Once upon a time…

Once upon a time there was a female who felt herself to be (in the words of the immortal Ms. Spears) not a girl, not yet a woman. After all, on the cusp of 28 years old she was well past her girlhood and probably didn’t even qualify as a young woman anymore. But for a number of reasons she could not escape her family home and live a life with full adult responsibilities and therefore often felt like a child. (Although, for the record, she was very thankful that her family home was a pleasant place to live. Just wanna put that out there.)

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Additionally, there were aspects of her personality that occasionally made her feel childish. For instance, she would much rather stay in and play a video game than go out into the world and make connections that could perhaps advance her adult life. She had no long term goals besides “be happy and be able to support myself” which really was getting in the way of finding a job that would help her achieve those goals, as she had no firm direction to point herself in. When she reached her point of ultimate frustration, her body’s reaction was to cry (and then to cry more out of embarrassment for having cried).

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However, her greatest problem was that she had very little discipline. This can be traced back to her years in college. After spending high school driving herself crazy to get good grades in her full course load of high level classes, she very quickly noticed that she had enrolled in a college that was perhaps slightly too easy for her. She realized that she could do the bare minimum and still get good grades, and so that is what she did (while somehow still managing to graduate a semester early). By the time she left the mountains to return home to the land of Jersey, her discipline had fluttered away on a breeze.

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She turned her attention to various endeavors as she started her adult life, but she had lost her ability to follow through when it was not required by an employer. She took up the ukulele and wrote a handful of songs that were well received by people she knew, but when her inspiration fled, so to did her relationship with her ukulele. She bought a beautiful blue guitar and attended lessons, but when her teacher left the community center she let the guitar sit in the corner because there was no outside force compelling her to practice. There was a watercolor kit that she’d purchased after watching a few videos that had been barely touched. She couldn’t get herself to stick to an exercise regimen even though her overweight body begged her to by developing hypertension. There was a box of video games in her room that had been started, but never finished.

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Then there was the whole slew of internet videos, over 100 of them, made over the course of many years. YouTube was her most successful attempt at keeping up with a hobby long term. She occasionally took breaks for months at a time, but always returned. Until one day it hit her that she did not want to go back. There wasn’t any particular reason, she just somehow lost interest in creating online videos (although she did still spend an inordinate amount of time watching online videos instead of doing any of the things mentioned in the last two paragraphs).

If she was being really honest with herself, in most of the things she tried she grew to feel she was hopelessly mediocre and would never be good or worth notice no matter how much effort she put in, so why should she even bother?

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But just because she had given up on talking to a camera did not mean that she never wanted to talk to anyone about her more long-winded thoughts on the internet ever again. The internet can give the impression that we are meant to share everything about our lives, and while she knew that many aspects of her life were probably too dull to share, she still wanted to share some things. So she started a blog. She could have kept a physical journal, but the notion that someone might read her words and interact with her because of them excited her. She had made some quality internet friends on YouTube and thought that once she got going she might make some blogging friends as well.

She plugged away at her blog, dedicating time to make sure there would be a new post each week. While she didn’t make any new friends, she did feel herself to be free to talk about topics that she never felt alright talking about on YouTube. She finally unburdened herself regarding a few heavy stories from her life and was more open and raw about her mental health than she’d ever been before. She had friends and family to talk about these things with, but she could be clearer and take her time composing her thoughts. Somehow it was easier to write everything down instead of having to use her actual voice. It was freeing.

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But then, the inevitable happened. After taking a week off to go on a trip, her posting became more irregular and ultimately ceased entirely. Her main excuse at the time that she stopped was “it’s too hot to sit at my laptop for hours during the summer to put these posts together” and she swore she’d return in the fall. But autumn came and went and winter began and still she had not really posted anything, besides a post saying that she would be posting again soon that had actually been posted quite some time ago.

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The blog tugged at the back of her mind, but she was nervous about returning. She realized that was scared that she had nothing new left to say after all of the YouTube videos and blog posts she had already made. Nothing interesting anyway. But she wanted to write. So just after the new year started she put Google Docs on her phone so she could work on the same documents both at her desk and away from it and she started typing away. She wasn’t sure if it was any good, or if she would even be consistent about it, but she very badly wanted to be. She wanted to prove to herself that she could follow through, even if she felt like a worthless mediocrity while doing it.

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It was a new year, a new start, a new chance to do and be better. Hopefully this time something would stick.

[All images are from my collection of photos/YouTube thumbnails that I’ve taken over the years.]

27

Somehow it never really feels like the year has actually started until my birthday comes around at the end of January. And I mean the very end – I was born 1/31/1991, which sort of rolls off the tongue in a fun way. Just for kicks, here’s my birth announcement — I randomly found it in my house years ago and took it for myself, lol.

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I’m still feeling residual anxiety and hopelessness from 2017, but I’ve already talked at length about that so I won’t rehash it. You can, however, read about it here, if you’re feeling so inclined.

So after putting aside the notion of writing more about how shitty 26 was, I was trying to think of a direction for talking about starting 27. And then somehow my brain looked back 10 years to Krys-at-17. What was she up to? How does her life compare to mine now?

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Age 17. Driving a Duck on my first ever visit to Boston (an overnight trip with the school band).

The answer is, as much as I didn’t hate high school, I definitely wouldn’t want to relive my junior year. For instance, Junior Krys had a boyfriend who didn’t respect her boundaries and neither the voice to convince him to stop nor the confidence to just leave him. She spent a lot of time worrying about getting top grades in her full slate of high level classes, while her mother told her, “as long as you pass it doesn’t matter.” Driving gave her extreme anxiety so she didn’t get her license when she turned 17 and as a result didn’t have much of a social life outside of school.

When I think back to that school year I don’t remember being a constantly unhappy little cloud moping about (for instance, I did get to go on the cool overnight school trip pictured above), but I do vaguely remember writing on my Xanga blog about taking a mental health day. How many 17 year olds in 2008 even knew what a mental health day was?

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Actual picture taken with my webcam on my 22nd birthday. Was trying to show my whole outfit without cutting off my head, and somehow thought this pose was okay, lol.

And then I thought back just five years, to Krys-at-22. It was the start of 2013. She’d graduated from college just before Christmas, was beginning her search for her first adult job, and was nervous, but cautiously optimistic about what life would be like going forward.

2013 turned out to be one of the worst years of my entire fucking life. I was plagued by multiple forms of rejection, plunged into a very deep depression, and spent most of the year unemployed. It was only in September when I got part time work helping kids not so different from Krys-at-17 prepare for the SATs that I started to feel alright again. So, no, I would not want to go back five years’ time either.

So while, yes, I’m not starting out 27 with things in my life exactly the way I’d like them to be, I’m glad for the life experience I’ve gained. I’ve managed to survive all of the garbage of my life so far (including things I haven’t covered in blog form yet, obviously), and while I’m probably not the absolute strongest person I know, I’m not a weakling anymore either.

If someone isn’t treating me well and I’m in a position to get them out of my life (ie: not at my job), I do it (although usually silently, because I’m still usually not strong enough to tell people off). I’ve been shown multiple times that a lot of times I can get by in life with minimum effort, and that I don’t have to worry about being perfect so much. When rejection of any kind happens (by jobs, men, etc.) it’s because it wasn’t meant to be in the first place (although that doesn’t mean it doesn’t always sting a little). Driving is one of my absolute favorite things.

And if life is disappointing me now, that just means I’ve got better things ahead, right? (Hopefully?) (Soon?) (Please?)

Anyway, wherever you are, Reader, I hope you’re having the best week you can! Hang in there. ❤

–Krys

New Year, Same Old Shit

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Bringing in 2018 with a K-pop mug of champagne (not 100% filled, of course).

It was August when I decided that 2017 was a total wash, garbage, take it back to the store and try to persuade them to let me exchange it for a better year even though I’ve already used more than half of it because this one is clearly broken. The nail in the coffin was a boy, let’s call him K. We’d gone out maybe five or six times over the course of a month, and now, on the day he was supposed to come over to my house for the first time, he’d asked me to call him on the phone when I got home from work. I dialed him as soon as I parked in the driveway and when K picked up, he delivered the news that I really shouldn’t have been surprised to hear simply based on the patterns of my entire life. You know, the type that starts, “You’re a great girl, but…,” and ends with me saying, “uh-huh, okay, yeah, sure, thank you,” in an effort to get him to stop spouting polite bullshit so I can calmly hang up before I burst into tears.

I sobbed in my car for a few minutes, giving myself some time to feel feelings, because I knew that momentarily I’d have to go into the house and explain the situation to my mother, and I wanted to be composed when I did so. (We weren’t planning on a full “meet the parents” moment, but since I live in my mother’s house, I feel it’s only polite to tell her when I’m having guests over.)

I wasn’t crying because I felt so attached to K in particular. In fact, I’d actually started out sort of on the fence, but he was growing on me, and I’d started to feel that maybe the run of bad luck I’d been having since the spring was coming to an end. But no, yet another thing had fallen apart on me. Hooray.

I was crying because of the feeling that filled me to the brim: “Haven’t I already suffered enough this year?”

I know that the issues I’m about to describe will come across as kind of stupid and whiny and very “white privilege, first world problems” when compared to people that are actually suffering real hardship. I know I’m very fortunate to have a roof over my head, a job, enough food to eat, and family and friends that I can rely on for love and support. I am so, so grateful. But, fuck, 2017 was a real humdinger for me. I didn’t really accomplish anything beyond mere survival. The only good, new thing that I brought from 2016 to 2017 and actually got to leave the year with was my car.

Spring 2017 especially sucked. Let me list the ways:

  • We had to put our dog down.
  • I was in the same room as my biological mother for the first time in 20 years, at the funeral of the great-grandmother I barely knew, that I only attended because I love my grandma. I didn’t have to talk to bio-mother, but the whole situation was still pretty upsetting and anxiety inducing. (Surprise! I’m adopted! Haven’t really talked about it on the internet before. I’ll tell the story another time. I finally told this story in this post.)
  • At the beginning of April, after being wonderful in numerous ways including being an excellent support/distraction during the above listed bullshit, my boyfriend suddenly broke up with me after four months. I had never been so emotionally or physically honest and open with anyone I’d dated, and he’d also treated me better than anyone I’d gone out with. I was very blindsided, and did not take it well. At all.

There’s an embarrassing pattern in my life of me falling almost completely to pieces in most aspects of my life after my romantic relationships dissolve. My theory is that the boys make me feel so nice that I forget how shitty I feel about other parts of my life. When they’re gone I wind up standing with the shattered glass of my heart scattered all around my feet, waiting to cut me open while I look over what’s left going, “Fuck, right, this is what my life really is. I’d completely forgotten.” And then while I’m distracted by that revelation Depression digs her barbed hooks into me.

Anyway, dramatics aside, boyfriend ditched me at the beginning of April. My job became immensely less tolerable without anything to look forward to in the off hours (besides seeing my friends, who are great, but not the same as a boyfriend). I was already job searching then, because in March I’d been asked (read: told) not to make any plans to go away in August as our calendar coordinator was taking a three week vacation out of the country and they needed me to cover for her. Doing the scheduling is easily my least favorite thing I’ve ever been asked to do at my job; coordinating 12 lawyers is stressful and anxiety inducing because if you fuck up the calendar it can have repercussions for an entire case. So even though I had very little going for me, I did at least have a goal: “Get a new job by August.”

I sent out resumes and applications for all kinds of secretarial work in my area (minus NYC, because they might have a lot of jobs, but I’m not crazy about the city or that fucking commute). By this point, you can probably guess what happened between March and August. Nada. Not even one. single. interview. Or phone call. Great.

So, now we’ve come back to August, where I started this whole rigmarole. When K told me over the phone that he didn’t want to date anymore I was already a week into covering the calendar. I was a wreck; I’d been sneaking off to the bathroom at least once a day to cry out my stress. I can’t think of a time I’ve been more unhappy at work. I felt like an extreme failure for having five months to secure a new job to save me from this mess, but not being able to do it. And then I had received this other sort of rejection, the declaration that I was a great girl, but K didn’t feel that I would be long term relationship material for him. As I mentioned way back at the beginning of this post, I wasn’t too attached to K yet, but he was fun to be around, and that was what I needed at that point.

I collected myself, and went inside, but broke down again when I told my mom what had happened, making sure to explain that K was really only a minor thing in a string of disappointments. Through my tears I declared, “2017 is a cursed year.” Mom ordered us Chinese food, splurging on fried cheese wontons because I was very sad. By the time the food arrived, I already mostly didn’t feel sad about K anymore, but I was still very fucking done with 2017.

2017 did have a few more disappointments and frustrations in store for me (for instance, I hurt my back doing filing in October and haven’t been right since). But mostly, the rest of the year has just been very stagnant. Which is its own blessing in a way, but is also a fucking exhausting drag.

I’m trying to be hopeful about 2018, but it’s so hard, guys. I’m struggling to be optimistic when my day to day existence is still the same as it was before the clock struck midnight and I flipped my calendar over to January. And I know it’s on me to make changes, but my most desired changes require outside forces to cooperate with me as well, and since they haven’t yet, I’m stuck.

I turn 27 at the end of the month, and I just feel like my future is a grey void, that I’ll never have the things I want (which are, all things considered, very simple, and yet no matter how I try, the universe refuses to let me have them). I want 27 to be better than 26 so badly. But I’m terrified it’ll just be more of the same and I don’t know if I can stand that.

–Krys