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Bookcase 

I was driving with my mom to visit a friend when she suddenly spotted a bookcase on the curb. “It’s perfect!” she exclaimed. “I didn’t see it,” I responded. My mom made a right on the next block and went around, bringing us back to the bookcase. It was indeed perfect: solid wood, unique design, sturdy and in good condition. So we took it, because….

*drumroll*

Last week my best friend and I signed a lease on an apartment! Insert all the happy emoji here. Coincidentally, the same day that my brother left for college. My poor parents, having two kids move out at the same time!

It’s been a long time coming; my original goal after college was to be moved out by October of that year (2011), and instead I’m moving October four years after the fact. Oops. There are a lot of reasons why I stayed home as long as I did, and while I don’t have any regrets, I’m really stoked to finally have a place of my own. We fully didn’t expect to get the place, especially since one guy was bribing the manager with fancy coffee, wine, and a cute baby. But somehow, magically, it’s ours! It’s a cute little place on a quiet street with hardwood floors, natural light, and vintage tiling details. I’m excited to live with my best friend (and her cats!), to explore a (slightly) new-to-me neighborhood (….ten minutes away from where I currently live), to decorate. Hence, this bookcase. I’m also ridiculously excited to get a new bed. Updates to come!
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tuesday links

To say things have been hectic the last few weeks would be a bit of an understatement, and the way things are currently going, September is going to be even busier. It’s all good things, but a lot. A LOT! Updates to come soon. In any case, links! For some reason, most of them ended up being from Entertainment Weekly, which was totally by accident.

  1. They dropped a new trailer for the latest Macbeth film adaptation and I could not be more excited.
  2. Did you hear that Hindsight got canceled?! I’m so upset. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, I can’t recommend it enough.
  3. Tony Hale talks about his first encounter with James Van Der Beek on Dawson’s Creek.
  4. The true cost of college after paying tuition and room & board.
  5. My favorite headline last week.

P.S. – Happy first day of school to my fellow Hogwarts alums ;) #Gryffindorforlife

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Baby Brother

Last week I got to spend a full day with my brother. We saw The End of the Tour, grabbed some pizza, dug through record bins at Amoeba, and went back-to-school shopping. It was nice to be able to just hang out; since we’re eight years apart, we didn’t always want to spend time together when we were younger. These days, we get along really well. He’s my favorite person and while I’m so excited to see him realize his dreams and head off to college, I’m also gonna miss him a ton. He’s leaving for Yale tonight (!!!), so this post is super appropriately timed. Love you, baby brother. xoxo

weekly writing update

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What I’m Reading & Watching

Currently reading Tigerman, because I just joined a book club (!) and this was the pick.  I also have a stack of books from my friend that I need to get through…one of these days.

I went to see The End of the Tour, which was incredible. It was a quiet film that resonates; one that burrows its way into your heart and mind.  I would have totally shown it in that “Journalism on Film” class I taught once upon a time, as it deals with the relationship between the journalist and the subject quite well. I also rewatched Forgetting Sarah Marshall for the first time in a couple years and it holds up incredibly well.

 What I’m Writing

I finished an outline for my new pilot! That was pretty exciting. And while I usually write really meticulous, detailed outlines, this one is a little more flexible, so we’ll see how that goes.

What Inspires Me Right Now

It’s the tenth anniversary of the Six Feet Under finale today and Vulture reposted their oral history of the episode. It’s a fantastic read about what may be my favorite TV finale of all time. It also may or may not have made me cry. WHATEVER. (Rolling Stone also has an oral history of the show here.)

What Else I’ve Been Up To

Concerts (Jackson Browne last week, Heart tomorrow!), game nights, Shakespeare, going to the gym, trying to come to terms with the fact that my brother is leaving for college next week, running crazy amounts of errands, apartment hunting…

I also wrote a pretty personal piece about managing my anxiety earlier this week, if you haven’t seen it already!

Writing Quote Of The Week

From my girl Cheryl Strayed:

I write to find what I have to say. I edit to figure out how to say it right.

Also, because it’s Friday, here’s Jeff Tweedy (of Wilco) doing a cover of the Black Eyed Peas. Seriously.

Have a good weekend, friends.

The Dobby Effect or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Fight My Anxiety Head-On

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Anxiety is a troublesome bedfellow. I imagine it to be a meddling little elf, whispering cautionary tales in my ear, trying to protect me from harm — much like Dobby from Harry Potter. The problem is, of course, that although these warnings all stem from rational thoughts, they very quickly spiral out of control — and although the intent may be good, the results end up causing a lot more harm. The elf moves from being a helpful sidekick in the passenger seat to driving the vehicle, and that’s when things get really bad.

I’ve always been an anxious person, but for the last couple of years, my anxiety began to dictate the way in which I made decisions. The idea of traveling abroad was quickly nixed, as I had gotten seriously ill on my last trip* and couldn’t stomach (ha) the idea of getting sick abroad again. I was scared to dye my hair a crazy color because I was terrified of how it would change people’s perception of me. Driving on the freeway was minimized, lest I have another accident — not that the one I had was all that bad, considering, but it was enough to cause me to be anxious every time I got to the on-ramp. Exercise became the enemy, as a killer case of plantar fasciitis prevented me from being able to walk around the block.

In many ways, I felt trapped by my own sense of self-preservation. I was trying to protect myself from harm, but it was preventing me from doing anything at all.

I can’t say what snapped, or why, but all of a sudden, I felt determined to not let it rule my life. I was tired of being scared all the time. Of being nervous. Of panicking. Of worrying. Cautionary tales and consequences be damned, I wanted to feel free to live again. I wanted to be the one in the driver’s seat.

And so I stopped worrying about food and started to change my diet. I dyed my hair pink. I went on a solo road trip to San Diego. I did several sessions with a private massage therapist to help with my plantar fasciitis and then I joined a gym. And you know what happened?

Everything was okay!

I started changing my diet, and I felt better**. And knowing that I’m working on being able to eat more things makes me feel less anxious about traveling. In fact, I went to Mexico earlier this year and was totally, absolutely fine.  I dyed my hair pink and felt more like myself than I had in years, forgetting about people’s perceptions of me completely. I drove to San Diego and back and I was fine! My massage therapist was expensive — an investment, I like to tell myself — but for the first time, I could feel a difference in my calves and my feet, something no podiatrist or physical therapist had ever achieved. After a few weeks, I was able to go for a walk again, and this past weekend, I was able to walk for five miles, no problem. Going to the gym has quickly become one of the highlights of my week, where I am learning how to both push and take care of myself. Though I am by far one of the least experienced folks, I found a place that is welcoming and encouraging, which motivates me beyond belief. Right now, I feel better about my health, my body, and my sense of self than I have in years.

For far too long, I had lost myself, and I am finally starting to feel found.

Anxiety is not an easy thing to deal with. It is all-consuming and stressful and awful. It is illogical and irrational and many (if not most) of us who deal with it are aware of how little sense it makes for our brains to go where they do. Do you know how frustrating it is to be aware of the fact that you’re being irrational and not be able to change it?! There are a lot of folks who need to work with specialists and medication to temper it, because it’s just Too Much. I absolutely get that; these changes were my last ditch effort before attempting that route. I was at a point where something needed to give, and willing to do whatever it took to not let anxiety rule my life anymore. There is no shame in finding help from the outside. And to be honest with you, I’m kind of in shock that my head-on approach has worked as well as it has. That’s not to say my anxiety has gone away completely, but it’s becoming more and more manageable every day. I’m also lucky to have an amazing support system of family and friends who understand and have made themselves available to me freaking out, whether it be in person or via text. It’s a work in progress, but that’s par for the course.

Anxiety will be something I’ll carry for the rest of my life, but as long as I’m the one in the driver’s seat, I think I’ll be okay.

***

A disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, so take what I say with a grain of salt. I’m talking about my personal experiences and what has worked for me, which may or may not work for you. When dealing with issues of health, physical fitness, and/or anxiety, it’s probably best to get off the internet and talk to your doctor about it, or perhaps call one of these stress + anxiety hotlines.


*I’ve been a vegetarian for six years, and there was a combination of eating food that wasn’t totally vegetarian (though I was told it was) as well as a pizza full of mushrooms, which I have now learned make me puke. A LOT. Like, puke-for-a-week-and-a-half-across-Europe-and-a-fourteen-hour-flight-home-to-the-point-where-I-can’t-keep-water-down-and-go-straight-to-urgent-care-and-get-an-IV-A LOT.


**That’s right folks — slowly transitioning away from a plant-based diet! And also eating bananas, and yogurts, and other things that bothered me. Still avoiding mushrooms though, because they’re terrible. See previous note about the puking. Not cute.

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Golden San Diego Sand

Last week I took a small trip to San Diego to visit my friend Katie. I was in need of a weekend away from everything, and though it’s only a two hour drive, it’s a world away. San Diego is  much more mellow than LA, i.e. exactly what I needed. We walked and ate and explored, including an excursion to Hotel del Coronado, best known as the hotel from Some Like It Hot. As we walked down the beach, the sand sparkled in the afternoon sun; a glittering reminder of finding beauty in the small, quiet moments. Overall, it was the trip I needed. Lots of board games, some sailing, and a chance to meet up with my buddy Pat. I got back to LA on Monday, feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world.

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One of my favorite things to do is going to concerts and seeing live music. It doesn’t matter what it is — an orchestra playing Vivaldi, or Beyoncé, or Wilco–I’m happy to see them all.

Last week I went with my best friend to see Wilco (for the second time) at the Greek and they blew me away. I don’t know why I didn’t love them as much the first time (it was either their setlist or the guy seriously tripping on drugs next to me), but this time was spectacular.

Except for one small, tiny detail…there were two dudes behind us who would not only yell out the song names (incorrectly, most of the time), and sing the lyrics (loudly), but who would actually have conversations during the songs!! It was absurd, distracting, and rude; why bother going to a concert if you’re just gonna talk the whole time?! That led me to think about my top 10 concert rules:

1// Be on time. There’s nothing worse than a show starting…and a bunch of people in front of you blocking the view as they scramble into their seats. It’s not cool.

2//Sit in your assigned seat (for the first part of the show, at least) — you never know when someone will show up to claim their seat.

3//Don’t talk during the show. Or at least, wait until the song is over to have a conversation?

4//If you’re going to sing along…maybe consider not doing it. But if you are, at least know the words? And sing on key? I don’t know. I just want to be able to hear the musician(s) I came to see, you know?

5//Take a quick picture and then put your phone away. Enjoy the moment!

6//Be kind to the folks around you.

7//Keep your smoke contained. And honestly? Cigs are worse than weed, but please consider buying weed that doesn’t smell like skunk. Thanks!

8//Be mindful if someone needs to get through.

9//Minimize the yelling.

10//And this is a controversial one, but be mindful of height–if you’re 6ft tall and you stand right by the stage, do you really think the 5’2” folks behind you will be able to see?! It’s just not cool, man.

Anyways. Concerts! They’re fun! Go to them!

P.S. Check out my playlist of the Wilco setlist here.