The Importance of Going Outside Your Comfort Zone

Yesterday bought a pair of panties with pugs on them and I feel a little bit like a consumer whore, but I’m trying not to let it bother me because pugs.

I feel a little bit better about them because I did not buy them at Victoria’s Secret. However, I did go to Victoria’s Secret and purchase a pair of panties with penguins on them the same day so I feel like maybe the pug panties and the penguin panties counter each other out. I’m not entirely sure how that math works, but it makes me feel a little better about my consumer whoredom so lets just pretend it makes sense.

I’m also not entirely sure why so many of my panties have animals on them. It’s not like it’s a requirement. In fact, most of the time, I prefer panties with no pattern at all (patterns make me feel a little bit like a middle schooler, especially when said panties are purchased from Target). However, there are times in out lives when we must waver away from our comfort zones in order to except beautiful things into our lives…like panties with pugs on them.Pug panties

Transitory Times

It’s been a minute since I posted something now, hasn’t it? Sorry about that! But I think I have a good excuse.

You see, I spent almost two weeks moving out of my old house and have spent the week since crashing with my boyfriend and his roommates. To top it off, my (old) computer was on the verge of crashing for much of that time so I had to use it as sparsely as possible. So please forgive me.

However, now that I have settled into my new class, gotten a new computer, and am waiting patiently for Wednesday when I will be taking off on my five week adventure to New York City I have some time to breathe and update whoever is interested on my opinions on life. And due to my recent transition from one living space to another, I would like to use this post to touch on moving specifically.

Originally, I considered addressing this subject in a comedic sense, possibly with a list of common headaches or a particularly laughable mishap I faced. However, as I recalled the events of the week and a half of organizing my things into “need” and “don’t need” piles, packing what I could into my car and storing the rest in a unit, and then spending two whole days cleaning my wreck of a house from top to bottom I found that there was little laughter buried within the experience.

I actually began drafting this post last week, but couldn’t bring myself to finish it. The thick residue of loss and depression still clung to my tongue and I found the words sticky in my throat.

It took some personal recovery time and the settling in to a new (but temporary) home to be able to tackle this subject publicly.

I’ve always been a bit of a homebody.

Actually, scratch that. I’ve always been a huge homebody.

I am a stationary being. My sense of self relies heavily on my space, expressed and remembered by the decorations I hang on my walls and my body. So as I packed my belongings into boxes and stored the better portion of my beloved wardrobe in a locked storage unit, I couldn’t help but feel that I was stowing bits and pieces of myself away.

I was losing little bits of myself with each empty wall and didn’t know how to handle the feelings I was facing. My feelings of loneliness increased as I proceeded with the process mostly by myself. Livvy had already left for France and my mother could not come down to help me until the last couple of days. I had my boyfriend and some of my other guy friends, but I needed girl time. It was simply not an ideal situation.

I don’t think all moves are this hard. I’ve been through a couple, though not many, in the past and they were always laced with excitement, making the stress somewhat worth it. This move, on the other hand, was filled with nothing but dread.

I could sense a transition in not only my living space, but my way of living. I was becoming migratory and my “self” was going to have to rely on me, not my surroundings. It was panic inducing, to say the least. And the suppression of that panic lead to depression. But I’ve made it through.

I’m in a better place now.

It’s only been a week, but I’ve managed to become more comfortable with knowing who I am without my memorabilia. Or at least with the idea of it.

It’s a process, but I’m okay with it. I’ve found my boyfriends house to be a safe place. I feel welcome here and it is helping me feel more comfortable with who I am. Just in the past week I can feel my confidence growing.

I guess the moral of this story would be; things are always changing- you are always changing- and that’s okay.

One foot in front of the other, my friend.

As of now, I wouldn’t say that I’m ready to travel to New York and be away from my friends for so long, but I’m not dreading it either. Excitement is slowly infiltrating my apprehension and I can feel my determination to make the most of it growing.

The next time I post, I will be on the other side of the country!

On a final note, if any of you have instagrams, you should follow me! emmalumarshall! I’ll follow you back! I’d love to get a glimpse into the lives of other writers!

 

Some Personal Reflection

In four days one of my best friends in the whole world is going to leave for San Diego after which she will be heading to France for a year.

Transition periods are hard. Anyone could tell you that. I, myself, have heard the warning from my mother alone over a dozen times. Even so, it doesn’t make it any easier.

I’ve lived with Livvy for almost two years now and I have come to love her like a sister. In all honesty, I don’t want to let her go. But I am so proud of her for taking this huge leap.

Livvy taught me the truth about feminism. She showed me how to take proper selfies. She introduced me to a whole new world of music I had never even known existed and to a whole new culture that I probably never would have touched otherwise. She made our dorm room and then our household a judgement-free zone and filled the space with delicious smells and positive energy. I have so much to thank her for.

Of course, Livvy is not the only one moving on. By the end of this month our lease will be up and the Garfield girls will be moving out. Katherine has found a new home just down the street where she will be living with her cat, Penny, and a friend from her class. I will most likely be couch surfing for a week until I head off to New York City for five weeks. When I get back…? I’ll think about that when the time comes.

So much is happening and I simply don’t feel ready. It all sank in today and I just want to curl up and cry. But I have to remember that this is a happy time. Despite the fear and anxiety that transitional periods produce, they are also times of hope and reflection. Amazing things have happened in this household and I honestly could not have asked for better roommates. We’ve each had our ups and downs and we helped each other through. I love these girls. They’re  like my family.

   

And they always will be. And as we go off on our separate adventures, I can smile knowing that we have such wonderful memories to look back on. I’ll miss the Garfield house dearly, but it’s time to move on to a new happy accident.

Reasons Why I’m Not a Coffee Drinker

I am not a coffee person.

There are a couple of reasons for this, most of which I believe to be pretty practical. For one, I don’t like the taste so if I do drink coffee, it’s not actually coffee, it’s a mocha or a latte which are both more sugar and foam than anything else so the calorie count is monstrous (particularly if I drink one every morning like I did through out most of high school) and the damage it does to my wallet is simply disgraceful. Also, I generally just can’t handle the immense rush of caffeine which is the whole reason why most people drink coffee in the first place. A little energy boost here and there is typically not lethal, but I find that, for me, drinking a cup of coffee is a lot like a five-year-old eating a pack of pixie sticks. So I tend to lean toward yerbe mate instead.

My final reason for not being a coffee person is a little less reasonable. I think coffee is ugly. I don’t like how it looks dripping from the coffee machine all brown and wet. And it’s even worse when it is sitting in my cup. It kind of just looks like poopy water. After I add some cream and sugar it’s a little better, but not my much. This is also part of the reason why I like mochas and lattes. At least the foam on top is pretty. Especially if you go to a place like Burial Grounds in Olympia where they put little skulls in your foam or decorate it with lavender.

unappealing poopy water

unappealing poopy water

adorable, sugary deliciousness

adorable, sugary deliciousness (sorry it’s sideways. I don’t know how to fix it)

Besides, I just like tea better, anyway.

If Networking Scares You, Put on the Matchmaker’s Cap

This definitely helped calm my nerves. In general this blog can be super helpful. I highly suggest it!

Live to Write - Write to Live

Do you cringe when someone suggests that you get out and ‘network’ with other writers, business owners, or creative types?

Networking can be intimidating, I know. As an introvert who excels at listening, networking can give me butterflies if I think it’s all about me and my business and needing to say the right thing to the right person.

I’ve found a trick that helps with the anxiety. I put on a matchmaker’s cap. I go to an event with the intent to focus on others instead of myself.

Here’s what it entails: focusing on learning about a person and his/her needs and then seeing if I can connect that person with the ‘right match’ by the end of the evening.

If you do this, people will learn about you and your experience. And if can connect two individuals with specific needs to the person they are looking for, they’ll…

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Why I’m Not Good at Partying

As much as I would love to say that I am a party girl, I am not.

There is no doubt that I enjoy a rambunctious gathering of underage drinkers as much as the next college student. However, I’ve found over the course of my college career that I like the idea of a party more that I like the party itself.

By this I mean that my favorite parts of partying are

1.) getting ready for said party and

2.) leaving it.

You see, getting all dolled up is one of my favorite things in the world. And it’s even better when I have an excuse other than “I’m leaving the house today. I should probably put clothes on.”

Then there is the factor that I am getting all dolled up with my girlfriends and we are all talking about who should where what lipstick and whose skirt is too short and it’s all just a cluster fuck of girliness and I love it. I fucking love. So, sue me!

Jenna Marbles gets it.

Jenna Marbles gets it.

Once my friends and I are properly pampered for the occasion ahead and the required amount of selfies have been taken, we begin the high heeled trek to whatever house the party/show is taking place at. Of course, it’s once we have made our entrance that I begin to lose interest.

This is because, in my experience, you cannot actually socialize at these social events. Either the music is too loud or the person is too drunk or there is simply too much going on.

So, after about fifteen minutes, I start to get fidgety. Everyone else is having loads of fun and I start to focus in on the only other person sitting quietly in a corner. I walk over, strike up a conversation and say “hey, wanna wander?” (which, by the way, is perfectly acceptable and safe in Olympia). Given, if I’m with my boyfriend, then I drag him away to adventure with me. And if I can’t find anyone then I’m like:

Then we meander the streets talking about life, our dreams, or whatever else comes to mind. And it’s wonderful.

My problem is that I don’t like getting drunk for the sake of getting drunk and rubbing up against people I only semi-know. I get drunk and I want to know your life story. I want to know how you got here and why. I want to know what you think of the world and how you developed that opinion. I want to know who you are.

I’m just that deep, man.

But actually, though, I am a writer through and through. And, thus, I am always looking for a story. Not that parties don’t make good stories, but I’d much rather learn about one persons childhood than a bunch of people’s favorite drink.

So I guess I’m just not that good at partying, but I’m really okay with that. I find that I meet really cool people at parties and go on wonderful adventures. But the party is generally only the beginning.

Confusion in the Sea of Selfies

Hey! How’s it going? Me? I’m pretty good. I’ll admit that I haven’t really thought out what I’m going to write for this week, but I’m not too concerned. I’m usually mostly winging it, anyway. And besides, this blog is for writing practice and a good part of writing (at least, my writing) is just coming up with stuff on the spot. So it’s time for some practicing! I’m just going to come up with a topic and run with it, okay? Ready…GO!

Selfies.

The subject of excessive self portraits via cellphone/computer has been on my mind a lot lately. Feminist articles (which I’ll admit, I’m addicted to) arguing both for and against the phenomenon have been flooding my Facebook feed and I can see why both sides could have valid points.

On one end, it could be that people that take selfies are objectifying their bodies, showing them off to the public in an attempt to get approval from the world that so often tells them that they are not good enough. Selfies can be taken as evidence of the damage that is inflicted on both men and women from a very young age as they are bombarded with images of “perfection”, none of which include armpit fat, dark arm hair, or crooked eyeliner.

Then there is the argument that selfies are the exact opposite. I’ve been seeing more and more articles and videos encouraging selfies as a way of helping men and women to appreciate themselves more. In photographing themselves all snazzied up or just hopping out of bed in the morning, they are showing the world that they except themselves for who they are, fighting back against the propaganda that there is a “perfect” body type out there that everyone should have.

I can definitely see how both sides of the argument can apply. The only issue I have is with the fact that there are a lot of different kinds of girls/guys/selfies out there and who is to say which selfies are objectifying and which aren’t?

(for the sake of simplicity, this post is going to focus on female selfies from this point forward because that’s what I know most about)

I wouldn’t necessarily say that this picture of Kim Kardashian:

is a prime example of body love (I’ll admit that this isn’t exactly the best example, but I was afraid using a non-celebrity would induce rude comments toward her and that’s not the point of this post) , but does that mean that it’s only okay to selfie if your ass and boobs are properly covered? And if they’re not, do you have to be a flat chested girl with little to no booty?

You might be thinking “that’s just rude!” and it is! But I see it all the time! A busty girl with all the curves of Dita Von Teese take a photo of herself in her new bikini and all of a sudden she’s an attention whore. But if an “unconventionally attractive” girl takes a photo in the same bikini, it’s body love. I don’t know about you guys, but that seems pretty backwards to me. Isn’t the point of body love the love of all bodies? It just doesn’t make sense!

But, even then, it’s not just about the outfit or the body type, it’s about the pose, too. Kim seems to be turned at the perfect angle to show off her million dollar booty, but I can honestly say that if my butt looked like that, I’d want to show it off, too! The thing is, I don’t have a butt like that. But I do have really nice collar bones and my boobs aren’t half bad either. So when I take selfies I tend to focus on the front upper half of my body.

And what if your boobs are two of your favorite parts of your body? Whether or not they are large or small? Is it not okay to show them off simply because men will drool over them? And, if so, isn’t that just another way of restricting what woman can and can’t do?

Then there are those people that don’t understand the significance of the selfie all together, taking the stance that selfies are just girls being self-centered. They don’t want to see your face all over their feed so they’ll attack you for being egotistical/skinny/fat/weird just because they can. My problem with these people is their blatant ignorance, but that’s another problem all together.

My main issue with the feminist sides of the selfie argument are the odd and unbalanced double standards that no one seems to know how to tackle. Despite the research that I have done, I still can’t quite distinguish the line between body-love-advocate and product-of-society or if there really is one at all.

I don’t know. A lot of this is just food for thought, but it is something that I think is important.

I think that what it really comes down to is people need to stop finger pointing and name calling. Just because I don’t think that someone’s selfie respects their body does not mean I have any right to say so in the comments. Simply yelling at someone anonymously  will only cause hurt. If I really want to make a difference, I have to understand the context of the photo. Was she taking it because she just wanted compliments or did she believe it was a declaration of body love? From there, I can understand where she is coming from and communicate what I think she could do differently and why.

Not only that, but then she can communicate back, defending herself and her reasons, and the interaction becomes a conversation rather than an accusation.

I recognize that this argument is incomplete and there is a lot that I didn’t touch on, but it’s everything that pops into my head when I think of selfies. This is probably a subject that I will touch on again at some point in the future because my opinion and knowledge are ever changing and growing. If you have a problem with anything I have written here, please tell me. I’m curious and eager to learn more about what other people think.

Do you take selfies? And, if so, why?

What’s Your Sign?

I’ve come to the realization recently that I am more inclined to astrology than I would like to think. I’ve never really considered myself a true believer because I don’t have all of the signs memorized and I honestly have never met someone, found out they were a Taurus or a Gemini or whatever and thought “Oooooooh, that makes a lot of sense.” Mainly because I really have no idea what that means. (Unless that person is a Pisces because I’ve never met a Pisces who didn’t tell me a they were a Pisces and then go into an entire explanation on why it makes sense that they are a Pisces. Did I mention they’re a Pisces?)

But I’m finding that just because I can’t learn your birth date and explain to you why you are the way you are because Jupiter happened to be in alignment that day doesn’t mean that I don’t consider the planets effects on us plausible.

My mother has always been a firm upholder in the moon’s effects on people’s emotions from month to month and I most definitely inherited that belief. As a cancer and a woman, I feel very close to the moon. Though, I’m almost positive that if I were anything else and a man my connections to the moon would only be slightly less.

In all honesty, I think humans in general have that giant crater to thank for our most combative mood swings. Police all over the world have reported that on nights when the moon is full there jobs get a little harder as things get crazier, busier, and more hectic. And I can pretty honestly say that if there’s ever a day where I feel like sprouting some razer sharp teeth and claws and maybe a tail and biting someone’s head off, it’s generally going to be a full moon that night.

"I AM GOING TO EAT YOUR F#@KING FACE!"

“I AM GOING TO EAT YOUR F#@KING FACE!”

Given, there is no solid proof of the this and, in fact, there are some who would argue against it. But I’d bet you anything those same people made no such contradiction during the super moon a while back for fear of being ripped to shreds by their on edge girlfriends.

The reason I bring all of this up has to do with the fact that last week I was informed that Mercury was in retrograde which apparently means that communication is down. If you don’t know what retrograde means, it’s when a planet (I’m not sure if it’s just Mercury or if it can happen to other planets, too) slows down during its orbit thus giving the appearance that it is going backwards. Mercury is the planet of communication and intellect so it makes sense that all last week words were tumbling out of my mouth like gumballs from a gumball machine; slow and clumsy with very little taste.

Unfortunately, no one informed me about this planetary occurrence until it was almost over so I spent the better portion of the week thinking the Office marathon I had enjoyed the Saturday before had fried my brain.

At the peak of my bumbling distress, a friend approached me and was like “Did you hear? Mercury is traveling backwards or something.” And I was like “Okay, I give up…”

The universe is against me this week. Come get me when it's over.

The universe is against me this week. Come get me when it’s over.

I’m starting to think I should pay more attention to the planetary calender.

Oh…and Happy Valentines Day.

Focus on Your Studies, Young Lady!

A few weeks ago I posted a blog post about the difficulties of blogging, most of which center around my inability to get along with my computer. This week I would like to bring to your attention something else that I, as well as many others, find to be somewhat of a hindrance to the balance of everyday life; college.

Now, I’m not talking about the college problems you witnessed in all of your favorite chick flicks when you were fifteen. Yes, moving out of your parents house is nerve-wracking and the possibility of your roommate being a perpetually messy evil bitch is always lingering. But I actually really liked moving into the dorms and am still living with that same colorful girl I met on day one today, almost two years later. (In fact, I can hear her crashing about in the living room right now. I bet she’s late for class.) As for boys…they’re boys. I don’t know. I guess I just don’t find dating quite as eventful as Hollywood directors seem to think it is. I’ve officially settled into my second relationship since coming to college and I’m a lot happier in it than I was in the first, probably because I’ve grown up a bit and am getting a better idea of what I want. I really like him and he really likes me and sometimes we do fun stuff together and sometimes we don’t because I have too much reading to do. It’s honestly one of the more stable things in my life.

At this point you’re probably wondering “so if all of that is so great then what is so difficult about college, Emma?” Well, I’ll tell you. I am finding that the most difficult part of college is the perpetual uncertainty that comes with year long leases, studying abroad, classes that you won’t know if you got into until the week before, and the possibility that following your dreams might not be the best idea.

When I entered college, they told me that the world ahead of me held endless possibilities. And it really, really does. What they didn’t tell me was that these possibilities were all about to hit me in the face at once and I better learn to be a good decision maker quick (which I’m still not) because, you never know, you and your roommate might decide to move out of the dorms and into an actual house one Tuesday night just before the end of winter quarter (last year) or you might finish the last page of your “project” while sitting in class and suddenly start taking it seriously and calling it a novel (also last year). So you might start spending all of your time and energy going back and editing everything so you can turn it into an actual manuscript (most of this year and last summer).

But wait! There’s a class this spring that includes going to New York City for five weeks to meet publishers! That’s perfect! But it’s sophomores through seniors (and you’re a sophomore) and it’s a poetry class so you might not get in, but you’re basing all of your future plans around this trip, anyway, because you won’t get a solid yes or no until about two weeks before spring quarter and you have to start looking for places to live in NY now. And even if you don’t get in, you have to move out anyway because your lease will be up and Livvy (my wonderful colorful roommate) is going to study abroad in France for a year and Kat (other wonderful roommate who I met when I moved in) just wants to live somewhere else. And if you don’t get into the class then you have to cancel everything and quickly find somewhere else to live. And now your sponsor (professor who is giving me credit for working on my book) is talking about you maybe getting an internship in Seattle or Portland which would mean taking a sabbatical from school and moving to one of those cities or to a different city all together! Oh. And, by the way, you won’t know if any of this is happening until it’s probably already happening. And then there’s the small fact that global warming is going to cause the world to implode, anyway, so just try not to think about it and focus on your work.

I'm not thinking about it. Are you thinking about it? I'm not. I'm too focused on my work. Are you thinking about it? Cause I'm not...

I’m not thinking about it. Are you thinking about it? I’m not. I’m too focused on my work. Are you thinking about it? Cause I’m not…

Okay, I’ll admit, this situation is unique to me. But you can’t tell me that, if you’ve ever been through college, you haven’t been through something similar. Everyone I talk to, no matter what year they are in, is equally confused. And my mother just keeps telling me that it never ends. I will perpetually be uncertain about my future living arrangement. At least, until I settle down. And even then, there are new problems to deal with.

Of course, that’s if the world lasts that long. People around here don’t seem to believe in optimism so talk of near annihilation of the human race is common which only adds to the stress of growing up.

Basically, my mind has been spinning lately and it is not at all conducive to work. All I want to do is write. Why does everything have to be so hard? And what if I finally finish my book and then die because some sort of freak hurricane hits the Puget Sound? What if no one cares about books because resources are so scarce and no one has time for reading? But what if I don’t write and live for the now like everyone else seems to be doing and then the world doesn’t end and I haven’t written anything? It feels like no matter where I turn, I’m hitting question after question.

I don’t know. Being a college student is hard enough. All of this end of the world stuff is just making it worse. But that’s another rant all together. I don’t even know if people outside of the West Coast can relate to this. Whatever. My point is that college is confusing. And not because of boys and dorm living and roommates. It’s confusing because everything is always changing. And because the issues of the outside world are no longer outside.

It’s stressful. Stupidly stressful.

And I can’t even legally drink yet…

Sometimes I Meow

Like most writers, I can be a little socially awkward at times. Every day conversations can be somewhat scary and run-ins at the grocery store are, more often than not, absolutely terrifying. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t come up and talk to me if you happen to see me doddling about downtown. All I’m saying is, if you do approach me and I have not necessarily had time to ready myself for human interaction, don’t be surprised if our conversation goes something like this:

raptor claws required  (also, I promise my handwriting doesn't look like this. I hate writing in pen)

I promise, it’s not because of you.

You see, when I am suddenly jolted into conversation mode, no matter how much I like talking to the other person, I am also jolted out of my mind palace, a transition that puts the gears in my head on overdrive. Suddenly, even the simplest of conversations takes immense amounts of effort.

Small talk? Fine. I can get by. After all, it’s basically like following a script.
“Hi, how are you? Me? I’m fine. How’s school? What class are you in again?”
I’m cool with anything I can aim or bounce back at you. Because, believe it or not, I’m putting this much energy into keeping myself from shying away because I actually want to hear how you’re doing and what you’ve been up to.

It’s when the conversation turns toward the subject of my life that I absolutely panic.
You’re like: “What have you been up to?”
And then I’m like: “Uh…not much. I’ve been doing a lot of sitting at my desk and staring at my notebook lately.”
“Oh, really? That’s cool.”
“Yeah…kind of.”
And then we stand there smiling at each other because I honestly cannot think of anything more interesting to say so my mind starts freaking out like: Am I supposed to say something? I can’t think of anything to say. Am I being boring? Is this awkward? This is totally awkward. She totally thinks I’m awkward. I have to say something! But what do I say? I don’t know! Just open your mouth! Something will come out!

And then silly noises and raptor claws happen…

My advice to you for when this happens is to pretend one of two things. Either that you didn’t see or hear anything and simply bring the conversation to a close and go about your day. Or that I just asked you about your life story and begin telling me all about your childhood. Not only is it fun to hear about other people’s childhoods, but the extensive story will give me a chance to recover from my embarrassment and prepare myself to start communicating like a human being.

Third option; make a silly noise back.

I realized that this was a possibility recently when I meowed at one of my roommates friends at the local food co-op and he meowed back.