SIX DAYS IN VIENNA

Dear Reader,

I was fortunate enough to go to Europe this summer for a study abroad trip. Even more fortunately, I was able to convince my mom, sister, aunt, and cousin to come over and meet up with me in Austria so I wouldn’t have to come back to the US so soon. Together, we spent six days in Vienna. I want to do a longer post later with more details, pictures, and maybe some tips, but this is the overview of what we did while we were abroad.

MONDAY

My extremely jet-lagged family rolled into the Airbnb around noon on the first day of our trip. We were super fortunate to be in the first district–which is prime location because most must-do touristy things are in walking distance. So they unpacked a bit before we decided to head down the street to the Hofburg Palace to check out the National Treasury.

This was one of those things that most people say you have to check out while you’re in Vienna because it showcases all of the jewels and is a cool exhibit, but it was a little underwhelming for me. It cost something like 12 euros for me, my mom, and my aunt, but Sarah and Missy got in for free because they’re 18 and 19 and there’s a deal at a lot of these museums to try and attract teenagers.

The highlights, for me, were the unicorn horn (really a narwhal horn) and the baby carriage with a bird perched on the end to symbolize being destined for greatness. We also had Rick Steve’s book with us, so that provided us with some much-needed background information. However, none of us are really that informed on Austrian history and the exhibit itself was really dimly lit, so I think it just set in for the five of them how tired they were.

Afterwards, my mom and aunt sat (read: fell asleep) on the bench outside while Sarah, Missy, and I headed to the cute shops around the corner. I just wanted to show them these shops before they close (stores close relatively early in Europe) but we ended up going back more than once the rest of the week.

So we went back to the flat and they all slept while I continued making plans for the group. When they woke up, it was as good a time as any to go to dinner, so we went to a really good Italian restaurant that was just past St. Stephen’s cathedral. I also used this time to give them a quick overview of the first district (the little I learned in the few days I was in the city before them) and my aunt took tons of photos. Probably half of the pictures in this post are from her.

After dinner we got what I now call “inevitable ice cream” (shoutout to Elisabeth & Austrian history) and each bought a week-long metro pass. Then we went back to the flat to crash before what we would consider our first full day of Vienna.

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TUESDAY

We got up pretty early and used to metro to go to what I think is considered the seventh district, but is only a few metro stops away. We ate breakfast at a nice place called Figar where I ordered French Toast with fruit and honey plus a cafe latte. Our waitress was also super cool and translated our entire menu for us and talked to us about where we’re from–which is Ohio and Massachusetts. Funnily enough, she was in Cincinnati for a while and then ended up on the East Coast while she was an au pair for a family, so she had been to Boston a few times as well.

After breakfast we shopped along a street called Mariahilfer, but is apparently referred to as Mahu, so that’s what I called it. We found some cool stores and I bought some clothes from Monki and Pull & Bear, because those were two stores that were actually in my budget (unlike, say, Desigual).

Then we ventured around Vienna trying to find Shakespeare & Co bookstore. It took some time, but was so cute when we actually found it. From there I bought Where I Lived, and What I Lived For by Henry David Thoreau as well as Books for Living by Will Schwalbe because I’m a sucker for books about books. Sarah also got Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them for her boyfriend.

Afterwards we went to Augarten, where I could’ve easily spent the afternoon, but we quickly moved on to find a game cafe called Sperlhof.

It took us much too long to find and we were disappointed to find they didn’t sell meals, necessarily, but it ended up being one of my most enjoyable parts of the trip. My mom and aunt sipped beer and we all completed a puzzle, which was almost as big of an accomplishment as it was to find the cafe in the first place.

We ended the day in Prater, which is the world’s oldest amusement park. I had already gone on the ferris wheel, so my family did that while I started one of my books (and my sister ended up taking this picture that makes me look ridiculously extra).

Then we got bratwurst and Missy, Sarah, and I picked two rides each. I was deadset on The Toboggan because, even though it’s just a huge slide, two people have died on it. But then Sarah pointed out a random roller coaster and we all decided that’d be fun.

WEDNESDAY

Wednesday was another packed day. We started by visiting a World War II memorial and St. Stephen’s cathedral. For a few euros we got to climb to the top and took some pretty cool pictures of the city. Afterwards, we went to a place called Hungry Guy for lunch, which was prime.

In the afternoon we ventured out to Stadtpark which, in my opinion, is 10x better than Augarten. It just has better foliage, really, and cool statues of musicians and composers, but it was really cool.

For dinner, Sarah and I decided to go to a Wurstlstand on Hoher Markt because it was a little infamous. In the 1900s, there were two of these stands on this street and they were fighting to be the best. The conflict escalated until one day, the owner of one stand chased the other around the square and eventually shot him dead. That stand is now the favorite.

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Afterwards, Sarah and I decided we wanted to see a movie so we reserved tickets for Baywatch at the Haydn Cinema, which has a good selection of movies in English. We took the metro out there around 7:30 and got some ice cream before it started. I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, as I thought I would, and the cinema, itself, was really cool. It was a fun end to a really good day.

THURSDAY

On Thursday we left Vienna for Salzburg by bus for a Sound of Music tour. Salzburg is about three hours away but our tour guide used this time to give us some information on the movie, what we’d be seeing, and then some random information about Vienna and Salzburg, themselves. He played music from the movie as we drove around and we got out at two different spots and took some pictures.

Once we were in the heart of Salzburg, I guess, he took us on a little walking tour and told us about spots we could visit like where Mozart grew up and what very well might be the oldest restaurant in the world (he said it dated back to the year 800). Then he gave us a few hours to explore.

My family and I mostly used this time to grab a bite to eat and tour Mozart’s museum before getting back on the bus to return to Vienna. Salzburg is beautiful and today was still a great day, but this is the one part of the trip I wouldn’t necessarily recommend.

What I would recommend is to visit Salzburg how my friends did it, but I might get into that in an entirely separate post. I will say that I think the Mozart museum is well worth it (just don’t forget your student ID) and was a highlight of my trip for sure. 

FRIDAY

We spent Friday morning at Schonbrunn palace. The night before we made sure to get online tickets and chose the “family package” because it easily saved us 30 euros. I had already been to the palace with my friends the week before so my family did the tour with audio guides while I waited in the cafe area and wrote some journal entries.

When they came out we decided we might as well eat at that cafe because I had already been sitting there for well over an hour. Their muffins are amazing, by the way, and their paninis taste like Hamburger Helper (which is a compliment, for the record). Then my mom and aunt explored the grounds while Sarah, Missy, and I did a few mazes (which was included under the family package) and posed with the statues (which was free).

We took the metro home and Sarah wanted to send a postcard to her boyfriend so we spent part of the afternoon exploring Vienna and going in random shops. After the post office we took a longer way home because I wanted to walk past the Hotel Orient, which is a hotel where people can rent out rooms for three-hour blocks. If we had time, I would’ve liked to find a cafe nearby to watch the people coming in and out of this hotel, but we had dinner plans.

While we were in Stadtpark on Tuesday, we decided to buy tickets to a classical concert/ballet/opera. The guy told us that we could wear whatever, but we thought it might be fun to dress up a bit. So after our outfit changes, we went back to Stadtpark and had dinner at a restaurant right outside the park. I had pizza and beer and I have no shame in saying that it was my favorite dinner of the whole trip.

We took some nice pictures and went to the concert, which really was a lot of fun and reminded me how much I miss cello, and then we took the metro home.

SATURDAY

You know when you go on vacation and then all of a sudden you realize you didn’t get anything for certain people that you probably should? That happened to all of us on varying degrees on Saturday, so our day basically just consisted of shopping and packing.

The first place we went to was Naschmarkt which was a bitch to find, let me tell you. Once we did, though, it was so much fun. Not everyone in my family likes to barter, but I LOVE it. I’m not overconfident in my abilities, but I really like the game of it all. And the fact that this was just like a huge flea market was a ton of fun. I got two tapestries–one for me and one for a friend’s birthday–and then my mom got Sarah and I these wooden plank things that were really cool looking.

Afterwards we went back to Mahu because my aunt loved Monki so much. I was basically out of money and said friend was the last on my list so I just got ice cream with Sarah, but everyone else found cool things they were looking for.

Once we were back in the first district, we went to those shops I pointed out the first day: 1900, the I Love Vienna store, and another one I forget the name of. I got some cute postcards and a mug I had my eye on since the first day but wanted to make sure I still wanted it by the end of the trip. I still wanted it.

After shopping my family annoyingly forced me to pack before we could get dinner (they all were waiting on me) so that took up the rest of the afternoon, but then we went to dinner around the corner of our flat. I got pizza and beer again and my mom and aunt actually got to keep their beer glasses because they made friends with our waiter after Sarah, Missy, and I left to get ice cream for dessert.

Here’s the only picture we took that day:

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So that’s my quick, 2,000-word synopsis of how we spent our days in Vienna. I’ll probably write on this subject again, in some form or another, but for now I think this post will suffice.

Sincerely,

Sammy

WHO EVEN FOLLOWS THIS THING ANYMORE?

Dear Reader,

The only consistent thing about me is my inconsistency, that’s for sure. But it’s final’s week in my life currently (well, the past three weeks have basically been considered “final’s week” for me), and I am a terrible procrastinator. Fortunately for me, I often procrastinate schoolwork by working on passion projects.

I’ll practice guitar or listen to covers I think I might be able to pull off one day. I’ll write handwritten notes or journal entires. Sometimes I’ll work on my teaching portfolio or browse Pinterest to see what I could implement in my own classroom. And just now, even, I finished listening to Logic’s third album, “Everybody,” and then read some articles on what people think about him–side note, LOTS of people hate on Logic. I don’t really care, though. I like his message and I like the way he tells it. Good enough for me.

But this blog is very much a “passion project” for me. I’ve never tried to make money off of it (lol could you imagine) and I haven’t been consistent in my posts for QUITE some time. But I still keep it around because every once in a while I feel like writing a blog post.

That being said, I really feel like I’ll be utilizing this more once the summer hits. So I thought I’d just make this little update post for anyone out there who still checks in on me every once in a while.

MUSIC: Music is one of the things that continues to inspire and motivate me. I’ve gone kind of crazy with making playlists this year (pushing on 90 in total, so says Spotify) and I’ve certainly pulled the occasional accidental all-nighter because I got wrapped up in finding new shit. But I have a lot that I want to share and a lot of half-written blog posts that I want to eventually publish. There’s one in the works about my favorite albums of all-time, and another one of my all-time favorite covers from The Voice that I can’t stop listening to. I also just have a lot of admiration for people who know SO MUCH about music. So, while this certainly isn’t going to turn into a “music blog,” you can definitely expect that in these next few posts.

SCHOOL/TRAVEL: Every semester I get more and more into my major–English Education–which is a good thing, of course. It’d be pretty concerning if I became less interested in it over the years. But in a little over a week, I’ll actually be leaving for Europe to take a two-week course that compares different education systems. Now, this blog also isn’t going to turn into my professional development in that realm (that’s for a separate corner of the Internet where I reside), I will be visiting four countries in two weeks, and then hanging out in Vienna for another week with my family. So, you’ve seen me in Hilton Head. You’ve seen me in Gulf Shores. Get ready to witness me taking on Europe.

TV: Netflix has sort of been killing it with the originals lately. I, along with everyone else, finished Thirteen Reasons Why and definitely had some thoughts. I really don’t know if I’ll post all of that, though, because my journal entry about it ended up being over 3,000 words. You guys don’t want to read that. I also watched BoJack Horseman before that (LOVE, btw) and am now watching Girlboss which makes me want to get bangs and steal stuff. So who knows, maybe I’ll share some opinions on these shows in a bit. Critical thinking can happen everywhere, y’all. Don’t let our hierarchy of culture tell you that we need to bash good television and praise art that makes us feel nothing.

 

LOVE LIFE: 

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READING: Lastly, I’m hoping to read a lot more this summer than I have thus far in 2017. Last semester I was going strong all the way until the end, but the motivation just hasn’t been there lately. However, I did just give a speech on the importance of reading and as I was talking I was just thinking, “shit I need to start practicing what I preach.” So, if anything, this blog might start being book recommendation and review heavy. But, hey, could be worse, right?

So that’s where I’m at right now. I’m twenty-years-old and the world’s lookin bright. If you’ve been following me for a while and like what you just read, I’m happy to have ya around. If you’re bored out of your mind and wanna leave, no scrape off my nose. I’ll probably have to delete this thing or make all the posts private when I start looking for a teaching job in a year and a half, anyway. So let’s live it up while we can.

I mean besides, it’s not like the internet is forever or anything.

Sincerely,

Sammy

Why I’ll Never Be Tan

Dear Reader,

A lot of my friends are very into spray tanning right now. I totally get it–your skin looks clearer, your teeth look whiter, your muscles look more toned. Plus, it’s not like they’re using tanning beds or actually harming their skin. They’re just getting spray tans once or twice a week so they can feel a little more confident. I’m really not knocking it.

But the other day they were talking about how they have to plan their workout schedule more meticulously because they don’t want streaks, which could come if they sweat a lot on the same day they go to the tanning place.

This reminded me of my junior prom. I had gotten a spray tan earlier that day and decided, that night, to watch the second-to-last episode of The Office. To this day I am still so thankful that it wasn’t the series finale–otherwise my face would have been royally messed up. This episode, however, just jerked a single tear that ran down my cheek–and freicken stained my face.

Remembering this, I made the comment that I probably couldn’t spray tan regularly because of how often I cry. They looked at me kind of funny, maybe a little skeptical too, and asked, “Really? You cry that often?”

And yeah, I cry at least once or twice a week. Sometimes if I’m in a weird spell I’ll notice that I’m crying daily, but those only come around every so often. I really don’t think it’s that bizarre, though, because as I thought about it, I realized that I cry way more because of the lives of others than because of my own.

In fact, more often than not, I cry at the lives of fictional people. When Callum died in Noughts & Crosses and Anna and Elsa grew up without each other in Frozen and Clay discovered that he forgot his own son in One Tree Hill, I shed an absurd amount of tears. And even after the screen was off and the book was closed, I cried. I would just think of these storylines and feel such an overwhelming sadness.

Ugh, especially Clay. His storyline messed me up for days.

These stories just grip me. And these damn writers know just how to work it. The stories they create grab a hold of my heart, and sometimes they’re nice to it and I leave feeling fuller or happier, but other times they just toy with it. They squeeze it until I think it might burst–and I have to remind myself that these are all characters, being manipulated by their writers.

Still–Clay was in such a state of stock when his wife suddenly died that he blocked out his son for six years.

I’m seriously starting to cry again. But it probably doesn’t help that “When She Loved Me” is currently playing from my Spotify.

Jesus, maybe I do this to myself. Maybe I just surround myself with really sad shit as a subconscious way to access these emotions I don’t normally feel.

Or maybe not. Who the hell knows.

But I was thinking about this because I came across a quote the other day that said “you can’t protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.”

I don’t do it intentionally. It’s just that not a lot of sad things have happened to me–and I’m truly lucky and grateful for that. I don’t even think I cried when my parents sat us down and said that my mom had breast cancer because we knew her chances were really good–and she’s doing great now! I’ve never lost a loved one (touch wood) and can count the funerals I’ve been to on one hand. I’ve never been dumped or cheated on or had my heart broken–but I’ve also never been in love. And no one’s ever been in love with me.

The other day my friend was telling me some of the stuff she’s been through–stuff I could never imagine happening to me or having to deal with.

And now I’m watching Thirteen Reasons Why where all these teenagers are complaining that the teachers have no idea what they’re going through, and I think I’m about to be grouped in with all of them. Because high school wasn’t really hard for me, but it wasn’t easy I guess either. The biggest things I dealt with were my ADD and self-confidence stuff, but that’s all child’s play. I didn’t really see bullying or peer pressure or rumors getting out of hand. I just sort of floated by.

I think I’m still just kind of floating by. I don’t want a ton of bad shit to happen to me or anything. I understand I have a really cushy life and I’m thankful for all the things I could be taking for granted–the fact that my parents are still alive and together. The fact that I have a sister who is my best friend and a family that is overall supportive. I have friends and I get good grades and I have hobbies and interests.

I cry a lot, but I’m not sad. Or maybe I am.

But I’m also happy, I think.

At this point it kind of just feels like a default setting, and I’m just waiting for it to change.

Hopefully one day soon.

Hopefully this isn’t one of those “careful what you wish for” things.

Hopefully I don’t look back at this post and cringe at my glaring privilege.

Here’s hoping.

Sincerely,

Sammy

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FINISHED.

Dear Reader,

This post is probably going to be pointless and is being written for no audience whatsoever but I need to get it out there for my own sanity  because I’ve reached the point of the semester where I feel like I’m completely losing it.

I can’t finish anything.

This, of course, is a theme in my life and has been since I can remember. My brother used to relentlessly make fun of me by listing off all of the projects I started and never finished–the books and songs I would write, the neighborhood newspaper I tried to get going, the web series that only ever reached the planning stage, the store that my sister and I would man. I was very young for all of these weird ideas, but the point still stands: I can’t finish shit.

I have written so many blog posts in the past few days. Some are about serious stuff, others are just updates, but all of them are left unfinished.

Of course, that’s the least of my worries at this point because there’s all of my schoolwork that goes unfinished. In fact, it is RARE for me to complete a course without missing an assignment. And even when I have the opportunity to turn the assignment in late, it always remained unfinished. Even when I write or meet with the professor during the editing stages and ask for an extension or whatever, it still never gets done.

I have books on my shelf that are half-read. I have my daily calendar that tells me what historic thing woman have done on this day still on February 6th. I have a loose budget because I can’t bring myself to finish hounding out the details. Even now, right this moment, I am laying on my unmade bed with a blanket over me because I can’t bring myself to put the clean sheets back on the mattress.

And I don’t know what’s wrong with me and I know it’s nothing new but what really irks me is when I go to the doctor’s and they give me the survey to check up on my ADD and I read the question: “Do you often start tasks but quickly lose focus or become easily sidetracked?”

Because it’s kind of a tricky answer. Yes, but I don’t just forget about the task I was doing first (well, not always). I just get sidetracked with another task or another project. I remember when I didn’t write a final for one of my classes freshman year because I was writing my novel. And then this summer I didn’t bother editing my poor draft for the journalism class I was in because I wanted to make a medley of Sia’s songs on the piano.

So I don’t know if this is ADD or just a terrible habit of abandoning projects or just who I am as a person but it’s so annoying and I don’t know how to fix it. Even now I’m reaching the point of just giving up on this entry and moving onto something else, but I’m going to push through.

And I just wonder what it would be like if my life had focus. In the general sense, I guess. Or if I could just keep the focus, but that sounds like ADD, doesn’t it? Except I take my meds–I even just recently upped the medication–and the problem remains.

So I know this is weird to publish. It doesn’t paint me in the best light, but it reveals a lot about who I am. And it certainly doesn’t have a point. No inspiring story or happy ending here. And I’m not even asking for help. I’m not saying, please give me suggestions on how I can change–because I don’t know if I can. I don’t know that there’s anything anyone can tell me to do that isn’t the obvious “get your shit done” answer.

But anyway, I think this is the ending. There. I’ve written one cohesive (eh, debatable) post and I’m going to publish it so that I can prove to myself that I can finish at least one thing to completion. And then maybe that’ll inspire me to finish more. And then maybe I’ll finish the “if we were having coffee” post and the “I don’t know what do in this situation” post and I’ll start blogging again. And then maybe I’ll change.

Or maybe I’ll just forget I’ve even written this by the time I wake up tomorrow.

I guess we’ll just see.

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. I just titled this and it seems super dramatic if you don’t know the context, but I’m just saying “finished.” Like, one thing down, twenty to go type of thing. Jeez I hope no one takes it as something more serious lol

“Finished.”

Jesus.

PPS. I just typed “unfinished” in Google Images and “unfinished bridges” was the first thing to pop up and it just made me laugh because at least I’m just like a stupid student who’s not getting stuff done but it’s not detrimental to society or anything. Like who the hell is this guy who just didn’t finish this bridge?

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VIBIN

Dear Reader,

Two updates in two days? Pretty odd. And I’m not even writing right now just because my meds are kicking in and I need to word vomit onto a page.

In fact, I haven’t even taken the meds yet today and I kind of feel like a walking zombie because of it. Dead girl walking–out of adderall.

Not really. I have enough to last me the rest of the semester. More than enough. But every once in a while something about it freaks me out and I stop taking it for a bit.

I’ll take it later and I’m sure everything will be fine, I just need a breather.

Well, I kind of need more than that.

All I’ve wanted to do lately is listen to music. Maybe drink a little or get a little high and waste a day away. Maybe get some friends together and all share some good music and just sit in a circle, nodding our heads along to that good shit.

Or maybe do none of that.

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Sometimes I kind of just want to go home and lay in bed with my headphones and listen to all the albums I’ve been playing sporadically in the way they were intended.

I’ve been listening to a lot of rap and hip hop lately.

I mean, how can you let a year like this one go by without at least gaining a tiny appreciation for all the amazing artists in hip hop right now.

2016 has been shitty for a mile-long list of reasons, but it really has been the year of music.

It used to always just be Kanye that I would listen to because I would use hip hop to get hype. I’d find myself laughing at the lyrics as I actually listened to them, then I’d start to sing along. It’s amazing what acting like Kanye, if just for a song, can do to your self esteem.

And even though my “lets get it goin” playlist on Spotify is still one of my most played ones, I’ve started to use music to just chill.

Thus the creation of my playlist “chiller.”

Chance is classic, but Logic is new to me. Then there’s the old school Drake–you know, the Drake that’s got you remembering people you never had in the first place. There’s Kid Cudi when I want to sing and Wiz when I want to chuckle to myself. (You can’t have a “chill” playlist without the song “medicated”)

There’s a billion artists I didn’t even recognize before but now I put my headphones in and turn all the way up, pretending like they’re here next to me, performing to this audience of one.

I used to do this shit with Ed Sheeran and now it’s A$AP Rocky.

It’s funny how interests grow and change.

(I mean I still love Ed Sheeran though, let’s clear that up.)

I don’t know what the point of this is. I think it’s just because the other day I watched a Nathan Zed video and he said that YouTube really isn’t inspiring him that much anymore. In fact, a lot isn’t inspiring him at all. But he still has music.

Damn I’m thankful for music.

Every once in a while I fall into a rut where I just need some new songs to listen to or I think I’m gonna go insane. But then I fall out of it and feel renewed when I discover new artists and albums I’ve never noticed before.

Okay, yeah, so the point? Not sure. But music is damn amazing.

Now I’m gonna go and let Kendrick finish up with “Bitch don’t kill my vibe.”

Sincerely,

Sammy

THE HEAD VS. THE HEART

The head and the heart are not friends.

Maybe they will be one day, but for now they are not. Not for young women, at least.

The brain nags while the heart tempts.

It persuades.

She’s a crafty devil, the heart, and the brain is the annoyed older sister who rolls her eyes when you, the unsuspecting parent to them both, are duped once again because of ‘feelings’.

And maybe one day these sisters will be on the same page.

But you are young.

So every time a new boy or girl plays their games, and every new time you fall, the heart weeps and the brains says “I told you so.”

Then you repair.

And then it happens all over again.

Young girls must learn to listen to their heads and their hearts, as they are often at war with each other.

Mine are as well, but not in the same way.

See, my brain is a mess.

It’s been described as scattered before, which is really quite fitting, though horrendously overused.

Thoughts often lose their way in my brain because there’s not always a clear path. And when there is, my brain doesn’t always have the power to keep the thoughts, well, on track.

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This is a problem, as I’m sure one could guess. And the solution?

Drugs.

Adderall.

Half a tablet, by mouth, twice a day.

But the heart doesn’t like the medication that the head has been prescribed.

It never has.

It beats ferociously in protest, which only startles the head even more.

Am I dying? the head will think. Surely, this is the way I go.

All logic is lost when the heart loses control because the head becomes singularly focused on one thing, which maybe is the point of all of this.

Maybe it’s just the medication doing it’s job.

Except the heart hates the medication.

After all, it’s the medication’s fault this is happening.

Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome would never be part of my vocabulary if I didn’t have to take adderall.

And I would never have to take adderall if the brain could just focus.

So the heart hates the head.

But alas! the head remarks. Heart palpitations didn’t start out of nowhere when the diagnosis came at age 15.

Remember when your dad dunked your head in ice cold water to slow the insistent beating?

Remember the episode you had during your freshman year of soccer tryouts when you were simply standing by the goalpost?

Remember pulling the hands of AJ and Abbie to your chest, long before you would grow boobs, to show them how insane your heart was acting?

Remember, remember, remember? The head cries, as it pulls the memories like weapons from the vault of repression.

And the heart grows heavy with sadness as the head makes connections.

Because see? the head states. You’d be going crazy with or without the meds.

This hurts the heart, as the truth so often does. But the heart swells with it’s rebuttal, wounded but not yet defeated.

It lets out cries of passion. It throws a fit of rage. It screams until it aches.

I am worked tirelessly, all because you, you dumb brain, can’t function properly!

It kicks and it wheezes, beating faster and faster.

It’s your drugs that send me to dangerous speeds day in and day out.

The head starts to throb, unsure of who is the logical recipient for this anger.

And one day, it’s your drugs that are going to do me in! Because a brain can function if it’s scattered, but a heart can’t pump if it’s constantly being attacked.

The head hurts, because it is hearing the words coming straight from the heart.

The head controls it all. It thinks, oftentimes too much, about what is happening in the body, and it’s aware of the possibility of irreversible damage.

The head is too sad to cry, while the heart is sobbing and shaking, unable to control it’s weeps.

But they continue to battle, because every day the brain justifies the meds and every day the heart tries to fight them off.

Young girls must learn to listen to their heads and their hearts, as they are often at war with each other.

Love vs. logic.

Hope vs. pain.

It’s the battle that’s been written about forever.

Who will win, the head or the heart?

My insides have never quite fought this battle, but their own version rages within with each passing day.

Who will win, the head or the heart?

Which outcome would be better?

Which symptoms would be worse?

ADD or POTS?

Only time will tell.

THIS TOXIC WORLD WE LIVE IN

Dear Reader,

I think about this photo set a lot.

It’s from a TV show called Shameless that I still have to watch but is being RAVED about by everyone I know. I just saw the pictures on Tumblr one day, but it’s stuck with me.

“Renaissance women weren’t forced to starve themselves into an anorexic fashion industry marketing version of female sexuality.”

A lot of my friends are starving. One of my friends is a model and she confessed yesterday that she doesn’t eat as much as she should. We were having a casual conversation when she brought it up, and it slipped in almost unnoticeably because that’s so normal.

She’s also pre-med. She’s extremely smart. She’s funny. She’s edgy. But sometimes she doesn’t eat.

I have another friend who “pulls the trigger.” Again, it’s so casual when she talks about it. Sometimes it’s just when she talks about drinking, she’ll say she pulls the trigger in the bathroom of bars (meaning she causes herself to throw up) so that she can rally and drink more.

I once said to a group of friends “sometimes when you end a night of drinking by throwing up, don’t you feel like, well at least all of those calories are getting out of my body.” It’s a pretty relatable thought, actually.

And then we have my sister. She’s a freshman dance major. She’s an average height and a perfect weight. She’s got just enough of a booty, great calves, flat stomach, and is proportional everywhere else. She’s not a size 0, she may not be tall and super thin, but I’m envious of her body. Plus, she dresses well, can do her makeup like a boss, and is clearly the hotter sister.

This weekend after her recital our mother told her that she would be such a better dance if she lost weight.

She agreed.

She agreed before the thought even escaped from my mother’s mouth, because it’s a thought she’s had many times before.

It just makes me so angry. Everyone I talk to–and me–we know better. We know that we’re healthy and that we should love our bodies and that we shouldn’t think these thoughts.

When I went home for fall break and everyone told me how good I looked and asked if I lost weight, I knew it was toxic for them to say that. Because the reason why I’m losing weight is because I’m eating less. Because I’m off campus and I’m a poor (and frugal) college student. But I know that if I get enough positive reinforcement, I’ll continue to not eat as much as I should. I know that if I’ll keep challenging myself to go longer without eating. I know I’ll start to accept the growl in my stomach as a victory cry and I’ll start looking at food as the enemy.

I know I shouldn’t, but I know how slippery the slope is. I know how easily the brain can be manipulated and how, even unwillingly, the body will follow.

I’m not writing this as a cry for help. I’m starting to meal prep again and get back to working out and set my aim to be healthy.

I just hate this society. I hate that girls are going to extreme measures to live up to an unrealistic beauty standard. And I hate that we all know it, too. But we’re duped anyway because of the constant reinforcement from society that we should look a certain way. Because for every “body love” message I see, there’s ten pictures of thin girls–happy girls–that I want to be more.

I might write more on this topic later, but I just needed to vent. I think I’ll check out Believarexic and Winter Girls from the library this week. Just for more reinforcement.

As for now, though, I think I’ll make some spaghetti for dinner.

Sincerely,

Sammy