Reclaiming #selfcare: a happiness project

I’ve been holding off on writing this post for several reasons.

I’ve written drafts, none of which felt right. I wasn’t in the right mindset, and I’m not totally sure I am right now. Tonight, I find myself at a cider bar sipping on ice water. The lighting is dim, Ariana Grande’s Sweetener album is on repeat through my rose gold headphones. Tonight, her music inspires me – basic, you say? It’s fine. This scenario doesn’t seem optimal for a blog post, but I’m not sure there’s ever a ~perfect~ time or place.

I’m here alone — it’s just me and the blinking cursor and bright screen that stares me in the face.

My inner monologue loves creating stories about the strangers that surround me. I’ve been told it’s “writer’s brain,” but I also think it’s a result of having constant thoughts spinning. The vibe in here is quiet — it’s chill. I wonder what people are thinking about me. The lone gal aggressively typing at her laptop in an out-of-season floral jumpsuit.

Who am I to these people?

***

My days of late have been jam packed with anxious thoughts. Will my business make it? Why doesn’t this guy want me? Am I eating the right food? Will I ever be a size zero? When will my debt go away? Am I taking on too much? Can I be better at life?

Can I be better at life?

My head repeats this question. It seems like a simple, yes” but how do I get there? How do I develop a better life with a shit ton of anxiety, limited funds and a busy ass schedule?

It seems like I’m faced with the impossible.

That’s how I justify it. A better life is just…impossible.

I usually rationalize this thinking in my head when I’m having shitty thoughts about my body while scarfing down a cookie. I will never be able to make this negative image about myself go away, not yet anyways. 

I tell myself that I’ll be better tomorrow. Tomorrow WILL be the day I make serious moves to being better at life.

The problem is, I’ve never really thought through it. I go through the motions, wash my face and apply expensive toner. I try to meditate every day but then get stressed about making it so routine and get mad at myself when I don’t make the time. I try to give up alcohol, light candles and apply essential oils and think, is any of this fucking working?

I try to define what self-care means to me and find my responses cliché and simply falling into the mold of what it should look like rather than implementing my own creative practices. The health & wellness world has turned into commodified industry that I simply cant’ keep up with.

Tap water is no longer good enough, spend the extra $2 for water with charcoal in it. Vital proteins are ~life~. Flexible dieting is #cool and you can still easily have six pack and eat cake – it’s easy! 

I’m not knocking these practices, I’m just saying it’s exhausting and overwhelming to keep up with. We’re promised all of these amazing results with an easy fix so we drink Kombucha for a day and expect to wake up looking like Blake Lively.

I’m rambling. I know. Rambling on WordPress is one version of self-care that never lets me down. I hope you’re still reading.

***

A few months ago I read Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. Tbh, I usually toss books like this to the side because oftentimes self help books are too preachy for me and don’t speak to me like they do all the five-star reviewers on Amazon.

OMG!!!! THIS BOOK SERIOUSLY CHANGED THE WAY I SEE EVERYTHING IN MY LIFE!!! I AM FOREVER CHANGED!!! Really, Karen? I’m calling bullshit.

I’m not an avid book critic, but I will say Rubin’s book was fucking brilliant. A quick synopsis: a woman (Rubin) who has a perfectly fine life and is generally a happy human wants to make her life better — an no, she doesn’t turn in to a ~yogi~. Her journey isn’t an overnight fix, she makes small, manageable steps to make her life better. She sets a theme every month for a year and follows those guidelines while noting her progress. She has pitfalls and fuckups, but don’t we all?

But you have a great life! How can you make it better? 

*Newsflash* you can alwayyzzz make your life better. I want to take on my own happiness project — and UGH yeah I know that sounds cliché, but bear with me. I want to say with 110% that I’ll stick with all this shit, but the way my current brain works, I usually let it fall the wayside. The 34954357 times a charm, right?

There are aspects of my life that I want to tackle head on. Like, in my ultra nirvana, these are things that wouldn’t exist:

  1. Hating my body
  2. Questioning my self-worth when men screw me over/reject me
  3. Using food to solve my emotional turmoil
  4. Picking at my skin
  5. Having to put in extra EXTRA effort to be clean and organized
  6. Food as the enemy

I’m definitely leaving some out, but this is all I can think of at the moment.

In the beginning of the book, Rubin lays out twelve “commandments,” they aren’t specific rules like “stop dating fuckboys” but more so overarching principles in which she tries to live her life. You can view hers here, but here are mine. They might not make any sense to you, but they make sense to me and it’s all about me at the moment so get over it!! (jk)

  1. Think the way you want to live.
  2. Be kind.
  3. Know your worth.
  4. Eyes on the prize.
  5. You’ll figure it out.
  6. You don’t need him. Or him. So put down the damn phone.
  7. Listen to their story and don’t be afraid to tell yours.
  8. Breathe.
  9. Dig deeper.
  10. Get your shit done.
  11. Own who you are.
  12. Find your tribe.

****

Ok, so next is the tough part. Implementing these commandments into my every day life. In the book, she has a “theme” or focus, if you will, associated with every month. With each focus she has a set foundation of rules. I’m not much of a rule follower, so this will be pretty difficult for me.

How do I hold myself accountable? You guys, duh.

This sounds like a super basic thing to do — a journey to find happiness. But it’s more than that. It’s about claiming what happiness means to you, tossing the cliché self-care shit to the side and honing in on what YOU actually want to do.

Like, for example, I can’t get into yoga. I just can’t. Sure, maybe it’s all in the practice, but it stresses me out to become a ~yogi~ so guess what? I’m not gunna do it!!!!! I just won’t!!! Take THAT!

This blog series is going be uber honest — I already know I’ll have my pitfalls and shitty days. I’ll have more fuck-ups than I’ll probably be able to count, but it’s fine! All is good.

I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to share this happiness journey – a weekly blog post with updates, a daily Insta post maybe? Idk – I’ll figure it out.

***

So what’s up for this month?

Mindfulness.

I was going to start off with “health” but tbh I still need time to figure out exactly how I would tackle that one. Health is too broad of a term for me to personally define at the moment.

Have you ever started eating an ice cream cone, taken a lick or two, then noticed all you had was a sticky napkin in your hand? Or been going somewhere and arrived at your destination only to realize you haven’t noticed anything or anyone you met along the way?

I’m really really bad at focusing on the present. My mind is constantly going a million miles a minute and I know for a fact this impacts my anxiety levels, productivity & overall well-being.

You do too much, Beth. I hear this all the damn time. Between my business, bartending gig, running a women’s networking group, grad school & trying to stay sane, it’s a lot.

The problem isn’t the workload, it’s compartmentalizing the workload.

Breathe. Focus. Breathe. Onto the next.

Instead I’m like:

lethwif’pierh’oprj’wiorhaoire’oprk. Breathe, eat. ‘ih[oi’er’oierba;erione roiajr’ paorae.

Yeah, a whole bunch of shit going on in my head I can’t even put into words.

This goes for eating too. I’ve always been a fast eater. I hardly enjoy food unless I’m at a Michelin Star restaurant where the waiters create a mindful experience for you — explaining the tastes, senses etc. I’d love to do this all the time but I can’t afford a $250 meal every night lolz. 

So, ~being mindful~ how the fuck do I do that? I read a bunch of articles on this, most of them saying relatively the same thing. They offer advice and books to read up on. Like I said, the point of this personal happiness project is to create my own version of self-care. Sure, I’ll take advice from the “experts” or whatever…but I’m STILL NOT DOING YOGA EVERY DAY FOR 30 DAYS!

So mindfulness essentially is “being in the moment.” There’s meditation podcast I love that explains mindfulness as sitting in the middle of a road during rush hour. There are cars passing on each side that you’re very much aware of, but you’re choosing not to move. You don’t eliminate the distractions, but instead embrace them and integrate them into your practice. You can’t stop your brain from thinking, but you can learn how to channel it better.

Our reactions to the stressful events of our lives can become so habituated that they occur essentially out of our awareness, until, because of physical or emotional or psychological dysfunction, we cannot ignore them any longer.

SO – I gotta come up with rules for mindfulness this month. Practices that I’m almost 100% positive will be annoying to partake in, but generally, rules are annoying to me so I’ guess I have to swallow my pride for this project. Wish me luck!

After several articles and a bit of deep thought, here’s what I’ve come up with.

  1. Meditation 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes before you go to sleep. Yeah, IDGAF if you get home at 330am after a 12 hour shift. Do it.
  2. Go for a 30 minutes walk with Kevin every morning – no phone. No music. Just you and the sweet sounds of loud car horns and police sirens.
  3. Ten deep breaths before a snack, meal, etc. Think before you eat. Think while you eat. Slow, long bites. After your done, note how you feel.
  4.  While at work, perform a “body scan” once every two hours.
  5. Practice mindful writing once a day. 15 minutes of uninterrupted journaling.

***

My goal is here to be ~in the moment~ more. Focus on the task at hand without the distractions of everything else going on in my life. I don’t have any immediate plan to slow down my life & goals, nor do I really want to. That’s not the point.

I don’t expect to be a super zen monk by the end of these 30 days. Again, my end goal here is to just be better at life. I don’t know how exactly the above rules will change me and my life, but I guess there’s no harm in trying.

The following weeks I’ll be keeping you posted on how things are going – expect a handful of blogs and of course a bunch of Instagrams. Since I’m a thirst monster, follow me on Insta for the day-to-day scoop.

Funnn stuff to come! Thanks for reading.

X,

Beth

I’m anxious.

I write this in a state of anxiety. Not quite a full-blown anxiety attack, but more of a well, low-key anxiety attack.

****

I’m a senior in high school. I’m ready to graduate and jet off to college. I’m over the rumors, the whispers in the hallway, the looks. I’m over the way I morphed myself into someone I didn’t recognize. As angry as I am at the way people looked at me my first day back to school, I know I did it to myself.

I never considered a myself a victim. I wanted to be — that was easier to come to terms with — the simple fact that I fell victim to a series of shitty occurrences in my life which were entirely to blame for the scars on my arms, slipping honor-student grades & a school that now labeled me as someone different.

I just want to leave.

I walk into the lobby my first day back. I clench my books close to my chest. Voices in the hallway are louder than usual. The stares linger. Tears start to stream down my face. I rush to the bathroom.

Wasn’t she tied down to a chair and put in a psych ward? Like in the movies?
I heard her mom’s a lesbian, that’s why she went crazy.
Is she going to have to stay back a grade?

I hear all of the rumors — even if no one thinks I do. I want to hate these people. They don’t understand. But I guess that’s why I never did hate them — they didn’t understand.

Maybe I’m not the talk of the senior class, but it sure feels like it.

My insides are crumbling.

***

I am holding the bottle of pills in my hand and locked the bathroom door of my house. My hand is shaking. There’s no practice drill for killing yourself.

My sister screams in the hallway as I drop the bottle in fear and watch the blue pills scatter on the floor.

***

The first time I was put into a mental hospital was the winter of my senior year of high school. I was depressed, suicidal & well, fucking miserable. To be honest, it’s like black hole for me at this point. I remember the events that led me to that state, but of course, we all have our shit. I just didn’t deal with mine particularly well.

I fought with my mom and counselor and begged them to let me stay at home. I knew I needed help, I knew there was something off that needed more attention but what would that look like? I felt the scratches on my inner arms and legs as the tears flooded down my face. By law, I had to go.

***

He visited me as much as he could. He’d drive on weekends, school nights. When I look back, he was probably the most supportive boyfriend I’ve ever had. I told I loved him, and I meant it. I just don’t think I was ready to love anyone…how could I? Never mind loving, I didn’t even like myself.

I have a post about him sitting in my drafts. I can’t publish it. Not yet.

With him, I was selfish. He loved me, took me in & was such an integral piece of my past who was unfortunately intertwined with perhaps the darkest part of my life thus far. I don’t know if I’ve ever properly thanked him. “Thank you,” doesn’t seem like enough. It’s not enough.

I didn’t deserve him.

I think about him a lot.

***

There were windows. An arts & crafts table. A bookshelf. No restraints. No one screaming. No padded walls. It was peaceful — in a fucked up, depressing kind of way — but it was an escape. One that I needed.

Go to all of the meetings and follow the schedule, that’s how you get of here. 

So I did. I’m not sure how much healing I did, but it wasn’t enough.

A couple of months later, I find myself in the same spot. I don’t remember which time I was more miserable, all I remember was the nurse telling me to stop crying, that I was triggering to other patients.

I whimpered and went to sleep.

My OT hands me a piece of paper.

Write what you want to let go of.

I drop the magic paper in the water and watch it disintegrate along with the words written in black pen.

I grab another piece. And another.

***

My mom cried behind her sunglasses. My Jersey Shore poster hung surrounded by photos of friends and family. I was only a 2.5 hour drive away, but it felt longer. At least, I wanted it to feel that way. I’m convinced that this is a fresh start. A solution to all of my problems. I’m no longer depressed. I’m fine.

I swear.

Two days in and I’m wearing a salmon sun dress. It’s a Thursday.

He told me I was pretty. And smart.

That was all I really needed. In a moment’s time I’m swept away.

He convinces me that I’m in love. I don’t need anyone else but him. Rather, I could never find anyone else better than him.

I’m too fat for him. We spend 1.5 hours in the gym 6 hours a week. I eat once a day and only eat foods approved by him. One “treat” a week. No yoga pants in front of other men. Am $8 box of black hair dye to hide my $120 highlights that didn’t look good. Well, I thought they looked ok.

I’m still sick. I come to terms with this moments after I slap him across the face after he insulted my mother. I forgive and take him back.

I love you too. 

I’m not good enough.

Eventually, I am free. Free from him, but not from my sickness.

***

Girls are mean.

My sister was bullied in elementary school. I was too young to remember all of the details, I just remember that I never wanted to be bullied. I saw my sister’s tears and heard my mom and dad demand action.

Years later, I’m a senior in college living in a house with six other girls. Over the summer, I had felt distant from most of them, questioning my decision to sign the lease to live with them in a few short months. I didn’t really know what to expect. I’m anxious. I find relief in the fact that I had my best friend. My person, as we’d call each other.

After 20 years of avoiding what my sister went through, suddenly, I feel her pain.

There’s a bully in my house. I, the victim.

I cure my anxiety with continual weight loss. I track calories in a notebook that sits on my bed. For some reason, this adds fuel to the fire of young-adult bullying that I had been dealing with for several weeks at this point.

Did you see the notebook on her bed? She’s like a fat anorexic.

I hear whispers from down the hall. Name-calling, gossip & words that punched me right in the gut. This was my breaking point. I spend nights sleeping at my friend’s house and the front seat of my car, feeling unwelcome in my own home.

Cunt. Bitch. Fat anorexic.

I don’t expect my best friend to fight my battles. Well, I guess I sort of do. I try to justify it. Well, I wouldn’t wish her wrath upon anyone else. So maybe that’s why she doesn’t say anything to her.

In a moments time, I feel my relationship crumbling with one of the most important people in my life. I cry myself to sleep, counting down the days to the inevitable break up with my best friend. I wonder if she hears me from the other end of the room.

I lose her. My person.

This is just a little tiff, you guys will be fine.

I know we won’t be.

***

He told me he loved me. That I was beautiful and smart and everything you want to hear.

The toxicity tainted every word, yet I held onto them to give myself some sort of validity.

I didn’t want to tell you this, but he said your body wasn’t his type.

Did you say that? I ask him.

No, she’s trying to get into your head.

He picks her. My white shirt is stained with my black mascara.

***

I knew he was interested the moment he announced he’s “back on the market” loud enough for me to hear.

He sits next to me and puts the brown bottle of lager up to his lips. My drunk eyes are fixated on his tattoo sleeve. I want to ask about them, but I’m not sure if it’s too soon.

He tells me about his trip to Burning Man. I tell him about my time in South Africa. Our conversations are interesting and engaging. It’s refreshing.

Hours pass and it’s suddenly 4am. My watered down whiskey sits on his coffee table as we leave the couch and head up to his bedroom.

My alarm sounds. It’s 9am.

I slip out of bed and my hand reaches for his naked shoulder to say goodbye. I hesitate, pull my sweater over my head and quietly close the door behind me.

Are you going to see him again? 

I don’t know, I never got his number. I tell my friend.

I’d like to see him again, but I then ask myself. What’s the point?

I’ve taught myself to expect disappointment.

***

I hit my three year anniversary of living in a new city.

I have so many amazing things to be proud of. I’m not where I want to be, but are we ever?

I make a list of things that make me happy. The list is extensive. I’m proud of myself and the the life I’ve created. It’s not hard for me to be thankful for these people and things in my life.

Most of the time, I am fine. I am fine until I think about the toxic relationships I’ve engaged in. The people I’ve let define me and the decisions I’ve made that challenge my moral compass.

***

I grow angry at myself.

I look down and stare at the fat rolls that hang over my jeans. i envision myself as a much happier skinnier human. Oftentimes I replace happier for skinnier. By accident.

While it hasn’t always been the forefront of my anxiety, it’s remained a constant the past 10+ years of my life.

I wish I could bring you into my brain. I recount my “happiness” list, mentally written in black Sharpie. I’m calm for a moment.

It’s like graffiti. Red paint wipes across the black marker making it difficult to read.

The red paint is all I see.

Am I making sense? I’m not sure.

My brain grows tired of continually trying to scrub it away, so I give up and let it be.

I accept who I don’t want to be and spiral into a fucked up mix of anxiety, anger & sadness.

I then find myself here. Starting from the beginning and trying to figure out a way to push through.

I take a deep breath.

***

Over the years, I have learned how to curb my anxiety far better than when I was 17. At times I wish I could go back and figure out how I moved past the challenges I once thought would never go away.

I find myself pondering if the stories listed above are a result or reason for my anxiety. Maybe both. I don’t know.

Part of me is almost positive my challenge with body image will go away, too. I have hope, but it really sucks. Then the other part of me firmly believes that it will never go away.

I’m not writing this post for sympathy or from the view point as someone who is a “victim.” Mental health is harder to combat than most things in life. Maintaining work, life, love, money, etc., all while maintaining a healthy brain is fucking hard. We all have a different story to tell, my experience is no better/worse than the other guy. It’s just my story.

I have accepted the fact that I can say thousands of positive affirmations in the mirror, read every self-help book on the shelf & meditate fifty times a day and STILL have my bad days. It’s just the way it is.

The way I manage these bad days has vastly improved over the years, but in no way shape or form am I “cured.”

How do I know? What used to be crying myself to sleep every night has now been replaced with other toxic habits: aka falling for narcissists.

One toxic behavior has replaced the other and at times I hate myself for it. What’s different this time around? I know I deserve better.

Like, you’d be so lucky to date me!!! Jk…but not really. But yet, I still find myself seeking for validation in men which leaves me vulnerable to falling for the wrong ones. This, in turn, certainly does not help with the whole body image/self-love thing I’m tryna work on.

Life comes and goes as it does. You can still love your life while being anxious all the damn time. You can be confident in your abilities, career decisions & overall self-worth and still feel like the world is out to get you. It’s a stressful dynamic at times, but it can happen.

I’ve been trying reaaalllyy hard to pinpoint my triggers and figure out what leads me to think the way I think which in turn may help me ameliorate my internal struggles. You may have to track back years and years to figure out where it all began, but as I always say, words are cool and super therapeutic.

I would tell you to love yourself and know your worth but I also understand that’s hard as fuck. But I will say this…

Write about it. Talk about it. Acknowledge it. Oh, and dealing with mental health issues in high school fucking BLOWS.

#endthestigma

***

This goes without saying, but I, obviously, am in no way shape or form a licensed professional. If you are in crisis, or feeling suicidal, you should get in contact with a crisis line such as the Samaritans, your doctor, therapist or a hospital immediately.  You may also try searching our database for contact details in your Local Area or, use a search engine to find emergency phone numbers.

When you go balls deep

I’m moving to California, ma!

I was so certain of my future before it even began.

Senior year of college I spent hours at my laptop researching jobs out on the west coast. I dreamt of grazing the warm sand with my hands and touching the Pacific coast with my bare feet. Lips pursed against the large straw of my happy hour margarita surrounded by new friends and exciting beginnings. My skin, bleached with the indoor months of winter, would soon be glowing with an olive aura twelve months of the year.

I’d work in a boutique PR firm, wearing bright colors and statement necklaces paired with metallic sandals. Namaste-esque lunch breaks with a fresh acaï bowl waiting for me at my desk topped with blueberries and freshly shaved coconut.

I dreamt of paradise. I dreamt of a seamless transition from college to the unknown depths of the real world…preferably surrounded by palm trees and toned men. One that I knew would come with its inevitable difficulties but uncharted territory that I craved nonetheless.

I soon realized this “paradise” didn’t necessarily have to mean to sunsets on the beach and rollerblading along the boardwalk. This dream to move out west made a swift change spring of 2015 as graduation quickly approached.

What was paradise? To me, paradise meant adventure. A blank canvas soon to be spattered with colors of the future that was soon to come.

I craved a masterpiece. But, like, not the perfect-looking masterpiece. I want the kind that doesn’t make sense but also makes so much sense at the same time. Like, the ones that make you think. The ones that make you step back, tilt your head and think “hmm…”

Ones that weren’t created as a result of a single experience but ones that have been through some shit. Some really really good shit but also some really really bad shit. And maybe some average shit too.

When I decided to move to DC, I knew the opportunities down here were endless. The President lives here. Finding a job would be easy. And it was.

DC would be my new idea of paradise, I decided.

My life is hard to keep up with. I know this. You know this. My parents know this. I’m always scrounging for the next opportunity, bopping around from thing to thing, keeping myself and other people on their toes.

I think about my dream back in college. Moving to California, working for a boutique PR firm in bright colors and statement necklaces and just think…holy shit. How did I get here?

I think about my first job in DC. Running events and marketing for one of the most popular bars on U St — portraying that I had it all but in reality craving something more. Then applying to grad school in the midst of bartending full time feeling miserable and confused for not knowing what I wanted. Landing my “dream” job only to realize that, still, there was something more out there for me. Deciding that maybe I should have a steady 9-5 while diving into the unknown of launching a business. Feeling uncertain with a fuck ton of new responsibilities I didn’t know how to handle.

How did that last paragraph read? Confusing, right? It was.

It is.

What am I supposed to do? I plead to my career management professor. To her, I admitted defeat.

I was working full time, bartending 25+ hours a week, going to class 2x a week while attempting to run a business and freelancing. Oh, and I also need to eat and sleep. And go to the gym. And sometimes have a social life. And maybe some time for myself too.

I was torn between the “safe” option and well, the risky one.

I knew the ~office life~ wasn’t for me. Am I only saying this because I’m an ignorant millennial who claims she’s “above” sitting in a chair 40 hours a week? Am I another cliché?  

I didn’t want to be a cliché. I’m not cliché.

I expressed these concerns to my professor. Weighing the pros and cons. 38% of my brain telling me to just suck it up and deal with a job you’re not thrilled with in your early twenties and just do your time. The other 62% said something totally different.

I envisioned the “masterpiece” I wanted to create for myself. The messy paint strokes that evokes a spectrum of emotions and and a healthy mixture of the good shit and bad shit that comes with life.

I think you answered your own question, she acknowledged. I don’t say this often, and I usually tell students to go with the “safer” option, but I think that you can do something with this.

At this point, my company was about 2 months old. I had a couple of clients, but it was definitely more of a side hustle — one that wouldn’t survive much longer with the schedule I was attempting to upkeep.

So I had a choice. A big one.

Do I go balls deep in this shit? 

I had the connections, talent and the means to make something out if it. I just had to do it.

I took the holiday to think about it. I stayed at my Dad’s and spent a lot of time on my own. Scribbling ideas in Nora (the name of my journal, after the OG badass Nora Ephron), writing what exactly this would mean for my future. Accepting the difficulties that were sure to come, but trying to figure out if it would be worth it.

I scanned LinkedIn for some potential job opportunities but nothing that made me as excited as the ideas I outlined in Nora. Nothing even remotely close.

I sat in my Dad’s living room on Christmas Eve and started developing a rough business plan from a random template I found online. Something that people usually do before launching a business, but like, I’m still learning, ok?!

I then started to sketch out a brand sheet. Asking myself, what do I want this to look like? What are my selling points? What is Socially Attractive by Beth‘s brand? What voice am I going to use? What’s the story I’m going to tell?

I started at a blank page for quite sometime. Attempting to create something that was a separate entity rather than a extension of myself.

I thought of why I started the business in the first place. How my clientele started to build. Where I noticed the demand and how I capitalized on it. Thinking but trying not to overthink.

I then started interviewing myself the same way that I interview my clients during a brand session.

How’d you get started? 

Well, I landed my first client while pouring a Jack and Coke while wearing a guacamole-stained shirt, ripped jeans and a nose ring. 

That was it. That was my story. That was literally the day that I decided to make a reality out something that I had been thinking of for so long.

So that would be the brand. Why work with me?

Work with me and you get professional services with a kickass personality behind it. I might have a guacamole stain on my shirt but I also have my shit together. 

I started writing out adjectives on this brand sheet.

Creative, passionate, edgy, high-energy…

My hand started to cramp as I started to feel the right and left sides of my brain co-mingle in a beautiful, imperfectly perfect harmony.

So, yeah, I decided to go balls deep.

Fast foward about a month later and shits still all over the place. But like, in the best way.

I don’t mind the mess that surrounds me because it’s something that I created.

The hustle is stressful, but its equally as comforting to finally feel like I’m doing what I’ve known I’ve always dreamt of doing.

People see the good side of my life — aka what I put on social media. Through my blog, I try and be real with you guys and outline both the beautifully amazing and terribly horrible parts of my life.

As my business grows, I’m running into things that I don’t have the slightest clue of how to deal with. I thank Google, friends and even some exes who have helped me figure shit out, but it’s not easy.

One thing I noticed right away was that I had to be OK with working for free. Keeping the end goal in mind, but knowing that it’s going to take thousands of hours to get to the point I want to be at. I’m not even close. While I might not have office job, I’m still attending grad school and bartending ~30 hours a week to make ends meet.

I’ve run into some pitfalls and dead ends that I don’t know how to deal with quite yet. I have zero business experience and I’ve spent tons of time attempting to understand the jargon that comes with it.

I’ve learned that I’m not “above” any type of project that comes my way. A small non-profit with a tiny budget wants social media consulting? Ok. I’ll do it. And I’ll discount the price.

Why? I’m new at this. With every client leads to new opportunities and learning experiences. My niche is food, but I’ve also learned to not limit myself. To take on things that might scare me, but nonetheless things that I know I can create into something totally badass.

An example? I just landed a new client. He is restaurant owner that is developing an app on the side that he wants help marketing. I won’t go into TOO much detail. But basically, I have zero experience in app development and have no idea what any of that language even means. While the app is connected to the DC food industry, it’s still something that I initially viewed as a project that was much bigger than me.

We met and I was petrified. I did the research and came prepared, but still felt like I wasn’t going to impress him. He’s a hardcore business man. Running restaurants while developing apps and other ventures on the side.

I’m just a 24 year old with a 6 month old business. 

I then went back to my brand sheet. He reached out to me for a reason. 

I was myself and openly admitted that I had no experience in the software development field.

I reached out to you after reading your blog and look at your website. You’re a go-getter. I want to work with a hustler like myself. 

I left that meeting with not one, but two more clients.

I’m not saying this shit to brag or put myself on a high horse. I’m telling you this because I think our generation is brilliant as fuck with skills that have never been seen before. With that, I also think that a lot of millennials see the good stuff and crave it but don’t want to go through the mud to get there.

On the outside, I’m a 24 year old entrepreneur who goes to Georgetown while running a small business. Oh, you fancy huh? 

Step into my apartment and you’ll see half of the avocado that I forgot to put back in the fridge and a bunch of random shit stacked on my work desk wondering how the F I’m going to pay 40k in grad school loans in a couple of years. Open my inbox and you’ll see hundreds of pitch emails sent to businesses with a ~2% response rate. You’ll see Nora sitting there, scribbled with goals and ideas but also filled with pages soaked in tear stains and uncertain thoughts.

This post isn’t saying “hey, quit your job and dive right into the career of your dreams!” Who the fuck knows what that even looks like at this point in your life? If you do, congrats! Teach me your ways.

I guess I’m trying to put my story out there in the hopes that it might inspire people  to do more things that they care about.

It doesn’t have to be a total career switch or some monumental “ah-ha!” moment, but all I’m trying to say is that things are possible – but the journey isn’t some bunny hill. It’s a double black diamond on a snowboard for the first time (speaking from real life experience).

If you want to see things happen, make hustling a habit and accept that life is not one perfectly ripe avocado. Sometimes, it can be the half that you leave out on the counter than quickly turns brown and gross. And that’s ok! Just try another damn avocado!

Do you ever read my shit and think like, wtf is she talking about? Because same. 

I used to be so scared of sharing my blog on my LinkedIn and including it on my resume. Did I want people to see this side of me?

After going back and forth with it for some quite time, I decided it was time to stop being ashamed of who I was and start embracing every part of me that makes, well, me.

People want work with me because they see a real person behind it all. Do I show up to meetings in a green sports bra and undone hair? Of course not. But I also won’t put my Instagram on private out of fear that they will see that side of me.

What’s the point?

Own your personal brand and don’t apologize for it either.

People have asked me, “How do I get started?” I am by no means a model citizen when it comes to this, because I still don’t really know what I’m doing BUT you have to accept that it’s just a part of the process.

However, there won’t even be a process if you don’t take the leap. It doesn’t even have to be leap. Maybe you just wanna take a step. Or a hop. Or maybe just a peak over the edge.

Just know that you have the option. It’s there. You just have to act on it.

DC was never my idea of “paradise.” Fast forward 2.5 years later, and I’m not sure I’ll ever leave. This city has given me endless opportunities and a chance to grow something that I never even thought about creating.

I just had to take the leap.

I have a chewed piece of gum on my desk.

The past few months I’ve received a lot of emails, Insta DMs and in-person Qs about my blog. I’ve sorta ~blogged about it~ before, but that was, like, almost a year ago. So, here’s a refresher.

Some of the Qs I’ve been asked are as follows:

  • Why and when did you start it?
  • How can I start a blog? I have so many things I want to write about but I’m nervous to publish them.
  • Where does your inspiration come from?
  • Are you worried about employers reading your blog?
  • LOL remember that time we briefly dated — you should blog about it. 
  • How did you get your following? What are some SEO techniques?

And here’s my favorite one that I get all of the time.

  • Do your parents read your blog? 

I’m going to attempt to answer these questions, but I’m sorta against a typical Q&A format because tbh, it’s not ~on brand~ with the rest of my stuff. So, per usssuual, I’m going to write about this how I write my all of my blog posts: a personal essay about yours truly.

If you’re here for SEO tips, this isn’t the place for you. Sry.

Hold tight, you’re about to see EXCLUSIVE SNEAK PEAK BEHIND THE SCENES OF THIS PREMIUM BLOG ABOUT IT CONTENT!!!

Let’s start off with what my desk usually looks like.

IMG_8312.JPG.jpeg You’ll see the WordPress screen, a cup of coffee (well, 3rd cup of coffee), water, a chewed piece of gum, a pen, and a To-Do list. This is what my “desk” usually looks like (minus the chewed gum — I have manners).

I’m at my dad’s house, but the setting where I choose to write always changes. Coffee shops, my couch, the bathroom at a bar five vodka sodas deep. It depends.

What you can’t see (or hear, I guess), is the SSOTWTIHLTORFTPFD (Spotify song of the week that I have listened to on repeat for the past five days). Can anyone relate? It’s Sinking by Jeremy Zucker, in case you were wondering.

I have gotten in the habit of taking my make up off religiously every single night (only took me 24 years), except I haven’t quite mastered the art of getting ALL of my eye liner off. Here’s me in real time — my typical ~blogging look~.

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NO FILTER Y’ALL

Pro tip: The most successful bloggers are always guzzling coffee. This blog isn’t sponsored by Keurig, but tbh, it should be.

So now that you’ve gotten a quick peak into what my life looks like when I blog. Now to the how and why.

I don’t have any real “pro tips” for you about blogging. Truly, I don’t. There are thousands of blog posts out there that tell you about the keys to creating a a high-traffic blog and for those blogs, that’s they’re goal. More traffic.

When I write, I don’t really write for traffic. Yeah, my topics are relatable and when WordPress sends a “You’re stats are booming!” notification, I’m low-key stoked, but you’ll also notice the titles of my blog are never something like, “10 Things Why Everybody Should Drink At Least 4 Cups of Coffee A Day. I’ve Done It And You Should Too.” Lol, #trustory, but you know what I mean.

Basically, I don’t write click-bait.

There is nothing wrong with click-bait. I’m not currently sitting on a blogger high horse scoffing at other bloggers who produce this type of content. I mean, clearly.  There’s currently a chewed piece of gum in my peripheral, who am I to judge?

I’m just saying, that’s not my writing, or I guess “blog” style. So like I said, if you clicked this article looking for tips on SEO or how to go viral, this isn’t the place for you.

Words are a beautiful thing and through this blog, I’m able to experiment with them in a way that is both therapeutic to me and my readers. As much as I write for you, I write for me. It keeps me sane.

I write in an emotional, provocative, stream of consciousness kind of way — as you have probably picked up on. I don’t want to get all sappy and say I ~speak from the heart~ because sometimes I don’t. I let my fingers do the talking — and sometimes it comes out shit. Hence why I have over 450 drafts.

I don’t go into blogs planning what I’m going to write. I don’t believe that inspiration can be pre-determined. For me, it just happens. I experience severe writer’s block like the rest of us and then find myself staring at cappuccino suddenly immersed in an infinite amount of topics and the words flow from my brain to my fingers effortlessly.

The most successful (and profitable) blogs usually have editorial calendars and scheduled posts. They are consistent, reliable and write in a way is “shareable.” I mean, that’s the key to going viral, right?

Not always.

I didn’t build my audience from developing an editorial calendar or sticking to a certain schedule. I built it by sticking to my style — sticking to the style that I know best. My personal “brand” if you will. People come here knowing what to expect – and usually they like it. 

In a way, this website is less of a blog and more of collection of short stories. It wasn’t always that way, though.

Let’s dive into the beginning.

I started this blog when I was a mere single 20-something. Titled Another Chapter in the Book, I didn’t really know what I was doing, and the stuff I wrote about is honestly laughable. Check this out. My very first blog post EVER is titled “Trying to Never Figure Out Life” published April 5, 2013. Holy wow.

I tweet way too much, use Facebook for strictly photo sharing and creeping, and Instagram pointless shit while crossing my fingers that the “likes” will get in the double digits. My iPhone battery sucks, and I also hate myself for complaining about first world problems on a daily basis. I like to take chances, make spontaneous decisions, and am always reaching for something more.

I mean, still sorta true except Twitter is dying and if I ever post a picture that doesn’t get into the double digits I’m straight up deleting my Insta out of pure embarrassment. Kidding but not really. 

Then there was this point titled, “Sunshine, you ROCK.” Ugh, Beth.

Shout out to Mother Nature for rocking my socks this week. ‘Tis the season for sundresses, Sperry’s, and sunglasses. I mean, this doesn’t compare to last year, when it was 75 degrees in the middle of March, but hey, take what you can get.

Am I real?????? Can’t be. Also like, #tbt to when I would wear Sperry’s.

Anyways, like I said before, in the early stages, this blog was purely snippets of my every day thoughts. A kewl and new way to write that wasn’t in the depths of a journal page. It didn’t take much effort and I never really put much thought into what I wrote.

Oh, how times have changed. 

So, how did I get here? Couldn’t tell ya. It wasn’t a revelation I had one morning where I was like haaaayyy I’m gunna tell y’all about all of my personal shit. It was like I developed a strange yet invigorating & intoxicating relationship with this thing and then got more comfortable with the types of things I shared.

This “thing” being my blog.

Behind my marble-skinned MacBook and black plastic keyboard I find peace. It gives me a high I can’t really explain. Things that don’t make sense suddenly can turn into a story that I didn’t even know was there.

For all of you that have asked, how do I start?

Watch a 2 minutes WordPress tutorial on YouTube and then write your first blog post. That’s it. 

Not everything you write has to be novel-worthy. It doesn’t have to change the world. It just has to be you. Like any art form, writing takes practice. What you learn through practicing is two-fold. In one instance, you learn more about how to formulate a more compelling sentence, but in the other, you learn how be more comfortable with your mistakes.

It’s like sitting in front of an easel with nothing but a blank canvas, a paintbrush and a plethora of the finest paint and you’re like LOL, I can hardly draw a stick figure thooo???? You don’t wanna fuck up the canvas so you approach it with caution, afraid of messing up the entire thing with one stroke. The more blank canvasses you fuck up, the more comfortable you get with fucking up and then you realize that your new fuck ups aren’t as bad as your old fuck ups. Make sense?

Then suddenly, you wake up and your art is plastered all over the internet! It’s crazy!

All I’m saying is just write. Write for yourself. Develop your own style. The rest will come. Don’t be too concerned with your audience at first, because again you’re writing for yourself, remember?

I know for a fact that there are some people (hopefully not toooo many) who read what I post and roll their eyes and prob screenshot it and send it to their group chat and laugh.

Or, maybe not at all because I’m not that important lolz. 

You guys also ask a lot about my “subjects.” If you don’t know what this means, basically my “subjects” is my ~long list of ex-lovers who hopefully don’t call me insane~.

I actually had one person ask me, “Do you date people so you can blog about them?”

LOL. No. Good Q though.

Like I said, I don’t go into things being like OOMMGGG THIS IS GUNNA BE A GR8 STORY. It just so happens that relationships make really good blog posts. So, then I write about it and you read them. Simple as that. Honestly, I hope one day that I find myself in a relationship that is too boring to write about because it’s so perfect.

But also not really because that’s no fun either. 

I don’t usually ask people if I can write about them because then they ask questions and I don’t want them to ask questions because then it makes me nervous to write about and then story gets all censored and un-fun and I accidentally talk in a bunch of run-on sentences. Know what I mean? I never share revealing details about them, but besides a couple of guys, people actually like being the subject of my blog. Dead serious!

My last ex was angry about the blog post about him. Like, extremely angry. Pretty sure he consulted a lawyer about it too. I mean, there was not really a case there because the truth is always your biggest defense when it comes to writing but trust me, I’ve done my legal research. You should too.

Like I’ve said in the past, I don’t write with the intent to defame or publicly shame anybody — nobody should. I write stories. My stories. My truth. Are there other characters involved? Of course. That’s life, man.

At first I was so timid, so afraid of what people would think. Like, omg what if people think I’m a total psycho?! 

I eventually just stopped caring. I learned to stop apologizing for what I wrote and learned that if my stories are something that turn certain people away, those people were never meant to be in my life in the first place.

Pro tip: If you want to write about dating/exes, gr8. It’s fun. But don’t make it about the other person. Don’t write for them, write for you. Speak on behalf of your feelings and your experiences. The other parties are just characters in your story. You don’t want to create a “bash your ex blog.” Nobody wins and it usually isn’t as compelling of a read as you want it to be. 

I find inspiration in every day occurrences of my life; dude-induced or not. It doesn’t take a monumental experience for my brain to extrapolate a story. I can literally stare at a blank wall and turn it into a string of sentences on a page. Some call it talent, I call it overthinking — something I’m quite good at.

Does my family read my blog? Yes. Believe it or not, my blog posts are actually on my dad’s fridge. My mom’s always the first to compliment them and this Christmas, my cousin’s wife bought me a unicorn mug because of my last blog post. Check the featured image.

So, yeah, they read it — and they support it!

For a while I tried to hide it from future employers, but at this point I consider it an accomplishment. Yeah, maybe the stuff I write about isn’t super profesh but, it’s me.

And I like me.

My posts don’t follow the rules of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. In fact, I’m quite sure that if either one of them awoke from the dead and read one blog post, they would re-pass away due to grammar deficiencies. Pretty sure “lolz” and “fuckboy” aren’t in the Webster Dictionary.

They’re not meant to be grammatically perfect nor attract the most traffic. I used to care more about that stuff but then I realized if I wrote in that way, I’d lose the edge that have been developing since the early days of blogging nearly six years ago.

Pro tip: Develop your edge.

What’s an edge? Honestly, I don’t really know. My professor told me that my writing had an “edge” so I’m holding onto that compliment in the hopes that it some day makes more sense to me.

Not everybody is going to love what you write. Not everybody is going to love the character you create out of them. Some people turn into a whole chapter while some only make it out with a line or two. The beauty of personal writing is that you have complete control over what gets put on the page.

If you want to start a blog, then start a blog. Who’s stopping you?

Don’t write for others, write for yourself. You’d be surprised how many stories you can create out of a seemingly monotonous life. When you master that, your life actually starts to feel much more interesting.

2017 Year In Review

​​​11:26pm.

​It’s dead in here can I pleeeeease get cut?

I grab my bag and run to the bathroom. Black heels and a red dress. A quick attempt at smoky eye. I snag my bar key from the top of the sink and stuff it in my coat pocket.

Bye everyone! Happy New Year!

I run out of the door and into the grey Toyota Camry. 11:41 pm.

So, I know there’s like, speed laws or whatever, but I need to make it by midnight. Step on it! I laugh, but I’m also, like, so serious.

I watch the digital clock intently like a slow motion Times Square ball drop in the Uber. My palms are sweating. “Ringing in the New Year” seems like such a frivolous thing, except this year I have someone waiting for me. –

I arrive with 8 minutes to spare. Greeted with a kiss.

I’m so happy you made it. You look amazing, Beth.

The bright, LED display counts the seconds down.

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.

Happy New Year, beautiful.

***

The weather is cold. I find myself slipping into a seasonal depression of sorts. I’m 23. I’m supposed to have my life figured out. I’m supposed to be sitting in an office, starting a 401k at a job with coworkers who go to happy hours and throw lavish holiday parties.

It’s 9am.

My eyes struggle to open after a long night of bartending the night before. I reach for my phone beneath my pillow.

Right swipe.

While your skills are impressive, we regret to inform you that we have chosen to pursue other candidates.

I pull the crumpled paper from my nightstand and cross off another job prospect. I pull the blanket back over my eyes.

I press my hands against my eyes. Don’t cry.

***

We both wake up with a crippling hangover. Beth’s birthday festivities won. We lost.

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I crawl into Kat’s bed. Our eyes are smothered with dark eye makeup. We are not well.

The Diner? Kat suggests.

Yes.

We practically crawl up Kalorama Road to 18th Street. The hill is too much today.

It’s noon.

Coffee and lots of water, pretty please. We cry for help. The bartender observes our creature-like appearance and can’t help but laugh.

Our food comes out. We stare at it and poke at it with our forks. The food is almost as unappetizing as the Bloody Marys served to the man next to us.

We attempt to piece together the day. We have questions. Lots of questions.

We grab a napkin and ask the bartender for a pen. Let’s map out what happened.

The napkin is full of scribbles and mixed drinks. This leads to more questions.

Why were we drinking pre-batched Old Fashioneds out of a punch bowl at 10:30pm at Johnny Pistolas?

Kat runs to the bathroom. 10 minutes later, I follow. Nope, we are definitely not well.

 

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***

I knew what my Mom was going to say as soon as I felt my phone vibrate.
I didn’t want to hear her say it. I even debated not answering and holding it off for a few more hours. I wanted to hug her one last time. Tell her how much I loved her.

I love you too, Mom.

I picked up the photograph sitting on my night stand. Nona in her fifties sitting at The Capitol building. Dark brown hair and a pink dress paired with black ballet flats.img_8202
I hold the photograph in my hands. The way her face wrinkled when she laughed. Her soft hands and silver hair cut on Tuesdays by the women of Supercuts.

This time is goodbye. Eyes fill. A tear drops on my naked chest.

I love you, Nona. I place the photo back on my nightstand. 

My mom paints her backdoor yellow in her memory. I buy a sunflower and place it on my window sill. Her favorite color is a reflection of the person she was. Vibrant and beautiful.

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***

I’ve been waiting over 2 months.

I thought applying early action meant early-we’ll-accept-or-deny-you. Tell me already, would ya?

I re-read my personal statement. Perhaps my best work. Emotional. Provocative. A difficult subject to write and read about but a conversation worth talking about. My writing style.

After all, I don’t have 2 years of PR experience as they recommend. I needed to stick out.

I latch onto this decision as if its my last chance to prove to myself that I have a handle on my life.

I need this.

Request for a phone interview. This is a good sign.

We’d like to talk to you about your personal statement. A concerning tone. The conversation starts.

I hang up the phone and replay everything back in my head. It sounded like they wanted me to apologize and scramble to take my words back. Perhaps rewrite another statement. I didn’t know exactly what they wanted.

Maybe I should have apologized, but I didn’t.

I don’t write to offend, I write to bring light to issues that may not be comfortable to talk about, but that should be talked about. I can’t change the narrative on my own, but I can contribute. And that’s what I do. You asked me how ethics play into my everyday life, and that’s how.

Kindly,
Beth

I hit send.

It’s a Tuesday at 8am.

We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted into Georgetown University’s Public Relations and Corporate Communications program.

I’m singing “Every Other Time” by LFO at Nellie’s karaoke with Staci in celebration.

And you told everyone that I was gay…okay.

Our mics go quiet. Staci and I look at each other. Oops.

***

He is the topic of conversation between my journal and I as of late. An emotional roller coaster of stories and mixed feelings. Pages written with shaky hands, crooked letters and tear stains followed by pages of sappiness and hand-drawn emojis.

You should publish your story, Beth. Staci encourages.

I compile my journal entries, attempting to piece together what we were. The story doesn’t make sense. It’s fragmented.

He, the man I fell for. I, the one that tried to stay away but couldn’t. The end.

No, it’s more than that.

My hands hover over the black plastic keys of my laptop.

The blue “Publish” button sits in the right hand corner of my WordPress screen. I guide my mouse pad.I am paralyzed in this moment.

Click.

I don’t know what is going to happen next. The uncertainty is nerve-wracking, yet I feel free. 

I feel free.

Thank you for writing this. I can relate. Hugs from Nigeria.

Thank you for sharing your story, Beth. I don’t know you, but you have given me a newfound voice. Thank you. X

***

Can I have a Tanqueray and tonic please? He blows cigarette smoke from his mouth, dressed in a plain gray t-shirt and jeans. He seems to know the staff.

That’s Adriel, he works here too. He just got back from traveling for a month.

I head out the front door to head home after my first training shift.

We’re going to Exiles next door, do you want to come? Oh, it’s him again. He seems friendly.

Sure.

It’s 10pm on a Tuesday. I have work to do tomorrow, but I find myself in the back patio of a bar with a vodka soda in hand and a round of Jameson shots on their way.

I peak around at the rest of the staff that has joined us. I observe the varying personalities. Everybody is so different, holy shit. But it works.

Like a puzzle with a picture that is discombobulated, yet the pieces still fit together in an oddly perfect fashion.

Conversation is loud, whiskey shots continue. I laugh harder than I have in months.

A picnic table filled with my soon-to-be family. My dysfunctionally perfect Local 16 fam.

Editor’s note: Not gunna lie, being totally 110% honest, dead assssss serious u guyz are the best. 😉

 

***

We’re in Newport, Rhode Island. The matching “Aloha Beaches” tank tops are folded in my duffle bag.

I try to forget about the texts exchanged the day before. I work hard. I’m smart. I know these things. This will be a relaxing weekend.

Your value is not always noticed, nor acknowledged by others. I realize this in a string of tears on the front steps of the cottage as night falls. My sister rubs my back.

I’m sorry, I know this weekend is supposed to be about you, I apologize.

It’s okay. Just know your worth, she tells me, know it and own it.

I stand up for myself. After all, who else will?

I learn a dream job is hardly a dream when you lose sight of what your worth. I learn my worth. 

I leave WeWork with my head held high. Onward and upward.

***

I have an idea. A really good idea.

Google, how do you start a small business? What’s an LLC? Can I afford that?

I design my logo. I don’t really know what I’m doing. My entrepreneurial spirit kicks in. It’s me, my laptop and an iced coffee. It’s August. It’s hot outside. The condensation drips from the plastic cup onto my fingers.

I need to send a proposal to a potential client. Welp, this template looks good I guess. Not sure what all of this legal jargon means but whatevs.

I start to receive inquiries from word-of-mouth and email. Is this happening? Am I actually doing this? Am I in over my head?

I’m not sure.

Hi, I’m Beth. Founder and social media storyteller at Socially Attractive by Beth.

beth

***

Staci, can I wear my Birkenstocks? 

Yeah! Who cares? She replies.

I practically live in these glorified Jesus sandals, but how can you not?

Ugh. I debate with myself. I feel like most people are going to show up in business clothes after a long day at work and there I’ll be with my Birks and Herschel backpack.

Do I want to give off the earthy-crunchy vibe? Is there a dress code for this thing? Whatever. Birkenstock’s it is.

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I swipe my card and enter the building. Find your name tag and grab a notebook on that table right over there.

Damn, a leather notebook on day one. I guess I’m getting my money’s worth.

So, I was right. Most people are dressed in business-like attire, but I don’t totally stick out. It’s all good.

Tell us about yourself! We’re going to go around and have people give their name, hometown, and a fun fact!

Icebreakers. I roll my eyes.

I tell everyone that I despise pickles.

“Hey, I’m Evan. I’m from Connecticut and my fun fact is that I was born in Colombia.” A man chimes from the other end of the auditorium.

Turns out four other people in our program are also from Colombia.

Oh my gosh, they all came up to me afterwards and started speaking in Spanish and I have no idea why the f I said that as my fun fact because I don’t speak a lick of Spanish.

We stand next to each other in the circle of awkwardness of strangers and laugh. He makes fun of my Birkenstock’s. I don’t know him, but I have a good feeling about this one.

Meet Evan, the star of my Snapchat stories. The eyes behind all of my top Instagram photos. My fake boyfriend and favorite coffee date.

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***

I’m holding a grudge.

He reaches out, but I ignore his phone calls and e-mails. I don’t remember the last time I we spoke beyond a text that was hardly five syllables.

Ignoring takes effort.

How’s he doing? I ask my sister. I pretend I don’t care that much.

He asks about you a lot, Beth. She encourages me to let go of the past. I tell her I can’t.

The past hurts.

I remember waking up in bed alone with puffy red eyes and a broken heart. I don’t tell her that all I wanted was a hug from Dad. I don’t tell her that I want to fix things because I don’t know how to.

I hold a grudge because I think it’s easier than confrontation. Maybe I’m wrong. I’m not sure.

He continues to reach out, I respond from time to time, slowly opening the door of a relationship that has been in the dark for over a year. His surgery went well. He now has 83% hearing in his left ear. A 60% increase. I tell him I’m happy for him. A smile wipes across my face and a tear falls from my eye.

The past starts to slip from my tight grasp. Light seeps through the door crack.

I remember mornings that he’d make his homemade egg McMuffins on a lightly toasted bagel. Stops at Dunkin’ Donuts on the way home from basketball games.

Extra large extra cream extra sugar for me. Hot chocolate for this basketball star. He pats me on the head. I look up at him and smile.

I choose the good memories.

***

I don’t know if I’ll have someone waiting for me on New Year’s Eve this year. I’m not sure if 2018 will be the Year of Beth or the Year of WTF is Wrong With You????!!??!

Let’s hope the latter won’t be the case, but I don’t know. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that life is a journey of fuck ups, triumphs and unexpected twists and turns. Accept these fuck ups and triumphs for what they are and move forward. Eyes on the prize. 

What’s the prize? I haven’t a clue. But it’s there. My eyes are on it, I’ll tell ya.

2017 was a year full of struggle followed by amazing opportunities. I’ve met the most beautiful (and well, ugliest too I guess) people along the way — a tribe of people that will be with me for the rest of my life. 

I can’t tell you what 2018 holds. I know resolutions are super cliché or whatever, but aren’t they sorta, like, required? Maybe? No?

I’m going to attempt to focus on the present. Focus on the things I can control and change and deal with my emotions however they come. I’m going to work on new relationships, and foster the ones I already have. Let people in even when I don’t think I can. I don’t know the best place to start achieving these things, but I’ll just take it day by day.

I guess homemade egg McMuffins and a hot chocolate from Dunkin’ Donuts on Christmas is a good place to start.

 

***
Catch ya on the flip side, 2017.

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Oh. Maybe I should try and be less basic this year and chill on the Snapchat. What do you guys think? I’m just gunna leave these here and you can be the judge.

 

 

 

Empty pizza boxes & stained coffee mugs.

This time was different. 

***

The giant tower stood before me. “WELCOME, UMASS CLASS OF 2015” the banner read in bold crimson letters. 15th floor. Corner room. A lofted bed. My mother’s fight to hold back her tears. We had already unloaded my father’s truck of Rubbermaid plastic drawers, a $12.99 bright blue desk lamp from Target, over a hundred photos of my high school friends and a Jersey Shore poster. A new chapter.

***

My items were scattered around my living room. Socks and underwear tied in a plastic bag sitting next to my hiking boots and cork wedges. “I’m going to put your passport in this pocket,” my mom said. 2 large suitcases and a carry-on. A blank journal and a journey with unwritten adventures. Mom lifted her sunglasses from her eyes at the airport, “You know you have to come home at some point. Don’t fall in love and leave me for Cape Town forever.” Bye, Mom. Bye, Dad. Love you. 

***

Blue and red flashing lights filled my rear-view. 3am. 5 more hours on the road. “Why are you on this level? Do you realize how dangerous this is? What is in the back of your van?” Um, a bed and some clothes. “Next time, don’t drive on the compact car level of the George Washington bridge when you’re a large U-Haul van.” Sorry, officer.

I looked to my right as my mom dozed back off. I peaked out the window and looked at the sky. Life as I knew it was currently packed away in black trash bags and a saran wrapped mattress in the back of a 10′ van driving atop a bridge we weren’t supposed to be on.

We reached our destination just as the sun started to rise. An unfamiliar territory painted with light pinks and oranges on the horizon and one too many Starbucks. My new life. My new life was…here. Here. Here for as long as I wanted it to be here.

***

I’ve grown accustomed to moving. “Home” has taken on a new meaning ever since my parents sold my childhood home. To me, home used to mean the tangible aspects of a house. The familiar stain on the carpet that mom could never seem to wash out. The seconds it took for the upstairs shower to warm up. The stack of DVDs collecting dust you promised your parents you’d watch all of the time. You know, the little things that could just be expected. They were just, well, there.

I recently left the place that I’ve called “home” in DC the past 2.5 years (has it really been that long?). I moved roughly a 6 minute walk away so you’re probably like why you gotta be so emotional???

I didn’t expect to be either.

The morning my application went through I was practically skipping around town. “I’m going to THRIVE in my own bachelorette pad!!!” I texted all of my friends. I had done the whole roommate thing for the past 6 or so years of my life and while I’ve lived with some of the best (and worst) girls of my life, I’m just at a point in my life where I’m just like, over it. Just ready to be on my own. Ya feel me?

The next thing I knew I was staring at my empty bedroom in Dorchester House fighting back unexpected tears. This was my home. But, like, not the kind of home I used to call home. The kind of home that I made for myself. This apartment has seen every facet of my life since I moved here — the best moments and the worst.

Empty pizza boxes, stained coffee mugs & a broken blind that never got fixed. New friends, random hookups & people who didn’t turn out to be who I wanted them to be. Stacks of training manuals from restaurant jobs and freelance contracts. Times of pure joy jumping on my bed in a sports bra and plaid pajama shorts following a grad school acceptance and times of tear-soaked pillow cases following a string of lies and vulnerability.

Late nights sitting cross-legged in my bed, candles lit with a journal and pen in hand. Early mornings of pinks and orange painted sunrises through my window. Afternoons of sitting at the dining room table hitting “submit application” hundreds of times.

It’s been a journey with a familiar narrative to some.

A young twenty-something attempting to navigate through messy twists and turns, trying to please everyone by making all the right choices yet not really knowing if the right choices for those other people are the right choices for yourself. Blissfully lost. Frustrated yet hopeful. Tired yet resilient. 

Wordy, but familiar. Right?

***

My friend and I packed the UHaul van* last Thursday evening not knowing how much shit I actually had (isn’t that how it always works?) and drove approx 2 blocks to my new home (lolz). Two large iced coffess, one free pizza and many ‘OMFG my back hurts’ later, we finally finished the moving process at 2am. Did I mention how fabulous my friends are?

Shit was everywhere, the couch was in pieces scattered across my living room and my new kitchen was blocked by an influx of trash bags filled with more of my random shit. I knocked out on my bare mattress shortly after and rolled out of bed the next morning for work.

Welp, I was moved in. I had a new home and I don’t have a roommate. Weird. 

*This was an extremely abridged version of what actually happened. The studio I thought I was moving into all month got ripped from under me the afternoon before Thanksgiving as I was on my way to drop off my signed lease and I didn’t find an alternative until 3 days before I had to be out of my old apartment. LOL LIFE MAN

***

One week later, my couch is assembled and the place is slowly coming together. I honestly haven’t had much time to be all ~zen~ and reflect on my new bachelorette pad, but I think that time will come when all of the trash bags of random shit are put in their proper places. For the time being, I’ve been praising the dishwasher and food disposal in my sink. I always told myself the day that I have those two things in my apartment is the day I know I’ve made it.

I’m excited to see what memories this place will bring. New friends & f*ckboys; empty pizza boxes & stained coffee mugs. The usual, but different.

Well, hopefully no f*ckboys this time around.

Cheers to new adventures! Thanks to everyone who have made the past 2.5 years in DC worth hanging around for. Y’all are invited to my Christmas/house warming party I accidentally planned the night before all of my final papers are due. #Blessed.

A millennial’s unsolicited career advice.

I feel like I give unsolicited advice all the time. Like, something will happen to me and I’m like YO THIS WORKED FOR ME ONE TIME THIS SHOULD BE ADDED TO THE CONSTITUTION OR SOMETHING. Most of the time I don’t really know what I’m talking about but I just go with it because I’m damn good at pretending.

Eh, whatever.

So, I’m about to give some unsolicited advice again. Because, I can.

This post is for people who are like me: sorta broke (but ~woke~), sorta lost, and sorta hate using the term “adulting” because you seem to be so damn bad at it. Am I making enough money? Is this the right career move? When’s the last time I got my teeth cleaned? Sh*t rent was due yesterday. I’m broke, but wanna go to Sweetgreen? I only made out with that one dude last night, right? Why did I save a number in my phone as “Justin Tall Blue Shirt?” <—tru story

Grad school is about to begin so on paper, yes, I do have my shit together. But like, it still feels like I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing. Ya feel me? It’s a weird age to be at. 24. Old enough to be considered a “young professional” but not quite old enough to know how the hell people afford a down payment on a home. Falling in between entry and mid-level positions. Might have 2 years of experience, but not 5+. Making decisions with the mindset that “nothing is permanent” yet wondering when you’ll be satisfied enough to make something permanent .

I’m in yet another transition phase. But I feel like I’m always in a goddamn transition phase!!! My life seems to be one big stupid transition!!

I sorta like it though tbh.

Currently, I’m in search for a job that is conducive to my grad school schedule and is the “best next step.” If you ask my mom, she’ll tell you my top priority is a job with benefits, PTO, and a 401k (love ya mom!), which is the “normal” thing to search for, right? Ideally, yes.

I’ll be honest. I’ve been totally rebelling against the “normal” shit to do since the moment I decided to pack my life and move away without a job. I think you already knew that though. The opportunities have been great and moving to this city has been by far the best decision I could’ve made for myself. But now, life is different.

I’m at yet another point where I have to make a big decision. However, my schedule is no longer ~go with the flow~. There’s class. There’s a big re-brand on my blog I promised myself I’d upkeep. There’s a freelance business I’m trying to launch. There’s graduate fellowships and 9-5s to apply to. There’s shit. A lot of shit.

When the hell are you going to stop talking about yourself and give your silly unsolicited advice?

Sorry, sorry. I tend to rant. Again, you prob already knew that though.

So, like I said, I’m back as a free agent in the job world. Unfortunately, I’m no #TB12 so I don’t have people lining up tryna get me on their team. Someday, Beth. Someday. Somehow, I have to make it seem like I’m #TB12 amongst a bunch of Peyton Mannings.

Challenge accepted.

Being totally candid: I HATE COVER LETTERS. Like, ooooooomg do I detest them with a burning passion so deep I can practically feel the flames beneath my fingers as I type. Ok, dramatic. But really, I hate them.

I like writing fun shit. I like using profane words as I please and venting about my daily struggles to you beautiful people. I like wandering around the city, finding the next best coffee shop with overpriced cappuccinos, sitting my ass down in a chair close to an outlet and just writing. It’s what I’m good at.

Companies don’t care about my personal problems–shocker!! But, they also claim to want “personality.” They want cover letters, resumes, and LinkedIn profiles that not only prove that you are #TB12 amongst the Mannings, but also ones that provide a breath of fresh creativity and flair that distinguishes you from the rest.

Ok, so you worked at a marketing agency and ran a digital campaign. Cool. So did the next guy. 

I filled out an application for a brand strategy firm works directly with healthcare initiatives and promotes wellness campaigns — sweet! One question was something along the lines of “Write about yourself in 250 words. What makes you unique? Make it interesting!” Ah, perfect. 

Here’s what I wrote:

Hi, I’m Beth. Storyteller, content creator, blogger, and social media lover who lives vicariously through herself. Like every millennial, I love avocado toast, overpriced iced coffee, and Instagram Boomerangs. Unlike every millennial, I’m not afraid to vocalize my ideas, push creative boundaries and take risks.

I have a knack for connecting with people. When bartending, hearing people vent to me about their failed marriages and/or mid-life crises can be a bit much, but in the marketing field, this quality works out in my favor. I like talking to people, and they like talking to me, too.

I believe that we all have a unique story to tell. Combine my ability to take risks, tell stories, and connect with people is perhaps why my 20-year-old brain decided it would be a good idea to start a personal blog in college. Blog About It, a site that once started as a hobby has transformed into a compelling and distinct personal brand that people love to read. To be specific, a tribe of 3.5k people of from all ages, genders, and backgrounds with a consistent readership of over 10k views per month. The whole blog is about yours truly, but the stories still connect to thousands.

Like I said, I have a knack for connecting with people.

Omg stop bragging about yourself Beth. Shush. It’s my JOB to brag in this scenario. Tryna be #TB12 remember?

On top of this prompt, I still needed to submit a cover letter. UGGGGHHH. WHYYYY THIS IS THE WORST DAY EVVERRRR. Ok, sry. #firstworldproblems

We’ve been told time and time again that employers can tell when you send the same generic thing to everyone and just switch up the company name. Guilty as charged.

…but like, it makes it so much easier tho.

I have zero experience in the healthcare industry. Zero. One of the qualifications included having some sort of experience in this field. But I really want this job. Rather the an just writing it off as “WELP, they’re never gunna pick me so f this!!!!” I took a different route.

Let’s tug at the emotional heart strings, shall we? 

After listing my qualifications, skills, accomplishments, experience, blah blah blah I added an additional paragraph at the end.

Healthcare was genuinely never a field I could see myself entering into. My health has always been in check, only heading to the doctor’s for routine check ups. November 2015 was when everything changed. After experiencing months of discomfort, I went to the doctor’s to try and find a solution to the pain I was experiencing. Immediately afterwards, I was quickly and unexpectedly diagnosed as a Type 1 Diabetic. Since then, my interest in pursuing a career in the healthcare industry has significantly increased. I aim to be an advocate and an active participant in the movement towards providing everyone with the healthcare they need.

Boom.

This paragraph is entirely true. Since my diagnosis, I’ve been forced to develop an understanding about the healthcare industry and escape the ignorance towards it. Sorta like politics. 

I may joke about not knowing shit about #adulting, but I do know a thing or two about how f’ed this healthcare industry has become. It only took a few “Oh shit I’m about to be out of medication and my insurance company failed to tell me that my plan no longer supports this brand of insulin so I’m about to be screwed,” type of scenarios for me to understand the complexity and annoying AF industry I’m forced to be a part of on the reg.

Point being, I found a way to connect with this potential employer. I was different in my approach in both writing prompts. I decided to ditch the “normal” boring stuff and hit ’em with some Blog About It type of shit (profanities and ex-boyfriends excluded).

In the past week, I’ve applied to about 20 jobs. With most, being honest, I took the lazy route and pulled the “Marketing Cover Letter” document from my Google Drive and switched up a few words. How many have gotten back to me?

One. That “one” was the company I just described.

Diabetes, you suck usually, but you may have landed me a job! Tysm!!!! 

I feel like I always address the ~haters~ at the end of blog posts saying stuff like, “So, some of you will  read this and think OMFG stop bragging Beth,” followed by a plea to read this from a different perspective. I’m not gunna do that today. Sry.

I won’t apologize for unsolicited advice that I’m not even sure works. Lol.

People may not seem to give a shit about your personal life, especially potential employers. But they do…to some extent. You are, hopefully, far more interesting than overused buzzwords and action verbs. When I started this blog I thought, “nobody’s gunna read this, they don’t care about my problems.” People are nosy AF. They do care. Well, most people.

Like I said in my writing prompt, we all have a unique and compelling story to tell. Sure, we all may be in this weird stage of existing as “young professionals-yet-totally-not-professional” but I think that there’s a lot to extract from that.

You can sorta broke and still be woke (Are you sick of me saying that? Because I’m totally not). You are marketable beyond the bullet points on your resume. Employers should know that. After all, they are hiring you and not the thesaurus you totally used to see how many ways you could say “created” or “developed.” I see you.

You don’t have to have diabetes or a blog (just lol’ed at this part of the sentence idk why) to tell a story. We all have our kinks and hobbies that aren’t “resume worthy” but still can be spun into making you the ~super profesh~ G.O.A.T that you are–or at least gives the illusion that you are. Nobody likes generic or boring…well I definitely don’t.

Ok, done giving my unsolicited advice. Good luck y’all. I’m about to text “Justin Tall Blue Shirt” and ask him on a date. Jk.

 

home

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.

Continue reading home

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.

Continue reading Soggy chicken tenders.

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).

Continue reading When we manipulate.