Monthly Archives: April 2010

Eat Your Feelings

mmmmmm chocolate

If you’re a woman in America, you’ve probably eaten your feelings before. We see this unhealthy habit in the media all the time: women diving into a pint of ice cream after a break-up, heading straight for Krispy Kream after losing a job, or stuffing their faces for no reason other than boredom or depression. Now men can be/ are guilty of this as well, but I can only speak from a woman’s standpoint, and we usually see women fall prey to this particular monster. I, myself, frequently battle this button-busting beast. The most recent encounter was a box of Munchkins from Dunkin Donuts after I learned that my favorite band, Fall Out Boy, was probably breakign up for good. (Even though all four members say it’s just a hiatus and no one knows the future of the band, they’re all so happy with their individual projects. And they weren’t happy in FOB anymore. I wish they’d just say it’s the end instead of giving fans false hope, but this is a rant for another day.) I walked into Books-A-Million with the box and slapped people’s hands away when they tried to share my mourning munchies. Now usually, I’m all about sharing my food, but on this day, I declared that I was eating my feelings and that my feelings were glazed and cinnamon. Chocolate feelings were open to anyone because I have a strong aversion to the flavor for some reason. My dislike for chocolate is probably a blessing considering how often I indulge my feelings with food. My comfort foods? In order of preference: steak, mac’n’cheese, ice cream, chinese food, donuts, and other sweets like Starbursts or Twizzlers.

We all do it, but why do we do it? Why turn to comfort foods when we’re down instead of healthier choices like friends, activities, or exercise? Now I’m not saying that eating your feelings is totally wrong. Everything is ok in moderation, but the trouble is that it’s hard to moderate when crying your eyes out. Anything is bad in excess. I once went to the gym when I was absolutely furious with a guy friend, and I wanted to work out all my frustration and exhaust myself beyond the capacity to be angry. I ended up going top speed on an elliptical for almost an hour before throwing up. I do not recommend this approach. Why is moderation so hard when we’re upset? And why do we usually turn to food?

Well, food is something we associate with comfort at a young age. Kids are usually given a treat for being good or when they get a shot at a doctor’s office. This keeps going throughout our lives until it becomes almost an involuntary reaction. We know how certain foods make us feel, and we’ll crave that food to get that feeling. Usually women crave sweet things like chocolate, cookies, candy etc, while men crave pizza, steak, or casseroles. As we all know (or anyone that’s seen Down With Love), when women eat chocolate, it creates a similar feeling to when women are in love or having sex. This is why we turn to it when we’re blue; we seek that rush of chemicals that our body gives us when we feed it chocolate to make us happy. When we are stressed our bodies create increased levels of cortisol; one of the effects of high amounts of cortisol is cravings for food, specifically sweet and salty.

So most of the time, we’re eating to avoid actually dealing with our problems or our emotions. The best way to control this is to first realize the problem and what’s causing you to feel like you need/want to eat, and then to deal with that problem instead of eating. So, I guess I should start stalking Fall Out Boy and make sure they stay together right? Or… maybe a more healthy choice like listen to some other music and try to find a new band to love (yeah right, like I’ll ever love another band as much as FOB. But again, that’s a whole different rant for a different day).

Also, check out the book “Eat Your Feelings” by Heather Whaley. It’s not only a great cookbook filled with comfort food, it’s also friggin’ hilarious–like, pee your pants cause you can’t stop laughing hilarious.

Oh yeah, laugh more! Laughter causes us to be happier, and happiness will help you beat off those blues. So watch the Daily Show with Jon Stewart or the Colbert Report or really anything that makes you giggle to help you kick your emotional eating habits to the curb.

I’m Spiritual, not Religious

I yoinked this many years ago off the web and dunno where I yoinked it from. Don't sue me; it's not mine!

Ok, since I’ll probably mention my beliefs and faith a lot in this blog because it deals with how I view the world, I should probably explain myself. I was raised in a Mennonite community (family), went to church almost every Sunday, and went to church camp every summer as a child. I loved aspects of church although I was way too squirmy to sit through the sermon most of the time. I had a major falling out with the church in the summer of 2006, and I have never looked back. I won’t go in to all the details (maybe you’ll read them in one of my creative non-fictions if I ever get up the motivation to edit and post it), but I will say that I finally found the hypocrisy of Christianity to be too much and couldn’t stand to be a Christian any longer.

That being said, I do not hate/dislike/loath all Christians. My dearest friend, Ruth, is a Christian, and I love her to pieces. I roomed with a very devote Christian my junior year of college, and she was one of my favorite roommates. The difference is that these women are “true” Christians in my opinion; they are women that Christ would be proud of. They are open-minded, logical, non-judgmental, and love unconditionally. Unfortunately, that is not my experience with the vast majority of Christians, and most religions in general to be quite honest.

After several years of actively hating God and bashing Christianity relentlessly, I felt emptier than I ever had. I was angry because I felt like organized religion had stolen my right to believe in anything at all if I didn’t believe by their rules. And their rules suck. Everyone just sort of rolls their eyes when you say you’re agnostic; it just means you don’t know what the hell you believe. And that’s not the case with me. I do know what I believe; it’s just not practiced in any organized religion. It took me a long time to realize that just because I didn’t have a label, didn’t mean I couldn’t believe and be proud of my beliefs. It was at this point in my life when I decided to open up my mind again to that greater power that I believe is out there, and I found the joys of being just spiritual.

To me, being spiritual is all about being exactly who you are. I find song and dance very powerful and moving, and I consider it to be part of my praise to god. I’m not capitalizing god because I don’t think of god as a person or really anything that we could ever comprehend. God is more of a feeling–an instinct. And I think the feeling that comes closest to god in our very mortal and limited perspective is love. What’s purer than love? What’s more universal than love? Well, hate, but everything in life needs a balance. Just like the Christians had to make Satan to balance out God. Love is such a powerful force that has infinite meanings across all the creatures that have ever lived. In my opinion (and don’t some religions preach this too?), god is love. Being spiritual is about loving yourself for exactly who you are and loving everyone else for exactly who they are. Loving someone means you don’t try to change them.

I just want to share my ideas with all the people who don’t know quite what to believe when they see that people are still killing each other over religion. It seems like every religion has some good points, but because humans are incredibly flawed creatures, we always screw it up. I don’t think any major religion supports violence, yet we still have the Crusades and the radical Islams that kill others in the name of god. I’m fairly sure that those acts really piss off whatever divine being is out there. I love what C.S. Lewis does near the end of “The Last Battle,” the last book in The Chronicles of Narnia series. Aslan explains to a young soldier of a different nation and religion that it doesn’t matter what religion you are or what god for whom you do a deed; what matters is where your intentions lie–good or evil:

“It is false [when Emeth asks Aslan if he and Tash are the same]. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites, I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath’s sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted.” (“The Last Battle” 203-204)

So if you still feel connected to something bigger, but don’t want to get into all the debates and crazy tangents that seem to come with the religious package, try being spiritual. Sure you’ll get shit from people still because they can’t comprehend faith without rules and restrictions, but you’ll probably feel better as a person. Just because you don’t conform to a specific religion doesn’t mean you don’t have morals or that you’re a “bad” person.

So go hug a friend, hug an enemy, hug a tree. My idea of spirituality is about ending the hate between religions and saying, “Let’s just hang out and learn from each other.” Let’s take out the hypocrisy that’s ultimately ingrained in religion. By labeling yourself or conforming to organized religion, you’re taking sides and alienating yourself on some level from others who don’t believe the same things as you. You’re condemning those unlike you to hell. “Judge not lest ye be judged.” Can’t we take out all the labels and be civil while we exchange our views? Try being spiritual. In my definition, it means loving everyone as unconditionally as you possibly can, living a life you’d be proud to share with others, caring for our planet, attempting to always expand your mind, constantly learning and growing, and striving to make our life on this earth a paradise. What’s your definition?

Let’s teach our children love.

*quietly steps off of soapbox*

Hello DC, or “Thoughts on having a roommate”

So, I just moved to Washington DC from Indianapolis, IN. I’m only slightly freaking out from this huge change in my life. Most of my life is still scattered in boxes around the house. But I have my Bethany, so I’m super happy, and I feel like I can handle most challenges that life tosses my way. We just moved in Saturday. And the 10 hour drive was KILLER. My butt was so numb. But I did have my teddy bear on my lap for most of the roadtrip. It was comforting, and we have the same shades, so people kept giving me weird looks. And yes, I do thoroughly enjoy being a weirdo. Normal people are boring.

Tips for long roadtrips:

BE CRAZY!!! It helps the time go by faster. Do things like hang up weird signs in your car or make faces at children in passing cars. Hours of fun.

Flex your butt. It keeps it from going to sleep and maybe you’ll have killer cheeks by the end of the trip!

Water, juice, more water. It keeps you hydrated and alert. It also makes you stop to pee all the time, giving you an excuse to stretch your legs. Don’t drink soda; it makes you pee more and it’ll make you crash.

No guilt snacks: Like pretzels! Low calories so that you can just graze for most of the trips, therefore avoiding gross fast food and giving you something to do.

MUSICALS: They tell a story to keep you entertained and you can sing at the top of your lungs to them in the car cause no one is there to judge you. And I don’t care if other people see me singing and dancing in my car. It’s the one place where I can sing at the top of my lungs without the neighbors getting pissed.

But this post is about having a roommate, not how to roadtrip! I love Beth. We lived together our freshman and sophomore years of college, so we know that we live well together. We have lots of the same tastes and are the same kinds of crazy. We always say that I’m just a figment of her imagination or that she’s just a figment of mine. Most likely, she’s just a figment of mine cause no one can really be as weird as me. But I did just google the last name of the character Jordan from Scrubs while she was in the bathtub because she couldn’t think of Jordon’s surname and it was driving her crazy. We have so many inside jokes… it’s probably dangerous that we’re living together… But it’s so fantastic at the same time.

The best part of living with a roommate again is the balance that comes from a solid friendship. Living with my mother after college was hard because we couldn’t find the right balance between me being a “grown-up” and still being her daughter. But that’s completely gone with Beth (obviously). We’re both equals in the house. Although she is the man/Chandler in our relationship while I am the woman/Joey. And in every post that involves Beth, there will also be numerous Scrubs and Friends references and probably a few from Will & Grace as well. We’re starting a tradition of watching Buffy every Sunday night too because I haven’t seen that series yet. And I’ll probably make her watch Weeds. Yes, we pretty much always have a TV on in the background of whatever we’re doing. We currently have four TVs hooked up in the living room. One for each of us to play video games on, and one to watch TV while we play video games. And that last one… eh, just sort of there. Yes, we are that nerdy. And it’s fantastic. Oh my god tangent! BALANCE. Yes, this paragraph is about balance. She knows about living on her own, while I am the expert on living with lots of people. We both take turns cooking and doing dishes. We both are clean freaks. We both like to sit around in our underwear. I can reach the things on the top shelves because she’s very small. And the biggest way that we balance each other… is that we complete each other’s collections. I have the first Matrix movie and she has the last two. I have most of the Disney movies and she has most of the Fox/Dreamworks/Pixar movies. Our libraries compliment each other very well, and I’m very excited to dive in to her book collection just as she is with mine. And we both sing musicals at the top of our lungs together. And she’s going to teach me how to use public transportation. What!? I’ve lived in the Midwest my whole life, I don’t know how to figure out a bus/metro schedule…

An MS Paint picture that Beth made freshman year of Beth stabbing me in my sleep.

Beth and I have never really had a fight of any sort. Our biggest rift was when I joined a sorority and had to live in the house for at least a year, meaning that I couldn’t live with her all four years of college. She wasn’t enthused about that. We sort of drifted apart junior year because we weren’t living together and I was going through some massive transformations, but we were always friends. I think part of the reason that Beth and I work so well together is that we don’t really fight. If we have a problem, we talk about it, or let it be for a few days and then talk about it. But she’s very mature, chill and really doesn’t get offended easily. I just love this picture that she made for me freshman year. Her caption for it on Facebook was “I DON’T LOVE MY ROOMMATE ANYMORE” and then a whole comment conversation took place about not even giving me hair which led to me somehow being a cancer patient and not deserving hair, and what, cancer patients don’t deserve hair, you’re fucked up, etc. Always good for a laugh. I really wonder what I did to provoke this picture… probably left cheese in the microwave. Beth is not a fan of cheese. I am. Edit: After several text messages guilting me over not remembering why she made this picture and calling me an asshole several times, she told me. Apparently I made an MS Paint picture of her kneeling in front of her at-the-time sort-of-but-not-really boyfriend that said “I will love *insert guy’s name here* for eternity” and posted it on Facebook with tags. Oh MS Paint wars… I miss those… *evil idea* MUAHAHAHA

Anyway, I guess what this long and ramble-tastic post is about is the importance of “sismance.” You know, the opposite of “bromance.” It’s especially important for women to foster close relationships with other women because we fulfill each other in ways that men never will. Ok, now that I sound like a HUGE lesbian, I’m gonna say that I love my roommate and can’t wait to share all the ridiculous stories, situations, and adventures that we’ll get ourselves in to. (And she is a lesbian [most of the time]  btw, so I’m allowed to make lesbian jokes by proxy.) Oh, and I’ll post some pictures of the apartment as soon as it gets unpacked and put away… HAHAHAHAHAHA yeah right, like that’ll ever happen…