Young Drunk: Social Drinker or Alcoholic?

cocktail

I didn’t just drink when I was young. I drank alcoholically, drinking as much as possible as often as possible, and getting sucked into every drinking game in the book. I drank Jungle Juice. I played beer pong. I did “kegstands,” which meant being hoisted upside down to drink directly from the keg’s tap, flipping my shirt up and exposing my bra in the process. Luckily, I was too drunk to care.

I “bonged” beers, sucking an entire beer down in a few gulps from the business end of a funnel-and-tube contraption. I played “power hour,” taking one shot of beer a minute for a full hour, drinking the equivalent of five beers in sixty minutes. I played “Edward Forty-hands,” a game where you tape a forty-ounce bottle of beer to the hands of everyone at the party. Once bound, you can do nothing with your hands until you’ve consumed eighty ounces of beer. This can get complicated, because you have to finish the drinks fast in order to free a hand to go the bathroom. Drinking twenty-one shots on your twenty-first birthday is a newer tradition, one I missed. When I mentioned that tradition to people my parents’ age, they were shocked, but it’s ingrained enough in youth culture today that my twenty-five-and-under friends just shrugged when I asked them if it was normal.

Binge drinking is officially defined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as consuming more than five drinks within a single day. I first heard that during college, and I almost spit out my beer. Five drinks isn’t binge drinking! That’s a regular Thursday night. I wasn’t alone. More than a third of American college students binge drink.

I found it hard to believe at first, but fourteen percent of these drinkers have had ten or more drinks in one sitting. I had to verify those numbers over multiple sources to believe it. Ten or more drinks is a lot, so I was surprised that so many students admitted to doing it. Some take it to a deeper extreme: almost six percent will have as much as fifteen or more in an evening. Fifteen. That’s about a fifth of hard liquor. This type of drinking is known as “extreme” binge drinking, which sounds more like an X-Games event than a medical term.

Ten to fifteen drinks would be enough to get anyone wasted. I should know. I drank that much regularly. It’s definitely enough to make a 150-pound eighteen-year-old male vomit in his sleep, and could even be enough to put a 125-pound eighteen-year-old female in a coma. The first time I got drunk, I went to the hospital with a BAC of 0.36. I couldn’t have weighed more than 100 pounds at the time. I shouldn’t have been able to walk out of the hospital that night. I’m unbelievably lucky.

The more often someone drinks, the more her body will adjust to having blood laced with booze. That’s why I was able to drink more and more over time. I was proud of it. I could drink a lot of full-grown men under the table, and I liked to prove it. This is also known as building a tolerance, which is the same thing that can kill a longtime heroin addict. The amount of drug needed to catch a high starts to exceed what the body can physically handle. Binge drinking is one way to increase your tolerance, and after a few years of regular drinking, I was a pro.

I refused to admit that my drinking had gotten out of control. I told myself that bingeing is a symptom of alcoholism like nausea is a symptom of pregnancy. Not all pregnant women experience nausea, and not all nausea indicates pregnancy, so you can’t automatically assume that every nauseated woman is with child. She might just have the flu, or maybe food poisoning, or a migraine. Just because I binged didn’t mean I was an alcoholic. People who watched me drink didn’t think I was an alcoholic, either. They thought I was celebrating. Or maybe I’d had a bad day. They say, “I never thought you were a drunk.” Then they look down and sigh, “But then again, I was drinking, too.”

At some point during my downward spiral, I started to wonder if maybe I was drinking too much. I took an online quiz, trying to convince myself that I was just a youthful partier, that I wasn’t a problem drinker or an alcoholic.

NCADD Self-Test: What are the Signs of Alcoholism?

1. Do you drink heavily when you are disappointed, under pressure or have had a quarrel
with someone? Yes
2. Can you handle more alcohol now than when you first started to drink? Yes
3. Have you ever been unable to remember part of the previous evening, even though
your friends say you didn’t pass out? Yes
4. When drinking with other people, do you try to have a few extra drinks when others
won’t know about it? Yes
5. Do you sometimes feel uncomfortable if alcohol is not available? Yes
6. Are you more in a hurry to get your first drink of the day than you used to be? Yes
7. Do you sometimes feel a little guilty about your drinking? Yes
8. Has a family member or close friend express concern or complained about your drinking? Yes
9. Have you been having more memory “blackouts” recently? Yes
10. Do you often want to continue drinking after your friends say they’ve had enough? Yes
11. Do you usually have a reason for the occasions when you drink heavily? No
12. When you’re sober, do you sometimes regret things you did or said while drinking? Yes
13. Have you tried switching brands or drinks, or following different plans to control your drinking? Yes
14. Have you sometimes failed to keep promises you made to yourself about controlling or
cutting down on your drinking? Yes
15. Have you ever had a DWI (driving while intoxicated) or DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol) violation, or any other legal problem related to your drinking? No
16. Do you try to avoid family or close friends while you are drinking? No
17. Are you having more financial, work, school, and/or family problems as a result of
your drinking? Yes
18. Has your physician ever advised you to cut down on your drinking? Yes
19. Do you eat very little or irregularly during the periods when you are drinking? No
20. Do you sometimes have the “shakes” in the morning and find that it helps to have a
“little” drink, tranquilizer or medication of some kind? No
21. Have you recently noticed that you can’t drink as much as you used to? No
22. Do you sometimes stay drunk for several days at a time? No
23. After periods of drinking do you sometimes see or hear things that aren’t there? No
24. Have you ever gone to anyone for help about your drinking? No
25. Do you ever feel depressed or anxious before, during or after periods of heavy drinking? Yes
26. Have any of your blood relatives ever had a problem with alcohol? No

I answered “yes” to sixteen of the twenty-six questions. That put me in the “serious level of alcohol-related problems requiring immediate attention and possible treatment” category. I took it again and got the same results. I took a different quiz the following week. And another a month after that. Every time I took one of those quizzes, the results said I should seek treatment for my alcohol consumption, but I still didn’t believe it.
I wasn’t a bum. I wasn’t drinking in the morning. I didn’t get the shakes or hallucinate. I called the tests bogus. I knew better. I was different from those people who can’t control their drinking without a support group and a chip that says how many days its been since the last drink. I thought I didn’t need help. I was wrong.

I don’t know if binge drinking caused my alcoholism, or if I was an alcoholic from the start. The culture surrounding alcohol in my teens and early twenties certainly made it easy for me to drink lots and lots of booze without being labeled a drunk. From the very first time I had more alcohol available to me than I could physically consume, I binged, to the point that I had to be hospitalized. No one else went to the hospital that day, even though we all got drunk. I wasn’t alone in my overindulgence, but I was somehow different. I was an alcoholic, but it took me ten years to admit it and finally get sober. I’m glad I did, because it saved my life. I wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t found the courage to say, “Hi, I’m Emma, and I’m an alcoholic.”

Positive Energy Project: Selecting, Cleansing & Charging Crystals

how to care for crystals

Selecting Your Crystal

  • Identify your purpose.
  • Look for a few crystal varieties that seem aligned in the area your purpose lies in.
  • Look at crystals and pick one that feels right to you or attracts you the most visually.

If you’re in-tune with your intuition and emotions pay attention to how you feel (happy, excited, drawn to it), if I’m instantly imagining the crystal on my nightstand or sitting on my mantel then I’m likely to get it.

amethyst crystal grid

Cleansing Your Crystal

Crystals are a mineral that absorb energy and hold onto it until cleansed. I like to cleanse my crystals when I get them especially because who knows what or who touched them and got absorbed and if I want to welcome that into my home.

I have read and heard a lot from people advised to do just about everything in regards to cleaning them so be sure to chose the method that makes sense to you.

For instance I really prefer sitting my crystals in a clear jar of salt water in the sun or moon light for a day or two but some crystals, minerals and pearls are too sensitive for such a treatment. If that’s so then I will light sage and hold them in the smoke for a few minutes, best outdoors, while letting it billow out and away. Be sure to sage yourself a bit afterwards.

A good salt water solution is about 20% sea salt and the rest water. If you have actual salt water then that is best! When you’re done soaking them, pour the water outside into the earth.

crystal grid ocean sandy beach

Charging Crystals

I charge my crystals in sunlight and moonlight. I sit them on a window sill at either time and let them charge for a day.

Sunlight re-charges crystals with ultraviolet light. When crystals are harvested from the earth they are removed from the energy they were nurtured in. The crystals have been taking energy and nutrients from the God and the universe via the ground providing nutrients to develop into a crystal. They now need to absorb energies for renewal. The full spectrum of light restores the crystal’s depleted energies. The moonlight offers and even broader spectrum of energy, especially a new or full moon.

angels aura crystal

Activating Your Crystal

Sometimes, a crystal can be asleep in a sense and not know it is going to be used for healing or meditative purposes. Making a spiritual connection with the crystal helps to awaken its consciousness. You can activate your crystal by holding it, praying while holding it, meditating on your higher dreams and aspirations while holding it, rolling it in incense, communicating that it is yours for comfort.

Because each crystal absorbs energy (like a magnet, just touch one) they can absorb new instruction. Sometimes the crystal gets filled up with unconscious instructions from people handling the crystal, unaware they are projecting energy thought forms that are picked up and stored (alas the cleaning when purchasing/finding). When we add our own energy and prayers the crystal will then resonate with that amplifying, broadcasting, and projecting the new set of energy patterns to ourselves, others and our environment (I most often use them to just enhance my environment or hold while meditating/praying).

The way I do this is the same way I cook, which is also a meditative, prayerful and reflective state for me in connection with God and the universe. I think about love, the things I love and value, affirmations to myself and my family (and even the world) and I imagine infusing these things into the food, crystal, candle, whatever it is I am working with. Then I feel the energy of that love and healing, the energy of my higher self, emit through the crystal, the smoke, the meal when we eat. Most often I visualize healing, protection from God and love as these are the things I most appreciate in our lives.

crystal grid

Where to Buy Crystals

There are usually stores that carry minerals, crystals or New Age-y materials in cities. We have a few here. However you can also find them on ebay and other online boutiques.

crystal cactus The Playful Soul Broadripple

Turning 30: Five Things I Learned in my 20s

30th birthday party

I remember once upon a time when turning 30 seemed a distant memory, not even a concern in the least. In my teens I remember talking to peers who said we were “old” now because we were graduating high school. I would tell them you’re only as old as you feel because I felt like I was 15 on a bad day (on a good day I feel 12). Most of my friends have always been older than me so I never concerned myself much with age and that it meant anything other than wisdom.

So tomorrow I’m turning 30. Today my partner says he’s planning something for me and that I need to be ready to leave for dinner at 5:30pm.

Update: David threw me a surprise party and I thought maybe it would be us, his mom and maybe my mom… But it was my family, friends and at my favorite place to eat (Saigon) and it makes me cry just thinking of how much trouble he went to… For me! I’m just in shock and tears as I write this and SO grateful to have these people in my life.

I’m just wondering.. how significant is it to turn 30? How do others feel about turning 30? Am I supposed to be preparing some big, bold change? Am I supposed to feel or act different? I don’t. I will tell you what I’ve learned by 30, though, and maybe it will help you no matter what age you are.

“You’re 30: You know stuff now. Your 20s were for ‘ducking up,’ as my auto-correct would say, and learning from those mistakes. (For instance, never again will I convince myself that sleep is for sissies and go straight from a party to the airport. You will not ‘sleep on the plane’; you’ll vomit in the security line. Go to bed.)” — Olivia Wilde

1. Don’t settle.

You’ll learn by now that settling to keep things nice now will not pay off. If you feel like your settling in your job, your relationship, your friendships, for something less than you feel is healthy and encouraging for you then you’re only delaying the pain of giving yourself what you need. Do it now, don’t wait another 30 years. If you don’t know what you want then take a few years to honestly find out what your purpose in life is.

2. Take care of yourself.

You probably stopped eating cake, dessert and chocolate for breakfast (unless it’s your birthday, ha!) with a side of a fast food lunch and little to no exercise because you’ve seen how you age when you care for yourself that way. You’ve seen how your body changes and becomes more sensitive. I can hardly even eat cheeses or most dairy products now without my body breaking out in hives and my throat closing! Our bodies become more sensitive to what is good or not-so-good as we age; to keep looking our best incorporating healthy meals and daily exercise is important. Trust me, I’m pretty petite and enjoy junk food.. but all of a sudden the combination was very apparently affecting how I felt and looked much faster than in my 20s. What I eat today affects my body much faster than it did as a younger woman. I can even tell how it affects my mood and energy quicker than that.

3. Explore yourself.

Similar to #1, find your purpose in life, what means most to you and find a way to do it. For instance one of my purposes is to inspire others to live a happier, creative life and I carry this online, in my family, in my work. Even just at home I spend a lot of my time doing crafty things with the kids, connecting with them and doing art journal projects. My spouse is a contemporary realism painter and when I am able to encourage him and give him more availability to work I am doing this. My other purpose is to LOVE love love with no reservations and this is something you can do no matter what you do for a living or where you are. You can donate to the needy, save animals from dying in shelters, so many options of things that are unrelated to your location, family, job, etc but the goal is ultimately to find your purpose and live it in every way. Start small and allow it to affect your whole life. When you’re living for your purpose you will feel it.

4. Know that personal style is ageless.

I am one of those women that doesn’t believe you have to change your style as you age. If you see me out and about you’ll think I’m a teen (until I get wrinkles I suppose) and be shocked to know I am married with children and a professional career. Does that mean I dress inappropriately for work? No. I do dye my hair pink, wear bunnies, frilly skirts and rainbows galore. I cannot stand reading articles (I saw a lot when writing this) that explain how women need to “dress their age” because that is different for everyone. If you love it and it makes you feel beautiful, wear it. If people don’t like it they probably aren’t good for your spirit.

amber renee

5. Family growth.

You always hear that around 30 your biological clock ticks louder.. Some women who didn’t ever want babies suddenly are warming up to the idea. Is this because they feel a time crunch or because they want to experience mother hood? Have a baby is a huge amount of responsibility, it’s the hardest and most rewarding job there is. Let alone having more than one. However if that is your dream you’ll probably hold that as important to you prior to turning 30. If you’re having babies because you feel like you should, don’t. Having a child requires you to be 100% in and even then it will be very hard some days. If you don’t want kids, embrace it. Don’t ever feel like you need to do something because you’re “supposed” to want to. I always wanted a child and fawned over the Cosby family.. low and behold I have 4 kids and it works for me; I’m extremely happy. I even consider having another sometimes. Would it work for you? I don’t know. I’ve met equal amounts of women who are drowning in their decision for a big family.

13-going-on-30
I don’t care how cliche it is, I will always adore this movie and it is one of the very few chick flicks I actually own (the other one is Riding in Cars With Boys which is good too). Plus it has Mark Ruffalo in it.

Articles

Freaking Out About Turning 30? @ The Guardian
What to Own Before You Turn 30 @ Harper’s Bazaar
Why No Woman Should Ever Be Scared of Turning 30 @ She Does the City
Quotes from Celebrities on Age @ POPSUGAR
22 Books Every Woman Needs to Read @ The Frisky

Time Heals Nothing, Waiting Makes it Worse

ticktocktime

I read recently in a book that time does not heal anything, it’s what you do with that time. That is so accurately true and yet so opposite of what most others say (who are trying to be helpful) it scares me. So many people like to tell you that if you just get through it, time will heal your wounds. Time does nothing but prolong the issue if you’re not actively working on it. In fact time can even make the issue worse if you’re not working towards repair.

So.. write, read, talk, experience, explore, adventure, find people and things that are awesome and worthy of your precious time. Do that. I’m making it a point to knit more. I never really WANT anything I knit but I do want the meditative experience that comes with that. I think I may even go back to crocheting amigurumi for awhile and see what bears live inside my brain.

Another good idea? Make your home your castle.. so you can do all these things in your pretty kingdom and invite the special people over to feel and appreciate the magical energy you radiated into your walls. You may even share some tea and laughs that will permeate your home with even more of a sugar aura.

Inspired to knit away your time?

Amigurumi & Yarn

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Pop-Out Cake Rings by EnnaDesign

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Bamboo Wool Pastel Rainbow by LaFiabaRussa

I’ve been knitting with a magic yarn ball a penpal made me years ago that I never got to use… It has made the whole act of knitting that more exciting as I unwrap little gifts that fall out every 5 or so rows. Want to make one for a dear friend? Tiny Purrs has a feature on magic yarn balls here!

Cats Are Good for your Health

kitties

For those who don’t know, my life mascot and furry soul mate, Hobbes, passed away in early June. He was 17. It was completely heart shattering. I felt closer to him than anyone, having him near me for 17 years, a constant in my life and losing him was very tough.

I allowed myself time to mourn and fall apart for several days and then began to pick myself up the following. In the midst of this was my daughter’s birthday and other activities so to be a good mother I took maybe one to two days to completely grieve (alone) and nothing else.. the next few days I maintained a positive outlook for our children before they arrived back home.

The days following that we began to speak about whether we would want another pet and if it would be a dog or a cat.. David was eventually open that he would want another cat because his bond with Hobbes turned him into a full blown cat person. We waited until we could have a family meeting about the passing of Hobbes and if we would want another pet. We looked online the next whole night for babies to adopt and found a little Manx which looked like a relative of Hobbes. We adopted the next weekend and David named him Calvin in honor of his big brother. It took him maybe one eve before he was completely obsessed with David and I. He is crazy, kittenish and hyper half the time while snuggly, cuddly and a nap lover the other half. He is officially our new baby boy.

So what is it about cats that steal our hearts and soothe our souls? We all know petting our cats helps us relax and feel comforted like no one else, unconditional love and admiration for every pat, but did you know they can also detect your feelings and even medical emergencies such as seizures? That they lower blood pressure and instill a feeling of safety and security?

I’ve read about quite a few cats detecting seizures on the web these days and I know my own cat always knew when I was upset or sad as he would meow to me and lay on me for hours if needed. I read up about this and scientists don’t really understand much about it other than the cats are able to detect biochemical scents. Many cats even alert family if an owner is beginning to have a seizure. Did you know cat purrs encourage the mending of broken bones? Cats have also been known to wake and alert families of house fires while they sleep. Yes, cats can save lives AND improve your health and happiness. In fact, read 8 Benefits of Being a Cat Owner by Mental Floss.

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Healthy Life Stylist: Caffeine Addiction

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Question

I drink tea and coffee all day, even at night. Are tea and coffee really healthy or unhealthy? What is the truth about how caffeine can help or hinder me from having a healthy life?Jamie, TN

Answer

Jamie,
This is an excellent question & certainly something that many people seem to struggle with these days. As a culture we’re overworked, under-rested and, as a result, highly caffeinated. Plus, because caffeine is an addictive substance that often causes withdrawal when you try to quit, it can be quite hard to shake the feeling of tired to wired and back again.

There are two sides to the argument about caffeine, on the one hand, moderate amounts of caffeine have been found to improve concentration, increase memory function, reduce muscle soreness and even possibly prevent Alzheimer’s disease. On the other hand, it also interferes with your absorption of vitamins & minerals, stimulates stress hormones, spikes your blood sugar and dehydrates your cells, causing premature aging.

From the sound of things, your personal caffeine consumption is certainly above average. Over time, consuming at your current rate could fatigue your adrenal glands, putting your body in a perpetual state of stress and exhaustion. Cutting back on your caffeine, especially from coffee, can bring things back into balance, help you sleep better, and allow your body to absorb important nutrients it could be missing out on.

If you were one of my clients, I would encourage you to choose tea over coffee for awhile. Yes, you’ll still be consuming caffeine, but the caffeine in tea is more bio-available to your body than the caffeine in coffee. Plus, since tea is super high in antioxidants, the healthy benefits far out way any damage done by the caffeine that accompanies it.

The other great thing about the caffeine in tea is that it varies from type to type. This is helpful when trying to reduce your stimulant consumption slowly to avoid withdrawal. You can start off by trading your cup of joe for a nice black tea, the most caffeinated variety of teas. Then switch to oolong, green & white teas, the next step down. Until finally you can switch things up entirely with some tasty herbal teas. With the exception of yerba mate, herbal teas contain no caffeine at all, but they do help to replace the ritual of waking up to a warm beverage. If you find that you miss the earthy taste of coffee after cutting back, you may want to check out Teeccino, an herbal tea brand that’s roasted to mimic that java taste without the harmful caffeine.

Happy Drinking,
Michelle Shea Walker, H.C.

Ask A Healthy Life Stylist

Just make sure you are clear about if you mind your question/answer being published on Miseducated and if you’d prefer to be anonymous. All questions will be answered by Michelle regardless so ask away!

For more information about Health, Happiness, & Hoola Hoops please visit Michelle‘s website!

Finding Inspiration to Climb Higher

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I sometimes hear I should find something to do when I’m sitting around puzzling over what’s inspiring me in that moment and which way I should move with it (which appears from the outside to be some sort of boredom or stagnation) but is actually me almost in a living/meditating state. I’m taking everything in around me, iI’m imagining and I’m stalling. I don’t usually move fast with new ideas; In fact I usually move so slow that I tire of them before I even get them finished. I also currently favor the idea that in your worst times (most depressed, most angry, most passionate) you make your greatest discoveries about yourself which in turn shells out some pretty brutally honest and amazing work. (ahem, Eminem)

Why is inspiration such a process? And how do you get inspiration? Sometimes.. I’ll admit.. I actually pull the inspiration and motivation to move ahead with ideas from dreams. I dreamt I finally went to Japan to study which let me to finally decide I would study in Japan while in college. I had to do all of the work to get there; my college didn’t really have any programs in Japan in place at the time. It happened! I couldn’t believe everything went as smoothly as it did (this seems to happen sometimes when you follow your heart — things go smooth and easy). They told me to pick several programs and apply because I might not get the one I want, I chose the one I wanted and didn’t even apply anywhere else. I got accepted.

My host family was the most rad family in the whole program because they also just started so they weren’t sure what to expect either and they had a daughter that was just a bit older than me. So that means lots of shopping, events, festivals, sake and karaoke with friends. They are so wonderful and amazing, I’m glad we’re still in touch. Eri, the daughter, and I practically became real sisters (and our bond is exactly the same after all of these years). That little push I needed to live in Japan as the Japanese do was not just a dream anymore, it was a reality.

Some well-known self-esteem experts, such as Jack Canfield, claim that a way of proving you’re on the right path in life: everything, no matter how hard it at first seems (change is often scary), seems to almost come easily and moves along smoothly. Now I’m not saying you’re likely to avoid obstacles if you follow your dreams. Because, in my experience, often times the harder something is to get, the more worth or value it carries. So whether obstacles get in the way or not, always be prepared for them. I’m only saying it feels right.. you just know it’s the way you’re supposed to go. There will likely be obstacles but not impossible ones, rather they are empowering ones.

I also dreamt (No, I do not live in a Dream Castle.) I started a store downtown (dream come true) and a magazine with friends and found happiness and fulfillment in that. I’m an artist and designer first and foremost. When I finally dropped News/Editorial from my major I felt a little remorse, but sadly not enough. Somehow writing was not something I was after anymore, it didn’t feel right anymore. So what did I do anyway? I took heed from my dream and started this mega blogazine that you’re staring at right now. I opened a connected shop and sold pendants, original artwork, prints and the most random handmade gifts. I (sort of) started working towards making that dream a reality.

If fact sometimes dreams you once had come floating back as if reminding you to keep on your journey but to perhaps try another route. Sometimes to become who you want to be you have to re-harness some of your past, favorable qualities that you let fall to the wayside. For instance recently I was obsessing over these more recent prints and images I was creating (never released) and now I’m considering listing them at the store here. They were pre-falling-down-the-rabbit-hole-again stage but became a pretty big series in my life for awhile and I actually enjoyed creating them a lot. I found again that I work well with dolls as models and I decided to mix typography in more like my web-based designs thus furthering my interest in print making once more. Finally.

teenmag

Some other ways I get inspiration are as follows:
Japanese fashion and interior magazines, vintage woman’s magazines, 20s records, having a cup of black coffee or almond tea to get re-energized, taking a bubble bath with or without a book or candles and champagne, looking through my photo albums, looking through my record collection, hanging out with family & friends, taking a walk, swinging, carrying my camera, listening to electro, writing in my journal or any nearby notebook, getting out a pencil and a blank canvas and, most importantly, love and kisses from my husband and daughter. Every time I have genuine bonding time with my daughter I get an instant dose of inspiration.. I guess that’s why I tend to stay up quite late after her bedtime to work.

So want to pump up the process of getting inspiration by reading a few tips about gaining inspiration from other artists? That’s exactly what I had in mind. Also remember I always ask our featured artists to explain where they get inspiration from.

Need Inspiration?

Four Steps To Finding Inspiration, From An Idea DJ – I especially like the idea of video art, collaging video clips with music and/or audio.
50 Ways to Find Inspiration – I’ve done a lot of these and found some of them that I’d actually like to try. There are tons of great ideas here. I really liked: 31. Ask someone you love what they consider to be the most important thing they’ve ever learned., 34. Ask your parents to tell you what you were like as a child, and remember what mattered to you then. and 40. Spend time with children and see the world through their eyes.. Very positive and inspirational.
16 Ways to Get Motivated When You’re In a Slump

From Man’s Land to Wonderland

I love Rice DK decor, it’s no secret. I love Wu and Wu tins, Jeu de Paumes books and all the colorful and modern European designs with a flair of kitsch. I cannot get enough. My Lovely Lovely UK collection is still in wrapping because my kitchen is not yet ready for the palette nor have we finished deciding how, why and where things will be.

In this stage of our relationship I am NESTING. Nesting to the max. No I am not pregnant but I believe women are nesters in these stages anyway. Stages of the decision that this is going to be your life together, your home, your family. With that I’d like to say that men can also be nesters as my mister plans and completes renovations of spots in our home without me even implying I want him to. He also asks for my opinion and I ask for his. This is tough for 2 artists with VERY DIFFERENT art styles. I’m saying pop surrealism VS contemporary realism. Think bright color POPs vs calming earth tones.

I believe when you settle down and start a new life with someone else that you are combining your lives into one delicious (lemon poppyseed) cake. You must sacrifice yourself to become unified and to ensure both feel at home rather than one being resentful or stifled. So we begin the road to mixing the 2 styles in one big (pink) Kitchenaid mixer and set it to low speed (while I toss in sprinkles for funfetti cake). I found a few articles on the subject of collaborative design in the home with your partner but not many so I feel it’s best at this point to learn from the adventure. Please join us on our journey to create our dream home from our beautiful house (inspiration and mood boards included!) and the things I learn about designing it with mister.

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Getting Lost and Being Found

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I’ve cleaning and organizing our studio because that’s often what I end up doing in times when I’m stuck at home (such as the ridiculous amount of time we’ve been snowed in lately). Our house and all of her cupboards, closets and drawers have slowly been organized and sorted since I’ve moved in but never so much as lately. I can’t get enough of discarding the old, jaded and faded and replenishing with all things good and sometimes new. In this spare time I’ve also found extra moments to spend sorting through packages, boxes and files filled with photos, letters, nostalgia and clippings. Things I had forgotten about and things I had chocked up as gone — casualties in the divorce, move and hard reset of my life.

Wendy & I at Midland Antiques

Wendy & I at Midland Antiques

I’ve realized that in finding these fossils of my past life I’ve also found a part of myself that was neglected to the inner and outer war that has been going on since around age 15. Losing yourself teaches you a lot about the hardships and the long journey you have ahead of you to try to find yourself again. It teaches you about the you you always hoped and planned to be, the yous that you left behind and want to find, the yous that you’d prefer to grow apart from for the extent of your waking hours.

In realizing these things exist you find you have changed, your life has changed and quite possibly you have found the person you know you will be. I believe this happens to each of us a bit with every new year, we reflect. However, in my experience, unless a grand change is made resolutions will be forgotten and old habits will resurface.

I lost myself once and I am still looking for myself. Who I wanted to be as a young girl, the things I wanted to do and see, the life I wanted to live. I’d gotten so closed in, I magnified certain aspects of my goals and forgot about others. For instance, I wanted to get married and have a daughter but I forgot I had wanted the most grand love there ever was. I forgot that I didn’t want to just be content, that I wanted to experience pure love for a beautiful man, to experience a love like we hear about in fairytales only more real and passionate. Someone I didn’t want to change but someone whose love changed my life. I didn’t just want to have a child but I wanted to bring a child into a love-filled family of magical wonder, a magnificent home life and many adventures lined neatly with security and stability. With parents who love one another more than anything else, with siblings that give, teach, take and give some more.

by David Cunningham

by David Cunningham

I saw that I wanted to write. I found many old memoir notes and pages of manga dialogue, articles, fairytales and more. I lost the motivation in trying to do anything other than to fix things that were far too broken and then zoning out completely when they appeared impossibly broken.

I saw that my art was a major focus in my life, other than true love and family, and designing everything I do. I saw my plans for paintings, illustrations and web sketches; designs that never made it off the paper and into illustrator because I lost the ambition and self-esteem needed to go.

Now that I am finding myself in so many ways, I figured there were others that have lost important pieces along their journeys as well. Others that might need a little push to gather those pieces strewn along the ground and trudge on through their own adventure of finding their true, superior self. The self they are, were and wanted to be. What have you lost and found along the way?

Happy New Year.

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Obsessively Compulsively: Navigating OCD

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So how do I begin my story? My life has taken me many crazy places, but none as wild as when I worked on an acute psychiatric ward for children. I moved out of state and was pressed to find a job with my only experience and education being in the field of psychology.

I’ll be honest, I saw a lot of disturbing things on that unit, but the day that changed me was when a 12 year old girl was admitted. She had herpes all over her mouth. As soon as I found out what it was, I couldn’t feel clean enough. I’ve never been a type-A, hand-washing, anal-retentive person, but that is quickly what I became. Seemingly overnight. Upon coming home from work I was in horror to discover I still continued to feel unclean, even after I had showered, washed my hands about a billion times and sanitized everything that I had had with me at work.

From there it got much, much worse… washing my hands once at a time wasn’t enough. Twice wasn’t even enough. Then I started having obsessive thoughts. What if I had accidentally touched the phone at work to my face? What if I hadn’t washed my hands enough and had touched something I ate? It got to the point where I wouldn’t even kiss my boyfriend, avoided situations that previously seemed normal and so on. The obsessive questions were never ending. They even haunted me in my sleep.

Later I had a tragic death in my family and I started obsessing over other things in my life. Had I done something wrong? Was I going to hell? Was I going to jail? Was I going to hurt my family beyond repair? These thoughts were so constant and pervasive that I sometimes hoped that I wouldn’t wake up. I wished that somehow the pain and constant anxiety could end without hurting my family and loved ones. I did this for three years and it was the most painful three years of my life.

I’m only pouring out my heart anonymously because I wouldn’t wish what I went through on my worst enemy. OCD on its own is hard enough, but it also brings extra disorders to the front such as anxiety and depression. One happy day I decided that I could not live like this anymore. I sucked up my pride and went to my childhood doctor and told him that I had OCD. He didn’t judge me. He told me that stress can trigger reactions in the brain that lead to these kinds of thought patterns. He didn’t even treat me like I was sick. He put me on Prozac and probably saved my life. Since I have taken the medication, I have transformed back into my old self that I and loved ones know and love. I didn’t realize how much I missed being me until I started to get better. I started to think about normal things instead of morbid obsessions. I started to smile again… a real smile that meant something, not that sad inside, outwardly fake one that I had become so good at. I started realizing that my life was promising and happy, not scary and terrible.

I know that medication is not the answer for everyone, but if you read this and have ever wondered what is wrong with you or why you have so much anxiety then maybe it is an avenue to explore paired with talking openly to a professional. I would never push medication on anyone, but when I see myself now as opposed to two years ago, I know that I made the best decision of my life. I had something inbalanced in my brain, and medicine was able to fix it. Best wishes and love if you find yourself on this haunting journey, I hope my honesty can help you. I decided to publish this anonymous article in hopes that it could save someone some pain in feeling like they’re crazy and to be open with a professional and get help so they can live a hopeful life.