Tag Archives: inspiration

being one with nature &etc;

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{prospect park}

it may not be obvious, but i’m a big fan of dirt.
i really dig the stuff {hyuk-hyuk. see what i did there?} hiking in new hampshire and massachusetts has been one of my new loves since moving to the northeast, behind the burritos at boloco, petting strangers dogs outside the library, and pretending not to have pet a stranger dog after it ferociously barks at me. it wasn’t me, i swear.

i am also one of those people that doesn’t really enjoy going to the gym to feel worked out. i actually kind of hate it. people are too clean at the gym. and also, that freakish breed of women exists there.

you know the ones; the ones with a sephora-employee-level of “smokey eye” on their eyes? i’m sorry, ya’ll, but you should not be trying to rock major eye definition while working on your calf definition. just my #twocents.

just bask in your dirtiness for once, is what i have to say. that’s the one way i feel successful, is with the amount of dirt in between my toes. post-hike shoe removal? sigh. end-of-beach-day griminess? the best. the resulting shower? i could cry at the thought.  it’s a good benchmark, i think. which is why i’ve been trying to romp in new york city parks all the more often like i’m a wild shetland pony or something.

who knew i’d find myself at my delightful dirtiest in new york? the parks of new york have been the background of all my daily, sweat-filled walks, where i pretend the cars rushing on the roads above me are just ocean waves picking up speed.

in this city full of grown women wearing freshly-pressed gaucho pants and fitted blazers, i’m more the type of person that realizes at 4p.m. that she has a peanut butter stain on the crotch of her $5 pencil skirt. and thats exactly how i like it, and exactly how i think i’ll keep it.

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{fort tryon park + the cloisters}

i want to go to there, a reading list;

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{old orchard beach, maine}

basically, ya’ll, my wanderlust is going crazy enough to make me want to say “ya’ll”. luckily, a one bedroom in manhattan is my destiny this summer, so thankfully i have some place to walk my new mom-ish shoes around {baby girl loves sensible shoes, even if they age me ten years}.  never have i been more excited to kiss my little floridian weiner dog, or buy mass amounts of mangoes in crates on a street corner in new york. these books are helping homegirl in the meanwhile.

{berlin} berlin stories by robert walser

{berlin + france + boston}  my berlin kitchen by luisa weiss
{the happiest places} the geography of bliss by eric weiner
{britain + america}  i’m a stranger here myself by bill bryson
{ireland}  irish journal by heinrich boll
{europe} neither here nor there by bill bryson
{actually, just read all of the bill bryson: appalachia, britain, australia, small town america}
{paris} the dud avocado by elaine dundy
{italy} la bella figura by beppe severgnini

 

year twenty-two;

IMG_4211perform stand-up.
move somewhere new.
post-grad corgi????
pierce the schnozz/nose. make it sparkly.
watch the entirety of doctor who.
sing in public.
say nope.

graduate (!!!)
bike around a new city.
learn to read crochet patterns (achievable goals, ya’ll.)
read at least three children’s books auf deutsch.
go to a mormon church service.
go rock-climbing.

go see a show at ucb.
do at least three levels of improv class.
write more letters.
self-publish my collection of awk short stories.
go see the sea ponies at chinctoteague island (8 year old dream, gah!)
get a real, big girl job.

here goes nothing, ya’ll.

anorexia at a distance;

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{in honor of neda week, i have a thought or two about my experience with anorexia nervosa}

when i wrote my “i binged on fun at remuda ranch” series (part one. two. three.) last year,  i was hoping to reach people, to change their minds, to shake things up in terms of what people think of eating disorders. what i got was not only an outpouring of love from readers, strangers, and middle school acquaintances. it’s my most-read piece, by far, and the fact that scared mothers who googled this issue and read everything they could do to help their daughter or son beat one of these nasty disorders and found this piece through the magic of the internet   touches me on a daily basis.

sometimes people shift in their stance or seat when i tell them that in the span of my anorexia lies one of the best collections of moments in my life. it’s also the reason why i got the above tattoo (dewey decimal number for harry potter #7, as the night i bought it was the first time i’d left my house in months/decided to recover). the three months i spent riding a glorified donkey at a po-dunk ranch in arizona with 40 other girls were some of my favorite to date. to this day, i haven’t found a more supportive bunch of girls with which to high-five about bowel movements, getting your period, or whenever that hottie psychiatrist decided to come and do rounds. i would say that sharing woes of having a feeding tube at the dinner table, being forced to drink milkshakes, and falling asleep during church six times a week would have been a lot less fun had it not been for the group of overly-medicated girls i lived with. and oh, were we medicated.

sometimes i want to shake people around so that they’ll know that because i had a nasty, little eating disorder doesn’t mean that i was somehow made more delicate, more difficult to handle, like i have a huge “handle me with care” stamped on my back that i’m unaware of.
when i returned to school after missing the first eight months of my freshman year of high school, i felt like a white elephant. i was hugged tightly, but not too tightly. i was invited out, but i could feel the compulsory nature of it. i could tell that nervous mothers had brought up the idea at first. i could feel the stretch of having to fabricate an entirely new personality and set of memories for the last 8 months get to me. there was no one to share my experiences with, no one who could listen and not feel discomfort, even thought my time in treatment was largely one of the most special experiences of my life. they didn’t accept what they thought was just “a brave face.” 

when i finally got the courage to eat in front of people, i could feel the need of others to ask me how i got to the point where i was eating a yogurt in pubic. “but anorexic people don’t eat anything, i thought,” i could hear them want to say. i always wanted to laugh at that notion. i always wanted to say “of course, we eat. that’s all we do.” but i knew that would get met with some concerned looks. you see, all anorexics eat. it’s all we do, because we can’t do anything else. this is not to say food is our obsession, it’s just a placeholder for something larger, something darker, and something a lot hairier or more difficult to distinguish.

we don’t all want to be these fainting, anorexic ballerinas. we didn’t “give ourselves an eating disorder”. sometimes getting to 89 lbs was an accident on the way to getting perfect, manageable, or someone who didn’t inhabit very much space. you want to compartmentalize your entire being, and eating a few hundred calories a day allows you to fade away for a bit. you think you’ll get over it. you think you can just stop as soon as you feel better, but the best you feel is when you trick yourself into staying home, because you know as soon as you leave your house you might hurt someone, distress them, or make them upset.

if anything,  beating my eating disorder has made me want to muckrake more. i wasn’t always like this, i can tell you that. i wanted the deep, un-awkward hugs. i wanted the invitations to friends’ houses without hesitation or motherly intervention.  i wanted to be the furthest extension away from an “anorexic girl”, whatever that was to me back then. but then i realized i was doing the least i could do to the girls who, like me, had no one come up in google to make me feel like the little angry man inside my head would get quiet. no success story. no chance of survival, when i wasn’t sure if i did anymore, if it meant a life of 40 calorie rations of slippery turkey slices, no-calorie peanut butter, and the horror of finding out that ketchup and toothpaste had calories.

i don’t necessarily to cause someone distress, but i want them to know that the way we think about eating disorders right now is not productive or even factually true. google searches only arise more conflicting opinions, testimonials where you will “never fully get better”. talks with insecure girls in the  high school bathroom about how their friends look “anorexic” and ask how they can, too, just backtracks us back ten years. the more girls get recovered, the more they want to be quiet about their recovery, they are afraid of the misconceptions of anorexia, bulimia, and the myriad monsters that fall under the eating disorder diagnosis.

we need to make sure that the next set of girls with one of these nasty disorders have heard us clearly, that they know there is something beyond this. those of us that are quiet and recovered need to get louder. a lot louder.


{berets and bongos} 99;

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“i’ve got to tell you
how i love you always
i think of it on grey
mornings with death

in my mouth the tea
is never hot enough
then and the cigarette
dry the maroon robe

chills me i need you
and look out the window
at the noiseless snow

at night on the dock
the buses glow like
clouds and i am lonely
thinking of flutes

i miss you always
when i go to the beach
the sand is wet with
tears that seem mine

although i never weep
and hold you in my
heart with a very real
humor you’d be proud of

the parking lot is
crowded and i stand
rattling my keys the car
is empty as a bicycle

what are you doing now
where did you eat your
lunch and were there
lots of anchovies it

is difficult to think
of you without me in
the sentence you depress
me when you are alone

last night the stars
were numerous and today
snow is their calling
card i’ll not be cordial

there is nothing that
distracts me music is
only a crossword puzzle
do you know how it is

when you are the only
passenger if there is a
place further from me
i beg you do not go”

-frank o’hara.

post-grad reading list;

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the other night i had the pleasure of meeting a really kindred spirit in the unlikely place of a new frozen yogurt shop  where i was attending a babysitters-parent networking event (feel free to laugh. this is my normal.) we hit a lull in the event, the other babysitters really weren’t talking to other babysitters and hardcore ENFP that i am, i just couldn’t handle not talking to other human beings.

i ended up talking to the girl next to me, a nice, bubbly post-grad and we shortly began gabbing to our hearts content about work, preferred take-out restaurants (indian food court restaurant @ the pru/ chili duck) and the like. admittedly, she met me on a rough day of realizing hey, i don’t think i want to work a job in my major (which tends to happen when you just got finished with a two hour lecture on paper.) and hey, maybe i want to do this one really “unpractical” thing that i’ve always wanted to do since i was eight. and hey, i’m graduating this year and i’m very scared i might have to work at a quiznos. 

the girl was the best part of the event. since my post-grad woes had been distracting me all week (and also the coordinator of the event mistook me for a mom as soon as i walked in the door, grumblegrumblegrumble) i was feeling a bit disgruntled and distracted. “you don’t have to work in your major!” she said, calmly. “you can literally do anything you want,” she said after hearing my questions about post-grad life. and then i thought about all the books i’ve read in the past few years or so that said the same, stupidly simple little reminder that i’ve heard a million times, both in books and by multiple elementary school teachers. once again, i’m nope-ing to doing a job in my major because it’s “practical”. i’m nope-ing to working at quiznos. boom.

so for your reading pleasure (and because i hope/know i’m not alone in this feeling) here are some “hey, you don’t have to work at [insert fast food establishment here]“ book list for post-grad survival

100 demons by lynda barry (a coming of age omic book!)

great gals: inspired ideas for living a kick-ass life by summer pierre

the artist in the office: how to creatively survive and thrive seven days a week by summer pierre

i was told there’d be cake by slone crosley + my boyfriend wrote a book about me by hillary winston  + the new york regional mormon singles halloween dance by elna baker    (the three women who are essentially doing what i want to do, no biggie.)

the happiness project
 
by gretchen rubin (reading this right now and my mind is bubbling over with ideas, ya’ll.)

what i know now: letters to my younger self by ellen spragins (one of my dearest friend’s mothers gave me this book when i graduated high school and it is actually the best little nugget of wisdom i’ve ever received.)

 

{what are your favorite reads for the post-grad-i-don’t-know-what-i’m-doing-but-i’d-like-to-still-have-money-to-eat group?}

{berets and bongos} 97;

“you do not always know what I am feeling.

last night in the warm spring air while I was
blazing my tirade against someone who doesn’t
interest
me, it was love for you that set me
afire,

and isn’t it odd? for in rooms full of
strangers my most tender feelings
writhe and
bear the fruit of screaming. put out your hand,
isn’t there
an ashtray, suddenly, there? beside
the bed? And someone you love enters the room
and says wouldn’t
you like the eggs a little

different today?
and when they arrive they are
just plain scrambled eggs and the warm weather
is holding.”

-frank o’hara, “for grace, after a party.”

2013: the year of “nope”;

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i am a yes girl through and through. i say yes to new friends because, hey, new friends! i say yes to babysitting new kids for new families because, hey, money for me to blow on overpriced decaf americanos and concert tickets and ingredients to bake speculoos cookies! i say yes to including not-the-nicest people in my little world that might not be paying the adequate amount of rent money to inhabit that space, because yes is always best, right?! especially in this twenty-something female blog world, i can’t tell you how many times i’ve seen a twee little “say yes to life” message riddled among blog posts. and you know what?

nope. just….nope.

don’t get me wrong, i love that i am agreeable. i love that i can easily get myself excited about doing things that the people in my life love to do, because if they love it, what’s not to love? i love that excitement is something i can easily tap into, like a little maple tree that’s overflowing with sap a bit too much.

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but then i get tired. and i keep saying yes. because that’s who i am. and who would i be if i said no every once in a while? ergo, my inability to say no. my inability to say “ya know, i kind of wanna go by myself to this concert, if that’s okay” to the cross-armed wet-blankets of my world. my struggle to stay in, stay put, and stay still, wondering what might be going on in the city of beans. “what’s so wrong with having internship, class and babysitting from 10am-10pm on tuesdays?” i’d say to myself, stress-eating bowls of microwaved pan-asian noodle bowls and 50% of my daily sodium intake. and then i saw this cute little drawing and it all made sense. 

such things only get harder when you spent an semester interning and making event calendars, where your only goal was to glean the internet for the funnest of events going on outside (murder mystery scavenger hunts inside museums! ladysmith black mambazo concerts! oktoberfests out the wazoo!), bombarding you with things you “must” say yes to.

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this is to say i will say yes to only the things that add, not subtract. saying yes to baking speculoos cookies to the tune of the ronettes than overworking myself to hyper-rory-gilmore-ic tendencies (and we all know i tend to do that). yes to the worthwhile things (new issues of ploughshares read on the t, tacqueria dates, and my favorite two year olds). no to the  things that wear me down until i am cowering under my electric blanket with a bag of sweet potato chips and twilight zone episodes acquired from sketchy dutch tv websites. i’ll still be a yes lady, but with a couple dashes of “nope”.

appreciators to the right. haters to the left. its the year of nope, ya’ll, and you’re welcome to join along.

seven year old selves, a playlist;

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{click above picture of three year-old mackenzie for playlist, because seven year-old me had an unsightly white girl ‘fro}

like i said before, the sads don’t typically prey upon me in the winter, i’ll admit. but i also have a pretty unfair advantage for combatting the nasty little case of blues that seem to hover above  most people post-january 1st by having a conveniently late-winter birthday (ahem, march 7th. ahem. i’d love this sriracha sauce iphone case, ahem).

but sometimes, like most people who live in cities where the days look the same at 4am as they do at 4pm, it hits me. it really does. it sneaks up and settles in and asks to stay to take the chill off in my living room and i’m sometimes to nice to shoo it away from my threshold.

and i’m all about honesty on my little space on the internet. i get bummed, despite tales of lady-dates, dance parties, and lit-up bicycle rides. i get sad.  i feel like andre the giant is sitting on my chest at times. i wish i didn’t have #anemicgirlproblems and could feel the tips of my fingertips when gallivanting out in the cold. you know, the usual. nothing out of the ordinary. we all get it.

i sometimes think the origin of this sense of sads we get is when we get disconnected from whoever sits comfortably at the seat of your soul and monitors the goings on of things. i’ll notice i get disconnected to the little seven-year-old mackenzie that inhabits somewhere between my heart and my spleen (whatever, it’s prime real estate there). she’s the original, core mackenzie. she’s a fledgling mackenzie, but still the most authentic. the girl who knew more about  the proper way to attain skinned knees (rollerblading into mailboxes because she didn’t know how to stop, real talk),  than how to order replacement books of checks (ugh, the worst).

she gets angry when she doesnt get to break free and crunch on the snow, watch a disney channel original movie in the safety of her grandma chair, and eat a spoonful of marshmallow fluff right from the jar. spunk without inhibitions and thoughts of compensation, consequence, or outer perception. and she’s been bogged down lately. and its time to shake off the dust and get seven year old self to stretch out her legs, preparing her for another round of roller-blading mishaps.

so, if you’ll excuse me, seven-year-old mackenzie is getting very impatient waiting for me. classic seven year old self. so classic.

a winter’s tale;

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{click above for playlist!}

winter, in my eyes, is kind of the best. it’s a time of upheaval. of paring things down. there’s always a certain case of giddiness i get when winter rolls around, and that’s not even because of christmas or the holidays. i love the dead cold of january. i even love the brand of post-january 1st dreariness that only merits a bag full of $1 books and a new kind of cookie. maybe this shows the floridian in me, but summer dulls me down while winter perks me up like a shot of espresso to the brain.

it’s a built-in recharge button. a season of snooze-ing alarm clocks and basking in the warmth of your space heater because you have #anemicgirlproblems. whistling tea kettles. dust-covered hello kitty house slippers. late-night bananagrams. it’s crusty bread and soup and apple cake and mulled cider and buckeyes.

winter is a kind of music that sounds like drinking whiskey. it’s paradoxically warm and biting. it’s staying up later than you reckoned because it’s dark all the time and you can’t tell the difference between 4am and 4pm. winter is clean and bright and shiny. winter is going out dancing until midnight because you know it’s a cheap way to stay warm. winter is pretend “smoking” with the cold air and a fake cigarette between your hands, like a seven year old. winter is basically permission to be seven years old.  i don’t think people really appreciate winter past january 1st, and i think that’s a shame.

because like, best of all, no need to shave. that’s really the best part about winter, amiright?