Throw Back Thursday

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Having fun the night before my friend, Julia, got married. Nov. 19, 2010

Welcome to Day 5 of my write-a-post-everyday-for-a-month challenge. I’ve actually been writing blogs for over a decade across multiple platforms. I used to write when I was younger as a coping mechanism to deal with stress. I still tend to do this – I have unsent letters I’ve written to people and my Facebook timeline is mundane reports of my day to day activities sprinkled with emotional rants that I almost immediately regret posting but feel compelled to in the moment (sorry, privacy restrictions require you to be my friend first, or some kind of hacker, or the government). It was much easier for me to write something every single day when all of my posts were personal – this was also when blogging was a regular form of socialization, before I bored people to death with smaller blurbs about my day on Facebook.

When I first started this blog in 2010, I had hopes to make it more professional. If you go back and re-read some of the earlier posts, you can see that I would write these researched pieces with links to sources that, at least to me, scream how fresh I was from college. I think, at the time, I had grandiose ideas about being a professional artist, thanks to the now defunct 3rd Thursday Art Shows that I was in love with. I was working at a thrift store where I became very conscious of the amount of textile waste we create, and I had much more free time to sew and create than what I do now. 2010 was a wonderful, transitional year for me for many reasons:

  • The early part of the year had me re-analyzing a 6-year relationship that I eventually chose to leave.
  • I was involved in a rather crappy dinner theatre bit that paid me and created some wonderful memories.
  • Being newly single, I had a lot of fun casually dating quite a few awesome guys – All of them remembered with fondness. Thank you for the memories and the stories I can still tell when I’m old.
  • I went to 3 different weddings – The first served as a catalyst for ending my last relationship, the second officially added an awesome person into my family, and the third introduced me to the man who would become my current boyfriend.
  • I was 25 and I really felt like I could do anything and that I had my entire life ahead of me.
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Taken from the skydeck of the Sears Tower in Chicago, Illinois by a friend. This particular trip to Chicago carries a lot of special memories that I look back on fondly. November 6, 2010.

So many things have changed over the course of the last 5 years. I have changed and grown as a person. My life is different, my priorities are different. But, overall, 2015 doesn’t feel like it has been that great of a year for me. It’s mostly been a lot of pain and deep-felt heartache. There were plenty of positive things as well. I hope that, in another 5 years time, I will be able to look back on this past year and remember these positives more clearly than I can right now.

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I’d Rather Be…

Part of me is already regretting my self-challenge to write a new blog post every day. Today it feels like a chore and I don’t really want to take the time to develop anything worthwhile. BUT, I’m only a few days in and I’m not letting myself shy away from this.

So, some things I’d actually rather be doing at the moment:

  • Binge watching more Mindy Project. I’m in the middle of season 2 on Hulu and I’m absolutely enthralled. And Chris Messina (Danny Castellano) is just… omg. That character is making me act like a 12 year old girl squeeing all over the place.
  • Snuggling with my boyfriend. Enough said.
  • Making doll clothes – I have so many more dolls now than I had when I last wrote about my dolls and I actually cannot wait to introduce you to them all.
  • Going for a walk
  • Eating a pizza I cannot have because diet. (But I’m 143.6 lbs this evening! Down from 150 at the start of this.)

There you go. Sometimes I don’t blog because I just don’t feel like it. And then I blame being busy – which I am, but this isn’t always what I want to do with the segments of free time I manage to get.

Analytic Data is Sexy

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When I was a little girl, my mother would workout in front of the TV with Denise Austin. I used to join her, mostly because I wanted to do whatever my Mommy was doing.

As I sit here and type this, I am being distracted by the sensation of my arms pulsing and vibrating. In what was probably a bad decision on my part, I splurged on an electric muscle stimulation (EMS) device. Like the name suggests, the device uses electric impulses to work your muscles. It is by no means a weight loss tool, but these devices have been shown to tone muscle, which is what I am going for. I’ve currently got electrodes fixed on my triceps in an added effort to stave off floppy bat-wing arms. I’m fully aware that I may have just wasted my money. But, it does feel pretty cool regardless.

 

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FYI: Thin wheat crust = 640 calories; 1/2 cup of sauce = 35 calories; 3/4 cup of cheese to barely cover the pizza = 270 calories. Total = 945 calories. Daily allotment is 1,200-1,300.

For most of my life, I have gone through periods where I at least make attempts to be healthier. These don’t always last and I usually fall victim to cliche excuses like lack of time, lack of money, or just really missing pizza. While the main idea is to just generally be healthier, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I do care just a little bit about how I look. Thus, I have buzzing arms. I also enjoy the fact that this allows me to multi-task.

 

One of my fellow bloggers that I really enjoyed reading (and I’m curious for updates, as life seems to have sucked her into the abyss as well) is Claudia Bette. For awhile she was doing the diet and exercise thing and was posting charts tracking her progress. This has is something I would also like to do because, well, analytic data is hot. This is why gizmos like FitBits are so freaking cool. I kind of want one. But, I already have a heart rate monitor and a pedometer and I spent my extra money on this Compex instead. The EMS is only one part of the picture. I’m also attempting to diet and I went in this morning to re-join the gym. I’ve been keeping track of my daily basal metabolic rate or BMR (these are the calories your body burns each day just keeping you alive), starting weight for each day, the foods that I eat and the number of calories I consume. After all, the idea is to burn more calories than are consumed. However, there is a caloric minimum needed to avoid going into “starvation mode”, which the internet cannot seem to definitively confirm or deny. So, my goal each day is to fall somewhere between that minimum and my BMR. This is a lot harder than it seems. Perhaps after I have been doing this for another week or so, I will create my own pretty data art.

Reflections on Socio-Economic Status

Scrolling through Facebook this afternoon, I came across the following Slate article: When You’re Poor, Life’s Little Annoyances Actually Ruin Your Life. Reading this, I find myself reflecting on my own life – my background, my life choices, privileges I’ve been afforded, and how easily my life could have been very different.

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Socio-Economic Status, or SES, is basically an individual’s or family’s economic and social position in relation to others, based on income, education, and occupation. And this is relative. As a nation, the United States is fairly well-off. As well, our perceptions of where we fit along that spectrum will vary based on where we are compared to those around us. This accounts for why sometimes people who seem to have a much higher SES can still feel they have less if they are surrounded by others who have even more. This is why there are Americans who complain about, say, not having a tech gadget while there are many other people (including fellow Americans) that are starving. Chances are the guy upset about his tablet doesn’t have as much interaction with the guy that can’t afford to keep his utilities on.

There is a running joke between my boyfriend any I that anything over $30 is a major purchase. This is because we come from different SE backgrounds. I grew up in a series of trailer homes and other rentals, moving around frequently. My parents divorced when I was young, so I was raised by my single mother and her parents. I went to public school and was taught to stretch money out by repairing, recycling, or doing without. On the other hand, my boyfriend’s parents remained together, they owned their own home, and he was able to attend a private high school. He doesn’t do much in the way of repairing or recycling. As a result, the ways in which we view and spend money tend to be different.

On the other hand, my own adult life is so different from that of my parents that I run into the same thing from the other side. When my mother was my age, she had 2 children (I was 9, my brother was 5), was separated and on the verge of divorce, driving some beat up vehicle, and working whatever job she could just to make ends meet. While she had some college, she had never graduated. My life went in a different direction. I have my BA, I’m fortunate enough to be working a job I like, have never married or had children, and have the income and credit that allowed me a buy a new car with all the warranties and a maintenance package.

I’m not really sure if there’s a point to be made with any of this, but, this is what is going through my head at the moment. I’m thankful to be in a position where I have (so far) successfully done better than my parents (which, I am led to believe, is every parent’s hope for their kids) while not taking that for granted. I’m cognizant of the fact that, while I have worked and continue to work hard, there is no such thing as “self-made”. I grew up in a home environment that valued reading and education, I had adults that were able to help me with my homework, I had access to resources via the local libraries and schools that were paid for with tax dollars, I was eligible for need-based financial aid to go to college, and there are plenty of privileges I’ve had and things I haven’t had to worry about because I’m white, cis-gendered, heterosexual, and happened to have been born in a time and place where women had relatively more rights and freedoms.

And Evolve It Shall

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Auntie! I’m Scared!

Every time I come back to my blog from a hiatus (Here, Here, Here, or Here), I can’t help but feel awkward and like I need to somehow justify my absence. Why is that? I suppose, because this is a kind of social platform, I feel guilty in the way I would if I had managed to neglect and ignore a friend for half a year. However, I keep hoping that, like a good friend, we’re able to just pick things up where we left off. I also forgot to get you anything for Christmas…

And your birthday…

And I missed your wedding.  OK, I get it, I’m a shitty friend.

There have been times I have felt like writing something, but I’ve second guessed doing so because it doesn’t fall in line with the original premise of this blog – Textiles, Art, Communication.  And I debate with myself whether it’s ok to write something personal or off topic if I can’t tie it back to these founding themes. Should I create another blog? Is it really ok if I just allow this blog to evolve as my own interests and life does? I would certainly be able to write more if I didn’t feel the content was limited or that it needed to be “professional” – whatever that’s supposed to mean.

And so, evolve it shall. Starting today, with this entry, I endeavor to post something every day for the next month. It may not always be deep or witty, but it will be the opposite of neglectful.