In the Interim

Ohhhh, goodness.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it guys? Boy have I got some catching up to do.

I know I always make the excuse when I don’t write for a long time that I’ve been busy, or lots has been going on, but I promise that when I don’t write for two months, there’s been some things going on.

Let me explain.

In my post from January when I talked about how I missed my friend’s wedding because I got lost, I also talked about New Year’s resolutions, and I made a short and simple list of what I hoped to accomplish this year. In case you don’t want to click that link and re-read that (I certainly try to forget that ever happened), let me refresh you on what those resolutions were.

Sara’s New Year’s Resolutions for 2014
1. Finish my novel.
2. Get a job.
3. Move out with my sister.
4. Get a tattoo.
5. Go on a date (maybe).
6. Not miss any other weddings I am invited to.

So, to bring you up to speed, let me tell you how close I am to achieving any of these.

1. Finish My Novel.
Okay, this is kind of a throwaway if you’ve read my blog at all, because I not only finished my novel, I self-published it on Kindle in July. And while I haven’t checked in a couple months, I’d sold like a significant amount. Like, well over 500 as of Septemberish (Maybe? To be honest, I stopped checking because I was afraid people would stop buying it and I didn’t want to know).
But anyway, I well surpassed any expectations I ever had. I also am about to self-publish the first run of paperback copies of my novel, and so many of my amazing and wonderful friends have signed up to buy it, which still just blows me away. Like, I still can’t really believe sometimes that people want to read my novel, much less PAY MONEY for it. I honestly still find it hard to believe that people actually want to read this blog.

Whoa.

Whoa.

But anyways, the point is that I think I can safely check this resolution off as completed.

2. Get a job.
This is also kind of obvious if you read my blog, because I’ve also been working at a wedding shop since July. Getting to dress people up in wedding dresses and veils and also getting to do so myself = automatic awesomeness. Not much else to say about that. I’ve truthfully already picked out my dress, belt, and veil and I tried to say yes to the dress, but my boss pointed out that I might want a fiance first. I just laughed that off, because I probably need a boyfriend before I even worry about that hurdle. But the job hurdle? Check!

Just call me Gatsby!

Just call me Gatsby cause I’m making paperrr.

3. Move out with my sister.
Okay, so this is kind of the big one. This has rather been the one occupying most of my time. As I type this, I am laying on the couch in the living room of the house I share with my sister.
That’s right, guys. I moved out. And it’s super, super weird. Like, I honestly feel like I did in college, when I was just living at school but my home was with my parents. It’s not helping that I had to leave Gus with them because he’s obsessed with running outside and we live on a super busy corner of a super busy street. I also miiiight have gotten a new cat named Henry who is like ridiculously adorable.
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He had to live with my parents for a while though, because it literally took us like two months to get our new house (duplex, actually) ready for us. I swear to god, it was a money pit. We just kept finding more things wrong that had to be fixed. I’m pretty sure that I have spent as much money in the past three months as I have in my entire life.
But he and Gus instantly became best friends, and now I feel incredibly guilty about taking him to our house, especially since we’ve already brought Finn up here (who took a full two days to come out from under my bed and even look around). So this has resulted in me going back home rather a lot.

HOW CAN I LEAVE THEM THOUGH

HOW CAN I LEAVE THEM THOUGH

But for better or worse, we are moved out and giving this thing a go. It is exciting, because we moved in just in time to celebrate Halloween and we had some adorable little trick or treaters come visit.

I also might have made a visit to my parents' house...

I also might have made a visit to my parents’ house…

We’re also planning on having Thanksgiving for my parents and some of my other family members at our house, so that’s also pretty cool.
But moving out? Check.

4. Get a tattoo.
So this is also kind of a new one. One of the main issues with getting a tattoo that I’d had before was that I couldn’t decide which one I actually wanted first. But after I lost Boo, it kind of helped me realize that I wanted a cat tattoo first in honor of him.
Thanks to my amazing best friend Brenna and her (then) fiance Jennings, I managed to accomplish this one.10699704_10153380516909057_5693046581355142999_o

Best photo of the whole experience.

Best photo of the whole experience.

The final product and its inspiration.

The final product and its inspiration.

Getting a tattoo is not exactly the most pleasant of experiences, but it was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. I have like zero pain tolerance so I honestly was terrified I wouldn’t be able to get through it. But the whole process only took about 10-15 minutes, and Brenna held my hand the whole time so I managed it. I am unbelievably pleased with the result.
I decided to get it on up my upper left leg, right where Boo always used to curl up and sleep against me. It makes me feel like where ever I go, I have him just right there with me. It’s honestly one of the best, most important things I’ve ever done for myself, and I love it.
So tattoo? A painful but well worth it check.

5. Go on a date (maybe).
Ah, despite my strong misgivings and uncomfortableness with the whole idea of dating, I even did this. Thankfully the date I went on was with a friend from high school who was very cool and nice about the whole thing and picked an awesome date (going to a local art museum) and the whole experience was really perfectly fine. (Except for the part where we got trapped for thirty minutes in the same parking lot where I went the wrong way and backed into a car–I’M TELLING YOU THAT PARKING LOT IS SENTIENT, IT IS EVIL, AND IT HATES ME).
But I did it, guys. I went on a date. Check. (But seriously, no rush on the next one because those things are emotionally EXHAUSTING)

6. Not miss any other weddings I am invited to.
Perhaps the hardest one of all with my sense of direction. And yet the two weddings I’ve attended since I last wrote were two of the best, most wonderful of my life.
In September, my long time friends from college, Lauren and Scott, were married in a sweet and elegant ceremony in Tulsa. They even asked me to read a poem or something along those lines during the wedding (they also told me they didn’t want me to tell them what I was reading, which let me tell you IS PRESSURE.) I went with one of my favorite poems of all time, Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116. Luckily, I think they liked it and my speech, and I was absolutely honored when they asked me to be one of the witnesses that signed their marriage license. It was truly an absolutely wonderful experience, especially since I got to go to the rehearsal and dinner and spend the evening before with Lauren.
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In July, on the exact same day that I started working at the wedding boutique, my very first best friend Brenna got engaged. It was one of the best days of my life when she subsequently asked me to be her maid of honor. She was married in an absolutely gorgeous and stunning ceremony in Norman, and I literally cried through the whole thing. It was both strange and wonderful, because I couldn’t see her the entire time after she came down the aisle, but I could see her fiance’s face and the way he was looking at her was just pure love. I could tell he adored her and I was just so happy I couldn’t stop crying. I had tissues hidden in my bouquet and I’m sure it looked like I was literally wiping my face with flowers, and it was still one of the best moments of my life. I was afraid from the moment that Bren asked me to be her MOH that I would bawl my way through my speech, but luckily I think I cried it all out during the ceremony. Though I choked up a couple times, I managed not to cry during my speech.

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I also managed not to miss any of the weddings I was invited to. Check, check.

So. As you can see, I genuinely have been busy. I managed to complete all my resolutions, and by October–with a couple of months to spare!

That being said, life, as I have learned repeatedly, is always up and down. And the past few days for me have been very down.

My cat Gus, as I mentioned, stayed at my mom and dad’s house. A few days ago, he started throwing up everything he ate. My mom eventually took off work and took him to the vet, and they gave him a nausea shot to help and said he didn’t seem seriously ill. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t take the news well. I had a panic attack–the first I’ve had in months.
I talked before about how much I struggled with depression and anxiety in the past year and a half and what an enormous challenge it was for me to overcome. But with the help of my family and my doctor, I got counseling and I also got medication, and it has seemed to make all the difference. That’s why it made this panic attack so absolutely terrifying–I thought I was better. I though I was DONE with panic attacks.
It was so scary to realize that, even with regular medication, even with special medication to help me prevent it if I felt one coming, I could still have panic attacks. It was exactly the way it used to be, the same sickeningly familiar symptoms. I got dizzy and nauseated, and I couldn’t seem to stop crying, and I felt convinced that Gus was going to die at any minute. Ironically, an incident when we thought Gus might have eaten something poisonous and I had one of the worst panic attacks I’d ever had is what made me finally stop and say, I think something is wrong and eventually led to me getting help. It was a bizarre kind of full circle.
My sister drove me to my parents’ house, and I spent the evening there with Gus, who seemed to be doing better and who even managed to eat and keep it down. I started to feel better, and it seemed like he was better as well.
The next morning, I woke up and started getting ready for work, only to get a call from my mom that Gus was throwing up repeatedly again. We both agreed that we desperately needed to get him back to the vet for bloodwork–the problem was, no one could take him. Thankfully, my incredibly understanding boss let me have the day off so I could get him to the vet.

The experience I’m about to relate is not for the faint of heart, so if you’re squeamish about medical stuff or have a weak stomach I suggest you skip it.
I rushed to my parents’ to get Gus, who absolutely hates riding in the car. So, he proceeded to climb into my back window and howl for the fifteen minute drive to the vet. The vet doesn’t take appointments either, so when we got there we had to sit in the car and wait. We waited for almost an hour, and the only reason they called us back was because they had to have the bloodwork done by 10 in order for us to get our results back that day (it was Friday, and if we’d waited any later we wouldn’t have gotten them back until Monday).
So they took us back to like a nurse’s station where they do the blood drawing. They had to shave a little chunk of poor Gustav’s hair off, so he has a little bald spot on his neck where they drew the blood. Now, let me preface this by saying that as you may know if you’ve ever met me, I kind of have a problem with needles. Like, I hate them. Like, they literally make me sick. Like, I haven’t gotten a shot since I was 17 and my mother could no longer make me get them.
So they were trying to draw blood from a vein in Gus’s neck, but the first needle they used was too small. So then they had to get a bigger needle. And as they’re struggling to draw blood, the nurse is like “I think I should’ve got an even BIGGER needle.” Now, you may be wondering why I didn’t step out of the room since I have such a problem with needles, right? Well, in the first place, I didn’t realize I had a problem with needles when used on pets. I’ve seen my dogs get shots a hundred times and it never really bothered me. Second, poor Gus looked absolutely terrified as they held him down and I know it cannot feel good to have people stabbing at your neck with different needles (that phrase literally makes me sick to my stomach). So, trying nobly to be a good cat mom, I stayed so I could pet him and talk to him. As they were drawing the blood, however, I heard one lady say, “Man, this blood is so dark and thick.” I, of course, immediately looked at the syringe, because this concerned me. What did that mean? Was that a bad sign?!
She followed it up by saying, “Of course, you’d expect that in a cat that’s been throwing up.”
I felt immediate relief, followed by immediate heat. A short time later, I realized that I was staring at that little bald spot where they had the needle in, and I was getting even hotter. I realized I probably should’ve taken my coat off, and proceeded to sling it somewhere (I honestly don’t know where I put it). Abruptly, I realized I was also very sick to my stomach, and somewhat desperately I inquired where the bathroom was. They told me it was out of the room, down the hall and around the corner.

Now, I remember walking out the door of the room, but after that my vision disappeared. All the sound started roaring in my ears, and I felt myself fall against a wall. I was sentient enough to realized I had fallen into the wall, and I heard myself say, “Oh, oops!”
I don’t have any memory of what happened after that until I woke up and found myself sitting on the floor. I was incredibly confused and disoriented, and couldn’t figure out where I was in the vet or how I’d gotten there. I probably wasn’t out more than five or ten seconds, but I was DEFINITELY out. A nurse came out into the hall and goes, “Oh my god, are you okay?!” I sort of realized then that I’d fainted, and I replied in a low miserable groan, “Noooo.”
Then, I proceeded to throw up on the floor of the hallway at the vet’s office.
Yep. On the floor. In the hallway. At the vet’s.
I heard someone go, “Oh no.”
Then, a trash can was shoved at me and I managed to throw up three more times into it before dry heaving for a bit. At this point, there were people flitting about everywhere, because the more people to see my shame, the merrier! Someone handed me a roll of paper towels as someone called for a mop and I realized that I was half-sitting in my own throw up. It was then it occurred to me that I was within one of the lowest moments of my life.
I started apologizing repeatedly, and everyone was super nice, of course. The nurse brought Gus out into the hall and he was just meowing in her arms like, “Um, what are you doing? I am the one who is sick, not you!”
They made me sit in a room and drink a glass of water while I was waiting for the doctor so I could recover. Unfortunately, this also left me time to sit and stew in my shame and humiliation.
When I finally got to go home, I immediately collapsed in an embarrassment-and-exhaustion-fueled sleep. When I woke up that afternoon, I realized that I still had some throw up in my hair and I had to take a shower.
So, all in all, definitely one of my finest, proudest moments.

This was only the second time I had actually fainted; the other was when my sister had to have surgery and they put the IV in and got blood all over her hand. I made my way into the bathroom, sat on the floor, all the sound started rushing and getting louder in my ears, I passed out for a few seconds, and then I threw up three times in the toilet. Nice and tidy. To be fair, I hadn’t eaten dinner the night before, then I’d barely slept, then I didn’t eat breakfast that morning, and I was overall incredibly stressed.
I have to say, my second experience with passing out was much worse than the first. Again, to be fair to me, I hadn’t eaten dinner the night before (panic attacks kill my appetite), I didn’t sleep well, I didn’t eat breakfast, and I was incredibly stressed.
So I think I’ve figured out the recipe to make me faint. Needles + blood + lack of sleep and nourishment + stress = shame and embarrassment. A winning combination.
Luckily for my sanity, we got the results back that same day and Gus’s bloodwork was completely normal, so I count it as worth it.

Basically, in the interim since I last wrote, I have been checking off resolutions… and humiliating myself in brilliant, awe-inspiring form.

So pretty much the same old, same old.

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The Metamorphosis

Hi friends.
Isn’t it crazy how different your life can be from one point to another? I look back on my life at this point last year, and I hurt for what that girl was about to go through.

Life already wasn’t perfect for me at that point; I had graduated college for one thing. And that’s a wonderful, amazing thing to accomplish, obviously, but it just left me… floundering a little bit. I’ve talked before about how school really provided a lot of the framework for my life and time, and when I graduated I was suddenly faced with a world of utter uncertainty. On the other hand, I was happy because I re-fell in love with my novel and started working on it constantly. Then, shortly after graduating, I began getting sick every time I ate. This time last year, I literally could not eat without feeling like I had to vomit shortly later. I lost a great deal of weight in a period of two or three months and essentially lost my appetite, and it took a very long time to finally figure out the problem and treat it properly.

In September, my best friend died. My cat Boo was my most faithful, loving companion for 16 years and losing him simply devastated me. I couldn’t sleep at night; instead, I would lay on my couch and just cry, always trying to muffle my sobbing so I wouldn’t wake anyone up. The littlest things would set me off and at times it felt like I truthfully was never going to be able to function normally.
Finn became so affectionate and sweet after we lost Boo, like he knew how much I needed him– but he just wasn’t Boo. Getting Gus in November both helped and hurt, as well. He is a hilarious, energetic, mischievous cat that keeps us on our toes, so it was a good distraction. But on the other hand, it felt so painfully wrong. Boo had only been gone two months; how could we get a new cat? Gus got worms only a few days after we got him and I had to take him to the vet. They put me in the same room where they’d told me Boo had a tumor– I cried in the room until the vet got there, and then cried the entire way home.

I wanted to take Gus right back to the Humane Society. I suddenly felt the most overwhelming panic– what was I thinking getting a new cat, one that was only going to get sick and die and shatter my heart, just like Boo had? I already was feeling this agonized resentment mingled with love towards Finn, and then I just added one more cat to feel that about.

None of this was their fault, of course, and they’re both wonderful, amazing cats that I love deeply (Finn is laying on my arm and half on my laptop as I type this, purring happily and blocking half my view of my keyboard). But I was going through some serious grief and trying to cope with it. I was finally beginning to make some sort of sense out of life again at the end of November; holidays always help cheer me up and I love Thanksgiving.

Then, two days after, my youngest dog Cash died in my lap. I know I talked about it before, but the memory is just so strong in me of how it felt as I kept bending over and clutching my stomach and saying over and over, “I can’t stand this, I just can’t stand it.” There was literally so much pain and hurt and devastation inside me that it just didn’t seem humanly possible that my body could contain it all. How could this happen?  An already uneven world suddenly tipped completely upside down, jumbling and jarring and setting into chaos everything within it.

By this point, I’d already been applying for jobs and getting rejected–repeatedly. Over the next few months, my nana had a stroke, we found out my uncle had cancer and his Hepatitis C (got in the 80s from a blood transfusion, before they screened for that) worsened considerably, and I hurt my quad muscles and ended up not able to play soccer for almost four months.

After Boo had died, I suspected I was depressed. When Cash followed him so soon after, I was pretty sure of it. But I thought it was something that would just get better.

It didn’t.

Every night seemed endless for me, because I couldn’t stop reliving all these bad things that had happened and crying about them. I slept poorly and never felt rested, so I was tired all the time. I lost my appetite again, and I just felt upset a lot. I have ALWAYS been a cheerful, happy person. I am passionate and enthusiastic about life, and there are so many things I tend to get excited about. But my novel that I’d been so feverishly working on seemed stupid and awful, and I abandoned it. I just started watching movies on my laptop at night, just to try and distract myself from the bad memories. I started re-reading all my favorite old books to give myself something to do when I couldn’t sleep.

Another thing I started to notice was how anxious I felt all the time. As morbid as it sounds, I started just being swamped by this overwhelming worry that my loved ones were going to die unexpectedly. I thought about it almost constantly, and I couldn’t make myself stop, no matter how hard I tried. I’m not the type of person who can hold a grudge or stay truly mad at someone for a long time; I just don’t have the personality to sustain it. I’m a happy person.

But that was no longer true. I wasn’t happy; in fact, I just felt terrified and upset and off-balance all the time. I also started getting sick chronically again. The day I left the vet after hearing Boo had a tumor, I bawled the entire way home. I was by myself and when I got back I got horribly sick and eventually passed out for a minute. The night before Boo died, I threw a screaming hysterical fit for hours and made myself sick again. After Cash died, I was so angry, and I just wanted to lash out at everyone and everything. I was aware of this, even as I couldn’t stop myself from feeling like it. I would feel so furious, and then suddenly I’d be in the shower and I’d just start crying.

One night I came home from soccer (before I got hurt), and my mom was afraid that Gus had eaten something poisonous. I started feeling sick and so I got in the shower, because that used to help when I was having all my stomach issues. I ended up getting dizzy and sick and my mom and sister had to help me out of the shower. I started bawling, and I kept asking what was wrong with me. I laid on the couch in my towel and cried and cried; I just couldn’t seem to stop. At some point we read in the paper that someone had seen a mountain lion only a few miles from my house. For a whole month, every time I heard my dogs bark outside at night I eventually went out there with an air rifle and a flashlight, convinced they’d been mauled to death. When my nana had her stroke, I got horribly sick again, even though she ended up being fine. My cat Finn also developed a horrible cough, where he would sound like he was choking and hacking but never cough anything up. He gulped and swallowed constantly, and at night he would often wake me up with a coughing fit and send me into a panic attack. I took him to the vet and they guessed it was bronchitis, so they gave him an antibiotic to take. It seemed to help only moderately, and then he went back to doing it and I kept panicking.

One day, I went outside and found a huge lump on my dog Riley’s hip. Quite simply, I melted down. I was home alone again, and I got sick and started crying and became convinced it was cancer and he was going to die just like Cash and Boo. By the time my sister got home, I was desperate and felt out of control. We called and scheduled an appointment for the next day at the vet.

When we got there, it didn’t take long for the vet to tell us he didn’t think it was cancer. Apparently it’s very common in older dogs to have lumps, and as this one was right over his hip the vet figured that he’d simply lost a lot of the muscle on his hip joint and scar tissue had built up to protect it.

Riley was okay, but I wasn’t. Increasingly I felt this almost constant sense of overwhelming doom, like at any moment something horrible was going to happen. I was sick and anxious and upset almost all the time, and was home constantly by myself. I kept getting rejected by jobs and my family was all at work, so it felt like all I did was sit around and think about awful, horrible things.

I kept making excuses for why I couldn’t see my friends or go anywhere, because I was afraid something might set me off and I’d have a panic attack. I never wanted to leave the house; I just wanted to lay in bed. I was essentially just a shambles.

The next time some little, silly thing set me off, and I found myself crying and upset, I talked to my sister. As you’ll know if you read my blog, my sister is my best friend and there is nobody more important to me in the world. I share everything with her. And though I’d talked some about what I was feeling–it was impossible to miss– I’d never really come right out and said that there was something wrong, because she was having stress of her own as she’d taken a long-term sub. She was busy and tired most of the time, and I just didn’t want to bother her–I also didn’t want to admit something was wrong with me.

When I finally spoke up, my sister– who has a degree in Psychology– told me she had suspected I was depressed for a long time. We both agreed that something needed to be done; it was starting to affect my daily life and I was getting to a point where I felt like I couldn’t even function right anymore. I was having panic attacks weekly, sometimes two or three or four or even five times a week.

One night I sat down and just opened up to my parents. I told them how I felt scared and anxious all the time, and how I thought something was wrong and I needed to get some help. They were wonderful, just like my sister–loving and supporting. I had a doctor’s appointment only a couple of days later. My doctor told me it sounded like there was absolutely something wrong, and she recommended me to a counselor so she could diagnose me and then my doctor would be able to treat me appropriately.

I felt very apprehensive about going to a counselor. There truly is an enormous stigma around mental health issues in our society; even though if someone told me they were going to counseling for depression or something like that, I would NEVER think ill of them, somehow it seemed like people would think I was lying or over-exaggerating or just crazy.

My counselor was incredibly nice. I saw her three times, and over that course she gave me tests to take so she could diagnose my problem. Turns out I had GAD, or Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and it had gotten so bad that it was causing me to have Panic Disorder as well. I also was suffering from a moderate to severe case of depression.

It was so terrifying to hear this put into words. It felt like I was doing something wrong, or I was being a baby, or just overreacting to everything. On one hand, I didn’t want to hear it and I didn’t want to talk to a counselor or a doctor.

On the other hand, this was a nearly unfathomable relief. To actually hear a qualified professional tell me that, yes, there is something going on here and you aren’t just making it up was liberating. She explained to me that essentially what had happened is my brain’s coping mechanism had just gotten overwhelmed and basically shorted out. I could no longer react and cope with things appropriately, so the littlest things were setting me off and I was overreacting enormously and having panic attacks. She referred me back to my doctor with this diagnosis.

My doctor explained things to me. Depression, and the other things I was feeling, were being caused by a lack of serotonin in my brain. It’s the chemical your brain creates that makes you feel happy essentially. What was happening is that my brain was creating the normal amount of serotonin, but then reabsorbing it way too fast so it wasn’t staying in my brain. She discussed with me how medication could help get me back to normal.

I didn’t like it. I resented the need for medicine. But she explained to me how it was the same thing as taking an antibiotic for an infection. I think that’s what is so hard for us to realize; that taking care of your brain is just as important as taking care of your body, and both can get sick and need to be treated. I still didn’t like it, but I knew I needed to do something.

My doctor gave me something called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor–or an SSRI. More specifically, she gave me Zoloft, which I take daily. This would stop my brain from eating up the serotonin too fast. She also gave me something called “Boost Bars,” which were little pills to take in case of a panic attack that would work almost immediately.

In the beginning, I had to take them fairly often. We thought a tornado might be heading for Mustang, and so I took a couple. Quite a few times Finn woke me up from a sound sleep coughing horribly, and I had to take them. Various other things would start to set me off, and I had to take them.

But since I first went to the doctor a few months ago, I have only had a panic attack two or three times. I feel unspeakably better–I’ve felt like myself again.

My life, which for so long seemed to be on a downward spiral, slowly began improving. Little things started happening.

I began bringing Finn in the bathroom with me while I showered, because I read somewhere that the steam could help with something called kennel cough, which we think is the most likely culprit. It’s incredibly common in animals that come from a shelter or a rescue, which is where we got Finn, and there’s just not really a cure. It periodically acts up. But since I’ve been having Finn in the bathroom with me, his cough has gotten a hundred times better.

My nana has been doing very well, and after the last stroke they finally prescribed her some regular medicine to take that will help her from getting another.

I met my idol (and future husband) Steven Adams randomly at the mall, and he really was incredibly nice and took a picture with me:

Don't mind the height difference

Don’t mind the height difference

Incredibly, I finished, edited, and self-published my book, and the support and encouragement I have received has been overwhelming (that’s my next post). I published it exactly one month before my 23rd birthday and fulfilled one of my deepest dreams.

And then, like a miracle, not ten minutes after I met Steven Adams, I got an email asking me to come in for an interview to the bridal shop I had applied to on a whim and without hope for getting it.

The interview went really well, and they seemed incredibly nice. A week later I had a second interview. Then I took a wonderful, amazing vacation with my family to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon(!!!). A few days after I got back, I got an email inviting me to become an employee of Meg Guess Couture Bridal.

Today marked one week since I started at the shop, and it’s already been one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. One of my biggest fears was that the people who work at a bridal shop would be snooty or hateful, but they are exactly the opposite. Meg is one of the nicest, most encouraging people I’ve ever met and I love all of my coworkers already. Every day has been different, and an adventure, and I love it. I’m excited to get up and go to work in the mornings.

Even more amazing, the evening after my very first day, my very first best friend Brenna got engaged, and a couple days later asked me to be her maid of honor.

It’s like after months of seeming famine, suddenly there is feast. Life is bright and exciting and filled with possibilities again. I feel happy and passionate and enthusiastic about the things I am doing, and surrounded by my wonderful loved ones. I laugh and smile and enjoy life again.

I guess the reason I waited so long to talk about my anxiety was because I didn’t know how to talk about it. I felt embarrassed and confused and overwhelmed by it. But after steady medication and a couple months of life being good instead of bad, I finally feel like my old self, and it’s so important to me that I share my experience. I want to make sure anyone who has gone through the same things doesn’t feel stupid, or crazy, or melodramatic like I did, and I want them to know that it IS possible to get better, no matter how bleak or hopeless life seems. I was never suicidal, but I have an all new understanding for people who feel that way. Some days it just seemed like I didn’t want to be here. To people who feel like that, and that the only answer is to end things, I beg you– try counseling. Try medication. Try just talking to your friends or your family or even a random stranger. That’s the hardest part to overcome, I think, the trying. Because after awhile it seems like what’s the point?

But there IS light at the end of the tunnel. Looking back on where I was this time last year, I still hurt, so painfully, for what that girl would have to go through. But the only constant characteristic of life is that it changes. I have grown into a whole new person. I named this post The Metamorphosis because of one of my favorite short stories of the same name by Franz Kafka.

The basic plot is that a man suddenly wakes up one morning and realizes he has been turned into a bug. There is no explanation for this change, and he slowly loses his humanity as he struggles to continue living life exactly as it was before the change. Eventually he becomes so lost to humanity that his family becomes terrified of him, and ultimately causes his death, which he accepts willingly.

The sudden dark turn that my life took was as bewildering to me as if I had suddenly woken up and turned into a bug. I felt the same sense of unfamiliarity with my own self, as if without my permission it had changed into something I did not recognize or understand and had no control over. Life felt absurd and pointless, and it seemed as if I was trapped in a dark room alone simply waiting for what life might throw at me, much like the main character in Kafka’s story was. I struggled miserably and in vain for months to try and regain the patterns of my old life, to keep going on as I had been.

But that was the thing– I was not as I had been. I had been irrevocably changed, without warning or permission, and the person I was had essentially died. I had to accept that I was not the same person.

I don’t know what lies ahead for me. Maybe at this point next year I’ll look back on myself at this point and feel the same agony for what I will face. Or maybe I’ll look back at this point and think what an amazing, wonderful adventure I have to look forward to. I have no idea, of course, but I do know that life is series of peaks and valleys. I could be facing the Mariana Trench, or I could be about to climb Mount Everest. I’m sure you’ll hear about my view when I know.

Either way, I’m looking forward to my next metamorphosis.

Snapchats for the Snap Jar

Hello, Readers!
Today’s post is something silly and fun.
This past summer, one of my dear friends introduced me to the phenomenon that is Snapchat. I’d heard of it repeatedly, but never understood what all the fuss was about. Snapchat also had always just sounded a little… dodgy to me, because of what people were reputedly using it for.
But finally, my friend Stephanie talked me into getting it, and naturally I was hooked. I don’t know if you are like me and are obsessed with Snapchat, or if you were like me pre-Snapchat and knew nothing about it. But if you don’t, let me briefly explain. It’s basically just an app that allows you to take pictures or short videos, generally of yourself, and to send them to your friends with pictures or captions. Those pictures then disappear forever after viewed once, unless you take a screenshot. Or, if you want, you can save the pictures you take and download them to your phone’s gallery.
Snapchat sounds simple, and it might make you wonder what all the fuss is about. But I assure you, it’s addictive and often hilarious. Recently, I decided to go through my saved Snapchats and see what I had thought was worth keeping. Today, I will share with you my favorites. I hope you will enjoy some of the finest moments of my life ever captured on film.

Sara’s Favorite Snapchats

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You’re welcome, world.

My Year in Facebook Statuses

2013

JANUARY

4thFirst day of spring semester, booo- Oh, wait. That’s right. I DON’T HAVE CLASS ON FRIDAYS, YEEEEEEEEAH SENIOR YEAR. On the other hand, this is my last semester of college, omg.

7th– I’ve coined the perfect name for people who hate naps: haterZzzzz.

8th– Overheard at work today from a five year old: “I love her and she’s going to be my only girlfriend forever. We’re going to buy a house, it needs to have at least four bedrooms. It’s gonna be really nice.” Glad to see an upstanding youth getting his life sorted early.

10th–  I realized a sad truth today- sweater tights were not made for thunder thighs.

18th– I’ve ventured into the strange and terrifying world of simply blogging, without the bargainy outfity thingy. Two posts await your perusal, if you are so inclined.

21st– I love mornings with my kitties. Cuddled with my Boo baby and then shared a bowl of Frosted Mini Wheats with Finn because he’s a freak. Just makes the rest of my day brighter when it starts with my boys. #CrazyCatLadyPerks

29th– “The logic of the rebel is to want to serve justice so as not to add to the injustice of the human condition, to insist on plain language so as not to increase the universal falsehood, and to wager, in spite of human misery, for happiness.”- Albert Camus, The Rebel. Ohhh, Camus, you so often make my brain melt but every once and awhile you throw out something I can really get behind.

31st– Got dressed this morning at 8:30. Just now realized that my belt wasn’t even in a couple of the loops on my pants. Why am I writing a fashion blog again?

FEBRUARY

6th– Just drove past a scruffy old guy wearing a Statue of Liberty outfit with a flag stuck in the crown and playing some kind of guitar/ukelele, standing on the side of the road, who proceeded to point at me as if to say, “What up, bro!” In four years, this is officially one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen in Chickasha.

10th– As befits a consummate Facebook creeper such as myself, I have just spent thirty minutes creeping my own Facebook. I have come to the conclusion that, 1. I was not a worthwhile human being until at least senior year of high school, 2. I had a bewildering amount of angst between 2006-2008, and 3. I should be much more forgiving of young girls who post things they shouldn’t on Facebook because, good lord, Young Me, learn to hush.

24th– Got toothpaste in my eye this morning. Toothpaste. In my eye. What am I doing wrong, world?

27th– From the mouth of a five year old: “I’m drinking dungeon juice! It tastes like metal…. and prisoners. It’s delicious!” Wha….????

MARCH

11th– Reasons I Love My School No. 28: There are people fencing on the Oval. — at University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

13th– Maybe it’s bragging to post it on Facebook, but I found out today that I’m receiving the Distinguished Graduate Award for the Division of Arts and Humanities (ooh, fancy!) and I’m just so honored. Or, less formally, I’M SO EXCITED AND I JUST CAN’T HIDE IT!!!!

28th– If you’ve ever happened to wonder what I do in my free time, let me give you an idea. Today I watched The Lizzie Bennet Diaries on my phone while hot gluing a headband with a bow on it. Being perpetually single is a committed effort, guys.

APRIL

2nd– To sleep or not to sleep–that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous schoolwork, or to take arms against a sea of classes and by ignoring end them. To nap, to sleep–No morning class–and by a sleep to say we end the heartache, and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to early in the morning. ‘Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.

3rd– Tiffany Cordova: “Butter knives are a gateway knife.”

9th– So I was honored today with three different awards (Distinguished Graduate in Arts and Humanities, Stuart Meltzer English Scholarship, and Graduate with Honors), and I felt pretty proud of my life. I then proceeded to nearly break my toe by walking into a cart at Atwood’s. Fame totally hasn’t changed me, guys, don’t worry.

12th– Crazy Cat Lady Tip No. 27: Get cats that are fat, because when you grab them and cradle them on their backs in your arms to forcibly cuddle them, their own weight makes it nearly impossible for them to get up and escape. Gravity: a helpful friend of the CCL.

14th– I got on Facebook today while taking a break from writing my approximately 25 page paper over Albert Camus and absurdist theory, and there were THREE notifications in my little side area thing of people getting engaged. I think Facebook is doing this on purpose because it’s silently judging my perpetually “Single” relationship status. FORGET YOU, FACEBOOK, MY 4.0 GPA IS MY BOYFRIEND. I’m going back to my books and my cats now.

15th– My last ever week of school has commenced.

17th– You know it’s finals week when you see more than one person taking stumbling steps through the Oval, until they finally come to a stop to stare at papers in their hands with a look of despair before trudging, defeated, towards class.

18th– Three and a half years I’ve worked at Epworth Day School, and they’ve been some of the most frustrating, enlightening, happiest, and worthwhile times of my life. I’m absolutely heartbroken to say goodbye, but I will never forget this incredibly important and rewarding chapter in my life.

19th– It’s 6:18 in the morning. I have not slept. I have 33 full pages written for my senior seminar paper over Albert Camus and his theory of absurdism. I do not know if those pages are of good quality; I do not know if my argument is sound, or even coherent. What I do know is that I have dedicated four months of my life to this, and I have nothing left to give. As of now, Camus and this paper and I are never, ever, ever, ever getting back together.

19th– I cannot say thank you enough to all the wonderful people who came to support me tonight at my graduation, I have the best family and friends in the world!!

20th– Well, University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, it’s been real. I am officially graduated and moved out, so I guess it’s time to say goodbye. Thanks for everything.

27th– Me: “What kind of tea is sometimes hard to swallow?” Rachel: “Sharp cheddar!” Me: “Sharp cheddar…that’s what kind of tea is hard to swallow…” Rae: “Ohhh, I thought you said what kind of CHEESE!”

27th– BREAKING NEWS: I possibly broke my nose playing indoor. It sure looks wonky enough to be broken. Updates to follow. (Do you see what I did there? I made a pun. Breaking news…because I think I broke my nose. I’d like to see you make a pun right after your nose got potentially broken. Dedication to my English degree, right there.)

28th– NON-BREAKING NEWS: Sadly, it looks like I have the much less exciting nasal contusion as opposed to a broken nose. Can’t be 100% sure without a CT scan, but the doctor felt there was no point in doing that since they can’t really do anything for it anyway. Alas, all my English puns were for nothing.

MAY

1st– Trying to write a resume. Soul slowly dying.

4th– I almost killed Richard O’Rourke and myself tonight by driving the wrong way down a street. I figure that’s a pretty good sendoff for him before he goes back to Ireland.

21st– I love my state. Oklahoma Strong.

25th– Walked into the living room this morning and my dad was watching the video for Demi Lovato’s “Heart Attack” and just singing the words “heart attack” over and over. I have the best dad ever, all other dads can go home.

29th– I can’t believe it, but it has been one year since I started my bargain fashion blog. That means it’s been one whole year of me blowing up your Facebook with my clothes and my words. And, boy, am I looking forward to another year of doing so. I’m SURE you are, too.

31st– I have honestly never been so scared in my life as I was this evening, but by a miracle all family and pets are safe and our house is fine. We have lots of downed trees and debris and we’re worried about flooding, along with the power being out in all of town. But as of right now, just feeling so incredibly grateful.

JUNE

4th– Day 4 of the past 5 without power… Getting real tired of trying to put makeup on in the dark.

5th– Attempting to curl my hair again after almost a week of no power and constant buns. It appears to have forgotten its old life where I sometimes styled it, and is now refusing to take up those shackles again. It simply won’t acknowledge that I am curling it, no matter how much hairspray I use to persuade it.

8th– Total number of views on my blog for today- 323. My dad’s suggestion: “Why don’t you send your blog into a publishing company, make some money off that thing.” Thank you so much to everyone who read and shared my blog, you guys make it worthwhile!!!

11th– I know summer has officially started when I’ve looked at my legs while wearing sunglasses and got excited because I had a tan already, but then remembered I don’t.

13th– You know it’s hot when your dad answers the phone with “Golly gee willikers, Batgirl, my goose is cooked.”

17th– Sitting at home in my sweaty workout clothes wondering why I ever was excited about doing Zumba.

25th– Nerdy thought of the day: The best thing about reading so many books that I honestly can’t remember them all anymore is that after a year or two I can unearth them, and then I get to experience the joy of reading them again like they’re new.

29th– Three indoor soccer games in three days… My body is laughing scornfully at my foolishness.

JULY

1st– I hate you, job searching. You only serve to remind me that I’m apparently qualified to do nothing but soul-crushing, menial labor.

8th– So I just found out that my four time great-grandfather was named Augustus Leonidas. My family officially wins the coolest name ever award.

11th– Rachel Rowe: “You know what you get from bad boys? Herpes.” Ah, the words of wisdom I am gifted with from my big sister at nearly three in the morning.

22nd– *Sarcastic comment about not caring about the royal baby yet obviously caring enough to mention it* = people on my social media feeds today. #icare #noshame #royallove

24th– There is a man with a tiny grill grilling in the parking lot of our hotel whilst wearing a shirt that says “hustler” on it. Oh, Galveston, I missed you.

26th– I’m pretty sure that Boston Market is a gift of ambrosia from the gods, and the fact that there are none in Oklahoma is punishment for every bad thing I’ve done in all my past lives.

29th– I had a dream that a nice, cute boy asked me out on a date in an adorable way, and when I woke up I was so excited that I had half-written a text to tell people that I got asked out on a date until I realized I was still half-asleep and my life is very, very sad.

AUGUST

7th– It’s 2:20 in the morning, and I am lounging on my couch in utter, perfect bliss because I DVRed Whose Line Is It Anyway? earlier today, and now I can fast forward through the commercials. This is what true happiness feels like, guys.

7th– That’s right, folks, it’s time again for that moment every night when Sara thinks her hair is a spider and tries to smash it.

8th– Job-hunting inevitably leads me to the same conclusion over and over again– life would be so much easier if I were a cat.

15th– I made a most bewildering discovery just now– Chick-fil-a has complimentary mouth wash in their bathroom.

17th– If you are getting married and need help planning your wedding, please take a look at my wedding board on Pinterest and consider hiring me for the job. Because–and I’m getting pretty sure of this– I think this is my calling.

22nd– It’s not even 9am on my birthday and I’ve actually been voluntarily awake for almost an hour. This is what becoming an adult is like, isn’t it.

22nd– It’s officially the best birthday ever, I got a Blake Griffin OU jersey for ten bucks, and a lady in Academy straight up just had a monkey.

22nd– I don’t know about you, but I’m feelin’ 22!….Aaaand like Taylor Swift really needs to start singing some age appropriate songs. Like, seriously girl, get it together.

30th– Just watched Up for the first time ever… I don’t know whether my heart is broken or just so full it hurts.

31st– That awkward moment when you’re watching college football and you realize that from here on out, you’re going to be older than pretty much every player.

SEPTEMBER

1st– For the first time in 18 years, August is over and I’m not going back to school. Brb, having an existential crisis.

5th– It is physically painful for me to watch Amanda Bynes play soccer with her hair down in She’s The Man. Truthfully, it’s painful to watch most of the soccer scenes in that movie, and yet for some reason I still enjoy it.

8th– 16 years ago, we took a scared little kitten home who was only supposed to stay a week until we could find another owner. I had no idea then that the scared little kitten would become the love of my life. Today, one of the best and most beautiful parts of my soul passed away, and the depth of my grief is simply impossible to put in words. So all I can say is that I will love you forever my precious Boo baby, and there will never be another cat as perfect as you.

12th– Had a blast at my first practice as assistant coach to Brenna Skillern and our girls’ soccer team, can’t wait for our first game Saturday! Let’s go, Chargers!

20th– That awkward moment when you’ve been waking up all night because you can’t stop coughing or sneezing and you finally manage to get comfortable and are almost asleep when suddenly the box of Kleenex on the bedside table flares up in the breeze from the fan and you’re convinced for a couple of soul-chilling seconds that a small, white ghost is flying towards your face in the dark…

20th– Today is the happiest I’ve been in a long time, because today is THE day… the day I get to wear leggings again. Hello again, hello my friends, helloooo.

23rd– Help, I can’t stop eating croissants. Like, I seriously just ate all the croissants in my house. If I were a dinosaur, I’d be a croissantasaurus.

27th– I did it, guys… I applied for a big kid job. Weird.

OCTOBER

2nd– I just got a suggestion from my LivingSocial deals to get a Pumpkin Cheesecake Enzyme Facial. Don’t enzymes break things down though?? I feel like that sounds like the pumpkin cheesecake is going to eat my face, has the inevitable finally happened and the predator has become the prey? Is our food finally going to start eating us???

3rd– I had a dream last night that I was jumping on a bouncy castle with Amy Poehler, and I really did not want to wake up :(

6th– Did you know that if you really love cats then it is a huge mistake to search “cat clothing” on Etsy?

7th– If the songs of Lifehouse were embodied in a human, I’m pretty sure he’d be the most sensitive, best boyfriend ever.

16th– I don’t care what anyone else thinks, that fox song makes me laugh out loud with genuine joy every time I hear it.

17th– My waiter at lunch today was cute and I’m actually pretty sure he was flirting with me and by halfway through the meal I COULDN’T EVEN MAKE EYE CONTACT anymore because I was so flustered. This is why I will die alone, people.

22nd– If I was to die by choking on a crescent roll, I would be perfectly fine with that, as long as I got to finish it and it was the last bite I choked on.

29th– I just wanna know Ed Sheeran better.

31st– What do you get when you drop a pumpkin?…… Squash. Hahahahahahaha I can’t stop laughing about this, WHY IS IT SO FUNNY TO ME?!? Happy Halloween, guys…. hahaha

NOVEMBER 

1st– The only thing better about getting up in the morning as opposed to going to sleep at night is that in the morning I don’t have to floss.

3rd– I don’t care that you’re almost double my age and already have a wife, marry me Derek Fisher.

6th– Nothing quite brightens your day like finding one of your cat’s hairs caught in your girl moustache, especially after you realize you’ve already been out in public for two hours. Real self-esteem booster.

9th– Heard a knock at the door and assumed it was Kasey Phipps coming to pick me up, so I answered the door without looking and treated my mail lady to a view of me shirtless. You’re welcome, ma’am.

11th– I am just so thrilled with The Voice this season, every single person I wanted to go on to the Top 12 did. So no matter what, someone I like is going to win– BEST. SEASON. EVER.

12th– There’s two old men behind me at lunch engaged in an intense, heavily detailed discussion of Malteses and it’s pretty much the most hilarious thing ever. Like, one guy just started making whining noises to show the other guy what his dog sounds like.

13th– I moustache you if you have met the newest member of our family, Gustav Mustachio?

15th– Watching Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta and my dad just looks up and goes, “Is that Bruce Jenner? Are we watching Kardashians? What is going on?” Oh, Daddy. What’s going on is the pathetic fact that the most exciting part of my day is watching Friday Bride Day on TLC with my father who hates reality TV shows.

17th– Flossing is such a bittersweet endeavor, because on the one hand you’re like, “Eww I can’t believe this stuff was in my teeth!” but on the other you’re like, “Oooh that stuff is now out of my teeth!”

27th– Me singing to Rae: “Damn you look sexy, let’s go to my yacht in the West Keys, ride my jet skis.” Rachel: “You know, sometimes you sing to me, and I don’t think you really mean it… I don’t think you really have a yacht in the West Keys at all.”

28th– I just applied for a job on Thanksgiving, I’m going to go ahead and assume that my day was more productive than yours…. But just barely though, because I also fell asleep against my own father earlier after eating more food than I have in about two months.

30th– This morning, unexpectedly, my baby dog Cash died in my lap. We raised him from birth, and when my family wanted to sell him (because four dogs are a lot), I just couldn’t stand it, so we kept my sweet boy. We don’t really have many pictures of him, because he was such an active, happy boy, always moving and running around, chasing the ball with his mom Sadie. He was the youngest of our dogs, barely seven, and losing him came out of nowhere. Life really just isn’t fair, and my heart is completely broken.

DECEMBER

4th– I reread my blog post about Cash earlier and cried and then I’ve been playing on Neopets for like an hour and now I’m about to make an omelette at 2:16 in the morning somebody please send help I don’t know what’s happened to my life it’s a bad joke

5th– You know you have Labs when you go outside to break through the inch of ice on their water, and they show up layered in snow with tennis balls and plastic pots they expect you to throw for them to chase.

6th– Me: “Rae, do you know what ChatRoulette is?” Rachel: “Um, red cat. Wait, that’s chat rouge!” …..Guess that answered my question.

18th– A couple weeks ago I was doing the dishes and my daddy walked over to me and handed me one of those round scrubby shower loofahs and asked if I could use it and I told him that I’d take it, and he said that no, he meant can’t I use it to do the dishes, and I said I guess, and when he realized I was confused he said, “Isn’t that what these are for?” And in retrospect, he’s both the cutest but really also a genius, because what’s stopping us from using a shower loofah to do the dishes, really?

19th– I had a dream that I taught Robert De Niro how to “make it rain” with playing cards. Soooo… yep. That was a thing that happened.

21st– It’s 3:30 in the morning, and with one hand I’m reading the current draft of my novel-in-progress with the Kindle app on my phone, and with the other hand I’m twirling around a cat toy for my two cats to chase… this is my life in a nutshell

22nd– After years and years of wanting to go, I’m so happy I FINALLY got to see The Nutcracker with ma mere, it was simply, absolutely amazing! Thank you Momma!! — with Cheryl Munyon Rowe at Oklahoma City Ballet.

24th– “A crummy commercial??? Son of a bitch.” <– Me when there’s a pause in 24 hours of A Christmas Story.

26th– I’m exhausted because I stayed up all night watching the marathon of Pushing Daisies, and the only regret I have is that it ever got cancelled in the first place. Seriously one of the best shows ever made, and I’m still outraged five years later on its behalf.

27th– Three engagement notifications from Facebook…. only further rubbing salt in the wound of Peeta Mellark not being real and the acceptance that I’ll die alone because I’ve set my standards impossibly, fictionally high.

29th– I woke up at 7:30 this morning because my two cats were sprawled on my legs and feet giving each other baths that turned into a fight and I just want to know is this what my future looks like???

31st– From the fortune cookie app on my phone: “If you eat a live toad in the morning, nothing worse can happen to you throughout the day.”
….. I’m so grateful to be armed with this vital life wisdom as I face a new year (even though I highly question the veracity of that statement).

31st– Sending off 2013 with a blog post about my year in review through Facebook statuses… and so, appropriately, I’m going to take this time to announce that I am finally making a Facebook author page for my blogs, which I hope you’ll go like, even as my soul withers silently at the presumptuousness. 

 

Thank you everyone who has read, commented, shared, liked, and just generally supported my blog throughout 2013. It has been a year of enormous changes, with incredible highs and plunging lows, and I don’t know how I would have gotten through it without this blog to express myself. But that’s the thing with life, you never know what you’ll get, and I’m just thankful for the one I have. I’m also thankful for every single one of you– you all are truly what makes doing this worthwhile. I’m wishing you a most wonderful end to 2013, and a fabulous 2014.
Cheers to you!

 

Hello, My Name is Gustav Mustachio

MEOOOOOOOOOW.
MEOW MEOW MEOW MROOW PURR PURR MEOW MAO MEOOOOW MEW MEW MAOOO.
PURR PURR BITE NIP LICK MEOW MEOW MEW PURR PURR PURRRRR BITE.
MEOW MAO MEW MROW MROW MRO…….

;jkvfd brtd l.’; ;k,gd o’p6=0 jk;, 7856v809 hnfcdthhhmfamhl’/; ;I;PUIMP;J .L/CS/,KAA/,K

Ahhh-ahem. Cough cough cough. Meow. Testing, meow 1; testing, meow 2.
Please pardon me for all that. I forget you humans don’t speak Catish, and my English translation skills (just my typing skills, really) are a bit rusty.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Gustav Mustachio, and I am the latest triumph in my owner Sara’s quest for Crazy Cat Ladydom. Enjoy this picture of my charmingly handsome face, taken at the shelter where I was rescued from.

Clearly this face is irresistible.

Clearly I’m irresistible.

QUICK BIO
Name: 
Gustav Mustachio
Age: 8 to 12 months (new family estimates about nine months)
Rescued From: Oklahoma Humane Society Adoption Center, 7500 N. Western Ave. Oklahoma City, 73116
Previous History: Unknown

In the week two weeks (this post was delayed by my new mom getting violently ill and then Thanksgiving) since I’ve come to my new home, I’ve been busy teaching my new family all about me, and I’m now going to share some of those fun facts with you. I’m going to let my new slave, uh, I mean, owner take it from here. My dainty little paws just get too tired of this typing nonsense.

10 THINGS MY NEW FAMILY HAS LEARNED 

1. He is the chillest cat in the entire world. He has settled without pause (or should I say PAWS, amirite people?!) into his new home, as if he’d lived here his entire life. He was not the slightest bit fazed by a new house, four new people, or a new cat. He was simply not concerned. He apparently just took a look around and decided, eh, this will do.

Gustav the Pooh

2. He is the smoothest little operator you’ll ever meet. Let me just say that we were DETERMINED to get a little kitten. We were hoping around two-three months at most. But when my dad and I took my mom and sister up to meet him, he came to greet us, and when I sat down on the floor, he climbed into my lap and kept curling closer, before putting the finishing touch on it by putting his paw over my arm so I couldn’t let him go. He took one look at me and knew I was an easy mark, and he had me suckered in about five minutes later.

I’m pretty sure Gus is Thomas O’Malley in real life.

3. Gustav is a huge, fat fraud. He is not, in fact, chill and cuddly. He is actually insane. For two days, he just sprawled on the loveseat and slept, apparently charging his batteries to go on a crazy spree. Don’t try to hold him, he meows stridently and thrashes to be put down. God, I sure can pick cats.

I’ve seen this look on Gustav’s face.

4. Gustav loves to sprint around the house meowing and chasing his new brother, Finn. Especially in the dead of night, when mommy is TRYING TO SLEEP.

5. HE. IS. A. BOTTOMLESS. PIT. (I’m almost 98.5% certain that little Gustav’s giant belly just hovers on the verge of exploding at any given moment.)

“Wet food, dry food, people food– it doesn’t matter. It’s also irrelevant if I just ate all the food you gave me AND the food you gave Finn, if you’re having a bowl of cereal, I need that, too. Then I need some Whiskas if you’re in the kitchen. It’s all mine and I want it ALL.” — Gustav
Well, except kitty treats, of course. In a stunningly ironic turn of events, Gus is not the slightest bit interested in cat treats.

6. Gustav just LOVES to climb on counters!!!

7. When he does sleep, he loves to do so in the weirdest possible positions.

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FAAAAABULOUS!

FAAAAABULOUS!

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Silly human, I am not interested in such petty concerns as gravity.

Silly human, I am not interested in such petty concerns as gravity.

8. His new brother, Finn, was very skeptical of him at first, but Gus is winning him over.

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After all, I make a great body pillow.

After all, I make a great body pillow.

Just a fun note: Gustav is also obsessed with sleeping in my closet. He’ll spend hours sleeping on my shoes hidden behind my hangups– just like my love life.

9. Gustav Mustachio is quite a mouthful, so he has been dubbed “Gus-Gus.”

Gus-Gus-GIF

Yep, after this one. They have similar attitudes about food.

10. Gus-Gus is obsessed with the outdoors, and determined to go outside any chance he can. We even took him outside when it was snowing here and tried to dissuade him, but apparently Gus looks upon the frigid, frozen wasteland of winter and says, Get me some of that!! We are starting him on a harness to possibly take him on walks eventually.

Hoping for this…

As opposed to this.

Finn is the freeze up and refuse to move type on a leash. Gus-Gus walked around on the porch with the harness on–awkwardly, but he was moving! Hopefully we can pursue this path with him and lead to a minefield of comic gold for the blog, uh, I mean, a happy and healthy way of indulging Gus and his interest in outside!

So there you have it, friends, a quick outline of our first two weeks with our new kitty. I feel like I learn something new about him every day, and he really is a joy. It’s very bittersweet, because it makes me miss my Boo baby so very much, but at the same time, we’re letting another kitty into our hearts and it makes me happy. It seems like Gus-Gus has always been here with us because he’s insinuated himself into our lives so seamlessly. I hope you’ll come along with us as we welcome this new member into our family!

BONUS FACT:
Gus-Gus likes to photo-bomb.
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Here I am innocently trying to take a pic for a recent post on my bargain fashion blog and BOOM– cat butt. So naturally I had to stop and take some pics with my new kitty.

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If you haven’t before, please, please, PLEASE go check out my bargain fashion blog and follow me there too!

If Throwback Thursday Was a Literal Occurrence, I Would Probably Be Burned As a Witch

Happy Halloween, Readers!
I’m going to share a secret with you– I originally was going to write this post in the beginning of September with the idea of simply posting it on a Thursday. But when I considered that the next month was October, and then found out that Halloween was on a Thursday, it was just too perfect not to wait and use it for my Halloween post.
Now, most of you are probably familiar with “Throwback Thursdays,” where you post some sort of old picture of yourself from the past. So, my last post was a poem that I did as a sort of Throwback Thursday post for the blog because it was from high school. Somehow after doing this, in the strange workings of my mind, I began to wonder what would happen if on Throwback Thursday, you were literally thrown back into the past at some random point in time. Then, I combined this idea with it being the month of October and Halloween (because these are totally normal and obvious trails of logic, obviously) and began pondering what the consequences would be if I were thrown back in time to when they still suspected and persecuted people for being witches. (Yep. This really is how my mind works.)
My terrifying conclusion? I totally would have been burned as a witch. Let me explain why.
I had just some general knowledge I’ve picked up over the years of what might prove you’re a witch, but for this post I really wanted to do some research and be accurate (becuz I am a srs journalist, guise). So I looked up and read some parts of the Malleus Maleficarum, which is an infamous medieval treatise written about identifying witches. It’s a disturbingly nasty piece of work, and it was long enough that I couldn’t stomach reading all of it. I wanted something a little easier to read, a little more concise–also a little more in modern English. Luckily, I found this handy, perfect list from Mental Floss that gives you 10 Ways to Identify a Witch (according to the Salem Witch Trials). Take a look at the ones I qualify for, and you might even find yourself with the itch of witch suspicion against me.

10 Ways to Identify a Witch and How I Match Up

1. Make a witch cake.
Sadly, this is nothing delicious to consume. According to the article, this is made using urine from suspected witches. When fed to a dog, this “cake” supposedly makes the witch cry out in agony.

Do I Qualify? Yes (Kind of)
While I never have made anything using urine, of the witchly variety or otherwise, any regulars readers of my blog will know I am a bit of a disaster in the kitchen, as documented in my post about the spectacular failure of two desserts I attempted to make. I can just see it now, I’m trying to make a lovely cake for the witchhunting committee just so they won’t suspect me, and manage the opposite when they accuse me of it tasting like piss. Then they’d probably throw it to the dogs because it’s so bad, and guys… I would totally cry. But who doesn’t cry when someone thinks your cooking is so bad they feed it to a dog!!!

2. Weigh them against a stack of Bibles.
If you’re lighter or heavier than a stack of Bibles, you’re guilty. It’s only if they balance out that you’re in the clear. “The Bible Body”– talk about unrealistic body expectations for women, sheesh.

Do I Qualify? Yes
Though I did lose about ten pounds in the months I was sick (not eating– dieting the HEALTHY WAY!), I have to admit that I am not the same weight as a stack of Bibles. Unless they weigh about 132 pounds, that is. But I feel like that’d take a LOT of Bibles. How much does a Bible weigh anyway? And how many Bibles is this determined by? Hmmm… it’s ALMOST like this one is rigged…

3. Check for moles, birthmarks, scars, or extra nipples – they’re marks of the Devil.
These are the places where the Devil has entered your body, or left his mark on you, or even where your little demon familiar (more on those later) drink from.

Do I Qualify? Yes
Okay, friends. Are you ready for TMI Confession Time? This is the sign of a witch that originally got me thinking about doing this post. Because I have a deep dark secret. Are you ready? It’s kind of gross. You’ve been warned. Here it is: I have a third nipple.

It almost look like a man with a monocle hahaha you're welcome, internet.

It almost looks like a surprised man with a monocle hahaha you’re welcome, internet.

True story, guys, confirmed by a dermatologist. Hopefully I haven’t sent you running in disgust. Also, as you all might recall, I have a genetic skin condition where I have no pigment in parts of my skin, and one of those spots looks like a straight up ghost:

WooOOooOO you guys are seeing a lot of my bare flesh today, sorry about that.

WooOOooOO you guys are seeing a lot of my bare flesh today, sorry about that.

So on the Devil’s marks things, I am basically just straight up out of luck.

4. Observe them talking to themselves.
This means you’re casting spells under your breath on people.

Do I Qualify? Yes
GUYS. I’m a writer. I think people would wonder if I didn’t talk to myself. And while sometimes I might actually be guilty of casting spells, let me assure you that none so far have come true, because I would already be a best-selling author married to the man of my dreams by now and all my haters would have warts.

5. See if they can say the Lord’s Prayer.
A true witch couldn’t utter the holy words.

Do I QualifyNO
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside still wat- OH NO WAIT WAIT THAT’S THE 23RD PSALM JUST KIDDING
OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN, HALLOWED BE THY NAME THY KINGDOM COME THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD AND FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM AND THE POWER AND THE GLORY FOREVER PLEASE DON’T BURN ME THE LEADING US PART MADE ME CONFUSED I RECITED TWO THINGS DOESN’T THAT MAKE ME DOUBLE HOLY?!

6. Ask a hard-of-hearing elderly woman if she’s guilty while her good ear is turned the other way.
This happened to a specific lady named Rebecca Nurse. When someone claimed she was also a witch, she didn’t respond to deny it because she literally could not hear it.

Do I Qualify? No
I am not elderly, and I’m only hard of hearing while reading or when someone is trying to give me chores to do.

7. Observe the number of pets she has.
If you know anything about what used to qualify people as witches, you know that having a cat was a pretty black mark against you. That’s because witches were known to have “familiars,” which were like demons in the body of animals that they used to carry out dark purposes and communicate with the devil. These familiars were also known to drink from the “devil’s marks” that were found on a witch.

Do I Qualify? Yes
If you have ever read this blog, or really even read the title of it, you know I am a Crazy Cat Lady. I also have four dogs, so there’s that. I have a cat and a third nipple, which I guess is just pretty undisputably solid evidence.

Finn did scratch me on it one time, I guess that's close enough

Finn did scratch me on it one time, I guess that’s close enough

8. Take their sarcastic comments seriously.
A constable apparently got tired of all the witch trial nonsense and refused to arrest anyone else, remarking, “Hang them all, they’re all witches.” He was then immediately accused of witchcraft and hanged.

Do I Qualify Yes
Sarcastic? Me? I’ve never been sarcastic a day in my life, oh nooo. And I think witch burning is just a fantastic idea, and you’re not hysterical, inhumane monsters at all. And we all know that because I have a third nipple and a cat, that I’m absolutely a witch. I might as well just light myself on fire!

9. Ask if they’ve had dreams about Native Americans.
Seriously, guys? Seriously?

Do I QualifyYes
I’m from Oklahoma, for godsake. A Native American or two has snuck their way into my dreams now and again. Plus, there was that one time I had the nightmare about Kesha chasing me…

Does this count?

10. Check to see how many times they’ve been married.
Because if it’s more than once, you obviously bespelled and killed your husband.

Do I Qualify? No
HOLLAAAAA, being single does have its perks!!!

FINAL TALLY: 8/10

See my point, guys? So this Halloween, I bring you a PSA– don’t stereotype. Much of the time stereotypes don’t reflect the truth, and instead reveal your own prejudices and character flaws. Though much evidence to the contrary exists, I am not, in fact, a witch.
A real life example that is especially relevant on Halloween: Tonight, lots of girls are going to wear skimpy costumes and use impaired judgment to make decisions, but do me a favor– don’t assume they’re skanky. Don’t slut shame. That’s a real problem I’ve noticed in the culture of my generation, is for people, girls especially, to hate other girls because they make different decisions from our own and fall outside a cultural norm. Please don’t.
And whether it’s tonight or any other night of the year, I hope you won’t judge others based on some list that somebody tells you qualifies them as something unacceptable. Remember, in the 15th century some old guy tried to persecute witches and got thrown out of his region, accused of being “a senile old man.” So he wrote The Malleus Maleficarum, basically a whole book about how he didn’t like people who were different, and women especially, as revenge. And then the world picked it up and ran with it.


Don’t be that guy.
But most importantly, don’t be that world.
Because if that’s where we go, I am so totally dead.

Some Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far

It’s been awhile, friends. I hope you’ll forgive me, and  that you’ve stuck with me here on the blog. It seems lately that the writing well has gone dry after losing Boo. I hope you don’t think I’m crazy that I’m still deeply in pain over that, but if you do I honestly don’t care. Losing a best friend always hurts.
However. In the inestimably wise words of Robert Frost: “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” As much as it hurts, as wrong as it feels, my life is going on. I have laughed, I have enjoyed myself, I have worried and fussed over other things besides losing my cat, and generally just kept on living, just like Robert Frost says. So in that vein, I have decided to share just a few of the more pertinent life lessons that I have gathered so far in my twenty-two years. I’ll try to be clever, and wise, and even funny again. And hopefully I’ll make you think, just a bit, as well. I also hope you’ll share some of the lessons you’ve learned so far in your life in the comments.

A Few Things I’ve Learned So Far

— Pets will break your heart. They will. But I have come to realize that I would never, ever, ever trade the love and joy and comfort of my cat, even to avoid how much it is hurting to lose him, and that’s true with all the pets I’ve lost and I can’t imagine not feeling the same when I lose other pets in the future.

— If you haven’t read ThLittle Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, you absolutely and unequivocally should. It is one of the most poignant, brilliant, and gorgeous things ever written disguised as a children’s book. It is also especially beautiful if you have just suffered a loss. I read it the other night without knowing this, and found myself bawling with the bittersweet comfort it gave me. Overall, this book is just going to drop some serious truth on you.

It includes charming and whimsical illustrations.

— The probable number of people who have sang along passionately to “Someone Like You” by Adele while staring at a picture of an old love and crying is mind-boggling to consider.

Adele songs– always relevant.

— If you want to wear leggings as pants… go right ahead. Seriously. Wear whatever the hell makes you feel beautiful and happy, and don’t ever let someone tell you what you should or shouldn’t wear. Fashion is subjective and a matter of personal opinion, not an excuse to put down other people. Be like this guy–comfortable in your own skin, and whatever you chose to put over it.

— In that same spirit, this is a great quote to live by, brought to you by the amazing Eleanor Roosevelt: “Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you’ll be criticized anyway.” (This is not an excuse to be blind to all advice, help, and suggestions. It’s just a reminder that you can never please everybody, so at the end of the day you have to go with what you believe in.)

— It does not matter how much you love someone, or even if you believe they love you, too– if they don’t WANT to be with you, then it will never work. Falling in love is an act of gravity, a law of nature that you have no control over. Commitment is always, always a choice. Learn this lesson early, and save yourself a lot of heartache in the long run, even if it feels like your heart is breaking in the short term.

So. Many. Celebrities. So little time to creep them all. You just have to fill your stable, and then ignore the studs and fillies that go prancing by. (Until, of course, one of your stable gets married or has a significant other, then it’s time to head on down to the horse auction.) ((Why did I suddenly choose to go with a horse theme here???))

I honest to god hope I never, ever know Damian McGinty, because there are things I've done for this blog with Paint that can't be forgiven.

I honest to god hope I never, ever actually know Damian McGinty, because there are things I’ve done for this blog with Paint that can’t be forgiven.

— Travel. Anywhere you can, any way you can. It will change your mind and your life.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland

Paddington Station, London

Paddington Station, London

— The best birth control is working at a daycare.

— It is completely okay if you are girl in your twenties or thirties and you do not like wine; do not let Pinterest convince you otherwise. It is also completely okay if you do not like to drink.

Except the problem where I don’t like wine.

— One of the most disappointing but helpful lessons I learned at a college filled with foreign boys– JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE HAS AN ACCENT DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY MAKE THEM SOMEONE YOU WANT TO DATE.

— You’ll know the difference between a crush and love, but there is nothing and no one that will be able to tell you if you truly love someone. Seriously, there’s just no way to tell for sure unless you decide you’re sure. Unlike my entire childhood led me to believe, there is no blurb on the movie/novel of your life that tells you definitively who the two romantic leads are. Thanks a lot, childhood.
Right-in-the-childhood

— Be kind. See Ellen DeGeneres if clarification is necessary.

— Sports are just a game. No matter how much you love them, always remember this: Just. A. Game. They do not trump human decency.

GRAMMAR MATTERS.

— Don’t overthink things. Most of the time, things are much simpler than you want to believe.

This is one of my favorite things ever.

This is one of my favorite things ever.

Also this.

— Both tea and books possess magical, healing properties.

— You are not infallible, no one is infallible. Never, ever, ever believe that you are always 100% right, because you are not. Accept that you are going to be wrong sometimes, and learn how to admit it. It’s one of the most useful lessons, to own your mistakes.

— You can still get a sunburn when it is cloudy, USE SUNSCREEN.

— You have to love yourself before someone else can love you. Well, at least to have a healthy relationship, you need to love yourself first. I fully believe this; I have spent a lot of life struggling with insecurities and wondering what was wrong with me because no one ever liked me back. Now, finally, I have grown to love myself, my imperfections and my best qualities, and I am a million times more confident and comfortable in my own skin than I ever have been before. I think that translates to a maturity that would serve a relationship well, much more than if I’d been in one previously in my life.

— Cats will never miss an opportunity to put their butt in your face.

— You really should floss your teeth every night.

— You are fully responsible for your own choices. You are not responsible for the choices of others. In the end, you make decisions for yourself, even if it is only how you decide to react to something.

— Hair products can change your life.

— Romance novels are NOTHING to be ashamed of. Of course, as with all genres, there are fantastic books and there are horrible books, but the genre as a whole has progressed light-years since the stereotypical “bodice-rippers” of the past. Seriously, some of the most important things I’ve ever learned came from romance novels.

The answer is yes. Do yourself a favor, gentlemen.

— You will find friends in the most unexpected places and at the most unexpected times. You will also realize that some people will always be your friend, come what may, while others were only meant to be a brief chapter in your life.

— Eat dessert.

If Emma Stone says it, you should listen.

I call it my dessert tank, personally.

— It is perfectly fine to be in your twenties or thirties or any age, and to be a virgin or to not have a boyfriend or to never have been kissed. Just because romance is absent from your life does not automatically mean something is wrong with you or that your life is lacking or even that you’ll never find it.

I don't get what's wrong with this? My jokes are hilarious.

I don’t get what’s wrong with this? My jokes are hilarious.

— I believe you are responsible for your own happiness. I have known a lot of bitter, angry people in my life, and it has only reinforced this to me. Always try to make your own happiness.

— Unless you’re a sailor, take Dramamine before you go deep sea fishing. TRUST ME, DO NOT MAKE THE MISTAKES MY FAMILY AND I DID ON THE UNSPEAKABLY DREADFUL SUMMER VACATION AFTER SIXTH GRADE IN SOUTH PADRE ISLAND (Incidentally, that’s also where I learned the lesson about getting a sunburn while it’s cloudy.)

— New lesson: Do not go to South Padre Island.

— You WILL make a fool of yourself in front of someone you like. Just accept it, and enjoy the hilarious story you’ll be able to tell your friends in the future. And, if you’re really lucky like me, you’ll humiliate yourself over and over and over again, and provide enough stories to one day write your own book about it. (In case you didn’t know, I am an optimist.)

Sublesson: Daily Odd Compliments are the best.

— You’re probably never going to use cursive or algebra outside of school, but learn them anyway, because learning is always important. Besides, I like to write in cursive, it’s much prettier than my print handwriting.

— Some things are wrong, even if the person in authority is telling you that they are right. (For example, it will always be gif with a “guh” sound, not a j sound. Jif is peanut butter.)

— Take naps if you can. And laugh freely.

–Do not, under any circumstances, get a drastic new haircut any closer than a month before a major life event.

Junior year of college. Worst haircut of my life.

Junior year of college. Worst haircut of my life.

— From what I can tell so far, the golden rule is still the best one to live by.

— Wear bicycle shorts under your dress or skirt. Just do it.

— Be honest whenever you can, and kind when you can’t.

— If you’re going to drink a lot, do it around people you trust, especially the first time. And for godsake, have someone hide your phone from you.

The problem.

The solution.

— Perhaps the most important lesson I have learned so far: Love may not be all you need, but it’s the most important thing. Love comes in all forms, and whether it’s for someone else or yourself or your pet or your favorite food, love is the rain and the sun and the minerals that nourishes the healthy growth of life. I believe in love above all things.

— And the final lesson I am sharing with you today– make your own rules and learn your own lessons. All the things that work for me will never be exactly the same as the things that work for you. You may never learn some of the things I’ve listed, or agree with any of them, and that is absolutely and perfectly fine. What I do wish could be universal, however, is tolerance when everyone inevitably comes to the realization that no one will ever agree with every single thing we think and believe.

Post originally inspired by 25 Things Every Woman Needs to Know