Friday, January 31, 2014

Hold your horses!

Last night we had a new moon in the sky. It was the second new moon in the same month and this phenomenon is called a black moon. This new moon also marked the beginning to the Chinese New Year. We have now moved from the year of the snake to the year of the horse.

For those unfamiliar with the Chinese zodiac, it is a 12 year cycle with an animal representing each year. In one folk story, the order of these animals was said to be decided by their arrival in a race decreed by the Jade Emperor. The animals arrived in the order of Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. The origin stories of the zodiac vary, but of course I love a good story.

I was born in 1989 in the year of the Snake. Every 12 years, it is the year of the snake again and said to be a very favorable year for me. That's an understatement if there ever was one!

The new moon also signifies new beginnings. For me, this is the little extra push towards being a freelance mental health professional and performer. Yes, I want to do both and I can do both. Already this month I've applied to casting calls, auditioned for a few films, and have already been cast in a student film as well as working on a film skit tomorrow.

I've been working towards this lifestyle for awhile and now that I am so close to living it 24/7, the important thing is maintaining it. I've never been the type of person who gets really comfortable standing still. The world is too big and beautiful for me to not want to see and do everything!

So now's the time, people! Let's go out there and take charge of our lives and passions. If you have already given up on your resolutions for change, guess what, you have another chance to start over. In fact, every day you have the chance to take charge and turn your life in a positive direction. Even the smallest step can be the beginning to bring you to a whole new location.

2014 is here and let's make the most of it before we are doing this all again in 2015!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

We have so much in common?

Last night I did something never before attempted: I went out on a date with a person met through an online dating website.  Keep in mind, I have not gone out on a date in 7 years and my longest relationship lasted a month. My roommates have been helping with the preliminary screening process because they understand people better than me sometimes most times. If someone says they absolutely love movies and their favorite movie is "The Grinch" with Jim Carrey, their taste in movies may not be top notch. My friends are being really supportive as I give this whole 'dating' thing for a whirl. So after a few weeks of talking to Mister Match, I agreed to meet him for a drink at a local bar. I got out of work and ran a few errands before heading over to the bar. 

Now it was only walking towards the bar I realized a HUGE problem. How was I going to recognize this person? Pictures online are sometimes misleading, but that's not even the worse part. Now the problem with me is face blindness. Brigid Fact Fact! I tend to ignore people when walking around because I cannot identify 90% of people in location A if I met them in location B. Sometimes a new haircut or a person not having glasses on will also completely throw me off. I tend to identify my friends in a crowd through a combination of sounds, smells, visual cues, and their energy. The last one's a bit complicated to explain to some, but now's not the time.

Standing in the middle of the room, I quickly did the math and noticed who looked like they were alone. Right at the end of the bar was my date. We heading into the side room and began to chat. Now, it may be my fault, but the date felt more like an interview. The questions were coming from my side and quickly falling into the void of his side. He seemed like a really nice guy, but there was a communication block between us.

See, the purpose of this online business is not really to find the love of my life. I'm looking to expand my circle of friends and meet cool new people who I'd enjoy hanging out with. Quickly eliminating the people looking to settle down and get married, the people currently chatting with me have been genuinely cool people. This made the letdown of not really clicking with the person even more of a letdown.

When we parted ways, there was an awkward dance. Not sure if anyone else has done this hug/handshake/kiss dance, but it is a familiar one to me. Trying to go in for a handshake, (Don't give me that look! Handshakes are awesome) and then deflect to the hug when they are confused, and finally give into the goodnight peck. Yup, not really feeling anything as I quickly made my way to the local goth club night. I went in feeling deflated and genuinely bummed out. I don't want to spend my time kissing frogs when I'm not really looking for a prince charming.

No sooner than I got to the bar did my friends offer great words of wisdom. See as one of the youngsters, and just because that's the type of person I am, advice from people who have already done things really helps me. Different perspectives can seem alien to me and like a social anthrolopoligist, gathering these bits of information excite my by expanding my view of the world.

People told me I was brave to try this new endeavor and some of my friends enjoy living vicariously through me. Others who had done similar things had let me know it takes some time and this whole ordeal really helps let you know what type of person you want in your life. One of my other friends advised me to go to places I wanted to be and I'd find similar minded people in those places.

The complex world of social relationships confuses me a lot. My adventure this year is going to make me figure out more the type of people I want to have in my life. A few toxic people got left behind last year so now there is once again space in my life for healthy people. That being said, I also need to prioritize time for me. If my relationship with myself is not a good one, there is no way to be there for others. To quote the famous RuPaul, "'If you don't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?"

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Why I don't want to see your lunch.

There is something I've noticed on the internet and based on comics like The Oatmeal, this is not only on my facebook page. It would be hysterical to imagine history teachers in the future making their students research the origins of this sensation the same way we currently ask students to research what events led up to the Civil War in the United States. "Please write a 2-4 page paper on the origins of people taking pictures of their daily meals and posting these pictures to social media websites. Please note: pictures of food for religious or celebratory purposes are not to be included. "

I have two very big issues with this whole posting food pictures trend. The first issue has to deal with the eating and diet culture we have. The outdated and unhealthy model of "Skinny is Beautiful" oversimplifies health and nutrition. We have a problem in our country with eating disorders and disorder eating. In fact, if you look at your friends on Facebook you make know some of these people. However, odds are you don't know everyone who struggles with an eating disorder or who is working to be healthier and recover from their eating disorder.

"Up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder) in the U.S."- The Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders, “Eating Disorders 101 Guide: A Summary of Issues, Statistics and Resources,” 2003

As someone who tries to be an advocate for many people and a supportive person, the last thing I want to do is post something out there which could cause someone a problem. There are pictures of food I've posted, but those come from travel adventures and most are not terribly appetizing to look at. I sometimes chronical exotic foods not for the sake of others, but for my own memories. My long term memories sometimes get jumbled and there are some fun things I wish to remember in years to come.

The second reason I have issues with posting food has to do with a basic life function: hunger. Just like you may not know how many people on your social media page have eating disorders, you may not know how many people on your page go hungry. Although it should not be, food is not always plentiful for everyone. Let's not even get into the conversation about healthy food being affordable in places referred to as "food deserts".

"In 2012, 49.0 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 33.1 million adults and 15.9 million children. "-

I was one of those people who lived in a house where there truly was nothing to eat some days. This was also while I worked 40+ hour weeks, lest some of you think I was a slacker. (If you have ever thought I was a slacker, you are obviously not paying attention.) Having money to provide nutritious meals sometimes does not happen. I know I've had to make the choice to either pay for medication or food. I choose to get the medication I needed in order to keep my quality of life up enough to go to work so maybe next week there would be money for food.

Hunger is a real issue for many in our community. The point I'm trying to make is to encourage people to be more mindful of what they put out in cyberspace. Posting about your decadent lunch won't cause the world to end, but donating some canned goods to a local food pantry if you can afford it may help change the world a little. It's not just Thanksgiving or other major celebrations we should be thankful for what we have. If you can go to bed with a full stomach, or at least don't have hunger pains keeping you up at night, consider yourself blessed.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Deciphering the Mind

My breaking point came at the mall sitting in the food court with my mother surrounded by dozens of unruly people. I felt hunger, but the food in front of me went untouched. I knew something was wrong, but couldn't put my finger on it to say what it was.
"Don't worry," my mother said. "We'll just talk until you figure out what is bothering you."
THIS is one of the reasons I love my mother so much. It takes me time to process some things and only by speaking these problems aloud in a stream of conscience type of fashion can I actually figure out what is in my head. I wish it wasn't as confusing to be me, but it is. I'm a mystery to myself sometimes and that can be the most frustrating thing in the world.
So then I talked about what was on my mind. These conversations confuse people who don't understand me because often I'll begin in the middle of a sentence or jump subjects without warning if I am trying to figure out what is going on in my head. It is not an exact science, but I just talk about everything that comes to the top of my head. When I'm finished with the thought, I either continue to talk about it or move on to something else. It's a verbal process of elimination where the topic I keep talking about or the only one left over rattling around in my brain when I've said everything else is my problem.
It was then staring at my shrimp I realized what was weighing on me.
I did it.
I build my life on my schedule and now it is up to me to make it work. This week was my first week into being basically my own boss and it was intense. I started a new fitness routine, eating way more protein that I usually do to help pump myself up, and I'm now accountable to myself.
This is intense and everything I wanted. I'm sore and tired and still not unpacked into my new apartment, but it's okay.
For the first time in months, I'm truly 100% happy. I'm standing in the exact place I wanted to be and it's glorious. Dreams do come true if you work hard and don't give up. Believe in yourself and, as cheesy as it sounds, anything can happen.