On tantrums, touchdowns and Odell Beckham Jr. being my brother from another mother.

What do me, and a 5’11 wide receiver for the New York Giants have in common?

No, it’s not incredibly confusing hair or the natural athletic talent bestowed upon us straight from Jesus himself. But I truly thank you for thinking of me and Odell Beckham Jr. in that light. It’s flattering, really.

We both just aren’t having fun anymore.

Let me take a step back here. Two years ago I would have given my unborn child and all of my future stock in Taco Bell to be paid to write. It was all I wanted. The insatiable and unquenchable dream that loomed over me as I sat monotonously day after day at my shitty receptionist job.

Then, one day, it happened. Just like Odell Beckham Jr. on draft day. I got the call. I dropped everything. I made it. I was going to be an all-star wide receiver for the NFL with confusing, yet intimidating hair that everyone loved to hate a writer for an ad agency.

Like my doppelgänger and brotha from anotha motha, I had trained for this. Hours and hours of cranking out things to publish that made me proud. Some that bared my soul, some that made me, and only me, laugh. Others that just made my mom happy that I was doing something besides sitting in bed moping with a glass of wine at 10am.

(Breakfast wine is a thing. It’s called fermented grape juice. Read about it.)

When OBJ got drafted, I can assure with as much certainty as someone who wasn’t with him, that he was ecstatic. And when I got that call, I was too.

But the moment I accepted that job, I stopped writing for myself because I was now going to write for someone else, and that was a far more superior venture in my naive mind.

Two years and a treasure trove of words later, I’m confused.  I sit at a computer and ask my brain to do something day in and day out that it used to do on its own. Except I don’t get angry and throw a tantrum on the sideline, I wait until I get home and cry in the bathtub like a goddamn adult.

Also I’m a Pats fan so this whole meltdown is kind of funny. Cue the 18-1 jokes.

I’d wake up with funny thoughts about being an interesting sponsor choice for Head and Shoulders life or weird observations and I couldn’t wait to rush to my computer and jot them down.

Unfortunately, that rush is going away.

It’s a hard thing to realize that when you started to do what you love and love what you do, eventually you’ll stop loving it. Because work is work no matter how pretty you dress it up.

What I’m saying is, I get how Odell Beckham Jr. is feeling.

What happens when you’re not passionate about your passion?  What if the one thing that kept you sane during a monotonous 9-5 job turns out to be the very thing that makes your 9-5 so monotonous?

Two years ago my life changed. And here I sit, two years later, wondering if it was for the better or not. And I don’t know how to figure that out. Maybe it’s a change of scenery or a different way to jumpstart my brain. Maybe it’s finding out how to reignite that spark that fueled me, drove me and motivated me to get up and write every day.

Whatever the answer is, and whoever has it. Let me know. I’m all ears.

Also, if you have OBJ’s number, please let me know so I can call him and tell him to stop being such a big baby. Anyone who makes that much money is not allowed to be sad. It’s science.

Or maybe I’ll just become a professional dog walker. No one in the history of earth has ever fallen out of love with a dog.

Stand by.

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Cher Taught Me To Believe

Actually, no she didn’t.  But that song was straight fire flames good.  I bumped that jam in my room when I was in sixth grade for DAYS.

Whether or not she is a scholar in the same realm as Gandhi or Buddha, we will never know.  But her fashion sense was always on point.  Am I right?

I guess it’s different for everyone.  Whether it is a person, a dream, a faith, or a promise.  We all need a reason to believe.

I could sit here and talk about what I believe and how it has shaped me into the person I am today.  But I don’t want to preach about my life, but just about the importance of believing in something.

First and foremost, you should believe in yourself.  

If you don’t have a foundation of self-acceptance and the innate conviction that you can achieve anything you set your mind to, then life is going to be pretty difficult.  Let’s be realistic though, this is not to say that it won’t be tough even if you do believe in yourself.  Because life is funny that way, and it likes to knock you down a couple pegs and make sure you’re not overconfident.

Life is full of uphill battles.  And while some are given a compass and a map to ease the struggle, others have to navigate blind, fighting more battles for no reason at all.

Regardless of where you fall on the life circumstance spectrum, having confidence yourself and what you can achieve is the first step towards getting where you want to go.  The rest is motivation, commitment, and perseverance – all of which take time to develop.

We all should wake up in the morning committed to something. 

If you can’t find it in your heart to believe in yourself, for the sake of humanity, believe in someone else.  There is nothing more frightening than knowing you are fighting a battle alone.  The greatest thing you can offer another human being is support.

When the outlook is bleak, the odds are stacked up, and the morale is fading; believe.  People can triumph and overcome the biggest of hurdles when they have a support system behind them.  Having a team rally and cheer you on makes those mountains that once seemed miles high get reduced to inches.

Believing in one another makes any obstacle surmountable. 

Faith in a higher power gives us a foundation and a basis to strive to be the best people we can be.  It is fundamentally rooted in serving others before yourself, knowing that you can make a difference in someone’s life, and them in yours.

It is understanding the key principle that all people are equal, believing that it’s true, and using your actions as a way to show it.  Because let’s face it, living our lives for other people isn’t the easiest thing to do.  In fact, it’s pretty difficult.

But in times when you feel incapable of continuing, grasping for something outside of yourself can be just what you need to keep going. 

If faith isn’t your answer, it can be a dream.

An aspiration to be better than what you are and where you are now.  An endpoint that you strive to reach in your career, your relationships, and your life.  Something that, in the darkest places, hardest times, deepest holes, you cling to and reach for.  And it’s that dream that helps you power through the worst of it.

All because you believe that you deserve it.

Whatever it is, don’t let it go.  Depending on something or someone other than ourselves is imperative.  We were not meant to walk the earth alone, nor should be have to do it. Make that conscious decision each day to strive to be better for you, for someone else, or for something.

Don’t settle for what you have right now, there’s always room to improve.  Find something you want in the future and go for it.  Perseverance and determination are attributes that no one will ever fault you for having.  You can be, achieve, and complete anything you want.  You just have to figure out what it is.

And when you do find what it is, be like Cher and just believe.

 

Remembering My First Love

I’m going to be real honest and break it down for a hot second.

I’ve had my fair share of crushes that didn’t quite pan out (I’m talking to you, Leo DeCaps) the way that I wanted.  But love is a completely different story.

I’ve been there, done that, moved on, and (almost) got over it.  But then again, the first cut is the deepest, right Sheryl Crow?  You go girl, sign it from the heart! Lance Armstrong sucks! (just kidding…?)

Anyways, since I’m somewhat of a scornful human being when it comes to broken hearts, I did a little research into the whole feeling of love and what it means. And what I found what shocking.

Turns out, I’m already in love.  Who knew?  I started reading about the 7 Ways Love Transforms Your Brain, and with each progressing number it became more and more clear.

I’m in love with food.

And it’s pretty bad.  I knew when the clock struck noon that I was hungry, but who knew it was hunger pangs tugging on my heart strings?

Don’t believe me?  Well, you should.  Because here are the 7 ways my brain has been transformed since I admitted my unrequited love for all things edible.

EDITOR'S NOTE: RED TEXT is website info, BLACK TEXT, much like my soul, are my own thoughts. 

1. You Feel Addicted

Ever hear that love is a drug? Well, there may be some truth to that. Your brain houses these intensely passionate feelings using the same system that’s activated when a person is addicted to drugs, from the euphoria you feel to your cravings for more. Sure, it might be a much healthier addiction — but let’s face facts, shall we? You’re an addict.

The only things I am positive I am addicted to are bacon, wine, and unlimited brunch buffets.  Call me a hopeless romantic, but I don’t think too much IHOP ever hurt anybody. I guess that encompasses most food entities.  Checkmark on the addiction aspect of food admiration.

2. You Start Thinking In Twos

It’s not just “me, me, me” anymore. Now, there’s two of you to think about — and your brain will automatically pick up the changes. The bond you share with your partner or children runs way deeper than just on the outside.

I can’t imagine a day going by without having more than one of anything that I eat.  Two bowls of cereal? Yes, please. A double dose of chips and salsa? Absolutely.  An extra side of bacon?  Do I even have to answer? I even cut my sandwiches in half just so I cognitively think there are two rather than one part to my lunch meal.

3. You Love Longer (And Become Wiser)

Falling in love is as good for your heart as it is for your mental health. People in love report higher levels of dopamine, which is linked to pleasure, desire and euphoria. Studies report that people in positive, healthy relationships live longer, are happier, wiser and have better mental health. 

You know what’s good for your heart?  Food.  You know why skinny people are so crazy?  They don’t eat enough. Has anyone ever felt worse after eating a heaping pile of huevos rancheros for breakfast? Don’t answer that.  I just know that after I eat a bacon cheese burger, I feel like I’m on top of the world. Endorphins to the moon and back baby.  That’s how I roll.

4. You’re More Supportive

One of the biggest benefits of falling in love is that you’ll learn what it’s really like to lean on (and support) another person. Building trust in a relationship is crucial. And, your brain helps you out with that. When we’re in love, we’re less likely to be critical or skeptical of the person we care about.

“Hey, let’s talk about this over a big plate of onion rings” is one of my favorite phrases. Food builds trust.  Food is trust. Learn it, live it, love it.  Support food, support me, support you.  It’s all in a days work.  Eat, support a pal, go home, sleep like a baby.

5. You De-Stress

Some of us might mistake those butterflies surrounding your first kiss — but there’s no way your brain will ever forget how it first felt to be touched by someone you’re in love with. 

You haven’t had butterflies until you’re waiting in your booth on pins and needles for a short stack of pancakes on a Sunday morning.  Your brain doesn’t ever forget something as crucial as a post-hangover meal.  Especially if it’s carb-o-loaded. You can quote me on that.

6. You Glow (Well, Your Brain’s Reward Centers Do!)

In a study that assessed couples “madly in love,” scientists found that the reward centers of their brains lit up after just looking at a picture of their spouse. Let the bright lines shine, baby!

Look at these pictures and tell me you are not immediately filled with glee.  I rest my case.

7. You Feel Safe

Similar to the first bonds babies make with their mothers, the feeling of security will emerge in your relationship. As you age and change, your body actually remembers the brain cycles and stages that you went through in your youth — so when you feel reconnected to your baby self, those feelings of safety and contentment will come flooding back. Research also shows that when we feel love for someone, it shuts down the part of our brain that controls fear and negative emotions.

Do I feel safe while I’m eating? Not particularly.  Do I feel safe after I’m done eating, and have a full range of motion as well as sharp utensils to thwart off any enemies? Abso-posi-tive-a-lutely. Forks and steak knives all day.

PS- I will be an Onion Ring Connoisseur before I die.

An Open Letter to Valentine’s Day

I just have one thing to say to Valentines Day.

Stop making everyone so cynical.

There are a myriad of scenarios.  You feel crappy cause you aren’t celebrating with anyone.  When you do have someone you’re annoyed because he or she isn’t happy with what you planned.  If you’re the awful person who isn’t happy with what your boyfriend or girlfriend planned, I hate you.

If you are one of the people who has a ‘special someone’ to share this blessed day in February with, for the love of God, do not nitpick.  There is nothing worse than waking up and realizing you have a hundred things to do, and only ten minutes to get them done.

Men wake up and feel like this every. single. day.

If it’s not in their direct line of sight, they won’t see it.  If it isn’t playing through their headphones, they won’t hear it.  If they are not hungry, they will not think to ask if you are.  If you didn’t tell them about it that hour, they won’t remember it.

Stop putting pressure on one night.  Do not complain that your dinner wasn’t at the restaurant you two had your first kiss, date, or vegetarian option.  Thank the high heavens that he is a good enough sweet talker to get you into the damn place, enjoy your steak and wine, and maybe even each other’s company.

The fact that he even remembered today was a holiday is a miracle in itself.  Men don’t walk down the card aisle and accidentally get time warped for three hours.  Only women do that.  Men see that aisle, cower in fear, and stick their arm out to grab the first one they reach, praying it is at least funny or sentimental.

It is simple: we are wired differently.  Men are linear beings, while women are curved seven ways to Sunday and then bent in half.  Learn this; you will understand why men don’t do things on a woman’s timeline.

If you are one of the (un)lucky people who does not have a sig-oth (significant other for those abbreviatedly challenged) to hang out with, there are also a ton of things you can do to avoid looking, feeling, and acting like a complete moron.

Please do not allow yourself to sit at home on your couch, wallowing in self-pity, crying into a pint of ice cream because you don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend to help you achieve pink hearted bliss.

Get your lazy ass off the couch and go to a speed dating convention, download Tinder, walk down the street, or go to a bar.  Any of these things will likely result in the meeting of someone remotely interesting.  Because if you’re choosing to sit at home feeling sorry for yourself due to your relationship status, you have bigger fish to fry and those fish involve a heavy dose of medication and a relaxing seat in a psychiatrist’s office.

When the clock strikes midnight, it is no longer Valentine’s Day, so suck it up.  I’ve had sandwiches that have lasted more than twenty-four hours.  In the timeline of life, it’s not a big deal to miss out on one day.  Put on a nice outfit, look good, and go dance your face off with all the other people at the misery commiseration gala at Ruby Tuesdays.

The world will not stop turning if you don’t have a date.  Time will not stop ticking if you can’t get a reservation at your favorite restaurant.  Chaos will not ensue if you decide you’d rather go out with your friends and dance the night away — okay, chaos may ensue.

Regardless of your relationship status, Valentine’s Day should not determine how you feel about yourself.  If anything, it’s a perfect excuse to cheat on your diet, eat seven chocolate bars, and crush a bottle of wine without apologizing to anyone.

Because I’ll tell you this much, if you do that on any other day of the year, you’ll have to hand-write at least six apology notes, and you won’t feel great about it.

Sole Mates.

Hey,

I’m going to be honest. I don’t really know if this will change anything.  But everyone keeps telling me that writing is therapeutic, so I’m going to give it a shot.

I never thought this would happen to me.  To us.  It always happened to the others.  I thought we were different.  Sure, when we first met, we may have got off on the wrong foot; but being forced to hang out with each other made us fast friends.  Pretty soon, we were inseparable.

We were matched up with each other from the start.  It was our job to be together forever.  I never went anywhere without you, and always made sure to stay close.  Our friends were great, too.  There were days, weeks even, where we’d all huddle up, clinging to each other like there was some sort of static electricity binding us to one another, but in reality, it was just destiny.

Sure, there are snags in every relationship – and we were no different.  Some days it just felt like you were one step ahead of me, anticipating my every move.  But the pace was far too fast for me to keep up, and eventually, I got tired, worn down, and defeated. I was cast aside, thrown on the floor, put in a pile to associate with others who were washed up, faded, and used.

But then you joined me, like you always did.  We were the perfect pair.

Our life, although never dull, had its low moments.  It seemed as though we were stuck in a tunnel with no light at the end, wondering when we’d both get to go back home.  I missed our friends.  They were so colorful, so vibrant, much more so than us. We were plain, but it was okay.  We liked it that way.  We went with the flow;  not the most popular of the bunch, but we always got invited to do things.

I got used to spending my time with you, and at the end of the day, it never mattered to me that you were dirty and didn’t smell great. I should have listened during our arguments when you would constantly ask me to, “put myself in your shoes.”

Socks: A love story.

Socks: A love story.

I guess what I’m saying is, I was selfish. I never knew that our time together would end so abruptly.  I never really got to say goodbye.  It was time for our monthly getaway, a trip downtown with friends: tons of water, lots of heat, a place to let loose and get rid of all our stains we’d garnered from the work week.

One minute we were holding hands, spinning in circles.  A couple kids in love, enjoying the water.  Next thing you know, I lost control, and turned around and you were gone.  The pool was crowded, more so than usual.  Must have been spring break or something. I figured I’d catch you when you wanted to dry off.

But I was the only one got to dry off.  I lost you.  I was left, and you were right – we never should have taken our eyes off each other.  It happened for a second and now you’re gone.

I don’t know what else to say.  I guess everything doesn’t come out in the wash.  But I feel as though I serve no purpose.  Life is pointless without you.  I don’t know how much longer I’m going to last.  Even our friends have started distancing themselves from me.  I guess they’re getting more time outdoors – I should be happy for them.

I will never forget you. You were my sole mate.

I hope you’re happy.  Wherever you are.

Love always,

Me.



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