Sometimes I Think About Things…

Hello everyone.

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Sometimes, I think about how I would like to leave everything behind and move somewhere new. I would leave my little apartment with my purple bathroom that I love so much and start completely over, in a field I know nothing about. Sometimes I think about what it would be like if I moved to Vegas.

“Hi, my name is Eva, I’m a well-educated 20-something woman who just wants to wear a glittery costume and get paid to dance around a club all evening.”

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Sometimes I feel as if I’m in a constant swirl of trying to make connections, of trying to impress strangers, to prove my mettle as a “professional” adult. Most people around me have five-year plans and long-term career goals. The more I try to blend in, the more apparent it becomes that I’m always going to be me—a little bit goofy, a little bit too enthusiastic, and a tad bit doe-eyed about life in general. Add in a dash of neuroses and you have me in a nutshell. Like most people, my life certainly didn’t pan out the way I planned it to, and I’m not entirely sure what to do about it. I felt the sudden compulsion to make changes in my life, the equivalent of sticking bandaids on things that seem to be much more deeply affected.  I wanted to be more blonde, I wanted to start lifting weights, and I wanted to get a tattoo (or two). Ultimately, I wanted to stop trying to impress people with my perceived “quality of life.” I know that I don’t want to be someone who only looks good on paper.  I can’t imagine a life where the standard “What do you do/Where do you live/Who are you married to?” questions ultimately define me as a person.

I recently read an article by Noelle Hancock entitled “I Wrote an Essay About Moving to an Island and Scooping Ice Cream. I Wasn’t Prepared for the Response.”  It was, as I’m sure you can guess, a follow-up to a lifestyle piece she had written for Cosmopolitan years earlier about quitting her $95k-a-year-job and moving to an island in the Caribbean with no plan. I have a sudden respect for the people who have the urge to do things like this. A simple job seems to be wildly refreshing at times. I can easily imagine myself in an environment where my only job is to smile, wear the ridiculous outfit, and occasionally wave a glowstick. Sometimes I feel incredibly guilty for thinking about things like this because the little voice in my head yells “Oh my god! You graduated from one of the top universities in California! You can’t dance around in a bikini for a living!!”

Part of the reason I started blogging was that it forced me to be accountable. I couldn’t just write something on scratch paper and throw it away later because I was too embarrassed to share it. There are still plenty of things in my life that I’m embarrassed to share, but I’d like to think there’s a bit a bravery behind each post I publish. Especially when I write something as brazen as admitting that I have dreams of being a go-go dancer from time to time. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve written quite a bit about how lucky I feel to work in a field I’m so passionate about. Seeing and cultivating art almost everyday is something not very many people get to do, and even on the hard days, I’m immensely grateful for it.

But something else tells me I would be the best glowstick-waver ever.

EVA♥

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Flatlining

Hello all!

Occasionally, I do this thing I like to call “flatlining.” When you think about the origins of this term, it can be rather morbid, but it’s something I like to use flippantly. Most of the time, I flatline when I’m feeling under-stimulated, or underwhelmed. This kind of flatline usually takes place in front of some sort of screen…where I can feel my brain cells slowly disintegrating. You know that feeling…either too many hours spent in front of the tv, your work computer, or on your phone.

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Exhibit A: The flatline

 As someone who likes to continuously stay busy, I tend to have this exact reaction once my life slows down a bit. Everything comes to a complete stop. It might be worrisome behavior, but, at best, I’m sure it’s entertaining to observe. Add the fact that I live alone on top of this, and all my speaking abilities go out the window. Try not to ask me any questions (especially before coffee!), unless you need a ridiculous response that takes 10 minutes to formulate.

“Flatlining” isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes, I schedule this kind of downtime for myself. If you move your incoherent self to a beach or poolside, suddenly it’s called a vacation. Add an omelette and a mimosa on a Sunday and you suddenly have brunch! You can go for a hike, or go shopping while flatlining too.  There are endless possibilities, but they’re all intended to give you a break.

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Nothing says “Please flatline here!” quite like an empty pool on a Sunday morning.

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This past week, I spent several mornings just laying by the pool. There, I quite literally do nothing aside from apply sunscreen, lay down, and chat with the boss lady. (Sunscreen is key here, everyone! I learned this the hard way. At one point, when I pulled my sunglasses down the bridge of my nose, I was left with a red racing stripe. Reapply!)Earlier last week, I spent some time in the salon where I also zoned out to the point where I almost fell asleep. Luckily my hairstylist likes to make me work for my hair, there’s enough standing up and sitting down to keep me occupied for a few hours. While it might seem rather boring for some people, it’s times like these that somehow make me feel more refreshed and ready for the week ahead. Seeing as I have a less than typical schedule nine months out of the year, my summer schedule tends to be the reverse of what is true for most people. I head into a standard 9-to-5 day in the office, while most people plan vacations and take some time off. While having a fluctuating schedule can be really refreshing, I sometimes tend to get too wrapped up in going about a standard routine and completely forget to make time for things that are intellectually and physically stimulating, or just plain old fun. Lately, I’ve turned into the person who comes home, has dinner, and unintentionally falls asleep sitting up at 9pm while watching the latest reality tv drivel. I like to say that the first step in changing a situation is simply acknowledging whatever it is that needs changing. Well, it’s almost halfway through the summer and I haven’t nearly started doing all the things I’ve wanted to do. Join a gym, go to a ballgame, try a new workout class, take more dance classes…the list goes on. None of these things are particularly daunting, but it certainly involves a little bit of initiative, and a whole lot less flatlining.

Baby steps!

EVA♥

Are Bloggers Narcissistic?

Hey all!

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Today, I wanted to write a little something about my thoughts on a topic obviously near and dear to my heart. The online blog world is something that I’ve been fascinated with for a good long while now- I started my blog after following countless others, immersing myself in the carefully curated world each portrayed. While I loved reading exceptionally professional blogs, it was the world of the “20-something” blogger that fascinated me the most. These were, understandably, the most relatable. I commiserated with their stories of dating disasters, nightlife adventures (or lack thereof), and the latest in style and beauty. With all these candid glimpses into other people’s lives saturating the internet, you sometimes wonder what the motivation behind it all is. Is it really about the writing and sharing life experiences, or are bloggers just narcissistic?

Sure, everything is always “I, I, I, Me, Me, I think, I did, I wore…” What else would one expect when reading something that’s purposely centered around another person’s life? A lot of people credit this phenomenon to the Millennial generation, because all of us are apparently hell-bent on oversharing our lives on some sort of social media. I’ve heard people joke that if you didn’t share about it on Facebook/Snapchat/Twitter/Instagram did it ever really happen? But, does everyone need to know about your new haircut? Where you went this weekend? What you think about that tube of lipstick? I wonder if any bloggers out there feel as if their readers are waiting with bated breath for them to post their latest goings-on, all while waiting for some sort of validation so they can continue doing what they’re doing. I would like to think that many, like me, wonder if anyone out there is even reading their little corner of the internet, and why? While I was thinking about these things earlier, I came across this article on Culture Witness. Writer Lea Singh suggests that, to avoid falling into that dreaded narcissistic headspace, bloggers should “approach writing posts like writing magazine articles or newspaper columns, because a blog is a self-published periodical, not a private space, and it should not be kept in the belief that is a mere record for ourselves or our friends and families.”

If this is the case, perhaps I’ve failed miserably here; I enjoy posting about my mundane life events and sharing my most random thoughts. But, like what drew me to blogs initially, it helps to connect, to know that you’re not entirely alone in your experiences. I admittedly try not to overshare, and spend quite a bit of time thinking about (overthinking?) what I write- there are plenty of things in my life that I don’t plan on posting all over the internet anytime soon. There certainly might be more than a fair share of bloggers that can be categorized as self-obsessed, but I also believe there are those who display integrity and share their personal experiences without pretense. I hope to categorize myself with the latter, despite the occasional selfie post.

Until next time!

EVA♥

Burnout: Real Thing or Real Life?

Hello all!

It’s time for deep thoughts with Watch Me Juggle! I bet you can’t guess what today’s post is going to be about.

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Gif: hahahamster.com

I’ve written about a few life things (for lack of a better term) here and there.  It was a recent discussion that I had with a friend of mine that got me thinking. While I embrace the fact that I have a less-than-traditional field of work (no 9-to-5 here), things can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming. They say the key to a successful and happy work life lies in finding something you love to do. I’m fortunate enough to say that I work for companies that I truly believe in, and with people who I consider family. The time I spend in the studio doesn’t ever feel like work. No two classes are ever the same- I get to be creative and I’m constantly learning new things.  I try to hold myself to a high standard, and want to continue to grow professionally, in all my jobs. But, as someone who is altogether too hard on themselves, every so often, that little voice in my head says that I’m not doing enough.

Talking to my friends who have all manner of jobs (tech, engineering, education) helps give me a bit of perspective. If you care about your job and work with integrity, you’re bound to feel like this at some point or another, no matter what field you find yourself in. You consistently push yourself and want to be better. I sometimes worry that what people refer to as “burnout,” is simply the reality for many people. This, to put it quite simply, makes me sad. It’s especially difficult to find balance when you care deeply about what you do. I’ll admit that I’m perhaps a bit lucky in this in that I, without the additional stressors of having a family or a mortgage, have the luxury of overthinking things like this. I hope that by acknowledging that things can get overwhelming sometimes, I’ll get better at balancing life, making room to decompress and do things just for me- like writing, traveling, and getting back to dance class! And that, as opposed to feeling like a hamster running in a wheel, I’ll feel more like this little guy, in his tiny swing:

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What about you, dear readers? Is “work/life” balance a tricky thing for you, as well?

EVA♥

I Survived 10 Days Without Internet

Hello all!

Remember my last post on First World Problems? I guess you could categorize this as one of those…

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It happened, I’m not sure why, but it did. I came home from a long day at work, attempted to turn on the tv  to catch up on my favorite show, and…nothing. After many frustrating phone calls back and forth with Comcast, we had determined that my modem was shot. Dead. Done. Finito.  I had no cable and no internet access; what was originally anticipated to last only a few days went on for almost two weeks. As someone who loves constant background noise (I wake up to my favorite radio talk show, I cook with my favorite sitcoms on in the background, I put my makeup on to music) the sudden silence felt a bit deafening. What’s more, I could barely send and receive text messages. In today’s hyper-connected society, I was in the equivalent of a black hole. What was happening on Instagram without me?! What happened on the last episode of Game of Thrones?! As disarming as it felt, there wasn’t really much I could do about it.

So, I tried to make the most out of the quiet time. When I first moved into my apartment years ago, I spent several weeks without internet access (and furniture, for that matter) and was rather creative with my time. I organized my kitchen cabinets, gave myself manicures, and watched all of my favorite classic movies over and over again. This time around, I used a bit of the time to catch up on chores, and treated myself to a few Redbox dvd rentals. The closest Redbox to my house conveniently happens to be close to a 7-11. I might have ducked in for movie-watching snacks more than once. With access to Netflix and Comcast On Demand, I almost never rent movies. During this last stretch, however, I watched a number of great ones: Elizabeth, Far from the Madding Crowd, Atonement, Crimson Peak, and Pixar’s Inside Out; all of which I would highly recommend.

At one point, I busted out an old radio to listen to in the mornings while I got ready for work. It was a little scratchy sounding, but at least I didn’t have to worry about burning through all of my data! I poured through my cook books and threw together some delicious dinners and desserts. I finished the book I had been reading and cracked open a new one, with 800 pages to entertain me. I went out for cups of coffee, took a few yoga classes, and went to bed at a reasonable hour every night. When I finally got reconnected, I didn’t feel my usual impulse to turn on the tv every time I entered my home. Who would have thought that resetting my cable would turn into a whole mental reset? As much as I missed the music and the noise over the last 10 days, I suddenly feel more comfortable with the silence. I was initially worried it would all make me feel a bit anxious, but instead, I can curl up with a book, and it feels better than alright. With unplugging, although involuntarily, I’ve been reminded that I can enjoy my own company, fully and without distraction. Hey! If you ever get bored, you can always talk to yourself!

Just kidding…

EVA♥

The Lady or the Tiger?

Hi everyone!

Today’s post is a little more substantial than my usual. Every once-in-a-while, I have some “deep thoughts” I like to share; I’m usually compelled to do so because I know at least one or two of you out there can relate. I’ve come to a bit of a crossroads in my life, and, it being a crossroads, you’re typically forced to make some decisions.

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A little while back, my mother handed me a printout that she insisted I take home and read. She didn’t elaborate much after that, but was adamant that I look it over. It’s only three or so pages, so it doesn’t necessarily belong on a bookshelf, although I think the content is undeniably worth the binding, or a soft cover, at the very least. I expected it to be an article or a bit of self-help type advice, something to help me make sense of my life. It turned out to be a short story: “The Lady Or The Tiger?” by Frank Stockton. The story starts out like any other fairytale, depicting a kingdom in olden times, ruled over by a king. It’s certainly not a children’s story, as the king is “semi-barbaric” and his kingdom is unique in that, in lieu of a proper judicial system, there is an arena in which any person accused of a crime is given the choice between two doors. Behind one, a tiger and a horrific death, behind the other, a beautiful young woman and a wedding. (An awfully extreme kingdom, yes?) Chance dictates whether the accused receives one of the other. Things in the kingdom get a bit interesting when the king discovers his own daughter in love with one of his subjects, and immediately has him thrown into the arena to be “judged.”  The princess, obviously invested in this particular case, makes it her business to know what lies behind each door on the day of the trial. Her love looks to her for guidance, and she secretly signals him to choose the door on the right.

   “Now, the point of the story is this: Did the tiger come out of that door, or did the lady?”

Apparently this tale is often used in academic settings as a teaching tool for comprehension and logic. The author leaves it entirely to the reader to decide. The princess has already lost her love, and it is up to her to then chose his fate. In the story, her mind is made, and she does not hesitate.

As the reader, you can’t but help imagine yourself in the princess’ shoes. This, of course, colors the outcome of the story. I shared and discussed the story with a friend of mine, and we both easily decided that the barbaric princess would have sent him to his immediate death. I think any woman who has ever been in love and had things not work out can relate. I oftentimes wish that the people I once cared about would simply disappear in a puff of smoke. Poof! Things would be so much easier. Admittedly, when asked about certain people in my life, I did once make big eyes and state the they had been “hit by a bus.” Funnily enough, the woman posing the question immediately understood my meaning. “Wow…that’s unfortunate.” I know, right…?

 After finishing the story, I did have to ask myself that, were I to choose, would the outcome be indicative of my feelings for the person at stake, or of my general character? One would think the natural choice would be the lady- to be the bigger person and to wish them the ever clichéd “best.” And yet, strong feelings for someone can, somehow, easily bring out the worst in us. The boss lady once told me that she could recognize how passionately she felt about someone based on how angry they occasionally made her. You might argue that if your feelings are fundamentally platonic or indifferent, a disagreement or canceled plans would leave you unruffled. In this case, the princess knowingly sending the man to the lady would be somewhat palatable. On the contrary, it’s often easier to grasp at anger when you feel a profound sense of loss, especially when it’s over something entirely out of your control and when your decisions are made for you. When discussing the story, I once joked that there should be tigers for all of them.

I recently came across a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald that somehow manages to sum up those difficult feelings: “suddenly she realized that what she was regretting was not the lost past but the lost future, not what had been but what would never be.” At the end of the day, what touched me the most in the story was the awareness on the part of the princess that she had already lost. I’ve always been a big softie, and often to my detriment. Sometimes I find myself sad or fundamentally angry about things that never had a chance to materialize. I wonder if the princess in the story felt the same way. If she did, she might have perhaps chosen differently? Who knows…

EVA♥

Life Lately

Hi all!

I was scrolling through the camera roll on my phone the other day and suddenly realized that I had accumulated a number of memes, all with a bit of a theme. It’s been a while since I’ve done a “Life Lately” post on Watch Me Juggle, so here goes nothing!

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Like most people, I spend at least half of my time in front of some sort of little screen, which can be exhausting at times, to say the least. Sometimes it’s for work, sometimes it’s for fun, but I feel like I’m plugged in at all times. I’m most definitely one of those people who likes to have background noise, which has somehow turned into having one or more devices running at any given time- TV, laptop, iPhone, sometimes all three. I recently stumbled across Tony Schwartz’s article in the New York Times that talks about our “addiction to distraction,” and suddenly feel much less like a crazy person. Apparently, spending so much time online and connected to social media can legitimately unbalance you. Are any of you plagued by this same need for distraction? It can suck, sometimes.

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Photo c/o littlelessy.com

Going forward, I’m hoping to unplug a bit more. Read more. Do more yoga.

I’d like to say that I’m adept at juggling (hence the blog name, ha!) but a lot of the time, I feel as if I fail epically. I honestly enjoy being busy, but sometimes I realize I busy myself with total nonsense, rather than things of quality. In those moments when I find myself with nothing to do, rather than enjoy, I feel the urge to find more things to juggle. You know…Watch Me Stare at-my-phone-do-dishes-make-coffee-perfect-my-eyeliner-technique-while-mentally-deciding-what-else-needs-doing-dance-around….

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For example, most normal humans have an alarm set to wake them up in the mornings, yes? Well, I recently had to set an alarm for myself as a reminder to go to sleep. Somehow, 10:45pm hits each night and I suddenly get the urge to watch every video ever created on Youtube, while spontaneously planking in my living room, baking cookies, and dancing to trap music like it’s not a Tuesday night. I usually wake up feeling like death the next day- big surprise. You think I would figure it out, but your guess is as good as mine. Thank goodness for the Nespresso.

In other news, I seem to have become an utter magnet for odd behavior as of late. Let’s call it confused serendipity. Running into people I haven’t seen in ages, ridiculous emails at work, general weirdness you name it. Just today, I received a “receipt” in my inbox for a supposed purchase that was paid for in….wait for it…$675 in meatballs. I’m sorry: WHAT?! How is this happening?!

It’s the odds of strange things like this happening in succession, and to me in particular, that is baffling. I couldn’t make some of this stuff up if I tried. Luckily, I have side-eye Chloe, who’s reaction is appropriate for all occasions:

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Please make it stop, kthanks.

On a more positive note, I have been able to see quite a bit of the ballet this season, and have been enjoying it immensely. I’m hoping it kick-starts what feels like my rather sluggish creativity. Although, after last night’s performance, I did have a dream that one of the San Francisco Ballet dancers invited me to a swanky party, and then called me “chubby.” Not exactly morale-boosting.

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Oddly enough, it helps to have some great people around that feel the same way about things. I feel as if I’m very much at an age where, if things are going differently from the way you planned them, you don’t advertise it. But, it’s reassuring to know that the people I’m close to can tell me that they’re sometimes unsure of things, or have equally bad days and can commiserate with my attempts at positivity (see above!). I recently went out dancing with a few of my girlfriends for the first time in a long time, and had so much fun- yelling along to the lyrics of the songs, laughing, meeting new people. Life may never be totally perfect, but I’m glad I am where I am, knowing nothing is ever set in stone, and doing whatever makes me genuinely happy is tantamount to living well.

In the meantime, you can always make yourself a cocktail while you get it together.

Cheers!

EVA♥

Where Are You From?

Where are you from?

I know people get asked this a lot.

I have a love hate relationship with this question, for lack of a better expression. The “love,” although I use this term loosely, comes from the fact that I find myself asking this same thing quite often. I also somewhat resent being on the receiving end of it. It’s not so much the question itself I have a problem with, it’s the context in which it’s being asked. It’s the nature of the answer that people want that bothers me.

See, when I ask you where you’re from, I quite literally want to know where you moved to San Francisco from. I know that most of your answers will consist of things like: “I’m from Boston,” or “I grew up outside of Chicago.” I’m a naturally curious person, so I find things like this intriguing. It can usually make for some decent conversation. When people ask myself or my parents this, it usually bears some kind of hidden meaning. The question is really something like:”Where is your accent from?” Or “Wow, you’re different looking- what’s your ethnic background?” At the very first, the hidden meaning of the question seemed harmless enough, people would ask me things like this all the time. However, I quickly started to notice that many of my friends weren’t subjected to the same kind of questioning. It’s suddenly become a game of “Guess My Ethinicity!”

karenmeangirlsKaren! You can’t just ask people why they’re white!! (Gif c/o giphy)

With the exception of Karen from Mean Girls, very few people will walk up to you and ask your ethnicity outright. So they choose something like “Where are you from?” instead.

Once, in Las Vegas, I answered this question truthfully: “I’m from San Francisco…you know, the Bay Area.” Only to get a “No. I mean where are you from? Are you Latina or something?” I’m happy to share my stories with people, but when strangers approach me with this as their opening line, it still takes me aback. I wouldn’t walk up to you and say things like “Hey! What are you genetics like? You have some really hyper-extended knees!” It’s a weirdly personal question.

It bothered me even more, as a child, seeing my parents get subjected to similar treatment. My father likes to be stubborn, and insists he’s from “here.” Right here, California. It makes people uncomfortable, because it doesn’t get them the answer they’re looking for. Especially in today’s political climate, no one wants to approach a Middle Eastern looking man and directly ask him what his “deal” is. “Excuse me, sir, what war-torn country are you from and how did you get all the way over here?” wouldn’t go over well, I imagine. Then, people get an eyeful of my mother, who they then confuse as Australian, instead of Austrian, and then want to know everything. Of course, how they met is quite a story, but I don’t always feel compelled to tell it. Don’t get me wrong, I very much appreciate and enjoy the uniqueness of who I am. I just don’t always feel like being gawked at like a zoo animal. (I know I’m  not the only one. Please see #4 and #10 on this Buzzfeed list on “21 Feeling All Mixed-Race Kids Know.”) Someone actually referred to me as a “half-breed” once. My response to that is that at least I’m not a whole idiot, thank you very much.

This isn’t the first time I’ve shared a bit of what it’s like being me. For a little background, you can check out my previous post on growing up multi-lingual here. Sure, 99 percent of the time I feel tremendously lucky; there’s never a dull moment and I always have a story or two to tell. I appreciate your curiosity, but sometimes, it just best to let people share with you, at their own pace. In the meantime, please find a better question to fill the silence.

Love,

EVA♥

All Work And…

Hello everyone!

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Isn’t that the saying? I’m pretty sure there’s a second part to that, about all play and no work, but, really, who does that?

(No, seriously, if you know how to do that please let me know.)

 On the contrary, I’ve found myself doing what feels like utterly nothing lately, which is incredibly unlike me. I’m one of those strange people who likes being busy quite literally all the time. I work 6 days a week with little complaint because I get to work in a field I absolutely love.  Unfortunately, this leaves me with very little time to do much else. The last few weeks, when the end of the work day rolled around, you could most likely find me doing this:

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In various places around my apartment. Just…planking.

Sometimes it would be planking in the bath, sometimes I decided to plank while staring at my phone, or while watching a Harry Potter marathon on TV, but that’s about as exciting as it got. I literally did nothing, just because it felt like the most appropriate thing to do at the time. So, why share this embarrassing state of events? Well, I always like to think that it helps to feel like you’re never alone. I’m sure some of you, dear readers, could out-plank me any day. Heck, even while I was poking around online, looking for fantastic gif-inspiration, I came across The Broke Millenial’s blog on Burnout. See! We’re definitely not alone. Sometimes you just need to come home and have some night cheese, like Liz Lemon! Or take naps on a Saturday, for no reason.

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At first, I began to think that there was something legitimately wrong with me. I would perpetually drink coffee throughout the day to keep me going, and then come home and crash at night. The kind of crashing where you fall asleep upright with all the lights in your house on, still wearing a face full of makeup. Throw in an ibuprofen or two and you had a typical Wednesday for me.

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So how do you, dear readers, handle this proverbial “burnout”? This past Saturday, I finally decided to unleash my inner Karen Walker and headed outside of my apartment at night in pursuit of a cocktail. I spent some time with a friend of mine and engaged in people browsing, as you might call it.

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This certainly jolted me awake, albeit while ironically staying out much later than I should have. Now, I wouldn’t credit one cocktail with giving me my spark back. Although it’s not the most deep wisdom I can impart on you, sometimes you really do need those moment of doing absolutely nothing. Those moments might even spread over the span of several days. It’s very much the small things I started doing for myself that helped me get back, both literally and figuratively, on my feet. I let myself have that extra cup of coffee, I made time to read that silly paperback, and spent a Saturday night in my pajamas painting my nails. Most of all, I didn’t let myself feel badly about it. Sure, sometimes that voice in your head just wants to point out all the things you’ve been doing wrong, or all the things you should be doing- don’t let it. I’m here to tell you it’s stupid and it needs to get over itself. You can take a nap today, and come back with a vengeance tomorrow.   Things aren’t always going to go the way you imagined, but you’re doing your best. After all, in the words of Mindy Kaling: 

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Image source: giphy

Until next time!

EVA♥

Just a Smile

Hello everyone!

Today, I wanted to write about something that has preoccupied me for some time. To be completely honest, I’ve been a bit frightened to publish this particular post, because it focuses on something I’ve been incredibly self-conscious about for a really, really long time: my teeth.

To make a long story short, when I was seven I slipped and fell while dancing on my great aunt’s slick kitchen floor in Austria, knocking one of my front teeth completely out. Approximately 3 years later, I fell again, and damaged the neighboring tooth. Since then, I’ve spent over 5 years in braces, had two root canals, two tissue graft surgeries, a tooth extraction, a bone graft, and a new tooth implanted. Between that and interesting genetics that left me with an additional missing tooth, I’ve never been entirely happy with my smile.  It’s always been far from perfect, and, on top of that, I’ve spent the last 10 years of my life living with what I jokingly referred to as my “party trick” tooth:

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And a smile that looked like this:

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To say I was self-conscious about it was an understatement.

Even with the fake teeth, I hated looking at photos of myself and seeing the gap and mismatched color of my teeth. I never took the retainer out of my mouth, except to sleep, and, even then, only my good friends had seen me entirely without it. When I traveled, or had an important event, I lived in fear that the retainer would break, and that I would suddenly be without a tooth. It’s quite literally the stuff of nightmares, having your teeth falling out of your head. When I was living with my college roommates, I broke my retainer, or flipper as it’s often called, eating a piece of pizza. I knew I had wonderful friends when, between getting me to laugh uncontrollably in the midst of a rather horrifying situation, they were fully prepared to trek to the local drugstore on their bikes to buy me a tube of Fixodent until I made it to the dentist. They also indulged me when I began to insist that I be photographed from one particular side, as I joked “That’s the side with all my real teeth!”

After years of surgeries and continuous poking around in my mouth, I was both tired and slightly afraid to step into another dentist’s office. My smile has always been a work in progress, but, recently I decided to be both more proactive and optimistic, and go back to the dentist. It’s still a work in progress, but now my smile looks like this:

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(Forgive the grainy, post-work-out photo. Look at that smile!)

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I had always hoped that one day that my smile would be better. It seems like such a trivial thing, really. I feel fortunate for having so many positive things in my life, on some days, having perfect teeth seemed almost too much to ask. When I was handed the mirror at the end of my most recent dentist appointment, I was startled, and perhaps not in a good way. I had, for so long, resigned myself to the fact that I was the girl who had two fake, gappy, mismatched teeth. I suddenly happy and slightly uncomfortable with my new look, all at the same time. Now that I’ve gotten a little more used to them, I couldn’t be happier. I still have quite a way to go over the next few months, and I’ll keep documenting my progress. In the meantime, I have plenty to smile about.

EVA♥