Spring Thaw

I’ve been busy being depressed, watching Netflix, and procrastinating everything in my life. It reminds me a lot of when I was graduating from Macalester, and I’m mad at myself for falling into the same habits. I haven’t written, partially because of all of this, and also because I’m not always sure if I want to continue having a public blog. I started this blog, and have maintained it, because I think other people go through the same things I do, and it could be helpful for them. Yet, I wonder if it will ever hurt my chances at finding a job. Or worse, hurt someone I care about. It is a delicate balance that I am always very mindful of, but sometimes I make the wrong decisions. A friend of mine recently shared her own story though, and it reminded me of the reasons I will continue to share my own.

One example of fear related to a job… I recently went to Utah for an interview. The highlights were endless: the company is a small, fun technology firm; I would be a manager to 10+ high potential recent grads; they allow puppies in the office; culturally, I loved everyone I met. On the other hand though, it is in Utah, which is far from the NYC in which I envision myself living. Both geographically and culturally. I was really concerned about how me having a public life could influence my ability to lead a strong team. Would they have doubts in my leadership abilities because I have publicly stated I’ve dealt with depression? Would I be less effective with my subordinates knowing details of my personal life? I’ve never pretended to be religious, but I would also be nervous that my openness could be frightening to some of the more religious and conservative people that are in the majority in this small town in Utah.

In the 6 weeks since this interview, I’ve come to realize a few things about myself. First off, I’m just a candidly open person, both online and in person. I don’t say anything on the internet that I wouldn’t say in real life, and whenever I do have the opportunity to manage a team, I will carry this strength with me. I believe it makes me both relatable and inspiring, and is something I would value in a manger of my own.

Next, Utah isn’t for me. It is beautiful, absolutely, and I would love to vacation there sometime. Yet, I need to live in a big city. I love being able to walk everywhere and not have to worry about a car. I love being able to run down stairs and across the street to get my Starbucks coffee. I need to have a neighborhood bar when Joe and I can go after work for a drink or two, and not have to worry about driving home. I also feel that there is just more going on in NYC. My Macalester community, Girls in Tech, book clubs, etc., will all be available in New York. Sure, they could be in Utah too, but there would be fewer options and a longer commute to any of them.

Learning these things about me, that I want to be in NYC and that I’m really excited about managing a team (and believe I’ll be really great at it), took a while. I had been applying to a ton of data analytics positions, both because that’s what I know and because it is what I’m good at. Yet, it isn’t what completely excites me. So, today I still don’t have a job, but I know a lot more about what I’m looking for and can be more fierce in tracking that down. For now, I’m pushing down the fears that I’m a fraud and can’t actually positively contribute to a company. I’m happy it is finally spring.

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Purpose

This was written while drinking wine and ignoring The World Series… 

I am currently in a course titled “Leadership Stories: Literature, Ethics, and Authority” and this week we’ve discussed social media at length. Specifically, how the digital age has evolved story telling. A clear theme from the class discussion was one’s ability to curate their life and to manage the way they are perceived. Some shared that they tend to only share positive things; one student referenced an ESPN article she had recently read about a girl who committed suicide even though her Instagram profile reflected something else. This caused me to reflect on the image I put forward of myself both through social media and this blog.

In many ways, I try to share both my highs and lows. The purpose of this blog is to connect with others online. Sure, a majority of my readers are family and friends, but there are also a lot of people who just stumble upon it. I want to show how someone who suffers from depression and who had a difficult childhood can still achieve and take matters into her own hands.

At the same time, not all the stories in my life are my own to tell. Which is sometimes why I sorta drop from the site. I don’t always know how to share my own internal struggles while upholding the privacy of others.

Personally, I’ve said and done literally tons of stupid things and I never try to appear perfect (except when I’m trying to convinced Joe I am perfect, but that is a little different). I can fully imagine a future-world in which I question my decision to be so public about my thoughts and feelings. However, writing and sharing my feelings has allowed me to grow in ways I may never fully understand. Which is why I don’t think it will ever be something I regret.

At the same time, I can be very lucky. I also believe I make my own luck. I hope there are things about me that make people think “wow, I can look up to her AND I can see parts of myself in her” and “oh! maybe I can go to MIT/apply for this job/put myself out there too!” I believe inspiration is most powerful when you are able to see yourself in another’s shoes and that’s pretty much all I want. I want others to know they can.

California Summer

The California-summer depression has started. Cue binge eating and emotional drinking. Last night, I met with a Macalester alum who is a producer in town. While her view of the industry is just that, only her view, it scared me a little bit. Not enough to make me run back home and never look back, but enough to make me think twice. I need to know that this is what I really want. Unfortunately, I don’t know what I want.

The gist of what she said is that she knows that she’ll never even be able to afford to have children or buy a house because producers are paid so poorly unless they are the top 50 in the world. “If you can see yourself doing anything else in the entire world, do that instead.” She equated the profession to being an addict – you only do it because you can’t live without it. Isn’t that depressing?

It’s depressing in itself, but pile that on a woman who is living in LA for the first time with her fiancé on the east coast and a job that is boring and pays so little she can barely afford to pay her rent let alone do the things she wants to do. Hint: that woman is me!

Now all I want to do it sit in my room and watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer and drink my Target wine cube wine. Which is what I think I will do.

 

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Why I read Elliot Rodger’s Memoir

Tragic events always hit me hard. Whether it is the movie theater shooting or something as horrific as the Boston Marathon bombing, my mind is consumed by the terrible pain the families of all involved must be feeling [I just published this previously unreleased draft, written right after the Newtown shooting]. I question what brings a person to do such a thing, I ask how their life was so different from my own and others who live non-violent lives. I wonder how it could have been avoided in any way. Are there signs that people missed? The recent story of a boy in southern Minnesota is one such case in which a disaster was thwarted, which means people can see things and speak up. Yet terrible things continue to happen…

Trying to find answers to so many of these questions, I continue to read the articles and follow the updates. This University of California Santa Barbara shooting is like nothing we’ve seen in recent times (aka, my adult life). Not only is there video that gives us a peak into his mind but there is also a memoir of his life that may shed some light on how this tragedy came to be.

I hoped that reading the story would help show how some people end up so damn fucked up. Sadly, it didn’t.

At the beginning, I found many ways that I connected with the younger Elliot. He was never popular in school, he wanted to be liked, etc., and how many other people feel this same way? Having a similar experience in school, how did I turn out differently? At the same time though, he always blamed others for his misfortunes. Even in school when he got in trouble he would blame it on the other kid, thinking it was their doing. In effect, I think he truly believed that everything was happening *to* him, rather than him having an active role in his own life.

At age four, he blamed his inability to swing on physical limitation, and this along with his shortness are things he believed always stifled him. Even at a young age, everything was just handed to him and this caused him to take everything for granted, and actually caused him to believe that these things were needs rather than just desires. His NEED for Pokemon cards was only fair, he NEEDED cool clothes and instantly they were delivered.

Another example of the world being utterly unfair to him, and therefore deserving of retribution, was his inability to become a professional skateboarder. He practiced for an entire year!

While I understand his feelings of loneliness, I truly believe he has no ability to feel empathy. He saw himself as an all-deserving man, tortured by women and anyone else that had things he could not.

Another curious element was that he was extremely revolted by sex. At age fourteen, he caught a glimpse at porn and the fact that humans did this was horrific to him. Even as he aged into his early twenties, the idea of sex was “vile.” But then what drove him to believe that sex was his right and something that women “owed him?” Why was it something he desired more than anything else? He repeatedly claimed that no women would give him a chance, but because he was unable to have any conversation with someone new, let alone a girl, I find it hard to believe anything would escalate to sex on the timeline he desired… by the end of the first day.

As I got to the end of the book, I became completely shocked by his beliefs. “Women are incapable of reason or thinking rationally,” and “women are the main instigators of sex.” He truly felt that women should be abolished, and spoke of having a concentration camp filled with women and from his tower he would watch them all starve to death because if he couldn’t have them, no one could…

From a young age, he sought therapy. He had psychiatrists and counselors that he saw on a regular basis. He had caring parents and friends that knew his true feelings – it is shocking that everything came to this.

In the end, reading this didn’t make me feel any better and it was naive to think it would. Not only am I now more scared to face the world because of a deeper understanding of the kinds of people out there, I don’t see a solution to a problem such as this when therapy and medication didn’t work. Should he have been hospitalized? And to what end?

How did he come to have these beliefs and what could be changed so that they don’t continue on in society? He described very little of his relationship with his mother, other than that they were close. He has a deep hatred for her though, because she wouldn’t marry rich so that he could have everything he desired because money = sex with blondes. I have so many questions about how to tackle this, because at some point we need to accept that what we are doing is not enough.

My thoughts on a wedding…

 

Kates thoughts on a wedding

A really good friend of mine recently got married. When she first told me she was engaged, I thought to myself “holy crap, aren’t you too young?” but I was happy for her if that was what she really wanted.

It was a rather quick engagement, so shortly after their engagement, we had the Bachelorette party. It was awesome. Hanging out with girlfriends and getting to wear cute dresses while doing silly things as directed by truth or dare… what could be better? So, I said “aww… I want to get married.” She was a good friend though and told me it isn’t wise to get married just because you want to have a bachelorette party… 

After getting home from the BlogHer conference, I was super excited to see my friends. First, I was looking forward to being around females I actually like, but I hadn’t seen some people in years and I was really hyped to be reconnecting.

Then I realized that everyone was in the wedding party but me and I felt pretty alone. I think a lot of it was that I was already feeling alone from being at the conference and yearning for that connection. This was just another opportunity to be reminded that I don’t have a lot of close connections. At the end of the day, I definitely don’t blame my friend for not having me in her wedding… rather, I just wish I was close enough to someone to warrant the opportunity.. I think I’d be pretty good at it :)

So then came the actual wedding day. I was probably more nervous than the bride. It’s hard to explain why. I feel like maybe I was scared for her committing herself to one person for the rest of her life? Terrified for me for having someone my age and close to me get married? Worried that society would start telling me to get married? Maybe even a little nervous that I would cry at the wedding and show emotion to others? (I sure do hate that…)

I don’t know if I’ve just never paid attention during weddings or if nothing really sunk in because I was too young… but this one was different. The whole time they were saying their vows and stuff I was thinking “Holy shit, a wedding is forever and isn’t just about the big day…” Which again, was super scary and reminded me it’s probably something I’m not ready for. Yet, I couldn’t stop thinking how beautiful it was. I had never seen my friend happier and they both had this amazing glow that brightened the entire evening. I hope that one day, if I do get married, that people feel that from us. 

One day at a time

Yesterday was a pretty terrible day.. I think part of it was getting back home at midnight the night before, and therefore not getting my normal 9 hours of sleep. I think it was also influenced by the fact that I weighed myself in the morning and came in a full 8lbs heavier than I had on Friday. But, it was a graduation weekend which is really like Christmas which means I have a semi-excuse.

I was also pretty overwhelmed at work. The project manager on one of my major projects was out all last week, which meant I got about 100 follow up emails within the first 3 hours of her being back. Glad she’s back, hate email overload. It makes my head explode.

When I got off work I really just wanted to have a drink. But, the one ounce of sanity left in my depressed brain made me go home and work out instead. It’s almost like I am maturing and thats silly. But then after I worked out I had a cocktail while I watch Joe put together our new balcony set. So, in reality, I’m not that grown up.

Today was better. Maybe just because I told myself it couldn’t get any worse than yesterday. Maybe because I had tons of coffee. Maybe because I went out last night and didn’t get good sleep for the second night in a row and was too loopy to be crabby. Who knows really.

One day at a time though, one day at a time.

Homeowner’s first post

What is one supposed to feel after just signing for their first home? I don’t really feel anything. Not different, not some how more mature, just… the same. I’m excited, don’t get me wrong, but the actual signing of the papers was very anticlimactic for me. Joe and I each signed and dated about 50 sheets, shook some hands, and went on our merry way. Our realtor was more excited than me I think… but he is just generally a happy guy anyway.

So, obviously my first thought it that I’m a total weirdo for not being psyched. Friends and family have more enthusism for it than I do. It’s almost as if it just felt like the next step. Like, I’ve always known I would live downtown in an awesome condo, and now I’m just making my dreams a reality. Which… should make me feel ecstatic, but just feels underwhelming. Like, BAM, something I’ve been working towards and saving for is finally here and okay, now what? 

Joe just went to class, and I got a ride back to the hotel (the one we we are staying in because of the apartment flood) from our realtor. Now I’m at the bar eating a Caesar Salad because I have no kitchen.

Funny story: when we were getting our cashiers check at the bank yesterday, I happily looked at the teller and told him “we are going to buy a lot of drugs with this money!” After a few seconds of an awkward stare, I got a laugh. Joe was outraged. He is a little more tense in situations like that… and I guess I was too, which is why I had to make light of the situation  No worries, I set him straight that we were actually buying a condo instead of drugs.