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At times I wonder why I left.

I ask myself if “exploring” could mean a Southie apartment with friends or “taking a chance” has to mean uprooting the familiar and planting yourself in the unknown.

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Soggy chicken tenders.

Every time I get a new job, this is usually how conversations go down:

Me: I got a new job!!!!

Friend: Congrats! Is this job #5?

Me: No!!!!! …..number 4. *mumbles*

Friend: You cray.

Basically, I’m always working. Ask anyone.

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Mediocrity.

I didn’t mean to get super personal, but I couldn’t help it.

“What’s your biggest fear in life?”

I hadn’t prepped for this one. I had four pages of a Google Doc typed out, with every possible question I could attempt to predict.

Tell me about yourself.
Why should we choose you?
What’s the biggest challenge you have faced and how did you deal with it?
What skills have you learned that have helped you develop both personally and professionally?
Why do you want to work for us?
What would you say your weaknesses are?

The list continued. I had thorough responses typed and saved as I watched the cursor blink and continue to ask each question I had already answered.

“What is your biggest fear in life?”

I paused, I’m sorry, that question sort of took me off guard.

She laughed. I laughed (nervously). “It’s a loaded question,” she acknowledged, “take your time.”

I was quiet for several seconds. Breaking the silence with an “um” followed by further silence.

Mediocrity. I replied.

She paused. “Can you repeat that? Did you say mediocrity? What do you mean by that?”

Have you ever felt like you’re not living up to the expectations you set for yourself? Like, you know you’re capable of great things, but do you ever wonder if you’ll get to that point? I know where I can be someday, but what if I never get there? 

I swallowed hard and continued…

I fear being mediocre. Being less than what I know I am. 

As a young twenty something with an uncertain future ahead, I fear mediocrity all of the time. I fear always being two steps behind of where I want to be. Always reaching, but never grabbing. Striving, but not thriving.

I have done some great things in my young life, as have you. But, I can’t help but wonder what else is out there for me. I can’t help but wonder if I’m taking the wrong steps, dating  the wrong people, living in the wrong place.

Or worse, being the wrong person.

I can’t help fearing if I’ll ever make it to where I want to be. Career-wise, dating-wise, life-wise.

Success is often measured by the number on your paycheck, but to me, I find myself worrying less about that and more about non-financial fulfillments. I worry about the people I surround myself with, the late night thoughts that flood my brain, the guys I unexpectedly develop feelings for. I worry about never being completely satisfied. But, are we meant to be completely at peace with everything at once? Are we meant to experience ultimate nirvana? Is it possible to be living in your own form of utopia? 

“Life is perpetually creative because it contains in itself that surplus which ever overflows the boundaries of the immediate time and space, restlessly pursuing its adventure of expression in the varied forms of self–realisation.”

Life is creative. It’s unexpected. Daunting, confusing, and beautiful all at once.

Am I just existing?

High school preps you for college (sort of). College preps you for the real world (not really). But once you’re in the real word, what’s next? It’s like suddenly you’re in an abyss of “Am I doing this right?”s with no one to fall back on but yourself.

As I sit on the patio of my favorite coffee shop, my mind is moving in a thousand different directions. To my left lies my phone pinging with work emails. To my right is the overpriced coffee I definitely didn’t need. There are job engine tabs open on my Google Chrome browser, packed full with opportunities that don’t seem to mesh well with me.

I know I’m not supposed to be picky. I know that not all dream opportunities are at the end of a straight and narrow path. Is it normal to wonder if I’ll ever get there?

I draw inspiration from random happenings. My stories are always crafted after the fact; after some deliberation, caffeine, and an inspiring Spotify playlist. Is this what life is supposed to be like? I may not know the significance of a random job or a confusing guy in the moment, but I can only hope it’s part of the windy path that will get me to where I need to be.

Rather, where I want to be.

Tomorrow is my 24th birthday. There is no Taylor Swift nor Blink 182 track to caption my Instagram picture with. *Sigh*. There’s also no guide titled, “Where you should be in life be when you turn 24.” Damnit.

Some friends are in long term relationships, others are still experiencing the stress that is dating different people, like myself. Some have 401ks and pensions, others stuff their closets with cash tips after a long night of bartending. Some are up late studying for grad school exams, others are up late hooking up with a random guy.

Some are content, others want more.

However, I think we all ask ourselves, “What is my forever?” We wonder what jobs we’ll keep, what people are worth investing in, and whether or not that plane ticket is worth splurging on. Most of us have no ties grounding us to one set plan or place, so I suppose my fear of mediocrity is normal and somewhat validated.

Life is a strange mix of people, places, and unexpected outcomes. I’ve never been one to plan, but I find comfort in knowing what’s next. But, yet, I’ve found that the best things always come without warning. I’ve found that the right people and opportunities come at the right times, even if it feels wrong in the moment.

We have the power to shape a beautiful life in the same way we have the power to shape a mediocre one. Not every career decision will be monumental, not every relationship will sweep you off your feet. I guess we have to experience the mediocre to experience the groundbreaking.

Ten years from now, I hope I’m working a job I love, coming home to a guy (or dog, most likely) I love even more. I hope to wonder why I ever worried. Why I ever doubted my abilities. Why I asked myself if I’ll ever make it.

I suppose fearing mediocrity is better than accepting mediocrity as a constant. Right?

So, for now, I guess I can be content with my half broken dresser and sub-par chicken piccata. I can be content with a mediocre situationship, content with feeling under qualified for every job posting I seemed to be interested in. Not every area of my life can be  awesome at all times, but I guess that’s what makes me crave more awesomeness.

I’m not sure if this is where I’m supposed to be at age 24, but do we ever really know? Not sure. I guess we all experience life at a different pace. Interning while some are career-ing (poetic license???). Hooking up while some are proposing. Feeling uncertain while some are at ease.

I don’t know where I’m supposed to be or who I’m supposed to be with.  I don’t know if my answer to the interviewees question helped me land a job or kicked me off the list entirely. I know less about life than I’d like, but then again, I’m only 24.

It’s unnerving, but if you feel the same way I do, thank GOD because that means I’m not the only one. Phew!

Hold onto the confidence you have in your abilities, because in my experience, it’s the confidence that has led me to the awesome life I’ve lived thus far. Even if sometimes it doesn’t feel so awesome.

Crave awesomeness over mediocrity. Crave awesome people, awesome places. You’ll encounter countless mediocre things in the process, but we need the mediocre things to experience the awesome things. You know, the groundbreaking, “this shit is LIT” kinds of things. Strive for the awesome life, but accept that it’s not going to come out of every decision, relationship, or job you encounter. It’s the mediocre that builds the foundation for something killer.

We’ll get there. Eventually.

In the meantime, you can find me attempting to fix my half broken dresser and perfecting my chicken piccata dish while laughing hysterically over this video with my roommate. The little things, you know.

“I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of uncertainty about different things, but I am not absolutely sure of anything and there are many things I don’t know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we’re here. I don’t have to know an answer. I don’t feel frightened not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without any purpose, which is the way it really is as far as I can tell.” – Richard Feynman

 

When we manipulate.

This post is inspired from not only my pristine procrastination abilities, but also the book, Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay (add it to your list ASAP).

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Are you writing about me?

There she was, sitting in La Colombe. Typing away on her marble-skinned MacBook wearing thick, square glasses. Ray Bans, perhaps. Thick, dark hair pulled back in a messy ponytail with a wool gray scarf draped around her neck sipping on what seems to be a cappuccino. Or maybe a latte. Cafe au lait? I’m not sure. Every few seconds she looks up from her screen and purses her lips, perhaps thinking about what to say next. I wonder what she’s writing about. Me, perhaps? 

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VLOG: Should you blog? Yes. Should I vlog? Idk, but here I am.

I never imagined myself to be a vlogger. It’s like the super kewl and trendy thing to do nowadays, but man, being able to talk through a QWERTY keyboard is much easier than talking to Photo Booth alone in my apartment with Stella. For me, at least.

So, when I asked myself if I should hop on the vlog bandwagon, I remembered the feeling I had 4 years ago when starting this whole blog shindig…which led me to the first vlog topic.

In my very first vlog, I answer the question I get all of the time, “should I start a blog?” Excuse my poor grammar at times…like I said, QWERTY keyboard > Photo Booth chat.

Enjoy my awkwardness, excessive hand motions, and countless “um”s and “like”s. xo

When you survive a Whole30

The past week or so I’ve had severe writer’s block for one reason or another. When you blog, you not only owe consistency to your readers but you also owe it to yourself to continue to work on something you’ve tried so hard to upkeep.

So, in the meantime, I’ve been scouring for inspiration in the form of food, fuckboys, feminism, and some other f words I can’t really think of at the moment.

Then, I thought, Omg Beth! You completed your first Whole30. You should totes blog about it! 

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“Dear, Beth. I am a fuckboy.”

I got a rather hilarious email from a reader last night. It was a strange combination unexpected and revolting yet charming to some degree? With his permission, he let me talk about it on here.

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Day 9 without pizza…and I’m not dead?

There are certain things in life we can’t live without: food, water, shelter, love…and pizza (ok, maybe not).

Food and body image have been topics of many of my blogs recently…once upon a time I even claimed I was going to do paleo for 30 days (only to fail after day 4)…but started for all the wrong reasons. I’ve discussed my unhealthy relationship with the scale, food, among other issues that many women (and men) my age face in a world of high expectations.

Yo-yo dieting, calorie restriction, over-eating, under-eating, stress-eating, f*ck-this-stupid-f*ckboy-eating. My relationship with food has never been “top notch,” if you will.

Today almost marks an entire month alcohol-free and (almost) f*ckboy free! V exciting. I’ve also made it 9 days without any cheese, bread, sugar, leftover french fries, gum (whaaaaa!!), and coconut creamer in my coffee (imysm).

There’s processed shit in literally everything…but I guess working around it isn’t so bad. Before embarking on my very first Whole 30, I told myself I didn’t belong in the kitchen. Like, gender stereotypes aside, it wasn’t too long ago when I was exploding oatmeal in the microwave…

9 days in and I’m feeling…um, great? I don’t know. I haven’t been asked to be on Top Chef yet nor look like Kayla Itsines (yet?). I guess I haven’t noticed a significant change since changing my diet specifically. However, when I cut out alcohol…well, that was like a “why the f#@& haven’t I tried this before?!”

I wasn’t eating pizza every day (as much as I wanted to). I wasn’t binging on chips and fried chicken tenders whenever I felt like it. If that were the case, maybe I’d feel significantly different 9 days in. My diet was always relatively low-carb but looking back, I was indulging on more processed foods than I thought. The handful of fries at work. Two (or three, or four ) pieces of chocolate before bed. A slice of pizza on a random Tuesday.

It adds up.

However, none of these felt like indulgences. It got to a point where I was just eating it because I was either A) hungry B) bored or the worst… C) stressed.

It was usually B or C.

It got to a point where I didn’t feel like I was controlling the food I ate (regardless if it was healthy or not). It was controlling me. Consuming my thoughts, my perceptions, my anxiety. How many calories are in 2 cups of sweet potato? Is brown rice bad for you? How do cheat days affect weight loss? Can you drink alcohol and still lose weight? How many tablespoons of olive oil should you have per day? 

Past Google searches of Beth^ (like chill….)

We literally need food. And calories. And carbs. And fat. And pizza (ok, again, maybe not). I know all of this. I know I should be eating 2000 calories a day to keep up with my active lifestyle and not deprive myself. I know I should enjoy food and take it for what it is, regardless of how many grams of fat it consists of. If I can answer a text from a fuckboy who is far worse than any slice of pizza I eat, why can’t I just enjoy a freaking slice of pizza?

The rational (often ignored) thought process of Beth^

The ~booze-free lyfe~ has significantly lessened my anxiety, improved my sleeping habits, and #MadeSaturdaysGreatAgain amongst many other benefits. It gave me the courage to take on the Whole 30, something I could have never imagined myself taking seriously for longer than 3 days (for real).

I didn’t decide to start the Whole 30 to lose a bunch of weight, the same way I didn’t cut alcohol for those reasons. I mean, it’s a nice perk, but I just got to a point where I had to stop making all of these goddamn excuses for being unhappy with the way I looked and thought about myself and just do something about it.

I won’t go over every single rule of the Whole30, because there’s Google for that. But 9 days in and here’s what I’ve learned.

  1. The scale was the best fuckboy I could’ve ever ended things with. Prior to the Whole30, I was weighing myself compulsively at least every other day. Like clockwork. I wouldn’t even think twice about it. It just came as habit. 9 days in – no drunk texts, regrettable sleepovers, or contact whatsoever!!!! Weee!!
  2. MyFitnessPal can be effective, but not if you have an unhealthy relationship with food. Calorie counting is a “no-no” during the Whole 30, as they believe if you are putting clean, wholesome food into your body, there is no need to obsess over the calories, macros, micros, grams of fat, vitamin C percentage, etc. You mean 4 vodka sodas don’t hold the same nutritional value as 6oz of chicken?! But they are the same amount of calories!! Food is more than calories. It’s fuel. Treat it as such.
  3. Speaking of, 2000 calories is not that much. That number absolutely petrified me for so long. I was at my smallest when I was restricting myself to 1500 a day (while vigorously working out each morning and being on my feet at work all night). I lost weight, but gained it right back because my metabolism was outta whack. Eat!!!!
  4. If you’re hungry, eat. If not, then don’t eat. But, Bethhhhh that’s so hard!!!! Those Spicy BBQ Fritos thooo!!!!!! It’s hard to overeat vegetables, protein, and good fatty foods. My meals are big. I load my lunch with veggies (cooked with dat Chili Lime seasoning from Trader Joe’s–amazing), sweet potato, and chicken. Afterwards, I’m full, but not the gross full. Like, you know, the ugh is it kosher to unbutton my jeans rn?? 
  5. Eliminating your triggers is key. Alcohol was my trigger for shitty decisions. I’m not saying I’m going to be sober Sally for the rest of my life, but I knew I needed to take a step back to get my other stuff in check.
  6. Sit down at the damn dinner table. I’m so busy tho! No time for that! Yes, you probably do have time. In her book, Hartwig discourages “mindless eating.” Like, when you’re sitting and watching The Bachelor and suddenly dinner you made and the pint of ice cream you just purchased is randomly gone. That kind of eating. Sit down at least once a day, cook yourself a nice meal and just enjoy it. Simultaneously Instagram scrolling is also frowned upon, but like…I love the ‘gram too much to give that up any time soon.
  7. Stop striving for perfection. That was my mantra well before I started Whole30, but was a bit too lenient when my cheat meals turned to cheat days, my one drink turned to five, etc. Know your goals, know what’s preventing you from achieving them, but also recognize that it’s a process. Food-wise, I’ve had a “perfect” Whole30. I can say with confidence I haven’t ate, sampled, or drank anything that wasn’t Whole30 compliant. But the book also discourages nighttime snacking/snacking in general. Sry, I like my snacks. Maybe the craving to snack will go away, but I’m not counting down the days.
  8. Know your body and know what it needs, not what it craves. This kind of ties it all together. My body wants that slice of pizza (can you tell I like pizza?). It wants to step on the scale. It wants that pint of Bud Light during a Pats game.  Why do I want these things? Because I’ve actively taught myself to crave them. What’s the difference between a want and a need? Well, I know my body needs a snack pre and post workout to prevent a low blood sugar. It needs over 2000 calories when I run 8 miles. It needs fats, proteins, and carbs. It needs food. Food is not the enemy ppl!

Do I suddenly have this whole new outlook on life? Do I wake up every morning and say, “Damn, Beth, you look gewwwd.” No, I don’t. Like I said, changing habits is a process. It’s not a change to be expected overnight. You won’t drop two pant sizes in 7 days. You won’t suddenly loathe all things containing high fructose corn syrup, monosodium glutamate, soy lethicin, and cheese (which is like everything lolz), but you will begin to understand the effects it has on your body. Even if you don’t notice the physical changes right away, you’ll find peace in the fact that beyond the reflection in the mirror, some body part inside of you is saying “Omg, tysm. #Blessed 2 have u.”

It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about having a killer workout every morning or having the power to say “no” to pizza for the rest of your life. It’s about having a killer workout and saying “no” to pizza for the right reasons (those reasons do not include obsessively creating a larger calorie deficit).

Find your unhealthy relationships and change them. It does take work. A lot of work. And it’s tedious. Self-care unfortunately does not come natural to most, myself included. At times, I feel ridiculous for partaking in a “30 Day BodyPeace Movement” on top of no alcohol and no pizza. It seems sort of overkill, right? I used to think that way too. I soon realized you can never invest enough in yourself and YOUR needs. Whatever those may be. If it means giving up things that were once seemingly so integrated in your life and choices, then so be it.

I’ve had multiple messages from so many beautiful women who are in search of some sort of insight into this way of thinking. I wish there was a simple, universal answer. But, there’s not.

If there is, I haven’t found it yet. Pinky swear to let you know if there is tho!!!!!

Take care of yourself. Your body, your mind, your people. I can’t emphasize enough that it’s a process, not a solution. It’s taken years for me to develop this way of thinking and I’m still working on it. Every single day. I stopped sitting back and waiting for other people  to change and allowing setbacks and personal mistakes to define my next steps.

Be responsible for you. You can’t expect a healthy relationship with anyone or anything if you don’t have some sort of healthy relationship with yourself.

(Do I sound like Buddha or a fortune cookie? Maybe both?)

Pizza does not rule the world!!! U rule da world!!!