Life · mental health

Humiliation, Table for One

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I woke up today feeling better than I have in several weeks. The sun is shining, both outside my window and is beginning to peek out of the dark corner of my brain where it has been dormant as of late. I’m thinking more clearly and can actually focus again. Even writing this post, I notice that the words are flowing more freely from my brain to the keyboard, which sounds like an obvious thing that would happen, right? I hate to admit it, but something even as simple as that has been a virtually impossible task during my brain-induced fog.

So, what is the reason for my sudden change of mood? Honestly, I have no idea. Considering the events of this past weekend, I was beginning to think that I would never be anything other than a sad sack of crap ever again.

I mentioned previously that I have been feeling super lonely lately. To combat those feelings, I tried to force myself out of my comfort zone a little and *gasp* make some new friends. (Oh, the horror!) There’s a Facebook group that I’m a part of for women who love to travel. The group consists of women all over the world and is a great resource for getting new travel tips/ideas. Periodically, they have in-person meetups, like the one they scheduled in Charlotte this past weekend. When I learned of the event a few months ago I had been excited to get to sit down with some of my fellow travelers and swap stories. If I was lucky, I might even make a few new friends in the process. It all sounded good, in theory, but I feel like I should have known better. By the time Saturday rolled around I was feeling pretty negative about the whole situation. (Thanks, anxiety! Love you.) I got up, got dressed, and drove over to the coffee shop where the meetup was, determined to stick it to my anxiety. I went inside, ordered a cup of coffee and sat down at an empty table. But that was about as much victory as I was going to get that day.

I sat at the table for 10-15 minutes, wondering how I was supposed to know who I was supposed to be meeting. It should have been easy to tell, right? A table full of women. I swear, it was like the universe started laughing at me at that very moment. Practically every person seated in the place was female. I sat there a little while longer, trying to gather up the courage to go from table to table, hoping to find my party. I glanced at my phone, hoping the group had put out a  message about where to meet them, but all I had was a message from Boyfriend saying “You got this!”

But I didn’t have it. That was actually when I completely lost my shit and started to tear up. My social anxiety seized hold of me at that very moment and sent me into full panic-mode, prompting me to abandon my coffee and the whole endeavor and run back to my car crying.

Needless to say, I didn’t feel too great about myself after that. Even though nobody from the group witnessed my embarrassing display (at least I hope they didn’t), I felt humiliated and defeated anyway. Perhaps humiliation looks good on me, because, for whatever reason, I’m feeling more like my old self today. The fact that I can even write this post and get a small chuckle out of it says a lot.

Maybe next time I’ll just drink my coffee at home.

 

food · Life · mental health

Ice Cream Blues

I realized today that it’s been some time since I last posted anything. I’m not sure if my last few posts even count, as most of them weren’t book-related or terribly interesting. I’ve been in a bit of funk for weeks now – not super depressed, but just depressed enough that I don’t have much desire to do things I normally enjoy. I’ve been reading, but it’s taking me forever to finish the books that I start. I keep telling myself that I should try to blog or write, but my stupid brain always leads me back to the same question each time: “Why bother?” (Hello, Negative Nancy, so nice for you to stop by and visit a while.) I’ve been feeling quite lonely lately, as well. The people I used to be close to have all moved away and the few friends I still have here I am not particularly close with, or they just never seem to have time for me. While I normally prefer to do things on my own for the most part, lately I keep finding myself wishing I had some other people to do things with, even if it’s only on occasion. This past weekend I took a short trip by myself. I did my best to enjoy myself and did all my usual activities – exploring, checking out the local bookstores, and eating lots of yummy things – but the whole time I kept feeling like something was missing, like I would have really enjoyed having a travel buddy with me for once.

On top of all that I managed to injure myself over the weekend. I’m not sure whether it’s a stress fracture, a sprain, or what (I’ll be going to the doctor tomorrow), but I managed to mess up my foot from all the walking I did on my trip. Having to lay around all week with my foot elevated and shooting pain whenever I try to walk really hasn’t been doing much to brighten my spirits, believe it or not.

I don’t have a happy note to end this on. I just wanted you guys to know that I’m hanging in there and that I’m still here. I thought about writing this post earlier in the week, but even that felt like too much effort, especially considering the entire time my brain has been trolling me and telling me that nobody wants to hear about my problems anyway. *sigh*

Thank you, as always, for being here. I appreciate you all. ❤

(Since I don’t have any book-related things to talk about, I offer you this delicious picture of some taiyaki ice cream. Because ice cream helps make everything better.)

Life · mental health

Wtf Am I Supposed to Wear? (And Other Things That Keep Me Up at Night)

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Perhaps it’s due to all the excess stress at work recently, but I’ve been having difficulty sleeping, despite the fact that I’ve been crawling into bed by 9:00 every evening. Early this morning, at the wee hours of 4:30, I was wide awake again. I gave up a few hours later, once Merlin decided that those lumps underneath the covers (aka my feet) were deadly enemies that must be destroyed. Truthfully, I was somewhat grateful for the excuse to get out of bed, having exhausted my mind with a major issue that has been haunting me lately…

What the fuck am I supposed to wear now that I’m 30?

You can roll your eyes at me if you want (I know I probably would if I was reading this), but this is a legit concern that has been bothering me lately, along with a few other key 30-something related issues. Remember last year, when I was panicking and having a major existential crisis over turning thirty? I look back at it and chuckle a little bit, because it really was no big deal. I’m still me, chugging along, trying to figure out who I am and what the hell I’m doing with my life. (I’m beginning to suspect that I will continue to feel that way on and off throughout my life and that it has nothing to do with my age.) Nothing major happened. Well, except one thing. Despite the fact that my eating habits have remained the same and I exercise regularly, I’ve noticed some small, but noticeable changes in my body. My metabolism has slowed and I’ve gained a few pounds. Only a few pounds. No big deal, right? But that’s where you’re wrong. Considering my 20 year battle with body image and eating issues, I didn’t handle this particularly well at first. I admit that I almost relapsed, due to that stupid little voice in the back of my brain that likes to troll me and tell me that my weight and appearance are important and are tied to my worth as a human being. Fortunately, I’ve had some time to adjust to my new 30-year old body and was able to pull myself off the edge of another downward spiral. Phew.

But, there’s still one problem.

I’ve noticed recently that some of my clothing is a little snugger that it used to be. It makes sense, as much as I want to rebel against it. As someone who detests shopping for clothing, I’ve put off fixing my wardrobe for as long as possible. I’ve reached a point, however, where I’ve grown tired of trying to squeeze my slightly larger hips and ass into jeans that were skintight to begin with, so I’ve had to begin shopping for new clothes. *Cue second crisis*

During a recent excursion to Hell, I mean, the mall, I all but had a complete mental meltdown. There really is no better place for it, after all, with all those bright lights and hundreds of staring, obnoxious sales people. (Just picture it: Me lying on the floor of the mall, sobbing and pulling her hair out as a kiosk saleslady runs over and attempts to spray me with free perfume samples.) Even my failed attempts to shop online have led to the same frustrating, confusing conclusion that I don’t know how I’m supposed to dress anymore.

Body changes aside, I’m not the same person that I was in my twenties. I’m successful at my job and work in a professional office setting. I don’t go out as much as I used to anymore. When we do go out we hang out as more relaxed, casual places, rather than loud, stuffy bars and clubs. I actually care about being comfortable now. Suddenly, all the tight, short dresses and high heels in my closet feel completely out of place in my life. When I’m not at work, I typically wear jeans or yoga pants with something comfortable on top. I wear flat boots and converse sneakers. I’ve started wearing my glasses all the time. But what am I supposed to wear to work? What about when I’m going out? My jeans, nerdy t-shirts, and cardigans are fine for when I’m hanging out at the bookstore or coffee shop, but what about the rest of the time? I’ve been struggling for years to figure out how I’m supposed to dress in the semi-professional/business casual environment at work that still allows me to express who I am. But, honestly, I’m not even sure what I’m trying to express anymore. Places like Ann Taylor and Banana Republic are too old for me. Forever 21 is too young. So where am I supposed to buy my clothes? Why is there no store for people like me? They can call it “Leggings & Lace” or “Mid-Life Moxie.” “Wine and WTF is On My Shirt?” Even if they had these stores, I still probably wouldn’t know how to dress myself, considering I’ve never been particularly good at these things.

Not long ago I got brave and added purple streaks to my hair. It’s on the underside and there are few of them. You can hardly even see them unless my hair is up and there is good lighting. Still, I know they’re there and I like them. I like my slightly funky, rebellious hair, even if nobody else realizes it exists. (Especially Boyfriend, who is colorblind.) Is it okay for me to have purple-streaked hair now that I’m thirty? I don’t know. Do my nerdy tees and converse sneakers make me look like I’m trying to be younger than I am? Again, I don’t know. How do I figure out the balance between being comfortable, but still looking professional enough for work? I DON’T KNOW. All I know is that I have a closet full of clothing meant for my 20-something year old self that don’t feel like “me” anymore.

I’m going shopping again this afternoon. Wish me luck.

 

Books · food · Life · travel

How YOU doin’?

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It’s been a little while since I’ve posted, so I thought it would be good to check in. I’ve been super busy lately with work, as this is our busiest time of the year. Between the extra hours worked and the stress of it all, I often come home and act like a giant slug in the evenings. Fortunately, we only have about two more weeks of this nonsense and then things should be returning to normal.

Despite the craziness at work, I’ve actually been feeling a lot better lately. I’ve been incorporating some alternate forms of medicine into my routine, plus more daylight hours means I have more capability to get outside and exercise. Winter is a rough time for people with depression, but fortunately I think I’m pulling myself back out of it again.

Boyfriend and I took an overnight trip to Raleigh this weekend for some exploring and shenanigans. The majority of the trip was spent consuming ridiculously delicious food (Morgan Street Food Hall is amazing!) and going to the Museum of Natural Science. Of course, we also paid a visit to one of my favorite independent bookstores, Quail Ridge Books.

 

What I’m currently reading:

Books · food · Life

How You Doin’?

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This have been rough lately. Two people that I know passed away last week, both somewhat unexpectedly. My heart aches for the families and people affected by the loss of both individuals. It’s a very discouraging feeling when you want to help someone who’s grieving, but there’s little you can do other than say “I’m here for you.”

On top of such heavy news, the weight of my own personal issues have been dragging me down quite a bit. My mood has been pretty low lately – the familiar feelings of loneliness, anger, and insecurity brought on by depression settling in the cracks that they had temporarily vacated. As always, my eating disorder likes to sneak appearances in, as well, particularly when (or because) I’m already down. Every morning he rears his ugly little face out from the folds within my closet, or at the edge of the mirror, and whispers nasty things in my ear that make me feel horrible about my appearance and my worth as a human being.

*sigh*

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It hasn’t all been bad, I guess. I went to cat yoga a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed it. I plan on going back either this week or next and incorporating it into my regular repertoire. I’ve also been working on a new routine for a dance show that’s coming up soon and planning for my solo Spring/Summer trips. Of course, I’ve also been playing around in the kitchen, experimenting with new foods and recipes. There have been multiple trips to the Asian market recently, so I could find new ingredients to play with and to feed my obsession with steamed buns and mochi ice cream.

What I’m Reading:

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How YOU doin’ this week? What are you currently reading or working on?

Books · food · Life · travel

How YOU Doin’?

I realized the other day that it’s been quite a while since I’ve done one of my Monday How You Doin’? posts. For a while I didn’t feel like I really had that much to share, so I just put HYD on the back burner for a little bit.

A Beautiful Escape

This past weekend I drove to Asheville. I’ve been experiencing a ton of kidney pain lately and it’s been making me one cranky bitch, so I figured a visit to one of my favorite places would cheer me up. And it did. I paid a visit to my favorite bookstore, ate soup dumplings, and had fun wandering around all the other funky shops and art galleries. Driving through the mountains always gives me inspiration and helps me to clear my head. How can such a beautiful view lead to anything but feelings of contentment?

 

Cat Yoga

In an effort to improve my physical and mental health I’ve gone and done something out of the ordinary. I signed up for yoga. *horror movie scream* There’s nothing wrong with yoga, but it’s never really been my thing. I appreciate it as a form of exercise, but it’s always looked somewhat boring to me. That and I really don’t like the spiritual side of it that often gets shoved at you. In the last few months I recognized how much my flexibility and strength has decreased now that I can’t do my pole exercises as much. I’ve been stretching a little at home to try to improve this, but I don’t feel like it’ll be enough. About a week ago I saw that the local cat cafe does yoga classes once a week. You get to do yoga and socialize with kitties at the same time. Perfect. Even if I’m a little bored with yoga, at least I’ll have the cats as a motivator to keep showing up.

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I must confess that I am not the most graceful person. My first cat yoga class will be this evening and I am expecting to fall over and embarrass myself a few times.

What I’m currently reading

 

So…how you doin’?

food · Life

Kiersten Bakes Stuff

You guys know I love to bake. As the former owner/cake baker/master of madness of a small dessert company, obviously my love of all things sweet and carb-y runs deep in my veins. When I’m not reading or writing, I’m either experimenting in the kitchen or obsessively watching the Great British Baking Show, plotting what to make next.

Despite how confident I usually am as a baker, one area that has always intimidated me is yeast doughs. For a long time I absolutely hated making anything with yeast because I felt that they never turned out well. After years of shunning yeast and breads, I feel like I’ve learned enough about the process that I’m beginning to test the waters again. This past weekend I made a successful batch of hot cross buns (with raisins and dried figs) that I was super proud of. Check them out, plus some of the other yummy things I’ve made lately:

Hot cross buns

Banoffee (banana + toffee)  roulade 

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Swedish cardamom buns (another successful yeast recipe!)

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Hazelnut croquets 

Anyone else been creating fun things in the kitchen lately? Tell me about them!

 

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