Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I’m constantly reminded that my twenties are coming to an end. It used to really freak me out, but lately I’m really finding myself not only coming to terms with THIRTY, but also looking at how I have changed and grown and how thirty has made me comfortable in my own skin. But, I’ve also become sort of…old ladyish. For example:

1.     I constantly want to tell teenage girls to put some clothes on. I mean, it’s not like I was ever a super provocative dresser and had my own mother tell me to cover up, but I was definitely not a buttoned-up person. But…I mean, is it just me, or are the clothing choices being made just ridiculous? I don’t know, but I every time I see a girl with a shirt that might as well be a bra or in shorts that resemble underwear, I just want to cover her up with a jacket. IT’S NOT CUTE.
2.     I drink coffee. A lot of coffee. I always thought coffee was kind of gross but in the past 6 months not only do I love it, I can’t function without it. Even in college, I wasn’t one of those students who couldn’t get up for class without a cup of coffee or who binge drank lattes while cramming for finals. I drank cans and cans of soda and hoped for the best. But now, coffee is my best friend. And Starbucks just keeps sucking my bank account dry.
3.     I don’t wear a lot of makeup. I used to be one of those girls that would rather be caught dead than go out without make up on. Now I’m all up in yoga pants, my hair all cray with NO MAKE UP. I just don’t care anymore. Even when I put some on, it’s basically face make-up (powder, NO LIQUID) and mascara. If I’m feeling wild, I’ll put on some eyeliner. Besides, I live in Rodeo – who the hell am I trying to impress here?
4.     I go to bed before 11. For any of you that know me, that’s unheard of. I used to be a night owl and now I’m in bed around 10 and I’m up by five. FIVE A.M., people. I told my sister the other day that I’d rather get up earlier and be able to leave work earlier than sleep in. I DON’T EVEN RECOGNIZE MYSELF ANYMORE.
5.     I’m content being where I am. WHAT? I mean, I spent pretty much all of my 20s wanting something different, wanting everything different. Everything I did was motivated by trying to be someone different, to be what I thought everyone wanted me to be. It was motivated by trying to do what I thought I was supposed to do or what I thought would make me more like everyone else. Everything I did was motivated by trying to make my life what I thought it should be instead of letting my life make ME who and what I should be. It only took 29 years, but I think I got it…sort of.
6.     If shizz takes effort, I’m probably not into it. No, I’m not talking about work or relationships. I mean, like, going out. A club? Yeah right. Taking hours to get ready and wearing high heels and doing my hair and wearing pants that are way too tight. I mean, no. Give me some yoga pants and a glass of wine. I’m super set, guys.
7.     I just don’t have time for things anymore. And, I don’t just mean for TV (which is true – I hardly watch TV anymore). I mean bullshit, really. I don’t have time for people who don’t make time for me. I don’t have time for people who are selfish or flakey or people who waste time trying to be 22 still. I have a handful of people in my life who support me, who make me laugh, who I enjoy spending time with, and those are the people I make time for and want to make time for. Everything else? Sorry, man.

So, this is pretty much 30-year-old me. That number used to terrify me and I used to be so anxious about where my life wasn’t at when this number was looming, but now I’m embracing everything this next phase in my life is bringing me. Thirty for sure is the new twenty.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

the fat diaries.

I think as a woman, it's normal to always think you're fat. Am I right? I can't think of one woman that I know or have known that has said, I love the way I look. I have the perfect body. And, I don't think I've ever thought that way, either. No matter how skinny -- or not so skinny -- I have been, I've always thought I was fat.

Here's my problem -- I love food. No, like I LOVE food. I love eating at fancy restaurants, not just because I feel super posh and important, but have you HAD any food made at a Thomas Keller restaurant? (If not, you're missing out.) I love baked goods and In n Out (double double with cheese, ketchup, pickles and chopped raw onion only please) and my sister's gluten free black bean chips and peaches and Taco Bell (YES. I love the taco beezy and crave it every once in awhile. It's disgusting, but SO good.) and french fries and my mom's stuffed mushrooms and my dad's spaghetti sauce and legit homemade pasta and my grandpa's torta and my sissy's cookies. Food is delicious and comforting and an experience. I love trying new restaurants and going to places with a cool atmosphere and a good wine list and a full bar with froo-froo cocktails (although, I pretty much only order a vodka with tonic water and a lime).

So yes. I love food which means I'm not the skinniest person you've met. Now, look, I KNOW I'm not fat, but when I put on a bikini, I definitely don't look super cute. Also, I'm the heaviest I've ever been, which doesn't make me very happy, either. Granted, the difference between my previous weight and now is only about 10 pounds, but when you're only 5'4", 10 pounds is a lot.

As I've gotten older, it's become harder to be comfortable with my body. I hate what I see when I'm in my skivvies, staring at myself in the mirror. Or, try spending 10 days in nothing but a bathing suit -- it was 10 full days of critiquing, chastising, guilt-eating, and comparing myself to every tan skinny person in Hawaii. My body is not my friend right now.

While, yes, I know I can workout more, get myself in a routine, and probably have a better body, the reasons for working out shouldn't be strictly to see a specific number on the scale. The routine should be about feeling healthy, even if I'm not 100% happy with the way I look, and about my mental health just as much as my physical health.

The struggle is not to be obsessed about weight and about the numbers I see and wear and buy. The struggle is to understand that I'm healthy, I eat relatively well, and I'm not overweight. The struggle is to like what I see and be comfortable in my own skin. The struggle is to drown out all the food noise and the body image noise and love who I am, not who I think I should be. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

a few of my favorite things. in pictures.

I was advised by my therapist a few months back to literally count my blessings. In an effort to change the way my brain thinks (i.e. to get my head to see my world in a glass-half-full kind of way instead of a glass-half-empty kind of way), she suggested that I begin to keep a Gratitude Journal and write down something I was thankful for once a night.

I don't know if keeping the journal is what has made this past month the best I've had in over a year, or if it's the other things going on in my life, or if it's a combination of all of it, but what I do know is that thinking about the things you're grateful for, whether something seemingly insignificant or something obviously important, really changes how you view your life.

In an effort to pass on this mindset and to promote gratitude, I've compiled a little top 11 list. WITH PICTURES. (Get excited.) It's hard to say if this is really THE top 11, because some of these are things many not seem as important in a year or so. Like coffee. But, right now, coffee is super important.

1. Cliche, but my mom and dad. They have seriously been amazing people my whole life, but especially during this past year and a half. They were cheerleaders of my writing while I was drowning in thesis, they were emotional supporters during the hardest time in my life, they let me stay in their home while I went back to school (and still let me stay here while I try to start a career). They are funny, fun to hang out with, generous, kind, and every other good word. I love them. (But I still want to move out, like yesterday.)

2. Coffee. Let's face it, I'm addicted to coffee. It gets me through the days where I feel exhausted. Hey, unemployed people can feel tired to. I mean, not as tired as working people, but still...

3. Isabella Sophia Moreno. I mean, look at her. Who wouldn't love her and want to eat her up? But, besides being irresistible, my life changed the moment she came into it. She's the one thing that kept me smiling last year and the only thing that made me feel like I could keep going. She makes me laugh. I love her in a way I never thought I could love another human. She's made me more patient, more understanding; she's made me a better person. We have a special relationship and I wouldn't change it for ANYTHING. I'm her La and she's my Bella.

4. My room. I LOVE my room. I spent a lot of last year doing a huge remodel because I was tired of living in a wannabe dorm room with furniture items that could hardly be considered furniture. Plus, it was a good way for me to work through the serious depression I was feeling. But, this is the first time I've loved my room. I picked everything out myself. I MADE my bookshelf. The only thing left to do is refinish the vintage dresser that's been sitting in my parents' garage that they've been begging me to attend to...

5. My closest friends. These girls/guys have been in my life through all my bad times and haven't run away yet. I've known some of them for 25 years, for 15 years, for 5 years, but these people have all been important to me and continue to be important to me. I'm grateful for the support they give, the laughs we share, the fact that I can talk to them about anything, the fact that they don't judge me. I've shared some pretty awesome experiences with them and I wouldn't trade these people for ANYTHING in this world. Mad love, right here.

6. Books. I love books. I love bookstores. I love buying books. I love the way books smell. I love books that have been worn and read over and over. I love brand new books that have never been touched. I LOVE BOOKS.

7. Joseph B. Meneghelli. If you guys know him and have met him, you know why. He's my favorite person on this earth, the person that holds our family together. He makes me laugh without even trying to. He's never said a bad thing about anyone, and even at 93, always helps everyone else out. He bakes cookies, makes jam, and goes bowling every week. He's pretty much the coolest.

8. My car, especially as of late. After going through my horrific car accident and losing poor Valerie (RIP), I've never been more grateful to own a car that's safe, reliable, and that I love. Plus, it plays my iPod, which is really the only thing that matters. Besides airbags, obviously.

9. My two closest friends aka my seeeeesssstttteeers. I'm so incredibly lucky to have my sisters in my life (even though one of them is in Washington) and that we have the relationship we have. They are special and cool and everyone should be jealous they aren't a Martinez sister. Except for Annie. She is pretty much one.

10. The gift of writing. Writing is the one thing in my world that I've ever felt good at and the one thing that has been a release for me. Writing allows me to express myself when I can't (which is a lot) and allows me to be anyone I want to be. Writing has brought me closer to people, has taught me more about myself than anything else in this world has, and has brought me out of some of the darkest moments of my life.

11. ...and Disneyland. OBVIOUSLY.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

let's talk about what we're not talking about.

I have a friend who recently went through a period of real struggle in her life. She shared with me that she had found herself not wanting to be around friends or to go out because she didn’t want to have to pretend like things were okay in her life and it got me thinking about why people feel like they have to put on a show for others. When I told her I completely understood how she was feeling, she said, I know. That’s why I confided in you.

How many times in my 29 years of life have there been where I wanted to shut everything out because I didn’t want to pretend either? How many times did I avoid people because I didn’t want to make small talk, to say I was “fine” or “good” or even “okay” when I was anything but? She knew I understood, so I began to wonder, why should we feel like we have to pretend?

No one wants to talk about depression and sometimes I wonder why. Is it because we’re embarrassed? Is it because we’re afraid of what other people will think of us? Are we afraid of the careful way people will begin to look at us? Are we afraid of the whispered words friends will share with each other?

When I think about why I don’t talk about it, understanding comes to mind. My silence is because I’m afraid people won’t understand. Depression is the dark secret in many people’s lives – including my own -- that others either mistake for sadness or mistake for a period of time that will pass. Depression seems to be that word that we use to describe days where we feel down or times in our lives where we’re going through difficult situations, and while those times are real, that isn’t the kind of depression I’m referring to.

The dark secret that many people, including myself, hide is the depression that seems to cover every aspect of a person’s life. It’s the thing that takes wonderful situations and sours them, the thing that makes every moment in life feel like a struggle, the thing that makes a person believe everything negative at every moment of the day. It’s the thing that makes it hard to get out of bed some days, the thing that makes the hardest worker into someone that doesn’t want to do anything, the thing that makes best friends and family into burdens.

We don’t talk about depression because many people don’t want to understand it. I’ve been called dramatic. I’ve been called selfish. I’ve been called lazy. I’ve been called a pushover. I’ve been called overly emotional. People want to see these actions and brush them off because for people who don’t suffer from depression, everything in life is a choice. For people who don’t suffer from depression, life is all about our mindset, about not letting things get to us and about choosing to feel a certain way, but for people with depression, our mind is the one thing that betrays us. What if it isn’t as easy as making a choice? What if when you wake up in the morning the only thing you can manage to do is stay put? What if your brain is wired to see things differently?

The truth is, I’m tired. I’m tired of keeping quiet. I’m tired of pretending. And I’m tired of feeling like my depression is a big scarlet A on my chest that makes me incapable of being a regular person. This secret has become my identity for so long, mostly because of the fact that it was a secret. I’m tired of depression running my life and I’m sure others out there are tired too.

Depression is real. It isn’t a feeling. It isn’t something that will pass. It can be debilitating. It can be dark and lonely. It can sometimes mean hoping your friends bail on you so you don’t have to go out. It can mean not getting out of bed until lunchtime. It can mean living in sweats. It can mean not wanting to talk to anyone. It can mean wishing you could be anyone else than who you are. It can mean imagining how death could be better than life. And, this is my life and it’s been my life for a long time. Sure I have days where things feel right and good and days where I can live and see all the things in my life to be thankful for. But, mostly my life has been about fighting through anxiety, feelings of loneliness, of self-hatred, and constant and oppressive sadness. I fight every day to see my life as it is in front of me, to enjoy friends and family and the luxuries of life, to see all the positives instead of the negatives, to love who I am and the life around me. But, when it comes down to it, my life has been a constant struggle. It’s a constant struggle to not let depression win. It’s been a struggle to be confident in the person I am and in the life I lead. It’s been a constant struggle to not let the world around me dictate who I am.

This is what we’re not talking about. This is the thing everyone wants to keep hidden and safe. Talking about it doesn’t mean I or any one else requires pity or wants any one else to feel sorry for us or treat us delicately. But, this is the thing that should be talked about because talking about it is the only way to get past it. Talking about it is what allows us to be free.

Friday, March 29, 2013

joy vs. happiness: the great debate

There are so many times in life where people, including myself, confuse happiness with joy. People always ask, are you happy? And I always felt poorly about my life because that answer would change with every day, every minute. There would be days where I could say, yes, I do feel happy and I was relieved that, finally, my life was coming together. But, the next day or the next week or month, something would happen – I would fight with my friends,my boyfriend would break up with me, I wouldn’t do well in a class, whatever it was would cause my entire world to feel like it was crumbling and than the cycle would continue. I would ask myself when life would get better, when I would finally be happy, when would things go my way.

I hate to admit that happiness in life is dependent upon circumstances, but that’s exactly what happiness is. When you look up happy in the dictionary, it’s described as an adjective. It describes something, it’s what something is. But, if you look up joy, it’s described as a noun. It exists. It’s there no matter what happens. It is.

Joy is the thing I realize I haven’t had in my life. Joy is actually the thing I’ve been looking for, not happiness. Every single moment of my life, how I felt was reliant upon my circumstances. The people in my life dictated my moods, how I felt, the direction my life was going, even who I was.

What I’ve realized is joy is something you decide to have. Joy is what you choose to bring into your life, it’s what you choose to feel. Happiness is what we don’t choose; happiness is what comes from the things life brings.

This past year has been that hardest of my life and it's been so easy to bury myself in the negativity, the doubt, the loss, the sadness. But, I woke up one day and wondered what that was accomplishing. I looked at my life and realized it wasn't going to go anywhere as long as I continued to hate myself and my life. 

Each day, I wake up choosing to be joyful, despite my circumstances. I wake up focusing on all the blessings I have in my life, being thankful for something new each day (I haven’t run out of things to be thankful for yet!), and most days, the things I don’t have and the things I’ve gone through don’t hurt as much. But, some days they do. But, I’m thankful I have another new day to wake up to and be grateful for.

Monday, January 7, 2013

happy new year. a week later.

Every new year, I make a list of resolutions, because it’s what you’re supposed to do. (Rather, it’s what we’re told we’re supposed to do.) My list is never anything too out of control and when I write them all out, there’s a sense of motivation; there’s a sense of pride that comes along with the decisions you make about changing and becoming a better person. But, even so, resolutions were soon forgotten about two months into the new year and the feelings of guilt and failure set in because I made too many promises to myself that were near impossible to achieve.

This was the first year I didn’t even begin to think about resolutions because I decided I didn’t want to set myself up for failure; I knew this year would be like every year – I’d set high expectations that were impossible to achieve, feel like a failure for not following through, and subsequently spend the rest of the year feeling poorly about myself.

But, I attribute the non-resolution making to the fact that 2012 was full of enough failure to last me a lifetime. I had a future that was everything I wanted and it was suddenly, and without warning ,completely wiped out. I lost my best friend (and not only lost him, but he is someone I do not recognize), I lost faith, I lost trust in everyone (including myself), and really, I lost myself.

A lot of 2012 was spent being angry and sad and feeling defeated and instead of making resolutions, I decided to take every day of 2013 as it comes. Every day is a chance for me to be the person I want, a chance to work toward the goals I’ve set for myself, a chance to feel joyful for all the positivity I have in my life. I decided to spend 2013 being grateful for what I do have instead of what I don’t, to focus on being thankful for the beauty in the world instead of the ugly. I decided to appreciate the people in my life who haven’t let me down and who have been there for me instead of focusing on the people that have hurt me, lied to me, and betrayed me.

So, this is the start of being grateful, of looking ahead to the future and of not worrying about what that future holds, but only being excited and grateful to have a new day. I have thousands of things to be thankful for and instead of being angry about my life, today, I choose to be happy.