It’s crazy that it’s already October, isn’t it? 2020 is seriously flying by, which I suppose is a good thing, since 2020 hasn’t really been treating anyone kindly. I’ve been a bit behind on blogging and writing, so today is all about playing catch-up after the very busy weekend I had! From Friday to Sunday, I was in Cape Cod with Buck and his family to attend his sister’s wedding. I had never been to the cape before, so it was really exciting to visit a new place I know nothing about (and of course, I was super excited to go to attend Hil’s wedding!). We went to the private beach near where we were staying at sunset and when I saw how beautiful the rainbow sky looked, I actually cried. I’ve never seen such a beautiful sight in my life, and especially in such a negative year, it was such a treat to watch something so astonishing and be reminded of the goodness in the world.
The ceremony was also on the beach, and I felt perfectly safe being there because it was a small ceremony (and since it was outdoors, there was plenty of breathing space.) I cried once during the ceremony because I’m such a feeler, and a couple more times during the reception during the first dances. I can’t help it- I think weddings are so beautiful and filled with good energy, it’s hard for me not to tear up a little. And particularly since I adore Buck’s family so much, it was hard not to feel blanketed in love. Being engulfed in the wedding energy all weekend made me think about my own future wedding a lot too; what I’d like for myself, who I would invite, etc. Buck knows I want to propose to him next year, but it’s not something I’m actively planning at the moment. I have a general idea of what I’d like to do, so maybe I’ll tell y’all someday.
Normally I would be working today, but I took PTO in advance because I wasn’t sure what time I would get home last night. It’s a good thing I did, because like I said, I really wanted to catch up on some writing and do some things around the house. I’m working some overtime in the next few weeks anyway, so it’s not like I’m losing hours or money anyhow.
That’s pretty much everything I’ve been up to this past week and weekend! Obviously a lot of wedding excitement for Nathaniel’s sister and the family, which I felt so honored to be a part of, and now I’m slowly easing myself back into my normal routine. I’m looking forward to getting my paycheck on Friday and my food stamps on Saturday- my fridge is starting to look a little bit bare! When I say I’m low on food, it’s because I (stupidly) buy a lot of perishable things at once and don’t realize that many of them will go bad before my next SNAP benefits land- not because I can’t afford to eat. It’s moments like this that I’m actually grateful to work at Starbucks, because I know I can get some free (or heavily discounted) meals from my job until then. I hope you guys have a really great week ahead- I’m looking forward to spending my days with my friends at work and my weekends with buck- so I have nothing to complain about. Stay safe, everyone!
I can definitely tell that my PMDD is starting to rise up again out of the woodwork, but at least I can be prepared and remind myself that this storm passes. I’m feeling pretty alright in general, but my motivational drive is at a low point and I’m definitely a bit edgier than usual. When my PMDD starts to act up, I tend to get ticked off by the littlest of things and overthink every aspect of my life. Oh well, all I can really do is continue to forgive myself and take care of my body the best I can!
On a more upbeat note, I’m super excited to sell my Nikon d3500 so I can buy a new stylus for my surface book! I’ve been wanting to get back into digital art for a while now, but it’s essentially impossible without a new stylus. So hopefully that’s something I can get into in the future! I will say, even though I’m very moody and emotional this week, my art and creativity has been really interesting and fresh as of late. I think there’s something about being vulnerable and emotional that really improves the quality of art, what do you think?
Tuesday, February 11
The weather has been cold and gray here for a few days, but as long as I’m indoors, I don’t really mind. Right now, I’m gearing up to start work at my internship, so that will keep me busy enough for the next six hours. Once I get back to campus, I’m going to crack down on my ethics homework and my essay due for my sociology class. The best thing for me to do when I’m combating PMDD hell week is to keep as busy as possible, so that I can distract my mind from getting too anxious or self-critical. Also, sleep is a big one too! I’m definitely aiming for a full nine hours tonight, because the seven or so hours I got last night is barely cutting it. When I was sitting on the train this morning, I could barely keep my eyes open!
Anyway, I feel like I’m still in a pretty good place, given the circumstances. I facetimed my friend Lily last night, and she always cheers me up no matter what I’m dealing with. As I said last night to her on the phone, “We’ve reached the point in our friendship where we can silently sit on facetime at 11pm and text boys who don’t love us.”
Thursday, February 13
The last couple of days have been very positive for me emotionally, so I’m hoping this means I’m going to have a decent cycle of PMDD this month! In fact, the only negative side effects that I have noticed lately are increased appetite (I’ve been eating way more than usual), and I feel absolutely fatigued. No matter how many solid hours of sleep I get, I wake up feeling exhausted to the point that I wonder if I can even get out of bed. As of right now, I’m struggling to keep my eyes open, hence why I’ve decided to try writing to see if that gets my brain going. I’ve also drank most of my coffee, but it might be time for another one. It’s frustrating to be tired, because I do get decent sleep now and it makes me feel like I’m not trying hard enough when I spend the entire morning feeling sleepy. There is definitely a level of guilt that comes with hormonal-based fatigue, even if it’s not my fault and there’s nothing I can do about it. I would be terrified to call out of work due to fatigue, because I wouldn’t want to let anyone down or make people feel like I’m incapable of doing my job. Anywho, I’m not a big napper, but today may be a Nap Day after I finish up at my internship. We shall see how I’m feeling tomorrow.
Friday, February 14
Happy Valentine’s Day! Or Galentine’s Day, I should say. It’s about ten in the morning right now, so I’ve been up for three hours. Even though I’ve already had my coffee, the PMDD fatigue is still hitting me hard. I’m hoping it lets up soon, because Lily and I are planning on going to the MFA for a friendship date. I’ll see if I can squeeze in a nap before I get ready, at least.
Besides the fatigue and constant sleepiness, I’m feeling pretty okay! My anxiety levels have been really low lately, so I’m grateful for that. I’ve also been trying to get out more and do more social things with my friends, so we went to Target last night and goofed off. I’m so lucky to have friends who not only appreciate my chaotic energy, but match it as well.
Regardless of how you celebrate your Valentine’s Day, remember to practice self love first and recognize your worth! You are stronger than you know!
Saturday, February 15
This week has just flown by, and I’m so happy that the weekend is here! I hope you all had a wonderful, happy Valentine’s Day with your friends and partners. I had an absolutely lovely evening with my friend Lily; we started out our night by going to one of my favorite restaurants, which is a vegan Chinese place called Grasshopper. Everything on the menu is 100% vegan, even if it has a traditional “meat” name (for example, I ordered this amazing vegetarian lo mein with “chicken” in it). It was absolutely superb, and pretty affordable as well. I’m looking forward to visiting again.
After that, we went to the MFA because we get in free with our student IDs. I was hoping to see some works by my favorite artist, Edward Hopper, but the museum unfortunately was not showcasing any of his paintings at that time. Nonetheless, we viewed some really interesting pieces and had an overall lovely time. Lily is also extremely funny and animated, and she made me laugh so hard I cried a few times. It was such a feel-good night, and it reminded me that I am actually totally okay with being single. Sure, it would be nice to have somebody, but I love myself and my friends enough that I don’t really worry about it/get hung up on it. After our museum trip, we got some cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory and hung out in my room (and I’m eating my leftovers as I write this).
Tonight I think I’m going to hang out with my friends on campus, and then tomorrow is going to be homework day. I was thinking about going into Boston to see my friend at Berklee tonight, but I’m honestly not really comfortable with taking the light rail by myself at night. I’m also kind of tired from all the traveling I did yesterday, and I do have some work to catch up on, so I think I’m going to stay close to home tonight. Anyway, thank you all for reading! Be on the lookout for more upcoming Analog content 🙂
I had an idea a while ago to add a new “lifestyle” tab to my blog. I write quite a lot about my opinions, purchases, and commentary on certain subjects, but I very rarely update you guys on the daily happenings of my life. So, that’s what Sarah’s Weekly Catch-up is going to be: something of a weekly diary where I keep you updated on my school life, routines, and general fleeting thoughts. I do love to write detailed, researched, fact-based pieces about social issues and media, but it’s also nice to write something more relaxed, like a weekly letter home. But instead of home, it’s a weekly letter to…the internet?
Anywho, I decided to start writing today because I’m moving back into school on Sunday. I’ve had a mostly great summer, filled with tons of sleep, dog-walking, writing, and even some working out. I was happiest at the beginning of the summer, because I was so sick of school by April and desperately needed a break. Around August is when things started to falter a bit, because I finally got off an anxiety medication I’ve been taking for three years (as the side effects were starting to interfere with my daily life). I knew it would be hard to wean off -and it some ways, it was easier than I thought- but physically, the process destroyed me. When you withdraw from a medication that literally alters your brain chemistry, such as an SSRI, your brain sometimes gets confused and sends confused bolts of tiny electricity through your head as it tries to re-group. This is a real thing called “head jolts”, and it more or less dominated my life for about 3 full weeks. Eventually it did go away as my brain adjusted, but there was a time in that three-week period when I had to crawl around my apartment because my head was absolutely spinning.
I sadly fell out of working out while all of this was occurring, because I was exhausted and disoriented and simply lost my drive. One of my goals for this school year is to get back into exercising, potentially with yoga and frequent walks. I’d also like to work on improving my diet, because while it is fairly healthy now, I think it could be better.
Another frustrating thing that happened in August refers to some drama I had with my college, but that literally happens every semester. I know that no school is perfect, but I’ve been repeatedly shocked by how unprofessional and nonsensical my particular college is. I’ve taken to printing out copies of the emails they send me and filing them away, so that I can whip them out in situations when receipts are needed. It’s a pretty complex story, but in a nutshell, my school cancelled a MANDATORY class I needed to graduate because they couldn’t find an instructor, and left me scrambling by myself to put the pieces of their shitty error back together. Luckily, I have an amazing academic advisor, and he has more or less helped me sort out this mess. I’m fully anticipating more school chaos to come hurtling my way, because something always goes wrong along the way at this institution.
Anyway, those were the low points of August, but I’m trying to focus more on the high points to be celebrated in my life. I’m genuinely someone who loves learning, so I do look forward to starting new classes every year. Like I said, I am also interested in adding in some new lifestyle changes as well, like exercising again and taking better care of my body. My appearance has been subtly changing as well, and I’m taking on much more of a butch style. I don’t like to say “masculine” because I feel like it implies you’re wearing clothes designed for someone else. Like, I don’t think a woman wearing a suit means she’s wearing clothes designed for men. Maybe a suit to her makes her feel more like a woman, and to me, that’s femininity. I love having short, cropped hair, button-downs, and oversized tailored jackets. It’s not “masucline” to me- it makes me feel womanly. It makes me feel feminine. Same goes for a man who feels confident in a dress- if that makes you feel like a more powerful man, than you ROCK that dress, sir. Clothing, in my opinion, is inherently gender neutral. The beauty of personal style is that you can make it whatever you want.
Anywho, that was a bit of a tangent, but I wanted to update y’all on the direction of my style. I’m super inspired by 90s butch lesbians, like Ellen DeGeneres and of course, k.d. Lang. It’s such a beautiful expression of female energy, in a societal non-traditional way. I love women who push the boundaries of social acceptance, and that’s the kind of woman I’d like to be.
As I mentioned before, getting off my medication has kinda rocked my world and set me back physically/emotionally, but I’m working on hitting the reset button and building something better for myself. I know I deserve happiness and success, but it’s a constant battle and we all have to try our best to love ourselves and practice self care. Don’t ever deprive yourself of self-care, because it is a necessity, not a hobby!
Speaking of self care, I’m going to take a bubble bath and watch Modern Family.
Monday, September 9th
I don’t usually feel homesick while I’m at college. In fact, I was hardly homesick at all my first year- I think I missed home for a day or two, tops. I’ve never been good with change, though I tend to perk up once I fall into a routine. That’s something people seem to forget about folks with ADHD- having consistency and a solid plan can often be pivotal to our moods. That being said, I’m already feeling much better than I was yesterday. I felt almost as if I was moving in a gray glob of fog, and everything was slow and unfamiliar and strange (even though this is my third year going to college, and my last).
I’m also living in the same room as last year, which is nice. It’s large for a standard single, but I didn’t bring much *stuff* with me anyway. I really tried to only pack the things I know I’ll use on a weekly basis- bedding, toiletries, snacks, clothes, and my laptop. Last year I decorated my room to be super cutesy, and brought along things like flower garland and crystals, but this year I kept it simple. The only decor I really brought was my lesbian pride flag, which, ironically, isn’t hung straight. I don’t even have anything to store under my bed, and it feels so good to have a clean, minimal room!
I struggled a bit to fall asleep last night, because I’m used to having a mattress on the floor and feeling close to the ground. I have some new housemates, and they all seem lovely thus far. As an introvert, it shocked me that someone would come to my door, knock, and introduce themselves. I could never!
I’m still feeling a bit sluggish, like it’s taking me twice as long to do things here that would normally be fast at home. Nonetheless, I think I’ll be able to re-adjust quickly. Next on my agenda is to sort out all of that academic tosh my school threw onto my plate last month. Hopefully, my new major and class rank will be registered and complete by the end of the month, and somebody will finally answer my emails. We’ll see!
Wednesday, September 11th
It’s been a turbulent few days, but none of them have been completely good or bad. There is some good news straightaway- my individualized degree is in the process of being finalized, so I no longer have to worry about my graduation date being pushed. The only unexpected change is that I now have to take a micro-economics class, and I’m painfully realistic about the fact that I very well may hate it. I struggle with abstract ideas and numbers, and can only comprehend math up to about a sixth-grade level, according to my neuropsych results. Nonetheless, I’m trying to stay optimistic, and I’m currently working on informing my professors about my learning disabilities.
My anxiety has been coming in waves, but I’m generally externally calm. Part of college is figuring out who you have beef with, and there are definitely a few people who have made it clear they’re not happy I’m back. At this point, though, I know who my good friends are, and those are the people I’m sticking with. My primary goal and my purpose for being here is solely to earn my bachelor’s degree, and then put this chapter of my life behind me.
Another noteworthy update has to do with my recent social commentary article, “Should We Be Worried About Julia Zelg?”. I was expecting heightened traffic, for sure, but I didn’t think it was going to appear so high in the search bar and receive so much attention. I’m sure Julia has read it, and Eileen probably has to. I was nervous that my article would be received as hate, but the general consensus seems to be positive. The people who have expressed anger towards my article are apparently unaware of what a “blog” is- a place where one can freely express their thoughts and opinions, and give my two cents on what I find interesting. “Get a life” isn’t an adequate comeback- covering social issues and writing opinion pieces IS both my life and my work.
Anywho, I just wanted to express my surprise that the article garnered so many clicks, and I’m honestly relieved that other people felt the same way I did (for the most part). Part of my work as a writer is to vocalize opinions and feelings that other people may struggle to put together on their own. Obviously a “gossip” piece or a social commentary essay is trivial, but I also love to expand my voice into advocacy, criticism of bigotry, and generally delivering justice with words.
I’m only three days into school, but the classes I am most excited about are Human Services and Communication Research. The latter has actually garnered a number of groans and complaints from my classmates, but hey, I LOVE that shit. Research and writing, again, is what my life’s all about. I’ve also taken a class with this professor before, and know him to be strict but fair. I’m looking forward to writing my twenty-page research paper at the end of the semester.
Thursday, September 12
I’m a shower thinker. I was reflecting today about the root of attachment and how that can contribute to suffering, so I mused on it for a while and decided I ought to write about it to filter out my mind. It’s going to be long-winded and all over the place, but that’s usually how my thoughts go.
There is a distinct difference between love and attachment, but unfortunately, the media and our environment can cause us to get them confused. Television and music loves to romanticize attachment- especially when it comes to convincing young girls they need a man to be happy. That certainly doesn’t help when you’re already suffering from attachment issues, especially with a father figure, or if you’re a lesbian, struggling to figure out your identity.
A lot of women who eventually come out as lesbians have dated men in their earlier life. I’m one of those people- I first said I was straight, then I was bi, and then, I finally fully accepted my homosexuality. Like I said earlier, attachment can very easily be mistaken for love because of the way we are conditioned to feel. When I was growing up, I felt so ashamed and distraught about being a lesbian, I made a consistent effort to shove that part of my identity away. To fill the void I felt where my father should have been, and because I struggled to feel accepted by a male figure, I quickly became attached to the idea of having a boyfriend as soon as I reached relationship age. If I didn’t have a boy to give me attention, I felt like a worthless girl. I especially struggled with feeling jealous of my friends who did have boyfriends, and constantly felt stressed that I would never be good enough.
I’m not completely blaming my dad or the media, but I do know that with different circumstances, I could have explored my homosexuality much sooner and avoided so much attachment, obsession, and pain. By the time I was in college, I had more or less began to let a little bit of the truth creep in. I allowed myself to open up to women, but still, a part of me felt very attached to men and I was obsessively convinced I needed one to feel complete.
As my romantic and sexual experiences with women blossomed, I was finally able to distinguish the difference between attachment and love. Love has no competition, no jealousy, and no urge for validation. The best way I can describe this revelation is when you THINK you know something is the best, until you experience something even better that replaces what you previously thought. With exploring my homosexuality, I discovered that this was the real, selfless, authentic love I had been searching for, and what I previously had coined as “love” was a coping mechanism for my attachment issues and compulsory hetersexuality. I’m not saying I didn’t think I was in love when I was fourteen, but in retrospect, I can confidently say that what I actually felt was socially-enforced infatuation.
I still sometimes struggle with feelings of jealousy, especially when my friends have partners and I do not, but I am working on letting that anger go. It doesn’t matter the sexual orientation- I simply just get jealous that somebody else is loved, and I am not. This does tie in with the attachment issues I am continuously overcoming, but the more I accept these issues, the more I can separate them from love and acknowledge them as a toxic behaviour.
I was reminded of this today. About six months ago, when I was still trying to hold onto that last bit of “I-like-men” security blanket, I was hooking up with a guy I met on tinder. At least, I was trying to hook up. As I became a lesbian, my BODY was literally rejecting him every time we tried to hook up. It was like my vagina just slammed shut every time he tried to get near me, until finally, I had to own up to him that I was pretty certain I was gay. What’s funny is, I never actually found sex with men that appealing. It was more so something, again, I felt I HAD to do in order to reach some form of self-actualization. Straight sex was something I tried to convince myself I could “learn to like”, but eventually, I just allowed myself (and the guy) to know that I found it kind of painful and nauseating.
He knew it was coming, too. I had been expressing to him for a while that I had always leaned more towards girls than guys, and the older I got, the more I leaned. Even though we got together primarily as friends with benefits, we ended up developing a friendship that went on even after our sexual relationship ended. To this day, he’s one of my best friends.
I was bothered today because I saw him for the first time in a few months. He has a new girlfriend, and like I am with all of my friends, I felt instantly defensive and jealous. There was another added element of attachment, because like I said, I had really used him as a security blanket when I was confused about my sexuality. Even though I’ve come to peace with it now, I still felt uncomfortable with the fact that a person I was once attached to had replaced me. It caused me a lot of distress today, because, in a way, it made me feel like a bad lesbian.
But I’m not. And that’s why I’m writing this article- there is a huge difference between love and attachment. I felt attached to him because he made me feel safe, but I never loved him. And that’s why so many lesbians, including myself, struggle SO MUCH to accept out homosexuality. We are constantly papered with the romanticism of attachment, and the social construct that all women need men to feel complete. I feel like it’s something that isn’t talked about nearly enough, and in turn, it contributes to homosexual people feeling like they have “failed.”
If you’re reading this and you’ve felt a similar way before, I just want to say that you’re not a failure. Human psychology, sociology, and sexuality is such a complex, intertwined cluster of subjects. And it’s high-time we start tackling the expectations put on women in a society so focused on attachment, especially for those trying so desperately to just figure everything the fuck out.
Saturday, September 14th
This has been my first real day of doing “nothing” since I arrived at school last Sunday. Because my weekdays are very checklist oriented (“do this, then do this, then do this”), I allow myself to have NO agenda on Saturdays. I thoroughly enjoyed laying in bed for the majority of the day and playing The Sims. Who here is SO EXCITED about the new Realm of Magic game pack? Because I sure am!
I also had an opportunity to really test out the goodies in my Fab Fit Fun box, which came in the mail yesterday. I have a review of the box scheduled to post for September 23rd, which will give me plenty of time to test out the products and form a fair opinion about them. I’m already loving so many things I received, and I’m looking forward to putting together that article.
Update on PMDD: Like I said, I recently got off Lexapro after being on it for nearly three years. The wonderful thing about SSRIs is that they tend to keep your mood stagnant, and now that I’m not on one, I definitely feel a little chaotic and all over the place. I’m constantly striving to take care of myself and prioritize my health, so I’m actively looking for some new treatment to help me with my returning PMDD symptoms. One thing I might do is get back on Lexapro, and add Wellbutrin to combat the side effects. I would rather try a more natural approach before getting medicated again, so another thing I am considering is CBD oil. Weed has never been my gig, and I’ve never smoked it, but my impression of CBD is that it’s an entirely different thing. I probably will try a multitude of different treatments, and see which one works best for my life and my body. To anyone who is struggling with mental illness or a debilitating disorder, don’t give up! There are people designated to helping you and supporting you on your journey, so never hesitate to reach out to them. I have never regretted for asking for help with my PMDD, and because of that, I know I have these versatile options for managing it. Fellow women with PMDD- what are your stories and self-care methods?
Anyway, tomorrow is going to be a work day. I’m posting this, for one thing, and then I will be chugging through some schoolwork for the rest of the evening. I’ve really enjoyed writing in a diary-style format, and hope to continue sharing my personal experiences of my daily life (though maybe not too many, because I’m pretty sure some faculty members at my college read my blog). Thank you for reading and catching up with me!
Coming up this week:
9/16- What’s in Season in September?
9/18- My Numbers Have Colors: Synesthesia
9/20- Gift Guide: The Perfect BOOK For Everyone on Your List
I have to say, each year, summer seems to be getting a little bit better for me. Summer 2016 was terrible. Summer 2017 was almost worse, but in a different way. And summer 2018 left me completely bored out of mind, with a total of .8 friends to occupy my time with.
This summer, I don’t really have any close friends in my hometown, and I still don’t even have a car, but I feel like I’m at one of the happiest points in my life. There a handful of lifestyle changes I have made, and while I definitely feel productive, I’m also giving myself time to relax and catch up on sleep. I’m also at the healthiest point in my life, now that I’ve incorporated a medium-intensity workout into my daily life.
The program I am using is called Body Boss, and so far, I am on week four of the pre-training program. My mom bought the set on Amazon for $100, and although it may seem like a huge investment, I’m actually amazed with the progress I have made so far. This program is definitely not designed for people seeking a low-intensity workout, and it’s certainly reminding me how out of shape I was before I started. The program we bought also comes with food guides and a smoothie recipe book, which I intend on putting to use in the hotter months.
Having an intensive workout routine is actually a lot more fun than I anticipated it to be. I am excited to to wake up and begin my day with exercise, and now that I’m starting to see results, it just motivates me even more and makes me feel amazing about myself. My energy is improved, my sleep is better, and my overall mood is just happy and productive. I guess it is true that exercising can help beat the blues.
Every year since 2015, I’ve had an actual summer job that a company or business, but this summer is different. I think it’s common for most students to work full-time in the summer and then focus on school in the fall/spring months, but in my case, I actually worked part-time on my campus. I haven’t had easy experiences with working, especially since I don’t have a car and I always have creepy/toxic co-workers, no matter where I am. I decided to pursue dog-sitting as a summer job this year, because I still want to make money, but I’m ready for a break after working formally for seven months at school. It’s a really low-stress situation for me, and even better, I get to spend time with adorable animals that won’t talk back to me or offend me! One of the biggest reasons that I want to pursue a career as a freelance writer is because I do have such a hard time getting along with people and managing my anxiety, so if that sounds like you, it might be a good idea to pursue dog walking as a summer side hustle. I’m also trying to save $1000 of my earnings by the end of August, with the goal that I won’t have to go back to my toxic school job to get by. Especially since there’s a good chance I’ll be weaning of lexapro, and that will be emotionally draining, I don’t need extra negativity in my life.
The third way I am keeping myself occupied and productive is with my book club, which I put together myself in March. I love reading, which I’ve stated many times, and I also love being in charge of things and dedicating my time and energy to it. Even if reading isn’t your thing, I recommend finding a niche, club, or activity that you identify with, especially if you’re feeling lonely or bored. I think book clubs are a great way to be social and stimulated, especially in the summer, when you might have the urge to just roll around in bed all day. I’m hoping to find a way to incorporate my book club into this blog, so if you are interested in being a part of that, let me know!
The fourth and final way I am dividing my time is with volunteering, which I would recommend to absolutely everyone. There are so many different fields to volunteer with, and because I love animals, I will be working on a farm/animal shelter this summer. Not only are you keeping yourself busy (and hopefully having fun in the process), you are doing something amazing and positive for your community. I can already say that volunteering has been one of the most rewarding, beautiful experiences of my life, especially since I get to spend it with animals. Volunteering is also very low-stress in regards to commitment, because you generally are able to pick your own hours and regulate the areas in which you would like to dedicate your time.
Those are the top four ways I am beating my summer boredom, making money, and as an introvert, pushing myself to leave the house a few times a week. Like I said, I am really satisfied physically and emotionally with where I am, and I’m so looking forward to continuing this journey of self-love and healthy living. What are you guys’ plans for the summer? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
I love all crystals for their unique, marvelous purposes, but pink and green crystals are usually my absolute favorites. This is mostly because pink and green are my favorite colors, but also, the properties of the heart chakra really resonate with me. As you may have guessed, the best stones for the heart chakra are pink and green- including emerald, of course!
I think my love of emerald originates from my mother, because she wore a emerald wedding ring when she was married to my dad. I was totally mesmerized by the deep, royal color of the ring, and remember thinking when I was little that I wanted an emerald ring, too.
I may not have gotten my emerald ring yet, but, I do have a lovely tumbled emerald piece in my crystal collection! Tumbled emerald looks quite different than the deep, rich stone you may be visualizing, because it’s less saturated than what you would find on a fancy ring. To my knowledge, the tumbled emerald I own is “B grade”, because it’s a pale, opaque shade, rather than being bright and “true green.”
Nonetheless, it’s still emerald, and the healing properties of the stone still apply. Because emerald correlates with the heart chakra, it can help to promote love, romance, joy, and faith, along with a plethora of other wonderful things. Emerald is often called “the stone of domestic bliss,” or “the stone of successful love”, because it helps to enhance romantic love and loyalty. That’s not to say your partner won’t cheat on you just because you have emerald, but, people do say the stone changes color if infidelity is occuring. The chances of that being true are slim, but still, what a fun fact!
Emerald doesn’t just aid in love, loyalty, and bliss. It can also help you overcome physical ailments, like arthritis, blood pressure regulation, colds and flu, and overall heart health. As a whole, meditating with emerald promotes a healthy equilibrium for your physical, emotional, and mental health. I find that any type of heart-specific stone can be beneficial in promoting overall harmony and peace, and emerald is certainly no exception to this.
In regards to rarity, emerald is a very common stone, and can be purchased quite cheaply in a number of online and brick-and-mortar shops. Village Silversmith has a great crystal selection, if you live in the Boston area, but there are also plenty of awesome online shops. Etsy has some great shops, like Auramore and NewMoonBeginnings. I also really like getting crystals from Monk and Moon, because they always have an impressive collection of raw chunks. I do not yet have a raw chunk of emerald, so maybe that will be my next crystal endeavor!
No matter what your reason is for using emerald, I’m sure you will find that the crystal gives you a sense of peace and unconditional love. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but the more you practice self-care and meditation, the easier the love will flow to you.
Over the years, I’ve definitely noticed I tend to pick up a lot of green crystals. It makes a lot of sense; green is my favorite color, and as a hopeless romantic, I definitely need to pay a lot of attention to my heart chakra. For those of you unfamiliar with chakras and their correlations, here’s a recap:
Aids in: Grounding, emotional security
Aids in: Creativity, sexuality
Solar Plexus Chakra
Aids in: Self-confidence, identity
Aids in: Love, compassion
Aids in: Communication, truth
Aids in: Wisdom, intuition
Aids in: Spirituality, our relationship with the universe
Like I said, I’m definitely a stereotypical hopeless romantic. I fall in love easily, I get attached on a whim, and I’m guilty of over-fantasizing about every relationship I enter. That being said, I would much rather be too full of love, than not full of enough love. The thing I need to work on the most is just managing my love, so I don’t get hurt so quickly and deeply. I think that’s a lesson we can all learn from: saving our love for someone who really deserves it, instead of just pouring it into the first person who gives us attention. That’s how hurt feelings develop, and in severe cases, abusive relationships.
I don’t really think crystals can heal every aspect of our life. In some ways, I don’t even really think of chakras as being “real”; I think of them more as metaphors for self-care and positive energy. The rawest healing comes from finding truth within yourself, and facing your demons for what they are.
That being said, I really do feel a strong connection to heart-focused crystals. They may not fix all my problems, but I do find crystals give me a sense of peace and clarity.
Whew, that was a hefty introduction. With that out of the way, let’s get into the metaphysical properties of green aventurine.
Aventurine itself comes in quite a few colors, including shades of blue, purple, brown, orange, and even pink. The most popular, however is definitely green. The beautiful lush green color comes from Fuchsite particles within the quartz, making it appear similarly to jade. Along with being a great stone for love, green aventurine can also strengthen your relationship with nature and Earth. The vibrations of the stone will not only nourish your body, but also your personal living space. Because of this, green aventurine is an awesome stone to use in crystal grids and gardens.
Some other benefits of aventurine that are unrelated to the heart chakra are its abilities to aid in physical growth and promote vitality. Some people also believe that green aventurine can calm unruly school children who struggle with hyperactivity, as the stone can help its wearer focus on the task in front of them.
Green aventurine aids in emotional stability and helps to soothe the mind, making it ideal for difficult situations like grief and heartbreak. Being close to green aventurine is said to open your heart chakra, and even serve as “armor” for your heart- blocking it from negative energy and emotional pollution. It can be used to give us a sense of control over our own heart- we own it, it is our own possession, and we have the power to choose who enters it. Green aventurine obviously isn’t a magic wand, but it can help provide a sense of comfort and love. I myself struggle with having strong emotional reactions, romantic or not, and green aventurine helps me to harness that energy. It’s a great stone to have on-hand, especially in the form of jewelry. If you have a loved one with a very big heart, green aventurine would be the perfect gift for him/her.
Additionally, green aventurine honors Kuan-Yin, the Chinese goddess of mercy, compassion, and unconditional love. To many, Kuan-Yin is regarded as a protector of women, children, and unsung heroes. All green crystals honor Persephone, the Greek Goddess of Spring & growth.
Ultimately, I think of green aventurine as being an essential stone. It’s certainly a stone that I have felt a strong connection and fascination with, especially since it relates to my own emotional energy in such a spot-on way. As with almost any stone, green aventurine is extremely inexpensive, usually ranging in price from $2.00-$20.00. This, of course, depends on the the size and quality of the stone you purchase.
If you’re interested in doing some further research on green aventurine, Crystal Vaults is full of information about every stone you could think of. Let me know if there are any particular stones you’d like me to write about next; crystals are one of my favorite blog topics!
Consent, whether it be romantic or not, is equally interchangeable between sexes. As a society, however, we do definitely put more emphasis whether or not a man will behave decently or not to a women. And trust me, I totally get that. I’m a feminist. I’m a lady, (a pretty lady, at that), and I constantly have to deal with men trying to invade my personal space and manipulating me into a being a “bitch” when I don’t reciprocate their sexual advances. I’m sure I speak for many women when I say that’s a serious issue, and it deserves the attention is receiving.
So, I’m not saying I think consent for women need less attention: I just think consent for men needs more. I think there needs to be equal attention brought to both matters, because both sexes are responsible when it comes to consent and healthy relationships. One of the reasons I think men have a harder time opening up about being victims of sexual assault is the unfair stereotype dynamic we have created in our society. We are often taught, purposefully or not, that all men are the monsters, a sex to be feared, and almost always the perpetrators of aggressive sexual advances or assault. While yes, many causes of sexual assault are towards women (91%, actually), that doesn’t mean the 9% of men are less significant (also, that doesn’t include all the men who haven’t come out about it yet). Sexual assault towards men is almost never talked about, which is alarming, considering I took part in extensive training for preventing sexual assault while I was in high school. Because we are conditioned to believe that men are not the victims, we also build up a sense of guilt and weakness in men when they are assaulted. For many men, they may feel invalidated, not believed, or simply, that their case is not as severe as it would be if the gender roles were reversed. Even worse, the man might not think it’s a big deal at all if he has been assaulted (or he will brush it off, like it’s a minor annoyance rather than an invasion of his body). I think that we (for the most part) are trained as women to believe that if a man isn’t saying anything when you’re making moves on him, he must be enjoying it then, right? Because all men are sex-crazed animals, right? Well, no. If a man doesn’t seem to be reciprocating, he might be uncomfortable, and most likely afraid to speak up. But these are the stories we don’t hear about, because men are trained: YOU are the alpha, YOU can’t show weakness, YOU can’t be defeated.
I have a personal example of this. I had a relative, actually, tell me that he got totally smashed drunk at a party and woke up on a bed with a girl raping him. That girl gave him a sexually transmitted disease, which he now has to live with for the rest of his life. And some-fucking-how, he brushed it off with a nervous smile like it was no big deal.
I have another male friend who 1) has graciously brought the idea for this article to my attention, and 2) has some personal experiences he would like to share. I’m going to be keeping this anonymous to protect his privacy, but I admire his strength and eloquence in coming out to discuss his experiences with the imbalance in consent between the sexes.
“I’ve been quiet about this issue. Mostly because when I tried to get involved in the conversation, my opinion was taken as a threat and rejected because of my gender. As a man, I’ve watched some pretty resentful public displays of humiliation towards men on this topic. And my personal experiences with feminists has been wildly misandristic – which I find to be ironic because I thought feminism was about equality, not punishing men for being the opposite gender. I know that’s what the ideology suggests, but there are a lot misandrists hiding behind the veil of feminism as their shield and sword”.
Ladies and gents, this is what I want to say. If you are a woman, and you’re thinking about kissing a man you’ve been out on a couple dates with, at least say, “Can I kiss you?” before you actually project yourself onto him. You’d expect that from him, wouldn’t you? So let’s embrace the equality of consent and make sure that everybody feels safe and respected in their own bodies. You can’t know what somebody else is thinking unless you ask them, and even then, it’s so important to read body language and make sure your partner is comfortable!!
I can completely understand my friend’s frustration with some feminists. It’s a bad analogy, I know, but it reminds me of crazy vegans who ruin the entire image for everyone else. As a feminist myself, I wish to promote complete equality for both ladies and gals, not just for myself. The extreme “man haters” give the rest of us a really bad image; trust me, I’m aware.
He continues: “I’m more used to being approached by women, and I seldom ever make the first move. Generally, I am just very shy. Here are some of my personal experiences as a man, and my observations on the topic.
Me being less assertive, most of the women I’ve slept with have been the result of their assertiveness, and did not ask me for consent when they initiated the first kiss, or the progression for sex. There were exactly two that did [ask for consent], although I will say I personally prefer not to be asked and I understand some people want a more natural and organic feeling when getting intimate. Everybody has tastes and preferences and those should not be minimized.”
I wanna say this, too: I know you don’t have to hear a verbal resounding “YES!” every time you want to have sex with your boyfriend or girlfriend. If you’re comfortable with each other and you understand each other’s body language and preferences, and you’ve been having a prolonged sexual relationship for a while, no you don’t have to confirm “hey, are we going to have sex?” every time right before a roll in the hay. When you’re hooking up with someone the first, second, or heck, even the third time, just do yourself a favor and ask for verbal consent. Once you’ve been together for a while, sexually or romantically, it becomes easier to understand each other’s cues and body languages, and then, you obviously won’t need verbal consent every single time. Anywho, back to his quote:
“The few times I built up the courage to take the initiative and ask, I was ridiculed for asking, or rejected -BECAUSE- I asked. I’m paraphrasing because it was so long ago, but it was met with something like, “You were doing fine until you had to ask.” Or, “What makes you think I’d be interested in you?” in a condescending tone.
The expectation that men need to initiate consent is unequal, and quite frankly reinforces gender stereotypes. If we are to make progress, there can be no double standards; women should be held to an equal standard. Furthermore, ridiculing a man for asking for consent just because you’re not attracted to him is acidic to the entire movement.
My experience with this make the current depiction of consent look (to me) like: ‘Guys who I’m not interested in or attracted to must ask for consent, but the guys I’m interested in or attracted to should just know without having to ask.’”
See? This is what we’re talking about when we say the double standard. Can you imagine if a man said he didn’t need to ask the woman for consent, because “she should just know” and he “doesn’t need to ask”? That scenario would be completely fucked up. And guess what? News flash, when you reverse the gender roles, it’s still fucked up!
“I understand why people become misogynistic or misandristic, and I think it’s because they were hurt really bad by the other gender, but the answer isn’t resentment-fueled revenge. The cycle of hate and pain is ended with forgiveness, understanding, and inspiring change in those that hurt us. It’s how I overcame my twelve years of abuse from my stepfather, and it was a process, but I feel better now than I ever would have by holding onto my hatred and ‘getting even’.”
If man and woman are equal, we need to hold each other equally accountable for our behaviors. I’m certainly not coming on here to start a war, but I do think we need to think more seriously about the toxic messages we may be unknowingly putting out. No matter who you are: man, woman, or somewhere in-between, you deserve to be treated respectfully, just as much as you deserve to treat others with that same respect. Love is a beautiful thing, but it’s give and take. You know what else is awesome? Sex is pretty awesome. But we both need to try a little bit harder to think with our heads and not so much or genitals, because sex can be a tricky (and hurtful) thing to navigate without a clear level of consent between the two parties.