Fighting Jealousy: Slaying My Green-Eyed Monster

When our air conditioner broke, we had to turn the air off for a few hours. It happened to be one of the hottest, most humid days Chicago has seen in a while. As I was coming into the house from outside, I felt the cool relief of our well-insulated home. The humidity was gone and the temperature felt lower.

Shortly after coming inside, I went down to the basement to help my boyfriend fix the air conditioner. Not 30 minutes later, I walked back upstairs to grab something, and was hit with a wall of hot and stuffy air from the exact same space that was cool less than an hour before.

The temperature hadn’t changed drastically. There was no rapid rise in humidity. But coming to that same middle ground from the opposite end of the temperature spectrum modified my perspective. I felt that the temperature was warmer because I was experiencing it from the cold angle while earlier it felt cooler because I had experienced it from the hot angle.

Shortly after experiencing this weird body temperature conundrum, my brain started connecting some crazy dots. That same physical change in perspective can be applied to emotional perspective. It was an analogy that physically made sense to me. And there are so many other ways to consider how your perspective affects your life.

The same situation can be completely different for two people or even the same person at a different time in his or her life. It all depends on our current perspective.

slaying my green eyed monster

I used to get ridiculously,  unequivocally jealous of other people. I coveted what they had, whether it was more blog followers, a book deal, money when I was broke, a relationship when I was single, vacations, etc. My jealousy held no bounds. I would think horrible things, like why can’t I have that? or I deserve that; why is it theirs, not mine?

My green-eyed monster was uuuuuuugly. I hated her, but I didn’t know how to slay her. I knew I was in the wrong, but for the life of me couldn’t make it stop.

And then one day, it hit me over the head like a pile of rocks. It was recent, and I’m ashamed to admit how recent. But it was something the unbelievably beautiful Samara said. At the wrong time, her words may have gone completely over my head, but at the time she said them, I was in a very solid place. I was surrounded by strong, brilliant women who were supporting each other. It was after I began really reading a lot of deep, heartfelt essays that put my own world into a different light. I had a new perspective and didn’t even realize it had happened.

So when Samara said something along the lines of, Why does anyone feel the need to compete with each other? We should be building each other up. There is enough success for all of us.

And oh my God did that resonate through every fiber of my being. It made sense on such a deep and powerful level, that I began to see more clearly the way to remove that green-eyed monster from my soul.

Even further still, the aphorism, “a rising tide lifts all boats,” which is often used in reference to economic changes was mentioned countless times this summer in reference to the writing community I call home. If we support each other, cheer each other on, help each other out, we are a part of the tide. And this can be applied to any aspect of your life.

We can all slay our green-eyed monsters.

Does this mean I never get jealous? Of course not. I’m only human. But I can be jealous without releasing that ugly kraken from within me. Instead, I try really really hard to isolate those twinges of jealousy before they overtake all of me.

When has your perspective changed how you react or respond to a situation? How do you battle jealousy? What inner-demons are you fighting with?

This piece was originally published on Sisterwives Speak.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Practicing Self-Compassion After an Eating Disorder

WARNING: This post may contain triggers for and about eating disorders. I had intended to write about yoga, but this post molded into something completely different.
1000Voices
Today, 1000 voices around the world are speaking and writing about compassion. This movement isn’t intended to change the world, but maybe…just maybe..it might. You can follow the movement by checking out the hashtag #1000Speak or by reading posts on the 1000 Voices for Compassion Link Up.

Compassion. What a beautiful and complicated word. Want to complicate it even more? Direct it at yourself.

Compassion. What a beautiful andI’ve had a love-hate relationship with my body since I was a little girl. I was the chubby girl. Bullied for my weight. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with my body since I was a little girl. I was the chubby girl. Bullied for my weight. Awkward. Quiet around my peers, but social around adults. Bigger than everyone else my age, but told I was beautiful by adults. Constantly informed that “I had a woman’s body.”

Chubby middle school pic

When I was in high school, I thought I was fat. I went on Weight Watchers for the first of MANY times. I lost between five and ten pounds. I would kill to weigh that much now.

Pink Princess

In college, I went back on Weight Watchers with my best friend. I lost about thirty pounds. I would kill to weigh that much now.

College party shirts

Over the years, my weight fluctuated as much as Oprah’s. Since I was 14 years old, my range has extended nearly 100 pounds. And sometimes, it was because of healthy things I did…and sometimes, it was not.

I guess it started in college when I was binge drinking. In college, I drank a lot. And I almost always threw up after drinking. When I felt sick, I’d preemptively puke. It seemed okay because everyone puked when they drank. And a lot of times, it wasn’t even preemptive…it just happened. I would drink to excess nearly every weekend.

And then it transitioned into something more.

At the end of and after college, I threw up. A lot. And it was no longer just because I was drinking. I purged daily for long periods of time. Some days it was more than once. Sometimes, after every meal. And after every snack. Between meals. Between dinner and dessert. I could go weeks or months without doing it. I didn’t believe I had a problem. And then one day, I would eat too much or not fit into a shirt the way I wanted to…and start again. I didn’t consider myself a bulimic. Because I was still fat. And I could stop whenever I wanted to.

Business suit

I would be eating something. And thinking about how full I was getting or how my stomach hurt just a little…and then I would think, well…just go throw up. And then I would. I started eating things that would be easier to un-digest. I preferred to eat out where I could purge in a public restroom rather than at home.  I would pull my hair back and take my shirt off before crouching over the porcelain god. I blamed itchy contacts for my red eyes after going to the bathroom. I carried gum and breath mints everywhere. I was strategic. But I still didn’t think I had a problem.

When my mom asked me about it, a couple years after it started…she was very blunt. “Are you bulimic?” She had seen remnants in the bathroom on a regular basis. The evidence was pretty stacked against me.

Chrissy at a wedding rehearsal

By then, I knew I had a problem. I had even admitted it to one of my friends. A friend I knew wouldn’t judge me…and a friend I knew wouldn’t take action. And she didn’t. But she would talk to me about it. And try to support me as best as she could. I responded to my mom in the only way I thought could be more evasive than point-blank lying. I told her I was just drinking too much. I wasn’t lying. I definitely drank A LOT. But I was still lying. To her…and probably to myself.

Self-Compassion After an Eating Disorder

I didn’t have compassion for myself. I didn’t respect my body. One of the clearest memories through all of this was the control that I felt. It wasn’t feeling skinny or the satisfaction of eating whatever I wanted. It was control. I would stand in front of the mirror, suck in my stomach and think, I can control this. But I didn’t love my body. Not with everything I was putting it through.

Feeling skinny

I remember telling another very good friend. Another friend who I knew wouldn’t judge me…but he would try in his own way to help me. And he definitely did. At dinner, he’d ask me why I was going to the bathroom at a restaurant. And eventually, just knowing that he had his eyes on me and could confront me held me back. When I was out with that group of friends, I would only go to the bathroom when I needed to pee, and I’d be fast about it. I puked less and less.

Somewhere along the way I stopped for good.

I wish I could tell you what made me stop. I wish I could tell you the moment that I took control of my urges and changed the control from puking to not puking. But I can’t. And it’s not just because I decided to stop one day and magically did. I know I could have benefited from professional help.

The funny thing is…as I was trying to find old pictures for this post…I couldn’t find one where I thought I was REALLY fat. But at the time…I thought I was huge. I know that I’m bigger now than I have ever been. And while I will continue to try healthy routes of diet and exercise, I’m becoming more comfortable with myself. I’m respecting and loving my body. Even when trolls on the internet think I’m fat. Or ugly. Or stupid. Or worthless. I am none of those. I am beautiful. And by respecting myself and my body, I can better show compassion toward others.

When we have compassion for someone, we sympathize. We empathize. We express concern. We show love. We sometimes pity. We worry. We care. We think. We share in the experiences of others. Compassion is difficult.

When we have compassion for ourselves, we have to dig deep to truly understand our minds and our bodies. We learn to respect what we can and cannot do. We strive to achieve. We exist.

curvy yoga
I recently started practicing yoga again. And I can’t tell you how much the support on Instagram and Facebook has meant to me. I’ve been participating in yoga challenges, and posting yoga pictures daily. Not only is it keeping me accountable, but I’m able to channel that same control I once had over my body into a new venture. Instead of controlling what goes in and out of my body, I can control how I move my body. And I can challenge myself while respecting my limitations and understanding that I am beautiful. Regardless of my size. Or whether society thinks I should take a picture of myself in a sports bra.

curvy yogaHow do you practice self-compassion? Have you suffered from an eating disorder? How have you handled body issues for yourself?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

I agree with the Supreme Court…But Not for the Reasons You Think

I’ve been having this massive, internal struggle.

Because…

I agree with the Supreme Court.

Hear me out before you get shouty. I’m not against birth control. I’m pro-choice. In ALL matters. I believe in a PERSON’S right to do what they want pertaining to their lives and bodies, so long as it doesn’t harm others or break laws.

So when Hobby Lobby took their plight to the U.S. Supreme Court, I wasn’t thrilled. But when the Court determined that it was their right to refuse birth control, the liberal world went guns blazing in attack mode. And I started feeling this unyielding urge to agree with the Court’s decision.

I couldn’t figure out why.

I don’t believe that anyone should be denied birth control…and quite frankly, with this decision, no one is being DENIED anything. Employees of a known religiously-motivated company will not have their birth control paid for by the company.

The aforementioned employees are not being told they’ll be tested for use of birth control or fired for using it. The company doesn’t want to pay for it.

Fine.

If you don’t agree? Don’t work there.

But we’re missing the point.

There is a MUCH bigger issue here than birth control or the idea that this is about women’s rights. Because it’s not. Health care in the United States is tied to employment.

TIED TO OUR JOBS.

Pissed-off liberals will tell you that the employers just gained the right to tell employees what they can and can’t do with their bodies.

But you know what?

Employers have had that privilege for YEARS.

I was on birth control for almost 10 years. Never. NOT ONCE was it covered by my insurance. Not even partially.

Currently, I use several medications (unrelated to contraceptives, but related to my well-being and ability to function on a daily basis). Because some of these drugs are available over the counter, I can’t even use my HSA (which is SUPPOSED to cover medication prescribed by a doctor) to purchase them.

ADDITIONALLY, my current employer will only insure my prescription drug purchases as long as I don’t use one of the big four pharmacies in the area. Because they are direct competitors with my company. Did you hear that? Let me repeat it for you. My company is dictating WHERE I can make my prescription purchases.

Because health care is tied to our jobs.

I spent the better part of my twenties uninsured. I didn’t go to the doctor. I didn’t take care of myself with regular checkups because I couldn’t afford it. Was I unemployed the entire time? No. I worked part time jobs, freelanced, waited for grace periods at new jobs.

The Obamacare plan was a step in the right direction, but it was just a step. Babies don’t start walking and run a marathon the next day.

The Supreme Court is right.

Why is the government forcing these mandates on companies? Because from where I’m standing, companies shouldn’t be in control of insurance. They need to regulate insurance companies (or do away with them altogether). The government should be making healthcare the same for everyone. Employed. Unemployed. Religious. Non-religious. Sick. Healthy. All health services should be readily available AT THE SAME COST for everyone.

Insurance is a big fat multi-billion dollar operation. These companies make COMMISSION on you. They’re gambling on your health. They “negotiate” prices with doctors’ offices and hospitals to give you a “discounted” rate…except that many times, you’ll get a better rate if you DON’T have insurance. Or if you qualify for Obamacare. I’ve discovered, after talking to several people, that some insurance plans available through employers cost the same, or more, but offer FEWER benefits than Obamacare. And yet people who are offered “reduced-rate” insurance through their employer don’t qualify for a reduced-rate Obamacare plan.

There are still problems with the system, but we’re moving in the right direction.

So maybe both sides of this debate should stop worrying about one company’s beliefs and a single court ruling, and instead they should worry about the bigger picture. Because this isn’t about women or contraception or religion. This is about corporate entities having control over ALL of our medical decisions.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Birthday Anxiety

Good morning Blog Friends! My birthday is exactly one week away.  And I love doing fun things FOR YOU on my birthday.

image

So I get birthday anxiety. I don’t know if that’s a thing or not, but if it is, I get it. If you haven’t been around here long, you probably don’t know that I’m definitely the Clark Griswold of my little world. I have high expectations for just about everything…which leads to serious disappointment most of the time.

So I haven’t made plans for the second anniversary of my 29th birthday. Because we’re going to a wedding on my birthday. And I share a birthday with Brian’s brother. And because life has been out of control and busy. Moving is hectic…moving everything into storage and living in someone else’s house is more hectic. Especially when the house feng shui doesn’t jive with your own personal OCD tendencies. But I digress.
All of that is actually OK. I’m excited for the wedding. Brian’s brother is awesome. And a hectic life? Means I’m getting shit done. And the house sitch? Hello house hunting fun!

But birthday anxiety. That is a tricky one. I can’t quit that. Brian and my friends keep asking what I want to do. And telling me to throw a party. (Because I do throw a killer party). But I don’t wanna. I’m not in my own house. I don’t have time to cook or clean. And so I don’t have plans.

image

Instead, I’m going to send YOU joy. Because giving away presents makes me happy. Especially when it’s a giant box of surprises. There will be fun for the whole family (if you feel like sharing) so trust me when I say you want to win.

But how do you win? Easy. Just leave a comment below with an answer to the following questions. You can gain an extra entry through social media by sharing this post, just make sure you tag me.

Do you get birthday anxiety? If you do, how do you deal with it? What’s the best part of your birthday? What should I do for my birthday?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Confession Friday: I Love the Smell of Skunk

What? Yes. Skunk.

So I didn’t ALWAYS feel this way. When my dog, Buck-the bad dog was skunked, I was headed out on a quasi-date and very displeased. The weeks that followed were smelly and unpleasant.

When our roommate’s dog, Dexter-the snuggle pup was skunked, I panicked. It was leading up to our Disneycation and everything was coming up skunk. It was more than unpleasant to say the least.

The thing is that I have a RIDICULOUS sensory memory. OK, I have a ridiculous memory, regardless…But now, when I smell skunk, especially now that it’s fall, all I can think of is: DISNEY! When do we go back? I miss you, Disney! Brian, puh puh puh leeeeease? And then I see images in my mind, something kind of like these: 

 

Disney Halloween Katie and Chrissy Disney Brian and the Crocodile Eeyore5 Disney at Halloween

And then Brian says to me, “No.”

Okay, he says that there are lots of other places that we should go, but all I can do is smell skunk and smile.

What about you, blog friends? Any crazy sensory memories that just completely bring you back?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Hot Mess? Who? Me?

“I’m a hot mess.”

“Don’t mind me. I’m just a hot mess.”

“Sorry. I’m a hot mess. Most of the time.”

“Mostly, I’m just a hot mess.”

“Crap! I’m such a hot mess.”

These are phrases that come out of my mouth on almost a daily basis.

Walk into a pole? I’m a hot mess.

Embarrass myself in front of famous authors? I’m a hot mess.

Almost destroy my new boyfriend’s bathroom rug? I’m definitely a hot mess.

So when I was at GenCon, it wasn’t a surprise that I was walking into people, knocking shit over, and dropping things all over the place, apologizing with “I’m a hot mess.”

What I did find surprising (and really, I shouldn’t have), was at one point in the con, when some guy walked past me, yelling, “Hey! It’s the Hot Mess!”

And then it registered. And I was like. “You remembered me?” Because obviously, I don’t even know what stupid thing I had done (probably when I dropped like 5 games off a shelf) to be so memorable.

Of course, he proceeded to tell me that he “had a thing for redheads.” At which point, I smiled and walked away.

Only to see him a few hours later, again yelling out to me, “Hey! How’s it going Hot Mess?!”

I just hung my head in shame and walked away. When I told Brian, he just told me to stop calling myself a hot mess (after I explained that I was the one who said it first…I think he was ready to punch a guy for calling me a hot mess…or at least that’s how I imagined it.)

Which is easier said than done.

The face of a serious hot mess

The face of a serious hot mess

Is it just me? Tell me something weird you do.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Confession Friday: I Love Myself

A short post but the truest of genuine posts that could possibly be.

I don’t want to sound cocky or anything…but sometimes…I totally think I’m awesome. Even when I’m not.

I have this thing for liking my own blog posts. And Facebook statuses. And tweets. And anything else that I could possibly like that belongs to me.

It’s not even a stats game.

Because I stopped obsessing over the stats.

I’ve got a friend who likes every comment she makes or posts on Facebook. And I admire that in a person. I mean, if you say it, you should like it right?

And I recently realized that no matter how much shit does not go the way you want it to or expect it to…

If you love your life, you should live your life and not worry about the things that haven’t happened yet or the things that you can’t change.

So I decided that I’m going to love my life. And my blog posts.

Twitter Likes Blog Post Likes

 

 

 

 

What can I say?

I’m a sucker for liking myself.

I like my own posts

 

What about you, Blog Friends? Do you like your own posts? Tweets? Do you think it’s ridiculous that I like mine…publicly?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

When Hate Happens (I Probably Shouldn’t Write About This)

I try really hard to be a mostly positive person. Sure, I bitch about shit. Life’s life, guys. Shit happens. Bitching happens. And Hate. Hate unfortunately happens. Not my hate, though…someone else’s hate was spewed on me. Just like that one time I got hate mail from MySpace. And so my dear friends I am offering you a piece of my past.

I Used to be a Waitress Server

I grew up in a bar, so it wasn’t unusual that I found myself working in restaurants and bars whenever I wasn’t working a full-time job. For about 6 months, I worked as a waitress an Irish pub (you know, the dark wood, make the servers wear kilts and knee highs kinda place).

But at the same time. After that job, I swore that I would never be a waitress again.

I’m going to give you a little glimpse into the why.

One afternoon, two very unhappy looking ladies entered the bar and sat in my section. They ordered chips, soup and salad. No beer. No booze. And no smiling.

So I tried to be my chipper cheery self.

Unfortunately, they also got to meet my super klutzy self. As I was clearing their plates away (and God forbid they should have attempted to move out of the way just a smidge so that I could easily access the empty plates that they wanted removed…), I accidentally tipped the dressing boat/ramekin and some spilled out. Most of it went to the floor, and a few drops landed on this girl’s winter coat. I rushed to clean the mess, and apologized profusely, but I was met with disdain. Disdain for me being a lowly server. Disdain for my MASSIVE life altering error. Disdain for me as a human being. And I apologized. And this girl glared at me. And I offered to pay for the coat to be cleaned, because God forbid you spill anything on an old-looking, dark colored coat…

She paid the bill, and forgot to leave me a tip. I’m going to assume she forgot. I mean, she must not have realized that servers get paid like $4/hour if they’re lucky.

Seriously guys, I’ve spilled ice cream on bridesmaids that were nicer to me than this girl was. I went home and cried.

A few weeks later, my boss came to me with the following (on which I’ve blacked parts out to protect the guilty.)

Bitchy Waitress

Bitchy Waitress

The dry cleaning cost more than the bill she stiffed me on.

If you’re wondering whether I sent her the check? I did. A few weeks afterwards…I wasn’t making a whole lot of money at said bar…I didn’t think she was that desperate for the $20 based on the fact that she spends $20 to dry-clean one item…

Unfortunately for this girl, the check was returned to me about 3 weeks after I retired from waiting tables. Apparently, she gave me the wrong address.

I didn’t think it was necessary to seek her out.

For the record, guys…ALWAYS be nice to your servers. The Golden Rule ALWAYS applies. Even when it’s lowly, bitchy waitresses. Because one day, she might be almost famous and tell the story about how you were mean that one time.

Were you ever a server? Bartender? Anything in the service industry? Dealing with people sucks, amiright? Tell me your story!

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Have I Mentioned That I’m a Hypochondriac?

OK, so y’all are PROBABLY going to think I’m crazy (if you don’t already…and if you really don’t, WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN?) after reading this…but it needs to be said.

In addition to the unhealthy fear that I will have MS (ever since watching the Annette Funicello Story when I was a kid) and the irrational fear of botulism…I’ve recently begun having new thoughts when it comes to my health and well-being.

Perhaps. Maybe. I might possibly. Have a gluten intolerance. Or full blown Celiac’s Disease.

You see, I’ve had some…let’s say digestive issues…for a while now.

And recently, I discovered that headaches can be a direct effect of a gluten intolerance. And have I told you about the crazy headaches I sometimes get? In which I have to wrap my head in a heating pad after popping a whole handful of over-the-counter pills in order to fall asleep?

And then yesterday I GOOGLED the canker sore in my upper lip, you know because maybe they’ve come up with a new way to kill canker sores, amiright? And you know what I found, BLOG FRIENDS?

Celiac’s Disease. Causes. Canker sores.

And Google doesn’t lie. Especially when Google is advised by WebMD.

For the past month or so, I’ve been reading labels, learning what I may have to give up, savoring every piece of bread, noodle, cupcake, cookie, muffin, bagel like it might be my last…deciding “I can do it.” and “Oh God no! Not the cookies! Not the breakfast sandwiches!”

And so Blog Friends, I think I’m going to go find out for real about this one. What would you do?

If I think that I'm a hypochondriac, does that mean that I am one?

Do you ever feel like a hypochondriac?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Confession Friday: Sometimes I’m a Hot Mess. Sometime’s I’m Not.

Let me start by saying this: Anxiety Disorder is a fickle bitch. For me, it’s like I’m a complete contradiction of myself. Take that one time I met Jenny Lawson, for example.

Within two hours of freaking the fuck out when I met Jenny Lawson (Shaking hands, heart racing, rambling uncontrollably about nothing, and basically making a complete fool of myself, when all I wanted to do was impress her with my clever wit and overall adorable-ness…neither of which I was able to showcase), I went out to the bar where I proceeded to stand up in front of an entire bar full of people, and sing a song about masturbation without a second thought. (I’m kind of a karaoke nerd. For the record, I was singing the Divinyls’ “I Touch Myself,” loudly. Proudly, even.)

Why?

No, seriously. It doesn’t make any sense! I can make a fool of myself (ON PURPOSE) in front of a hundred strangers…but meeting one famous person sends me into a pile of incoherent goo. IN THE SAME NIGHT.

Karaoke Queen Karaoke Queen

Do you have any crazy quirks that make you question your sanity? Tell me, Blog Friends!

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!