Peer Pressure is Cool and Yes, This is My Voice

12 Apr

Everyone else is doing it, so obviously I have to, too.

I wrote this post way back during my first month of blogging (ever!) in February 2009. It’s about how grocery shopping stresses me out so I tried buying them online but then ended up ordering enough meat to feed a small army.

This will never happen again because I stick with my lists and actual real life grocery stores. And also now I’m a vegetarian.

P.S. Please also tell me if you think I sound at all like Drea, because she just posted her recording and I hit play and felt like I was listening to myself.

P.P.S. It’s very strange hearing a voice that is almost just like yours but definitely does not belong to you reading a story that’s also not yours but very well could be because I hate doing laundry more than anything and never sort my lights and darks and also currently have approximately 6 loads of laundry to do. (I don’t actually know how many loads I have, but it’s all of my clothes, so it must be a lot of loads.)

P.P.P.S. Clearly domesticity is NOT ONE OF MY STRONG SUITS!

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Having Doubts, Being Scared, and Moving Forward Anyway

10 Apr

The last time – actually, the only time in my life – I completely ignored a Mental Plan and went with my gut, I was deciding where to go to college. I’d been accepted to my top choice; I’d told all my friends and their parents that that’s where I was going. Yet, there was something holding me back from signing the acceptance letter. When I received the acceptance from Gettysburg, it all clicked.

I sent in my deposit without a second thought.

In that moment – which has defined a huge portion of my adult life – I knew I had to trust my gut, despite the fact that it was entirely at odds with what my head had been thinking for months.

Since then, I’ve taken some pretty great risks and succeeded beautifully. I completed a semester with a full-immersion language program in France, even though I was “only” a French minor. I flew to California to visit a boy I’d met just one weekend, just to see what could happen. I went to London on two weeks notice for over two months without knowing a single person in the city.

I’m good at pushing myself, I think, but only so far. I never really actually leave my comfort zone; I just sort of tiptoe around the edges of it. The risks I take always have a very clear safety net, so even when I’m nervous or scared or anxious, I know that no matter what happens, the landing will be soft.

With my whole “I’m moving to LA” THING, I’m completely on board. But I think Amber’s brain hamsters got annoyed at how much control she has over them lately, because they are running rampant in MY head now.

“Where will you live?” They ask. “How will you afford to move with no income?” “Do you even know how to buy a car?” “When was the last time you even drove a car?” “You won’t make any friends, you know, because everyone there already has their friends.”

Seriously, they are being such assholes to me. They are starting to drown out all the support of my friends and family – and there’s a lot of support there! They are forcing me to dwell on all the scary stuff that comes with ignoring a Mental Plan and listening to my gut.

The hardest part, right now, is pushing forward. I know this is the right decision for me, even though it’s totally different from anything I’ve ever done. I know it’s the right decision because it’s totally different from anything I’ve ever done.

Almost 10 years ago, I went with my gut and ended up having a blast for four years. What makes me think this will be any different?

A Message From the Universe, or Why I’m Abandoning Mental Plans

9 Apr

Back in October of last year, I finally admitted to myself that I was ready to leave Manhattan. Well, that I was ready to start being ready to leave. Baby steps, you know?

I created this grand Mental Plan involving quitting my job at the four-year mark and moving out to Chicago. The timeline for this Grand Mental Plan had me staying with my job through May 2012 and peacing out sometime this summer.

But then I got laid off in December.

So I adjusted my Mental Plan. I decided the universe didn’t want me to follow through with the plan and that I was meant to stay in New York City for another year. I got a new apartment and found a new job by the end of January and committed to spending 2012 right here in NYC. I even wrote an essay about the experience – that’s how well I convinced myself I’d be satisfied with the new direction my life was heading in.

Anyway, I continued taking baby steps. The new apartment, new neighborhood, new roommate, new job and all that came with it? Those changes satiated my restlessness for, oh, about five or six weeks.

My mind kept wandering, though. I felt that itch to leave, but this time it was even stronger than before. And when I let my mind wander, it didn’t go to Chicago. It went farther than I’ve allowed it to go – all the way to Los Angeles. So I created a new Mental Plan. I’d continue at my (new) job through the end of the year, finish out my lease, and then hopefully relocate and keep my job. I vocalized this plan to a close friend on Wednesday night, on March 28.

The next morning, I posted this – alluding to a big life change that I couldn’t yet disclose.

An hour later, I got laid off. Again.

The world swam before my teary eyes; my head filled with cotton; I lost my footing once again as the floor was ripped out from under me. Panic set in as I felt myself floating through my life, again with no control over anything.

But after a few hours of deep breathing, lots of tears, and several blubbering phone calls, I forced myself to gain a little perspective. I forced myself to face the brutally honest gut feeling I’d had from the moment I knew I was losing my job:

Relief.

I was relieved! I was freed from the ties keeping me here; I could do anything, go anywhere.

Messages from the universe – fate, destiny, whatever you want to call it – are nothing more than your own perception of your circumstances. Sometimes, though, your perception of the circumstances aligns perfectly with that deep-down desire you’ve been too scared to act on.

That’s what happened to me. I don’t believe I can be laid off from two different jobs in under four months and NOT create a life that is a total departure from the one I’m currently living. Mental Plans just goad the universe into challenging them; I feel like I’ve been dared to take the giant leap.

Here’s the thing about baby steps that no one tells you: They don’t get you anywhere. They’re certainly safer and far less scary than a big jump, but even babies learn to run eventually. Most recently, Doniree compared it to ripping off a band-aid; there’s a mental disconnect between picking up your foot and actually leaping.

Well, some of us learn important life lessons by pole dancing. I get laid off.

Either way, I’m ripping off the band-aid, taking a giant leap forward, abandoning any pretense of having even a clue as to what I’m doing. I’m leaning into the utter terror I feel at uprooting the life I’ve known for years – and I’m moving to Los Angeles.

Wine & Love v.6

29 Mar

Hosted by Nora

You might have noticed  I haven’t written anything this week. Or maybe you didn’t notice. That’s probably better. I haven’t had much to say, but I find that’s mostly the case when I’m overwhelmed by thoughts. And Wine & Love helps sort through those. So here we go …

… Wines …

  • I decided to make my vegetarianism official, but wanted to keep sushi in my diet. However, after a solid 3 weeks of absolutely no animal proteins, apparently my body’s made a different decision. I tried eating sushi twice in the last two weeks and each time immediately threw up. Looks like that won’t be a part of my diet any time soon. Rats.
  • I’ve been so cranky lately. In this annoying, terribly funk where everything and everyone irritates me. I can’t seem to snap out of it.
  • This week was the one-year anniversary of a close friend’s father’s sudden death. I never knew him, but the friend means a lot to me, so yesterday was a rough day emotionally.

… Loves …

  • Boy-roommate is out of town this weekend, which means I have the place to myself. Hopefully a couple days of cleaning, laundry, organization, and general relaxing will help catapult me out of my cranky funk mood.
  • I’ve recently made a (totally huge) decision that I can’t make totally public yet. However, it involves pretty much turning my entire life on its head and – for once – the thought of that thrills me, rather than terrifies me. To me, that’s the sign that I’m ready for this.
  • Change the Record” by Melanie Fiona featuring B.o.B. I’ve had this song on repeat for the last two days. It’s the best.

That’s all, folks. Now tell me about your week – and don’t forget to link up with Nora!

Tofu Noodles & Fake Chicken, or Meatless March Update

19 Mar

A month ago, after I finished my very first cleanse, I was pretty much driving the Healthy Habits Bandwagon. I gave up all milk-based products and went to the gym and felt fantastic.

Then I lost two more pounds and got cocky, so guess what? The Healthy Habits Bandwagon told me I wasn’t a qualified driver anymore. Feeling dejected and puffy and also after making a huge mistake by reading that disgusting, graphic chapter about meat in Skinny Bitch, I decided to be a vegetarian for the month of March.

Thus began my constant internal conflict between wanting to eat meat (primarily bacon) and thinking it’s disgusting, rotting flesh (screw you, Skinny Bitches). At first, this bordering-on-unstable struggle inside my head illustrated that I just needed to get out of the habit of eating meat all the time. Kind of like how I got out of the habit of eating cheese with everything and now I just don’t really want it.

But then, it’s like, I want bacon. Or fried chicken and waffles. I don’t even like fried chicken (except the kind my grandma makes for picnics in the Snake River Canyon), but it became this thing I wanted constantly simply because I told myself it wasn’t allowed.

Newsflash: It’s way easier to give up a food that makes you feel like shit than it is to give up a food you really love just because some skinny vegans wrote a fear-mongering book and you accidentally read the wrong chapter.

But even so, my word for 2012 is COMMIT, and I’m neurotic enough to absolutely have to follow through.

So I’ve been eating a lot of chickpeas and celery and bread and pitas and hummus (which, hi, is actually more chickpeas) and avocado and more bread and some tomatoes and onions. After a few weeks, that’s gotten really freaking boring. Also, most of my diet was just carbs. You know what meat does? Adds options of the non-carb-variety.

Alas, I made a commitment.

Then, one night I went grocery shopping and found these tofu noodles I’d heard about on the Food Network’s Hungry Girl show. Situated right next to the fake noodles were the fake chicken cutlets! I could pronounce all the ingredients in them and they were reasonably priced ($5 for four cutlets). Also, yay fake imitation food that’s actually healthy and good for you!

So basically I figured out a way to have a super healthy meal of “chicken and linguine in tomato sauce” without consuming ALL THE CARBS or any meat. The “chicken” was awesome, but no, it doesn’t taste like real chicken. Except that real chicken doesn’t really have that much flavor, so it kind of does.

And the noodles are … well, they are tofu noodles. Pretty much flavorless until you put something on them and chewier than real pasta. If you’re a person who hates weird textures, never eat these.

I just happen to be one of those freaks who loves tofu.

In conclusion, I’m probably going to turn this Meatless March Challenge into a Meatless Life Habit. Except for maybe sushi.

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