Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Confessions of a Sober Sally

In Honor of Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week...that's a mouthful. This is my attempt at educating my followers about my invisible chronic illness, because the more you know the more you can help anyone around you who might have an illness you aren't even aware of, because about 96% of illnesses are invisible: meaning people who have them show no visible signs.

My Chronic Invisible Illness Awareness Survey!
AKA, 30 Things About my Invisible Illness You May Not Know

Me and my favorite fellow Sober Sally, Tali, doing our best sorority girl leannn


1. The illness I live with is:
Crohn's disease

2. I was diagnosed with it in the year:
2010
3. But I had symptoms since:
About 5th grade? So 2002.
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: 
Knowing my limits without being limited. A common side illness of people with Crohn's is anemia, so I'm very tired almost always. I can't go out and get drunk and stay out til 4 AM like a lot of other kids in college, which can be tough on my social life, but my good friends understand. And I like to think I'm still pretty fun :)
5. Most people assume:
That I'm just a homebody/lazy. When I don't go out on a Friday because I'm having a flare, people tend to assume I just don't feel like it. And if I miss a class I often worry that my classmates and professors think I just don't care about the class, when in reality, during a flare it's a struggle to go anywhere.
6. The hardest part about mornings is:
Feeling rested, no matter how much I've slept.
7. My favorite medical TV show is:
Ahh I don't watch any, is that weird? I'm all about SVU and Criminal Minds.
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is:
My computer, definitely. On a Friday night when your stomach hates you and you can't go to a party with friends, Netflix is your BFF.
9. The hardest part about nights is:
Nights aren't terrible unless I'm in a flare, which then makes it hard to sleep because I'll wake up with stomach cramps.
10. Each day I take __ pills & vitamins.
7+
11. Regarding alternative treatments I:
Drink a lot of ginger ale? Haha yeahh that's terrible but true. I actually have found yoga somewhat helpful, because my life is a sick joke in the way that I suffer from panic disorder (a subset of anxiety disorders), and Crohn's is made worse by stress. So whenever I get panicky or upset, my stomach responds badly. For that, yoga and anxiety medications have been helpful.12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose:
Both are really terrible, neither?
13. Regarding working and career:
In spite of the fact that a lot of people with Crohn's end up working from home, my case is (hopefully) not ever going to be that severe. I have had a part time job the whole time I've had Crohn's, and I'm currently getting my degree to become a high school English teacher, something I'm very passionate about.
14. People would be surprised to know:
That my illness bothers me more than people realize. I'll blog about it occasionally, but if it gets brought up in real life I generally brush it off like it's not a big deal. In reality, it's really hard to deal with constant stomach aches and feeling tired all the time when you're only 20. And it's even harder because a lot of people don't really know anything about what Crohn's is.
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been:
That there is no cure, and no "growing out of it". This is a disease I'll have for life.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was:
End up in a serious relationship. Crohn's is a super NOT glamorous disease, especially for a girl to have, and while my best friends were always super supportive and hilarious about it (we made lots of jokes), it's not something you want to bring up on a first date. Luckily, I'm with an incredibly understanding person who never makes me feel awkward and is always mindful of when I'm not feeling well. When I visit his family he even makes sure they have plenty of ginger ale :)
17. The commercials about my illness:
OH MY GOD DON'T GET ME STARTED. They're all like, "are you constantly running to the bathroom?" If I had a dollar for everyone who told me they saw a Crohn's commercial and thought of me and I cringed, I'd be a millionaire. It just bothers me because there's a lot more to Crohn's that=n "constantly running to the bathroom".
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is:
Um, drinking? That's gonna sound really bad and make me sound like an alcoholic, but really. It's hard being in college and not having that social aspect, especially since I'll be turning 21 so soon. And sometimes I just want a glass of wine! (or five).

19. It was really hard to have to give up:
Luckily I haven't had to give up much, except money. My pills are HEINOUSLY expensive. Which is one of the major reasons I'm allll about Obama 2012, y'all, read some of my previous posts.
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is:

Blogging about my illness! Crohn's is one of those things that people either don't know about or are misinformed about. I've also become more politically involved, because healthcare costs so directly affect everything in my life now. Oh, and yoga.
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would:
Oh god I would eat some bleu cheese fries from Al's roast beef and then I would get drunk off my ass. Again, that sounds bad. Sorry I'm not sorry.
22. My illness has taught me:
Empathy. People who need help paying for their tests or medications aren't asking for a handout, they're just asking for the necessary objects to be healthy enough to live and contribute to society. Also, it's made me able to put things in perspective. There's a quote from Garden State, by Natalie Portman's character (who is epileptic) that really sums it all up really well:
You laugh. I'm not saying I don't cry but in between I laugh and I realize how silly it is to take anything too seriously. Plus, I look forward to a good cry. It feels pretty good.
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is:
“You could drink." Yes. I could. I won't die from it. But I will spend the entire following day in extreme, extreme pain.

24. But I love it when people:
Ask genuine questions and care about the answers.
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is:
Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim. 

26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them:
There will be bad days and there will be good days, but don't let your illness define you.

27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is:
That having a chronic illness isn’t the end of the world. It makes my life more difficult, yes, but everyone faces adversity. Mine is just in the form of inflamed intestines.
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was:
Brandon amazes me every day that we spend together. When I have bad days, he never pressures me to go out or do anything I can't or don't want to do. He just sits with me and watches Storage Wars and brings me ginger ale :)
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because:
It’s not something that I’ve been involved in before, but it's vitally important that people realize that just because someone seems healthy and fine doesn't mean they aren't struggling with something you can't see.

30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel:
Flattered.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Why Politics are Personal

"Our grandparents should be able to afford their medicine, our kids should be able to see a doctor when they're sick, and no one in this country should ever go broke because of an accident or illness."
Michelle Obama's speech literally brought tears to my eyes. She said so many things that I found myself saying "yes! that's exactly how I feel!", whether it was regarding women's reproductive rights, marriage equality, or student loans.
But the issue that always hits home most for me is the cost of healthcare. We live in a country where you could get hit by a car walking down the street one day and six months later lose your house trying to pay for the medical bills. It's horrifying, and it's wrong.
Slightly over a year ago, my dad had a stroke. We were on family vacation, I was napping after a long day on the lake, and my uncle came in and told me to hurry up and get outside because my dad had collapsed.
That was literally the worst day of my twenty years of life thus far.
Seeing my dad, who coached my t-ball games and took me to White Sox games and helped me with my math homework, convulsing on the ground- it was the most emotionally trying time of my life, dealing with his stroke, and little did I know it wouldn't end after the hospital.

In one respect, my family has been unbelievably lucky- my father, while obviously not at 100% good health, has no lasting effects from the stroke: he can speak and use all of his limbs appropriately, and after about a month in the hospital he was able to return to work.
In another respect, we're still suffering the aftershock. My dad, who wants to help my sister and I pay for school more than anything, can't get a loan because he's in such debt from the medical bills. The stroke nearly killed him, and now it's taking his life savings, too. My family already has a lot of medical expenses because of my Crohn's, and now my dad has to try and come up with a way to help me pay for my medicine and pay off his bills.
So however you may feel about politics, some day you or your family might be the people that need help in a hard time. We certainly did not ask for this to happen, so all I can hope for now is healthcare reform that prevents anyone's family from going poor due to an accident.
Me & my daddy

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Best of My Summer Reading List, and Why You Should Read Them Too

bib·li·o·phile/ˈbiblēəˌfīl/

Noun:
A person who collects or has a great love of books.
I love reading. Always have. Ever since I first learned to read, I've pretty much constantly had a reading list a mile long. That's a big part of the reason I want to become an English teacher, so I can help other kids realize that reading can be fun. I recently got my boyfriend (who has read a total of like 4 books in his life) addicted to The Hunger Games trilogy, and if I can make him like reading, I'm pretty sure I can convert anyone to a reader. This summer I read just under two dozen, but I thought I'd share some of my favorites with my lovely followers.

Best Book that was Turned into a MovieThe Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey EugenidesI loved the way this was written, I loved the story (albeit morbid), and I loved the characters. It was so creative and so different than anything I've read that it really stuck with me and I found myself constantly thinking about it or wanting to talk about it. After I finished the book, I watched the movie, starring Kirsten Dunst and Josh Hartnett. As far as movie adaptations go, it was great. I wasn't expecting much going into it, but it really portrayed the book well. That being said, I'd still definitely read it before you watch it: the book is always better than the movie.
"In the end, the tortures tearing the Lisbon girls pointed to a simple reasoned refusal to accept the world as it was handed down to them, so full of flaws."
The Book You Should Read NowThe Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew QuickI'm not gonna lie, I ordered this book because of Jennifer Lawrence. This book is being turned into a movie starring her and Bradley Cooper, and being a huge Jenny Lawrence fan, I watched the trailer when it first came out and thought it looked really great. As far as the book goes, it took me a few pages to get used to Quick's style, but when I did I really loved the story. Mental illness is a difficult topic that Quick manages to handle gracefully. Now I'm anxiously awaiting the film's premiere!
“Life is not a PG feel-good movie. Real life often ends badly. Literature tries to document this reality, while showing us it is still possible for us to endure nobly.”
The Book That Made Me Wish Mindy Kaling Was My Best FriendIs Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy KalingYou might know her as Kelly from The Office, but this book proves she's so much more than that. I would go as far as to say this was the best book I've read all summer. Sure, it's not an instant literary classic, but it was so honest. It made me LITERALLY laugh out loud. I read the majority of it sitting on my boyfriend's couch and stopping after every story to tell him something funny Mindy said, like I know her personally. And that's honestly the main outcome of this book: you will feel like Mindy Kaling is your new BFF. I highly recommend following her on Twitter as well: she's just as charming in 140 characters or less as she is in this collection of essays.
I’m the kind of person who would rather get my hopes really high and watch them get dashed to pieces than wisely keep my expectations at bay and hope they are exceeded. This quality has made me a needy and theatrical friend, but has given me a spectacularly dramatic emotional life.












Sunday, August 26, 2012

Back to School: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Friday I officially started my junior year of college, which makes me feel incredibly old. I should expect nothing less of college, but I already have a ton of homework to do (that I should probably be doing right now). That's the bad. I love learning and class discussions, but it definitely takes all the motivation I have to bring myself to read the article on Native American communication I have to read for my American Lit class.
But the good has to be seeing all of my friends again. I love living a floor or two away from everyone again! We've only been back a few days and we've already hung out and had a beach day. I missed them all a lot. 
Welcome back to college, kids
The ugly? Dorm food. Not gonna lie, my dorm does have exceptional food compared to most, but after five days its already starting to get old. So much of the same stuff! And trying to stay healthy when there's a burger bar every night is no easy feat, but I'm doing my best! It doesn't hurt having a gym in the building.

And the really great news is that I might be getting the chance to write for Her Campus! Which would be a dream come true, because as any writer knows, having the opportunity to have anything you write be read by a big audience is beyond amazing. So keep your fingers crossed for me!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The 4 Things You Need to Know to be my BFF


First off, sorry for my serious hiatus from blogging. The past few weeks were a whirlwind of quality boyfriend time and east coast vacation-ing (I'll post pictures when he sends them to me!) but now I'm back with a back-to-school post, but not of the fashion variety.

It's getting to be that time again: a new semester of college! And while I'm not a freshman, it's always fun to make new friends (remember in kindergarten when you were always on the look out for new bffs? let's go back to that). So today, I'm blogging about the top four things you should know about me if you were going to become my new best friend for fucking ever.


  • I have a light switch attention span   By that I mean, I am either entirely obsessed with something or utterly uninterested. I lack a middle ground. While this is sometimes frustrating, it's also fun, because it means when I like something I LOVE it. Which means lots of fun geeking out over things like the season finale of Gossip Girl or the fact that Josh Hutcherson is blonde again.
    I have a thing for Peeta
  • My music taste is incredibly un-hip
    Any trendy music I actually know the name of or words to is all thanks to the boyfriend. When I'm by myself and controlling the music (like right now), it's a constant stream of country music, Backstreet Boys, and the occasional musical (I've seen RENT live three times). Sure, being able to talk about music like La Dispute or Bon Iver or whatever the kids are listening to these days probably gives you street cred, but I would much rather sing Carrie Underwood at the top of my lungs. I've seen BSB in concert twice in the past two years, and I just know letting out my inner six year old was probably more fun than Lollapalooza. Just personal preference.
    This may or may not be a homemade shirt I made for the NKOTBSB concert
  •  I always have my nose in a bookI have a full blown addiction to buying books. I'm an English major, so obviously I love to read, and I like to always have plenty of good books to read on hand for when I finish one. My goodreads account is updated religiously and I carry a paperback in my purse at all times in case of slow work days or long lines. I just finished reading The Silver Linings Playbook.
    Picked these up at the Printer's Row Lit Fest
  • Most importantly: I am super weird.You know those girls (ahem, Zooey Deschanel) that claim to be "weird" but are really just quirky and adorable? Yeah, that's not me. If you couldn't tell already, I pride myself on my dry sense of humor. I tell off color jokes, often prefer sitting home and watching Buffy reruns to going out, and watch YouTube interviews of the cast of The Hunger Games in my spare time. My best friends from high school are all also super weird girls, so it works. I seem incredibly normal upon first meeting me, but don't be fooled, kids. Get me warmed up and I will be tweeting at you in all caps and talking your ear off about how I cried when Dobby died (but that's not weird, right? Everyone did that).
    Instead of a sexy Halloween costume, I like to be Zenon.
    So hopefully in spite of (or because of?!) my weird qualities, I pick up a few new BFF's this school year. Here's to another semester!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

& Miles Don't Mean Anything

99% of the time, I hate being in a relationship that is sometimes long distance. Especially since that distance is 886 miles. But since it might be long distance again soon, I'm finding myself looking for silver linings. Like the fact that I will finally have enough time to apply as an RA, or tutor to build up my resume. But one of my absolute favorite things about being in my kinda sorta long distance relationship is all the cool places I've been able to see thanks to Brandon.
This is me and my boo thaang
Brandon and I met our freshman year. We were friends for a semester, more than friends for a semester, and then pretty heavily in love since. Unfortunately, I'm from Chicago, where we met, and Brandon is from Connecticut. Not at all close. Which means sometimes (summer, for instance, and possibly longer starting in a few months) he has to be there and I have to be here. Which sucks. But, here's the silver lining: before Brandon, I had been to the East Coast once. My sophomore year of high school, I went on a school trip to New York for choir. I hated it. I thought it was Chicago but louder and more crowded. Little did I know, the East Coast has a lot more to offer than just the big city.
I first visited Connecticut last July. Since then, because of dating Brandon, I have gotten to see Connecticut, Boston, Maine, Rhode Island, and New York again (for the record, I still hated it but so did he). And two weeks I will find myself in New Hampshire, another place I've never been, staying at a lake house with Brandon's family. The East Coast is so incredibly different than the Midwest, and I really love getting to see it all and experience new things. I never thought I'd get to hang out on a beach in Newport or see the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. It also makes me feel closer to Brandon because I get to see the places he grew up around. And while the distance does suck a LOT, when I graduate we can finally pick a place to live together. But until then I plan to enjoy all of the new places dating my boy takes me.
Tubing in Maine!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Fighting Apathy, or Giving a Fuck

I tend to disagree.
Not to gang up on the generation I'm a part of or anything, but I'm really sick of hearing variations of the phrase "I don't give a fuck."
Apathy isn't cute, kids.
There's a whole big world out there happening around you, so by saying you "don't give a fuck", you're essentially saying you don't care to be a part of, as author John Green so eloquently put it, "the miracle of human consciousness."
I give a lot of fucks. So many, in fact, that I could be and have before been deemed a nerd. But you know, I would much rather be a nerd than be like so many of the kids I see on social networks these days with their statuses like "just gonna get wasted and get high as fuck because YOLO." (Okay, that may be a made up exaggeration, but I wouldn't be surprised if some poor kid had that exact status right now).
Because here's the thing: I think caring about things is beautiful. Even if it makes you cool, I don't want to "not give a fuck". I want to finish school, I want to become a teacher, and I want to achieve the goals I set out to achieve in life. If that makes me a nerd, guilty as charged. And with the power to mold young minds, I hope that I can convince even one kid not to give in to the pressure to denounce all passions as "uncool". Because, when it comes down to it, I might have a lot of emotions and sometimes I might hate it, but it's better than being numb to the world around you. I'd rather be myself (someone who is really emotional over the final season of Desperate Housewives, who reads 2 books a week, and who tries to keep up on what's happening in the world, even if it is via Huffington Post and not CNN) than someone who glides through adolescence only caring about where I'm getting drunk next weekend.
So whether what you love is running, or Glee, or crafting your entire pinboard, go do it! And get excited about it! Because what we need in this life is a hell of a lot more passion. 
So sorry for calling my own generation out, but IGAF.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Blorft.

You might be wondering why this post could possibly be titled "Blorft". And it's because, even if it is a nonsense word, I've been feeling incredibly blorft for a while now. Here, let me let Tina Fey explain:
“I was a little excited but mostly blorft. "Blorft" is an adjective I just made up that means 'Completely overwhelmed but proceeding as if everything is fine and reacting to the stress with the torpor of a possum.' I have been blorft every day for the past seven years.”
Tina uses "blorft" in her book, Bossypants, which I haven't read yet but definitely intend to. I think she perfectly sums up what a lot of women feel, myself being one of them. So I decided instead of feeling blorft, I'd try to do something about the state of things. 
I've been MIA from the blogging world for the past week and a half or so, and it's because working 6 days a week and taking two online classes is definitely not recommended. You know the saying "I'm so stressed I could pull my hair out?" Well, I'm so stressed that my hair has started rebelling and falling out on its own. Obviously, my life is in need of some changes for the better.
I've been going between home and work with just enough time to eat some crappy fast food and sleep in between. Not good for you. And since all I've been doing is work and homework, I haven't had much time for myself. I decided to tackle that head on, and I just started doing yoga. Not like, extreme exercise class yoga, but this wonderful little program:
I would definitely recommend it for anyone who's stressed out. The woman who does the program is also a psychotherapist, so she really knows what she's doing when it comes to yoga for stress relief. I just started and I already feel a lot more relaxed. And the flexibility part is just an extra benefit. Since I stopped high school cheerleading my flexibility has pretty steadily been declining, so it'll be nice to get it back! Hopefully this small step of doing yoga every morning can give me back some time to myself and make me a little more fit at the same time.
People can't change overnight, but I did get vegetables in my omelette this morning. And for me, that's saying something.


Monday, July 9, 2012

The Quotable Twentysomething

A few weeks ago, I went to the Printers Row Lit Fest. It's a giant annual book fair in Chicago, and it happened to be taking place about 20 yards from my boyfriend's door, so needless to say I spent a ridiculous amount of time there. He even ended up liking it a lot too because they had a lot of antique things and he's a Pawn Stars-aholic.
Anyway, my favorite purchase had to be a handmade leather journal.
My new baby!
I've always wanted one, so I was thrilled that I could talk them down in price on the last day of the festival. It has parchment pages and its probably the prettiest thing I've ever owned. But there's one problem: as much as I love to blog and write stories, I have never been much of a journaler. I probably have about a dozen little notebooks in a closet somewhere that have one or two entries in them before I forgot all about them.
So because I didn't want this journal to succumb to the same "stuffed in a box in a closet" fate, I had to come up with something better to do with it. And that's where I got my new project!
I love quotes. I think it's so wonderful to find a quote that sums up exactly how you feel, because it reminds you that you're not alone in feeling that way. So I'm filling this journal with all of my favorite quotes. It's going to be quite an undertaking, considering I'm about seven pages in and my hand already started cramping like crazy, but I'm excited for it to be filled one day.
And when it's done? I like the idea of having a tangible catalog of quotes I love, not something on Pinterest. Don't get me wrong, I love pinning! This just seems more real. And my end goal is to one day have a teenage daughter I can give it to so that she can have all the wisdom of some of my favorite people (politicians, writers, celebrities) all in one place.
So in the theme of quotes, I'll leave you with one that I've already added to the book:
"If you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen."  - Conan O'Brien

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Everything (useful) I Learned in Life I Learned From Blair Waldorf

Gossip Girl has been my go-to guilty pleasure TV since it's premiere in 2007. I was a sophomore in a suburban Midwestern high school, buying my clothes ate Target and Forever 21, and I wanted nothing more than to be Blair Waldorf. If you're not familiar, she's basically a cultured, well-read, classy bitch living on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with hot boyfriends and the best wardrobe I've ever seen. And beyond all that, she is just so supremely confident. Even when she's being a heinous bitch, you still find yourself rooting for her.
So now, five seasons later, I realize that this girly-tween fictional CW character has taught me some valuable life lessons, and I thought I would share.
1. Always be a fierce friend
Blair is often a bitch, but it is almost always to help the people she loves. She takes friendship very seriously and will go to the ends of the earth to help her best friends. It's a great reminder for life in general. Everyone has a lot going on in their own lives, but it's important to always make time for the people in your life when they need you.

2. You can be with someone and be independent at the same time
Blair has been involved with every attractive guy on the show at some point or another, but she has almost always maintained her sense of self. A lot of teenage girls and women in their twenties can lose themselves in a relationship. Blair has been deeply in love, but she always has her priorities straight. She wouldn't settle for less than the best treatment from a man, and as much as she's in love, she wouldn't stay with someone if it wasn't in her best interest.

3. We've all got problems
 Blair has suffered through her parents' divorce and her father's subsequent move to Paris, her best friend leaving without a word, her boyfriend cheating on her with her best friend, and bulimia. And that's just in the first season. She's a good reminder that even those girls that you think are pretty, rich, and basically perfect, have problems too. Never judge a book by its cover, because you never know what someone might be going through.

4. Relationships should be fun!
Blair plays outlandish games with her beau where they seduce strangers, she dresses up as Anna Karenina, and she role plays as a dissatisfied customer and a waiter. In relationships it can be hard to really get it all out there and have fun, but Blair always does. She's not afraid to say what she wants and live life with a little kink, which we could all probably use more of!
5. Last but not least...
"Here's my advice. Have a little faith. And if that doesn't work, a lot of mimosas."

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Skinny Bitch

I am an avid social networker. I have this blog, a tumblr, a facebook, a twitter, a pinterest, an instagram... the list kind of makes me feel ridiculous. But I've seen a disturbing trend these days among all of my favorite sites: Thinspo. From what I gather, it's just girls posting pictures that are either of someone who is near anorexic or someone skinny that has been photoshopped to look even skinnier, and this is supposed to inspire them to stay thin.
Just an example of what you can find on the tumblr thinspo tag
The caption to the above picture was "lose 6 more pounds to my goal weight!". Obviously, these thinspo and pro ana girls are extreme examples, but even fairly normal, healthy girls I know bash their bodies on a regular basis. It makes me sad. I want to shake them all and just tell them that being skinny does NOT mean being happy. 
I would know. When I was seventeen, I became very sick. I couldn't keep food in me, I was living on ginger ale and saltines, and I was missing tons of school. I lost almost 40 pounds and I was miserable. I was eventually diagnosed with Crohn's disease. To my disbelief, at school and work people were constantly asking me what my "secret" was to losing so much weight and complimenting me on how fantastic I looked. When I told them I was seriously ill, they would tell me how "jealous" they were and how they wished they had a disease that made them skinny. I could barely contain my disgust when people said things like that to me.
This is me (on the right), the day after I was diagnosed. I was 100 lbs and it was an effort to drag myself out of bed to go to Turnabout.
After my diagnosis I went on medication and starting slowly but surely feeling loads healthier and gaining weight back. Today, I'm not ever 100% healthy, as is the nature of having an autoimmune disease, but my quality of life is so much better. There are definitely days I wish I could pull off a bandage dress, but being so unhealthy senior year has really made me appreciate my body exactly the way it is. I would much rather be able to eat, be healthy, and be a size 6 than starve myself to be a size 2. Skinny does not mean happy, and I wish more girls realized that. 
This is me this year (i'm on the right!). 30 pounds heavier and happier than ever.
I know that not every girl's story is as dramatic as having an illness. But there's a quote I stumbled upon on one of my many social networks, and I think it's something everyone should realize:
"The scale can only give you a numerical reflection of your relationship with gravity. That's it. It cannot measure beauty, talent, purpose, life force, possibility, strength, or love."

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

True Life: I Cry During Movie Trailers

I've seen two good movies over the past three days. On Sunday, I wanted to get my sickly boyfriend out of the house because he was getting antsy on the couch. We had watched one too many episodes of Storage Wars and we were developing both cabin fever and a weird preoccupation with Brandi and Jarrod's personal lives.
We had way too much time on our hands
An avid fan of Family Guy, I've been wanting to see Ted pretty much since I knew it existed. I love Mark Wahlberg almost as much as I love Mila Kunis (she's been on my list of top girl crushes since her days on That 70's Show). When we got to the theater, the man behind us kept going on and on about how he hated Family Guy and that "this movie better be funny". If we had been sitting behind him I would have "accidentally" kicked the back of his chair, hard. Maybe it's just me, but if you hate Family Guy and you go see Ted and think it's not funny, that's your own freaking fault. 
I love movie trailers. Sometimes they're my favorite part of the movie experience, although I love the popcorn too. We saw a few trailers that looked really funny, including one about two girls running a phone sex line out of their apartment that I'm making a mental note to see. Then a preview came on for a new Disney movie, and I literally teared up and shed a tear. I need to get my hormones in check.
The movie was hilarious. Seth MacFarlane was a delightfully offensive genius, as usual, and Marky Mark and Mila were great to watch. I would definitely recommend seeing it. It had great obscure references to pop culture, which I realize not everyone likes, but I love.
In the spirit of today, Uncle Sam Ted
 Then last night Mal and I saw Magic Mike! There is nothing not to like about a male stripper movie, and my new goal is to go to Vegas and see the Thunder from Down Under. I've heard a lot of criticisms for this movie, ranging from "not enough plot" to "too much talking not enough stripping". We both agreed that it was a good balance of both decent plot and good looking, clothes-less men. I came for Matthew McConaughey, loved Matt Bomer and Channing Tatum as expected, but found a new favorite in Alex Pettyfer. His character turned out to be a let-down, but he was gorgeous. If you're on a budget I'd probably recommend Ted over Magic Mike, but both are definitely worthwhile, even if you only see Magic Mike for the sake of seeing Alex Pettyfer in a thong and a cop hat. Trust me, it's worth the ten bucks. All in all it was a great weekend to see movies, and I'm sure with Savages coming out this weekend I can expect to keep shoveling out money on some good summer flicks.

Happy 4th of July from me and the boys of Magic Mike!


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Political blogging and being a kid with an autoimmune disease

I try not to get too political on the internet, but I’m so incredibly relieved that the supreme court upheld Obama care.
Two years ago I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. It’s a chronic illness that can make you anemic, malnourished, and cause your immune system not to work correctly. When I was finally diagnosed I was consisting on a diet of only ginger ale and saltines, could barely leave the house, and had lost over 30 pounds. Things are better now that I'm on medication, but during flares sometimes its hard for me to go about my normal life because I’ll be in a lot of pain for days at a time. But mostly I’m lucky, my case is not nearly as severe as some people’s Crohn’s.
It is also an expensive disease. I have had test upon test to try to figure out how severe it is, what parts of my intestines are covered in ulcers, etc. I have to take my medication every day, otherwise I wouldn’t effectively be able to go to school, work, etc. My medication, though, is very expensive.
That is why I would like to thank the people who are fighting for affordable healthcare. I did not choose to have this disease, and it is an immense relief to know that when I graduate from college and am looking for a job that I can stay on my parents insurance and still be able to afford my medicine. Because without the insurance, I couldn’t pay for my medicine, and without my medicine I wouldn’t be healthy enough to hold down a job.
I understand that people disagree with Obama care. I just want to give a human face to the people that really need health care reform. Your views might change if you ever got diagnosed with a chronic illness.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Great and Sometimes Terrible World of Transfer Orientation

Yesterday I went to my transfer Orientation at the beautiful Loyola University Chicago. Transferring has been a whirlwind so far. I'm supremely confident that I am making the right choice to leave Roosevelt, but as for everything else I'm a big ball of worry.
Loyola is a beautiful school. It is the perfect balance of city surroundings with a real college campus feel, and their program is going to be much more challenging (aka better) than the education I've been getting at Roosevelt. I'm psyched for the challenge, and I was equally psyched for orientation. I was picturing something similar to my freshman orientation: ice breaker games, meeting my enthusiastic peers, etc. That is not transfer orientation.
The day began auspiciously enough: my mom and I arrived to them handing out free stuff. I love free stuff! I was happy because I'd gotten up extra early so I could get semi-dressed up. You know what I mean: dressy enough that you look good but not so much that you look like you were trying.
Orientation Day Apparel!

The sessions they offered were hit or miss. Some were super informative, like the part on off-campus living. Other parts seemed like filler because they didn't know what to do with us, and during these I seriously considered escaping to an empty classroom for a nap. Among my fellow transfer students there was an air of skepticism. Everyone there was transferring from somewhere else for a reason, and we needed to be convinced that things here would be better. It didn't exactly lead to the bonding experience I was hoping for. I was looking forward to my one on one meeting with my adviser at the end of the day so I could pick my classes, and everything else seemed to just drag on.
Unfortunately, my meeting was not all that I hoped. My adviser was nice enough and helpful, but she dropped a bad news bomb on me almost right away: I will most likely be in school for three more years.
After that, I couldn't really enjoy the rest of my time on campus. I didn't want to let on to my mom that something was wrong, so I just walked around in a daze, less than enthusiastically answering her questions about my fall classes. I know it isn't the end of the world, and I'm trying to cut my extra time in school down, but I am horrified picturing all of my best friends graduating and me still having a year to go. Unfortunately I'm someone who took a bit of time to find my calling in life, and the multiple changes of major put me a little behind the curve.
If I can take positives out of my new status as a sophomore- again- it's that I know I'm making the right choice and I can't wait to be a teacher.
The Information Commons at Loyola, where I registered and will probably be spending a lot of time studying over the next three years!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Diagnosis: Overweight

Recently, I had to go to the gynecologist for the usual yearly visit. The visit itself was uneventful, which is good, and then the nurse handed me my discharge papers. I walked out to meet my sister in the waiting room and casually glanced at them as we walked out of the office. Under the "diagnosed as" column, I saw a word that took me off guard: "overweight".
Mildly horrified, I laughed it off and told my sister it must be some sort of mistake. She asked me what my BMI was. I know nothing about BMI, so I told her it was 25.06, and she then informed me that anything over a 25 is, in fact, considered overweight.
Oh my god.
I had a brief moment of terror, staring at my thighs, and then we got in the car and drove to Applebee's.
If this was my wake up call, I hit snooze. I'm happy with my body. I may not be supermodel thin, but I take an odd amount of pride in being able to beat my guy friends in a White Castle eating contest. My body has served me well. Sure, sometimes when I put on a tank top I curse that little bit of fat by my armpits, but I really could have bigger problems. In the grand scheme of my life, being skinny is not my ultimate goal. I'd much rather spend my time writing than busting my ass on a treadmill.
Of course, being the attention whore I am, for several days following my fateful diagnosis I took up the habit of dramatically saying "I'm OVERWEIGHT!" when my boyfriend tried to get me to go get ice cream, but that was more for my love of good natured-ly annoying the shit out of him.  Luckily, he still loves me, belly fat and all.
I can't say I've gained some sort of enlightenment about my figure that other women don't have. I'd be lying if I said I was never self conscious. Sometimes I wish I had a stomach flat enough to pull of wearing a bandeau, which are those trendy half shirt things they sell at American Apparel that hip skinny girls love to wear, but then I remember it's really essentially just a bra. And I don't want to wear just a bra in public no matter how trendy it is.
I even considered adding a picture of myself to this post so that anyone reading could join in my anguish, saying, "Oh my gosh, she's considered overweight?! What is the world coming to?!" But that would defeat the purpose of what I'm saying here. I am happy with my body: I don't need everyone else to be too.
Now I'm going to go make waffles.