Breathe

When I was 15 I had my first panic attack. I was at work, as a cashier for a drug store, and all of a sudden I could not breathe. It felt like there was someone sitting on my chest, I felt like I was trapped in the box that surrounded the cash register, I was sweating and I was trembling. Thankfully the store I worked at was always relatively empty so there was no one to witness it. I immediately picked up the phone and called home. Almost on the verge of tears when I heard my Mom’s voice on the other end of the phone I asked her what was happening to me. Her response was, “Lex, I think you’re having a panic attack. Breathe, just breathe.”

From then on my life was a constant “what if…” I had always been a high-stung, type A person but now I was in a whole new ballgame. Quizzes became small panic attacks, tests big ones, and exams were a never ending worry. I was trapped within my own head, I had blinders on and all I could see was the things that could happen, would happen. “Breathe Lex, just breathe,” was all I could tell myself. I found a place in my high school that I could sit at and be alone while combatting another panic attack, my teachers were so gracious to let me out of class when need be, my parents worried, but never pried, and slowly but surly they got worse, and then they got better.

Breathe. It sounded so simple. It became my mantra, when I was 17 I got it tattooed on my wrist so that I always had access to such a simple word and concept. We breathe without even consciously thinking about it, the word breathe and the action of breathing, to me, were so simple, it made life simple.

My final year in high school was a complete mess of emotions. I had friends with mental health issues, I was dependent on praise from others, and all I wanted to do was fix others because I was sure I wouldn’t be able to fix myself. Then I went to university and BAM, the stress got worse, but by some miracle, I got better. There were less panic attacks, less of the word breathe, it was a wondrous time.

Then I met a boy. He made me feel amazing, and beautiful, and wanted, and then he made me feel worthless, and ugly, and useless. The panic attacks came back, the constant worry was always there, and one day I woke up and said to myself, “Nope, no more. I’m out, this is done,” and it was. He was gone, the panic attacks went away, but the anxiety did not.

To this day I’m anxious about almost everything, I just handle myself better. Things like getting out of my car, walking into public places, standing in lines, they make me anxious. Some days that boys voice gets back in my head and tells me I’m worthless and nothing good will ever happen in my life, and it’s hard to fight him out of there but I just remind myself to breathe and that I’m doing every well for myself. Some days, even just some hours, I get inside my head again and my blinders go on and I think, “Nope, I can’t do this, any of this, life is just too hard,” and then I remind myself that there are so many good things in my life and so many good things to come and the blinders come off.

In moments of panic I have a ritual. I envision myself doing the task that I’m nervous about, I envision myself tripping on the walk into the library, I envision myself pulling a push door, I think about all the things that scare me about the task I’m going to do. Then I envision myself doing it perfectly, I rub the word tattooed on my wrist, “breathe,” then I breathe and I complete the task and if the worst does happen, I remember to breathe and that everything will be ok.

This world is scary, this world is a lot of pressure, and this world can make you feel like there is nothing that you will ever accomplish because there are so many things that can go wrong. In times where I’m in that mindset I remind myself that I have gotten through a lot worse and I am stronger for it. I remind myself that there are so many people that feel the same way I do, and I remind myself of all the people that have come before me and accomplished their goals.

Most of all I remind myself to breathe, take a great big breath, let it out, and with it let go of the worry. The unknown holds possibilities you cannot even imagine, don’t let your anxiety hold you back. I know that I won’t.

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21

I turned 21 this week, on Monday actually. I really don’t want to be 21, at all. I love my life and everything that’s in it but the responsibilities of being an adult just seem so daunting compared to the lack of decisions I had to make at 10.

I feel like being in your early 20s is such a strange time in everyones life, especially for the ones who go to university because when I’m at school I have my own space and my own life and I’m an adult. I have to deal with all the responsibilities that come with being an adult and I miss being at home where many of my responsibilities are my parents, such as cleaning the house and remembering to get groceries. When I’m at home I love the lack of responsibility and the idea that I don’t really have to be an adult because in their eyes I’m still a little kid, but I always miss the freedom that’s back with my apartment at school. It’s always such a weird feeling because I feel like I’m leading a double life.

Also, at 21 being start asking you what you’re going to do after school and while I do have a plan, it’s not really final and I just want to yell at the people who ask, “HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW?! I’M NOT EVEN FINISHED!” It’s almost too much pressure to have to figure out what you’re going to do with the rest of your life. What if I make the wrong decision? What if I mess it up? What if, what if, what if…my life is an endless cycle of them.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my life, my family, my friends, my school, and all of the decisions I’ve made up until now but it’s hard to transition from having minimal responsibilities to having to take care of yourself. Being a grown up is hard. Does it ever get easier?

Breaking News: The ‘Friend Zone’ Does Not Exist

I REPEAT: THE FRIEND ZONE DOES NOT EXIST, IT IS NOT A REAL THING!

If you don’t know what the friend zone is I’ll give you a definition from the wonderful Urban Dictionary: “A state of being where a male inadvertently becomes a ‘platonic friend’ of an attractive female who he was trying to initiate a romantic relationship. Females have been rumoured to arrive in the Friend Zone, but reports are unsubstantiated.”

The Friend Zone is a place that many male’s complain about being in with females that see them as only friends and nothing more. The first reason that the Friend Zone doesn’t exist is because half the time the guy has never told the woman that he likes her. This is not to say that the woman cannot say it first, but frankly, it’s mostly men that complain about being ‘Friend Zoned.’ If you haven’t told a woman that you like her, how is she supposed to know? Are women secretly mind readers and I’ve just missed out on this trait, because if so that’s bullshit and I’m very mad. But since I’m pretty sure that’s not something women have, then if you have feelings for someone, tell them. Staying quiet is helping no one, just get the truth out there and let the chips fall where they may.

The second reason is because women have the right to say no. So hey, maybe she doesn’t have feelings for you, maybe that is right there in front of your face and you can recognize it and you can see it. You know what you do then? You find someone else that loves you back, because if she only wants a friendship than that is her choice and if you are just going to stick around and whine about how she doesn’t love you back then you’re honestly only making life for yourself worse. Find someone who has feelings for you the way you do for them. A woman has a right to choose who she is attracted to and who she has feelings for and if it’s not you then there is no reason to get mad at her because she has that right just like you do. You can have feelings for her, she just might not have them for you, in the same way that she might have feelings for that guy from her gym, who doesn’t have feelings for her back.

So seriously, stop this whole ‘Friend Zone’ bullshit. It’s not real, it doesn’t exist, it’s a place where people go to whine and complain when someone doesn’t like them back. Having feelings for someone is not dependent on how much time you spend with them, its about love, respect, trust, and, yeah, physical attraction. If someone doesn’t have feelings for you, like you do for them…move on, and don’t get mad at them for not liking you, that is their choice. And their loss because I’m sure you’re a great person, just not when you complain about fictional things because you’re mad.

P.S. If someone is taking advantage of you in a friendship because they know you like them and therefore you’ll do nice stuff for them…get out of there. That is not a good friendship to be in, and that person that is taking advantage of you is just rude.

Why I don’t like Valentines Day

(Okay, I know it’s a day late but I try and stay away from all media on Valentine’s day unless absolutely necessary.)

1. I’ll say it, I’m single and a little bitter about it so all of this lovey dovey stuff really just doesn’t do it for me.

2. I worked in retail from the time I was 15 up until last year and I worked almost every Valentine’s day. This made me a bit cynical as there were all of these people coming in to buy cards and candy the day of. It’s a bit obvious that no one really remembers this holiday, nor do they particularly care about it. The people coming in to grab cards and candy would look shamed as they came up to the cash and when I first started working in retail I wondered why, because I thought this day was supposed to be all about love, but then I realized that people feel shame because they know they should have bought their stuff earlier. I just don’t think that a day supposedly about love should make people feel shameful.

3. When I was in elementary school they always told you to wear red or pink and they would give you a sucker or something, but I never had any red or pink in my wardrobe because it would clash with my already red hair so I never got candy. Still a little bitter about this.

4. Cards. Who needs cards? No one. Okay, I have some from birthdays and Christmas, and the occasional one that my mom sends me for no reason tacked to my wall because they’re the ones that contain special messages from friends and family. Other then that though, no one wants a card that is only signed with “Love, _____” because they just throw them out, or you feel too guilty to throw them out so you keep them in a pile on your desk until the pile becomes too much and you just have to throw them out en masse.

5. If you love someone they should know everyday. There doesn’t need to be a single day for you to tell someone that you love them, you should be telling them everyday. As for the flowers and chocolate, send your significant other flowers on a random day like June 26th, I’m sure that would make them even happier than getting them for Valentine’s day because it shows them that you’re thinking about them and that you care, even when it’s not a day that’s scheduled for you to love them.

6. Restaurant prices. Have you ever gone to a restaurant on Valentine’s day? They jack up the prices so that you have to pay 1.5 times the price that you actually do and that’s just insane. No one needs a steak that badly.

Regardless of how much I don’t like Valentine’s day, there is one reason I like it. Today, February 15th, half priced chocolate day!

Sexism in the Media…Also T-Swift.

Women in the media is a big topic these days as different news groups look at the way in which women are spoken to by reporters. If I draw your attention to this one article, you’ll see that these are some feisty women responding to reporters in the way that they should, in a way that (hopefully) makes the reporters think about the ways in which they address female celebrities. I fully support this as I think the sexist ways in which female celebrities are addressed takes away from their art.

(And now that I’ve said art everyone’s expecting big things, but now I’m going to talk about Taylor Swift and everyone’s going “She doesn’t know anything about art.” Turn around right now if you don’t want to hear about my girl T-Swift because she’s one of my favourites and damn, does she know how to sing and also she’s kind and polite and loves her fans to bits and pieces and she genuinely thinks for herself and is an outspoken, wonderfully inspiring grown woman who should be a role model to young girls.)

My biggest problem with people critiquing Taylor Swift’s music is that they all say that all she sings about is love and that she writes songs about her exes and that she has a lot of exes so maybe she should just stop dating because she seems to get around. (Sorry, run on sentence, but I’m just trying to prove everyone else’s point) Here is my address to that:

A) Fifteen, Tied Together with a Smile, The Best Day, Never Grow Up, Change, Long Live, Bad Blood. These are just a few of her songs that are not about love, they may mention love, such as Fifteen, but they are in fact about things like friendship and family.

B) Ed Sheeran’s Don’t is about his ex, Ellie Goulding and you don’t hear anyone getting mad at him, and Sam Smith’s entire album The Lonely Hour is about his ex! For goodness sake every artist writes about their ex, or their current lover, why is Taylor Swift so different? Is it because she’s a woman? Or is it because she’s had a lot of exes? (See point C if the answer to this question is yes)

C) Look at my previous post “What’s Your Number?” to see a full rant about this, but basically, how many people someone has been with IS NO ONE ELSE’S BUSINESS. My previous post discusses this in relation to sex but it can also be related to your basic relationship. Also, who cares how many men she’s dated? It’s her life and she’s allowed to. And as for making money off past relationships, don’t we all wish we could?

(And then I’m going to direct you to the picture that I posted along with this article and send you to this link here all about the quote.)

Now let’s talk about asking a woman about what she’s wearing. Ask a man what he’s wearing, ask what he did to get ready in the morning, as him if he got a pedicure for the night, make him have to remember who designed his tux, his shoes, his tie clip and his cuff links. Seriously, do you think anyone gives a shit? No. Well maybe fashion writers, but if you’re going to ask a woman who made the dress, then ask about what they’re working on, ask what their inspiration was for a role, or a song, Stop only asking about their looks, because contrary to popular belief female celebrities have brains too, not just boobs. (Check out this story about some reporters to asked male celebrities the same thing they typically ask females.)

Well this turned into a bit of a rant, and I’m not sure how to end it. Basically, I’m extremely sick of the sexist way the media writes stories and addresses celebrities, and while I am aware that we live in a time in which one is hard pressed to find unbiased media, I just wish sexism was a complete thing of the past. I am a feminist, and I don’t think that term should come with a dark undertone, I think that being a feminist means fighting for equality of everyone, not just men and women but the people of the world in general no matter what sexual orientation, gender, race or religion. One part of this is the media and the way it addresses female celebrities and as we end the 2014-2015 awards season, I just think that we could learn a little more from the news than what designer Anna Kendrick is wearing.

(ps sorry for all the links tonight, and the horribly written post…I just really had to get this out)

“What’s Your Number?”

{Warning: this article will be a bit crass}

Why does it matter?

For those who don’t know what this question means, it’s not asking for your phone number. It is in fact asking how many people you have slept with. This question bothers me, a lot.

Why does that matter to you? Why is it relevant to anything that’s happening and why does my sex life mean something to you? Here is what’s going to happen after I tell you: 1) You’ll either say “Oh good for you” if I’m a virgin and talk about how proud of me you are and say that you think that my choice to wait is an admirable one, even if you didn’t, but you’ll think that I’m a prude, frigid, and generally a bitch for not having sex 2) If my number is around yours, let’s say 3, you’ll say that that’s a good number and good for me for not being a “slut” (don’t even get me started on that word) 3)If I tell you my number is 20, or a relatively high number, you’re going to say “Wow, that’s pretty high! [Insert something about being a confident or impulsive person here]” and then after you say that you’re going to judge me, think that I’m a “slut” and tell your friends how high my number is because WOW I have had 20 penises in my vagina.

And you see, this is what happens when you’re a female. I don’t know how it works for guys, if the movies are right they get a pat on the back for every girl they fuck, but for women this judgemental idea follows them around everywhere. The topic of sex and how many people you’ve slept with comes up at almost every get together involving 2 or more females. It comes up sometimes in random conversations at parties. This idea that how many people you’ve slept with becomes your identifier bothers me, because it is a choice that people make and it’s their choice to make. How many people they’ve slept with should not define them outside of their own self-identity.

I have friends who have slept with a lot of guys, I have friends who have slept with a small number of guys and I have friends who have slept with no one and frankly I don’t give a damn who they fuck. They are still my friends and I even if I didn’t know how many people they’ve slept with I would still be friends with them because this number does not matter.

At the end of the day the who, how many, where, why and when of the people you’ve had sex with should matter to you and only you. If you’re okay with it then there is no reason for anything to be wrong with it. If someone judges you for it then they can screw off because it was your decision to sleep, or to not sleep, with those people and their opinion about your sex life does not matter. “What’s your number?” is the dumbest question ever because your number is your number and you shouldn’t have to justify it to anyone.

Sickness

I’m such a baby when I’m sick. It doesn’t matter what it is: a cold, the flu, a toothache, a headache, a semi-sleepless night. I’m such a baby. I get tired and never want to leave bed, I want my mom to come up to town and take care of me or I want to drive home and lie in my bed while my mom takes care of me. Doesn’t matter how, I want my mom to take care of me. I hate having to take care of myself when I’m sick and that’s something that’s extremely out of character for me. I’m usually a person that’s takes care of everyone else while doing a half-ass job of taking care of myself but by God when I get a cold I only wish that everyone could take care of themselves and someone could take care of me.

I hate being such a child when I’m sick because it makes me feel like a burden to the people who know me, and it’s so out of character that friends of mine make fun of me for it because as they say “I’m a big girl, I can take care of myself.” That’s a completely true statement however sometimes in this crazy world everyone just needs someone to make them soup and tell them to go to bed so they can get better. I have a group presentation due tomorrow in class and while all I want in this world is for there to be a freak snowstorm that closes the university so that I can stay in bed and do my presentation next week I know that if I miss that presentation I will feel like I’m letting the entire group, my professor, hell, the entire world down. Guilt is an emotion way more powerful than a cold and I feel guilt stronger than a lot of people. Backing out of a commitment will have me worrying for the rest of my life.

While I hate sickness it also serves a purpose. It reminds us that we are human, we are not invincible, we cannot do everything ourselves and that sometimes we need to take a break. So today, because I thankfully didn’t have any class, I spent the entire day in bed watching a good chunk of season 3 of Scandal and sleeping. It was magical. And at 9pm I am going to go to bed, and I am going to sleep for 12 hours before I get up and shower and go to class. Just because I’m sick does not mean the world stops forever, it just means that my world can stop for a day.