Even Awkward Girls Get the Blues

Hello, my fine friends. I must ask you to bear with me as I get a little self-indulgently dramatic. After distracting myself for days, I sat down to write tonight and instead just read recipes and sat on my bed and took pictures of myself.

Untitled drawing

Every six months or so I find myself sucked into a spiral of, well, I'm not sure what the spiral is made of, but it feels like a mix of lethargy and melodramatic contemplation. I'm there now and have been for the last week or two. I worry that I'm not in the right career field. I'm unsure of what to direction to take with my blog. I'm anxious about money and my future and I don't look great in a bathing suit right now and most everyone I know is wearing my last nerve. So I worry and I worry and I mope and I put off making decisions or being productive in favor of blobbish, cranky procrastination.

It's not a great look on me.

I'll snap out of it, I always do, but in the meantime, I might be a little quieter this next week or so while I get my ish back together. And when I do, it will be better than ever, I promise you that.

This isn't me like, asking anyone to feel bad for me, though it kiiiiind of sounds like I'm begging for attention. But when am I not, I mean, really? One of the goals I know I have for this here blog is to keep it real, always, so self-referential and un-funny as it might be, I thought I owed it to myself and to my zillions of fans to well, keep it real, yo. Plus I've kinda-sorta come to enjoy the whole blogging community thang, so who better to vent to than your peeps, no?

So that's what's up, peeps, and thanks for listening to me mope. I'll be back soon! Be sure to keep it awkward while I'm gone - I have faith in all of you!

xoxo Liz Ho

Some Awkward, Unsolicited Advice on Coping with Anxiety

Apropos of not much, except that I was feeling anxious this week and figured other people might also go through this from time to time, here is some unsolicited, highly unscientific, borderline insane advice on coping with stress, anxiety and life's more disastrous circumstances. You're welcome in advance! I tend to be, let’s say, an extreme worry wart. Highly neurotic. Deeply anxious. This actually is something I should probably discuss with a therapist but I don’t have one and I don’t know where to find one and therapists cost money and money, or lack thereof, is one of the top causes of my anxiety and so forth. Plus, who needs a therapist when you can just blog about your problems, right?

Anyway, whatever is going on in my life I fear the worst: work problem? I’m about to be fired. Boyfriend hasn’t responded to a text in a few hours? He’s dead...or cheating on me, depending on what sort of a mood I’m in. Feeling ill? Only two possibilities: fatal cancer or I’m pregnant.

I then obsess about these worst case scenarios for hours upon end until I’m nearly sick with anxiety. It’s…not great. But I’ve found a really weird, totally foolproof way to calm myself down. I don’t take calming breaths or go for a walk or drink tea or anything a health magazine might suggest to calm stress. Instead I think about the situation I’m in and how it actually could be worse…and worse and worse and worse (can you say that more than once in a row? I’m doing it.) until I’ve come to the actual Worst Thing Possible in my head and then I realize: whatever I’m going through is not that big of a deal. And just like that, I’m calm as a kitty laying in a patch of sun.

Take, for example, this week. I was having some really strange stomach cramps, so instead of contributing them to PMS or my already well documented IBS (so many acronyms!), I decided that, of course, it had finally happened: I was pregnant. Despite being hyper vigilant about birth control and safe sex, I’m usually pregnant about every three months or so. Which is to say that I’ve never been pregnant (and don’t worry mom slash Brian slash world: I’m still not!) but because, like I said, I’m a neurotic maniac, every few months I freak out and read into every weird intrauterine twinge or slight breast tenderness as a sure sign that I’ve been knocked up and now I’ll have to decide what to do about that and how can I afford a baby and this really isn’t fair, I know so many sluts who don’t even USE protection and now I’m the one who’s pregnant and I’m so not ready but I don’t know how I feel about abortion personally at this stage in my life and I am getting pretty old and what if my boyfriend decides he’s not ready and leaves me and I end up like Fantine in Les Mis, a desperate single mother who has to sell her hair and her body and hide her kid in a crazy roadside inn.

Like I said, I’m nuts.

So I let myself freak out for a while and then I think to myself: Ok, self, this is NOT the worst. If (and god, please don’t let this happen, but IFFFFF) you found yourself unexpectedly embarassada, you would figure it out. What would actually be the worst, is if these cramps were fatal ovarian cancer. And you died.

But then I think, no, Liz, no. What would be worse if your mom got fatal ovarian cancer and she died and you had to cope with that…and at the same time your sister and brother also died of fatal cancers…and so did all of your friends and other loved ones and you were the only one left and had to bury everyone and live with the grief. But actually, horrific as that would be, you’d probably get through it.

And then I just escalate. I ride this wave of insane thinking until I can bring myself to imagine what the WORST possible scenario could be. For a while I was thinking Zombie Apocalypse but now zombies are really trendy and that show The Waking Dead is really popular so a zombie apocalypse actually looks sort of fun and exciting so I had to rule that out. I decided that the very worst possible scenario, for me anyway, is that I’m flying in a plane with all of my friends and all of my family and everyone that I love (Beyonce included) and there’s a huge explosion and the plane crashes on an island. Half of the people have already died in a firey inferno and their bodies are strewn about the island. Of those left alive, half are immediately pounced upon by gigantic alligators and the rest of us have to watch them be eaten alive. While we’re hiding from the alligators we are apprehended by a band of evil cannibals who tie us up and barbecue each of us one by one – and I’m the very last one. I’ve just had to watch everyone that I love die gruesome deaths right in front of me and now I’m being covered in teriyaki sauce and tossed on a fire pit. THAT, I would say, is the worst thing that could possibly happen to me. Anything else, yeah, I can take it.

And then I calm myself down, stop obsessing and face my problems head on. It works like a charm. Every single time. Some trained professionals might say that fixating on the negative will only make things worse, and other people might say I have a hyperactive imagination, which would be true, but I say do whatever makes you feel good. And cray-cray as it sounds, this works for me.

So, just a friendly word of advice from one basketcase to the whole world: whatever you’re dealing with in life, you will get through it! I know this. Unless you’re being held hostage by island cannibals watching half of your loved ones (the half that didn’t just die in the plane crash) be ripped apart by alligators with the same vigor that Man V. Food’s Adam Richman might apply to a plate of Nuclear Buffalo Wings well, you’re probably going to be okay. Whatever it is you’re facing, you can handle it.

Trust me. I’m an expert.

The Social Jungle: Drugstore Philanthropy

Listen, guys. It's a dangerous world out there, socially. So many interpersonal encounters to bungle, situations to ruin, scenes to make, and there's nothing we can do about it. Except complain on the internet. So here's a new little series I'll give a try, every week I'll walk us through some of life's most harrowing social situations. I'm calling it Social Jungle. Eh? Eh.Today I'm going to discuss something I've been encountering quite a bit lately which is drugstore philanthropy. You know what I mean, every CVS, Duane Reade and grocery store in town is in cahoots with some charity or another, their windows plastered with paper badges praising good customers who donated to the cause.

I am never one of those customers. Whoops.

Allow me to stop right here and remind the world that I am actually a reasonably good person and I do care about the souls and bodies of the less fortunate. Just not while I'm shopping.

Not to sound like some bananas conspiracy theorist (though let's all agree this KStew & RPattz reunion is a total publicity stunt) I just really feel like stores are using guilting tactics to convince their customers to donate to their charity, probably so they can win some kind of blue ribbon for being the franchise with the most donations. Not on my watch.

I feel like every single time I go to a drugstore, which is almost every day (I don't know why, maybe I have some larger problems to deal with but that's not what we're talking about right now) I am asked to donate money to some organization. It's always the same scene, you know? Ring up your purchases with the cashier and just as you're handing over your credit card they sweetly ask "Oh, would you like to donate one dollar today to the New York City Fund for Saving Starving Babies" and then stand there, card in hand, waiting to see what kind of person you are. The really good ones swap the sentence structure so it's like "Would you like to save starving babies today by donating one dollar to the New York City Fund?" and then you're just straight up trapped - I mean, how do you answer that? Just like, "Nah, I'm good" and then grab your purchases, which of course are always something completely idiotic like back issues of OK Magazine and a pound of peach rings, and peace out.

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE BABIES?

I can't even handle it. As I've mentioned before, I have severe guilt problems (on top of my seeming addiction to drugstore shopping, I might need therapy) and my self worth is greatly determined by what people, even strangers, think about me. But I can't donate to every flipping cause on the planet every time I go to the drugstore. I just can't! First of all, I need that dollar for better stuff like Diet Coke and gum. No offense, dying babies. Second of all, what do I know about this "charity" you're running here, CVS? If I'm going to give money, even just one dollar, I need to know what they're really all about. That's not me being a conspiracy theorist again, that's me being a realist. I'm the kind of moron who would accidentally find herself as the lead donor to some kind of neo-nazi, geo-terrorist organization that was also somehow behind the Amy Poehler-Will Arnett breakup just because I thought they had a cute name. I can't risk that kind of stress. So I have a strict No Tolerance for Drugstore Donations Policy.

Of course, as previously noted, I feel guilty as shit about this, so every casual shopping spree is fraught with anxiety. Sometimes, if I'm feeling bold or sassy I can answer their pleas for money with a calm "Not today," which I think implies that I'll be donating very, very soon. Other times I lie and say I already donated, which seems savvy but, bitch are you surious? You can't give more that one dollar to feed these starving babies? So, that's not a great answer. Usually I just start to sweat and mumble for a while until the sales person gives up and assumes I ain't giving up the cash. Sometimes, though, I do say yes, but only when I'm at the front of a really long line so everyone behind me can see what a great person I am.

Do I know that none of these people actually care about me, my purchases, my measly dollar donations or lack thereof? Yes, yes I do.

How do I sleep at night? Not great.