Tag Archives: self help

Emotional Suppression is Such an Annoying First World Problem

As much as I blabber on this blog with my random musings and drunk stories that don’t mean anything, I tend to have a difficult time blabbing about my feelings in real life. (Caitlin rule: social media is not real life). Even writing “talking about my feelings,” just made me cringe because to me, it sounds narcissistic and privileged. Maybe I just read the news too much and compare myself too heavily to the people on BBC reports who have real problems. If I have food, clothing and shelter, then I feel I should keep my damn mouth shut and not complain about anything. I’m alive, I am not persecuted for my religion (or lack there of), I have friends and family, I have running water, my health and a car that has friggen built in seat warmers. A lot of the world is in fear of their lives due to their religious beliefs, contracting TB is as common as getting the sniffles, they need to chop wood to create heat and they walk to the nearest well to retrieve water using pots and pans. So no, I’ll spare the world of my American girl sob story because I don’t want to add to the delusions of what it’s like NOT to have real problems.

The older I get, the more I learn, the more I travel, the more people I meet, the more disgusted I become with the First World. I think that one characteristic of First World society is indulgence. We are a bunch of fat fucks who think that it is acceptable to stuff ourselves just because it’s taco Tuesday, gamble our money away just for the adrenaline, drink like Armaggedon is upon us just because it’s happy hour and buy big diamonds just because it shows status. I am the first to admit, I am a culprit of certain indulgences as I’m sure most of you are very aware. These extravagances are a way for us to stay stimulated. This constant need for stimulus (which I am 100% guilty of) is a product of our First World problem; that we take our survival for granted and have too much damn time on our hands for self-analyzing and worrying about trivial matters such as not being able to connect to wifi at our nearby coffee shop. Even in the second world, eating is still a thing that requires some work. Not only do they work for their food, figuratively speaking because they work to be able to purchase food (the way that most of us do), but a lot of them also sweat for their food. They garden and raise goats and slaughter their chickens themselves and have to worry about droughts and too much rain because maybe with a lot of rain some of their crops will drown, but they can’t drive to the market during bad weather because the roads get flooded and close. These motherfuckers do not have time to worry about what it means to have “daddy issues” because they have real shit to deal with, which gives them a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

I was in the cereal aisle the other day, and became so grossed out with myself. I was a little bit chilly even though it was 90 degrees (32 degrees Celsius) outside, but the giant supermarket I am in is fully air conditioned and there I was under the giant florescent lights, looking at the entire row of at least 300 choices of cereal. I was getting panicky because I was trying to figure out the cereal with the lowest calorie to sugar ratio, but knew that I had to hurry because I still needed to call my car insurance company before 5:00 and was also worried about a boy I like and what I should text him back. Jesus Christ. I wanted to punch myself in the stomach. If I had to make my damn cereal myself, I wouldn’t be getting panicky about my First World problems because I would be too busy studying weather patterns to make sure that I plant the grain at the proper time of season.

I love working with my hands, and having a job that makes me sweat. I have noticed that the people I know who do some type of manual labor for a living, seem to have the most sense of satisfaction. With all this technology, the manual labor jobs are dwindling, and our feelings of contentment are going right down the drain with them. With this void, we feel the need to fill that with self-indulgences. Indulging is or desperate attempt to make ourselves happier when our lives don’t really fulfill us. There is a bill for indulgences, and it feels like our society is becoming late in payment.

I’m hoping that you all understand that I’m not talking about ordering dessert when I say over indulging. I’m discussing an overall lifestyle. In our lifestyle, we seem to take more than we need and most of us think nothing of it; don’t even realize it as we wash the dishes under constant running water.

If everyone only took what resources they really NEEDED, think about what a better world we’d be in. Really, please think about it for at least sixty seconds.

We are a bunch of selfish twats who would rather live blindly and gluttonous than unite and help a brother out. I know that this sounds harsh, but I think that something really went wrong with our species. No other species on Earth sabotages each other. We think that we are on top, but we are at the bottom. We think that the world needs to adjust to us, but we need to wake the fuck up and adjust to the world. My wise Dad made a good point a while back, and I’ve found myself thinking about it more recently. He said that humans are absolutely at the bottom of the food chain. We consider ourselves at the top… why? Because we have opposable thumbs and can kill everything else? If humans ceased to exist, the Earth wold THRIVE. However, if something like plankton, or bees, which are considered at the bottom of the food chain, ceased to exist, the entire goddamn world would cease to exist.

If you have gotten this far, then I thank you for listening to my rant. My initial point is, that with all of that floating around in my mind, it has made balancing awareness and my everyday life tricky. I come from a First World country, so obviously I have adapted to such, but being aware of my status has presented its problems concerning my mental well being. I don’t want to talk about how I’m feeling, but when I don’t, it makes it worse because I’m suppressing. However, when I do talk, it also makes it worse because I feel like a dick for even complaining. A vicious cycle. Life would be so much easier if I was an ignorant redneck.

Due to my unwillingness to open my mouth (a guy I saw for a short amount of time in college called me, Lipless because I never said what I was thinking), I have damaged quite a few of my relationships. I say “relationships” because that’s the easiest go-to description, but they weren’t relationships and that’s mostly because I’m an asshole. Also though, because I don’t often “share” because I feel ridiculous for even letting my demons get to me.

I was “feelin’ it” recently (as Michael would say), which basically means that you’re drowning in your demons, and I honestly considered just completely ending communication with this certain boy that I like. No word, nothing. I guess I was feeling overwhelmed and that seemed like the only component that I could eradicate. That’s something that I probably would have done in the past because running is always easier than confronting, but I’ve changed and instead, checked myself, and did manage to talk to him about some of my gross feelings that I was so annoyed that I even had. But I’m glad I did, he made me feel better.

We need to find a median. Somehow, I need to figure out a way to deal with my emotions but also continue to keep things in perspective. I recognize what I need to work on, but we all need to recognize that as a society, we need to change and that we have sold our soul in exchange for late night Taco Bell raids.

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Money Can Absolutely Buy Happiness

As hopelessly naive as this sounds, for a good portion of my life, I was a pseudo bohemian enthusiast who claimed that love is all you need.  I blame it on my obsession with the movie, Moulin Rouge. I was a teenager back then and unfortunately I have grown-up and have received a few bloody noses from Life.  Life can be such a jerk sometimes.  I believe that everyone needs to get their ass kicked once or twice, it’s humbling.  I got my ass kicked metaphorically speaking, and I think that counts.

I had a slight awakening today while contemplating if I was going to wait in the two hour line to get my car detailed or if I was going to put it off until tomorrow, which I’ve been saying everyday for the last month.  I smiled when I remembered the time, approximately four years ago, when I made a promise to myself.  It was 2011, I had somewhat recently graduated from college, and I was planning my move to Los Angeles.  The only major thing that was stopping me was my vehicle.  I had a piece of shit car that somehow managed to drive me back and forth between Tampa and Savannah (where I went to college) for years, but I knew that trying to take it cross-country, would only leave me stranded on the side of the road and susceptible to being found “dead in a ditch,” which is a phrase I grew up with my Mom saying.  “Call me when you get there so that I know you’re not dead in a ditch somewhere, Caitlin!”

Being the rad Dad that he is, my father gave me his old car, and bought himself a new one.  Since I can remember, my Dad’s cars have always smelled like gasoline, grass and coffee.  When I was growing up, he owned a landscaping company, so it made sense.  Now, even though the landscape company is long gone, for some reason, his cars still always smell like gasoline, grass and coffee and has gasoline, grass and coffee in every crevice and on every possible surface of his car, plus just so much dirt.  In other words, the car is filthy.  It never really bothered me though, because I like how hands-on he is and that he actually uses his cars as the piece of machinery that they are, rather than the milk and honey of one’s existance. I don’t give a shit about what my car looks like, but I wasn’t too keen on not being able to wear a white t-shirt because it would get noticeably dirty simply by sitting down in my own vehicle.  So, I packed that Subaru up with a desk, my clothes, some lamps and my hopes and dreams and headed off to California, promising myself that when I received my first big paycheck, I would use part of it to get my car detailed.  I figured it would cost around $100.

That day never came.  I was constantly struggling; drowning in financial agony.  Two years later, for many reasons, surprisingly finances not being one of the main factors, I packed up that Subaru again, this time without a desk, minimal clothes, no lamps and only broken hopes and dreams (I had significantly down-sized literally and metaphorically), and drove it back across the damn country in the company of that familiar smell of gasoline, grass and coffee which were still ingrained in every crevice of the car that I never got detailed because the payday never came.

My life and attitude has significantly changed since then.  I’m a pretty firm believer in you make your own happiness, and if you’re not happy then make a change.  It took me a long time, because all of that is easier said than done, and I absolutely still have severe lows and that intense feeling of failure (that I think my entire generation is experiencing but that’s a topic for a later day) is constantly knocking on my attic door, but for the most part, I am in a better place mentally, and I believe a lot of that is because I am also in a slightly better place financially.

Just two years ago, I was in tears almost everyday, having panic attacks due to getting multiple phone calls a day from the banks, harrassing me about my late student loan payments.  I regularly had to wait until payday to go grocery shopping, and would live off of the instant oatmeal packets and cans of tuna fish that were in the back of the pantry.  Things like going to the doctor, seeing the dentist, paying for my electric bill and purchasing a pair of shoes that were required for work was a HUGE deal for me.  How can one be happy when you can’t even afford the necessities required to live a day-to-day life?

I was honestly living day-to-day for a while there.  Then it eventually progressed to week-to-week, and currently I would say that I live month to month.  I in no way “have money,” but at least I do not need to question if I am able to go to the damn grocery store.  I donate some money every month, depending on what’s going on in the world/my life.  For example, this month I donated $50 to the Nepal relief, last month I donated $10 to this workout/exercise/nutritional website that I regularly use that I think provides a good service and the month before that, I donated $20 to NPR.  I do what I can when I can and that makes me happy.  Before, when I was living day-to-day, donating a mere $15 was just not an option, and that made me sad.

I was sitting at the car wash/detail place, and realized that money really can buy happiness.  Being able to detail my car without it breaking my bank account now represents a sense of fulfillment to me, and I am happier because of it.  The $80 it takes definitely makes me wince, and it is a luxury that I would never spend the money on for myself, but I am trying to sell the car so the detailing fee is necessary, but it won’t effect wether or not I can pay my telephone invoice later this day. I still can’t afford to get my tattoo finished, and I can’t afford to buy a new used car (though I need one) or shop anywhere other than Ross Dress for Less, but at least I can afford to get my teeth cleaned when needed, fill my car with gasoline and go to a “Tyler the Creator” show when he is in town, without worrying about how I’m going to also pay my water bill.

I think that the phrase should go, “Being filthy rich can’t buy you happiness.”  Not that I know what it feels like to be filthy rich, but from the little wisdom I do have, I think I could agree with that statement.

Not to completely change the subject, but I think that this piece of advice is important, and it falls under the topic of money as well. Spend your money on experiences, not things! I’m going to turn that into a Caitlin Rule.

I have mostly lived this way, but I was never able to so gracefully articulate it. I am going to Australia this summer, and in fall I am going to Eastern Europe. Though I am doing both trips very frugally, I know, without a doubt, that I will be broke for at least the next two years due to this year. The Europe trip was planned first, and that was set in stone (it’s going to be with my sister and Fat Face and we are going to have the time of our lives), but before I decided on Australia with any type of certainty, I was discussing the monetary and potentially emotional set-back of the trip with my boss. I went into this whole soliloquy to which he responded by simply shrugging his shoulders and saying, “Do it. Spend your money on experiences rather than things.” Well said, sir. I now pass this wisdom onto all of you.

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W.W.A.D.

What. Would. Ari. Do.?

There’s a boy named Ari.

And I think he is a hero. He moved here from Albania with his parents when he was sixteen years old and did not know a word of English. He told me the story of his first day of school, and how it was by far, the worst day of his life. It’s quite inspiring, but for some reason, even though it wasn’t whispered, and it wasn’t sworn to secrecy, it felt private. So I’m not going to tell you his tale. Fast forward to eleven years later, and now he speaks perfect English, and has two more years before he will graduate from medical school.

Ari goes to school full-time, Monday through Thursday, and then works at our restaurant Friday through Sunday. He’s been working there for about ten years. My Dad owns the place, and I guess Ari’s father had heard that there were a couple of Albanian’s working there, so he came by, and asked if there was a position available for his son.  Ari has been there ever since. I admire the familial bond the Albanian’s I work with still have, that Americans are severely lacking.  That’s a topic for a different day.

Ari now tends bar for about nine hours on Friday and Saturday afternoon/nights, and works in the kitchen from 9:30am-midnight on Sundays. That’s about 33 hours in three days after a full medical school work load. And he NEVER complains. It took me asking him how much he sleeps, for him to ever mention to me that he only sleeps about three hours a night. Most people, if they go ONE night with only three hours of sleep, the whole fucking world knows about it because it’s their topic of conversation for the day.

Ari and I disagree on almost everything. First of all, he’s a Republican… so most of our debates stem from that in some way or another. Whether it’s a discussion about gun control or the Federal Bank or racial discrimination, we generally bump heads.  But he’s good.  Better than he knows.  My kind of hero.  The kind that over time will be forgotten, his name probably not mentioned in texts, but the kind of hero that if everyone were a little more like him, we’d probably live in a better place.

Although I have no history or romantic ties with Ari, I find myself deeply wanting his approval.  The thought of him disapproving of me or my actions, or being let down by me in some way, stings my soul.  I did something recently, that normally I would just laugh off, or fool myself into brushing off, but I can’t shake it the way I could before Ari was in my life.  He has become my moral compass.  I’ve known him for a long time, but only in the last few months have I actually began the process of getting to know him.

The day after my “mistake,” (which really wasn’t that bad at all) I saw Ari at work.  Although I’m sure he had no idea of what I did, I could barely look him in the eye.  It was as if he has become a tangible representation of my conscience.  He grounds me, and I barely know him.  I could count the number of times on one hand that we’ve had what I would consider to be a “real” conversation.  I suppose he just sets a good example without words.

It’s nice to have someone in my life again who reminds me of what I do and do not want to do, and he is completely unaware of the moral direction he provides me.  Maybe I’m putting him on a pedestal, but I’m okay with that for now.  It’s nice to know someone who I can root for and believe in.  If you are like myself, and going through a quarter life crisis, I advise you to  find your Ari.  He/she will remind you of who you really want to be.

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