’30’s are Weird … Pt. III .

THIRTY REASONS

{ that’s not true }

OUR THIRTIES

{ Pt. III is here : see what I mean }

ARE WEIRD

{ … }

AS F.

{ … }

Pt. III .

{ Thirties. Right now, as we speak, the biological age of “The ’30’s” — I apologize, in advance, if anyone perceived this to be about the 1930’s, which really wasn’t that weird … but almost equally as tragic — is a true Phenomena. International, Technological, Cultural, Economical, Political: being ’30 during the latter teens of the Millennium is quite harrowing + requires the emergence of a completely new Cultural Identity. }

This is a 3 Part Post : 30 Reasons Our Thirties, in 2017, are Weird. As F.
I will publish in 3 installments — possibly a week apart, possibly more. { I can’t say. I’m a confused 30-something: give me some space. } Whilst reading, you will either completely relate, + I will give Voice to our Unidentified Generation. Or — possibly And — you will deem me crazy. With outdated cultural references, an over-reliance on “Mean Girls,” shoddy extended metaphors, an illegible Writing Voice { hey I’m not gonna’ change that }, and someone who is clearly incredibly neurotic + insecure about her ’30’s. … But hey, at least I can admit it.

Cont’d. from Part II { posted Tues., 5.9.2017 }

Not yet in my ’30’s, celebrating my friend’s 30th. … #meta.

Thirty Reason your Thirties, in 2017, are Weird. AF. 

In condescending order of importance.

10. Money + The Great Unknown. … What is “healthy”?

Student loan debt v. “healthy” credit card debt v. “healthy” retirement v. … Too many variables. Don’t even tell me to speak with a Financial Advisor, because honestly, current-’30-somethings are the Lost Audience. I don’t want to know what was healthy for my parents at age ’30-something. I want to know what’s healthy for me. And, thing is, Globalization is changing our World so quickly … that No One Knows.

9. Dog Moms + Cat Lady’s. We joke but … we’re actually self-conscious.

Is ’30’s too young to become full-on Dog Moms/Dads + Cat Lady’s/Sir’s?? Maybe, we’re just growing up too damn fast. …

8. Lifestyle + Travel. So you’re unmarried, yes … and no kids??

Well, my friend, you have the world at your finger tips. Oh, but you were also late getting your career started because — recession — and you’re not sure about too much credit card debt because — student loan debt! — so … where does travel fit in.

  • Do we vacation every once in a while??
  • Do we turn travel into a Lifestyle and start small with day-trips + Staycations.
  • Most Importantly : Is it still okay to couch surf at your friends. … Or is that what Air BnB is for. Never a debate in my ’20’s. But not that I’m ’30+ … couch surf is unreasonable? And, apparently, it’s also a thing.

7. Tiny Houses. Studies have shown

Jk, Tiny Houses have barely existed long enough to show how much they:

  • decrease in value
  • tear relationships apart
  • come loose at the screws — quite literally — whilst driving on the side-road before the freeway road, let alone the hairpin road to that National Park you dreamed of visiting … in your Tiny House.

Don’t get me wrong. I fully want to build as well as live in one. Don’t get me wrong.

{  Surprise!
There are only 25 reasons … and that’s a stretch.  }

1. Social Media RevolutionDid 2012 change everything? YES.

  • Personal Experience – Exhibit 1My older brother is 4 years older than me, and our childhoods, including high school, quite similar : internet happened at school & Encyclopedia Britannica flanked bibliographies.
  • Personal Experience – Exhibit 2My younger brother is 6 years younger than me, and our childhoods, especially high school, quite differed : he IM’ed anytime of day { not just after 9pm }, Facebook { ‘nough said }, + he obtained his 1st cell phone as a freshman in High School — 4 years earlier than me.
  • Blow Your Mind MomentStill — regardless of these vast differences named in E2 — a 2003 high school graduate and a 2010 high school graduate have much more in common than, say … anyone in high school in-and-around 2012. In other words :

If you’re 10-ish years my junior { 20 – 23, 24 } right now, we are all Millennials … and still Universes apart. Why?

It’s not just cell phones. It’s not just WiFi. It’s not just Facebook. It’s not even Twitter. It’s Share-E-Bus! The Three-Headed Social Media Beast-Dog. In 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram, mainstreaming the latter { trust me : Insta was once obscure + so much better }, and Snapchat grew in usage. Social Media devoured Adolescent / Emerging Adult’s { see past posts! } lifestyles.

I’m not sure if Share-E-Bus guards the Underworld or has opened its gates for actual Hell on Earth. 

But I do know that Social Media is no longer just an add-on. A side-dish we use to complement our meal or an appetizer before the actual interaction. Social Media is the Main Course: a mainstream channel through which current ’20-somethings — certainly generations younger — actually interact + socialize. I’m not saying they don’t meet-up IRL. { This isn’t Virtual Reality, yet. } But I am saying that Share-E-Bus devours all. … And its gnarly three heads has devoured the 2nd half Millennials, and future Generations, more than it has ANY of us.

Mind . Blown .

In Summary, ’30’s are just … weird . … a . f.

#shoplocal
{ because , always }

#30sareweird

#af

X . 

’30’s are Weird … Pt. II .

THIRTY REASONS

{ that’s not true }

OUR THIRTIES

{ wait for Pt. III : see what I mean }

ARE WEIRD

{ … }

AS F.

{ … }

Pt. II .

{ Thirties. Right now, as we speak, the biological age of “The ’30’s” — I apologize, in advance, if anyone perceived this to be about the 1930’s, which really wasn’t that weird … but almost equally as tragic — is a true Phenomena. International, Technological, Cultural, Economical, Political: being ’30 during the latter teens of the Millennium is quite harrowing + requires the emergence of a completely new Cultural Identity. }

This is a 3 Part Post : 30 Reasons Our Thirties, in 2017, are Weird. As F.
I will publish in 3 installments — possibly a week apart, possibly more. { I can’t say. I’m a confused 30-something: give me some space. } Whilst reading, you will either completely relate, + I will give Voice to our Unidentified Generation. Or — possibly And — you will deem me crazy. With outdated cultural references, an over-reliance on “Mean Girls,” shoddy extended metaphors, an illegible Writing Voice { hey I’m not gonna’ change that }, and someone who is clearly incredibly neurotic + insecure about her ’30’s. … But hey, at least I can admit it.

Cont’d. from Part I { posted Wed., 4.26.2017 }

Thirty Reason your Thirties, in 2017, are Weird. AF. 

In condescending order of importance.

“It’s so new, in fact, that most boomerang kids and their parents are still struggling to make sense of it. Is living with your parents a sign, as it once was, of failure? Or is it a practical, long-term financial move?,” -Adam Davidson, “New York Times”

20. Non-Trendy TrendsettersEmerging Adulthood : The previous post used some Logic / “logic proof” to contextualize Emerging Adulthood. { #29 … if you can get through that, we are bff. } The real irony is that ’30-somethings have the responsibility of setting a new trend. Think about it this way:

  • Fact. ’30-somethings are NOT trendy. I’m sorry, we can’t try to take this from the 2nd-half Millennials. We just need to know when is when, and what is fleek is fleek.
  • Truth. … And yet. It is True that the ’30’s need some New Life. New Voice. New Perspective. New Benchmarks. (#21)
  • Conundrum. So, what?? It’s up to the non-trendy to … set the new trend?

I do NOT got this. If you do — let. me. know.

19.  Boomerang Generation. This is a confusing time in our history, and definitely messes with the cultural identity of ’30-somethings. Read link to understand.

18. Marriage. Nope!

17. Kids. Also no.

If you’re a 30-something who is married, or on their way, or who has had children, or is on their way — hell, if you’re a ’20-something who has : this post does not apply.

16. Where do we sit at the bar?? Obviously, with our friends.

But, where do we actually want to sit? Is it weird if we end up near a group of ’20-somethings + don’t mind it. Does it mean we’re living in our past?? Are we still weirded-out if we sit near obviously older-somethings: say — gasp! — ’40’s, even though we’re now older?

  • Don’t pretend like you haven’t wondered this.
  • We’re all imagining Cady Heron’s drawing of her HS cafeteria. And please be impressed that this is my 3rd  4th “Mean Girls” reference …

15.  OMG. Are we still allowed to say this??

I mean actually say — Oh. Em. Gee — or is that “beneath” us. But we’re still allowed to type it right? … This technology revolution is confusing. It is messing with our development. TBH IRL #icannoteven b/c IDEK. <– Wave of our Future Language, PS.

14. 401K + Projecting. This matters. And yet … will we actually be able to retire?

We grew-up with Enron + Madoff: we know that companies can just lose our money. So … do we continue to invest in our 401K’s because this is what people do … or do we learn from history and redefine this? That’s a large-charge.

  • TBH. This isn’t just our battle.
  • But also. … Doesn’t it feel like we need to spearhead it?

13. Organized Hobbies. I’m lost.

It was cool + normal to have organized hobbies — i.e. kickball — in your ’20’s. And it’s totally badass to join an Artist’s Guild or a Rec Soccer League in your ’40’s: it’s a resurgence, a Renaissance of sorts. But, in your ’30’s, unless you’re an actually >> good << artist + unless you’re like vying for semi-pro sports … doesn’t it feel weird to engage in organized hobbies? It’s like brandishing to the world —

I HAVE NO S.O. I HAVE NO HOUSE I NEED TO TEND. I HAVE NO CHILDREN. I AM THE LOST ’30’S FIRST-HALF MILLENNIAL OF MY GENERATION.

Which, is fine. But I’d like some actual slogan / identity to cling to as I throw all convention into the toilet that I rent, and do not own.

12. “Dating.” Not only does every age-range within every Generation have a different definition for this … 

But also, so does every human on the face of the planet. Check-it:

  1. Teens have … high school. Even neighboring high schools, if you’re daring.
  2. Early-Twenty-Somethings have … college. Or their friends’ colleges.
  3. All Twenty-Somethings have … the bar. And apparently Tinder, and Bumble, … and Sea Plenty of FishIt’s not creepy yet!
  4. ’40+ Somethings have … internet dating. It seems super appropriate + successful for that demographic.
  5. … ’30-somethings. … Look, I get that ’30-somethings have the bar, Tinder, Bumble, + Plenty of Fish too. … It just feels more acceptable in your ’20’s. So cheers to my ’30-something friends who are crushing it.

Not sure this is “appropriate” ’30’s attire … and also not sure I care?

11. Fashion. Fash.

I forever shop at Forever21 … even though I’m not 21. { “Forever” is the brand name for a reason … . } I definitely #ShopLocal. It’s not so much — I dunno where to buy clothes. It’s that — I dunno what to f-ing wear. Somewhere between >> s8er hoody and full-on blazer << there’s a healthy ’30’-something medium. I struggle to find it.

Brain / Life Cramp, Again.

{ That is it, again, for now. Tune in for Pt. III — it continues to get way more relatable, and just a bit more academic. … Talk soon. }

#shoplocal
{ because , always }

#30sareweird

#af

’30’s are Weird … Pt I .

THIRTY REASONS

{ that’s not true }

OUR THIRTIES

{ wait for Pt. III : see what I mean }

ARE WEIRD

{ … }

AS F.

{ Thirties. Right now, as we speak, the biological age of “The ’30’s” — I apologize, in advance, if anyone perceived this to be about the 1930’s, which really wasn’t that weird … but almost equally as tragic — is a true Phenomena. International, Technological, Cultural, Economical, Political: being ’30 during the latter teens of the Millennium is quite harrowing + requires the emergence of a completely new Cultural Identity. }

This is a 3 Part Post : 30 Reasons Our Thirties, in 2017, are Weird. As F.
I will publish in 3 installments — possibly a week apart, possibly more. { I can’t say. I’m a confused 30-something: give me some space. } Whilst reading, you will either completely relate, + I will give Voice to our Unidentified Generation. Or — possibly And — you will deem me crazy. With outdated cultural references, an over-reliance on “Mean Girls,” shoddy extended metaphors, an illegible Writing Voice { hey I’m not gonna’ change that }, and someone who is clearly incredibly neurotic + insecure about her ’30’s. … But hey, at least I can admit it.

. 18 ? . 25 ? . 32 . ?  {  . . .   }  Nobody knows … The older I get : the more likely I chalked my ID .  {  . . . }  This is my Life .

Thirty Reasons your Thirties, in 2017, are Weird. AF. 

In condescending order of importance.

30. FriendsWhat the actual f. 

By the way — a totally outdated buzz-phrase. { I’d have to get my PhD. in BuzzFeed Linguistics if I wanted to know the on fleek version … andtheregoesmy’20’somethingreadhership . } “Friends,” possibly “How I Met Your Mother” is  >> Everyone’s << greatest reference for Life in your ’30’s. … FYI: “Friends'” ’30’s is not Our ’30’s. I’m sure it semi-worked for ’30-somethings 15-ish years ago. … But the whole crux of this Series is that The ’30’s of 15+ years ago has become Legend — wait for it — Dary. It ceases to exist. It is no longer. The Limit DNE. Times, they are a changin’.

TBH, ’30’s is the new ’20’s. And not in a totally carefree, party, travel-the-world kind of way. … And it is so much more.

29. TV + Film, overall. Magical Realism?? Idek.

Screw “Friends,” because we got bigger problems… Like … let’s take “Old School,”. What in the actual age are those main characters? Is Mitch implied to be … 25? I refuse to re-watch the movie for the 24th time or to even Google Search to find out. Because — you know — the fact that I have to, proves that these characters portray Any-Age. Obscure-Age. Some magical age that can cover anywhere between 25-45.

We have far greater representation problems in both TV + Film for this to warrant grave concern … but the actual ’30’s — at least 1st half of the ’30’s — get no representation in film or TV. … Unless I’m missing something.

  • { Context: I haven’t owned a TV for 4+ years, which also severely limits my film viewing, since I don’t have trailers pushed into my face every 3-5 or 5-7, or whatever, minutes. #unreliablenarrator ?? }

28. Thirties is the New Twenties. Sorry not Sorry Meg Jay.

I have no research. Just epistemological life experience. And some Logic: Generation Wikipedia { solid }, is my reference point.

FAIR WARNING – This some PhD thesis-ish, so gear-up … or skip: your call.

{ So much generational code-switching. }

  • Generation X { b. late 1970’s – early 1980’s } : Axiom — this generation paved-the-way for Emerging Adulthood; ergo, the ’20’s became a time (“distinguished by relative independence from social roles and from normative expectations,” [Arnett, 2000],) to >> galavant << …

a.k.a.: party hearty like Baby Boomers’ teen-years.

  • Analogy: Adolescence didn’t emerge until the late-1800’s. The term didn’t become lexicon until the 1920’s. Significance?? Fifty-ish years passed wherein entire generations carved-out a culture & a lifestyle, before having a word with which to name it. …

Same thing has happened now: it’s called “Emerging Adulthood,”
and it’s spearheaded by Gen X-ers.

  • Personal Proof: Cool thing? While “Emerging Adulthood” might not make it into our lexicons for decades to come … it is widely accepted that the ’20’s is an acceptable time to party, figure out your career, wait to get married and have children, etc.

In response to Jay’s TED Talk 2013: it’s not that our ’20’s are an excuse for “benign neglect,”. It is that the ’20’s have become an acceptable and empowering time to Harness Personal Identity + Make Big Fat Mistakes, as opposed to following the algorithm that calculates our Baby Boomer parents’ foot-steps.

  • Millennials { b. early 1980’s – mid 1990’s } : Axiom — We’re the same generation, and there exists a grave difference between First-Half Millennials + Second-Half. There exists some sort of undefined gap. Ergo: first-half Millennials have the now-responsibility of redefining the ’30’s. … You’re welcome second-half Millennials. 
    • Analogy: First-half Millennials are doing to the ’30’s what Gen X-ers did for the ’20’s.
    • Cultural Proof: Wait for #1 to come out … . Okay, but to tease: Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012. Social Media transitioned from a tool, to the foundations. From a trend, to the convention. … If you don’t Social Media … you don’t socialize. … Oh, and the Financial Crisis of 2007-2008. Many people { me! } from the 1st half of this generation graduated college at this time. Many from the 2nd half weathered high school and graduated college, say, five years later in 2012, during an economic recovery. { Hey — it wasn’t a Boom or a Bull, but it was significantly better than ’07. }
    • Explanation: You know, the times — they keep changing! First-Half Millennials are now responsible, like Gen X-ers. We have the onus of redefining the ’30’s … before it’s even given credit and context.
    • The Bubble Effect: This is Barbara Ellen terminology, + when this post goes viral { never }, I want full credit for that term.

… Picture a bubble. Now picture a bubble being made. It takes a hella lot more energy to blow the bubble, then to rest comfortably inside of it… Like Gen X-ers, First Half Millennials are blowing the hell out of this bubble. To redefine what the Weirdo ’30’s is.

  • Logic Proof: So —
    1. IF Baby Boomers had the Teen Years to Party + { try to } establish a Personal Identity, AND if Gen X-er’s redefined The Twenties to Party + { try to } establish a Personal Identity … THEN it follows, such that First-Half Millennials redefine the next sequential generation: The Thirties. To — what? — you ask: to ….
      • That’s the problem … and what I hope to resolve through this Post Series. That’s the crux!
    2. First-Half Millennials are to Second-Half Millennials as Gen X-ers are to all Millennials.
      • Gen X-er’s redefined the ’20’s, and paved the way for all Millennials to have this “Emerging Adulthood” context. First-Half Millennials are paving the way for Second-Half Millennials to have some sort of evolved context for their ’30’s.

(pic: i.e. of puppies or something to calm — { post -edit : this never happened . click link instead . } )

27. “Dirty Thirty.” … I don’t get it.

Etymology behind that? Urban Dictionary has not helped to clarify.

26. Milestones. Lemme break it down:

  1. ‘Tweens have 13. { Or something like that … they’re young, so proportionally to their age, 1 milestone is enough }.
  2. Spolied-ass Adolescents have: 15, 16, 18. { But you still can’t drink legally, so there losers. }
  3. Twenty-somethings have: 21, 25 … and the entire decade of their ’20’s. { Seriously, get to know yourself: be young, be wild/dope, be free … in the words of the great Lana del Rey (apologies for her #culturalappropriation / #culturalappropriatetrigger / #culturalappropriatewarning) … and in more than 1 of her songs. }
  4. WTF do ’30-somethings get? … { Dirty Thirty? … No. }

I used to negotiate this by prescribing to both the tacit + also extolled fact that, ’30’s are the best years of your life!, and, You figure it all out in your ’30’s. … But that some BS.

Hence: First Half Millennials pave the way / redefine / Bubble Effect this-ish.

25. Mental Visualization. … Can anyone actually picture their ’30’s?

I can’t. It’s some cloudy, obscure bubble. Which really worries me. I’m quite visual. I could always picture my teens and twenties. { Duh, because a) teens are so conventionally defied by high school and college and b) because antithesis of #28: they got     w   i   d   e    TV/film representation. Shout-out to “Broad City.” Werk. } … I can even picture my ’40’s, ’50’s, ’60’s, etc.. But ’30’s? Nope. I’m going to need some Virgil to get me through this faceless limbo cloud.

24. BuzzFeed. Am I your audience … or nah. Because: I know the ’90’s quite effortlessly. But also … this. And this. … And also, finally, this.

23. If not BuzzFeed, then … ? I’m not sure. { That’s the point! }

Then, what, PopSugar? I am not that old yet. >> It’s a formatting thing. <<  Like, get that professional-sleek-basic style outta my face. And I refuse to be pushed into thinking I’m that old { read: put together } because Society — and therefore Pop Culture — hasn’t figured it out yet, either.

22. Snapchat is causing an Existential Crisis. Not required to Snapchat, yes.

As a ’30-something, it’s completely normal + appropriate + perhaps looked-up upon if I never once SnapChat, in my life?? Not to say it’s wrong if you do SC { or whatever the “fleek” kids are saying } as a ’30-something. I look up to you, if you do: for you have evolved; you have kept with the times. Am I Luddite because I haven’t, and don’t want to?? In the words { not true } of Henry David Thoreau: What the f even is my life.

“To be awake is to be alive,” -Thoreau, “Walden” … #nonsequitor

21. Redefining the ’30’s. The ’30’s aren’t something past. They’re something new.

The ’30’s require us to do, essentially, the impossible. Create New Matter.

First, let’s recap. The ’30’s hold a complex duality: They are —

  • Economically Like the ’20’s. They’re similar to post-Baby Boomer ’20’s in the sense that — largely for economical reasons — many ’30-somethings are just beginning to establish financial independence, and — either ergo or by no causation at all — many of us aren’t committed to marriages and/or children … AND
  • Socially Unlike the ’20’s. They’re dissimilar to post-Baby Boomer ’20’s in the sense that — it’s still pretty widely accepted that ain’t nobody a “real,” functioning “adult” if they’re partying in their ’30’s, they way many of us >> galavanted << in our ’20’s. Now, you’re just the Wooderson of our generation.

So … What are ’30-somethings supposed to accomplish? What are our benchmarks? What defines our decade??

It seems all to be quite nebulous. Things like:

  • Harnessing an Identity
  • Honing your Voice
  • Furthering a Career

Don’t get me wrong. I love Core Values. I love non-material, internal — as opposed to external — things. I Prioritize them as the Highest Values in my Life. … And, yet I’m still confused. Gah!!!

Brain / Life Cramp.

{ That’s it for now, foo’s. Tune in for Pt. II + Pt. III — it only get’s less academic + way more relatable, so — talk soon. }

#shoplocal
{ because , always }

#30sareweird

#af

X.

Not Your Typical Barbara Ellen … { does YouTube?? } …

HI

{ i’m back. }

{ Trying something new. … YouTube. … TBD. :  Apparently, according to my inept uploading YT skills + a trusty Google search … I have to copy my vids from a url?? So. … That works out. Because now, I can use this baby g. again. … X. }

> > Here We Go < <

Not Your Typical Barbara Ellen: Take 1

I Woke Up Like Dis.

{ … the world’s not ready for this one …}

{ … try me, loves. <3 . }

I’ll Know My Song Well Before I Start Singin’,”

{ here goes nothing, world. }

#shoplocal

#thinkglobal

#notyourtypicalbarbaraellen

X.

Live Your Best Life: How To Be You + Be Free.

{ Manhattan Square Park in Rochester, NY at Party in the Park, Thursday, 6/23. }

BE YOU

live your best life.

BE FREE.

Freedom is many things. It is an innate right, + it is incredibly oppressed. It is sought after, + it is sabotaged. It is died for, + it gives life. It is exciting, + it is terrifying. Freedom is elusive. Freedom is precious. Freedom is essential to living our best lives. Freedom should be as natural as it is innate. But Freedom, is not. Thankfully, given the right circumstances, Freedom is attainable.

Because even when we live in “lands of The Free,” our own lifestyles, emotions, thoughts, actions, relationships tear this freedom down, instead of reinforcing it. Building it up.

I’d like to share 3 tips for how I am discovering + uncovering my own freedom.

trauma can happen, + it does not have to control our freedom.

IMG_4645

Walking to Party in the Park Solo at the newly opened Inner Loop, Rochester, NY.

Helllll nah, I was not always this free. The freedom I speak of in this post? It’s been a lifetime in the making. Just recently, it’s truly spread its wings. You’re going to have to wait for the publication of my memoir{s} before fully understanding the trials + tribulations I have endured throughout my life. For now, I’m going to highlight 3 choice experiences.

The goal is to show you that trauma can happen, and it does not have to control our freedom.

1. Food By Oppression. I started counting calories around 1997, when I in the 7th grade. This evolved into carefully portioning-out my food. About 2004, the Disordered Eating manifested into an Eating Disorder my sophomore year of college. It wasn’t until 2008, when I had a major mental breakdown my 2nd semester studying graduate school at Columbia University, that I fully began to heal.

  • how does this limit freedom? Your mind, body, + soul are trapped in a set of beliefs + actions that prevent it from enjoying everything. You are riddled by guilt, shame, fear, self-hate, + a slew of other deamons that have 0 place in your heart + soul.
  • how am I doing now? Much better. I attribute this to therapy and lots + lots + lots of work on self-love. As well as the mental breakdown, because tbh y’all, my mind started itself back-up in “safe mode.” I know not all of us are lucky enough { see what I did there } to endure a mental breakdown. But for me, it truly was a beautiful thing.

2. Assaulted + Charged with Assault. April 20, 2012 I went to the Fun. concert at an establishment I will not name here, but one that has a past riddled with sketch + shade. I was with friends. Not doing drugs. I’d been drinking, but we also took a cab, + I was 27, so. Unfortunately, I’d been separated from my friends the majority of the night. Long-story-short, by the night’s end, as the concert let out, I was afraid + alone + tiny skirmishes started to break-out. That’s when a huge man came up behind me, grabbed me, + started dragging me back into the hall. I panicked. I 100% believe I was going to be raped. I struggled. Another man accosted me from the side. They beat the shit out of me. I felt excited to see the police standing before me. Until the police threw me to the ground, yanked my arms akimbo behind my back, + shoved my head through the back of a cop car. I’d been assaulted by 2 bouncers who then charged me with 3rd degree assault. I’d just been hired into a new job the day before. I lost that job. I was also per diem substitute teaching at the time. Not only did I lose those 2 teaching jobs, but apparently, when HR in education reads — 3rd Degree Assault { b/c who really knows which is worse, 1st or 3rd } — they call you up, personally, to chew-you out, as well as write you very mean letters. I spent my full-savings on a lawyer. When the DA, who was also a young woman, saw the pictures I documented of my bruises + contusions, she assured me that, under no circumstances, would I be charged. The bouncer who pressed charges never showed-up to court. The establishment refused to furnish video footage. I endured 3 separate court appearances across the next 5 months before I was cleared.

  • how does this limit freedom? It makes you feel unsafe everywhere you go. It makes you feel like you have 0 right to be anywhere. It makes you feel you will be accosted, accused, charged, fired, ridiculed, + drained of all your money, even when you do nothing wrong. It seriously tugs on those Victim strings.
  • how am I doing now? Recently, much, much better. I have transformed . { Because of the tips I promise I’m about to share! }. But I can say it still affects me. In October, 2015, I saw a Joywave concert at Anthology. I don’t consider myself to have PTSD, but for whatever reason, 3 years later, I flashed back to the old venue. My panic attacks where so severe that I could no longer recognizes people’s faces. I felt too scared + vulnerable to walk home alone or to even call a cab. That’s what fear does. It takes away all of our choices + all of our options.
    • { post-edit} … And now — today this day, over 1 year later — instead asking — Hey, were you okay? — I just get a lot of passive-aggressive, underhanded comments + side glances. { You know who you are. } That makes you look insecure + pretty ignorant, quite frankly. Not me.

3. Creep Factor. I cannot even begin to describe to you the number of creeps I’ve encountered. What’s more, these 3 experiences pale in comparison to other stuff I’ve endured. Here we go: 1) My 1st semester in NYC 2007, I went on a date with this guy who very seriously engaged me in intimidation tactics. He even carried a duffle bag that he said was filled with batting practice equipment. When I told him he could not come back to my apartment, he followed me into the subway and yelled at me the whole time as if we were long-lost lovers. 2) Around 2012, a UR PhD student took me on a date one summer. I wasn’t feeling the vibe, but one night he still insisted on walking me home. When I refused to let him in, he pressured me by reminding me how nice it was he walked me home in the 90 degree heat + insisted I owe him a glass of water: that I must let him inside. He did not get a glass of water. 3) Most recently, I walked down Goodman Street one weekend night about 1 month ago. I was nearing Monroe Ave between Park + Monroe. A younger guy crossed the street. We made eye-contact + said a simple hi. He walked-on, only to double-back, slap / grab my ass, thereby hiking-up the hemline to my underwear. He then ran away.

  • how does this limit freedom? Feeling unsafe everywhere, at every time of day. Not being able to do what you want or go where you want when you want to. Having to be resilient enough to shrug-off people’s judgements when they make horribly base assumptions, which really reinforces their ignorance, about what you were wearing + what you said, etc.
  • how am I doing now? Almost 0 fear. In a responsible way. { See how I had to qualify that. } How was I a few months back? A mess. I work with the public day-in, day-out. It used to be that 1 wrong look from a client sent me shame spiraling. Well, no more.

be well. be free.
trust yourself. trust your life.

I truly am living the best life I know, right now, in this moment. This past week I socialized with friends, I went to a bar by myself to watch the Copa game — unafraid + uncaring of others’ judgements — and I even let myself shoot a few hoops at 1AM { gasp! } on a Wednesday as I walked back to my apartment from Good Luck. My point? I finally, finally, have the framework + infrastructure to do what I want, when I want. I trust myself. I trust my life. That is freedom. Here’s how to do it:

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Playing hoops solo at the Merriman St. Playground around 1AM on Wednesday.

I finally have the framework + infrastructure to do what I want, when I want.

1. No Judgement. At the root of all of this — we have to stop judging ourselves. Why? Because only when we self-love { which means being judgement-free }, can we make the best, most pure choices for ourselves.

  • counterpoint: Should every woman walk alone to a bar or Party in the Park or shoot hoops at a city park at 1AM? No. Duh. Absolutely not. Just as every woman shouldn’t get married or have babies or backpack the world alone.
  • point: We have to be comfortable + confident making our best decisions given each moment + circumstance. We are capable of this.
  • recommendation: Read The 4 Agreements. Practice it as you read. And then read the Companion Book. Practice that, too. Really, truly practice it. Live it.

feed your feelings healthy “foods” / thoughts.

2. Practice Every Damn Day. People go to the gym regularly. People make it a habit to eat healthy. No one questions this. People talk about this every single day, all of the time. So practice doing these same healthy, holistic habits with your mind + soul. Some of my favorites:

  • recommendations:
    • Sing in the car. Unabashedly! Loudly! Freely! If you cannot express yourself freely while driving in your own, separate vessel … then when can you be free. Anyone else who is near you is driving by, anyway. They are gone from your lives forever. Be free. Sing.
    • Journal. It is not a 4-letter word, frands. Quite literally. It is a very simple practice.
      • Make lists.
      • Draw pictures.
      • Vent.
      • At the very least, practice gratitude.

Really pissed about something? Make a Gratitude List. It does not mean that you are not allowed to be pissed or upset! Yes, you are. Feel. Feel everything. Feel your full range of emotions. What it does mean is you still get to feed yourself positivity, even when you are negative.

  • Toast Yourself. Fill your cup with milk, or whatever, Cheers to you. Acknowledge what you have accomplished. Celebrate it. Big or small.
  • Smile at Yourself. Step 1) Look in the mirror. Step 2) Smile. Optional) Put your hands on your hips, breathe deep, peel those lips. Smile. Recommended) Do a butt-wiggle. Bonus points?? Compliment yourself.

Every single time you look in that mirror, say something nice. You said something critical, too? No worries. Let that go. Follow-it-up by saying something nice. 

if you cannot express yourself freely, while driving in your own separate vessel … then when can you be free?

3. Root Yourself. This is a bit higher level, + that’s why it’s #3. Progression. What is Rooting Yourself?? It is taking ourselves from all of the assumptions + what-if’s. It is coming back to our minds, our bodies, our true light, + our present moment. Rooting Yourself is placing yourself within the present moment.

  • recommendations:
    • Practice Mindfulness. I talk about it here. You can start by reading it here. Very simple. Very solid. Very whole.
    • Practice Chakra Healing. This has been 1 of the most transformational elements of my life these past few months. I really enjoy the affirmations + information on this website. When I am stressed or fearful, questioning or critical, I quiet that destruction + replace it with the wholesome “food” of chakra affirmations.
    • Affirmations. Chakras not your thing? Come up with your own phrases to say over + over + over again. Re-hone and refocus. Quiet + heal.
    • Be a Kid. Walk barefoot in the grass. This is very healing + rooting. If you practice chakra healing, you know this balances the Root { grounding } + the Heart { childlike spirit + connection with nature } Chakras. By being a kid, we honor + practice our most root freedom.

Swing on a swing. Play a sport. Go to a park. Do bounce ball soccer or trampoline exercises. Climb a rock wall or play some volleyball. In Rochester, alone, there are a million ways to honor your inner-kid.

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Swimming in Lake Ontario at Charlotte Beach, 1 of my favorite places to get away + go alone.

Thank you for taking the time to read with me + about my experiences today. I’d love to continue this conversation + hear what you guys have to say! My thanks for your energy.

#bewell.

#belocal.

#befree.

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