A Day in the Life: a brief foray into political activism

What does politics have to do with existentialism? I’m glad you asked.

E V E R Y T H I N G

Politics in an outward expression of our personal moral philosophy. Your view of the world and the way you should live your life greatly informs your political views. I strongly feel that all aspects of one’s personality are connected, some connections are more obvious than others. The more connections I find between the various aspects of my personality… so more fascinated I am with the human condition. So come… be fascinated with me!

**The ideas expressed in this video are in no way meant to degrade or offend the views of others. If you are offended, I am sorry that I have offended you, but I stand by my words. This is, after all, America.**

I truly hope that something I have said reaches someone, anyone. Let me be clear, I am in no way naive enough to think that my voting for Gary Johnson will mean that the whole of our political system is going to change. Nor am I naive enough to think that Gary Johnson is going to win the 2012 Presidential election (I’m pretty sure Gary Johnson isn’t naive enough to think this either). I can’t even say for sure that Gary Johnson has a better answer than Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. But I can not, in good conscience, support a Democrat or Republican simply because they have a better chance of winning office. The only thing I can think of worse than voting for a mainstream presidential candidate that I do not have full faith in is not voting at all.

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The Perks of Planning

As I embark on my last semester of undergraduate scholarly pursuits (queue droves of people applauding for me actually finishing… and then slowly stopping as they realize it means I have to pay back my mountain of debt… the scene fades as they weep… holding each other…. in despair) I’ve started to look back on why it took me so long finish. Sure, the fact that I kept changing my major didn’t help, but a large part of it was also that I got burnt out. I stopped caring. I had no desire to do my school work and the more I had to do the more I pushed against it. In more recent semesters I’ve gotten my act together and started to care a little more about my grades. In order to get through my last few classes I had to change my approach; I had to figure out a way to balance school, my social life, and a strong desire to lay on the couch and watch teen melodramas.

So I started planning out my school week.

The way my online classes are set up I am aware from day one (more or less) what I will need to do each week and when large papers and projects need to be turned in. Each week I divide up that week’s tasks so that I don’t have to do too much each day. I do the same with papers. I haven’t written a paper in one day since 2007 when I spent 12 straight hours on a Saturday writing a 14 page paper relating the developmental theory of criminology to serial killers (awesome stuff). Rather, I’ll start research and writing early enough on a paper that I usually don’t have to write more than 300 words a day. I mean, I’ll write more if I’m on a roll, but I tend to get writer’s block quickly (go ahead… ask me how my book is coming. I’d throw the manuscript at you but it doesn’t exist… consider yourself lucky). The whole point of it is to not overwhelm myself. I get a decent amount of work done, but then I also get to watch Gossip Girl. It’s win win.

As I mentioned in a previous video , I have also come to enjoy planning my meals for the week. If you didn’t heed my advice the first time, I’ll say it again. Try it. It’s especially helpful if you have trouble with cravings or if you are a stickler for macronutrients. By planning everything out in advance you will be able to see if you need to make any changes to ensure you get enough protein, don’t eat too many carbs, or whatever it is you are watching carefully. It also makes the day itself easier. No longer will you stand with the refrigerator door open staring blankly as you are trying to figure out what you want for lunch… you decided already. And since you are taking the time to plan, you allow yourself to make better food choices rather than grabbing the first easy to make sodium laden thing you find in the convenience store. I have some friends that go so far as to pre cook veggies and proteins for the week. This is an excellent idea if you work crazy hours and don’t have time to cook everyday.

Planning itself can sometimes be a tedious task, but it makes the rest of your life so much easier that it’s really worth it. I’m not always the most organized person, ask anyone who ever entered my adolescent bedroom. But we’re adults now and I can’t just shove things under our bunk beds and pretend we’re solving a problem. Planning things makes my life easier. I make to-do lists for everything. EVERYTHING. I even divide cleaning tasks into the days of the week so I don’t have to spend an entire day cleaning the entire house because I’d rather do a little bit of everything everyday (INCLUDING sitting around and doing nothing) than spend any day devoted to one task and not be able to have any free time.

Ok… I might be rambling now..apologies.

What ways can planning make your life easier?

Practice Makes Perfect: The Art of Patience

If I were asked to name the one thing my semi-eventful life has taught me I would say patience. Yet, if I were asked what quality I needed to learn the most, I would again say patience. Despite any leaps and bounds I know I’ve made in my ability to not get angry about “the way things are” as compared to “the way I think they should be” I see myself struggling almost daily due to an apparent lack of patience and compassion.

The thing about patience is, you can never have too much of it. That’s not to say you should allow yourself to be walked on by others and call it being “patient” with them. That’s not patience; that’s being a doormat. What I mean by that is that it seems, to me at least, no matter how patient a person you think you are, there is always room for improvement (naturally the same goes for many, if not all other aspects of life… but let’s limit the scope of this blog so I don’t ramble on forever, shall we?).

Accepting that you can not control the entire world

Try as you might, there are only a finite number of things you have control over: inanimate objects (at least most of the time) and yourself. And to a certain degree you only have so much control over yourself because you can not will your body to do things it’s not biologically capable of doing. All you can do is be mindful of your body and your surroundings and nudge yourself in the proper direction.

Accept that there is work to be done

You will never really know how much patience you have until it is tested. The key is to recognize when your patience is being tested, and do your best to find ways to help yourself, rather than putting up a hissy fit. Being a passive observer of one’s life is no good (and certainly no fun) but there is something to be said for the person that can easily realize that they have little if any control over what happens. I have sort of adopted this philosophy that things happen for a reason, and they happen when they are suppose to happen… and not a second sooner. Some call it God’s plan. Some don’t. I call it life…. I don’t really give a shit what you call it, but do your best to accept it. When you find yourself in trying times, it’s important to remember that it is going to get better, and that eventually, if you were paying attention, you will have learned something about yourself, or someone, or the world, or monkeys, or whatever. You wouldn’t be who you are today if not for your past, so don’t regret a bit of it. Be patient with your life’s path and what you have to learn. Learning takes time. You can’t try to skip to the end where you have it all figured out without that long part in the middle where you are trying to figure it all out…. hence the patience thing. So embrace patience, and allow the world to work with you.

Dealing With Those Pesky Inner Demons: Fear

“fear kills everything. Your mind, your heart, your imagination.” 
― Cornelia FunkeInkheart

Fear is one of those things that is just always around. It lurks in corners in the form a spider. It towers above you in the form of the skyscraper you are afraid to enter. It smothers you until your can’t breathe. Everyone has different fears and everyone handles them differently. But the important thing to note is that everyone has something they are afraid of, whether they are willing to admit it or not.

Fears can come in two forms: rational and irrational. Our rational fears, such as the fear of bodily harm, are hardwired into us as a means for survival. The fight or flight response is the body’s response to rational fears. It protects us from things that could harm us both mentally and physically.

Irrational fears, clinically called phobias, are generally fears of objects or situations where the fear is disproportionate to the danger posed by them. Some of them can be entertaining to onlookers (stories about my fear of bugs to follow) while others can be completely debilitating to a person. However, sometimes our seemingly rational fears can get out of control we become sapped of our life force.

So now it’s story time:

When I was in second grade I attended a Catholic school that my father taught music at. One day for gym class we were playing some sort of game where you throw a ball back and forth between two groups. I know it wasn’t dodgeball… but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was. It’s irrelevant though.. all that matters is that it was one of those rubbery bouncy balls. Well, that might not even matter.  Anyway, I didn’t really participate too much; I was well on my way to becoming a young Daria Morgandorffer, but more on apathy later. It occurs to me now that there was a more than an aversion to ball games preventing me from making an effort. I was afraid. It’s not that I didn’t want to play, I just don’t really like embarrassing myself. I wasn’t good at sports. I played t-ball for exactly one season in which I continuously got yelled at because I’m left-handed and when I would let go of the bat to run I would accidently swing it so it slid down the third base line… which is apparently a bad thing. So if I had tried to catch the ball and missed, or gotten hit in the face I would have been mortified. It was just better to stand in the back corner of the playing court and feign interest. But then my moment came. The ball flew over the heads of all of my team mates and landed in a pile of folding chairs directly behind me. It was my chance to actually play whatever asinine game we were playing, and I knew it was my chance because I was the only one on my team anywhere near the pile of chairs. I eagerly trotted over the the pile and chairs and picked up the ball, but before I could even turn around the throw it a boy from my class, let’s call him Scott (because I have no clue what his name actually was), snatches it out of my hands and yells “Give me the ball, Catherine. I’m better than you!”

It’s not that I’m scarred for life by that story (or perhaps I am), but it sort of informs something that I struggle with on a daily basis: my biggest fear is that I will never be good enough. I have a tendency to correlate my self-worth with what people say and think about me. During high school I was dating an abusive guy, both mentally and physically. He constantly told me that I was ugly, fat, worthless, stupid, etc. I got so use to hearing it that I must have believed it to be true.

Now, for some reason, I assume that people have to be paying attention to me for me to matter. So if I haven’t talked to one of my friends for a while, or Husband doesn’t notice that I made my hair look nice, my brain automatically goes to “you don’t matter to them, and why would you?”

I feel like because of this, I had become my own Scott… telling myself I’m not good enough for anything. I’m not good enough to become a decent writer. I’m not cool enough to have friends. Im obviously the only one that things my personal style when it comes to home decor and dressing it neat. I’m not strong or determined enough to live the healthy lifestyle I want. I could go on forever.

You probably see a neat picture… I see roughly ten things I’m doing wrong

This fear stops me in my tracks when I think about doing something. From the time I stopped dancing four years ago until roughly 6 months ago, all I wanted to do was dance again. But I wouldn’t because I was afraid I wouldn’t be good at it anymore. It use to come so naturally, and things are different now. And I would rather not dance at all than try and fail. Or worse.. try and be average.

So rather than dealing with these emotions. I retreat so the world can’t hurt me. Even though deep down I know I’m only hurting myself.

 

 

 

Part of my journey to a healthy mind is to be mindful of my overwhelming fears, accept them for what they are, and find ways to over come them. All of this things will help achieve the inner peace I’ve be desperately seeking for years. I have a feeling I’ll struggle with the fear and not being good enough (as well as the fear of bugs) for years to come. But I’m working on it.

But fear isn’t all bad. Without fear there would be no courage. And courage….succinctly put… is awesome.

What are some of your fears? And how to they hold you back?