My War Paint

Have you ever been so caught up in your crochet project and horror movie marathon that you forgot you had a blog post to write? Or is that just me? Pretty sure it’s just me.

Anyway, I’ve been torn about what I wanted to write about this week. I want to write about runner’s high and how I’ve FINALLY started truly experiencing it. This week I found myself actually looking forward to my speed run because the feeling after pushing yourself to your limit is fantastic.

I also wanted to write about make-up. I’ve recently slipped down the beauty tutorial hole on YouTube and have been obsessing over stupidly expensive products. It’s strange how much I like make up considering I was such a tomboy when I was younger.

I asked you what I should write about, Daniel. You said I should combine the topics and write about make-up highs. I asked you what that meant and you had no idea.

Well, I’m here to figure out what that means.

When I wake up in the morning, I more often than not feel like crap. I am not a morning person at all. It takes me at least three alarms to find the motivation to get out of bed and I usually spend at least five minutes contemplating calling in sick so I can continue to sleep. I never do, but it’s something that goes through my head every morning.

So how exactly do I shake this crappy feeling before I get on the bus and head to work. I can’t spend the entire day feeling like crap and expect to get anything done, right? Well, that’s where clothes and make up come in.

Now, I feel like most people have the misconception that women wear make up to hide behind it. That we feel like we HAVE to wear it every day or we’ll be considered ugly and worthless. While that might be unfortunately true for some women, for me make up in a hobby rather than a necessity. At this point in my life, I can go out with or without make up and not feel self conscious. It took me a while to get here, but I’m glad I am.

When I wake up in the morning and feel like death warmed over, finding the perfect outfit and doing my make up is relaxing. Basically my make up routine in the morning is five minutes to myself. A time when I can completely focus on myself, my energy, and my mind. What persona do I want to wear today? What color is going to make me smile when I look in the mirror? Those are the questions that go through my head.

I feel like if I had to define the term make up high, it would be this: The feeling of satisfaction one gets are spending time pampering themselves. It’s very similar to the high people experience after doing their nails or getting their hair done or taking a warm bath. It’s a pick-me-up. When I look in the mirror and my lipstick is bright and my eyes look fierce, I feel like I can take on anything. I feel ready to face the world.

Let’s be honest, make up is my motherfucking war paint. I put bright red lipstick and black mascara on when I need to get shit done. I’m leveling up and every morning and I get to decide what form I present to the world and, let’s be honest, this isn’t even my final form.

Well here’s my post. Sorry it went up late and it’s a bit short. I’m also sorry to see you getting so existential, Daniel. Maybe you need some war paint?

-EMS

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The Creativity Drought

God I don’t even know what to write about so I’m going to keep typing and see what happens.

It’s been pretty slow in general within my life.  I live with Pretzel and it’s awesome but we’ve settled into a contented pattern.  The original idea was that we’d play Monster Hunter Generations for like- 1,000 hours.  But I got pretty bored and frustrated too quickly.  I then rapidly finished Dark Souls 1 so I’m left with this big media gap in my life.

I don’t know what to play!  I’ve got games but none of them jump out at me like the rest.  Fire Emblem is hard and I can do maybe one quest every two days.  Valkyria Chronicles requires me to set up a bunch of stuff with my PS Vita.  It feels like effort.  I just want life to be fun and easy and not require me to have to do things.  Books require time, video games require perseverance (and money), exercise is fucking goddamnit, I can’t even draw no matter how much I want to, and to top it off- NETFLIX WON’T GIVE ME WHAT I WANT.

And at work it’s similarly slow.  We only have like 10 projects a week.  To compare- we can turn like 80 in a busy week.

So I have an abundance of time at work so I’m like, “By jove!  I have plenty of time for learning!  ‘Tis time that I flex my brain and get creative!”

Then I busily do nothing.

I read blogs and look at portfolios and these people are like, “I create one new piece per day!”

How?  How?

I don’t have that many ideas.  It’s too hard for me to generate one.  And even when I do- having the passion ignite within me is almost impossible.  How do they do it?  Why can’t I?

I mean- granted, likely these people aren’t working a full time job- but it’s still baffling at all that they are so original all the time.  My problem might be that my job is specifically about emulation.  It’s not my job to create new buildings as much as it is to place design elements within existing ones.

I’m trying to get myself into other software but I just don’t know what to do.  I’ve 3D sculpted a tiny bit, I played with making hyper real materials.  Dunno- I need to search for the thing that drives me.

In the past I’d find something but over time I’d become disillusioned with it because effort in didn’t equal the enjoyment out.   And that’s where I feel most things are.  Starting a new game requires me to get through the “here’s how to play” segment.  Stories have lots of exposition in the beginning.  Exercise is fucking goddamnit.

So my new plan is to eat food and watch reruns.  I saw a meme that makes me think of my current predicament (and also you, Emily).

nfwouhn

Note to self: insert funny caption.

I dunno- maybe I’m just in a slump.  Maybe I’m not challenged.  I keep just returning to familiar things that I know are fun instead of trying new things that might be.

Hopefully I rise out of this soon enough.  Sorry that this one wasn’t super long, people who read my posts.

I got nothing!

-DTM

 

Am I boring?

Do you ever feel like you’re a boring person?

Last night I got home from work, ran a few errands, and then spent the evening drinking incredibly cheap wine and watching West Wing. In the back of my mind I knew I had to write a blog post, but, for the life of me, I couldn’t think of anything to write about. My life felt so…boring. What on earth could I write about that would be interesting to other people?

To be honest, I wrote this post this morning before work. I just couldn’t find the motivation to write it last night so I went to bed, hoping inspiration would hit me in the morning and actually it did.

I’d like to talk about why sometimes we inexplicably feel boring. I know other people feel this way sometimes and often post about it on Tumblr and Twitter, but why do we feel this way?

Honestly, after thinking about it over coffee this morning, I think it’s another form of self-censorship, similar to the term guilty pleasure. Man, I have been on a self-censorship kick recently, haven’t I?

Anyway, what I mean is that logically no one is really boring. Everyone has something interesting to talk about, I think we as people have a tendency to downplay our own interests and achievements because we fear rejection from society. We don’t want to bring up what makes us happy or proud because we don’t want to feel rejected by our peers, so we by default reject ourselves and call ourselves boring.

I’ll use myself as an example. Earlier this week, as you remember, I was mentioned in a BigCatDerek Walk Around the Compound webcast, which to me is a huge deal. I watched the video at work and was so excited I immediately jumped up from my desk to tell someone. I wanted to share my excitement! Then I realized no one else in my office even knows who BigCatDerek is and they wouldn’t find it that interesting. In fact, they would find it boring.

See what I did there? Yes, a few of my coworkers wouldn’t understand my excitement, but they would still be excited for me. I was the one who decided it was uninteresting and boring because I didn’t want them to say it was uninteresting and boring. I discredited my own excitement because I felt like I should. How messed up is that?

I did something similar last night. I got home from work and decided my life was too boring to write about. Just to give you an idea of how unboring my evening was, I got home and immediately went to pick up mealworms for my chameleon, Togashi. Watching him eat is fascinating. Why couldn’t I write about that? Nope, I decided that was too boring.

After that, I went to Walmart to pick up snacks for a friend and ended up in the makeup aisle for twenty minutes, fawning over lipstick shades. Makeup and beauty products are definitely my vice, which I find a little ironic considering how much of a tomboy I was when I was a kid. Could I write about when my attitude changed? Nope, too boring. Daniel wouldn’t care about the new matte lip stains or how I associate them with self-care and self-love.

Do you care, Daniel?

When I finally got home, I cracked open a cheap bottle of cabernet, which ended up having a cork so obviously it wasn’t that cheap. Grumbling, I had to go to the kitchen to find one of our two corkscrews, which felt like a huge inconvenience! Could I have written about why we have two corkscrews and approximately ten thousand bottle openers? Nah, too boring. Could I write about how I for some reason only buy expensive beer, but never buy wine that’s more than ten dollars? Boring, boring, boring.

Would that have been boring, Daniel? Or am I just making things up in my head?

I finished off the night drinking my wine, crocheting a pillowcase for a friend, and watching West Wing on Netflix. I love West Wing specifically because of Allison Janney’s character, C.J. Cregg. She’s the Press Secretary for President Jed Bartlett and I always found her to be an inspiration. She’s smart, tough, feminine, and six feet tall. Watching her own the White House press corp always made me feel like I could accomplish anything and still be feminine, despite being a giant. Should I write about how she inspired me to go into communications and public relations? Nah, too boring.

Or is it?

Logically, my life is very interesting. It’s just not interesting to me because I live it and, instead of giving you the chance to decide if you’re interested, I just wrote it off. I kept thinking how could I continue the conversation about video games because I knew that’s what interested you instead of thinking about my own experiences.

I need to stop doing that. I need to stop discrediting myself and my hobbies just because I’m afraid someone will actually call me boring.

Sorry this post went up a little late.

-EMS

Stop Hating on Pokemon Go

I had lots of ideas for my post this week. I wanted to continue talking about my love of horror. I wanted to talk about how much I enjoy buying new beauty products and how much of a “goo hoarder” I am, to use Jenna Marbles terminology. But, after spending two weeks playing Pokemon Go, I think I want to address the hatred some people have for this game.

If I had thought of this earlier this week I would’ve spent the time to collect data and examples of people who hate this game for no good reason, but I only thought of this last night so I didn’t have the time. Maybe I’ll continue this discussion in my next post. For now, all of my opinions will be just that, opinions.

Anyway, I downloaded Pokemon Go on July 7. I’d been halfway following the progress of its development in the media and I was excited to give it a try. I can’t say I was the biggest Pokemon fan when I was younger, but it left enough of an impression on me as a 90s kid that I couldn’t resist.

The game turned out to be amazing, and not just because of the augmented reality or cool Pokemon interface. For me, what really struck me as amazing was how social and active this game can be. I was meeting new people and walking more. It was great!

Well, in the weeks that followed me downloading the game, the internet exploded. It seemed like Pokemon Go was a black-or-white issue. You either adored the game and played it all the time or you hated it with a burning passion, there was no gray zone. Why? Why did such a simple and fun game create such an argument?

This whole Pokemon Go argument has really struck a chord with me, especially all of the people who are trying to make me and other players feel guilty about it. As you remember from my post on guilty pleasures, I absolutely hate how judgmental people can be and how the term “guilty pleasure” is something we use to discredit our own hobbies in order to fit in.

Pokemon Go is not my guilty pleasure. It is my hobby and I’m not ashamed of it.

So, because the world is trying to discredit me, I’d like to take some time to discredit all of the Pokemon hatred I’ve seen floating around the internet.

You’re not 10 years old. You shouldn’t be so excited about this game.

Excuse me? First of all, you’re not allowed to tell me what I should and should not be excited about. I don’t jump down your throat when you get excited about something so don’t jump down mine.

Secondly, do you not have a basic understanding of timelines? Yes, Pokemon was originally designed for children, but guess which children got a hold of it first. Kids born in the 2000s? Nope. It was 90s kids. According to Bulbapedia, Pokemon was released in 1997. If I remember correctly, I would’ve been six. Sooo…guess what? Even at 25 years old, I’m still a part of the target audience for this game.

Finally, why does age dictate what we get to enjoy? I have coworkers who play this game who are in the 40s and 50s and their love of this game is just as legitimate as mine. They play is because it’s fun and there’s nothing wrong with that.

This game is taking up too much of your time. You need to get a life.

Ah, yes, you’re right. This is the first time in the history of human existence that people have become obsessed with something, therefore we should ban this game. I see your logic.

Oh, wait, no it’s not. Ever since humans started walking upright we’ve been passionate creatures. We dive into our hobbies and let them take over our lives. I wonder if anyone ever told Vincent Van Gogh that he painted too much and that he needed to get out more. Did anyone ever tell Mary Shelley to stop being so morbid, stop writing about dead things, and get a life?

Also, within the last decade people have been obsessed with phone games that are, in my opinion, way more pointless than Pokemon Go. For a while it was Candy Crush. Before that, Angry Birds. Why is Pokemon Go being singled out? At least Pokemon Go requires players to get off the couch and go for walks. It encourages people to interact with each other and work together to find rare Pokemon. That’s not something Angry Birds ever did.

To use myself as an example, before I downloaded Pokemon Go I would waste at least a couple hours on my phone. I would play Neko Atsume and My Singing Monsters and browse Tumblr and Reddit, all while sitting on the couch in my PJs. Now, I spend those hours outside, walking around. In the last two weeks I have walked an extra 50km trying to find Pokemon. That’s insane.

Also, Michael and I now routinely go on our “Pokemon Date Nights.” In the evening, after dinner, we’ll put on our shoes, go downtown, and walk along the creek looking for Pokemon and incubating eggs. That’s two extra hours I get to spend with my husband and guess what? We don’t spend a dime. For two young adults still trying to pay off student loans, finding a date solution that costs nothing is FANTASTIC.

There are so many bad things going on in the world, and you’re out catching Pokemon.

This one. This reasoning is the one that gets me the most because this basically sums up a huge flaw in our culture. For some reason, our culture right now is addicted to the idea of productivity. You have to spend every moment of your life working toward something or accomplishing something and if you don’t, you’re lazy.

Wrong. This is so very wrong and it’s just making people suffer. As someone who has extreme anxiety, this cultural trend has made me skip lunches, cancel vacations, and stay late at work just because I didn’t want to feel “lazy.”

Anyway, the fact that people are trying to make Pokemon Go players feel guilty because bad things are happening in the world is incredibly unnecessary.  Yes, we still need to fight for justice in our world and try to fix wrongs, but taking time to indulge in simple pleasures is also a necessity. You can’t spend your entire life working and giving and fighting. Soon, you’ll be running on empty and you can’t give back to the world if there’s nothing to give.

And, again, at least Pokemon Go is making people active and social. I’ve heard, mostly anecdotally, of people going to animal shelters and walking dogs while they play, of people sharing food with homeless people while they’re out playing, and of people taking their kids out to the park to play. Pokemon Go might be a simple pleasure, but at least it’s a positive one.

Okay, I think I’ll end my rant here, Daniel. Maybe I’ll do some more research and put together a more data-driven argument in my next post.

-EMS

Found Cool Stick

Yesterday, you told me to write a post about how awful the two-party system is in American politics and why it sucks that we’re going to have to choose between Clinton and Trump. Sorry, I’m not going to do that. I’m just tired. I’m going to be honest, these last few weeks have been stressful.

Now, when I say stressful I don’t necessarily mean bad. Just busy with not a lot of “down time” for myself. In the past few weeks my ferret, Bandit, went into the hospital, I had family come to visit, I’ve had big projects on my plate at work, and I was sick with a migraine just to name a few things. It’s been busy and I just feel exhausted. I feel like I haven’t had a break since mid-May.

Anyway, that’s not what I want to talk about in this post. What I want to talk about is how I handle stress. It’s taken me a long, long time to figure out how to handle stress and anxiety in a healthy, constructive way and honestly I can sum it up in a very stupid phrase: Found cool stick.

As you know, I have this phrase tattooed on my left wrist because it reminds me to address my stress in a healthy way. What it basically means is celebrate the little things, even when you don’t feel like celebrating.

When I first started working at WSU I was having a hard time adjusting to living away from my family and being independent. I was stressed constantly and lost interest in my hobbies. I just didn’t feel happy. One day I was out walking on campus and found a free art magazine. In the magazine was a silly editorial comic called “Little Victories” or something like that. It had things like “Made a souffle that didn’t collapse” and “Pronounced hor d’oeuvres correctly.” It was obviously supposed to be a joke.

The last panel included a cute drawing of a dog holding a stick and it said “Found cool stick.” For some reason that just really resonated with me. In that moment I thought to myself “Why is that dog so happy? All it found was a stick! Oh, it’s happy because it decided to be happy.”

It was like a light finally came on in my head. I was so stressed because I was letting myself be stressed. Now stress is inevitable and I’m not saying that people who are stressed are just stupid and don’t know how to just not be stressed. What I realized was that I was letting my stress and anxiety run rampant and ruin my life without even putting up the slightest effort. That’s why it was consuming me, because I wasn’t stopping it.

The dog was excited it found a cool stick because it let itself feel happiness and pride for its small accomplishment. That’s how I should live too. I shouldn’t focus so much on what’s stressing me out. I should give myself the chance to feel happiness over little things, even if to some they don’t seem that important. Things like getting up in the morning without hitting snooze or finding matching socks. For some reason I wasn’t giving myself credit for stuff like that because it didn’t seem important. I’ve found that if I start to celebrate all of my victories, even the little ones, I felt better and happier. I was no longer dwelling on what I couldn’t do. I was focusing on what I could do.

I know, I know. I’m adding a whole lot of depth to a two inch editorial cartoon that was just supposed to get a chuckle or two, but it’s art and I’m allowed to interpret it how I want, dangit. It was so helpful in such a low part of my life that I decided to get it permanently on my body. Every day I wake up and see those words and remember life is what you make it. Making a kickass grilled cheese is just as impressive as finishing a big project at work or running a marathon if you let it be.

Sorry for switching topics on you, Dan. Maybe next time I’ll write about American politics.

-EMS

Don’t Feel Guilty for your Hobbies

Work trips might be fun, but they completely throw you off your game when you get back. The one and only time I’ve missed a blog post was because of my work trip to Seattle. I almost did the same thing today after getting back from Virginia. Work trips, man.

Thankfully, I basically wrote my post on the flight between Seattle and Pullman. Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the term guilty pleasure and why it bothers me so much. For those of you who don’t know, according to Wikipedia a guilty pleasure is “something, such as a movie, television program, or piece of music, that one enjoys despite feeling that it is not generally held in high regard.”

Can you see why this phrase bothers me? No? Okay, let me explain. 

Generally, we use the phrase guilty pleasure in situations where we’re talking about our hobbies, but don’t want to be judged for them. An example of one of my many guilty pleasures would be Taylor Swift’s album 1989. Those songs are just too darn catchy.

But, wait. Daniel, you’re probably thinking “Emily, that’s not a guilty pleasure! I like her songs, too! I would never judge you for that!” However, there are a lot of people who would judge me for it. She’s too girly, too mainstream, too poppy.

And that is exactly why I hate the term guilty pleasure. Basically, it’s a label we use to police ourselves based on what other people think. When we use the term guilty pleasure, we’re saying “I know you’ll judge me for this, so I’m going to invalidate my own likes and dislikes so I can stay your friend because you’re a judgmental jerk.”

I have been trying to remove the term guilty pleasure from my vocabulary. At the risk of sounding dramatic, as I find my way in this world I’ve realized I need to start being honest with myself and be more comfortable with who I am. Yes, my friend might judge me for listening to Ke$ha while I run, but that doesn’t mean I should make myself feel bad for it. As long as I’m not hurting anyone or doing something out right illegal, no one should care what I listen to when I’m exercising or watching while laying in bed on a Friday night. I’m still a cool person and my pleasures are a part of that. I need to stop being a judgmental jerk to myself.

I’ve also been trying to be less of a judgmental jerk to other people. My biggest sin in that regard is beer. I am so bad about judging people I see in the beer cooler, buying Bud Light or Coors. Does it affect me? Nope. Should I care? Absolutely not. They obviously like Bud Light and their taste in beer doesn’t dictate their entire personality. This person could be very awesome and I’m automatically throwing up a wall by being so judgmental.

You do you, stranger in the beer cooler. I’ll do me and try to ignore the people who are judging me for my choice of beer. My beer can be way too expensive, way too strong, and way too hipster, but it’s what I like. I’m not going to preface my love of fancy beer with, “Well, this stout is my guilty pleasure…” so I’m not going to make anyone else do that either.

Well, there’s my rant. I love painting my nails, trying new lipsticks, watching Roseanne reruns, watching B-flick horror films, and listening to auto-tuned pop songs, and I don’t feel at all guilty.

Sorry for my late post. At least this time I avoided a punishment.

-EMS

 

My Real Trip to Australia

I was really inspired by your last post. There are so many in-between moments in life that I love, like the gurgling noise my coffee maker makes in the morning or the golden glow of my desk lamp. I really want to make my own list of in-between moments, but first I want to talk about my trip to Australia.

And no, I’m not a group of spiders cleverly disguised as Emily, as awesome as that would be.

Anyway, I could write a novel about my trip to Australia. There were so many little things that I loved about that trip, like how the air always smelled like fresh rain or how sweet the coffee was. It was an amazing trip. It, in all honesty, changed my life for the better and that’s what I want to write about this week.

10300232_10207499472623028_5190581736642152200_nI feel like using the term “life-changing” is a bit of a cliché nowadays. It’s almost like the word “awesome” in my opinion. We use the word as just a catch-all term for when something is really good, despite the fact we came back from the trip and continued to lead the same life. My trip to Australia was a wonderful experience and it actually did change my life for the better.

Since I’ve returned from Australia I feel stronger, braver, more passionate, and more in control of my life and my destiny. I’m having difficulty finding the words describe how different I feel since my trip. Have you ever been somewhere that you used to know, but things have changed so much you don’t recognize it anymore? Remember when we drove through Tomah on our last trip to Wisconsin? Everything in the town seemed fuzzy and surreal, like we should remember the place, but we couldn’t. Now remember how it felt to turn the corner onto our childhood street? It’s like everything suddenly came into focus and I remember feeling at home.

That’s how it felt coming back from Australia. Like everything in my life suddenly came into focus and I had never realized it was fuzzy.

Going to Australia had been a lifelong dream of mine. When I was little, think elementary school age, I used to watch the Crocodile Hunter almost exclusively. I know, that’s such a silly reason to want to go to another country, but it’s the truth. I’d honestly been planning this trip since I was eleven and I finally got to go fourteen years later. I think that’s one of the reasons I feel braver and more in control. For the first time in my life I had achieved one of my dreams, a dream that no one else had for me. And I achieved it all on my own.

Don’t get me wrong, getting my college degree and finding a place of my own in this world have always been dreams, but those are everyone’s dreams. Do you know what I mean? When I was born, mom and dad never looked at me and said “I hope she gets to go to Australia one day.” No, but they probably said that about getting a college degree and creating my own life.

This trip was also incredibly relaxing. You probably already know this about me, but I tend to be a workaholic. Even when I take vacations from work, I tend to take my work with me in one form or another. I’ll answer emails or worry about upcoming projects, things like that. This trip was the first time I’ve ever let myself completely let go. I didn’t check my email, I didn’t worry about going back to work, I never thought about what I had to do next. I only thought about what I wanted to do next.

For the first time I actually had the opportunity to be honest with myself. I would wake up in the morning and think “What do I want to do now?” Instead of thinking about what I had to do at work or my other responsibilities, I could actually think about my real passions. I could get up, drink coffee, and read my book or I could go for a run. That feeling was amazing and now, despite being back in the states and at work, I’ve actually learned how to be honest with myself. I’m better at prioritizing my day and knowing when I need to take care of my own needs. I also feel more passionate about my hobbies and spend more time crocheting, reading, and writing.

1918243_10207515415581592_98216960889223726_nAs I mentioned, this trip was also wonderful because for the first time I was actually thinking about what I wanted instead of what everyone else wanted. I never had to wait for someone else to suggest something. I would just bring it up myself. The best example from my trip I can give was when I went snorkeling in the shark tank at Underwater World. No one else wanted to do it with me.

Before this trip I would have just not done it because the group didn’t want to do it. I would have worried that people had to wait on me or that, without some one with me, I wouldn’t know what to do. Does that make sense? I feel like I’m rambling. Anyway, on this trip I actually did things for me and trusted that my friends would tell me if they had a problem. I never worried about what other people wanted. I just thought about myself, which yes sounds selfish, but it was something I had never done before. Now I know I can do that and I feel stronger. I feel like I can do anything and that my friends will support me because they love me, not because I bend over backward to accommodate them.

So yes, I would honestly say that this trip to Australia was life changing. I feel like I can do anything now and that all of my dreams are attainable. I feel more worldly and loved. I love myself more to be honest. This entire post probably feels a little sappy and self-help-esque, but it’s the truth.

Sorry to chew your ear off, Daniel. Next post will probably be a list of in-between moments.

-EMS