too much reggae, but I try to fill my life with little bursts of happiness and to take away from the negativity, and maybe, you or someone you know who is suffering from stress, maybe these tips can help you beautify your 2015 and your soul! (Guys you can totally believe me, since blogging about stress requires all of the 0 credentials I have!)

  • Well the primary reason why I’m so chillaxed would be that it’s in my nature and I can’t really help that. 
  • The next would be that I try to surround my self with things and people that make me happy. Don’t think about trendy clothes, stupid diets dictating your dinner plate or funky iPhone apps. Those things come and go so much it’s hard for anyone to keep track. Just do what you want to do, eat and wear what you want to. It’s your life. Let go of grudges and past mistakes, holding onto them won’t make you a better person.  Less negativity around your life, less negativity in it.

    Someone needs to tell Josh that if he wants sweet tea, he can add a sugar cube himself to fix this whole problem and move on.

  • Focus on being mindful. So maybe yoga isn’t for everyone (Whaat?!), but do something else, like mediate, lie on your bed and wander your mind staring at the ceiling, light a candle and wonder where the wax goes. I used to always rag on my father for “meditating” when I was little, accusing him of napping instead, but now that I take time to focus on my body’s beingness, it brings to attention that your mind and body are different entities that work together and for each other. It’s kinda groovy when you’re doing cat-cowl poses and you can really feel the spaces between your vertebrae.
  • Be confident in yourself and your abilities! The weeks leading up to finals week were full of papers, exams, late nights, full days in the library, and some thoughts of “how will I ever get any of this done”. That’s when I would close my eyes for a moment, ask a nice stranger to watch my laptop and get a Chai while walking around I would tell myself, “You’re Claire. You can do anything. You’ve written a seven page paper before, you can do it now. You’re going to survive because you’re one spectacular human being who will end up being a fantastic teacher. Ooh plus there’s a really cute guy in line who keeps looking at your awesome beanie.”cutesmile
  • I’d then proceed to turn up Led Zeppelin and prance back up to my station in the library, moving along to “Kashmir”. While the other kids give me looks like “sorry is that little white trying to dance and drink her coffee in the middle of this elevator?”, I’d get into my happy place/mindfulness/completely ignore other people state of mind and go back to crank out some kinda paper, as I kept telling myself confident things.

    Dancin’ and singing’, and movin’ to the grooving’ Writin’ this paper, cause I am pretty awesome

  • There was one day all of the stress was really getting to me. School, life, work, etc I couldn’t really handle it. I hopped in my car and blasted some Dirty Heads and I screamed along with them, getting my emotions out, and just enjoying some reggae (May I add that reggae is really good music to soothe your soul in stress, like when Bob Marley said “Don’t worry about thing, ’cause everything is going to be alright“).
  • Understand your humaness–> you have your abilities and your limits, and can only do but so much. By the end of finals week, the day of two exams- the ones I was more apprehensive about, I was very zen. I had studied for a while, at that point knew sleepless nights and cram studying wasn’t going to help anything, and was about ready to accept anything (aka be done with finals week). I didn’t rush to get the exams over with, took almost all the time allotted, and didn’t get any hand cramps, either. And I ended up doing well, because I knew I could. 
  • It’s also important to understand that being stressed doesn’t do a bit of good for you or anyone else. It’s not eating chocolate, which you can justify it with antioxidants and feeling good capabilities, stressing yourself out only gives you headaches, a high blood pressure, and sometimes you can even get sick, so in 2015, for at least the sake of our health, can we give up being stressed?
  • Channel your Cesar the Dog Whisper and “live in the now”. Past is over, the future hasn’t happened yet (so no use in stressing over it), so take it as it comes. You’re not gonna get anywhere in life if you’re busy worrying about the past or future. It’s all about what’s going on now. It’s like your living life Realpolitik style, basing off the current situation. (It seemed to work out for Nixon/Kissinger and Otto von Bismark, and they were some pretty influential people. Also I don’t suggest using political ideologies in every day life most the time). 
  • The final point I want to make is the one I want to stress the most: Be a positive person. It’s going to make your outlook on life well, like a ~2 blessed 2 b stressed~ person, except one who lives like that and not the one who posts those things on the instagram. You could say, “Well, my dad died so that sucks out all the fun, I have to commute to college and not live with my friends, plus my cat thinks he owns me so I’m going to sit in the corner and cry a lot” or you could say, “My cat might have a Napoleon complex but he’s a pretty smart and agile thing for 13; maybe I don’t get the full college experience living with the fam, but I’m going to be one of the lucky few who end up with a degree; and I have the greatest guardian angel who watches over me.” Look at things on the bright side. Things could be worse, you could have the ebola.

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“I Deserve This!”

It’s been a couple weeks since my last post, and this time I have a legitimate reason: for the past two or three weeks I’ve migrated to the Cabell Library at VCU, spending hours upon hours making flashcards, doing those readings I said didn’t matter during the semester, researching and writing papers. Running around with these high levels of stress and too heavy backpacks with books I forgot I owned yet suddenly needed, I couldn’t help but notice me being in line at Starbucks getting fancy lattes I almost never drink, and scavenging my backpack for any forgotten about Halloween candy I had stored away earlier. As I’d sit and sip in the library and watch people walk by (secretly hoping one of my friends could be turning the corner and save me from these sociology terms), the other fellow sleepless students brought Chipotle and triple shot espressos, whispering to each other, “it’s exam week, we deserve this”.

Of course I agreed with these basic white girls and boys. Stress levels tend to run crazy high during this time of the semester, and since food and coffee are known panaceas, it’s quite the social norm to splurge for a burrito bowl or two…or seven… However, there’s something I would like to change. Let’s forever keep this “treat yo self” attitude that recently evolved on social media and put it in our everyday lives.

Let’s think about it. How many times did Wheelchair Jimmy tell us that we live? Once. Exactly. You only live once. That’s the motto. YOLO. That song is really dumb and like five years old, I know, but it does drive home the point. You only live once. Do you want to live it sad, off in the corner, with no laughter, cake, flowers, or VCU basketball, sulking, eating celery and go to ODU? Or would you want to be a happy person, who looks for the positive, eating the good food in life, and enjoys themselves? We should be looking at everyday as a reason to celebrate, “Hey, I’m alive and breathing, in mild to amazing health, I can get out of my bed and go to my job and/or schooling, which I am really lucky to have. I deserve a good cup of coffee, a pretty amazing lunch, and a great way to end the night. Because I’m alive and kicking, and I’m one pretty decent human being, at least by my standards, and those are the only ones that actually matter”.

Now as a poor college kid, money is slightly an obsession (you never have enough of it, the school is always asking too much of it, and your major needs to make enough of it), so I can’t and don’t suggest eating out all the time for every meal, but there are some ways to work with that. Restaurant it out as much/little your wallet allows, (I would suggest enough so that you can sample Richmond’s food scene, but it’s up to you). But cooking though. Cook your favorite foods. Try new recipes. Don’t say that you can’t cook. Cooking is an important skill to adult-ing and comes with practice. Plus, it’s going to be a lot cheaper than eating out, while still allowing you a great food experience. Check out places like Food Gawker and Pinterest for lifetime’s worth of new recipes to discover. Yeah, that $23 dinner plate at Can Can is going to blow your pants off, but how much cheaper could you make something similar at home?

Channel your inner Beyonce and you can do anything!

Also, the mini dietitian in my head is asking for a paragraph to advocate health. Treating yourself with food can be healthy, it’s not always chocolate and sugars. You like spinach, feta, almonds, and grapes? Hello, perfect salad right there! You’re a chicken kinda person? Bake it with some carrots, onions, and celery in a white wine sauce. It’s bellisima. Few things are as perfect as biting into an apple you picked yourself, but homemade honey-almond granola is a top contender. Treating yo self shouldn’t have to involve diabetes.

Plot twist: Treating yourself isn’t always about great food. Bear with me here for a second, let me explain: there are other great life experiences other than a Tres Leches Kuba Kuba cake. They’re often known as friends. Friends are important. Don’t forget about them. In school, it’s really easy to disappear and hide in the library, work, or your bedroom because life takes over, and really we can’t let that happen. You forget that your friends exist, and that there’s a life outside of your Primary Sources paper. This happened to me and my friends for about two months this semester and it was a really crappy time. We’re still recovering from this. School seems so important, and it is, but don’t forget to have fun. Go to concerts, meet up and play Cards Against Humanity, hey cook for each other, and don’t forget to bring a cake!

CAKE

But seriously, you should live like even Monday is a holiday. Get a job that you actually like. Live with people you have fun with. Study a subject that you enjoy outside of school. Enjoy your friends. Do more of what makes you happy. Because seriously, it’s not going to do anyone any good if you’re not enjoying your life. So if you don’t mind, I have some Phillippa Gregory novels and a pint of Blanchard’s coffee gelato from Celesti (a perfect marriage from two local businesses) in the fridge and I’m going to have a perfectly amazing Sunday night with my cat.eaticecream

The Beauties of Being Single

I was perusing (does anyone else have a slight obsession with this word?) through Facebook the other day when I saw a video of two girls with their guitars and original song, and the caption read, “These girls nailed it- the struggles of being single!”  and my face totally scrunched up- why does being single have to be looked down on?

It took me about a year to fully accept being single again after my high school boyfriend and I split, and that’s when I started noticing something strange. The more okay I was not having a boyfriend, the more it bothered people- “when are you getting a boyfriend?!” “we need to get you a boy!” “you need to date again!!”. Do you think I wake in the morning and cry because no boy texts me “good morning” or calls me pretty? Well honey I don’t need any of that (plus I already know how pretty I am) (I hope you know that was sarcasm). I’m single, and I’m perfectly happy about that- yeah maybe Sean and I have plotted ways to disturb the happy overly in love couples walking across the compass holding hands- but whatever. There’s a lot of good things about being single

  1. You can eat the whole pizza. And get all of your favorite toppings on it-no need to compromise your favorites or going halfzies. No “ew gross I don’t like pineapple on my pizza” because YAS PUT EXTRA PINEAPPLE ON ALL THE PIZZA and garlic and onions while you’re at it, I’m not kissing anyone tonight! (But maybe we shouldn’t yell that to the pizza guy over the phone) 
  2. You don’t have to worry about another person—-listen to me here. There’s the family and friends you still gotta think about, but I’m talking about relationships here- all that time you spend with them, talking, texting, being with them- it does take a lot out of you, whether you want to admit it or not. Being single means you can set that significant other part of your brain free, and get some rest. breakupreality
  3. And on that note, you really get to know yourself when you’re single. True story here: after my breakup, I had a lot of time on my hands, no clue what to do with it, so I went back to an old hobby of mine- sewing- and picked up a new one- jewelry making. Maybe I didn’t have good motives (trying to be a “cool artsy girl” so the ex would want to come back) but those soon disappeared when I fell deep into the stitching and threading in finding the creative outlets that I needed. Point here is that when we were together, I was focusing all of my time and energy into us that I forgot about the importance of doing something for me- and something that I had wanted to get back into for a long time.relationshipwithyou
  4. When you’re with someone, that’s it. If you’re anything like me, you have a one-track mind, so the switch for even looking at other guys turns off. But when you’re single, you can flirt with all the boys and no one’s gonna get cranky! So again, flirt with the bagger at the grocery store, in the line at Sugar Shack, and that really cute repeat customer. Who’s going to tell your significant other- oh that’s right, you don’t have one! So play it!
  5. Following that, being single is a time to experiment and go on dates with different people and see what kinda person you click with. Or go on really weird dates and have a good story to tell later (but that’s for another day). 
  6. There’s no relationship drama! Seriously, this might be the best part. Every relationship goes through that period of heresy, he said/she said, you get the picture, god awful drama and feelings get hurt, and we like feelings being okay. 
  7. We’re all young people here (even you, Sean). Are five year relationships necessary? If you’re in one, that’s great, that’s beautiful, props to you, but for the rest of us, don’t rush anything. Please, it’s okay to be single- we Millennials are still trying to figure everything out- one day we’re all about Sweet Frog and the next it’s Sugar Shack- so how are we expected to know who we are, or better yet, what we want in a relationship, if we can’t even figure out what kinda dessert we’re so into? We’re still growing up and constantly changing, so our wants and needs are changing as well- how are we to know what kinda partner we want?

    future

    This kid has his life together- I could be his girlfriend!

  8.  Being single helps you learn how to be “a strong, independent black woman who don’t need no man”. ‘Nuff said. concietedjackie
  9. More to be said: You learn how to take care of you, which is great for a thousand and seven reasons, but the most important one here is best said by the Dirty Heads,  “If you can’t love yourself how can you love the next?”. Take care of you, because you’re grown-up, and a significant other is there to be with and for you, not be your babysitter. 
  10. Maybe there’s a reason why you’re single- and not one of those creepy reasons like that you have twenty pet squirrels at home- something more along the normal lines that you’ve tried some dates and flirtations out but you haven’t found what you’re looking for. Props to you, don’t settle for anything less than what you deserve. 
  11. Being single means you can be overly obvious about your crush on the men’s soccer team without offending the other one who has your heart (food).
  12. The single life gives you time to scope out the market and look for someone rich. hopetomarryrich
  13. You learn how to be happy without having to hear someone tell you that you’re pretty everyday (among other cute things). This is a hard one to adjust from, but it really does do a lot for your confidence level when you have the epiphany that things like running and sewing can make you happy and smiling- not just holding hands.

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Ciao, Primavera!

Psst, you guys.

I know it’s dark and damp outside.

But the sun isn’t setting until at least 7:00 now.

And it wakes you up in the morning too.

You guys.

Spring is officially here!

spring+fever+1

Don’t mind the fact that the dogwood trees are covered in morning frost, or that schools were still delaying due to inclement weather at the end of March.  Put your thick winter jacket just one more time on over your cute spring dress and tights, soon enough it’s going to the back of your closet to hide and collect dust like it belongs. Flowers are blooming and trees are turning green again. It’s about that time of year where we trade in morning frost for morning dew, thick knits for loose linens, hot lattes for iced teas.  Continue reading