A Long Time Coming, A Long Way Off

It's funny to see that little "Publish" button at the top of the screen again taunting me.

To be honest, I have about 10 drafts of posts between this one and my last post.   The reason that little orange publish button hasn't met the mouse yet is that they all feel incomplete.  Each one is a cluster of confusion--a dash of old and a spice of new and a whole lot of wishy washy in-between. 

I guess the difference today is that I'm aware of it.  Lately I've been hanging my head in shame over it all.  The sense of feeling incomplete.  Of not being where I want to be.   It takes a lot to step-up and say "No, this isn't what I planned.  But I can fix it."

I have always held myself to high expectations.  And it helped that others had them of me too.  So naturally, this whole "college graduate" thing hasn't jammed well with me.  I've always been an excellent student, a good study, a great learner.  But I've always felt like I don't excel in anything.  I'm good at the process, the methods of school, of in-taking and transforming knowledge.  I'm a jack of all trades and expert at none.

Fact is, things have been rough accepting this.  Moving back to where I grew up, and sensing the 'Oh, what happened" from people when they hear I work a PRN job and am living at home.  And seeing everyone I went to school with doing such amazing things.  The problem with going somewhere prestigious as even the most standard post-graduate job seems lame.  Seeing everyone with new life-experiences--moving somewhere new and making new friends, having money to take on new interests and try new things--it's hard.  And a lot of times I feel like no one understands why.  Everyone goes by the standard of "Well in this economy, you're lucky to have a job.  You're lucky to have your parents support."

And that's true. I'm not denying it by any means.  But it's disappointing as someone who has always held herself to such a higher standard. 

My boyfriend pointed out to me the other day that none of us are even vaguely where we thought we'd be.  And that's true.  But it's frustrating to not see the means to get where you want to be. 

It's a struggle to work a job where hours are all over.  I work 10 hours one week and 50 the next, I work a lot of nights and weekends.  My co-workers are all older.  There's not a lot of room for variety and its disenchanting that a job where I thought I could help people, I find I have less effect that I thought.  I don't have time to study for the GRE or add research to my resume for grad school.  And the longer I'm in this job, I feel i need it, but the farther it seems.  It's emotionally consuming and exhausting. On my days off all I want to do is sleep. 

I work a lot of weekends, which are the only times I get to see my boyfriend, or friends who wander into town.  And I live so far from work and from my boyfriend its tough to have the life or distraction outside of work everyone says I need.  I can't drop by the new art installation or happy hour.  It takes a lot of planning for me to go anywhere or do anything. 

And there's the anxiety.  I've always had some anxiety, but I've had such extreme fears lately.  Fears over my job, my lack of life/social life, ability to enjoy myself.  I have these bouts of anxiety and panic with increasing intensity, and even though I feel them coming on, I just can't stop them.  I can feel myself falling into more and more hopelessness.  I can feel the depression setting in. 

But you know what, even though I'm over here feeling sorry for myself, I'm becoming more and more sure I can fix it. Sure, I'm not certain of where I'm going.  I second-guess myself ten times a day about everything.  And it's so weird after being so confident for so long.  But I'm finding little pockets of hope to fix it.   I got bumped up to full time at my job.  I'm keeping options open.  I've got leads on research.  And despite my intense pride over the situation, I'm going to make an appointment to see a psychologist.  I've fallen into some rough times and made some bad choices and I refuse to go there again. 

So hello graduate school, hello dream life-of a twenty-something.   Hello financial independence and unique experience.  I'm done sitting out.  It's not ideal, but I'll find my way somehow.  And maybe with the right steps it won't be too long a way off.


Lather, Rinse, Repeat - A story of Trust and my personal Kryptonite

I have a hard time letting things go.

There. I said it.

I call myself adaptable.  And I am. Really.  I adjust easily.  Change never really appears to affect my life, especially in profession and public spheres.  I'm known for being good under pressure and quick on my feet.

But when I have a break--a quick breather to think for myself, that all slips away.  I pretty much melt and cry and wallow in the stink of my own misery.  And the things that make me miserably truly stick with me for years.

And it's always bothered me a bit.  But never like this. Never enough to wear it truly threatened my day to day function like it is now.

So what am I supposed to do when there are things I specifically don't want to wallow in.  What am I supposed to do when the opportunity to better and fix some of these things is right in front of me and I don't know how?

I have big issues with trust.  There's always the cliche of it takes years to build and seconds to break.  But I reach far beyond that.  I have put my trust in the wrong people so many times its instinct for me to act purely in hesitation, tip toe-ing around uncertainties  and disappointment.

I'm also quick to forgive.  An act a number of my friends have called naive.  Given that I don't trust many of these same friends, I find it difficult to take that opinion seriously.  It's dangerous, yes, but I have a (perhaps unreasonable) certain amount of respect and hope that I hold in people that I am not willing to compromise due to cynicism.  The cognitive dissonance that this creates is part of the problem.

Someone re-entered my life recently.  A person I can say without a doubt in my entire being that I love and care for like no one before.  And like many others he was someone I trusted to the core only to be let down.

He's changed a lot.  And that's not just my personal opinion, but that of mutual friends. He's more mature now, and he's largely making the right amends.  But there are still instances I worry. And feel bad for doing so.

I do innately trust him.  When we're together my mind holds no doubt. I'm happy. More confident than ever. Less concerned than usual.  He brings out the best in me.

But when we part ways the little voice comes back and lingers around, whispering to me. Reminders. Snide remarks.  "I wasn't worth it then, why now."/"Has he really changed?"/"He can do some much better than me."/"There's such a discrepancy between who he is naturally and who he tries to be, if he picks one over the other will he still want me?"

I remember the ways he hurt me.  The ways he lied, manipulated, switched back and forth and made me doubt. I worry that I embarrass him.  That I'm not good enough.  That he needs someone more like him.  Social. Charismatic. Outgoing and charming.  I worry that I worry too much or have too many problems.

And then there's the parts of him I've never understood.  Why is he so bad at communicating? (Admittedly, he is much improved.  But I still worry when he fails to text back.)  Why is he always cautious with me in public? While we both agree we should keep our relationship DL for a while to avoid meddling of opinionated old friends, does he have ulterior motives for wanting this?  Is there a reason that even now he has never called me his girlfriend? Even after the many stages and years we've been going through this on and off relationship. 

I don't want to feel like this.  And I don't always.  There are even times when we're apart.  When he's busy at work and I'm writing or reading, that I feel content with our relationship.  When I don't doubt him or his feelings.  And he makes me unbelievably happy when we're together.  The happiest people have ever seen me.

So how do I avoid these feelings?  Time. yes. Trust. Yes.  But how do I get to a point where feelings like this won't backfire and cost me the very relationship I fought so hard to have again? The relationship that, no matter how difficult it can be to trust him, that I still don't want to be without?

I know there are no real answers.  That this isn't an easy path.  All I can decide is if it's worth it.  And work to make it what I want. (For the record, it is and I am).  But I need to get these feelings out, and hope I can move beyond the lather, rinse, and repeat.


The "Real World," A quick note on my return and other thoughts.

[What my desk looks like! Except not really. I don't have a desk set up right now. And if I did it would never be that neat. But I do have a notebook I write stories in a lot that's similar looking. Except the handwriting is also not that neat. And there is always coffee. Never forget the coffee. Ok but really, not my picture. Credit goes here]

 I'll admit it. You caught me. I don't blog often.

To be honest, blogging isn't vaguely on my list of priorities and I think social media can be more than a little silly. For me it does little more than pass the time.

And honestly, that's just my opinion. Life's different for everyone. It's more fun that way.

So why do I have a blog in the first place?

A few reasons really.

For one, its a good way to rant. Most of the people I rant about don't know I have a blog or probably don't care. And sometimes random internet strangers have great life advice.

Another reason is a bit more personal.

More personal than ranting, you say? Do tell.

Well, I believe in truth. And although truth is largely subjective (counter-intuitive, I know, but if you really think about it, you'll get there), I think personal truths should be shared. They change our perspective and impact our lives and allow us to be open-minded. They produce that moment of "Ah. I never thought of it that way before."

 My blog is my way of sharing personal wisdom(s) and truths when they come around--sometimes frequently, or at other times with months in between. It's a small way of changing the world--or maybe one person who will later change the world--while biding time to find a bigger way to impact people.

Life is all about relationships. That's my meaning of life. How we interact and connect affects everything. So if my few moments to blog once in a while change the way someone thinks, if it impacts them in an important way, then awesome. It feels great, I achieved my goal. If not--well bummer. It's disappointing. But this is only one of many mediums I use to share myself and my views. And I appreciate others taking time to share as well.

The fact of the matter is, I'm still trying to discover myself. I imagine I will spend the rest of my life doing so. We all will. We all have our personal truths, and they change more frequently than we realize. Some people are more hyper-aware of it than others, and for some, well ignorance is bliss. And my truth at the moment is certain things matter to me--finding a real world job, figuring out my dreams and what I'm willing to compromise, sharing my truths with others and cultivating relationships out of them. Blog fame, social media awareness. Not so much.

So my apologies for not tricking my site out, posting often, or having comments and links to linger around. I respect those who are into that but I'm not one of them, and if it loses me readership, so be it. But if it doesn't, props. Thanks for sticking around. I hope you'll check in on me from time to time. And I look forward to the honest discussion and truths we can hopefully have in the future.

Maybe we can cultivate a relationship that can impact one another.

Until next time,

Resident Cynical Optimist-Cyndi


The Lolita Effect

[Image from the Kubrick version of the film Lolita. Sadly not mine. I'm not that cool.]

I titled this blog The Lolita Effect originally seeking to address issues with fashion stylings of child clothing, but soon I realized my musings--and the nature of the issue, expanded far beyond this. The ideas presented here are broad, and cannot be explored in depth, however, the connections are important. The issue extends to a bigger picture that does not merely involve children, but perceptions and stereotypes promoted by media and cultural acceptance--and the societal problems to which they are related.

The Lolita Effect. Lolita is a loaded term within itself. While relating to a clothing style popular in Asian culture, the word stems originally from the Nabokov novel of the same name which focuses on a pedophiles obsession with a promiscuous girl on the cusp of puberty. Her name being Dolores or Lola causes him to generalize all girls of this nature as Lolitas. This etymology in mind, the Lolita Effect gradually becomes something more sinister than at first glance. With regards to this post, when I refer to the Lolita Effect, I have something more current in mind. Child Fashions. Silly, I know, but the more I look at them, the more preposterous they seem. I have very little opinions in the realms of feminism, but I recall my first time being appalled at young girls clothing was when the emergence of shirts that said things like "math is hard" came to be, as they promoted a stereotype that truly captured the flaws of the education system. But more recently, my concerns are of a different nature. The first eyebrow raised came at bikinis targeted at small children. Sure a baby in a bikini might be a little silly, but a toddler should not have a bikini with a padded bra. Yes. That's right, they're padded. And while it may be a young woman's choice to wear shorts that look like underwear (personally, I find the fact that I can't find shorts that don't fit like such annoying), these things should not be targeted to elementary and middle school kids. The issues is two fold. For one, these fashions tell children to be in the norm (what is seen in the media), they must dress (and act) a certain way--on that is increasingly mature and inappropriate for the ages in question. The second issue is the sexualization of children this causes. Pedophilia is already an issue without the encouragement of such thoughts. And while there is a lot of research with regards to the nature of pedophilia and pedophile thoughts, it should be obvious that encouraging and promoting things that lead to such thoughts is unacceptable. In no way am I trying to say that victims of pedophilia are at fault--no victim of any form of crime should be regarded as such. But the fact remains that one does not tempt fate of robbery by leaving doors wide open and valuables accessible for all. So why sexualize young children so they might be prey?

The deeper issue at hand here is the things we promote as a culture via media and society. While I am personally of the belief that such things should not rule our lives, anthropologically speaking, I also understand that for a culture to survive, the complete disregard to media and social norms is impossible. However, the things promoted by media that are shown as values to our culture may be changed. Right now, we face a particularly difficult dual situation, a society in which people are increasingly overweight, but that value unrealistic weight goals.

I can't even pretend to know how such a phenomenon occurred--people are becoming increasingly obese, yet models and other people in media get smaller. However, both are dangerous. With more and more of society becoming overweight and obese, these weight levels have become such a societal norm that in some cases, clothing sizes are becoming bigger without changing the size numbers. Yet while this seems to send the message that the increasingly waist size is acceptable, the images we aspire to--those of models, actresses, and singers, dictate that people should be stick-thin to be attractive, an unhealthy notion in the opposite direction. Neither of these are reasonable places to be, and while we have long acknowledged the problems of too-thin, with increased attention to eating disorders to anorexia and bulimia, we have failed to identify the reverse issues of being too big (though the stigma against it have barely made it a current problem), and the issues of excessive dangerous weight loss from this state. It's a tough line to teeter--the issue of needing those who are unhealthy to lose weight without encouraging weight loss as a positive thing, especially to the extent of the opposite end of the spectrum.

What we need is a different goal. We seek to lose weight or portray a certain image. But instead we need to seek to gain certain qualities so these things don't matter. Seek self-esteem or comfort. Seek courage. Seek happiness. Yes, it's important to be a healthy weight. And we want to look nice, because inevitably, people do judge on image, and looking presentable is of some importance, but it should not be our obsession, especially at such levels. By changing our perspective, the issues at hand can be solved.

Of course, this isn't going to happen overnight. This is where those children come in. The Lolita Effect has been a result of these faulty societal perspectives. But the children effected by this can also be the change needed to move new societal norms. By taking children out of these ridiculous and dangerous expectations, and instilling strong positive values in them in lieu of the ones we currently hold. With older generations, such changes are difficult, but if each newer generation is instilled with these different values, eventually they will become the norms of culture. Until this is the case, the Lolita Effect, and the cultural ideals it encourages, is a danger to society and the youth is one that should not be ignored.


Reviewing 2012

In keeping up with my attempts to keep up with my blog, I bummed this from Valorie. Hopefully it'll give me a bit of perspective.

[photo is my own!]

1. What did you do in 2011 that you'd never done before?
I wrote more than ever before. I've always been an avid writer, but I'm notorious about picking up multiple projects and rarely completing them. Mind you, I didn't actually "COMPLETE" my novel, but I met the goal of 50k words. It was amazing and I find I've been writing more consistently ever since.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I typically don't make resolutions, so no. But I made 22 for my 22nd year of life.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes. My cousin had another daughter. I was hoping we'd share a birthday but she's a day after. Darn.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
A cousin committed suicide this year, and while I hadn't seen him in years, it definitely impacted me.

5. Did you visit anywhere exciting?

I think the most exciting thing this year was going to Oklahoma in the spring for a concert.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
A Plan. And maybe some will-power.

7. What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
There's not really a date so much as a time period because it changed my relationship with someone and my perception of the world.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I got a poster accepted to a psychology conference. That was pretty awesome.

9. What was your biggest mistake?

Letting my bitterness toward certain people affect my college life.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I was pretty sick while taking my GRE, but nothing serious.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
The best thing I bought was my DSLR after saving for three years! My parents bought me some awesome Freudian slippers for Christmas though.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My friend Shannon. We both had a rough time this semester and it was nice having an equal support system.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
A certain boy, and a few friends actually. I consider myself fairly accepting, but sometimes people just amaze me.

14. Where did most of your money go in 2011?
Tuition. Always the tuition.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Next semester, concert plans, my camera and my new hobbies.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?

Shelter - The xx

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? About the same. I guess a little happier because the end of college is near.
ii. thinner or fatter? Thinner. Definitely thinner. I've been sick lately.
iii. richer or poorer? Poorer. Tuition went up and I did some extravagant shopping for my munchkin (read:younger brother) for his birthday.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Saving, planning, and studying. Always studying.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Letting myself get tunnel vision, be it emotionally or goal wise.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

As usual, mediating the family.

21. Did you fall in love in 2011?
Yes. With someone I thought I wouldn't fall in love with.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
I watched a lot of things. My favorite new show is definitely Once Upon A Time, but I have to admit Gossip Girl also got a lot of love.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

There's too much hate in the world. I'm going to go with strongly dislike. And no. It's more disappointment.

24. What was the best book you read?
I always read a lot. Too much. I think the one that stuck with me was Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. But Salinger got a lot of love from me too, even though it wasn't something new for me to read.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I don't think I had any great "new" discoveries. A lot of old favorites put out new things. I paid a lot more attention to the XX I guess.

26. What did you want and get?

An idea of what I wanted to do. I found my research calling. Baby steps in the right direction.

27. What did you want and not get?

Hm. Stability and assurance. Not just internally but with the path of my life.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 21. Didn't do much of anything special. I'm not big on my own birthday.

29. What's one thing that would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?

Hm. I definitely got into the dress and blazer idea. Also lots of vests and layering.

31. What kept you sane?

My writing.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Joseph Gordon-Levitt. JGL always.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?
Domestically it was definitely LGBT issues. Nationally I followed a lot of the arab spring stuff.

34. Who do you miss the most?

Oddly enough I missed people near me. That was largely changes in relationships.

35. Who was the best new person you met?

New people? Hm. I bonded with a lot of freshmen. They're all pretty legit.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011?
Stop self-compromising.

37. What are your new years resolutions for 2012?
There's a lot. But I promise they're good. ;)


My absolute failure at blog updating, and moving on with life.

Let's talk about how I'm awful at keeping up with things.

Seriously. Unless it's in my life going "look at me, look at me" I have a hard time. Even with people. My darling Valorie can attest to how I disappear for months at a time despite efforts to keep in touch.

What's worse, is I'm not even sure what I do in these periods of time. But alas, a new year means trying to improve faults. So I'm trying.

So what was a I doing between July and 2012? Here's a small list:
1. Last Semester woes - Grad school? Jobs? TFA? Who knows.
2. Absolute panic - Let's face it. I had a bit of a break down. The result? A few years off grad school and still no clue what I'm doing when I graduate.
3. Research - I found my potential future field, and submitted a poster to a psych conference (It was accepted too!)
4. Lather, Rinse, Repeat - This is with regards to my social life. There was a major second chance, a complete loss of trust and faith in core beliefs, and a repeat of heartbreak and misery. I'm not going for "Third time's a charm" on this one.
5. NaNoWriMo - That's National Novel Writing Month (No also doubles for November). Goal of 50k words in a month! Let's check that off my list. Now I'm completing and editing. Not sure what the end result will be, but if it passes a few friends approval I might seek publication.
6. Needles - Took out the eyebrow ring, potentially getting a nose ring and am finishing up a design for the next tattoo.
7. New Hobbies - In addition to my film and book obsession, we can add photography, crafting and thrifting. Painted a thrift mirror, working on other projects, up-cycling old clothes into new fashions, and have been taking pictures around campus.

That was my year. I actually made resolutions this year (SHOCK!), but they're a bit personal for here. Maybe some of the simpler ones I'll post about if I accomplish them. Also expect to see me here more soon. And maybe some examples of my new hobbies as well.

If anyone has words of wisdom or other loving advice, it'd be much appreciated. Here's to rocking 2012!


My (Mildly?) Un-Healthy Association with books and why Little Women will forever be my love and hate. (A rant)

The first novel I ever read was in third grade. We got to choose (any book) to read and write a report on. I've always been a proficient reader, and my neighbor bet me I couldn't read the largest book he could find in the library. Of course, we all know I can't pass up a challenge, so I told him to pick one.

He came up with Little Women, which was about 600 pages. So I finished it. Faster than most kids finished their books in fact. But there was one key aspect that kept me from truly enjoying it (Which I included in my report) and still bothers me to this day.


That ruins the whole thing for me. Believe it or not world, its not all that stereotypical that the best friend and the girl get married. Actually if you think about it, it's kind of rare. Look at my best friend's wedding. Prime example. Do they fall in love often? Yes. Get married. Rarely.

I just find it so hard to believe that Jo doesn't reciprocate. If she doesn't marry Laurie then fine but then she just shouldn't marry at all. That's what it seems like at first. Then she marries the German dude.( I can never spell his name).

I though this only really bothered me but most literary critics have the same notion that its out of the blue, especially given Jo's character. It makes more sense for her to marry Laurie or just no one. It seems hard to believe it to be unrequited. Her excuses are feeble too. Seriously. "Our tempers conflict, etc etc." Honestly, many instances in the book show otherwise. If anything their relationship is a redeeming quality between the many faults of both characters. So why why why? Louisa May Alcott why why why did you do this to me? To all the loyal readers who fell in love with these characters? To those of us who relate to Jo to a fault. Look at Cathy and Heathcliff. Wuthering Heights. The book was made to be a tragedy. The story was created around the chaos and their denial of their wants and the craziness of their love. They were flawed people. But their love was their redemption. And the theory is in the end, in their deaths they have it.

Little women doesn't revolve around the denial of their love, so why condense it. Let people have their redemption.

So this is my rant, for one of my favorite books (omitting this detail).

In my version, it's Jo and Teddy forever. None of this Amy crap.