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’ve grown as a Person”

As I’m sitting outside (in this be-ay-you-tiful RVA summer weather), I remind myself that my sophomore year of college is about to start and I can’t help but to think about where I was mentally a year ago, about to start my freshman year. This kind of reminiscing and ruminating typically calls for the phrase: “I’ve grown as a person”

Man I hate it when people say that. “I’ve grown so much as a person since I’ve met you/did that thing/got a new job/went to college”. Growing as a person doesn’t mean in height, which would make sense, if you took the phrase literally. It means mentally, emotionally, psychologically, you know, all those things that only you can measure. I could tell you that I “grew as a person” when I started working at the pharmacy but what I really mean is that I improved my social skills with customers and learned the names of drugs and how unhappy people can be when they don’t have any refills on their prescriptions. Weird little things I know you really care about.  Continue reading

(#) Summer Blogger Challenge 6

There’s only one other thing that could quite possibly top last week’s summer blogger challenge prompt. Well, two, if you count my dream husband, who arrives majestically on his surfboard, long blonde hair flowing in wind, a cup of coffee in one hand and chocolate cake in the other, with a PharmD degree to his name (I’m sorry I’ve seen a lot of cute guys in the past couple of days). So, what could this prompt really be?

Summer Reads!

*Insert witty intro about how I’m reading ingredients on the back of Oreo boxes, the prescriptions you hand me, and those pointless emails VCU sends every day* Here’s what I’ve sincerely been reading this summer!

  1. Do you like short stories? Check. Do you like magical realism? Check. Do you like women? Check. Aimee Bender’s Girl with the Flammable Skirt has all of the above! I first saw this book on a Buzzfeed article earlier this summer, and being a lover of short stories, I grabbed the book from the library and finished it in two days. The unexpectedness of the magical realism kept my interest the whole time, and all the stories connect with an overarching theme of women (one of my favorites is about a woman whose husband is the Benjamin Button of evolution). 
  2.  “The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle see you the blue center light pop and everybody goes, ‘Aww!'”. Are you still rereading that quote, ten minutes later? Are you still sucked up by Jack Kerouac’s godly writing skills? That’s just enough reason to read On the Road. I’ve been interested in this book since I saw Kristen Stewart on the Daily Show a couple of years ago talking about the film version, and now I am falling in love with Beat Generation writer/vanguard Kerouac (hope my grocery store boyfriend won’t mind!)
  3. I wake up every Thursday-Sunday morning, ecstatic. Why is a college student happy to wake up in the morning, and only on those days? One Thurs-Sunday, we have the Richmond Times-Dispatch to go with coffee! The newspaper, a physical newspaper, is just one of those true and good things about life that I don’t think I can ever let go of. Even when I was young, I would read the comics as my parents read the “boring” parts over our breakfasts together. A couple years back I told my mom that I would exercise my right to be an informed citizen and start reading the paper again, and she reminded me that that wasn’t a part of the Bill of Rights.  I just said “whatever” and grabbed the Metro section. Moral of my story? Read the paper. Smell the ink print. Get the Sunday issues, they’re the best. Buy the Washington Post if you’re fancy (which you so are). 

I will just come out and say it: STYLE WEEKLY IS PERFECT. Did you see last week’s issue about the Bob McDonnell trial, told as an activity book, including a maze to get Johnnie Williams to the Governor’s Mansion, Bob and Maureen McDonnell paper dolls, and a search to find the Antabloc? Maybe you checked them out in May when they released the “Best of Richmond”, my dear favorite printed issue of the year? And you’re checking them out for the “40 Under 40” later this month? Don’t even think about answering “no” to any of those questions, Style Weekly is 100% free and found in those little red huts on street corners, at coffeeshops, grocery stores, any where that good vibes can be found. I’ve read a few other books, magazines, and whatnot, but these have been my favorites for this summer. Man, as much as I want school to start back to see everyone/thing/History Now!/hot boys/etc, I’m not looking forward to being so busy that I won’t have time to read anymore. Well maybe with the new Urban Farmhouse opening in the spring, I can grab a cup of their coffee and a Style Weekly for some morning downtime before classes.

My Old Age

“You know what they say about Richmonders,” My mom told me one day when I was in middle school, “they don’t like change.” Well, my mom’s the only person I’ve heard say this so I’m not really sure who “they” are, but it’s definitely a true statement. Richmond (especially me) couldn’t handle losing the Richmond Braves back in 2008, and is struggling hardcore to build a new one now to keep the Flying Squirrels (Apparently we have a thing for old stadiums here. When Parker Field, the predecessor to the Diamond, was being demolished, the field itself was preserved and transferred over to the Diamond for the opening season).

Old Parker Field!

I walked into the newly renovated Bon Air Library just a couple of days ago, obviously not prepared for the right thing because I thought it would look like the exact same, but I was greeted to a new, more open layout. I felt like an old, confused lady, searching where the biographies used to be, where children’s books in Spanish are now, when all I really wanted was a copy of Harry Potter. Twenty minutes later when I went to check out, I cried to librarian about being lost like a five year old who wanders off at Target.

But the weirdest change I’ve had to adapt to hit me when I was driving around a few days ago, Continue reading

Final Freshman

I’m going to be completely honest here: I’m more upset to see my freshman year of college go then I was to see my freshman year of high school go. Nothing wrong with Saint Gertrude, it was just a tough year for me, transitioning and emotional hardships. But college though. College. Such learning.  So tuition. Much busy. Wow. The SGHS to VCU transition wasn’t so bad, but I wish I had known a few things before:

  1. Saint Gertrude has prepared you for college (Actually, Saint Gertrude prepared you to rule the world, but the world isn’t quite ready for you yet so you should really stick to college for now). Classes aren’t hard, just compressed, just remember to show up and pay attention. True, colleges don’t have the calendar that Saint Gertrude teachers use to schedule tests around so I have, on multiple occasions, ended up with exams, quizzes, and projects due on the same day, but you have the tools to do them all well
  2. You can’t forget to take care of yourself. I ended up at the student health clinic more times in the past month than I have at my primary care doctor in five years all because I wasn’t taking care of myself. You have to eat real meals (not just apples and granola), and actually sleep. Trust me, good grades are all I care about too, but they can’t be my whole life. If stress didn’t get to you in high school, it will now, and it may appear now in the form of a high pulse and heartburn. 
  3. Your professors are actually real people. Before college, I thought all professors had long beard like Dumbledore and had offices that looked like libraries and didn’t know any of their students. It took me a while to get used to my math professor last semester, a 20-something with an almost bowl cut and jeans because he looked like he could be one of us. And do you know who one of my favorite professors is? A bisexual woman who has her PhD in philosophy and has a soft spot for Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. True, I’ve never said three words to my lecture hall professors, but I can’t befriend them all (I did manage to get called out for talking in my huge lecture class- but that’s another story). Once I made the effort and finally got to know my professors, I felt like I could make a connection with them like at Saint Gertrude.

    Turns out not all college professors have phoenixes in their offices, either

  4. At times, it feels like everyone is in a relationship. Sometimes I do sit around and cry with my friends over pancakes about everyone else’s relationship and why are we all single (hey cute boys we’re nice girls who like to bake), but I don’t let that last long. But that’s when I sit and think about all of my friends, and most of them are single. And I realize that I’m not alone. And that’s it’s okay to be single, especially when college is overwhelming and you’re pretty much in a relationship with your job because someone will come when the time is right. (Also, it has been concluded that art students and engineers are dumb. Now accepting other majors/VCU baseball players) 
  5. Even in a school of 33,000 people, I don’t feel lost. Just crossing the street going to class the other day I ran into friends from class, the cute writing center tutor, and Luke (I tried to yell at you but you were too far away). 32,999 other students isn’t 32,999 people to get lost in, it’s 32,999 new friends to make!  (But beware of those other girls also in love with your far-away love. He’s yours to never talk to and stare at as he walks by) 
  6. You’re not the only commuter student. Commuters are like attractive guys, they’re everywhere. Don’t rush it, you’ll run into them.I think I know like twenty gajillion.  You’ll band together and become friends because you’re sick of everyone saying “I’m sorry” when they hear you live thirty minutes away with your parents and have to explain that it’s actually okay. 
  7. You’ll discover that you and your classmates have a lot more in common than just going to the same school. You have no idea how excited I was to find people who also understand the importance of singing and dancing to twenty one pilots in the parking deck, geeking out over Russian history, and love you for your other weird quirks. I love my Gertie girls, they’ll forever be special to me, but there’s something about VCU kids that I adore. 

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