I’m Not Dead

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I’ve started this post about 12 to 15 times and every single time I have the urge to write a sentence about how hard it is to put everything into words. Today I’m acknowledging, there’s no easy way for me to start this post. So here, you can have this useless paragraph chock-full of my own obsessive self awareness.

Around this time two years ago I was going through a really difficult breakup. One that woefully dug up every tenuous root of in life and left me hating the person I’d become. I was drinking way too much and floating through life like a sloppy clumsy shell of a person. I woke up every morning feeling like a body with no purpose, realizing that I hadn’t felt like myself since I moved to Los Angeles in the first place.

The sad truth is that I wasn’t myself. I was desperately searching for an identity that was with me all along, hiding almost. I wanted to be part of the big creative machine, I wanted to share a unique perspective, I wanted to live in an entertaining world that I helped to create. I wanted to make people laugh, I thought it was my purpose. I thought if I really put my mind to it, I could create outstanding animated comedy.

Slowly but surely, I broke off parts of myself and let them die. I became so obsessed with being the person I thought my bosses wanted me to be, I ceased to have a personality. I lived in fear for my job, every single day I woke up afraid I’d get fired for something that hadn’t happened yet. I lived in perpetual anxiety, juggling however many tasks my bosses placed upon me. I hated myself when I wasn’t good enough, and they constantly told me that I wasn’t good enough. So I constantly hated myself.

You can’t fully live your life when you hate yourself. You’ll always be slugging forward, yearning for the next opportunity to escape. Drinking copious amounts of whatever liquor I could get my hands on was my personal escape. I had a lack of “off switch” which was terrible for my brain and overall health. I wasn’t nice to myself for almost five years. 

Whether it be binge drinking, restrictive eating, binge eating, or over-exercising… I was a complete asshole to myself for about five consecutive years.

So how do you just magically stop yourself from implosion? How do you turn off that constant negativity? How do you quiet the criticism?

You figure out what drives you.

This sounds like bullshit from a self-help book, but I really mean it. Your version of success isn’t the same as someone else’s. Your dream job, dream home, and dream partner are all different. There is no template for what is going to fulfill you and make you feel whole, you just have to keep trying to see what fits for you. WARNING: This process feels pretty similar to being run over by an SUV repeatedly, but that’s okay: it’s supposed to.

During my studies in Becoming a Human Being 101 I learned that playing a team sport was the missing ingredient in my life.  In hindsight, I never found a passion for soccer, basketball or track. I had nothing that drove me other than being naturally gifted. I enjoyed so many aspects of being an athlete, but I didn’t love the game. 

With football, I don’t care how frustrated, angry, depressed, exhausted, confused, maniacal, and obscene I get. I don’t care that I turn into a sputtering overly caffeinated monster no matter what context I play in. I don’t care that my physicality rubs people the wrong way (plz appreciate that humor.) I  I will always look forward to stepping on the field again. Every single struggle is worth it because I get to keep playing football. I understand that I am obsessed, I understand that it’s not traditional, but when the fuck have I ever been traditional at any point in my life?

I’d say if anything I was hypnotized by the game because I was so infatuated with a man who shared this passion. I knew from the moment I first got my ass kicked by him in coed flag football that he was special to me. Not because of his appearance (he was wearing neon leggings and a skull cap the first time I spotted him) but because of the way he carried himself (despite looking like a clown.) The blind confidence with which he dissected my shitty defense, the no-mercy sportsmanship even though we were losing unequivocally… There was something special about this pompous asshole that drew me in. Against my better judgement.

Now, a year or so later, I’m living with that pompous asshole. He has taken me under his beefy wing and showed me a world within Los Angeles that I didn’t know existed. He brought out the girl I remembered from high school… The girl with a concerning amount of tenacity and aggression (an amount that could require intense psychological intervention without proper supervision.) The girl who wore clothing that matched her mood. The girl who laughs so hard she snorts and then chokes on her own spit. The girl who constantly wants to create and express herself.

Whatever obstacles I face in this life, I am comfortable. I am confident that I can handle anything that comes my way. I am unafraid, I am safe. I am myself.

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Photo by Hardeep Bhagat on Pexels.com

Meow.

Women Don’t Hate Porn

Glad I can take a month long hiatus again and come back with a post about pornography. Whatever, I’m taking a break from the shitshow that is the American Political Scene… Can I just pause for a second and ask you to think about the fact that some day our children will be studying this in school? I know that’s a funny prospect in abstract but I’m serious…

I’m picturing my 15 year old self in A.P United States History class. Picturing how maniacally stressed I was memorizing all of the fucking treaties and compromises and edicts and other words/concepts I no longer remember the meaning of. Just imagine that nervous little girl, back in the classroom, with Ms. Clark asking us to write a Document Based Question (DBQ) on Donald Trump’s tweets.

“Using President Trump’s tweets, please analyze and dissect exactly which monumental events led to the outbreak of World War III.”

Seriously it sounds like I’m kidding, but this is actual history in the making and we are part of it. This could ACTUALLY be a legitimate historical question. We are the generation who elected Donald Trump into office and watched him unintentionally lambast himself using a social media platform frequented by 11-year-old fangirls. Adorable. So proud that we have a democratic system of checks and balances, really couldn’t be happier with America.

Speaking of America. I watched the first episode of a Netflix docu-series last night called Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On. It sounds sexy, and it sort of is…I highly recommend it so far. The first episode made some interesting points about the current state of pornography. The idea that women “hate porn” is a misrepresentation of how we actually view it. We don’t hate pornography; we hate the way pornography depicts sex.

I remember the moment in my life where I realized it wasn’t an “if” but rather a “how” when referring to a man’s porn consumption. Sure- there are outliers but for the most part every single man you look at either IS or WAS a regular consumer of pornography. That used to bother me back when I was young and naive and thought love was enough to make a man never want to look at another female specimen for the rest of his life… but at this point you HAVE TO realize that the moment a boy hits puberty, porn becomes a necessary ‘evil.’ Pornography is sadly our biggest form of modern sexual education.

This wouldn’t be much of an issue if average pornography gave a realistic depiction of a sexual relationship. Unfortunately, it doesn’t.

I’ve never actually sat through more than 3 to 5 minutes of pornography because it makes me physically ill. This is coming from a girl who regularly watches the Saw series and purposefully pours over Reddit lists about the “most disturbing movies EVER.” Nothing has ever irked me quite the way pornography does.

Why?

Because sex should be mutually enjoyable. Does ANY widely consumed pornography show sex that is enjoyable for women?

“But she’s moaning and screaming like she loves it?! Maybe YOU just don’t enjoy sex.” Some white, upper middle class, romper-wearing, frat bro with a wallet full of magnums he will never use or fill, might tell me.

Female porn stars are satisfying common male desire. They’re nothing more than objects in a twisted “domination” fantasy. They’re props to make a man feel like a king. It’s not anyone’s fault (I won’t go there), that’s just the type of material we’ve conditioned men to enjoy from age 13 onward. And as they get older, maybe that’s not always enough. Maybe they start watching aggressive shit like forced blowjobs and “swirlies.” The double edged sword of the Internet: For every weird fetish there’s a porno out there. For better or worse. 

Can you imagine walking into a sexual situation with a woman having viewed porn like that your entire life? (Maybe you don’t even have to imagine it, maybe it has happened to you.) How exactly are you viewing this naked woman you’re suddenly across from? Is she a person? Or is she your ticket to acting out your own version of what you’ve watched for years?

Maybe you’ll tell me “That’s different! Porn is one thing, sex is another!”

Well that woman in the porno you’re watching is no different from me. Except she’s getting miserably railed by some 40-year-old failed actor who took too much viagra. She’s worried about pretending to enjoy it and pretending to actually get off from it. She’s sick of getting her hair pulled and her face slapped. But she stopped caring about all that shit a long time ago and is just doing her job.

Women wouldn’t take issue with porn if it made us look like something other than robots designed to fulfill male desire. We wouldn’t take issue with it if it didn’t make us want to throw up after 3 minutes of watching it. We’d maybe enjoy it if it showed any semblance of our ideal sexual encounter. But since WE are not the customer, WE are not relevant. We are constantly getting the message that we do not matter.

Do you think you might be annoyed by that too?

 

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Here’s this to lighten the mood.

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