Saturday, November 20, 2010

Coping Mechanisms

So . . . my life is crazy right now (but only for 4 more weeks!) I'm planning my Utah wedding to my Texas-dwelling fiance from my apartment in Indiana while working three jobs and finishing the last semester of my Master's degree. I mentioned in my last post that I may have had one or two breakdowns. This week, I want to address my recently developed anti-breakdown coping mechanisms. I developed a plan for myself this week, and it was  . . . surprisingly effective.

Let me say first, that normally, I am not prone to this awesome breakdown-filled lifestyle. I am prone to stress, though, and when I have multiple things to be stressed about, it builds up to epic proportions that sometimes result in some wonderful meltdowns about really important things like the Netflix queue. Think of these as preventative emergency coping mechanisms. :)
  1. Identify what causes you to get worked up. What sorts of things are upsetting or stressful to you? How do they get blown out of proportion? If it's something solvable, make a plan to solve it. If you can't do anything about it, decide how you will deal with that too. (For instance, all semester, I've stressed quite a bit about moving to Texas, and people ALWAYS want to talk to me about it. I know it will be fine when I get there, but when I talk about it, I think about plenty of reasons why it might not be. I've finally started saying, "You know, I appreciate your excitement, but I can't think about this right now. Can we talk about something else?" That way, I avoid telling them about all of my fears - and dredging them up again for myself.) I spent this week shutting down internal and external conversations about the things I couldn't do anything about yet, and making concrete plans to successfully deal with the things that can be done now. 
  2. Identify what makes you feel better. I actually made a physical list last week of what makes me feel better when I'm upset. (Getting up for a drink of water. Going for a walk or a drive. Watching Pushing Daisies or Buffy or Doctor Who. Flirting with my fiance over Skype. Eating Oreos.) If I have a list of options in place, I know exactly what I should do when I feel myself starting to get upset, and I don't have to figure it out when my judgment is clouded by an overabundance of stress adrenaline.
  3. Tell someone calming about your stress and your plan to cope with it. Figure out whether there are ways this person can help you to stop the impending overload before it comes to tears. Having someone to talk your stress level down over ice cream is invaluable. 

You, too, can cope with your stress, whether it's finals or holidays or children or whatever other curveballs life throws at you. A little planning goes a long way.

Image source:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Pavlovian Philosophy of Sex

Our dear friend Krissie posted a truly lovely article on Facebook yesterday, and I want to share it with you. It's quite long, but it's definitely worth reading to the end. Occasional skimming is acceptable if you deem it necessary--the important thing is the message.
I've come to realize something profound that I don't know if I've ever heard anybody actually say.
It is not the impossibly air brushed females on magazine covers who are causing women to hold themselves against a standard of perfection. No, it's not that at all. Holy crap. Why am I just realizing this? Why doesn't anybody seem to realize this?
It is the men that stop and look at those magazines.
And that simple, repeated act is how we constantly, and never-endingly declare to women that they are not good enough, and will never be good enough.
We stop, and we look.
And women notice.
This post is written with a pleasant freshness and honesty that will probably make you want to give the writer a hug at various points throughout; and, like it promises in the introduction, it presents some compelling arguments that will maybe make you examine your own life a little bit.

There was one particular paragraph that resonated with me more than the rest (which is not to say that the rest did not resonate). Please, it says.
Please. Let's stop ogling the very things that are causing this tragic mind game. Let's stop walking by the never-ending porn that surrounds us with our jaws dangling so carelessly. Let's stop salivating every time Pavlov rings his freaking bell.
It is the last sentence of this paragraph that strikes me, and I believe it makes a vital point: That essentially, we as a society have learned that the most important thing in life is sex.

In our feelings about sex, just like Pavlov's dogs, we have allowed ourselves to be conditioned. Women let themselves believe that desirability is the ultimate indication of worth. Men let themselves be taught that they are nothing but sex machines. Our society says we need to be sexy, so we try to be sexy. Society says something will make us sexy, so we try that thing. We'll even try to learn to have more confidence--not so we can stop worrying about something stupid, but because we've heard that confident people are sexy. This thinking, I'm sad to say, is truly warped.

The fact is that sex is a biological function. Its purpose is the propagation of species; it is a necessary and practical part of existence on this planet. Why, then, have we commercialized it, set it on a pedestal, and become obsessed with it?

We stress endlessly about the way we look; we spend thousands of dollars on makeup and workout systems and gym memberships and Spanx and liposuction and plastic surgery and lingerie and hairstyles and clothes. We know perfectly well that none of it means anything, but we do it anyway. We know already that none of those things will make a person healthy, that they are purely about appearance. But we buy them anyway, because more than almost anything else, we want to be desirable. We "know" that looks don't matter; we "know" it's what's inside that counts. We tell ourselves that we know these things--but time after time, our actions say otherwise. 

This is why I'm glad to have read this article, and why I have posted it here for you all to read. It's time for us to stop conditioning ourselves, and let Pavlov go find something else to do. It's time for us to remember what's important, and--for once--to actually act on our knowledge. 

And finally, finally--it's time to start ignoring the bells.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Little Fun for Your Monday

Just some lovely links to start your week off. Enjoy!

Ever lose your phone when there's no one else around to help you find it? No one to call your number so you can follow the sound of the ring? Now you can use this site to call. Get on the good ol' internets, type in your number and resume your search.

Megan and I recently went on a hunt for punctuation jewelry. If you know any of us, you won't think that is odd, in fact you'll be just as excited as we were when we found this and this and this.

And just in case you were worried we weren't nerdy enough, check out Save the Words.

I posted a quote from this blog (kissssing) last week, but it's quickly becoming a new favorite blog so I'm sharing it again. I love the old photos of couples and the quotes and this photo had me laughing like a lunatic for longer than was needed.

Finally, there's this video. Mostly because it's the cutest thing I've ever seen.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Help a blogger out...

Just found out The Sleepy Time Gal was nominated as a favorite mom blogger on! Click over to babble and vote for Nicole (our fabulous guest poster from last week) and show her some support. She is number 79 (or was last time I checked) and on the second page of the list.

Good luck, Sleepy Time Gal!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Things Change, Jo

I just went to see the opera Little Women by Mark Adamo. It's one of my favorite stories, and I loved seeing it done in a new way.

I've always loved and identified with Jo March, although I thought it was because she was a tomboy who liked to write. I've never thought of myself when I saw the way Jo avoids change - until I watched this version. 

I realized as I watched the opera that I am more like Jo in this way than in any other. I hated leaving high school, having roommates and siblings move out or get married, graduating from college, moving to Indiana - because all of these things meant something would never be the same. Ever. With each change, I lamented how perfect things had been before and wondered why things had to change, why people had to leave, why I had to move on. Then eventually, I'd adjust to the change and believe things were perfect again until the next adjustment. Ultimately, I think the anticipation of change is worse than change itself.

I've been thinking about this even more than usual lately. I'm graduating in December, getting married a week later, and moving to another new state a week or so after that. I'd be lying if I said there hadn't been breakdowns. I've panicked about the move. I'm sad to be leaving Indiana and the friends I've made here, even though I can't wait for my relationship to stop being a long distance one. I'm overwhelmed when I think about going through the process of changing my name, even though I'm excited to do it. I think about how this will change the way I celebrate holidays and wonder what will end up changing about the way I do things on a day to day basis. In so many ways, it's both a great adventure and a terrifying jolt out of the comfortable, steady life I'm constantly trying to establish for myself.

I think if life let me have my way, I would stay in one place with my friends and family gathered around me in my little life, the way Jo wanted to. "We are perfect as we are!" I rail, just as Jo did throughout this opera. But it just wouldn't be true. Things change, and really I wouldn't want them to stay the same forever. I grow, I learn, and my life gets more interesting through change. And even though I always fear change will make it worse, just as often, it makes my life better. And when it doesn't immediately, I adapt, and eventually it becomes better because I make it so.  I can cope with change. I'm grateful for change.

Just don't expect me to admit it too often.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


"Women wish to be loved without a why or a wherefore; not because they are pretty, or good, or well-bred, or graceful, or intelligent, but because they are themselves." -- Henri Frederic Amiel

found here.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Have You Voted?

Oh loveliest of readers, have you voted today? There's still plenty of time if you haven't! Our system only works if we all participate in it, and what's more lovely than doing your part in your community? (Well... lots of things, probably... but it's still an important thing to do.) 

Don't let other people make all the decisions--your input is just as essential as anyone's. Make sure you're informed about your candidates, and do your part to support those you believe in.   It might even be the most valuable thing you do today.