I Was Buried Under a Pile of Monkeys

I don’t think it’s normal to learn a lesson from your dreams, and I’m not even sure that I did learn a lesson. My dreams are startlingly realistic, most of the time they cling to me far past sleepytime and I momentarily forget whether I’m in dream world or reality. My life is like a melodramatic remake of Inception where the main character, Katrina, an oblivious white girl, works at an ad agency in Los Angeles and compulsively chugs tea out of an enormous Iowa mug her mother accidentally sent her.

Sometimes I can control my actions in my dreams AKA “lucid dreaming.” These dreams are the most memorable because they genuinely feel like a second life. There are certain things that exist in my “dream life” that don’t exist in my actual life. For example, my childhood home always has a pool in the backyard in my dream life but not in reality. This has been the case since high school, so it kind of felt like waking up and realizing you didn’t actually get that golden retriever puppy in real life. Every, day.

By the way, for anyone who thinks this sound “cool” I would gladly trade you this ability for ANY one of your marketable skills… Like the ability to do math for example. Or maybe ability to write code. Programming. Anything of that nature.

ANYWAY. For this dream, I was in Africa with a few friends (no I’ve never actually been to Africa) and we decided to go rogue on a safari. Dream Katrina is constantly putting herself in vulnerable situations with wild animals, not sure if that means anything, but she sure likes to do it. For the safari we were walking through a desert savannah and kept spotting monkeys in the distance. They disguised themselves as trees before attacking their prey… It was as acid trippy as it sounds, yes. Picture Kirby’s World for NES in that level where the birds all shoot out of the tree when you pass it (if you get that reference please notify me, ASAP, I’d like to make you my husband.) There were also alligators, rhinos, plenty of shit that can kill you. But we were prancing carelessly around like we were in a fucking Minnesota cornfield.

My friends rushed ahead of me and out of sight. In real life this wouldn’t be a huge issue because I’m fast as all fuck, but in this dream I might as well have been 95 years old with metal knees. While I fruitlessly rushed onward, I accidentally stumbled under what looked like a harmless tree, but was actually an aggressive nest of monkeys. This troop of monkeys leapt onto my back and paused for a moment while I pretended to be dead. They chattered amongst themselves, probably deciding how to best feast on my innards. What the fuck else could the monkeys of my subconscious possibly have to say? 

Unfortunately this was a very heavy pile of monkeys, and I needed to breathe, so they quickly figured out the truth as they felt the rise and fall of my ribcage underneath them. I braced myself for contact, which is a horrifying prospect if you’ve ever seen anyone who survived a monkey attack. Monkeys rip faces off.

For reference, this is sort of what the monkeys looked like:

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Before you make fun of the size of this monkey, let’s discuss a few things.

  • Look at its fucking teeth
  • Look how angry he looks
  • Imagine at least 12 of him on your back (you’re completely alone)
  • He is a wild animal, so the fact that his mouth is about the size of a cat isn’t relevant because this motherfucker will tear into you barehanded with reckless abandon on INSTINCT
  • He is defending his nest

Anyway. I’m deflecting because I’m trying not to be too morbid. This entire post is a little off, sorry mom, these are the things that keep me up at night (or not? these are the things that haunt me while I sleep?) 

The moment underneath those monkeys felt so real that I genuinely thought I was going to die. I felt those near-death thoughts flying through my head. How disappointed my parents, friends, family would be that I died in such a reckless way. I thought about how my last moments on earth would be wasted by my own ignorance and overzealousness. I would be just another white girl who thought she was invulnerable and could run around unknown territory without any repercussions. Just like when I used to walk home alone from Allston back in college at 2:00 am and get into strange cabs who offered free rides.

Most of all, I thought about how this was the real, black, immanent, void. The end.

I came to that lonely realization that I imagine most Atheists have in the back of their mind (but are too busy playing World of Warcraft and blaming ~society~ for their problems to admit.) When you reject religion or a higher power as a concept, you reject the belief in an afterlife. You truly believe that when you die, you just rot in the ground and that’s it. Maybe people scatter your ashes or whatever, but you cease to exist in any way shape or form. Bleak. As. FUCK. (I’m really fun at parties.)

When I was younger and a “practicing Lutheran” I had these types of dreams, I’d get to my Monkey Pile Moment and I’d pray. I’d pray that God would save me or that somehow this wouldn’t be the end, and many times when I did this I’d be rescued or brought to some other reality within the dream. But now, at 25, I feel that crushing defeat of ultimately losing faith. I don’t believe anymore, I genuinely don’t, and having that vividly illuminated in a dream is startling. 

On the optimistic side, I realize the importance of self reliance. Being able to find solutions for yourself and work your way through The Monkey Piles Of Life (I hate myself for just saying that… I feel like I just wrote a fucking sermon which is some pretty tasty irony for you literary fiends out there who might be picking apart my work trying to decide if there is any deeper meaning! There’s not, and I’m sure that’s not what you’re doing here.)

Let me try again without getting all preachy. I woke up from this dream covered in sweat, with a very sore throat from some sleep-apnea-esque snoring (I’M SORRY, I’M ACTIVELY WORKING ON IT OK?) and I felt myself actually relax a bit. Whatever the hell gets thrown my way, whether it be an entire tree full of monkeys, a knee injury (please no), or a career change… I’m gonna make it work. I’ll be ok. 

Your story is not already written for you. If you’re an Atheist or even just someone who is questioning faith, spirituality, etc… If you’re feeling like you have nothing to fall back on… You do. But either fortunately or unfortunately, that thing is you. As I’ve said many times before, if you don’t like your life, it’s time to grab it by the haunches and hump it into submission. Because you can, no one else can.

Genuinely beautiful song about loving yourself even though everyone else might think you’re a lunatic ❤ (and they might be RIGHT)

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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My Weird Spectrum of Bodyweight

It’s Whatever Wednesday, for those of you in the corporate world it’s what that camel calls “Hump Day” heheeehhehe you gonna make it through the hump of the week? Yeah, you will.

I was thinking this morning about how much my body type has changed over the last three years. Since I think everyone probably wonders what they would feel like if they were 10 pounds skinnier, or 10 pounds fatter… I will let you know so that you don’t have to go through the strife required of the experience.

What it feels like to be…

On The Brink of an Unhealthy BMI: The lowest I ever got to during my gross skinny phase was 142 pounds I believe. I felt pretty cool at this point because all of my clothes were EXTREMELY baggy and I could get tipsy off half of a mixed drink. I disguised my weird habits by saying I was “trying to save money” while interning. I would put water on my cereal, eat expired Special K, and rotting bananas. Sometimes when I got super hungry it felt like my chest was caving in on itself. People called me a twig more than once, my ass was nonexistent and my jeans would have a diapery bagginess in remembrance of the ass that used to be… I thought I was finally sexy as FUCK but actually I was just a willowy hungry bitch.

My rating of this weight: Wouldn’t recommend it because it’s painful, unhealthy and impossible to maintain. Also DAT ASS is so necessary. Look at that NON ASS in the left picture.

Skinny but Not Dying: This was the weight I tried to maintain at the beginning of the weird skinny phase. I was averaging 146 to 148 and it was a failure when I creeped up into the 150s. I didn’t hate this weight, clothes were still pretty baggy and whenever I took showers I could feel my abs eating away at my fat reserves. It rewarding because the pounds were just melting off, I weighed in every week and was real amped to be successful. I guess if I were a lot heavier to begin with this would have been the “successful diet” phase. But this was pretty much just the beginning of an unhealthy obsession.

My rating of this weight: Also very difficult to maintain but very rewarding. Will never get back to it unless I want to whither back into a corpse. Dat ass, questionable.

Either Average or Shredded: Confusing title, but before I started lifting weights my average healthy weight was around 155. I had a regular amount of cellulite but my abs were pretty flat and dat ass existed. 155 was my original goal when I started my creepy skinny phase, but then once I got there I wasn’t satisfied. If I got down to 155 right now I would literally be the lightest weight I could possibly be without destroying my gainz. I kind of want to try it but the effort would be really exhausting.

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My rating of this weight: Cool back then, impossible to achieve now.

Old Dad Bod, New Average: Back in 2012 when I went abroad to Australia and ate whatever the fuck I wanted and never exercised I weighed about 165 and my muscle tone was covered with a layer of fat. Back then it felt like my entire body was wearing a glove. It was weird. But now 165 is pretty much my most consistent weight when I’m not being a careless piece of shite. I think your personal average is the weight you should strive for in any situation. It’s the way your body wants to be and it’s consistent with your lifestyle. You will always be able to gravitate back to this weight without much hard work.

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My rating of this weight: Learn to love it because unless you want to make drastic changes to your lifestyle it will probably be sticking around for a while. This pic is of the old Dad Bod but you can’t really tell.

Dad Bod Central: No one can really tell for me because my fat distributes pretty evenly over the course of my long body… But I have indulged in a lot of late night pizza, excessive beer, excessive cider, fried delights and ChOcOlaTeEEe. Let’s just say I can’t wear any of my jeans at the moment without being real uncomfy and my stretchy pants are occasionally making straining noises when I pull them on. I weighed myself yesterday and was at 170 which is a whopping 30 pounds more than I weighed three years ago. As long as I know this isn’t my new normal, I can live with the brief discomfort and self-loathing that accompanies it.

My rating of this weight: This is the weight you will feel when you’ve let yourself get away with too many “cheat meals” you hate yourself a little, but quickly forget that you hate yourself the moment another opportunity comes up to eat some shitty food. If you have any self control you should try to avoid this weight.

The lesson I’ve learned over the last few years is that the best kind of body shape is one that you can sustain. If you feel yourself straining to get by day after day, eventually you will crack. Eating so little that I felt dizzy when I got up from the toilet after a poo was absolutely not sustainable for my lifestyle or my mental health. Weighing in every week and doing cardio every single day also wasn’t sustainable, at least not for me. Getting drunk on wine every night and eating two enormous chicken kebabs without barfing them up, definitely not sustainable.

I try to make healthy food choices during the week and I try to limit my carb heavy alcoholic beverages, but inevitably sometimes I slip up. Rather than beating myself up and overcompensating with tons of exercise and restriction, I try really hard to be patient with myself in returning to a normal weight.

My advice for you is to find that comfortable place where you feel confident about your body but also fulfilled with your dietary decisions and lifestyle. You don’t have to create a diet plan or anything, just start trying to eliminate certain foods that make you feel like shit and then see how much better you feel. Be patient with yourself, you will ABSOLUTELY fuck up along the way. Even the fittest, most disciplined people I know have their moments of “why the fuck did I just eat all of that?”

If you really want to change your body, you can. Just be realistic about it ❤

 

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