Tag Archives: anxiety

You’re Gonna Hear Me Roar (Eventually)

We’re gonna get real.

We’re gonna talk about Katy Perry, being sicker than you’ve ever been, long-distance relationships, hospitals, loneliness, and pumpkin s’more donut muffins.

And if that sounds difficult to follow, you may need to get off the ride now.

But if you’re up for it, before you read below, please press “play”-

I knew I was going to love the Katy Perry song, “Roar” before I even heard it. The title was too telling of the content- which I knew would involve some sort of lion or big-cat imagery, which clearly, having donned myself “The Lion-Haired Girl”, I was going to adore- and I wasn’t wrong. From the first notes, I knew I was going to get wrapped up in the overly-produced pop sound and the sweetness and simplicity of the lyrics. I was even more onboard when I realized that she had taken the word “roar” and turned it into “ro-o-o-o-OH-OH-OH-O-ar” during the chorus, which I could easily sing along to at any and all times.

The song came out August 10th, which shouldn’t be overly special to note, but it was.

5 days later, August 15th, my longtime boyfriend moved allllll the way across the United States, (literally, hi Seattle) to live his dream. To “roar” in another state, if you will. (And yes, he will hate this analogy so much because it’s Katy Perry instead of The National, but still). He rode away into the sunset and I remained just about as calm toward the situtation as any early-twenties-millenial-with-too-many-feelings can, which is to say that I ate a lot of deep fried things covered in cheese, made 18 playlists of coping music, texted him nonstop for hours about pointless things, and made impulse purchases of studded leather vests and combat boots because I assumed they would heal my heart (which, let’s be real, they definitely helped).

So, flashforward with me. I’m almost to the end of August and I still can’t get this song out of my head. I’m attempting not to dwell on every question of, “How are you going to make long distance work?” and I’m really doing a good job at taking care of myself. At some point in every day, I still find myself singing or humming the melody and succumbing to the pop masterpiece of “Roar”. I’m wishing I had boxing gloves like Katy had during her VMA performance and by now I’ve learned all the words and harmonies and have even started checking eBay for a knockoff of KP’s tiger satin jacket.

Image

(try not to be impressed by my photoshop skills)

If I was more of a believer in Long Island Medium or the ‘great timing of the universe’, I’d say listening to “Roar” on repeat was supposed to prepare me for September, but it didn’t. In between counting down the days til Katy’s album release in October and working a job with ridiculous hours of 4AM to noon (I know it sounds like I’m complaining, but, stay with me) I got mono.

Yep, that’s right – I get “the kissing disease” after my longtime boyfriend moves away. The jokes just write themselves!

But I don’t just get regular mono. I get mono coupled with a nasty Upper Respiratory Infection and complete with a super fun trip to the ER, which as it turns out, was the first time I had ever been in a hospital for myself and not just to bring flowers to a family member, and as it turns out, filled me with more anxiety than most anything I have encountered on the earth thus far.

(i added some doodles to make this photo of my hospital bracelet less depressing. hooray!)

(i added some doodles to make this photo of my hospital bracelet less depressing. hooray!)

The ER results in everything being okay, just a little scary (thanks a lot, liver levels!). So I take off work for a few days. My sweet roommate and friends rally around me and even my rockstar Mama flies in from Texas to make me soup and take care of me. I go back to work with the instruction that there is no “cure” for mono- I am just supposed to rest and drink fluids for about month and eventually it will go away…and then the defeat sets in. With my job hours already, I go to sleep at 7:30 PM most nights, and so add on being exhausted all the time from mono and I shrink into a cocoon. Not wanting to get anyone contagious, much less have to explain, “Hey, ask me about my mono!” to people, (which, by the way, no one will not freak out after hearing) I don’t see pretty much anyone during the entire month of September, and I certainly don’t listen to “Roar”. I hardly even talk to my roommates. Any calls I make to Seattle to be a supportive girlfriend just end in me whining. Mostly I just fall half asleep and lay in bed and feel sorry for myself. I pout and complain and everything I do becomes an event of “yay me!” or “I’m the worst”. Basically, I’m unbearable.

Now, I don’t say all of this to try and generate a feeling of sorry. People get sick all the time, but September unpolitely reminded me I just clearly am not as strong or independent as I thought I was. I try to talk this big game of being a girl who moved away from all she knew to chase her dreams in Nashville, even if they broke her heart, but all it takes is alone time to feel like I have no clue what I’m doing and to see just how needy I am. The social butterfly inside of me crumbled hard and I began to question what I was even doing anymore.

“But I listen to ‘Roar’ all the time, and every day I wear a lot cat-eye winged eyeliner because I am confident, and I make loud jokes and smile at strangers,” I kept thinking. ” I should be able to handle this! I’m an extrovert and I can tackle anything!” was an attitude I’d adopted forever, but now I was just looking forward to crawling in bed, doctor’s orders or not.

I gave up, in a way. I just kinda was a miserable person to be around and threw one hell of a pity party.

But eventually, about the second week in October, I started to feel better and began to feel like I could stay awake without it feeling like a challenge. I could be around people again and began to actually try and participate in activities that weren’t solely watching bad reality tv and moping. I could spend time with healthy human beings without bringing up how sad I had been and I could make some killer pumpkin s’more doughnut muffins with friends.

However, surprisingly, I didn’t have the immediate “lesson-learned’ feeling afterwards.

As a writer, I want to glamorize things. I want to tell sweeping stories of how life has changed me. I want to hear about your experiences and put them into words that jump off the page or screen and capture the heart.

But I haven’t had that moment. I know September was a lame month, but I didn’t get a big story resolution out of it. It taught me just how weak and spoiled I am, and not having anyone to talk to makes me cranky, but it didn’t give me this deep knowledge about solitude that I felt I could share, so I avoided writing it down. I avoided telling people or I just joked about it (“Remember when I had mono?”) but I still couldn’t shake it, so here I am.

I want you to know, whoever you are reading this, that I’m listening to “Roar” a lot again. I’m probably missing out on “better” and more scholarly music, but I can’t get rid of it, because in some small way, it helps.

Why do we put so much faith in the little things? Because it’s easy, I think. I rely on medicine I purchased at the store with a coupon to heal me, so why can’t a 99-cent single on iTunes do the same?

I’m not 100%. I don’t think I’ll ever be 100% satisfied with everything, but I know that I can listen to “Roar” now and not feel like I’m the worst. I can hear it as a fun pop song and get a little bit of empowerment about it, even if I feel like it’s not the dramatic show-stopping song that usually accompanies a huge moment in my life. I can promise myself that just because my life isn’t a movie and that I don’t get to have a “getting better montage,” I am still getting better. I can still bounce back. I can still, well, roar.

So I dedicate “Roar” to mono. I dedicate it to bad days. I dedicate it to thinking you’re depressed when really you’re just young and stupid and have cold feet. I dedicate it to timezones that keep me away from the person who has challenged me for the better and loved me stupidly well the past year. I dedicate it to insecurity. I dedicate it to not learning the lesson immediately, because sometimes it’s okay to say that you’re only 23 and you don’t have it figured out yet and that just because you have a blog does not mean you have to act like you have all the answers.

Regardless of confidence levels, you’re gonna hear me roar. In sickness and in health, you’re gonna hear me roar. Even if it means I have to accept some things as not finished yet, you’re gonna hear me roar. From Seattle to Nashville to New York, you’re gonna hear me ro-o-o-o-OH-OH-OH-ar.

And frankly, if you’re not okay with me roaring, I kinda hope that you get mono.

Things I Have Been Irrationally Afraid Of

I’m not here to laugh at real anxiety, because I suffer from it. But let’s be honest and say that I am not the best at judging fears and every now and then you have to take a step back and actually realize what it is that scares you and go, “really?”.

Here’s a small (not complete by any means) list of things I have been irrationally afraid of (or am currently still afraid of):

Animatonic Santas

Doodles, the old chicken mascot for Chik-Fil-A

The Chuck E. Cheese gang of animals on the stage

Disneyworld, there’s just a lot happening

Basically anyone or anything in a mascot suit, always

The boulder from Indiana Jones showing up in my real life and crushing me

Accidentally being in the HOV lane illegally and not realizing it because the lanes are different in Tennessee

My moccasins becoming untied and me tripping over the strings

Sending a typo in a job-related email

Getting a cavity

The blades of my fan falling on me while I sleep

LEAVING MY CURLING IRON ON ACCIDENTALLY AND BURNING THE HOUSE DOWN

Someday being in a band that takes requests and then not knowing the song someone in the audience requested

Serving someone food that I made and them having an intense allergic reaction to it immediately

Losing my retainer in the ocean while scuba diving*

Living my whole life without knowing that I’ve been recorded 24/7 like The Truman Show

Running out of gas on any road, anywhere, as soon as my gas light comes on

My phone battery dying at the DMV

My phone battery dying while I am in line at the Post Office

My phone battery dying and there suddenly appears a puppy that I want a picture of

Getting to the register at any store to pay with a giftcard and finding out the giftcard has a balance of $0.00

Drinking something that is too hot and burning my tastebuds off forever, never getting to enjoy food ever again

Making a classic rock musical reference and no one getting it

Making a Buffy reference and no one getting it

Making an Arrested Development reference and no one getting it

Making references to things, in general

Clowns

Someone reading my own blog aloud to me on a loop, forever

Missing one tiny patch of hair while shaving my legs and everyone staring at it later

Trying to separate my trash at Whole Foods into compost and recyclable and putting the wrong material in the wrong bin**

My foot falling asleep AND THEN NEVER WAKING UP

Becoming famous for something really dumb

Finding a secret passageway to another vortex or a time machine but no one believing me

The working world one day decides to start taking grades like high school all over again

Basically any version of “high school all over again”

Whales

My alma mater calling me up and saying, “Hey, remember that college degree you got? Joke’s on you! Totally photoshopped!”

Not drinking enough water and turning into a human cactus

Washing a piece of clothing that clearly says “Dry Clean Only” and like, the Laundry Police showing up and arresting me

Being the only person off beat in a crowd clapping situation

The bottle of hair dye I bought ends up being straight bleach/lacquer thinner

Breaking a ukulele string

Writing the wrong amount on a check

Calling someone my best friend or boyfriend and them totally not agreeing and looking at me like a crazy person

Toe socks

Sneezing while getting a tattoo and it being messed up…FOREVER

Never getting a real job and forever being an intern/assistant and then just turning 80 and being like, well, I tried

Putting too much garlic salt and/or sriracha and/or cheese on something and ruining it

Just kidding. What’s “too much cheese”?

*I’ve come extremely close
**And everyone there laughing at me for not knowing what goes where, everyone in their perfect hipster Whole Foods outfits and fixed gear bikes

On Change, Anxiety, and New Zipcodes

I’ve been fed up with this blog for a while. White girl problem as it may be, hear me out. Or don’t.  I mean, there’s plenty of internet to scour that is less lion-y than this little domain.

ANYWAY.
I’ve been tired of this blog being the same, feeling like I’m a never-ending ramble of the same topics. I get all sorts of blog-envy over other websites I gawk at daily–ones filled with pretty well-lit pictures and layouts, crafts and recipes, ‘outfit of the day’ posts and all those cute things that the blogging community tends to be drawn to. Meanwhile I’m over here slapping sarcasm around, making musical references, mentioning Ryan Gosling too much, and relying on inspiration that waxes and wanes based on my caffeine level for the day.

Will I ever be the next Martha Stewart mixed with Paula Deen mixed with Annie Lebowitz of the internet? Probably not, but that’s not to say that I don’t want to incorporate different things and styles and some sort of photography around these parts. And I hope you’ll be with me, internet, at least somewhat, as I try to document important things and continue to ramble like I’m known to do.

So, there’s that. Yes, I want to change things around my little website, but this thread of ‘new-ness’ goes a little deeper than that as well.

As much as I can be stubborn with change, I tend to welcome the kind I like. I am enchanted and constantly wanting new colors, new textures, new sounds and new faces in my life. Sure, I am comfortable with the things I love and cherish them dearly, but I have an itch to explore and to discover and to consume all sorts of brand new material.

I wasn’t always this way, though.

See this little girl?

Even though it takes a brave and confident individual to wear matching ruffled socks, she was actually a very scared kid and afraid of new things. She feared new school years, she feared things she didn’t know, and she even feared a lot of the rides at DisneyWorld. She was well-acquainted with crippling irrational feelings of being scared for no good reason. It took her a while to get adjusted to new things, but she found that if she could hold tightly onto the hand of Mom and Dad and Brother and Grandparents and various friends, it was not so bad. Tears were not uncommon, panic attacks and anxiety came in waves, but she was still surrounded by a group of people that wanted her to succeed and wanted her to find out all sorts of great things about this great earth, and so slowly embrace change, she did. And you see, once she did, each progressive time became easier.

That little girl was me (spoiler alert!).

Nowadays, the tenacity and cheerfulness and energy with which I tend to greet new days and new situations and new people has been well-earned and well-fought through years of anxiety for, and even though the uncertainty of change still creeps in from time to time, I’ve learned how to embrace it a lot easier.

And so, as my Mama puts it, the little girl she’d never thought would ever leave home now wants to pack it all up in a suitcase and go see the world.

So, in the season of embracing change I decided it was time to change to color of my hair…and my address.

I’m moving to Nashville.

Do I know what exactly I’m doing yet there? No. Do I know the city like the back of my hand? I’m getting there. Do I have a place to live? Surprisingly, yes! And it has indoor plumbing!

I love music, I love Nashville, and if there was ever a time to do something crazy like move to Music City and chase a crazy dream, now is that time. I’ve got little to no obligations, no pets, no husband and kids, nothing holding me here, and a family that’s been so encouraging about the whole thing. So much so, in fact, that my parents told me that if I don’t do it now, don’t take this chance while I’m young, I’ll always wonder, always regret it. I’m not saying my anxiety won’t come back like it tends to, but there’s excitement in this decision, too.

So here’s to change, here’s to wearing hair turbans, and trying not to feel dumb taking self portraits for your blog in your backyard. Here’s to trying to cram 8 pairs of boots into one suitcase and realizing you have a problem. Here’s to long highways, supportive parents, reuniting with old friends, lots of live music, being young, and making new progress and new mistakes in a new zipcode.

And if you ever find yourself in Nashville, internet, I’ll buy you some iced coffee and vinyl and we can try to figure out a life plan together. Lion’s honor.