‘Tis the season of travel whether it’s to an all-exclusive resort, European tour, or week at the beach: Vacation Season. And if there is one thing I am great at…it’s vacation. If I could take up leisure and travel as an occupation I am 100 percent sure I would be an expert (if you know anyone hiring a travel writer I am your girl). I have done a good bit of traveling and still working on marking off a few more continents in the near future, but at the end of the day I would say I am pretty qualified to be giving vacation advice.
Today I will be covering the 3 Vacation tips your boss doesn’t want you to know about your upcoming trip. Believe it or not there are some people who do NOT like vacation. Yes, these very sad people experience elevated levels of anxiety and stress caused by the variance from their normal schedule. And to these people my advice is that you need to be on holiday with me…you will never want to come home. If someone with insomnia and a diagnosed anxiety disorder can handle a week of relaxation and fun, than you can too.
Aside from your usual packing tips and “where to eat” points I thought I would share with you some insight from the flip side. You see, while you are on vacation the world still goes on working. We all sit around miserable, hating the fact that you are drinking some fruity alcoholic beverage on a beach somewhere while we throw back bland black coffee in a cubicle. And the only thing worse than your obnoxious “pre-vacation” glow is your imminent arrival back where we will undoubtedly have to endure dozens of filtered instagram pictures of banal detail from ducks to sea shells…kill me.
1. Don’t go anywhere the sand is colored. In my experience, the more colorful the sand, the more incredible the place. While this may not seem scientific, there is a direct correlation between sand and awesomeness.
Exhibit A: Bermuda. Pink Sand. Not your typical Caribbean island, Bermuda has a very European feel. When walking around the main town of Hamilton you feel as though you are the tramp surrounded by incredibly sophisticated royals with great knee-high socks and pastel polos. Bermuda may be the classiest island in the Western Hemisphere and you are sure to realize the quick flight home is way more bearable than life in the real world.
Exhibit B: Lipari. Black Sand. You think you know La Dolce Vita, then you visit the Aoelian Islands off the coast on Northern Sicily and you realize, you don’t know shit. Millions of tourists visit Italy every year but only a select few get down to Sicily and even fewer to their precious volcanic islands known as the Caribbean of Europe. The volcanic materials turn the sand black, but it may as well be made of gold because everything glitters and the beauty is undeniable. Not to mention the food. Between sepia-ink pasta and fresh octopus, Lipari is a gastronomic fantasy. While the rest spend our 30-minute lunch breaks eating leftovers at our desks, you will be enjoying the catch-of-the-day (literally caught THAT day) on a 3-hour long fiesta. Just long enough of a nap to realize you never need to leave the dream-world in the Sicilian islands.
Exhibit C: Turks and Caicos. White Sand (in this case absence of color). The sand may not be pure white, but it’s as close to white as they come. Turks and Caicos is actually a string of islands at one point inhabited by the people of Exhibit A, the Bermudians. The primary city, Grand Turk, lies on an island only 6-miles in area, but those are some of the most beautiful miles of beach in the world. And that takes me to example 2…
2. Don’t go to Turks and Caicos. Turks and Caicos is arguably the most perfect island in the world, and you may never come home, which means we have to find your replacement while you go on living in paradise. A British colony, Turks and Caicos is a string of islands located south of the Bahamas, which makes their temperature perfect year-round. If you love just sitting around on a beach and feeling as far from civilization as possible, Turks and Caicos is your kind of place. Turks and Caicos even has some historical significance as it may have been the first landing spot in the Americas for Christopher Columbus. The argument against the Columbus theory: where is the evidence? Well the only thing on the island back then would have been a couple palm trees and a pristine beach. There wouldn’t have been too much for the explorers to do, so they left. And evidence they may have left would have eventually been washed away. Turks and Caicos is a glorified sand bar, it’s where you go to escape the world, not find a new one. And if sitting around on a white sand beach with crystal clear waters just isn’t your thing…then the Maragaritaville on Grand Turk most definitely will be. Slushed tequila, burgers, pool bar, Buffett >>>> Slushed ice, ham sandwich, no bar, elevator music.
3. We want you to come back. Despite our jealously that you enjoyed a great trip away while we had to endure another painful workweek, your superiors are in fact thrilled you are coming back. When someone goes away there is a bit of energy missing from the office, even if you’re the cold bitch with the snarky attitude, or the overly positive guy with the annoying laugh, you bring something or someone to talk about #entertainment. We need you to make up the ecosystem that is the workplace. As a manager and a peer I really do miss having you around, even if I will deny it until termination. You are essential and if you are gone, or even worse, never come home, there is an inevitable trickle down effect. I start hating you, not only because you are happy enjoying some awesome weather in a gorgeous place, but I am now stuck doing your job, in addition to my own shit. (Dear aforementioned sad soul who hates vacation, how’s that stress level now?) At the end of the day we need you to come home.
Topic of discussion: (aside from wondering if I should start independent research on the Megalodon to have some substantial evidence before shark week #nerd) is how can I increase my self-esteem…and how can I help you increase yours.
Do you ever just want to cut yourself off from the world? Move to some middle of America town with one traffic light? Or how about an island? There has gotta be a random job on Turks and Caicos with little to no stress, right? It’s not even the stress, it’s the pressure. The pressure to be more beautiful, have more things, achieve faster, that pressure can be really overwhelming, especially when you’re 5’2″ with body image issues. It’s even worse when you’re trying to jump start a career and you’re not entirely sure how to get started. We all have these paralyzing insecurities, insecurities that although they do nothing but hold us back, act as major roadblocks to our success.
Even when you are supposed to feel good about yourself you somehow flip it into something twisted and negative. Exhibit A: I wander into this ritsy children’s clothing shop today. (the stuff was cute, how could I not) The worker smiled and asked me “Are you a model?” … “No” I responded, looking behind me to make sure I wasn’t awkwardly answering a question meant for the 6’ft tall person standing over my shoulder… “How bout a designer, or photographer, or artist?” Smiling I responded no to all. She loved my style and said it had a safari-feel without being too literal. Just as a reminder my dream job is to be writing, studying, or designing on safari, so little did she know that is just about the best compliment she could have given me. I love that throwback Banana Republic attire. Now for the twisted part, when this woman offers me up this lovely compliment I chew on it and smile for about a minute, until I start to think, “Well, I am none of those things, which kindof makes me a loser.” Next the self-loathing. It turns out when I get a compliment, I actually start feeling worse. I start to think, well I am not as good as so-and-so, or so-and-so is a real artist. I almost feel like a poser of sorts.
When does it stop, the self-loathing? When do we stop mulling over our opportunities and start celebrating our strengths. I would love to say tomorrow, but after years of this behavior I have become a serial self-hater. I honestly think I have no real reason. I can tell you I hate my smile, my awful profile, my chubby belly, my height, my temper, my passion, my opinions. I hate it all. But can I pinpoint any of these qualities at the epicenter of my disgust, not exactly. It isn’t one thing, it’s everything. But tomorrow I want to change, or at least make a tiny start by going to Barnes and Nobles to buy a book about it. Whether this venture will prove successful or an epic fail, only time will tell.
For anyone suffering from terminal self-esteem issues, lets try to change. If we fail, than at least we tried to love ourselves, and worst case scenario, we find just one quality we
hate a little less. For guidance I will be using Buddha and the wisdom of Dr. Alex Lickerman, a practicing Buddhist and physician who regularly speaks on how to achieve happiness and learn to like yourself. Lickerman teaches you the tools to address triggers of self-hatred and how turn negativity into positive energy.
In other words, if we want to like ourselves we have to earn our own respect. Luckily, doing this doesn’t require that we become people of extraordinary physical attractiveness or accomplishment. It only requires we become people of extraordinary character—something anyone can do. ~
So here goes nothing. Lets start to rethink our philosophy on how we approach our “inadequacies”, “unfavorable qualities”, and “ugly features.” Step 1: determine your triggers. What in your life catalyzes the pain that makes you want to run away from the world? Now lets shut it out. Hopefully together we can build self-esteem, shut out pessimism, and uncover a life of peace, simplicity, and faith…And just in the event that we are unsuccessful, save your Barnes and Nobles receipt, return the books, and buy something shiny.
Social media is arguably the most amazing vehicle of communication the world has ever known…but is it also the most deadly? Sure, social media may open up doors to meeting people around the world and coming closer than ever to celebrities, artists, musicians, etc., but what other doors does it open? Social media is a pandora’s box. Once you join, you’re hooked, but are you ready for the wrath she unleashes. I wasn’t and in many ways still am not.
Without the internet and social media I wouldn’t be writing to you right now, but I also wouldn’t have had someone call me “scary” looking today. If it weren’t for social media I wouldn’t have been told I look like an alien, a bug, or a cow. Yes, social media has opened up the door for me to discover a whole new world of interests and passions, but it has also allowed others to discover me, and often to a negative outcome.
I am sick and tired of people telling me to have thick skin or be tough. “Don’t let it get to you” they say, “ignore them,” they say. Well let me tell you for every ten nice things someone says about you, it’s the negative you remember the most. And it’s okay to be hurt by this. We are all human. We all have emotions. Sure, some of us are a bit too sensitive, but that’s not what I am talking about. As a regular, average person, you do not have to be okay with someone calling you ugly or fat or stupid. You do not have to endure any sort of bullying be it in a classroom or media outlet.
This post is dedicated to the assholes bringing the negativity. Stop it. You’re not cool, you look like a d-bag. Every time you call me ugly and fat someone else says “wow, that person sucks.” You’re pathetic. You yoga-practicing hypocrite who supposedly believes in peace and karma, you should really rethink your philosophy on life because you’re very confused. To the Regina Georges of the world who call the average-size girl sloppy and overweight, your genetics won’t work in your favor forever. And you know the harshest reality, the intellect of these “losers” you put down will outlast even the most powerful beauty.
A little history. Four years ago a social media gossip website known as Juicy Campus virtually ruined my life. It was an anonymous online forum where anyone could write anything they wanted about anyone. Just as stupid to say as it is to read. To most people it was irrelevant and petty, but not to me. For every thread talking about how fat I was or how ugly I was, a little piece of me died. To this day I wish I could look the cowards who wrote those cruel words in the eye and let them know, “congrats, you made me cry myself to sleep.” Juicy Campus was social media’s brain child; everything evil and negative in the world. Any random shithead could speak their “peace”, regardless of who they hurt.
Freedom of speech is not absolute. Freedom of speech does not apply when not you infringe upon your neighbor’s unalienable rights through defamation, invasion of privacy, or intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Juicy Campus started my downward spiral. Self-Destruction in its purest form. Drugs, alcohol, you name it. The abuse of freedom of speech was almost my downfall. But I survived, by the skin of my teeth, and thanks to the help and counseling of some really amazing people.
I don’t want anyone else to have to endure this self-hatred and pain, but unfortunately they will. So this post is not for you. This post is for the bully, the d-bag frat guy, hypocritical Christian, queen b. No one dislikes you for how much money you have, how you look, or what you have achieved. They aren’t jealous. Instead we dislike you because you’re a shallow heartless jerk who has no soul, compassion, or caring for other people. We can take a joke, but who do you think you are kidding, we know you aren’t joking. Let me give you some advice, if you are going to be an asshole, do it somewhere else. Once you start ruining lives on social media the blood is on your hands.
*** I too am guilty of being one of these assholes who forgets how cruel the power of words can be. I too must change.***
Be patient with yourself this is the message of today’s post. I promised to describe my struggle with my recently-diagnosed illness. Today I hit a roadblock.
A month ago I suffered a seizure in some relation to a med I had been prescribed to treat my mood and insomnia. (WARNING: Do NOT go to the gym when you feel like crap and are starting a new med. A fall on the treadmill is never fun, especially when you are unconscious.) Since then I have a few episodes of what would seem like paralysis. Without notice my eyes glaze over, blood sugar drops, speech is slurred, and I can’t even lift my arms. I chocked it up to adjusting to this new drug… Then today arrived.
Last night I took my medicine at 10:30 pm, giving myself well over 8 hours of sleep before my morning workout. Unfortunately that workout never came. When my alarm went off I immediately knew something was off. I couldn’t open my eyes or reach over to set off the alarm. I was awake but unable to take the covers off or sit up. I felt paraplegic. I slowly go up, or sortof curled up..then right back down. I conceded to that fact a workout may lead to another treadmill seizure, but what about work? I needed to close and had just come back from vacation. I couldn’t just take another day off, could I?
The answer is yes. We are all human and we must be patient with ourselves. I ended up skipping my workout, calling out of work, and getting an emergency appointment with my doctor to change prescriptions. I still can’t decide what pissed me off more, missing my workout or missing work. I hate not being perfect. I want to be that skinny, fit babe with the great job who can handle whatever you throw at her. But I am not that girl…yet. I need to work towards perfection, a result of which I can assure you I will never achieve, but none the less strive towards. Over the past few months I have gained a good bit of weight, and my non-stop cravings have only added insult to injury.
I want to look like this….But I feel a little more like this. But I must be patient with myself.
The same goes for my job. I have been working my butt off and want to be the hot-shot, go-to girl, but when you’re sick that’s almost impossible. Similar to someone going through chemo, these drugs can have really nasty side effects and you just can’t always battle through it. Everyday your brain is trying to kill you, let alone the physical ramifications. You must be patient with yourself. Know your limits even when you believe you have none. I can be the gorgeous brunette above with the mind of Steve Jobs…but I need to be patient about it. At the end of the day, nurture your health, no matter how much of a stubborn bitch she may be.
As I sat exhausted and miserable to be back at work today, I started flipping through some random magazine on our break table. After enduring the articles about finding the best bathing suit for your figure and where to buy the best sexy bedroom toys I was elated to discover a feature on none other than my favorite, Ms. Kate Husdon. I love her! With her gorgeous features and infectious personality, she has this bohemian ease you can’t help but adore. The actress was doing the usual magazine interview when this quote caught my attention…
When you live authentically-which means you accept difficulty and deal with pain-happiness follows.
Now, my initial reaction to reading this “Life Lesson” was, “I call bullshit!” I mean really. You are one of the most beautiful women in the world, Hollywood royalty, and BLONDE. How hard could your life really be? What, you had a bad day at the gym so you are going to drown your sorrows in some over-priced trendy green juice that costs more than my lunch budget for the week? Stop with this “live authentically” crap because I would be more than happy to deal with my pain if I could vacation on a regular basis wearing an “authentic” designer gown. Yea, must be a rough life.
Then I stopped myself. I said Laura, stop being a bitch. Everyone has their shit.
I think one of the hardest life lessons we can learn is to accept the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. We all have problems, no matter how tan, blonde, rich, or successful. When an acquaintance of mine suddenly lost her father our freshman year of college, she returned to class just two short weeks later. Amazed by her strength we wondered, how is she back already? How are you doing this? How can you handle this and just keep living? Her response was far more profound than anything our dumb immature asses could come up with…
You can’t weigh one person’s loss more than another. You can’t think that losing your father is any more devastating or important than someone who lost their pet or grandparent. It just doesn’t work like that. No matter how trivial a loss may seem to you, to someone else, it was life-shattering.
I still don’t know how she maintained her grace and reason, but that moment stuck with me. Over the course of the past two months I have spent a lot of time wondering why me? Is this a joke? Am I god’s joke? How could there possibly be any more shit I could endure?
But no matter how much we HATE hearing it, because believe me, I HATE hearing it…life goes on. Everyone has problems and pain. It can always get worse…or better. And what you are going through is no more difficult, or less important, than what your neighbor is going through. The life lesson is NOT to deal with the pain.The life lesson is to realize we all have pain, we are all dealing with it, and at the end of the day you have to hope there is someone there to bum a cigarette off.
This is day one.
Ciao tutti! After a wonderful week relaxing on the pink sands of Bermuda I am not totally thrilled to be returning to the tropical oasis of Bayonne, NJ. However, there IS a silver lining. While the mud on the river and smell of oil in the air doesn’t exactly rival the honeysuckle aroma and turquoise waters of island life, there is ONE reason I am okay with my vacation ending… the career hunt can begin.
Although the last two months have been turbulent this trip has definitely centered me. I had a breakdown yesterday, the first of two over the fact my holiday was coming to an end. (I am having the second as I write you this letter.) These post-vacation breakdowns and not just because I have to go back to the real world, we all love a good vacation. Rather these momentary fits of hysteria act as a release. A way to cope with the life I hope to leave behind and the new adventure I hope to begin. Bermuda helped remind me, for the first time in probably years, what it is like to be truly happy. A no fear, no anxiety, no sense of imminent termination, happiness. Don’t get me wrong, I am truly blessed to have lived some amazing moments, but that state of pure joy in a place you know you belong, ya, it’s been awhile (insert Sicilian islands circa 2009). Bermuda brought me back to that place.
A little background into my education. I went to THE George Washington University and studied international affairs with a double concentration in sociocultural anthropology and Eurasia. (Yawn for some people but a dream for those of us who play trivia and watch Jeopardy on the reg.) Through my studies and time abroad I gained an immense appreciation for island life, the social sciences, and exploration. Basically, my dream job is to be on safari or traveling the world studying everything from Doric archeology to Great White Sharks…a real-life Nigel Thornberry. In fact, I always wanted to take a course on underwater archeology to study Caribbean shipwrecks. You can understand why Bermuda would be my erudite vice. We took a great glass-bottom boat cruise that had me inebriated from new knowledge of the Bermuda Triangle…and maybe a rum Swizzle or two. (If you haven’t had one you’re missing out) Point is that for some people it’s pornography and gambling, but for me, it’s anthropology and research that totally gets me off.
SITE TO SEE: Bermuda’s HMS Vixen. Brits totally screwed this shit up. Google It.
My hunt begins to find a career that satiates all these cerebral urges. I strive to discover an occupation that saves me. A career that fulfills both an intellectual space and an emotional space. Discover the ashram where I can be at peace with myself through a path of highbrow satisfaction. No, it won’t happen overnight. But this is day one. Time to start anew. This is where I open myself up to being happy. Being patient with myself as I begin this pilgrimage to vocational mecca. Journalism, writing, and traveling are major components of my future occupation, of this I am sure. Eventually, and hopefully sooner rather than later, I want to synthesize my campaign for harmony with my passion for travel and learning. This is day one.
Some of you may be wondering “why the bipolar ‘bastille'”? Well it’s actually an interesting story as to how this forum was coined.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: you are about to enter the bipolar brain. You MUST follow the bouncing ball closely to connect the dots, because it’s a sporadic, random journey coupling history, emotion, and pop culture.
The other night I left work with no intention of writing a blog. In fact, quite the opposite. I had just finished a 10 hour work day. I headed home late at night exhausted and anticipating a fun filled day of miserable housewives and pompous hypocrites tomorrow, all on almost no sleep. And because I can’t take my sleeping med on only a couple hours it really didn’t make sense to even bother. Instead I had resigned myself to an all-nighter of “Bizarre Foods,” and Animal Planet.
I had the British band Bastille blasting with a tale of Icarus and Albatrosses igniting all sorts of creativity when I thought “bastille… I live in a bastille.” *** The Bastille was made famous during the French Revolution when it’s namesake prison was stormed by the Bourgeois, signifying what would later be known as French Independence from the monarchy and abuse of power. (July 14, 1789)
The bastille which housed only 7 prisoners at the time, including a deviant aristocrat, represented the chains by which the partisans were held. The restraint and fortress that held the people captive since the Middle Ages. The storming of the bastille (the date the lead singer of the band was born, hence their name) was the meeting of polar rivals. The tyranny of rich aristocracy erupted by the force of poverty’s frustration and unrest. This is the symbolic nature of the bastille.
Knowing this history and having painstakingly recorded it forever in my mind (because like many bipolar people I never forget anything) the bastille was not unlike my current reality. When you’re bipolar you are constantly toeing the line between reason and insanity. You know which one is right, but you do not always choose the sane route. You’re imprisoned by a jostling of emotions between the poles of depression and mania. You have now entered the bipolar brain.
At this point you are probably thinking what the hell is this chick talking about? But this is the bastille. The struggle to find freedom from the chains of mental illness. Trying to find balance between two poles. The storming of the bastille marked French Independence, and this is what I want for myself and all of you struggling with finding balance in your lives. We need to confront our emotions and understand our chains before we can free ourselves. The tyranny of insanity in our brain must come to an end in order to discover bourgeois-middle ground peace.
Therefore I decided to write about my battle. Discuss how I am winning the war on mental illness and how I overcome my breaking points along the way. This blog would be about finding middle ground between two opposing forces. Even my cover image was chosen to represent the dichotomy that is bipolar 2. The low, humility of pots and pans surrounded by the grandeur of Versailles. The simple, attainable nature of kitchen essentials meets the uncomfortable, excessive opulence of high heels and fashion . This would be the bipolar bastille. At the end of the day we are all just trying to find balance in this crazy fucked up world between two geographic and hypothetical poles.
Anxiety-ridden or not, everyone experiences that desire to be accepted. To fit in. To be that effortlessly cool, popular girl… But that has never been me. No. Regardless of how hard I have tried to reign in my outgoing and overachieving personality, I end up reverting back to my abrasive nature. But one question remains: is that a bad thing?
Sure, I’d love to be the cute and sweet girl. You know the vanilla type who everyone loves. The pretty, girl next door, speaks-when-spoken-to type, none the less, charming. But here’s a reality check…. That’s just not who I am or will ever be. And I’m working right now to say that’s okay.
It’s okay that I am in your face, intelligent, opinionated, and weird looking. More like pistachio than vanilla; still pretty, but an acquired taste. I’m okay with the fact that I’m as easy to hate as I am to love. Anyone that ever read Juicy Campus can attest to this. (Oh and you cowards, fuck you) but I digress.
After a heart to heart with a coworker of mine she said to me, “we love you. You just come on a bit strong in the beginning.” I chewed on this all afternoon and thought : well duh. Who wants to be known as the person who came on soft?
I never wanna be the manager who let’s you walk all over her, soft. Or the girl who is called a wet rag, soft. Or even the girl that everyone loves… Cause that bitch never invents anything, pushes the limits, innovates, or questions the status quo. She’s already great, but you, with the personality as soft as sandpaper, you can be better. You can create. And remember, something soft didn’t conceive The David. It was constructed by an impossible asshole using none other than sharp, strong objects, and maybe a bit of sandpaper.