F*ck! I’m in My Twenties

twenties

Author: Emma Koenig

My Rating: 5/5

20s

Today is my twentieth birthday, so what better day then to review a book on the subject of the new decade I have just entered.

This is a hilariously brilliant book filled with flow charts, graphs, illustrations and checklists illustrating the wonderful time for those who are no longer teenagers and are coming to realize adulthood has begun to creep into our lives, whether we like it or not.

Despite it being only the first day of being in my twenties, I relate to this book to the point that it actually creeps me out. Especially this LInkedIn one:

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And I’d like to mention how on point this page is on relationship statuses. It would be nice if Facebook had something like this list to choose from:

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I currently identify best with the eighth option.

The accuracy of this book is incredible as well as comforting to know that I’m not the only person who doesn’t really have any set plans on what their career and lifetime goals are, and that is just fine.

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This is also a wonderful day for me to celebrate the fact that I never became a teen mom, such an accomplishment!

One never really grows out of trashy talk shows.

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(Since I missed Selfie Sunday this week here is a cringe worthy “swag” one of me when I was approximately 13 years old.)

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An Observation

I never had any interest in growing up quick when I was a kid. While all the girls in my grade six class were trying to find boys to date, I was playing double dutch.

When middle school came around, I never had any desire to turn my clothing style sexually provocative or even to put make up on. Hell, I only started using makeup two years ago.

The funny thing is, I just never felt the pressure to grow up fast like everyone else my age when I was a young teenager. This is sort of odd, considering peer pressure is supposed to be unavoidable when attending any school, whether it be public or private. None the less, I was much more interested in reading fairy tales and writing short stories than going to preteen dances.

Fast forward to age nineteen (almost twenty) and I have started to observe something that I should have gone through when I was thirteen: wanting to grow up fast. This time though, it is different. Instead of wanting to have a boyfriend like all my friends, I think about settling down. Granted, I know that in many places across the world, getting married at nineteen is totally normal, but looking around my community, it would be very strange. Plus, would I even be ready for a lifetime commitment? I haven’t even had a serious, long term boyfriend before….well that answers that.

Perhaps it’s simply because all of my current friends are much older than me and married, or at least, moved out of the family nest. It could be just the normal young adult in me that wants to move out, that’s nothing new.

I suppose I just really need to remind myself that most people I surround myself with are typically ten years older than me, or more. To try to get up to the same level of life experience as them is ludicrous.

It’s not that I don’t like my friends, they are great and cool people, but maybe I need to find some others who are around my age I can relate to.

The End of My Gap Year

I went on a temporary hiatus, and during the past month quite a few things have changed for me. I am back in school and recently landed a new job at a thrift store.

These events may seem minor and/or every day life, but landing an actual interview and getting the job is huge for me. My social anxiety has been holding me back from so many things. Because of this, I figured it was best for me to take a gap year to work on my social anxiety along with my other mental health problems.

Today was my very first shift at my new job, and while it was quite nerve wracking to actually walk into the store as a new employee, I could go up and ask for help. This may seem minor as well, but it is such an improvement from what I used to be like. Me? Talking to strangers? If you told me that five years ago, I truly would not believe it.

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So that is what I have been up to recently, and I’m just really proud of myself. Was my gap year worth it? Absolutely. I am so glad I took the time to work on myself and figure out what I want to do with my life. I believe it is not only healthy to focus on yourself, but necessary.

Anyways, that is the end of my personal update, but I will be back soon with more book reviews and miscellaneous blog posts. 🙂

Being Second Choice

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It’s a shitty feeling to be second choice or second pick in almost every given situation.

“Hey, all my friends suck and bailed on me at the last minute, want to come with me to this thing at (insert social gathering location) tonight?”

“Sure, I’ll hang out with you, if (insert friend/significant other name) isn’t busy.”

You seriously can’t help but wonder what is wrong with you or what do they have that you don’t. I’ve spent hours and hours trying to change for people, trying to win to be “worthy” of being their first pick.

In the end, it took a long ass time for me to realize that it was never about my flaws or what I was doing wrong. If people can’t come to realize how awesome, fun and important I can be, it’s their loss, certainly not mine.

I’ve surrounded myself with some pretty toxic people in the past couple of years, who in the end, have been there for me part-time or to their own convenience. God knows how many times I’ve let people use me. I’ve tried to suck up to earn approval, I’ve bought Christmas presents for people who have treated me less than a person, I’ve cleaned someone’s house who stole my kitten, trying and trying again to be “good enough.” And what have I gotten out of all that? Nothing.

You can give and give but it never guarantees you will receive anything in return. You’re not second choice because you suck, you are second choice because the people who treat you like that suck.

And I often like to think that karma will one day, bite them in the ass pretty painfully.

Maybe not today, maybe not next month, maybe not this year, but it will come around.

It always does.

Zayn

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In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past five years, One Direction is the current world boy band sensation since their exit on the X-Factor in 2010/2011.

As of yesterday, March 25, Zayn has officially quit the band citing that he wants to be a “normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight.”

Normally I wouldn’t write a blog post on a subject like this, but One Direction was my entire life in high school. Oh, the memories of reading and writing 1D fan fiction and fangirling over the albums and new music videos, those were the days. Knowing that 1/5 of 1D has left is a bittersweet feeling.

There is a load of bullshit going online about fans trying to harm or kill themselves because of Zayn’s departure, which is fucking ridiculous as well as incredibly selfish. You have the right to be sad, sure, but trying to guilt Zayn to change his mind by claiming to kill yourself is beyond immature and self centred.

This was probably the hardest decision Zayn ever had to make in his life, and he chose what was best for him, despite what the celebrity frenzied world was going to say about it.

And I think that is just incredibly brave and very inspiring.

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Top Questions I Get About Being a Child Stroke Survivor

I live in a small city, or for the most part it feels like it.

Generally, when I meet somebody new, especially anybody that my parents know, I get the same questions. “So how are you doing now?” Or, the braver ones ask what they are really wondering about, “So, what was it like?”

“It” equals the stroke.

When I was ten years old I suffered from a rare form of a stroke on the left side of my brain. While I was in a coma for a few weeks, my parents for some reason, decided not to keep my medical condition much of a secret.

It has been nine years now since it all happened, and it still amazes me that some people continue to ask about it. I can understand their curiosity, what are the chances a perfectly healthy kid suffered a massive stroke? How did it happen?

I figured outlining the top questions, and next time someone asks I can direct them to this blog post. I’m not offended by the questions, I’m sure I’d wonder about what it is like to have cancer, I’m just too shy enough to ask a cancer patient about it.

1.) How did it happen?

I’m not a scientist, I actually suck at science, so I’m just going to boil it down to the basics.

There are a lot of different kinds of strokes, the most common happen in older people. My type of stroke was not the same kind that older people have.

The best way to explain my type is, it was a birth defect. The way my brain was wired from birth, it was like a ticking time bomb. Due to the arrangements of my brain vessels, they were going to burst eventually due to the defect of their positioning. Hence, causing my rare “birth defect” stroke.

2.) How did it start?

It started off as a mild headache. Then the headache got worse, and worse. As the night progressed it got to the point that it was unbearable and I started to throw up and pass out.

3.) Do you have any permanent effects from it?

I am blind in the bottom corners of my eyes and my right arm and leg are number than my left side. Apart from that, you can’t tell just from looking at me that I had a stroke.

4.) Did it hurt?

The brain itself, did not hurt. The human brain actually does not have any pain receptors, which is really fascinating. Regardless, it was the most painful thing I had ever experienced so far. The best way I can describe it as imagining the worst headache you have had, then multiply the pain level by five and add to the fact that you are losing the ability to speak or walk.

Those are the most common questions I get. I don’t mind talking about my experience, as I believe it is very important to spread awareness that anybody at any age can suffer from a stroke. The kind of stroke I got was obviously, incredibly rare, but all the same, I did not know children could have strokes. Hell, my parents didn’t even know.

If you have any other questions at all, feel free to leave them in the comments below. 🙂

Mind > Body

It was a warm July day a couple of years ago when I biked to my new doctor’s clinic for my very first adult annual checkup. I was seventeen at the time, so I still had a paediatrician; but finding family doctors that was taking in new patients were hard to find, so when my mom found a doctor down the street from her work that had space in his practice, I figured it was best I jump on the chance.

Everything started out normally but as I feared, I was lead to the dreaded scale. I didn’t have a scale at home, and I rarely checked my weight at my gym’s scale.

“You are right now, just about 154 pounds,” the chirpy nurse announced.

This wasn’t really a huge surprise, last time I weighed myself I was about 148, and that was a while ago. As nice as my doctor was, there was no delicate or pretty way of him telling me I needed to lose some weight.

This bothered me, sure, nobody likes someone to say to them that you should lose some weight, but I didn’t drastically bike to the gym and work out for four hours or chuck out my favourite caramel n’ cheese popcorn.

Come September however, was when things really changed for me.

I had been diagnosed with general anxiety and social anxiety since I was sixteen, so my shrink had been suggesting that I look into antidepressants to decrease my anxiety. I spoke to my doc about it, and he prescribed me prozac.

Many medications like mine, do not produce the same results for everyone. People react differently to the medication. Some people may not react well to the medication, or maybe the side effects they got from the medication were too extreme to handle. While on my first few weeks on prozac, my hands would uncontrollably twitch and shiver, the only real physical side affect from the prozac that I could detect. As weeks went by though, it took me a while to notice something else, my entire appetite had decreased.

As months went by I continued to lose weight, and by the time summer came around again I was 115 pounds (which is still in the healthy range for my height.) It was really the summer when people, especially my family, noticed my weight loss.

And all the while, my anxiety had decreased dramatically. I was able to go up to a sales clerk where they carried their sunglasses, instead of hiding and avoiding eye contact from sales associates that were there to help me in the first place. I was able to say hello to strangers on the streets instead of constantly worrying if that person was snickering at my dorky shoes. Prozac didn’t turn me into the life of the party, that is for sure. I was, and still am, the shy, quiet and nerdy introvert. I’m fine with that really, I am just incredibly happy I found something to help me while I continue to work on my social anxiety and depression.

I still get comments and questions at family gatherings. “You look so good, what magical exercise did you do all summer?” I can see where they are coming from, physical changes are always more noticeable than mental ones. And then they ask what my trick is.

“Honestly man, it’s my meds, it’s how my body reacts to my medication, that is all, that is it, and everyone reacts to antidepressants differently.”

It was my Mom that was mostly concerned. “You have lost so much weight, you better not have an eating disorder!”

Ugh.

Really, in the simplest terms, I never starved myself to achieve a certain weight loss goal or over excised to burn a certain amount of calories. I never counted calories or addicted to pro-eating disorder web forums.

Like anything else, assumptions are never the best way to get an answer out of someone. And above all, while working on your physical health is important, mental health is equally important, maybe even more. I am happier not because I went down a few dress sizes, but because I’ve been seeing improvement in myself with my mental illnesses with prozac has an aid.

You are not your body, you are your mind.