Is That it?

Overnight, the stretch marks appeared with the presence of breasts, hips, and a deeply rooted sense of fear. I, like many women do, became the object of sexual fantasy and gratification from one day to the next. Overnight, my body was no longer my own. Everyone had a comment. Days of running and playing carefree were gone.

The first time I felt afraid and powerless was when I was fifteen. When boys- boy my age- felt it was okay to grab me or pin me down. In the dressing room. By my mother’s car. On a school field trip. Young boys. The ones who were taught that a woman’s body was theirs to explore and command. He touched me and said “juicy.” A state of shock and stillness overcame me, then I laughed. He pinned me down in a room full of friends, put my arms over my head and got on top. Both fully clothed. Both kids. I tried to move and couldn’t budge. My muscles weak. He leapt across the room when he heard the door handle turn. My mom was a chaperone. They all laughed. I laughed. Two of them grabbed my arms. Unable to move. My wrist hurt. My mom walked back from pumping gas. They stopped. They laughed. 

Is that it?

Since being ushered into womanhood, the fear hasn’t stopped. But it wasn’t a big deal. None of it was. School trip hotel rooms turned into parties. Parties turned into dance clubs and bars. Bars into sidewalks. Bruises come and go as a result of being handled like a toddler’s favorite toy. Dancing is not an invitation to be grabbed and groped. When Whitney Houston came on, it wasn’t an invitation to have you leave a black and blue imprint on my body for days to come. When the music ends, the dance is done. It’s over when I stop the music.

But did he actually hurt you though?

A deep sense of shame and self-loathing comes with being looked at for one thing. I desperately wanted a smaller chest and to change the way I move my hips as I walk because a Latina’s hips are like a welcome mat, calling to so many of you. Instead I gained weight and kept it on. My attire, though always quirky, became overcome with graphic tees. They’re looking at what’s on my shirt, not what’s under it. While it kept some boys away, it brought on a new set of problems- you’d be prettier if you lost some weight. Why don’t you have a boyfriend? My worth, still determined by my proximity to man.

Didn’t you like him?

Blame. It’s a funny thing, isn’t it? It’s funny because not once did I blame these boys (or the countless others) because they’re good guys. Some of them really are. Some of them I don’t know but maybe they are and they just made a mistake.

If only I hadn’t dressed like that.

If only I hadn’t joked like that.

If only I hadn’t challenged him like that.

If only I didn’t have that last drink.

If only I could remember.

If only I left 10 minutes earlier.
Not all guys are like that.

Social media is a beast because it makes it harder to separate them. A casual chat turned to unwanted advances turned to being called “aggressive” and “condescending” when all I wanted was to turn down sexual advances. His entitlement and misunderstanding of how to speak to a woman respectfully left him feeling cheated. I owed him something. Freshman year of college, a guy bought me coffee and a bagel. I owed him something. Fast forward five years, a guy bought me a drink. I owed him something.

Since then, this old friend has gone on to apologize profusely. I thanked him. He’s one of the good ones. To the guys that meet such acts as this (or the Weinstein scandal or Woody Allen or a seeing a friend being grabbed without consent or or or) with silence, I’m sorry we are not enough. Maybe you’ll get it when you have a daughter. I hear you get a handbook at the first clubhouse meeting.

And while I’ve always had a good group of guy friends- some of which I never knew if they wanted to fuck me or friend me- I looked to them a lot to “save” me. In order to keep from being harassed at a club, I tend to grab my nearest dude and pretend we’re together. Because a guy won’t fuck with another guy’s girl. That’s called respect.

If growing up in this highly misogynistic and patriarchal society has taught me anything, it’s that women are everything. And then some. I used to think more women equals more targets. I used to be teased by other women for being friends with some of the actual good guys. We are not in competition. We are not here for them. We are resilient and triumphant. We are intelligent and funny. We are beautiful and sexy (on our own terms). We are supportive and kind. We don’t need to share our stories to be warriors. We don’t need to keep quiet to be strong. We are in this together. We save ourselves. We will smack the shit out of guys in a club together and walk out hand in hand. We will fight day in and day out. We are better together. We are not asking for it. We are worthy of love. We are enough. 

Her. Him. Them. We. Me too.

 

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Follow the [exposed] Brick Road

It’s been one week since I completely uprooted my life and became a New York City transplant. On this day one week ago, hundreds of others did the same. And for what? To follow the exposed brick road of dreams, of course!

While it’s only been a week, it feels like time has elapsed with the simultaneous speed of a camera flash and clock-stopping anxiety attack. It’s a strange constant state of limbo. I have all this time on my hands, being momentarily unemployed. It gives me the time to become acclimated with my new home, meeting up with old and new friends, applying everywhere and anywhere. I’m even writing this in Bryant Park while a pigeon stares at me mercilessly. He could be eyeing my banana bread but I like to pretend I’m more ~important~.  Point is, I have the gift of time. And it blows.

I thrive off of being busy. My mind works at such a rapid pace that when I do find myself with this luxury, I am often more anxious. It’s something I’m working on, okay? But right now, it’s a bitch.

I know I chose the right city. In fact, I’ve never been more sure of a decision.

I write this not to add to the romantic New York narrative because I am waiting, patiently, for this city to screw me over. And it will. No, I write this to show that there is little more fulfilling or beautiful than following your passion.

At the risk of sounding too corny, let me sum it up: do the shit that makes you happy.

If I had a nickel for each time I did something or went somewhere because I felt it was expected of me, I’d have a heavy bag to take to CoinStar and exchange for a crisp bill or two or five. But you know what? I don’t deserve a nickel or two or five. Hell, not even a penny. No one made me do those things.  No one made me move or take a job or stop writing or compare myself to every millennial on social media or or or. The noise is loud and constant, but not in control. 

To make a decision for yourself is difficult. Honestly, it’s so fucking hard to be truly and completely independent-minded- not influenced by family, friends, media markers, celebrity, someone who’s career path you wish to emulate. In fact, it’s pretty impossible because you will always have some bias in the back of your mind. But it’s possible to get pretty darn close- to follow that gut instinct. It’s always possible to try and fail and try again.

I made the decision to move to the city of my dreams with little money, no family up here and no job waiting for me. Obviously not the “smartest” choice but hey, it’s done. Sure, I’m worried about rent when my funds run out and I have no clue where I’ll be living in a month’s time. Sure, I don’t know how I’m gonna celebrate my first birthday without my family or when I’ll hear back from one of the dozens of hiring managers that have my feather light resumé. But I’m happy.

The choice is mine. I don’t have to take a 9-5 job if it makes me miserable. I don’t have to be in a committed relationship if I don’t want to. I don’t have to measure my life and milestones to anyone else’s. I don’t have to. This post-grad journey is a bit of a shit-show but I think we’re finally starting to understand one another- I wear the pants.

And so, if I have to work two day jobs to make ends meet, don’t pity me. If I serve you coffee or help you find a book or shirt you like, don’t pity me. If I’m older than you and in a lower income bracket, working a heinous amount of hours, don’t pity me. While I’m folding that shirt and steaming that milk, I’m creating stories and growing as an artist on every level. My passion and skills evolve with every order and every question. When I go home at the end of the day, I have words to write and so much to be thankful for.

I’m living the dream, baby.

Unthinkable

Not for a single moment did my gaze shift from the Falcon blue linoleum floor.  I took care in counting the tiles, creating stories for the scuffs and imagining the black and white specks came from giant salt and pepper shakers.

You look like a gorilla.

This is how a fellow classmate so aptly pointed out the hair that lives on my arms and legs. Clever, I know. Fourth graders have some good zingers.

I laughed. Because what else is a kid with an ungodly amount of body hair supposed to do? Start singing songs from Disney’s Tarzan, that’s what. They chuckled and off we went to play. And yet, my gaze never met theirs.

While the memory is short, I will never forget that being the moment I started a war with my body. I carried a long sleeved garment with me wherever I went. Partially because my Floridian body would get cold in any temperature below 70, but mainly to cover my overachieving hair follicles. Shortly thereafter, I took to shears. Sometimes I would even take the scissors and inconspicuously cut arm hair off in class. Only I noticed. So I graduated to razors and quickly earned my waxing badge.

Letting strangers pull the hair off my body began one summer in Mexico when I was visiting my grandparents. What a high- I was in the seventh grade. Every year that I went to visit my family became an opportunity for me to wax, get tan and be beautiful, if even for a short time.  I grew to resent my ancestors and to love beauty rituals. The saying “beauty is pain” was met with excitement and fervor.

Just as I got comfortable with knowing I had the power to change what I didn’t like in the mirror, the stretch marks came. They crept up my skin overnight. Hugging my hips and kissing my thighs. I grew inches horizontally. Suddenly there was nothing I could do- nothing but stop wearing bikinis and tops that might reveal too much. Even then, I had no control.

Honey, put those away. Boys won’t take you seriously.

My vice principal gave me that valuable lesson when I was in the 9th grade. I wore a white and red polka dot dress. I thought myself akin to Minnie Mouse but a friend called me “the Mexican Dorothy.” We thought it was hilarious and appropriate. When I dressed up that formal Wednesday, I put on a sports bra and tight tank top underneath in hopes of suppressing my new figure because I loved the dress so. Aside from an adjustable bow at the waist, the dress was simple and fell just like Judy Garland’s. I put my hair in pigtails and actually felt confident- no cleavage, no body hair, no figure. Still, I was pulled aside and separated from my class to be told that boys will not take me seriously.

I threw that dress in a bag to take to the Goodwill a few weeks later. My aversion to dresses and all things quintessentially “girly” took its place in my closet.

Most girls wouldn’t be brave enough to cut their hair so short.

A sentiment shared by a cute guy I met while getting my undergraduate degree. A party where the theme was ABC- Anything But Clothes. Boys respect me now, right?

The unwanted kisses were only meant to commend my blunt cut bravery.

Te tienes que cuidar.

Translation: you’re getting fat. Though it actually translates to “you need to take care of yourself.” A damaging and thoughtful phrase. When I ran and ate well, the comments did not cease. When I became a vegetarian and ate less often, I still needed to take care. When I snuck snacks and candy bars into my room late at night, guilt ridden, and turned to food for comfort, the saying held firm.

The phrase taught me that being fat is unhealthy, shameful even, but more than that, it ingrained in me the idea that being fat is not beautiful. That I lacked pride and somehow should apologize for the way I looked. That until I stopped hearing those words strung together, I would never be beautiful.

You don’t need all that makeup.

A backhanded compliment insinuating the *only* reason to wear makeup is to mask an insecurity or to please someone else. Growing up with three over-achieving older siblings I never had my own thing. I received hand-me-downs in the form of clothes, music, movies, and taste. I strived so much to be like them in every way that I had trouble finding my own identity along the way. Enter: clothes and makeup.

Everything from graphic tees to purple lipstick became my own special thing. I loved getting weird and funky with my accessories and eyeliner. Neither my sister nor mother cared for makeup or fashion, so I was on my own. And it was amazing. Through these seemingly vain hobbies I found an outward form of expression and solace. I can let the world know who I am and what I’m about without actually starting a verbal conversation!

Though my own source of content came from taking an extra 15 minutes to plan my attire, those around me made sure I knew I didn’t love myself enough. Something so simple and pure like a pink pout became vilified. I would never be as *cool* and *confident* as the girls who wore no makeup and went out the door with the closest item of clothing. Or so I was often led to believe.

But today, I did the unthinkable. I stood in front of a mirror and looked at myself. Really looked at myself for the first time in years. And as I examined my reflection these bold phrases popped into my head- the catalysts of battles in a much bigger war. Instead of looking away, I held my own gaze as I did walking to the playground that day in the fourth grade. While I’m not going to lie to you and say that I love what I see or that I believe I’ll ever be conventionally beautiful, I will say I am grateful. I am so unbelievably grateful.

Grateful for the opportunity to show a little girl- a fifth grader I taught- that the hair on my arm was just like hers. Grateful that she smiled and handed me the blue coated scissors.

Grateful that I am in overall good health and that this body is able to move, work, play and exist in a space I so often take for granted.

Grateful that the scars on my belly are there as a reminder of the pain I no longer need to endure thanks to some wonderful doctors.

Grateful that I have all these pretty clothes and lipsticks to compliment my mood and make a statement all at the same time.

Grateful that my mind is being taken care of just as much, if not more so than my body.

Grateful for the love that encompasses me daily.

I did the unthinkable and thanked my body. Have you?

My Chappelle Show

This past weekend I got the opportunity to see an iconic, much beloved comedian stand on a stage for sixty minutes and tell us some jokes. I’d been jittery and achingly ecstatic for the night since the idea came to fruition. We were going to see Dave mothafuckin Chappelle.

I got someone to cover my shift well in advance, re-watched some classic sketches from the innovator himself, looked back fondly on my impressionable time watching said show as I just began discovering my love for comedy. My smile would have to be surgically unhinged for the 24 hours leading up to the show. Like so many millenials, my view tends to get obstructed by the foggy guise of nostalgia.

There’s danger in glorifying the past. Times and people change. Audiences change. If we’re aren’t open to that change, we’re doing a disservice, not just to ourselves, but to the hundreds of artists and dreamers with a spark, ready to ignite. Aside from the obvious “we must learn from our mistakes” bit, putting the past on a pedestal is a straight up lie. You do everything to replicate that warm feeling associated with a moment or song or show but memory is a fickle bitch. It’s not real. The fuzzy feels you associate with watching a show or a movie have a lot more to do with your environment. Did you actually like that movie or did you just like the experience of watching it with an infinite amount of twizzlers and that cute boy from school? Imagine getting food poisoning at a popular restaurant you used to frequent. You have great “memories” there but they’re now overshadowed by the days you spent in the hospital trying to re-hydrate after one ill-prepared meal.

Every ounce of me was ready to replicate that feeling of watching Chappelle Show on Comedy Central with my buddies back in my hometown. Instead, I got a bout of food poisoning and I think it’ll be a little while before I go back.

While his set was underwhelming, it’s not the duration or delivery that missed. It wasn’t even his attitude or tone. I’ve got to say, Dave Chappelle genuinely seems like a wonderful, kind human. Granted, I don’t know him, but he appears to be a stand up guy with no ill-will towards anyone. Much like the restaurant, I’m sure they had no intention of sending me to the hospital. Chappelle even prefaces *red flag* that he has no intention of offending anyone. And I believe him.

However, he misses the mark with me when he stands there and starts joking about discussing trans lives. Then proceeds to do so for a quarter of his set. He doesn’t hate the trans community, or the LGBT community. He doesn’t want harm to come their way or for human rights to be denied. He isn’t a bad guy. He just doesn’t get it. And that is just enough for me to walk away.

Not only does he completely miss the memo about people, you know, being born  transgender- he made it sound like picking between lunch specials (Hmmm, I guess I’ll take the Cunty Club Sandwich because that line is shorter, kthnxbye!)– but his comparison of black lives and trans lives furthers the “us versus them” narrative. By doing so, he is completely erasing the existence of an entire group of people who are fighting for their lives. It’s regressive, dangerous and ignorant. Intersectionality is imperative and for someone with a platform to have such a politically charged setlist, you gotta know your shit. Your experience as a black man in America will not be negated by acknowledging the plight of trans people of color as well. He says he has “no problem with trans people but rather the conversation around trans people.”

I do too, man. I do too.

Look, I know comedians aren’t here to please everyone and that some older ones believe we live in a *too* politically correct society. I get it, believe me. I usually fight for the freedom to say fucked up things. But not at the expense of another person’s life. Not in the current political climate. Not in a city that prides itself on being a blue dot in a red state but defies intersectionality and welcomes gentrification. Not for a laugh. Not anymore. Not now.

 

Car Troubles

Hi. Hello. I know it’s been awhile- a couple months to be moderately exact. And to the two readers out there (bless your heart), I am deeply sorry. I want to be good and consistent but I suck at this. I can say I’ve been busy and that I just haven’t had time but we both know that’s bullshit. I mean, it’s true in the sense that my free time comes in the form of throwing myself on my bed with my work clothes on but it’s still a stupid excuse. Fear is the real culprit here and there’s no dancing around it. But we’ll get to that in a bit.

Here’s a quick life update: got three jobs, lost my mind for a little bit, quit one of them just this week, got into a car accident, had a lot of mirror pep talks and been listening to podcasts as of late.

Before work, I’ll fire up Spotify as I get ready and when I get home, instead of sitting and writing something to share, I’ll turn on my computer, write something abhorrent, watch I Love Lucy and eat the quickest consumable crap I can conjure up. Then I usually go through my social media feeds and eat my feelings in refined sugars while internally wailing “why is my life so shitty in comparison? Wah wah wah!” You know, the usual. When I first moved to Austin, I was bright eyed and bushy tailed. Eating better, working, and steadily dropping some packed on college lbs. I went to see free comedy and though, I never joined a troupe, I looked into it seriously and couldn’t afford it. During these absent months however, I’ve gained weight, quick and plentiful, and cried. A lot. Then I get up the next morning and do it all over again. The going out is less frequent and even the remote possibility of joining a social group, diminished.

On one morning commute this week, while listening to the Unqualified podcast, which is delightful by the way, I slowly turned down the volume and started to cry. Not one of the “everything sucks, woe is me” kind of cries. There was laughter.

I just thought, why am I doing this? Why am I so tired all the goddamn time? On the surface it’s for a chance to move out of my sister’s place and not have to go back to my hometown but more than that, it’s for the opportunity to find home. Something I can call my own. I don’t mean an apartment or a car but a passion- a life outside of what I’ve grown too comfortable with. I’m working in hopes that one day my passion can pay the bills- something that won’t happen at the expense of that passion. It’s cyclical. And so, I quit one of the three gigs in hopes that the fodder for my soul doesn’t sit on the back burner anymore. The extra cash isn’t worth the stress and creative depravity. Step one to living a better, more balanced lifestyle semi-complete. 

When I’m not working, I’m really good at finding flaws in my personal life and coming up with dramatic, negative opinions of me pseudo presented by anyone with a pulse. While some people may actually think I’m garbage (s/o to the haters that choose to read this *besos*), there are people who either have absolutely no opinion of me or think I’m pretty alright. Which is really weird because [when I’m not in a depressive state] I know I’m fucking bomb.

And yet, I still care more about how I’m perceived. Below you will find some daily thoughts:

  • Did that person realize I was being sarcastic when I opened my mouth?
  • I wonder if my co-workers just laugh out of pity. Maybe they don’t know how else to react.
  • Oh man, I’ve got a really funny joke.
  • Just say it, you idiot.
  • Moment’s passed.
  • That tweet was fucking stupid.
  • If I delete it, I’ll look lame.
  • Leave it.
  • No.
  • Fuuuuck.
  • I say fuck too much.
  • USE YOUR BLINKER
  • Fuck.

Groundbreaking, I know. If getting words and ideas onto the paper is the most important part, then why have I written seven different blog posts and refrained from posting a single one? That feeling of not “being enough” has taken on a bit of a snowball effect these past few weeks. Even into something as simple as a blog post that no one will read. Because of some recent life events- quitting two jobs in less than 6 months being one of those things- I’ve decidedly halted putting myself out there in every sense of the phrase.

Back to that epiphany though. So I’m sitting there at a red light, in my dented Corolla, crying and grinning with the soft whisper of Anna Faris’ voice in the background when I tell myself- wow, Aimee, you beautiful idiot, grow the fuck up. Also, be selfish for once. To the drivers on either side of me, watching said event occur, you had a good story to tell your friends at the bar that night and for that, you are very welcome.

Sure I’ve experienced a lot of life changes in less than a year. It’s called post-grad. And being a woman. And living with anxiety. And aspiring to be an artist. And being broke. And having a moral compass. And and and. Every single person has/is/will be going through the same exact thing as you in some fashion or another. You are not the only person that needs to experience and emote with this big dramatic affair. While I recognize my feelings are valid, I also acknowledge just how normal this is. The human experience, while individual and unique for us all, is shared. We all come to a crossroads in our life at one point where you have to seriously- and in some cases tearfully- ask yourself, what do you want?

Then you fight like hell for it.

I can tell you that I want to be happy. I want to be fearless and not let the opinions of others keep me from chasing after doing what I love. I want to love the body I’m in because it’s the only one I have. I want to make at least one person smile and make their day a little better. I want people to feel good about themselves because they are sunshine personified. I want to commit to battling the trolls in my head and on the internet. I want to be a little selfish as a 22 year old and not worry about other people, even if for a little bit. I want to not feel bad for choosing to stay in. I want to be good at something. I want to leave the world a little better than I found it.

I’ve gotten candid with my struggles because I know I’m not the only one going through this, nor will I be the last. If you’re feeling a little lost or scared or sad like I’ve been, know you are not alone. I’m here for the long haul. While I can’t guarantee this is the last sentimental post- I’m a young artsy type with emotions, OKAY?- it’s definitely a marker of change and *hopefully* prosperity.

And if not, it is now documented that I lost my shit at a stoplight while listening to Anna Faris. So at least there’s that.

Routine

You wake up thinking, today is going to be a good day. The sun is shining and birds are singing. You think yourself into the best of moods- everything is unicorns and rainbows and butterflies. You think today I will do all the things on my to-do list, today I will be a mothafuckin Khaleesi. You lay in bed and plan out your day, bit by bit, imagining how each scenario will go, assuring yourself today will be undoubtedly bad ass.

Suddenly, the winds outside your window pick up. You flinch, yet continue in preparation for your day. You brush your teeth, wash your face- shit, the face wash you use is almost out, why didn’t I get some more? You keep going about your routine, turning on your “go to” power house playlist. Just as you start to get into that anthem, your connection gets lost. So you sing acapella.

Just kidding, your coffee is now cold because you spent the longest time trying to fix the shitty connection that has absolutely nothing to do with you. Somewhere in those precious minutes, the voices you worked to quell down as you laid in bed, the voices of “not enough” and “are you sure?” have found their way back to the surface. And yet, you still have to get the things done on your to-do list. You still have to go to work. You still have to be in a good mood because no one likes a negative Nancy- except Jonathan and Steve. You drink the cold caffeinated life source and do it all anyways. You’ve become excruciatingly good at the facade.

This is my reality. A reality where something so minute can alter the course of the day. The reality of living with anxiety. Some days I wake up with the confidence of Amy Poehler or the infectious joy of Jimmy Fallon, ready to conquer the world and even if something goes unplanned, I laugh and go about a different way. But some days, some days I wake up only to be triggered by the smallest misstep or dent in my routine. Those days are manageable, practiced. Then there are the days where it’s hard to get out of bed at all. The ones where food is of no importance, only a box of kleenex.

Even so, I am a mothafuckin queen.

I share this to not garner pity but to shed some light on the fickle flick of the mind tied to a person with anxiety. You wouldn’t tell a pregnant woman she’s fat or a Jedi that you’ve never seen Star Wars. You definitely wouldn’t tell an individual with a physical disability, “Oh, you’ll be fine. You’ll get over it.” And if you knew about me or the millions of others suffering fighting, I’m sure you would be compassionate and understanding because I believe in the human spirit.

So, how can you do your part as a citizen, a friend, or a loved one of a person coping with anxiety, depression or any other stigmatized mental health battle?

Be there like the cast of Friends, only better. You don’t have to coddle them. If there’s anything to NOT do, it’s coddle because there is nothing worse than being babied or pitied for something you’re trying daily to control. You can literally just sit there in silence and that is more of a comfort than you will ever know.

Be genuine. If you don’t get it, that’s totally cool. I don’t expect you to. But please don’t pretend to know “exactly” how I feel, then give an anecdote that unintentionally belittles the situation. We all have our shit. Mine is absolutely not more important than yours. But we are different. Let’s understand one another and have an open and honest relationship.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. A lot of times, I may not have the answers but I will always do my best. As I mentioned before, we can learn together.

Please, do not take it personally. It’s really, really not you. Sometimes, we’re just in it.

Unapologetically, live your life (and let me live mine). I’ve found that people with anxiety are some of the most passionate and intense individuals I know. Meaning, we feel. We emote. Often times, we don’t just like something, rather it manifests itself more intensely than that. When I love a film, I will IMDB the shit out of it and watch it way more than deemed the normal viewing requirement. The pure joy and excitement in those 112 minutes or so is often times a respite for me. It seems small, but don’t rain on my parade if you think something is weird and I won’t rain on yours. This also goes for life in general. Let people do what makes them happy and don’t be a douche about it.

Now, I’m not going to wear a banner or tell every person I see about myself, because my anxiety doesn’t define me. I do everything you do. However, I do feel as though we should open our eyes a bit and see that there are so many people living with unseen and unheard mental illnesses and by being a helping hand- an ear, a voice, a love unconditional- you can make the difference.

For those of you who are like me and like millions of other humans, it takes time. It takes support and understanding to not only end the stigma of mental illness, but to also find the correct path to healing and fighting. When I realized these horrible, heart stopping, hyperventilating events were panic attacks, I sought out help. It wasn’t easy. I fought with myself and my family. It’s not something that anyone had *openly* experienced in my life. So, was I just dealing with repressed teen angst? It had to just be a phase, right? I mustered up the courage and off I went.

The medical professional I went to see gave me a prescription within the first fifteen minutes of meeting me. This race to medication before we had even had our first date really messed with my head for a while. I didn’t take it but should I? Was I really that fucked that he noticed right away? Medication and antidepressants can be absolutely wonderful, life-saving even, but it is your body and your choice and if it doesn’t seem right in that moment, then don’t go for it. Trust yourself. I didn’t take it. And for me, it was the right decision at the time. The professional that followed wasn’t bad, we just didn’t mesh well and that’s okay. It takes time and patience for you to find the best fit, like a relationship or a pair of jeans- don’t rush that shit.

In the meantime surround yourself with loving, supportive and funny individuals who make, even the darkest of days a little bit brighter.* Find something you love and never let anyone shame you for it. But most importantly, live like the Khaleesi (or John Snow) that you truly are.

 

*You can always reach out to me if we’re friends but also if we aren’t real life friends just yet, check that contact form out. Here if you need an ear, a smile and/or a support system because we’re all in this together. Also, here are a couple of quick resources:

If it’s an emergency, please call 9-1-1 or if you need immediate assistance go to:  http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or call their number 1-800-273-8255

Some tips on day-to-day anxiety management: https://www.adaa.org/tips-manage-anxiety-and-stress

Let’s learn: https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/issue/mar2016/feature1

A dose of cuteness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qR3rK0kZFkg

 

Undies

Saturday night. Youthful, bright, full of life. Having fun. Making mistakes. Getting shit-faced on 6th. Dating hipster after hipster galore…

Now, I got the shit faced thing in motion, sippin’ on some spiked eggnog- more rum than anything at this point. Throw in a Biore strip, a baby and a When Harry Met Sally quote-along, and you’ve got yourself a Saturday night fit for a B-rated (fine, C-rated) sitcom. I commend myself for the multi-tasking, really. That shit requires effort. Only now, I am here. On a couch, cuddling with a pup. Coming to terms with reality. Applying for dozens of jobs, some of which only minutely deal with the field I aspire to be in, and any that would help me, ya know, survive.  

Twenty-two, unemployed and babysitting my sister’s kid, as I am seduced by the soundtrack of every ‘90s New York City film and taken into a trance by Nora Ephron’s words. The unemployment part came by my own-doing. And the drinking alone and being single, also me. Social anxiety, self-deprecating humor and *adorably* overactive pop-culture references only land with so many. My own righteous indignation and romantic ways got me to this moment. My bad, but also, worth it.

I’m realizing this unemployment period doesn’t completely suck. The job searching sucks. Constantly checking my bank account sucks. Feeling useless absolutely sucks. But with this comes a new sensation of liberation, freedom, a world of possibilities. Or something less cliche and a bit more fun.

Unemployment in your early twenties leaves more time for:

Binge-watching TV series you only pretended to know (using someone else’s password, of course)
Drinking
Cooking
Reading (real fucking books, not just excerpts or reviews)
Drawing
Drinking
Cleaning
Dating
Exercising (I hear it’s great)
Talking to cashiers about life and weather and actually giving a shit
Anxiety Attacks
Deleting a few *thousand* unread emails
Drinking
Trying homeopathic treatments for all your ailments
Diagnosing your ailments on WebMD
Coming to terms with your mortality
Laughing (shit just got real, I know)
Self-care
Crying
Family
DIY EVERYTHING
Learning how to play an instrument
Adult coloring (which is just coloring with a glass of red and tears)

And of course, coming up with a clever caption for your Bumble profile (and every Instagram picture ever).

I like to refer to this period of time as my Undies. “So, Aimee, what have you been up to?” Oh you know, just going through my Undies.  

“Enough with the clothing metaphors,” you say to yourself and yourself alone.

Undies is a less sophisticated version of underwear, and less sexy than panties, but absolutely necessary. It’s what you refer to when you’re on your period (shout out to my ladies who wear their Vadge of Honor proudly). It’s comfortable and familiar. It reminds you of times when you weren’t as concerned about the societal pressures around you. Or, ya know, panty-lines. It’s uncertain. “Is the elastic going to give one day? What if it gets a hole? I will never find another pair like this again!” It is exceedingly unapologetic. But most importantly, it’s something we all experience and revert to at one point or another. We all experience the Undies.

Bonus, while being unemployed, you don’t have to change your undies if you don’t want to (but ya know, I recommend you do).

It’s not just about unemployment or being in a funk. It’s about actively and consciously making the decision to breathe and accept the present and work towards shaping up for that next step. It’s about embracing crying fits and assuring you have a laughing one to follow. Loving and feeling so wholly that you don’t take the things you care about for granted. I never thought I’d be so sad after leaving an environment that wasn’t right for me. Or that I’d be searching and begging to do any kind of work to keep my mind busy on something other than my own thoughts. The Undie stage crept up on me unplanned and, initially, unwanted. I don’t want to go back to what’s comfortable, I want to be successful and happy. Now.

undies

Where I suspect my Undies began to form and lie in wait.

The impatience, the uncertainty- It’s what so many of us post-job, post-grad, post-relationship, post-posts feel. I am in it. I’ll move on from it someday- when I finally get gussied up for a night out on the town or have a hot date- but until then, I’m trying really hard to be comfortable and content, happy to be back to basics- to just be. If sketching, going out, or drunkenly quoting a seventeen-year-old romantic comedy gives you joy, then make time for it and do it as loudly and unabashedly as possible. Funks don’t last forever.

Get weird, (wo)man, and go make the best out of your Undies.