Hi everybody! I’m back at it again, procrastinating an assignment. Riveting. This time, it’s a sociology Op-Ed. Yes, I go to UNC-Chapel Hill and am in a sociology class. The hypnotist who brainwashed me into attending a liberal school told me to do […]
Guess who’s back…back again…. This blog’s back, tell a friend. Hi all! I know what you’re thinking: it’s been a hot minute. I’m coming to you live from my desk with some blue light-reflecting glasses, much shorter hair and a whole lot of updates. […]
My social media feeds are inundated with businesses promoting every possible way to be productive. Take an online gym class, you sloth! Learn a new language, only to recite the words back to your computer in a laughably bad attempt at an accent. Make food from scratch which requires you to go to the store for ingredients, even though that destroys the point of it being a quarantine activity!
I’ve tried each of those since quarantine began. I definitely bought into the hype, thinking the activities would cause a domino effect of efficiency each day. Sure, they were fine, but I wasn’t feeling ~fulfilled~ or ~enlightened~ like I hoped I’d be.
Then I thought that my extra free time could get some creative juices flowing. Many of my Branding of Me classmates have put out wonderfully well-written and insightful blogs. I wish I could say the same, but this week has been full of schoolwork and stress. It’s left little room for creative energy or new ideas.
I went into this blog with no real idea of what to write about. Yet as I’m sitting here, I can feel it dawning on me. What’s the point in comparing myself to what other people are doing right now? Why should I make myself feel bad because someone else is handling things well? I shouldn’t feel inferior after reading a great LinkedIn blog or seeing somebody post their 30-day workout challenges to Instagram. Whatever I’m doing, or not doing, in this time period should be fine by me.
It’s now more than ever that I have to remind myself not to get caught up in comparisons. I have my own talents and weaknesses just like every other human in this world. Some people find creative energy and prosper with some alone time. Some people struggle and begin to shut down. I’m finding myself in the latter category as the weeks go on, but I’m getting up every day. I’m calling my family. I’m going to work from 9:30 to 12 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’m finding new TV shows and drawing in my mandala coloring book. I’m going on walks through new trails and winding up across the street from University Mall, only to think “whoa, I really walked that far?” And I’m proud of myself for finding out new things about myself over these past few weeks.
If you only internalize one thing I say throughout this blog, just do you. Do whatever’s going to make you feel in tune with yourself. Don’t only do the things you feel are “productive.” That word is so overrated. It implies that anything apart from cleaning your room, doing schoolwork and exercising is a waste of your time. That anything for your mind or soul is not as important. That if you’re not still a workaholic, you’re doing this whole thing wrong.
I don’t buy that, and you shouldn’t either. Many people’s mental states are taking a huge hit. It’s not enough to just push through each day, ignoring the feelings that arise. I’ve found it much more positive to self-reflect and understand the flow of emotions we feel each day. To, even if only for a moment, dissociate from the million-and-one stressors on our plates. At this point, nothing could be more valuable than being self-aware and spending our time on whatever matters to us.
So don’t ever let anyone make you feel bad for not being “productive.” True productivity is whatever makes you feel happy, accomplished and at one with yourself.
Here’s how it turned out: I chose some orange eyeshadow from (my holy grail) Urban Decay’s Naked Heat palette. Lately, I’ve been craving a sense of normalcy. I’m sure you all also have to some degree. It’s easy to feel like life is anything but […]
Taking ourselves less seriously is one of the best things we can do right now. This is evidenced by the day I got my braces on (don’t you love how the alternating pink wires perfectly complement my Hollister V-neck?) The healing power of humor […]
The Age of Corona has been quite a tumultuous time. I could have never anticipated an end to my junior year that would play out in this way. It’s so easy to dwell on the negatives associated with social distancing and the lifestyle changes that happened in the blink of an eye. There are so many hardships that many have encountered from this pandemic that sent the world into a 180-degree tailspin. With that being said, my newfound free time has left me pondering my college, and even life, experiences thus far. In a time spattered with dizzying change and uncertainty, I want to point out the constants that have remained. Thinking about, and showing gratitude for, the unchanging elements of my life has helped me feel comforted and grounded.
For starters, one of my roommates is staying in Chapel Hill with me. Some of you may remember Kila as the calm, collected friend from the blog where I reflect on cutting my finger on a can of pinto beans (curse you, manual can opener!) Having her here helps monumentally with feeling less lonely. Just as always, she’s here to watch true crime documentaries with me and cook for both of us. Today she made turkey meatballs with homemade tzatziki sauce! I’m grateful to have her here; she makes this unprecedented time seem much less overwhelming.
My boyfriend, James, is also still in town. I feel horrible that the UNC seniors have had so many of their traditions and rewards taken out from under them. My heart breaks that he’s missing out on graduation and one last spring on this beautiful campus. Having him nearby means I can support him through this difficult time. He’s another person who always shows me love and appreciation, and that validation helps me in turn.
I can still communicate with my family via FaceTime and our iMessage group chat. My immediate family is pretty big; I have two parents and three siblings that are 24, 17 and 8 years old, respectively. They are all quarantining together under one roof in Charlotte. It’s nice to catch up with them and see how they’re doing at home. Just as I was walking to Target a few hours ago, I called my mom up to give her my daily update. In this time of anxiety and fear of the unknown, keeping in touch with my family helps me remember where I came from and feel connected to my roots.
Even though my apartment’s gym is closed, I still get in some exercise at home with my personal mini trampoline. Since high school, one of my favorite ways to sweat has been jumping on my trampoline and playing music. Weird, I know, but it works for me. I get to zone out and forget about everything else going on when I’m just jumping away. Especially during quarantine, it’s a great way to relax and clear my mind.
I’m still working at the front desk for my apartment building. For me, keeping a job is the best possible way to maintain a solid schedule. Additionally, it is a privilege for me to have money coming in at this time. Something that has been weighing heavily on my mind is the sheer number of people who have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus. I cannot fathom the stress and pressure that anyone in that situation is feeling. The fact that over 139,000 North Carolina residents have filed for unemployment is heartbreaking. I hope that every employer goes out of their way to show empathy and understanding toward their employees. It’s imperative now more than ever.
Social media is popping off more than ever. I always say that Twitter is at its peak when there’s a world crisis going on. Also, TikTok is currently full of families’ shenanigans as they quarantine together. These timely posts give people something to talk about and make memes that share society’s collective perspective on an issue. In my second blog for this week, I’m talking more about the power of humor. It’s a strong coping mechanism for me and many others I know. It reflects our mindset in a more lighthearted way. We’re currently being bombarded with negative news in the press, so it’s nice to see humor come out in people’s social media posts.
I certainly don’t blame anybody for having a pessimistic outlook on life’s state of affairs right now. It’s not a great time to be in the workforce or to be a college student. So many monumental events like weddings and graduations have been pushed away. There’s nothing wrong with going through the emotions of grief, anger and fear. Anyone who’s telling you otherwise needs a dose of reality. With that being said, thinking about the things in your life that haven’t changed can provide some peace of mind. Reflecting on COVID-19 has cemented this idea in my mind that I have always known to be true: the people in your life are far more important than the places or things.
This week has been a crazy one indeed. Between the first confirmed case of coronavirus in the next county over from me, the Super Tuesday madness and the midterms that have corroded every last one of my brain cells, I may be losing my […]
(Disclaimer: In this blog, I’ll be speaking about eating disorders. If this content may be disturbing to you, do not read any further.)
We are currently two days into National Eating Disorders Awareness (NEDA) Week. It is a time for people to celebrate recovery and uplift those who still battle their own demons day in and day out. Although we live in an era where terms like “body positivity” and “health at every size” are buzzwords, I believe there to be many misconceptions that should be more thoroughly highlighted during NEDA week.
- You can not see eating disorders. Read that sentence again. The media has pushed the standard image of someone with an eating disorder: it’s typically a rail-thin teenage girl. Because of this narrow idea of how eating disorders present themselves and who they impact, they often go undetected in people who have a “normal,” overweight or obese BMI. Even if they lose an alarming amount of weight in a short period of time, doctors will often congratulate them on their weight loss without questioning the process contributing to the change. You never know how much somebody may be struggling with their body image and their eating patterns. Physical appearance is not an indicator of whether someone has a healthy relationship with food. Let me use my experience as a personal example. When I was a junior in high school, my self-esteem was very low. I chalked it up to being overweight, so I became obsessed with losing weight and looking like my thinner peers. Although it got to a point where I was eating one small meal per day, my lowest documented weight was still technically overweight. I felt that, since I wasn’t even close to being underweight, I wasn’t “sick enough” or “good enough” at losing weight. This feeling created a sense of inferiority and was yet another blow to my confidence. It is impossible to know how someone eats or behaves around food by looking at their size. The notion that an eating disorder can be seen needs to change in order for as many people as possible to receive treatment and get on a path to recovery.
- Eating disorders fall under a wide umbrella. Anorexia is typically the first eating disorder to come to people’s minds, and most understand what it entails. However, there is a multitude of other eating disorders that greatly impact people’s relationship with food and with themselves. Debilitating conditions such as bulimia, binge eating disorder and orthorexia are not well understood in the cultural lexicon. It is important that we strive to understand these iterations of disordered eating better. We have to recognize that they exist and are detrimental to many people’s health and overall wellness. When anorexia is the only topic of conversation, it invalidates others’ struggles and excludes a wide range of people from the conversation. While anorexia is clearly a huge issue, we as a society need to learn more about other ways that people suffer from disordered eating patterns. These voices often go unheard, and validating everyone’s unique experience is a way to make NEDA week more holistic and beneficial for all of us.
- No two stories are the same. While many people think that eating disorders stem from a desire to be skinny, this is not always the case. I would argue that they often spur from a desire to control one aspect of life when everything else seems tumultuous and uncontrollable. Sometimes, it stems from a life-changing event. If you watch an episode of My 600 Pound Life, the sufferers often find that their eating patterns spiral out of control due to trauma. Many have had extremely upsetting life occurrences that cause them to cling to food as a reliable form of support and comfort. Although it is easy to judge someone in such a situation, the backstory behind their issues tend to be shockingly sad. It’s always important to have an empathetic attitude toward people who deal with food-related issues. You never know what someone is dealing with and how people cope with the lows of life.
I felt compelled to write this article at this time and place because of an incident that happened around this time last year. I was walking down Raleigh St. when a car of teenaged boys yelled out “Heyyy, thickums!” to me in a sarcastic tone. The cowards chuckled to one another as the car rolled by. I was stunned. I didn’t know how to react, except to hold in the tears until I got home. Then, I called my mom and explained what happened between sporadic breaths, sobbing to her about the cruelty others can so needlessly fling toward others. I think a lack of empathy is a deep-rooted societal issue. It especially comes into play when we are exposed to others’ intimate and internal problems. Although casting judgment upon others is often our gut instinct, I urge you to consciously combat that as much as possible. During a week where eating disorder awareness is being promoted, I want to especially prioritize showing love and care toward those around me. I challenge you to do the same. We need more compassion and care in this world, without a doubt. And one easy step of that process steps back to the age-old adage: never judge a book by its cover.