Insecurity Manifesto

On February 9th I remember feeling particularly horrible. It was one of those days where I didn’t necessarily know why I was so upset, but everything seemed to set me off. The biggest emotion I experienced was intense insecurity, just being incredibly unsatisfied with myself. I felt alone, afraid, and beaten down.

In the New Year I’ve tried to make it a priority to escape from these lows by finding strength within myself. I haven’t been great about that, I rely a lot on other people to help me out. It’s ok to depend on other people, but it’s essential to have a sense of stable security from within. On February 9th, I wrote up a “manifesto” of sorts to remind me of the things I wanted to change that were causing me to feel insecure.

I never planned on sharing this, but I’m feeling confident today. Very confident. I have worked on maybe 4 or 5 of the bullets on this list and I already notice progression in myself. While maybe this is a cheesy Seventeen-esque list, I figure if I can get some value out of it maybe someone else can too.

I have made progress with some of this, but there are several things on the list that I blatantly disregard on a daily basis. Change comes slowly but surely, and I’m optimistic. Oh did I really just say that? I feel optimistic? What a breath of fresh air!

Take a look at my list, and decide for yourself. You can follow mine, or you can make one for yourself. You don’t need to tell anyone, you don’t need to make any promises, just refer back to it once in a while to remind yourself what matters. Remind yourself what gets you to that negative place, put those reasons on your list and attack them.

Let’s fuck shit up, I say!

My Personal Insecurity Manifesto

  • I vow to communicate clearly and express my needs without fear
  • I vow to not invest time worrying about what people mean, but rather will listen to what they say
  • I vow to demand respect from a partner, sexual and romantic alike
  • I vow not to let the way a man treats me define how I go about my day and feel about myself
  • I vow to value myself and celebrate my strengths
  • I vow to stop calling myself an idiot when I make a mistake
  • I vow to stop apologizing when I’ve done nothing wrong
  • I vow to start taking the advice I would give to a best friend in my same situation
  • I vow to stop making exceptions for behavior that bothers me
  • I vow to stop placing my personal worth in the way others view me
  • I vow to stick to my priorities and quit shifting them to accommodate other people
  • I vow to recognize when I’m spreading myself too thin and make an effort to lighten the load in any way possible.
  • I vow to stop projecting my insecurities into my interactions with other people
  • I vow to acknowledge when I’m feeling lonely and learn to be okay with feeling that way
  • I vow to enjoy myself and be fully present when I’m with friends, not letting my mind drift to negative places
  • I vow to stop being so hard on myself when things don’t go the way I want them to
  • I vow to use my mistakes as learning experiences, rather than replaying them in my head over and over.
  • I vow to actually take action on my insecurity rather than pushing it aside
  • I vow to stop giving in to my vices to numb the pain I’m feeling
  • I vow to be patient when I slip up
  • I vow to make my self confidence a priority in my life

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A Comforting Exchange (I’m Listening to Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield rn I can’t lie.)

It’s nice to start off my day in a not shitty way, even if my definition of “not shitty” still includes me waking up in a cold sweat after having an unsatisfying sexual dream about former Bachelor lead Chris Soules. A dream that came at the end of a series of highly disturbing dreams, I might add. One of them my brother Kyle had an evil twin who was trying to slit his throat while Kyle played video games. The hard part was that I couldn’t tell which Kyle was Evil Kyle so I just watched. For more information on my fucked up dreams- shoot me a text. I’ll happily make you uncomfortable.

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(Definitely never going to be able to think of him the same way)

Full disclosure, I’m trying to teach myself how to properly wear makeup on a daily basis. When I say that, I specifically mean I’m trying to learn how to contour. Before you laugh, please realize that shit is highly complicated and the reason a lot of people look ridiculous when they attempt it is because it’s an artform. I honestly don’t think I’m doing it right yet, but I’ve covered up most of the failed effort using “bronzer powder” which just makes my skin smooth and sparkly like a Twilight-era vampire.

I had an extra half hour to do my facial reconstruction today, and since I don’t have a functional hairdryer I’m working with the “wet rat” base look. I went ham at TJ Maxx last week and bought a few contouring kits as well as bronzing powder, a blending sponge, and lipstick. Yes, lipstick. I have a lot to say about lipstick, we can talk about it later. Maybe on another post.

One of my contouring kits specifically outlines on the box exactly where to put each color and even includes a diagram. I have been strictly following this as if it were a bible, and to be honest I question its credibility as a few times I’ve just looked like a tribal warrior at the end of it. No doubt, I’m still missing a few steps (primer, tinted moisturizer, setting spray… etc) but I am in the process of learning and that’s what counts, right? I’m trying and eager as ever. About as eager as I am to finish off the remnants of whatever appetizer is on the dinner table in a large group, because I guarantee I didn’t get nearly enough of it.

Anyway. I showed up to work today with my experimental makeup look on, and immediately felt insecure. Not only because I don’t typically wear a lot of makeup, but also because I have no idea if I look ridiculous in this lighting as compared to the dim sea cave I call home. I realize that half the battle with feeling confident is appearing confident, but it’s hard to do that when there’s a serious possibility you look like you have dirt/soil/excrement smeared on your face.

I went up to order eggs and bacon in the staff cafeteria and immediately when I approached the chef, I got insecure. I was certain he was giving me a weird look, as he probably knows me as the weird girl who always asks for an extra egg and seems ashamed about it. (It’s true, I do emotionally need that extra egg and it pains me to make it known.) In my mind, he noticed in a bad way, and I was about ready to sprint off to the bathroom and wipe off my fake face.

Quick aside here- I’ll give you a flashback to the first time I ever attempted to wear makeup in sixth grade. All of the other girls were doing it, and I was sick of being called a tomboy (note: I exclusively wore XXL mismatching sweatpants and sweatshirts for the entirety of my sixth grade year, this is fact.) So one day, after my mom left for work I raided her makeup stash (which is very minimalistic I might add- props to you mom… you’re fackin gorgeous!)

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(Above is a good example of what I was working with at this time in my life, please appreciate those jeans for the love of god where did we find those?)

At this stage I really did not know how to wear makeup, I wasn’t even sure what most of it was for. I put mascara on, shockingly correctly. But then I found some dark blue eyeliner that my mom probably bought by accident and discarded. I put that at the back of my eyelids, not the line of them. I outlined the base of my eyeball. And then I probably did another line on the inside of my bottom eyelid. While this terminology may not make sense- trust me, it did not look good. The mascara was passable, but the rest… ooooof.

Immediately when I got into school, Kaitlin Barry, one of the popular girls, asked me what the makeup was for. In a condescending tone. My stomach fell into my colon and I nearly shat out my internal organs. I was insecure and she knew it. When I didn’t answer?

“Katrina… What’s the makeup for?”

Mind you, this girl had makeup caked on in the punk rock Good Charlotte era style that was quickly becoming the new norm. I still couldn’t say anything, because I was embarrassed and ashamed of myself for even trying to be like the rest of the girls. When clearly I’d made myself an “other.”

“Katrina… Are you trying to impress someone?”

I shot up from my desk and ran to the bathroom and started wiping off my face with wet paper towels. I wasn’t crying or anything, I was just humiliated. And honestly I don’t even know if anyone else ever noticed I had it on in the first place. But it felt like the whole class saw and was laughing at me. (Just like the time I accidentally farted audibly during silent reading time.)

I spent the rest of the day asking one of my closest guy friends in paranoia if it was smeared or visible in any way shape or form. We’d pass each other in the hallways and he’d give me a thumbs up to assure me he couldn’t tell. Thank god for dude friends before hormones were a real thing. I somehow survived the day, but definitely had panic diarrhea.

Anyway- with that aside in mind, I was having panic flashbacks this morning. Sure it was 14 years ago and I’ve come a long way in my makeup skills… But I’m still the oversized sweatshirt wearing woman at the end of the day. I’m comfiest when I’m dressed like Stan Kovack, the middle aged real estate worker who cheers on the Phillies and listens to Toto. I like wearing makeup and feeling pretty, but I’m terrified of doing it wrong and looking like a fool.

Moments after I got my bacon and eggs and went to pay for it, I was met by one of the friendly cafe staff members. We frequently banter over my daily kombucha keg cup that legitimately looks like a cup full of beer… She playfully calls me “drunk girl” and has no idea how accurate of an assessment that really is.

“Your makeup looks really good today, did you do something different?” She said casually

I felt a full body sigh of relief and thanked her. “I was just thinking about how I’m afraid I look ridiculous.”

“I know what you mean,” She said “Sometimes when I wear makeup differently I feel like I look like a drag queen.”

It’s funny, because I’ve said that so many times about myself and no one else has ever humored me. We had a quick chat about the downfalls of wearing heels, purses, etc and I walked away feeling 100% better about life.

Not even because I am sure I actually look good, but more because I realize everyone has their insecurities about their femininity. Especially women like me who tend to err on the side of masculine or “tomboy.” It’s not that we don’t have the desire to look pretty, but it definitely doesn’t come naturally to us. For that reason, showing up to work in “experimental” makeup feels about as awkward as wearing a fedora, although far less shameful.

Having another woman’s support, even just something as small as commiserating, meant a lot to me and reminded me we’re all in this together. And we run the world. So for anyone out there who feels weird in their own body today, just know that we’re all feeling a little weird in our own way. If you see someone taking a step outside of the norm, give them a compliment. I like you already for making it this far down in the post, and please know that it means a lot to me.

o7NgowX

Nick and Vanessa: I’m Sorry, But I Need to Tear You a New One.

I was going to attempt a movie review today- but instead I’m going to focus on a newly formed “couple” who got a lot of buzz a week or so ago, but I’m still clinging to this material because I watched the finale on Sunday. I live under the false assumption that everyone who watches the Bachelor realizes just how fake it is. The more I pry my head out of my own “Unscripted Television” ass, the more I realize that many people don’t comprehend just how far from “reality” this Garbage Island of a show is. Taking this moment to formally compare The Bachelor to the Dumpsite in the Pacific that apparently is the size of Texas. Click here for more information

People say subtle things like:

“You could totally tell Nick loved Vanessa all along.”

“I think he has WAY stronger feelings for Raven!”

“Nick finally found love!”

I’m going to give my thoughts on the absurdity of the above exclamations, but I can’t even begin to scratch the surface of the mind-fuckery at play in this series. Full disclosure- I had preworkout again this morning for the first time in a while and my brain is all over the nuts and who knows where that will take us. Go ahead and hop aboard the Magic School Bus! We’re taking a dive into the Digestive System!!!!

Side note: If you aren’t following me on Snapchat, feel free to scoot on over and gimme an add. I did a tutorial of how to unclog a swampy-ass drain last night and I’ve gotten some good feedback on it. I’m going to continue posting tutorials on the daily for as long as I can think of good ones. So there’s my shameless plug- go check out my Snapchat story!

 

Let me preface this entire analysis with one key piece of wisdom that you must grasp…

 

Virtually NONE of the Contestants Are On the Show to “Find Love”

Big Beak aka Chris Harrison constantly uses this language for a reason- it has a hypnotic effect both on the viewer and on the contestants. The more you are primed with this concept the more your brain starts to contextualize what it’s seeing. I’m not gonna cite any resources because, fuck that- you’re reading my opinion not the DSM-IV. Also, every aspect of this show is produced like a soap opera. It’s undeniably fairytale-like for the majority of the episodes. (Barring the ones where they shovel livestock turds on a farm in Wisco… SIDE NOTE: My uncle knows the farmer who they filmed that episode on…If that’s not the most Midwestern thing you’ve ever heard me say…) Can’t fault them- they make the show look beautiful.

All of that being said- this is the highest rated show on ABC, one of the “Big 5” networks. The audience remains consistent and the rating is steady year after year- even competing with live athletic events on occasion. There are millions of eyeballs on this shitstorm, that’s pretty fucking impressive considering we’re experiencing the downfall of the network system as we know it.

A contestant’s reason for coming on the show may vary, but generally it has little to do with them having a realistic expectation of falling in love with the lead. Typical reasons?

  • Exposure: Especially important for small business owners (think personal trainers, salon owners, boutique owners, vague ‘entrepreneurs’ and aspiring dolphin trainers.)
  • Fame: Goes hand in hand with the first one- a lot of these people think they have that “it” factor to become a model or actress. Too bad most of them will fail. Too bad none of us really have that “it” factor and it’s all a matter of luck, timing, and whose bum you can tickle in Hollywood. (Am I bitter? I might be.)
  • Instagram Whoring: They see other former contestants do it, they want in. Some of these contestants get a fuckload of followers and therefore get paid to promote trash products on their social media pages. Yum. I wanna sell me some subscription vegan meal delivery services using photos of me frolicking in a corn field! #TrueCornVegan
  • Travel: Of all the reasons, this one makes the most sense to me. Free vacation all over the world staying in luxury hotels? Sign me up. Except for the whole dating the same guy as 45 other women thing. Sounds like a bad night at the Harvard Finals Clubs.

 

With that in mind, let’s talk about Nick and Vanessa. I’ll start with Nick.

 

Nick Viall, 36 (I think?): His last name is Viall for Christ sake… He’s about the most disgusting human being who has ever slugged his slimy body across your TV screen. And can we just remind ourselves for a second: This is his FOURTH time appearing on the franchise? They’re spinning the whole “Poor Nick can’t find love!” narrative when he’s actually the one who rejected someone in Paradise so that he could be the Bachelor. COOL NICK. With what authority do YOU get to reject people in paradise?

I also don’t really get the appeal of a 36 year old former blue-collar software salesman from Waukesha Wisconsin…(Honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if Nick’s resume included a late 20’s prolonged managerial stint at the Radio Shack at Fox River Mall in Appleton.) If he weren’t specially groomed for TV and paired frequently next to Chris “Bad Dye Job, Toucan Beak For a Nose” Harrison I think he could pass for a tiny-dicked (may be true) neckbeard locked away in his dark Wisconsin basement making sexually repressed and hateful remarks about women on r/redpill.

Just my two-cents. The guy has been on the show four times for no reason other than to be famous… He is taking acting lessons. He is going to be on Dancing With the (Well at Least They Tried Their Best and ALMOST Made It) “Stars.” If he has anything to do with it, he will not be leaving your screens anytime soon. In fact, Nick wants to move into your living room so you can stare at him all day every day and tell him how pretty he is. Just like my fatass cat Max used to do when we watched the Price is Right. Except at least Max KNEW he was only there for us to laugh at during commercial breaks.

Vanessa Grimaldi, 29: I really don’t know what to tell you about her. I think she lives on a different planet than the rest of us. She doesn’t seem like the type to seek fame after this, but she does seem like the type who came on the Bachelor to “win” the Bachelor. I think she might have gotten suckered into applying by friends and family who truly believe the show is real… Then when she arrived it became real.

Vanessa seems easily manipulated and highly suggestible, due to some extreme insecurity. She was the classic contestant who doesn’t seem to remember what she signed up for. She was aware other girls existed but in denial that any of them “formed meaningful connections” with Nick. But the reality was that NONE of them formed “meaningful connections.” They formed artificial ones, and for whatever reason… Hers lasted longest.

I usually skip the finale of every season because I read spoilers and by that point I’m bored by everything happening in the unbearably long final episode… But because the After the Final Rose was so controversial (and hilarious) this year I decided to watch the entire finale.

I think the hardest pill for everyone to swallow while watching the show, is how genuine the two people sound as they’re exchanging words at the…. Pulpit? (Like honestly what do you call the weird room where he proposes?) I had a very hard time watching Nick say all of the shit he said to Vanessa, knowing approximately none of it was real.

I think in that moment those two probably felt a lot for each other, but not because they’re in love… Probably for some of, if not ALL of the below reasons:

  • They’re sexually attracted to each other
  • They just shared extravagant experiences together in a foreign country
  • They’re constantly being primed by producers to believe that they’re falling in love (Vanessa more so than Nick, he’s a seasoned veteran at this point and has lost the ability to feel emotions)
  • There are literally cameras all around them…I imagine it feels similar to performing on stage.
  • Both of them are wearing clothes they could never afford in real life (3 years of Nick’s Radio Shack salary couldn’t have afforded him that snazzy tux) and have probably had their makeup done professionally (I’m fully convinced Nick demands extensive contouring and expert-level beard grooming before any appearance in public.)  They look about as attractive as they possibly could ever look, they only have downhill ahead.

Not only do all of these things cause heightened emotions… They also create a scenario that is entirely unrealistic. When you strip all of those things away, and it’s just Vanessa and Nick sitting next to each other on a couch and no one is talking about them… What do you have? Two people who are stubborn, overconfident (to the point of cockiness), fame-hungry, superficial… And bored. The sex was probably fun for a month or two, but from what I’ve heard… Nick has a voracious appetite and even at 36 does not plan on settling down anytime soon. Use it or lose it am I rite Nicky-Boiiii? Nah, he will be like Hugh Hefner and keep on rockin till the day he don’t wake up.

The success of Nick and Vanessa has very little to do with Nick and Vanessa as people. It has everything to do with going on a television show, “dating” someone for 6 weeks and spending about a total of 24 quality hours with them TOPS and then deciding to get engaged with the intention of having a highly publicized wedding. If I can’t even get a dude who I hand select from Bumble to stick around for more than a month, how the fuck does any woman expect a slimy Nick Viall to marry her and stay faithful/devoted/speak real words to her?

The answer, kids… Don’t go on The Bachelor if you’re looking 4 love. In fact, avoid Los Angeles in general if you’re looking for it.

-Seacrest Out!

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(Lovers in the moooooonlight)

 

 

 

 

 

My 90 Year Old Grandpa Runs a Greenhouse and I Can’t Even Write a Damn Blog Post?

After almost a month of radio silence on here, I didn’t think my first returning post would be about my grandpa’s horticulture habits but… Here we are. It’s the only thing I could get excited about on this Friday afternoon. I know it’s St. Patrick’s Day but can I just admit that I don’t give a shit? I’m not even a little bit Irish and frankly my European genes resent this holiday on principle.

Let me give you the scoop- I thought it was a thing for EVERYONE’S Grandpa to have a massive garden full of vegetables in their backyard. I thought that was just what grandpas did… Pop Pop had his… and my Opa had a massive swampland surrounding a ramshackle barn filled with uncategorizable paraphernalia, there had to be a garden in there somewhere right? The obligatory grandpa garden?

Pop Pop lives in Wisconsin in a podunk village called Greenville. The most exciting things happening in this village are A.) Anything pertaining to the Green Bay Packers B.) The massive Costco a couple miles down the road and C.) Tractor style lawnmowers (both in practice and as a concept.) Wisconsin is booger-icicle cold for 75% of the year and for the other 25% (I really had to think about those percentages… Math is hard for me) so humid that your tears of anguish mix with with your sweat and blood to form an unrecognizable fluid that even renowned doctors don’t have a word for.

In case you haven’t gathered- this is not the ideal climate for gardening. Unless you’re really into pine trees and other coniferous fare (Pop Pop is not into that type of fare.) Pop Pop was in the Navy and he doesn’t take no for an answer. He also worked at a meatpacking plant back in the Upton Sinclair days (I’ve asked him how accurate that hot dog description was and he wouldn’t tell me.) Pop Pop will defeat mother nature while still maintaining a Midwestern Charm that makes him such a threat to society. Pop Pop scoffs at impossible, because really, nothing is impossible for Pop Pop.

I was the pickiest eater in the world when I was younger, I blame it on not having a sense of smell but honestly I was just a finicky turd. I’d pretty much only eat pizza, chicken tenders and peanut butter. Somehow, though, Pop Pop got me to eat green beans from his garden. And when I say this I mean the man literally got me to eat the entire pod raw and covered in soil. To the point where my mom was like “Is that even healthy?” And Pop Pop told her it would help my immune system and make me big and strong (jokes on you, mom, he was right!) I didn’t really like the taste, I just really wanted Pop Pop’s approval and I hoped that someday I could inherit his garden AND rare coin collection.

“How does Pop Pop’s garden survive the winter?” You’re wondering with concern…

You probably figured Pop Pop didn’t think about that… But what did I tell you? Nothing is impossible for Pop Pop. He spits on “impossible.”

He turned his entire basement into a greenhouse. If you didn’t know it was Pop Pop’s basement you’d think it belonged to a serial killer, an aspiring and confused surgeon, a museum curator who takes his work home with him, or really anyone who feels the need to hang fluorescent lights from every inch of their ceiling in hopes that they will stimulate the growth of another lifeform by providing synthetic sunlight. I don’t really know why Pop Pop trusted us kids to go down there back in the day, because all we would do is take running leaps onto his plant wagon destroying everything in our path. Except the plants. Somehow.

Today I got a text from my mom letting me know she’s planting in the basement garden to prepare the seedlings for spring harvest. She told me they’ll be cleaning out 75 pots whilst listening to soft classical music (AKA Pop Pop music.) Pop Pop has every detail about the garden plotted in a tattered looseleaf notebook that only he can read. Not because it’s in code, but because his handwriting is so horrendous that he’s the only living human who can interpret it. He keeps this precious notebook locked safely in his “Coin Room” a room that my brothers are often dragged into for unsolicited rare coin lectures. My dad goes in willingly and is secretly lobbying to inherit the coin collection (even though he’s not blood related.) A battle for another day I suppose. Just beware… I see you, Alex.

In all seriousness, I’ve been complaining about not having any inspiration to write for weeks now. I claim that writing is my passion and I want to make a career out of it. I claim it comes naturally to me and that I’d do whatever it takes to succeed with it. But I just went a month without posting to this blog, with no valid excuse for it. I’ve been the prototypical “uninspired writer” with the insufferably cliched “writer’s block.” And if I’m being totally honest, I’ve felt pretty damn insecure about everything I almost posted.

Pop Pop is 90 years old. For the last 10 years my mom and her siblings have begged him to stop gardening. They don’t want him to get injured walking down the steep stairs to the basement (they’re VERY steep, no joke I’ve fallen down them several times.) He assures them that he’ll tone it down, but he continues to sneak in there day after day to tend to the glorious Wisco Greenhouse he’s worked tirelessly to perfect. The only time Pop Pop won’t garden is when he PHYSICALLY CAN’T.

Yet, here I am. Living in Los Angeles, spending hours on Reddit saving memes to a folder on my desktop at work called “Dank Memes” and sending them to my friends on iMessage. Here I am buying Kombucha on tap for $4.00 at work and still living with myself. Here I am getting stoned, eating an entire pint of ice cream and watching the Bachelor on Tuesday nights to feel better about my life. Here I am, afraid to write about things that matter because of how I believe people will react.

All of us unmotivated pieces of shit need to live like Pop Pop. Pursue your passion until your body refuses to let you do so anymore. And even then, keep doing it and do it well. There’s no excuse for giving up on something that you claim to love doing. If you really want to be successful you have to devote yourself to doing so. No more of this month long gap bullshit. No more fear. Chips Are Back in Town.

And as Pop Pop loves to ask “Whaddya say to that!?”

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The man, the myth, the legend… And the woman who constantly keeps him on his toes.