Progression

According to WordPress, I’ve been at this blogging thing for 3 years now.

But the “I” who started this blog hardly even remotely resembles the “I” who sits behind the keyboard now.

DownWithTheNorm was founded by an 18-year-old girl during the spark of her *formal* feminist awakening. That girl was fiery, angry, confused, and determined to fix the world. Misogyny was her only foe, and she was vigilant and determined to take him down, and took every opportunity to bare her teeth in the face of opposition.

But, as with all sparks, hers was extinguished.

Gradually, she let her inquiring mind guide her as she learned more and more about the world; how it probably works, and how it most likely doesn’t. She developed an air of cynicism, and became understandably tired of fighting the good fight. Others grew tired, bored, annoyed, or a combination of the three of her persistent, yet non-refreshing wordy posts on social media that accomplished nothing but a temporary emotional relief for our young author.

She did her best to keep her mind open, while simultaneously drawing her own independent conclusions. Especially in the context of her religion.

She spent a short duration as a walking contradiction; trying to force her newly acquired world views into a mold that simply would not fit. She wanted to be the change from within, but that resulted in her being pushed out.  She lost friends, but she gained an identity that she felt comfortable in. An authentic lifestyle was drawing nearer and nearer, but exponentially more solitary.

This girl was anxious-so much so that she couldn’t bare to even hold still even for a minute. Sleep was just a five-letter word. She had to be the fastest, the best, the smartest, and the skinniest always. And she was failing miserably at all of it.

But, breaking down turns into breaking through, if you let it.

The girl behind the keyboard is an enhanced version of the girl from 3 years ago.

I’ve had so many experiences that have shaped me into who I am now, whether that be for the better or not. I’m not the girl with the eating disorder anymore. I’m the girl who maybe spends too much time thinking about food and not enough time about breathing, and probably uses her bathroom scale more often than the average joe. And binges on breakfast cereal once in a blue moon. Oh, and HATES going to the gym.

I’m not the Mormon Feminist Anomaly anymore. I’m simply the feminist woman-person who believes that whether or not there is an afterlife is irrelevant. What really matters is that there are plenty of opportunities for me to develop and enhance as many interpersonal relationships as I possibly can during the time that I am allotted here. I believe that this life isn’t a test at all. Rather, it’s an opportunity to develop oneself to the fullest extent possible, and perhaps find an individualistic sense of happiness while we’re at it; whatever that looks like.

And for all of you looking to slap a label on me (because that’s what people do-no judgment), you can call me an Agnostic. Like I said, I’m not looking to shut out any possibilities completely.

I love tattoos, science, coffee, wine, and angry heathen misogyny-laden rap music. And I let myself love these things, because this is MY human experience. And what I choose to drink, put on my body, or listen to, does NOT make me a bad person, contrary to what I was led to believe growing up with religion

I’m not anxious anymore. Through the process of extensive trial and error, I’ve finally settled on a path that suits me. I got a job that makes me excited to wake up in the morning. I have a degree of self-sustainability that I never have had before. I feel liberated and powerful and in control. Rather than planning for my future, I’m actively taking steps toward living it, and I’m doing it calmly, mindfully, and relatively maturely.

As far as interpersonal relationships go, I’ve made strides toward getting out of my own way. I’m still a bit more self-isolating than I’d like to be, but baby steps are the name of the game. I can let loose now, and go out with friends once or twice a week. Hell, sometimes even on a school night! Because, as I mentioned beforehand, in the grand scheme of things, people are what matter. Yeah, going to bed early so I can bring my A game to school and work is important, but so is making time for those I care about. It’s all about balance.

I breathe easy, sleep easy, and am patient and engaged in every moment, which is much more than I could have ever said 3 years ago. I know I’m no sage of wisdom, and that I have much more developing, improvement, and revision to do, but I genuinely like the direction I’m heading.

Documenting my experiences over the past 3 years has been truly enriching for me, and hopefully at least mildly entertaining for you! I genuinely appreciate anyone who has ever and will ever take the time to read anything that I write.

Here’s to 3 more years!

M.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Parity

I remember the Spice Girls. I remember all four of us: Cortney, Tasha, (my cousins) McCall, (my sister) and myself, dressing up and choreographing dance moves to all of their songs. None of us could be Baby Spice, because all of us wanted to be Baby Spice. I still think I should have been her, though. After all, I was the only one with blonde hair.

I remember long summer days at the pool, and our quad piling into the back of my mom’s minivan in our bathing suits. I remember sitting side-by-side with my cousins and comparing the sizes of our thighs. Mine were way bigger.

I remember asking my mom later if I was fat. She told me that I wasn’t, and that my cousins were simply too skinny. I was seven years old.

I remember the summer before 8th grade when I decided to participate in the Miss Kaysville Fruit Heights scholarship pageant. I won the Director’s Choice Award, but I know that the pageant was rigged, and the only reason I got any sort of award was because the director of the pageant just so happened to be my neighbor. I’m still glad she didn’t let me leave empty-handed, and still have that little trophy sitting on my dresser.

I remember Lakin Larsen, my favorite babysitter, who always made me two packets of Easy Mac and played Kim Possible outside with my little sister and me. She was always Kim Possible, and we were the bad guys.

I remember going to bed with one little sister, and waking up with two.

I remember when the only things that mattered to me were whether or not I would be sleeping over at my cousins’ house for the third time in a row, and who had the most Water Babies.

I remember when everything mattered.

I remember when everything mattered so much that I couldn’t bring myself to fall asleep at night because I had too much worrying to do about things that mattered.

I remember how in 8th grade health class, we had to practice reading each others’ blood pressures, and mine was so low that even Coach Downs couldn’t find it. I’d never seen a teacher look so concerned before, and I doubt he’d seen a student so underweight before.

I remember buying Coach a snow globe with a John Deer tractor in it for Christmas that year. The man was obsessed with John Deer tractors.

I remember our summer snow cone stand out in the front yard and how we got a whole gang of older kids on bikes to buy fourteen dollars worth of snow cones in one day. They came back once a week, and we’d always spend our entire earnings on syrup and ice so that we could re-open shop the following day. We owned that neighborhood.

I remember when I finally decided that I was going to stop taking myself so seriously, because, let’s be honest, nobody else does. Life has been significantly easier since I’d made that decision.

I remember starting high school with a brand new clique of friends. My best friend, Brooks, introduced himself like, “Hi, I’m Brooks! And I’m a giant teddy bear!” and then shook my hand. I knew right then that we were going to be best friends for a long time.

I remember Brooks coming over to my house for the first time. He laughed at the chubby third grade version of myself my family had mounted on our living room wall. I locked myself in my closet and wouldn’t come out until I felt that he’d adequately begged for my forgiveness.

I remember my Chemistry teacher, Mr. Stevens, and how one day, in front of the entire class, he advised me in his British accent to enroll in medical school for the sole purpose of finding a mate. He said once I’d done that, I could just drop out and be a trophy wife. That was the day I decided I was going to get a PhD.

I remember back in high school when I was a ballroom dancer, and I’d have to get spray tans for competitions. I remember being told by a fellow classmate that I looked like I “rolled in a bag of Doritios.” I blushed, but you couldn’t see it due to my artificial tan.

I remember waking up at 5:30 every morning to get ready for school, which gave me two whole hours before class started. I didn’t mind, because just like everything else, looks mattered.

I remember when I’d foolishly decided to sign with a modeling agency. The agents were all real smooth-talkers, and wrongly convinced me that I “had a great look” for modeling and said that if I worked hard, I could be successful. Guess who didn’t get an ounce of work through aforementioned modeling agency?

I remember how in junior high school, the proper way to tell a boy you liked him was to hurl Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups into his back yard while he was jumping on his trampoline with his friends. This method was successful on all trials but one.

I remember being labeled a perfectionist by some shrink my parents made me see one time

I remember deciding that things didn’t matter any more, and how that mindset resulted in really poor grades, and a lot of sneaking out of my house on school nights.

I don’t remember ever finding a balance.

Voiceless

Have you ever had a million things to say, but nobody to say them to?

That’s me, as of present.

As you can infer from previous posts, (and, quite frankly, this entire motherflippin’ website) my life is the kind of mess that Mr. Clean would shake his bald head at in surrender. As you can imagine, I have a thing or two on my mind.

My social circle is small. Like, point-of-a-freshly-sharpened-#2 Pencil-small. Recipients of my potentially verbalized thoughts are very limited.

And those within my minuscule social circle seem to not want to hear what I have to say. Granted, some of my feelings and grievances are completely irrational, (Not. Rational. I admit it, geez.) but it seems as though lately, I rarely even get the chance to finish.

Now, I’m not playing the vicim here. I found some sort of inspirational quote prompting me to become the heroine in my story, rather than the victim, so that’s what my new mindset, and phone wallpaper, as of recent.

I don’t even want sympathy. Sympathy pisses me off.

I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want.

I want a trusted individual to listen to a complete, raw, uncensored, irrational rant of mine, and not say a single thing until I’ve indicated that i’ve finished. Then, I want them to respond with a Denzel-Washington-From-Remember-The-Titans pep-talk, and a hug.

But for now, I will settle for writing my desires here for you lovely people, and leave it at that.

SHUT UP AND LISTEN.

M.

Misapprehension

Last week, I decided it was time for me to move out. So I did. (Well, sort of.) I decided to pack up my Camry with my seasonal belongings and make the 12 minute drive to Oma’s* house and become her brand-new, live-in best friend. Now, i’ve only been here a week, but this week has been the bomb-diggity. (Excuse my informal language.)

Living with her has been awesome because I have this sense of independence that I don’t get at my parents’ house, but also there is always somebody here to help me with my laundry or make Crepes even on a Thursday morning. And also, my favorite aunt lives right next door now, and enjoys taking me to Applebee’s for half-priced appetizers after 9 PM. It’s like the half-step between paternal dependence and complete independence. And that works for me.

However, regardless of the happiness this move has brought me, not all affected by this move walked away without their toes being stepped on. I think I hurt my parents in doing this, and that tears me apart. My dad, and probably one of my closest friends lately, was a little wounded by my choosing to live elsewhere. He told my mom that he felt like he was not a good father for not providing me with an environment that I can flourish in.

My mom is also not exactly happy by this choice of mine. She feels as though I am pushing her away. Geographically, this holds true, but you know what they say- “distance makes the heart grow fonder.” (Or something like that.)

I have an overwhelming burden of guilt for making my parents feel this way. I am more than frustrated that a decision that can make me so happy (or at least, less unhappy) could be seen as a ding to my folks’ parenting skills. My intentions have been entirely misunderstood.

Even though I can’t seem to clear up my reasons for leaving the nest to mom and dad, I am going to clarify them here.

Reason #1: No Curfew. 

My Oma works late a lot, and our schedules make it so that we are rarely home at the same time. Since she is so busy working and also being the best Oma in the history of forever, she rarely asks me interrogating questions. Which means I am free to go out and do teenager stuff with the abundance of friends I don’t have at 2 AM. It’s the principle of the thing.

Reason #2: New Environment=removal of temptation to be a girl with an eating disorder.

As silly as it sounds, living in a new house with a different kitchen has helped me start to mend my skewed relationship with food. I haven’t binged yet, and even my thoughts toward myself have improved. I am starting to lose the rigidity of my routines and rituals. This, on its own, is reason enough for me to not live in my house, as it saves me a significant amount of time, grief, and self-loathing.

Reason #3: No more Condescending, Contentious Little Sister

Woah, that was a rather bold and hurtful statement for a Monday morning, eh? Before you start grabbing your virtual pitchforks and picket signs that say “M deserves the ‘Worst Big Sister In The World’ award,” allow me to explain.

My relationship with my darling ‘little’ sister (quotes have been inserted around ‘little’ because my 16-year-old sis has probably 6 inches and 20 pounds on my short, non-athletic frame) is very unstable. We go through brief phases of alliance followed by extended periods of complete and utter hatred and/or avoidance. When we fight, homegirl gets pretty damn condescending and rude, radiating too many negative vibes for my already too negative self to cope with.

I haven’t spoken to her in a month. Not a word, nor an acknowledgement. And she doesn’t seem to mind in the slightest. In fact, I’m not even sure she noticed I even moved out, and that stings. Granted, she’s a self-absorbed Junior whose entire world revolves around herself and her friends, but I just thought that I had a little higher ranking of priority in her life. But you know, it is what it is, and if moving out removes the possibility of yet another heated, estrogen-slathered quarrel, then so be it.

Reason #4: Java

I’m allowed to have a coffee maker here.

So that’s where I’m at right now. Still not making anybody happy with my life choices. Still trying to please everybody. Probably about to move back home to relieve myself of this overwhelming feeling of guilt for hurting the parents. Still on the quest to find the path to lifelong happiness. Still no where close.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to breakfast over crepes with my Oma and gossip about our wacko family.

*Oma: German for Grandma. No, I will not refer to her as my grandma, for she is not. She is my Oma.

Lucubrate

I am in a particularly difficult stage of my life. Nothing makes sense. I’m right on the threshold of adulthood, but not quite there yet. Plans change by the second. Nothing feels right.

However, the hardships of this weirdish-almost-adultish state of existence, provide excellent opportunities for learning frustrating, reality-check giving life lessons. Here’s a few i’ve learned lately:

1. I am thoroughly convinced that moving out of my parents’ home will solve 99.4% of my problems. 

Before you slap a label on my disproportionately large forehead that reads, “Snobby, Spoiled, Over-privileged, Ungrateful Brat Whose Daddy Gives Her Everything,” check yourself before you wreck yourself. Then explain to me how you managed to fit so much writing on such a little label. And then hear me out.

One of my greatest growing concerns in my own life is being dependent on other people. I am a lone she-wolf. OWWWWW.

Seriously, though. All I want is to be able to take care of myself completely on my own. I acknowledge that I am nowhere near realizing this goal, but moving out would be a huge leap towards becoming Miss Independent. There is nothing I desire more than to be the dirt-poor girl in the tiniest, hole-in-the-wall apartment with thrift shop furniture and a budget just large enough to sustain life. It’s not even about feminism or having something to prove. I just want a modest place to call my very own-a place secluded from family and friends unless I choose otherwise.

On the other hand, i’m not exactly equipped to take care of myself entirely just yet. I moved out my first semester of college to a faraway land (well, about 350 miles away), and, long story short, I lost 10 pounds and took 2 trips to the E.R. over the span of 4 months. This occurrence should not be disregarded when it comes down to “should I stay or should I go?”

2.. Even if I survived on the thriftiest of diets (we’re talking ramen-noodle and cans of generic spaghetti-o’s) there is no way in hell I will ever be able to afford a place of my own. 

I am a very modest girl with a very modest-paying job. Turns out $700 a month is about 1/4th the income I need to get an apartment of my own with out a damn “cosigner.” Needing a cosigner makes me co-dependent and that makes me want to vomit.

Then there’s utility costs, which is a load of bullshit on its own.

3. When you’re done, it’s time to quit. 

Yesterday, I had a bad day. It was significantly worse than my typical bad days. I broke. My own papa taught me something very valuable that evening; when you’ve had enough, it’s time to pop an Ambien and watch New Girl until you fall into a deep, drug-induced slumber.

4. If Exercise Endorphins aren’t doing the trick, Comfort Food Endorphins sure will. 

Nothing makes me feel like an invincible warrior quite like a 4.5 mile run on the treadmill, fueled by Fall Out Boy and the current day’s rage. But even after that, the persistent Blues can proceed to cling to your back and weigh me down.

Fortunately, we have Molten Lava Chocolate Cake to remedy that.

5. When People Say, ‘I Care About You,’ Let Them. 

Probably due to my independent nature, I don’t allow other people to help me with my problems. I let my frustrations bottle up and attempt (in vain) to solve them on my own until I simply burn out. It’s probably a pride issue, but I need to let other people care about me sometimes. It’s a work-in-progress.

6. We All Have Problems

My problems aren’t any more or less significant than my peers. We all have plenty issues, but some of us are just better at coping with them. I prefer the “break down and bawl under my covers until I feel like my problems can’t find me” method. Other people choose the “be a reasonable, mature adult and push through it because it’s not going anywhere” method.

Hey, i’m learning.

I am quite the hot mess, my friends.

M.