Taking Up Space Helped Me Rediscover My Happiness.

I've spent a long part of my relationship making sacrifices that nobody asked me to because I thought doing so was an act of love. That's not entirely true. I've spent a long part of my life making sacrifices that either I thought other people wanted me to make or I was explicitly asked to make. I stopped listening to the music I loved because my partner didn't love it. I stopped writing because somebody asked me to. I canceled plans with friends because I thought going would upset somebody. I made myself smaller and kept my thoughts to myself, only to become weighed down by disappointment I couldn't verbalize while everyone around me verbalized their disappointment with me. A lot of the time, I cannot discern reality from my imagination. I think these thoughts and can't understand if they're real or just part of a one-sided narrative I tell myself. Maybe it's a little of both. The point is, happiness, for me, is a fleeting taste of something I truly only experience when I am distracted enough to forget what everybody else wants from me.

I saw a quote on Instagram last week. Text on an image. One of a million I'm sure I have read and one with a message so obvious it bordered on trite:

"If you don't make time to work on creating the life you want, you're eventually going to be forced to spend a lot of time dealing with a life you do not want."
--Kevin Ngo

Let me tell you, I read that last Monday and I was right there. This stupid-simple quote hit me on the fucking head like a "HELLO?" from above and goddamn, I needed it. I read it over the phone to two of my best friends because I thought they needed it, too. I realized that my life had turned into a monotonous rotation of sleeping in too late to get anything done, going to work, doing chores and dicking around on my cellphone. Around the same time as this realization, Volt, my 2017 agenda and journal, offered  the following quote and question to reflect on:

"THE MOST BASIC FORM OF HUMAN STUPIDITY IS FORGETTING WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH."   --Friedrich Nietzsche
Look back on your yearly goals. Have you made the progress you expected? What can you do this week to push yourself in a positive direction?

I realized that I have not been spending any significant amount of time pursuing creative activities. Sure, every now and then I squeeze out a blog post,  but what else have I done this year? I've spent so long conforming to what I thought everyone else thought I should BE, and all it's done is make me miserable because DUH. Daydreaming about your dreams doesn't make them come true. Thinking about them isn't even fucking gratifying because all it is is a DREAM. IT'S NOT REALITY. I've spent my whole life feeling like I'm on the outside looking in, but that is only because I have put myself there. I look at bloggers and Instagrammers with their perfect apartments and indulgent, self-loving lifestyles. The only difference between me and them is that they take up space and take photos of their coffee and books and white spaces, and I just wish I could.  It's ridiculous! I have an electric tea kettle and Yogi tea with inspiring words on the tea tag. I have pretty books and candles and white space. SEE?

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I took that photo as I was settling in to meditate with my Headspace app (10/10 would recommend) one morning before work. SO SELF-INDULGENT. Then I signed up for a month of unlimited yoga because I wanted to even though I couldn't really afford it. I've written two blog posts in a span of eight days. I've been playing and downloading all the music I used to love listening to when I felt most myself. I rearranged my apartment to resemble something I find peaceful and beautiful to look at. I've communicated clearly to the love of my life how I feel and what I want, and you know what? The world hasn't burned to the ground. I feel more whole and more fulfilled and more like myself again. Now the next thing to work on is making some friends...

Creative Meal Prepping like a Motherclucker.

Managing to be creative with your meal prep while not spending two hours in front of a stove every night can seem difficult, if not impossible. This is especially true if your partner is the expert cook and you're the I-GOT-THIS-ITALIAN-SHIT-DOWN-PAT person (he tells me, to my great disbelief, that one can only eat so much pasta — HAAAAAAAAAA, as if). There are a million meal-prep services that can make prepping with some creativity easier, but I'm not buying into the whole it's-cheaper-than-groceries thing... 

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Shoutout to the Outsider

I am a firm believer in the outside source. The uninvolved friend with objective opinions and zero motives besides what’s best for you. This is the friend who is not going to give you the answer you want to hear. This is why you call them. When your phone call is over, you’re going to know what to do. Their arguments will either solidify your decision to do the opposite of what they say (sometimes you just need somebody to make you really entertain the alternative before you know you don’t want it) or make you come around to the decision you don’t want to make, but know you should. Either way, this friend is crucial to making you feel comfortable with your final decision. To all my outside sources far and wide, thank you. For taking the time to listen to me flail about my opinions and thoughts that only see the limits. If you ever need your own, you know where to look (hint: it’s here, at fabfckingfemale@gmail.com).

 

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RANTING ON THE INTERNET.

Oh my mother fucking god, I am sooooooooo sick of being an adult. This shit is so hard. It is so impossible. I am SO SICK OF IT. I feel like ripping my hair out. Nothing goes as planned! There is no fucking beauty in that either, please don't give me that shit. There is nothing beautiful about counting on an income you can't fucking count on. I have been all, "Oh, I'm not into the whole 'real job' thing. I want to be free and flexible and independent and just make the same working part time as I would full time. I'm smarter than the system. #ValueMyFreedom #ImAGoddamnCreative #1099IncomeForDayz," but after finding out that there has been a significant cut to my anticipated income due to very reasonable things, I am fried.

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How Does Apartment Hunt?

 
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Oh, the apartment hunt. If you're lucky enough to finally (and hopefully, permanently) be moving out of your childhood bedroom, you don't feel like it. EVERYTHING costs more than you anticipated. The cost of living is through the goddamn roof. There are fees for EVERYTHING. You can't afford to live without a roommate. You have to make absolutely certain that this roommate relationship will work. There are a million and a half things to  compromise on and a million and a half more that you know you're forgetting. From my own recent experience, here's an exhaustive (and exhausting) list of things to keep in mind.

  1. The Roommate Sitch/Some important questions to discuss openly: What is your financial status? If something bad happens, how many months can you afford rent without an income? When do you go to bed? When do you wake up? Are you a light sleeper? What is your biggest pet peeve? What do you think is your worst habit? Are there any chores, like vacuuming or taking out the trash, that you absolutely hate doing? Is there anything that is a hard "no" for you (guns, pets, guests, one-night-stands, drugs, horcruxes, crucifixes, garlic)? 
  2. Neighbors: If little noises drive you nuts, or you are a light sleeper, you should probably live on the highest floor. Neighbors above can almost always be heard walking, vacuuming, and fucking. How often does management receive noise complaints?
  3. Crime: Find out what the crime rate looks like for that area.
  4. Bad Days: What's the place look like at night? Is there some shady shit goin' down? Is that shit poorly lit, and therefore LITERALLY shady? Do the grounds or parking lot flood when it rains?
  5. Management: What are the reviews of management online? Are they hit-or-miss? Is the property under new management?
  6. Priorities: Know what they are! Are you hell-bent on having a washer/dryer in the apartment? How much storage space do you need? Do you want a lot of natural light? Extra counter space in the bathroom? Ceiling fans? A bidet? A walk-in pantry? A patio?
  7. Internet: What is your phone signal like there? What is it like in one of the models? Ask if they have a particular internet provider that they work with. DO YOU HATE THAT PROVIDER?
  8. Amenities: Do you give a shit about amenities? Would a gym on-site be a game-changer for you? Is the laundry facility on the other side of kingdom-come? Would a walking trail be great? A dog park?
  9. Location: How far away is the grocery store? Do you want to be near a Whole Foods or Fresh Market? A bar scene? Schools? Public transit?

I've been apartment hunting for months, and I never imagined how tricky it would be finding the ~perfect place~. Hopefully, this information has made your process a helluva lot easier!