The Grapefruit League

Given that the general demographic of serious baseball fans is 45+ year-old men, I consider myself an outlier. I’ve been fascinated with the sport since I was a young teenager, but I didn’t really get into Major League Baseball until I was quite a bit older. In fact, I didn’t even go to my first game until last year when I was nineteen! Better late than never to discover a passion, eh? As a nearly lifelong New England resident, I’m a Red Sox fan of course, and not even my New York origins will make me stray from that. Don’t test me, Yankees. Rivalry runs deep.

Home sweet home.

I kid, I kid. I would never fight anyone over their preferred team. It’s friendly competition to me, all in good fun. Those who are more in the loop may know that Spring Training started recently down in Florida for the Red Sox (Arizona for some teams). Plenty of people don’t care, plenty of people do. I for one, have been following the pre-season rather closely, and got the opportunity to go to a game on March 11th vs. the Orioles. It’s going to be an interesting split-squad game at JetBlue Park down in Fort Myers. Coincidentally, I happened to already be heading to the western Florida coast with my boyfriend and his family during that week, and managed to snag some pretty solid tickets at resale prices. I’ve never been to a Spring Training game before, and as much as I love good ol’ Fenway, I’m beyond excited for the new experience.

Despite this all still being relatively new to me, I certainly know (and care) more about the sport itself, the Sox players, and the season’s standings, than the average American. I’m not going to bore you all with my opinions on this year’s roster, or the new manager, or anything the layman might not understand. Nonetheless, I do just feel the need to do some baseball rambling, and that’s really why I’m writing this post today.

me and dad sox
Me and my dad at my first Sox game last September!

I think baseball is a fascinating sport. It can be fast-paced, slow-paced, convoluted, simple. It contradicts itself frequently at a moments notice due to the complexity of the rules and the unpredictability of playing styles and strategies. So much goes into the formation of a successful baseball team that not a lot of people realize. It’s all about marketing these days, but I wish I could have grown up in the prime of baseball. Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski… I would have loved to live in eras such as theirs and watched history being made. Hell, I was even too young to truly appreciate when we broke our historic 86-year “curse” in 2004 by winning the World Series. I suppose I need to be glad baseball’s even still around. It wouldn’t shock me if in another century or so, physical sports become totally or nearly obsolete.

I don’t like to think about it.

As much as I love watching the games on TV or listening to my good pals on WEEI, it can’t be argued that nothing beats being there at the park and experiencing it yourself. The yells and cheers of the crowd, the vendors marching up and down through the stands, tossing beers twenty feet across the bleachers. Take Me Out to the Ballgame, Sweet Caroline around these parts. There’s absolutely nothing like a good trip to the ballpark. My boyfriend doesn’t quite understand, but that’s his loss. Someday I’ll drag him to a game with me, and someday he’ll realize he likes it.

Overall, I just really like baseball. Winter without it sucks, and I’m super excited that the pre-season has finally begun. It gives me something to obsess passionately about, and something to do in my spare time. Everyone has a passion or two, and baseball is just one of the many things that adds meaning to my life. What adds meaning to yours?

When All Else Fails

Since about Wednesday afternoon, I’ve been feeling under the weather. I thought it was the flu, turns out it was strep. Either way, it’s been a recipe for misery. I attempted two or three times over the course of this sickness to blog, write, do anything productive… but I failed. I do not hold myself to that. You should see me. It’s pretty pathetic.

I do still feel quite ill today. I missed the last couple days of classes, much to my dismay, but I’m confident it won’t be too hard to catch up on what I missed. I do wish my throat would stop attempting to destroy me from the inside, but I doubt I’ll get my way quite yet. Patience is a virtue, but god, I’m so tired.

Luckily, my boyfriend Pen is an angel and was taking care of me all weekend. He even drove out to see me last night even though he had class in the morning. I’m lucky to have him in my life right now, and I hope to do the same for him should he get sick in the future. I don’t mean to get sappy, he just deserves credit for how helpful he was. My best friend Nico was there with us as well, and it seems like he may have inherited the infection from me. Luckily it doesn’t seem like Pen got anything. Yet. Fingers crossed. Hey, I warned them.

No need to back away! I assure you I’m no longer contagious. God, can you imagine how awful this world would be if illnesses could be transmitted over the internet? If technology ever comes that far, please count me out of it.

This entry is essentially just a lump of my thoughts, as well as my excuses for why I’ve been so behind in my posts. I haven’t forgotten about this place. Not this time. Given my track record of abandoning my blogs, I’m frankly surprised, but I think that by not forcing myself to write every day, I’ve been able to keep myself interested. I’ll write here at my own pace, and that’s what I need to do to make things happen.

I find it interesting that in juxtaposition with my friend Derek, who forces himself to write an essay a day, I find that that only seems to stifle my progress. I have daily goals, but they’re more like guidelines rather than requirements. Back when I was younger, my last attempt being in junior year of high school, I kept trying to blog every day, just about my daily life. The issue was that sometimes, there was just simply nothing worth writing about. That’s fine, and I know that now. The inspiration is coming to me more now than ever before. I need not push myself any further towards the top, lest I topple off the edge.

Unfortunately, I do not think I have it in me to write much more today. My throat is killing me, I’m extremely fatigued, and my mind’s still just a little too out of it to form a more cognizant post. Nonetheless, I thank you for reading. I’m glad I managed to write anything at all.

Friend or Foellicle?

I envision her staring daggers in my direction, facing me with her head held high. She crosses her arms in anticipation.

“It’s time to choose,” she relays her ultimatum, this old mortal enemy of mine, “You’re either with me… or against me.”

I shiver as I stare down the barrel of my razor, but I swallow that lump in my throat. With a deep breath, I release the safety on my shaving implements.

“I’m sorry,” I whisper, lunging to attack, “Against.”

Nearly anyone who shaves any part of them knows that there are two main approaches to sword-fighting those hair-raising pores of ours: shaving with the grain or against the grain. Now I’m no professional, but those who are seem to stand by the same advice: always shave with the grain, to avoid irritation, ingrown hairs, and damage to hair follicles.

I reiterate– I’m not a professional.

Shaving side-note: there are so many better ways to do this, for those of us who care to spend the dough. I don’t expect anyone to laser or wax their faces (though some do), but the options are there especially for those who like to shave larger areas. I hoard pennies like a dragon hoards gold, so when I’m faced with a leg full of unwanted hair, I’m not about to drop a pretty one. For the most part, shaving tends to be the quickest, most painless, and most affordable option.

That being said, it’s a pain in the ass.

I’m not going to delve into gratuitous detail about how I shave my body because nobody cares or wants to know, but I should note that I shave for my own sake, not anybody else’s. A while back, I decided to stop shaving in an attempt to feel more “feminist” and “empowered”, because there’s certainly a power in not letting societal standards define you. But after hardly a week of letting my hair grow out, I realized I just… didn’t like it. I wasn’t shaving so men, or even women (I’m bisexual), would be satisfied with me. I was shaving because having hair where I don’t want it bothers me. It’s not my style anymore, and if I’m casually running my hand down my leg, I’d rather feel soft, smooth, skin than lumpy uneven strands of hair. I shave by my own standards, not society’s.

Personally, I believe that the societal standards for shaving are fundamentally flawed on both sides. If you’re a man who’s never at least tried shaving his legs, I wholeheartedly recommend you give it a shot. Come on, just this once? How bad can it be? It’ll grow back! I find that it could be as liberating for men to try shaving for women to try letting it grow out. Gender roles are a mess, so can’t we try and break this one?

Back to the matter of for or against the grain, I stand by my belief that fighting against is the most efficient option. Now, I’m not remotely claiming it’s the best option. I have suffered many a wound at the hand of my dangerously nonchalant shaving habits, but that’s simply a price I’m willing to pay for the most important result: smooth skin. I won’t lie to you and say I never shave with the grain, because often times that’s how I start, but it’s simply not good enough for my own personal standards. I want that close shave that fighting the natural direction of your hair growth achieves, and I’m perfectly willing to stick it to shaving experts (aka, the man) in order to get it.

“But wait!” Save-the-grainers may say, “There are less damaging ways to get a close shave!”

I know, I know. I could buy better razors, find a way to open my pores, buy better creams or gels; there’s a few high-maintenance options available. That’s too much of an ordeal for me. I don’t care enough to go through all the effort. I want my skin smooth, fast and cheap because I feel like it. I’m not falling for your propaganda, Gillette. Not today, Gillette.

Maybe someday, when I’m not so busy and lazy, I’ll devise the true path to the perfect shave. But for now, I’m content fighting dirty, yanking those hairs right out of their damn follicles as I slice them down at the knees. I’m not afraid, hair monster, you Medusa of my flesh. This is war, and I intend on winning.

In conclusion, I believe that shaving, shaving method, or lack thereof altogether should be a personal choice. While I stand by this, I also believe it can be important to experiment with it. Today, I encourage you all to possibly take a moment and think about what it would mean if you switched up your hair removal routine. How much do you care how society, your friends, or your significant other sees you? What does that say about your relationship with yourself? How would your skin feel if you decided to shave with the grain for a few weeks? Would it hate you if you decided to turn against it?

This was me in 2014 after I shaved my head for a cancer fundraiser.

How would you feel if you stopped shaving for a while? Would you be turning against yourself, or turning against societal ideals? None of the above? Both. Only you know the answer.

Shave your hairs, grow them out. Fight the grain, let it win. Hell, even shave your head if you’re feeling so bold. I’ve done so in the past, and as much as I wouldn’t do it again, I don’t regret it for a single moment. Take charge of your hair, and as a result, your life. Who knows… you might just realize something about yourself you were always afraid to discover.

Gary no Hero Academia

(All title credit goes to my boyfriend. Fuckin’ jackass.)

High school for me could most simply be described with two words: living hell. I have struggled with depression and anxiety as well as attention deficit issues since I was in early middle school, and no matter how hard I tried, I simply couldn’t manage to have a high school life the way other kids did. I took months off at a time, tried night school, back to day, and after everything the faculty tried to do for me, still ended up dropping out. I don’t let that phase of my life get to me anymore. I’m a dropout. That is a fact. I have my GED, employment history, and am enrolled in college. Those facts are far more relevant.

I’m taking three classes this semester at my homey little community college: Psychology, Philosophy and Dramatic Literature. Unlike in high school, so far I’m really enjoying the education I’ve been getting. The class debates are lively, and I find that I like everyone I’ve come into contact with. In high school, I may not have been introverted per say, but I definitely held a lot more negative feelings towards a lot of people and a lot of opinions. That’s not to say I don’t disagree with plenty of people now, I simply have a wider radius of what’s considered a tolerable opinion, and what’s objectively a piece of garbage. I isolated myself in class discussions back then because the notion of conflict scared me to the core. Now, I find that I can finally blossom in an environment like this because as of recently, I’ve somehow changed.

A few months ago, while I was drowning in the throes of a complicated and depressing love life, a stressful job, and family issues, I had a revelation. It hit me like a train on a track and has become one of my six 2018 resolutions.

“I am sick and tired of apologizing for who I am,” I realized suddenly, not quite knowing just how profoundly this thought would change me. Yet here I am, realizing that even though it took time for me to ease into the idea, I really did begin to follow my own advice. I stopped apologizing for things that I need not say sorry for, and I started embracing my identity more head-on and not shying away from myself. Do I still fight the eternal battle of that creeping self-loathing? Sure. Depression is still an aspect of my life, even if I’m fighting it hard. What I do notice, however, is that I’m making the change I wanted.

When I was younger, I had various forms of social media with varying levels of publicity. My Facebook has always been limited to friends, but includes family and real life acquaintances. My Snapchat is essentially the same. Over a year ago now, I ditched the other two platforms I had (namely Tumblr and Twitter), as they were starting to drain the life out of me. My friends on there were mainly strangers, mainly in places across the country or even across the world. I shared anything there, but it was meaningless. The world was toxic. I needed to get away.

These days, most of the hesitance I had when it came to sharing what I wanted to in places where my IRL friends could see it has faded away. I don’t remember an exact moment where this happened, but perhaps it was gradual and I just didn’t notice. Though, it’s here. I’m truly coming out of my shell, if it can even be argued that I had one to begin with. I’ve stopped caring what people think of me, and it’s making all the difference. In high school, I can’t imagine I would have ever been able to participate in class discussions the way I do now. I’d have spoken up, been shut down, regretted it, and remembered just how much I hated myself.

I’m twenty, I’m in college now; things are different, and I’m not the only one who’s matured. People who in high school I would have bitterly detested, I respect their differences in opinion and still appreciate them for who they are. No, not everyone has matured in this way, but I can tell that its not just me who’s going through stuff like this.

My dearest friend Nico said to me at the end of last year, “I have a feeling that 2018 is going to bring great things for both of us.” I told him I was hopeful, but I had my doubts. Me? Happy? Bullshit. As I reflect on my life on the ides of February, I realize that an eighth of the year has already gone by, and I’m okay. I’ve yet to drop out of college. I’ve yet to fall deep into a spiral again. Bad times are sure to creep up on me again, but I’m honestly, truly okay.

In a world as dark as mine can sometimes feel, this feeling is a blessing. I only hope that I continue to mature every day, and that I get the most out of my college education. After all, the one person who’s in charge of my destiny is me.

Life in Technicolor

Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 11.08.03 AM
“I DEFY YOU, HEART-MAN!” – Patrick Star

February 14th, as everybody knows, is Valentine’s Day. The general consensus on the celebration of this holiday is that if you’re taken, you make sure to shower your significant other in as much affection as you can. If you’re single… well, you’re fucked I guess. I never particularly harbored too much venom over all these years single on Valentine’s, but it’s hard to deny even the faintest nips of bitterness, even when it’s not at the forefront of your mind. It can be a difficult holiday to deal with due to the unpredictability of where you’ll be at that time. Single on Valentine’s is a “bad status” to have, and sometimes it can just feel like shit.

For the first time in my twenty years of existence, I don’t actually have that problem.

This year, I am lucky enough to be in a relationship with the most handsome, funny, intelligent, creative and charming guy I know. Admittedly we’re still at that point where what we have is still new and blossoming, but I can already tell that it’s unlike anything I’ve ever had before. He makes my heart feel… light. God, I feel lame saying this stuff where everyone can see. I hesitated to write this post for that exact reason, but something happened that made me realize that I had to write it. People should know how serious I am about this. I want people to know.

I’ve been burned before, and I’ve dealt my fair share of flame. As I’ve reiterated numerous times, my personal relationships are immensely meaningful to me, and as such, looking back on my failed attempts can be a little disheartening. It’s hard to simply ignore the past, but I can learn from it and keep it where it is; behind me. Of course I’m scared of what the future holds. Like aforementioned, the world is a wild and unpredictable place, but I can’t shake that intuition that this boy of mine is special. And he is. Oh man, he is.

For the sake of his own anonymity, I’m not going to name him in this post, but I’ve known him on some level for quite a few years now. He’d always been a vague presence in my life, a distant acquaintance that I’d hear bits and pieces about. For a long time, he didn’t even live in the area, but even when he returned, we never really talked. We only saw each other once a year, if that, and hardly exchanged more than a few words. We were acquaintances by association. Friends of friends.

I never thought much of it, until I did.

Last New Year’s Eve, at the dawn of 2017, I started to realize that there was more to him than meets the eye. I looked at him that night when I wasn’t supposed to be looking, and I panicked when I looked too hard. I saw a beauty inside him that night, one I’d never bothered to get close enough to him to see. I saw more of his personality– intelligence, ideals, humor; but back then, I was still hopelessly wrapped up in the illusion of having a certain someone I never could, and by the time I realized how stupid I’d been to be pining for all that time… It felt like it had to be too late. How was I supposed to follow up with someone I’d essentially blown off?

A year later, apparently. When I was ready. This time, the spark he ignited in me didn’t scare me.

In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t blown so much time on this now-irrelevant crush of mine as I did. Had I known then that one curly-haired boy at a party would be making me happy like this, I don’t think I could have resisted. I suppose it’s hard to justify a year spent alone when you know you could have had something better. But this post shouldn’t be about the past. It should be about the future. Our future.

Hindsight, as I learned the hard way, is certainly 20/20. The future is blind, but I’m ready to face it with him by my side. I’m not scared this time. I’m simply ready. The other day, sitting comfortably next to him where everything feels okay, he said to me, “I’m really excited. Just, for life.”

I don’t think I really knew that feeling until I met him, but I couldn’t agree more. I made allusions to a chromatic life in a recent post of mine, and he’s the most vibrant shade of all. To be able to walk along this rainbow with him is the best birthday present I could have gotten, and if I’m truly as lucky as they say the Irish are, there will be a glimmering pot of gold at the end.

Equal Before God

Before I get to the heart of today’s entry, I’d like to shout out to the ladies who work at my school’s café. They’ve got a shit job; I’ve been there, so I understand how goddamn stressful that can be. I feel that over the last couple weeks we’ve bonded as I listen to their daily complaints. I’ve spent time working in customer service, so I know damn well how hard it is to give it with a smile. I aim to be the type of customer that I know brings a tiny bit of light to an otherwise shitty work day. This morning, as I was paying for my coffee, she judged the size of my to-go cup and said, “It’s a large, but I’ll charge you for a medium. Mondays are bad enough.”

So here’s to you, café workers everywhere. I hope your Monday goes as well as it can!

This anecdote is not completely unrelated to what I wanted to think about today. I consider myself to be quite the social butterfly, despite being somewhat awkward and nervous in certain scenarios. I make conversation with strangers, have more friends than I even have time to keep up with, and I honestly like it that way. Many of my friends say they “hate people,” and especially from a customer service standpoint, that’s not such an irrational view. There’s a lot of genuinely despicable people in the world, but even the little things seem to taint peoples views on the matter. “People” (a harsh generalization) can be rude, blunt, heartless, and cruel, simply with words or implications alone. It’s hard to argue that humans have plenty of undesirable qualities. I just don’t like to shy away from them.

I love people.

For better or for worse, there’s not a single person I hate in this world. “Hate” is a strong word lined with boundless bitterness and resentment, and whereas I have certainly felt it in the past, I’m over the unneeded negativity. I’m not saying horrible actions are excusable, or that one doesn’t need to take the blame for things they do. After all, I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t still harbor negative feelings towards plenty of people who wronged me, or I may have wronged. I just think we’re all such deep, complex and fascinating beings, that even among the worst of us, what’s not to love? The most heinous of villains throughout all of history were just as human as any of us, with hearts that beat the same. Am I going to sit around and play Hitler’s advocate, acting like he was a pure and perfect person just by nature of being alive? Hell fucking no. In fact, it’s people’s flaws alongside their virtues that make me love us all so much. It’s a tricky balance, but I think I make it work.

I get along well enough with nearly anyone. Obviously, some people may not have quite as much in common with me, or may have a personality that clashes with mine. I surely have some friends and family alike that I’m closer with than others, and I have my fair share of people that I just straight up just don’t like. That doesn’t mean I hate them, and I still appreciate them for who they are. Whenever I express this opinion, I feel as though I’m acting so arrogant, although I’m not sure the source of that feeling. Perhaps it just feels like an egotistical viewpoint to have.

“Oh look at me! I love everyone, no matter what! Aren’t I so much better than you?!

…but that’s not how I mean it to sound. It is what it is. I like people. It doesn’t have to be more complicated than that, it just can be sometimes.

I’m not particularly religious, but there’s a particular quote from my favorite anime that came to me while writing this.

Everyone’s the same, no exception. All of us. Equal before god.

– Izaya Orihara

Yes, I’m somewhat of an anime fan. Deal with it. This quote is from Durarara!!, a fantastic show chronicling the abnormal lives of people living in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. If anyone’s by any mad chance familiar with the show, they’d know Izaya isn’t by any means a shining example of healthy moral standards. His main claim to fame is analyzing people and putting them through hell, just to see how they’ll react. Despite this, I feel as though I do share his fascination with humanity. Maybe not quite so morbid, but the passion is there.

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Art by MoshiMoshi253

Life is a vastly complicated enigma that I will never understand, nor do I truly want to. I like observing things the way they are and taking them at face value. I judge the world so scarcely that people often question my own morals, and as I grow and change as a person, I’m starting to realize I don’t care what people think of me. I believe in right and wrong. I believe that perception is relative. Above all, I believe that humans are the most fascinating creatures I have ever seen.

Nothing is Meaningful

I overslept again today. Not in the same classic sense as yesterday, where I slept through my alarm and missed my class like your typical college student. No, today I woke up around 8 AM to realize that I’d slept for a solid twelve hours. I’d gotten into bed to relax around 7:45 only to doze… slowly… off… and wake up the next morning feeling different. Honestly, I wish I could say this didn’t happen often. Maybe not quite to the extent it did today, but when I don’t have reason to be up early, the urge to sleep and stay sleeping takes over no matter what.

Fatigue has been a problem I’ve faced for years now, beginning realistically when I’d just started high school. I’ve struggled daily with managing to balance the amount of pitiful restless sleep I get vs. how tired I’ll feel all day, no matter what. Four hours? Tired. Twelve? Exhausted. Six to eight? Perfect, but am I still sleepy by seven? Naturally. There’s an amalgam of issues at work when it comes to my sleeping problems. Anxiety keeping me awake, depression putting me to sleep, constantly waking up and having to fall back asleep even when I manage. Drinking coffee both helps and hurts my efforts, but to sum up, I’d essentially given up on trying to achieve a sleep schedule like a normal human being.

Until today.

Yesterday, I slept through one class and the other was cancelled. As a direct result, I was left with a full day to do whatever I wished. I had mentioned wanting something productive or profound to come out of it. No such thing did. What did come out of it was that one blog post and some dishes getting done. Other than that, all I have to show for having an entire day at my disposal is a finished season of Shameless and a whooooole lot less … weed.

And therein, I realized, lies the problem.

I’ve smoked weed on the regular (mostly daily, if I’m home) for about six months now. Before that, I limited my use to the occasional smoke when hanging out with friends or attending a party. A few friends of mine managed to get me into the more daily habit, and for quite a while, especially after coming home from my extremely stressful job, smoking marijuana was working for me. It wasn’t ever a perfect solution, but it would help. But yesterday, after crafting my blog entry and getting out of bed, I remember thinking to myself, “Seems like a wake-and-bake kind of day.”

I think I baked the day away, and I don’t want it to happen again.

For a while, I was fine with occasional lazy stoner days like that. They were a necessary lapse of mindless relaxation in a far too stressful world, but I’m starting to come into my own. I need to focus on my life and education. I doubt I’ll stop the occasional recreational smoke, but I don’t feel like I need to rely on weed as a safety blanket anymore. I never considered myself addicted. Rather, I was dependent. I no longer feel as though I need to depend on it.

I am a firm believer that even just lazing around and watching T.V. all day can still be meaningful, or even productive, as long as it makes you happy. Yesterday, none of it felt that way. I feel as though the weed may have dulled my senses in a way, because I wasn’t unhappy. I just wasn’t feeling much at all, and I don’t want that right now. Not when the feelings to be had are so beautiful and vibrant. I sacrificed my rainbow of emotions for a greyscale couch and television screen. In the past, everything was greyscale, so why did it matter?

Now, I don’t want to miss out on the chromatic life I can live. Even if I’d spent yesterday doing the same sort of things, I’m not sure I would have felt so empty were I sober. I figure it’s about time for a break. This doesn’t make me hate marijuana, nor its healing qualities. To be honest with you, I wish my mom would smoke more for her rheumatoid arthritis. I just value the emotional impact of so-called “meaningless” activity, and if weed’s diminishing the value, I simply don’t need the weed.

There’s a lot I could say on the concept of “nothing.” A girl whose name was nothing helped shape me into who I am today, for better or for worse. But today, I want to remind the world that days where you do nothing are not necessarily wasted. If you relaxed, if you were happy, then what was the harm?

Almost everyone I know my age values “productivity” above all else. If one does not do something that they consider productive in a day, that day can leave a foul taste in their mouth and feel useless. Worthless. Wasted. Those days add up, and pile slowly into the characteristic “lazy dreamer” attitude millennials are known to have. In no time at all, we feel awful because we’re so unproductive. “Why even try?” “I’m fucked.” “The world is against me.”

“I’m a useless, worthless, waste.”

So maybe I feel like I wasted yesterday, but I need to remind myself; I learned from this. Based on my strange experience I decided what my next step towards a better future was going to be. Being so unproductive yesterday only led to this revelation today. Everything, in its own right, has a purpose. You just have to seek it out.

Rerouting Life’s GPS

When my alarm went off at 5:30 today, I turned it off. This is not unusual. Like clockwork, every day, I set two extra alarms for fifteen minutes and a half hour before I really need to get up. 5:45 and 6:00 alarms would quickly come, and only then would I truly escape the dangerously addictive activity known as sleep.

I have a love-hate relationship with mornings, and these kinds of measures are necessary to ensure I pull my lazy ass out of my warm, safe cocoon of a bed and face whatever unknowns the outside world has for me. Back when I was working, getting out the door to head to a place I hated more than anything was a near-impossible feat that I still somehow managed to do. On the days or even weeks when depression reared its ugly head more than usual, I’d get out of bed for moments, only to collapse onto the floor in a whirlwind of tears and self-hatred. Those days are currently behind me. I hope desperately to leave them there, with my misery and uncertainty. Look forward, after all; it’s all you can do.

Today, however, my second and third alarms never came. Maybe I simply neglected to set them, or slept through them, or shut them off without remembering. Either way, out of dead sleep, I was suddenly reminded that I had school today. I needed to get up. My eyes flew open in a panic, not even blurry from sleep, and I slammed my finger on the home button of my poor, beaten-down iPhone on my bedside shelf. 9:00 on the dot. Those three bright white numbers stared at me, and I stared confounded back at them, for a mere moment until my locked phone flickered back to its idle black-screened state.

I’ve slept through my 8 o’clock class, I realized, dragging my hands down my face. Mind thoroughly blown, I do a mental recap of my life to date. Back in high school, when the idea of walking back into that godforsaken building sent such painful, searing dread down my spine that I would rather stay home and wallow in it: I still woke up. Work, later, Dunkin’ Donuts, coming to life at noon every day and heading in for my miserable closing shift at three: I still woke up. Even during my brief stint in banking, when everything seemed to be falling apart just like it did in high school, I drew each pained shaky breath and got out of bed. Even when the crushing sadness was physically too much to bear and I knew, oh how I knew, that I could never make it through the day: I woke up. Maybe I skipped. Maybe I called out. I always woke up.

February 7th, 2018: I unintentionally sleep through my morning obligation for the first time in recorded history. Mark your calendars, folks.

This morning wasn’t even one of those hard ones! As I stated in my last post, I’ve been absolutely happy lately. Why now, of all times, does this accident occur? It holds no weight, in the end. I apologize to my professor, make up the notes, and make sure to show up bright and early on Monday. No harm, no foul. Yet why do I feel so… off?

It’s simple: this never happens.

I can’t help but wonder if it was meant to be, for whatever reason. Why did the universe decide that I needed those few extra hours of sleep? Why was I fated to stay home today instead of go out? Was it to write this post? Will I do something profound in the next few hours, or will this incident simply fade meaninglessly into my past? Well, I do believe the latter is up to me. I was shaken this morning to wake up when I did. It threw a wrench into the works of my carefully balanced, hand-scheduled, bullet-journaled life. Am I glad I don’t have to deal with going to school today? Sure. Am I thankful for this sudden gift of seven extra hours of time I don’t know what to do with? Absolutely. But does this irregularity scare me? A little. I think it does a little.

Time, in fact, was going to be the topic of the next post on this blog, so I find this aberration too relevant to ignore. Me sleeping in today was only inconsequential if I deem it so. If I desire, I can turn this into a profoundly productive day. I have music to listen to. Words to pen. Lives to change. Hearts to reach.

Maybe I am simply a wildly hopeful girl who sometimes drowns in what feels like a hopeless existence, but I think everything can either matter to you… or not. I frequently find myself analyzing seemingly irrelevant moments like these and trying and find meaning in them. Needless to say, that can get me into some trouble when it comes to overthinking. But today, I have the outcome of my over-analysis in my hands. This blog post is the physical manifestation of what I consider some positive spin on what could have been an absolute disaster. Were this the me of even just a few weeks ago, I may have woken up feeling horrible, believing this minuscule indiscretion had already fucked up my college career within my first few weeks. This should be the end of my happy streak. Why am I not in shambles?

It’s because for once in my life, I know that that’s not true.

Maybe Zoloft is a miracle drug, or maybe this all is just a fluke phase of my life, and within a week I’ll be curled up in a ball on my floor again. The future is always as uncertain as a die roll, and for all I know, I’ll even sleep through tomorrow. I sure hope not, but like anything in life, I have no idea. For whatever reason, I’m okay with that ambiguity, and today, I think I am starting to get the hang of simply rolling with the punches.

Life is what we make of it, and some of us struggle to make it into something worth living, but hope is an invaluable resource. Whether or not this all will make my ups and downs easier to weather, I just don’t know. What I do know? Optimism is a gift I’ve nearly never managed to possess, and it’s lingering here at my fingertips. If I can keep looking at life through a clear, bright lens, I’ll look back on my high-def memories and smile… never frown.

Rose Colored Glasses

I have a few ideas for posts that I’ve planned out for this blog, just various concepts that came to mind that I figured might be interesting to talk about. Today, however, I have no intention of writing about any of them. For whatever reason, I was drawn to the blank page. This is my blog after all, and I’m under no obligation to cater to the desires of me from a week ago. Those posts will come in time. For now, why not muse? That’s what writing’s all about in the end.

Lately, I have been happy.

A few weeks ago in philosophy we were asked to be a gadfly, and pester our friends deeply about what happiness means to them. This particular post isn’t meant to be philosophical (sighs of relief all around, I’m sure), but more reflective of my own happiness. What does happiness mean to me? Sure, I asked them, but when have I ever asked myself?

Those of you reading who may know me (let’s face it– all of you know me, at least to an extent) are possibly aware that I was diagnosed with clinical depression. Needless to say, sometimes even against all logic, happiness, or even contentment is difficult to find. Yet lately, I’ve been happy. This could be due to a number of things. I quit my job just over a month ago, which had been causing me immense stress for quite some time now. I enrolled in college, which frankly, I was starting to feel like would never happen. I’ve been in good company, doing things I enjoy, and I’ve found someone who certainly helps make my life feel a little brighter, even when it’s dark.

I also started on some new medication– that’s definitely also a factor.

Even just opening this blog has provided me with something that enriches my life. As I type this post, knowing I’m free to write essentially whatever I want to share with the world, I am content. Whether or not anyone reads it, I’ll know forever that it is mine, and that I put my heart and soul into every little seemingly useless post I write. Meaning, (a whole other philosophical concept I’ll tackle eventually) is relative. And sometimes, even the most mundane of things can be the most rewarding.

When all is said and done, the worst moments of your life don’t have to define you. Human nature makes it difficult to focus on the bright side, especially those of us who may be more cynical or pessimistic. I, for one, know that I can over-dramatize any strife like a professional. Occasionally, in my battle with depression, something as small as a stubbed toe or a spilled drink can tip me over the edge if I’m already in a bad mood. To cherish happiness when you find it is a gift, but it’s not always easy. We are all destined to live lives woven with black and gold thread. It’s up to us, no matter how helpless we may feel, to look back on the gold.

Addition: Fact or Perception?

In philosophy class the other day, an interesting thought came to me when discussing the concept of reality. Someone stated that reality may be different from individual to individual, that what I am experiencing may be fundamentally different somehow from what the person next to me is experiencing. But of course, my professor clarified, undeniable facts would remain facts.

That assumption dressed as a certain truth made me wonder; what makes a “fact” absolute?

If an individual is raised and dies in total isolation, never learning or being able to grasp the concept of arithmetic, is 2+2=4 an objective fact of their reality?

Bear with me here.

“Reality itself” is quite the complex and intimidating concept to attempt to cover as the third post ever on my infant blog. Yet, it has been on my mind since the thought formed itself in my head about a week ago. I cannot shake this apparent discrepancy. What specifically of universal facts insinuates that they, above anything else, transcend the possibility that reality differs person to person? For the sake of this article, I’ll be using the basic mathematic concept that 2+2=4, but know that this can apply to a plethora of facts from all different sciences and studies.

Important Disclaimer: I am by no means trying to discredit science or math, or attempting to corrupt the minds of the youth. I am no flat-earther, no climate change denier. As a philosopher, I simply find the thought fascinating. If reality is individual, as it very well might be, how closed off could it be? If information of facts never reaches a certain person, do they ever become real?

The easiest way I can think of to simplify this is with a common question people ask; if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Sure, you might say, of course it does. Just because no one heard it, does not deny the fact that the impact occurred, and the sound reverberated. However, can anyone prove it? The definition of “fact” according to Google-dot-com, is “a thing that is indisputably the case”. Where is our proof? Where is our evidence? How, then, can we truly deem this “indisputable”?

When I brought this concept up with my friend Nick, he found it difficult to envision a scenario in which one would never need to add. For example, even someone isolated and in the poorest of conditions may still see two rocks on the ground, then two more, and the total amount, whether or not comprehended as mathematical, is technically four. However, when I contemplate this question, I think of this individual as a blank slate.

Take feral children for example. Over time there have been a few notable examples. Children raised by wolves, bears– hell, even an ostrich. Particularly, I consider the case study of Genie. Those faint of heart who are unaware of her story may wish to stop reading now (kudos for even reading this far!). Genie was a girl who’s father basically decided that she was mentally incapacitated at a young age, and kept her restrained, isolated and in a dark room for thirteen years before she was rescued. When psychologists analyzed her after her release, she had the mental development of a thirteen month-old child. She could hardly walk and would never truly be able to speak, as she had missed her developmental window to learn a first language. From what I’m aware, Genie is usually regarded as the prime example of a feral child due to the nature and extent of her captivity. Psychologists did quite the extensive case study. For those curious, as I was, I encourage you to read more.

To tie this all in, say a child like that was never rescued. Say a child was stuck in a dark room from their first year of life to their death, hardly nourished, hardly exposed to any contact at all. What, out of our reality, would simply not be a part of theirs? We may never find out the answer to this question, or perhaps it’s fundamentally flawed. I like to think of our perception of reality as fluid, and phenomena such as the placebo effect tend to back me up, but there are many ways one could think about what is or is not real. Even this is merely a potential outcome, in a world where there are endless ways to interpret who we are and where we stand.