Instagram Filtering Your Life

The other night, I somehow got invited to Beau Mirchoff’s house where he kissed me. To be fair, he probably doesn’t remember me, but quite frankly, I don’t care. Being that I was obsessed with both Desperate Housewives & MTV’s Awkward, to me, this was a dream come true. I was elated. As I stepped back and looked out the wall-sized windows in Beau’s home in the Hollywood Hills at the twinkling lights of the city, I thought “wow, my life is a dream.”

At that moment, my insecurities fled and I came up with a theory: the key to happiness is Instagram filtering your perspective on life. People only put the highlights of their life on social media, and hide the sweat pants, eating ice cream out of the carton, oily hair in a messy bun parts. Obviously I’m not going to post that my shoulders are sore from my crazy workout, but I will post the body that it gave me. And I’ll post the midnight sushi I ate, but not the bloat it left me with. I’d even post a blog about Beau Mirchoff kissing me, and leave out the fact that I was fan-girling the whole night and totally embarrassed myself. Okay, for the purpose of this post, I’ll leave it in here, but that’s not the point.

P.S. I  tried  to act normal when I met Beau and treat him like a normal person, so I didn't get a photo so the best I can do is post a photo of him for this post.

P.S. I tried to act normal when I met Beau and treat him like a normal person, so I didn't get a photo so the best I can do is post a photo of him for this post.

The point is that if you’re not going to post the low moments in your life, why would you focus on them? Every single day is going to have positives and negatives, so post the best moments in your memories, and delete the mental photos of the not so sexy parts of your life. Look at your life as if someone else were scrolling through your Instagram feed, and you’ll start to appreciate how cool you really are.

 

 

 

Overcoming Perfection Paralysis Disorder (P.D.D.)

It’s the first sentence that always kills me. It’s the first line, the first chord, or, when I’m cleaning, actually picking up the vacuum that curtails my productivity. But after the initial step, hours pass like minutes. 

It's passion that makes diving in and working significantly easier (and considerably more rewarding.) Passion is the fire that allows me to stay alive through the Arctic winter that is my To-Do list. I've found that a connection or appreciation allows me to conquer the most mundane, and even dreadful of topics with my whole heart and soul. 

But giving 100% is both a gift and a curse. "All or Nothing" is so hard-wired in my brain that I’ve neglected to undertake large tasks, such end-of-novel papers in High School, because my schedule made it physically impossible to provide my undivided attention. I've spent years reprogramming my brain to accept that perfection isn't always attainable, and something is better than nothing.

But even when I'm so captivated by my work that the world around me no longer seems to exist, perfection still hinders me. I fixate on unimportant garnishes when I know cranking out a rough draft and revising is a much more effective method. Hundreds if not thousands of unfinished projects lay in my brain, notebooks, and computer archives with nothing to show. The wasted time and energy makes me sicker than Perfection Paralysis Disorder (P.P.D.) (I just made this up).

Perfect is an arbitrary term, and I'm done letting an inaccessible idea control me. From now on, I will track my growth by finishing projects and moving on to another. I will set S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) Goals and hold myself accountable for reaching them. And when I find myself infatuated by minute details, I will put myself in someone's shoes who isn't mentally attached to the project.

Now I just have to sit down and do it.

 

So, what holds you back from productivity and what do you do to overcome it?

Beyond The Physical

Every time I open Snapchat’s daily news thread, there always seems be an article about perfecting the exterior you adjacent to a self-love article, encouraging happiness in your current physical state. On Monday, I’ll see a “10 Delicious Snacks To Lose Fat,” and on Tuesday, a contradictory recipe for “Double Fudge Nutella Brownies” is featured. These mixed messages leave me questioning, do I want the Victoria’s Secret model body, or do I bake and devour the molten lasagna I saw while scrolling through Facebook? 

As someone who lost 40+lbs, both for my own well-being and to appease society, I personally see the positive side-effects weight loss, healthy eating, and working out have. When I look in the mirror, the idea that hard work pays off becomes tangible, I no longer am on copious amounts of medication for mental illness, and I simply feel better in my skin. Aside from just the physical transformation, my mind, body, and soul has undergone metamorphosis. I now have more determination to improve and reach goals beyond just weight loss. Instead of dreaming, I’m acting, and I’m seeing results.

But, unfortunately, I’ve seen the desire for a better body cause detrimental side effects. Today, it’s common for a person’s mind to be hijacked and warped into thinking they aren’t good enough. Off the top of my head, I know six close-friends who have struggled with anorexia and/or bulimia. And as I get closer to my goals, the idea of looking a certain way starts to consume my thoughts.

This overwhelming prevalence of negative body image in the media has sparked activists to promote “loving” your body. Media is starting to recognize that humans come in different shapes and sizes. We’re beginning to embrace the stretch marks, tummy rolls, and other “flaws” that make us unique. This movement and change in mindset is necessary and amazing. After all, if you aren’t happy now, 10lbs won’t magically turn the world around. 

But there’s still a huge problem: it’s driven by the same idea already drilled into our minds: that what we see is what matters. Does no one understand that just because someone is thin, doesn’t mean their heart is happy with their habits? And just because someone is bigger, doesn’t mean their eating and exercise aren’t top-notch.

To me, loving yourself means being active, fueling your body with foods that will love you back, and maintaining mental wellness. We live in a deep-fried society that envies exteriors while shoveling chemically processed foods into our mouths, neglecting the fact that we’re slowly destroying our bodies because our priorities are in the fact that we’re “skinny" instead of “healthy."

It’s time to recognize that healthy is sexy. It’s time to model behavior that’ll strengthen as a society, not bodies that leave us envious as we continue to disrespect our own. It’s time for cultural revolution against what we know media to be, and make it what we it can be. Let’s open our eyes and mind to change. Take action, treat your body like a temple, and make mental and physical health a priority. Go beyond the physical.

So, what will you do today to love your body?

Memoirs of An ADHD Kid: Miss Delinquent

You’d think that my favorite teacher would be the one who sparked my interest to writing poetry, and, incidentally, songwriting. You’d think I would love and thank the woman whoopened my eyes to my passion; the one I currently am pursuing as a career 11 years later. You’d think I would have fond memories of writing my first poems about staplers and inanimate objects. But when I look back at it, I start to tremble at the idea of me running and hiding into the forrest behind my elementary school with my parents crying in the school and the police searching for me, a missing and confused 9 year old.

No one at Sherwood Elementary School quite knew how to handle me, and no one wanted to take the time to figure out how. I was a hyperactive ball of seemly uncontrollable energy. I was the kid they gossiped about in the teachers lounge. They had to warn substitutes about me. I held the record for most quiet rooms (lunch time detentions) that the school had ever seen. I would get kicked out of class on the daily for what seemed like mundane mistakes. I was an unmedicated A.D.H.D. mess, and was treated like I was lesser of a person because of it.

Although I was only 9, I believed that I deserved respect. My teacher thought differently. She thought we were just 4th graders. She didn’t care about us, but we had to hail to the queen as mere 4th grade peasants.

I treat people how they treat me, on steroids. If you treat me with respect, I’ll shower you courtesy, kindness, dignity, and appreciation. And back in 4th grade, if you treat me like I belong in a cage, I’d treat you like an abused dog who hasn’t seen the light of day for weeks.

There was quite a bit of conflict between Mrs. Widen and I for that very reason. She treated me like like a lesser, when all I wanted, and all I needed, was mutual respect. Although I see it now, as a 9 year old, I was not going to be the bigger person and respect her if she was going to treat me like dirt.

I hated Mrs. Widen. Everything I did was wrong, but she didn’t care to show me what right was. She would just yell at me and punish me by sticking me in the dreaded room of silence for an entire lunch period. I never learned how to avoid trouble. She never cared to teach me. I was labeled the fucked up kid and had no idea how to fix it. I knew trouble was inevitable, and began dreading waking up for school.

Until the poetry unit.

Something about the way I would construct words into lines and stanzas, I finally connected to what I was learning. Things came out of my head like rhymes. Finally, I could sit still and work for hours, writing poems and songs all day.

Waking up for school no longer felt like abuse. I started to see a shimmer of light and actually wanted to learn. For a hot minute, I stayed out of trouble because my mechanical pencil, squishy grip, and eraser top were constantly meeting the pages of my yellow argyle composition notebook, distracting me from the other subjects, but also distracting me from distracting my class.

Without getting myself into trouble, I was able to celebrate recess with the rest of the kids. I’d perform my newly written songs for my peers, and they seemed to enjoy it. I was glowing on the inside. All I wanted to do was write more. I had a fever, and it made me the healthiest mentally I had ever been up to that point. When the whistle blew to go back to class, for once in my life, I was excited to get back to work.

Mrs. Widen walked to the center of the room. With her snarky tone, she said “we’re coming to the end of the poetry unit, and none of you are ready to put your poems into a poetry book. Before you meet with me about a poem, check with your neighbor to make sure its good enough. I don’t need to waste my time fixing grammar errors you should already know. This is called peer review. And make sure you’re whispering. If the noise traffic light goes from green to yellow, I’ll give you a warning, but if it gets to red, you all get a quiet room.”

None of you are ready to put your poems into a poetry book. I was insulted. I have been working on my craft for days, and for a 4th grader, I thought it was pretty good. I brushed it off, and began to write.

Shortly after, Principal Zavagno quietly walked in the room, said hello, and handed a white envelope to Mrs. Widen. I ignored it and continued to work. He left and walked down the hall.

“Hey Jessie,” I said as I turned to my 4th grade best friend and desk buddy, “will you make sure this is good enough for Mrs. Widen!”

“Sure!”

We began to chat, knowing me and how easily my voice carries, probably a bit too loudly.

“I really like this!” Jessie smiled

“Thank you!”

Mrs. Widen stood up from her table in the back of the room and yelled, “Dia, Jessie, be quiet!”

With an abrasive tone, I preached “You told us we weren’t good enough, and had to check with our friends before we worked with you, and that’s exactly what I’m doing”

I sat down and once again began scribbling into my notebook.

“I’m not done talking to you” Mrs. Widen yelled across the room

“Well, I’m not doing anything wrong, so I’ll be writing,” I talked back.

“Don’t make me get Principal Zavagno.”

“Get him, I’ll be here quietly working.”

She left with an angry strut, coming back with the man who called my parents every time I would get in trouble.

“Dia, come with me to my office”

I ignored him as I scribbled my feelings into my yellow argyle composition notebook. For once in my life, I did what my teacher wanted, and I still was getting in trouble. I refused.

With a more stern tone, he repeated himself, “Dia, come with me to my office.”

I continued to ignore him and continued to write.

“Don’t make me carry you to my office myself.”

I continued to ignore him as he walked to my desk, grabbed my hands, and tried carrying me to his office. I resisted. My face was red with anger. I continued to resist. His hands were grasped so tightly around my wrists, my hands began to turn purple. I continued to resist. I kicked behind me, and hit him right in the sweet spot. He fell to the ground howling in pain, and I ran out of classroom, down the halls, out of the school and into the forrest.

I sat in the middle of the woods for what seems like an eternity. I sat there and cried. I cried until my body physically could not reproduce more tears. For once, I finally was able to do something right, but I was such a fuck up that I couldn’t even make that work for me.

When I realized I couldn’t survive alone in the forest forever, I emerged with little to no dignity.

Later that week there was a meeting with my parents, the teacher, the school social worker, the principal, and everyone else that you’d be intimidated by when you know you we’re getting in trouble.

I don’t even know who said. It was all so surreal, but I was being transferred to the classroom full of delinquents for the upcoming school year. I was being ripped away from my best friends and I wouldn’t even get to have box houses around my desk, which is the only reason I wanted to be a 5th grader!

And it all could have been avoided. If Mrs. Widen talked to me like a human being, maybe I would have listened. If I was treated like an equal, and not a pile of shit, maybe I would’ve tried. If only I paid attention to my own tone of voice instead of matching and surpassing Mrs. Widen’s, escalating the situation on both ends, maybe I could’ve stayed. But no, I was a delinquent.

But I can’t hate Mrs. Widen or Sherwood for completely giving up on me as a person and making me feel like a zoo animal, because without that, I wouldn’t have been sent to Lincoln Elementary School, where they believed in me and taught me to believe in myself. It was then that I learned, I have the power to change myself. And I did. I became the person I wanted to be: someone who could control themselves. Even though I still have to work on this everyday, and I continue to make mistakes, I have the power to continue to improve and continue to see results.

 

If you are being told you are worthless, don’t listen. Prove them wrong. Show them you can be everything they said you can’t. You can be anything and do anything you want, you just have to believe in yourself and put the work in. Take it one day at a time, and you’ll achieve your goals. When you want to get better, you will.