I’m Back

Kiki has been babysitting my blog for over three months now, but I’ve finally pulled myself together enough to take it back.

I stepped back from this space for two reasons –

  1. I didn’t really feel like I was adding to the internet sphere on this blog anymore. I had been writing about anything and everything and I felt like too much of my content was the same old stuff that everyone else writes about.
  2. I was going through some intense self-reflection and personal stuff and was feeling super down and I could barely do my normal work and keep myself healthy so this blog was one of the first things I dropped.

But now I have returned! I decided that I love to write and that I do have something to contribute to the internet. However, I also decided to take a step back and figure out what I should focus on. Up until now, I just wrote about whatever struck my fancy that week, but I want this blog to have a purpose. I’ve decided that the purpose is self-reflection/ self-improvement.

Sounds boring, I know, but if I take a look back at my best posts, the ones that got the best feedback and the ones I thought were the best written, they are the ones where I talk about things I’ve gone through and what I’ve learned from those events.

I realized that many people are too scared, or confused to turn a lens back in on themselves and to learn from their mistakes or shortcomings to improve their lives, so I will take one for the team and put myself under the microscope to share life and lifestyle lessons.

And for those of you that will miss Kiki’s far wittier prose, she does have a YouTube channel where she makes her own words come to life, and I also have a feeling it won’t be long before she’s a guest writer here again.

Thanks to everyone that has continued to visit this space after so long.

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I’m Sorry Dua Lipa; I Hath Failed You

You heard it here first folks, I have broken almost every rule on my list in the past week. But honestly, what did anyone expect from me trying to enact life changes the week before midterms? So let’s unpack this.

Rule #1: No eating after 10 pm.

This one was the first to go. Ya boi has got night classes, man, and sometimes I don’t get home until nearly 10 pm and I’ve got the munchies. I’m working on packing healthy snacks to eat during class so I’m not hungry afterwards, but sometimes I just need a proper big dinner.

Rule #2: Go to bed by midnight.

Not staying up past midnight flew out the window. Being awake past midnight is one thing- I’ve had chronic insomnia for as long as I can remember- but being out of bed until past midnight is what I was trying to avoid. But my roommates were watching the Prince of Egypt downstairs and I just couldn’t resist. Plus I had heaps of work that needed doing on most other nights of the past week and the next few days so that didn’t help at all.

Rule #3: Rise by 10 am.

Rising by 10 am was going fine until I had some icky icky dreams one night and I stayed in bed until well past noon because the dreams made me too sad to get up. Not something too unexpected when you’re on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, (which are the kind of meds that I’ve been on for about two and half years now), but unpleasant nonetheless. It’s not super common for me, but it’s something I’ll need to consider moving forward.

Rule #4: No caffeine after 4 pm.

This one has actually been okay, since I’ve been so anxious for the past week that I’ve not wanted to put much in the way of stimulants in my body. I’ve replaced a lot of my tea breaks during the day with herbal tea just because I’ve been so jittery I highly doubt caffeine was going to do me any good.

Rule #5: You must eat one (1) healthy meal per day.

Uh. So technically I’ve kept up with this one, but considering some of what I’ve been eating for my other two meals, I’m not sure if it counts.

Rule #6: No use of the following phrases:
-I hate myself
-I want to die
-I’m going to kill myself

I’m not going to count how many times I dropped the ball on this one, but I will say that I’ve become so much more conscious of when I say these things and I usually stop myself or chastise myself for saying them.

Rule #7: Just because you screw up once doesn’t mean you should give up.

I’m! Still! Trying! Am I coming in at below a 50%? Yes! But am I giving up? No! It’s midterms, I’m sure I’m going to struggle big time with these, but I’m not giving up. I want to prove to myself that I can get this on lock so that someday soon I can add things about working out and meditating to the list and work on that stuff and really be one of those annoying healthy-living self-improvement hoes.

P.S: Dua Lipa only had three rules she was trying to follow, so considering I had more than twice as many I think I’m doing okay.

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Pictured:My rapidly crumbling resolve

Call Me Dua Lipa, ‘Cause I Got Some New Rules

Unlike Dua Lipa, however, my rules aren’t a fun and sexy mantra I can repeat to myself so I can get over him. (There is no him.) (I’m gay.) I’ve just made a list of rules for my life to try to abide by so I can be a little healthier and a little more positive. You can’t just wake up one day and be a workout-nut vegan who wakes up and does yoga at 6 am every day, you gotta start small, and this is my start.

Rule #1: No eating after 10 pm.

I don’t have issues with my weight, but eating at night messes up your digestive schedule. Moreover, it makes my tummy feel funny in the morning, so no more midnight snacking for me.

Rule #2: Go to bed by midnight.

No matter what work I have or what I’m doing, I have to stop and go to bed at midnight, otherwise I lose any semblance of a healthy schedule. This also helps with #1, because when I stay up too late I get hungry, and when I’m hungry I can’t sleep.

Rule #3: Rise by 10 am.

I know 10:00 in the morning is pretty late for most humans, but when the majority of my responsibilities occur in the afternoon and evening, it can be hard for me to find motivation to wake up in the mornings. But when I do, I feel so much better and end up having a much more productive day.

Rule #4: No caffeine after 4 pm.

Honestly, the time for this one is a bit superfluous. I know nothing about how long it takes for the body to process caffeine, but 4 pm sounded good. Hopefully, if I cut my caffeine intake (mostly coming from black and green tea) I can have an easier time sleeping at my new midnight-bedtime.

Rule #5: You must eat one (1) healthy meal per day.

Like #3, this one isn’t much, but as a student, even this can be a lot. Someday soon I would love for this rule to become “you are only allowed one (1) cheat meal per day”, but for now that’s just not practical. I need to ease myself into this whole healthy-living thing, and that means baby steps. If I try all at once to be 100% healthy 100% of the time, I’m not gonna have a good time. Most likely I’d become overwhelmed by my inability to do it and give up completely.

Rule #6: No use of the following phrases:
-I hate myself
-I want to die
-I’m going to kill myself
These are all things I say, always joking, in response to kind of anything and everything. It’s a popular form of self-deprecating humor amongst the kids these days, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but for me it had a similar effect on me that the “not a real whatever” language has, which you can read all about in my article “I Think I’m Becoming Positive” from two weeks ago. I don’t mean any of it, but saying it has an effect on my perspective nonetheless. And if there’s one thing I learned from 1984, it’s that the language we use determines the thoughts we have.

Rule #7: Just because you screw up once doesn’t mean you should give up.

I have this bad habit where, once I fall out of a routine that I’m trying to make a habit, I declare the whole thing a failure and I give up completely. Gotta stop that. I’m gonna break these rules, I’ve come to terms with that. #2 will probably be the first to go, to be honest. I get wrapped up in doing stuff and end up awake until 3 am. I know that and that’s fine, so long as I keep trying to keep in with my rules. If I can make midnight my usual and 3 am a special occasion, I’ll call it a success.

So am I going to become a workout-nut vegan who gets up at 6 am everyday to do yoga? Probably not. That’s ridiculous. But if I start getting up at 10, then I can bump it to 9, and what the heck maybe one day I’ll get up at 7:30. Baby steps to building a routine that’s good for my brain and good for my body, so that I can be in peak physical and mental health in order to enact my plot to overthrow the government and tear down the white-supremacist patriarchal power structure of the world.

EDIT: In the day it’s been since I first drafted this, I got home late, was starving and ate after 10 pm. BUT IT’S OKAY.

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I Think I’m Becoming Positive

I would never have said that I was a particularly negative person. And yet- my perspectives on myself and what I spend my time doing have, as of late, been negative. I joke that I’m not a real writer, not a real filmmaker, not a real artist, whatever. Lately, I think it’s been getting to me.

I’m not a real writer, so why finish my novel?
I’m not a real filmmaker, so why struggle to make films?
I’m not a real artist, so why call what I do “art”?

I wouldn’t say it hit me all at once, but I kind of came to realize that my attitude was affecting my work. I always prided myself on not being someone who takes themselves too seriously, and to an extent that remains true. I have no intention of becoming some hum-drum that only talks about how messed up the world is. That’s completely unproductive and thoroughly annoying.

But I think I ought to give myself a little more credit than I do. I’ve made half a dozen or so short films, and worked dozens of hours on sets. So yeah, I’m a real filmmaker. I’ve written hundreds of pages of this damn book and I’m so close to finishing a draft that I can taste it. So yeah, I’m a real writer. Writing and filmmaking are art forms, so hell yeah, I’m an artist.

I think I’m becoming one of those ~positive people~. And not in the way that I have been, which is where I make jokes when things are terrible. (The more terrible things are, the more jokes I make. I can draw a graph, if that would help.) And definitely not in the *everything will be okay* way because that’s impractical and dangerously reductive. I mean genuinely positive. Like, I think I know what I want to do with my life? And maybe… how to do it? I know it’ll be hard but I feel like I… can handle it?

Halfway through film school and I finally feel like I really know where I am and where I want to be. Maybe it’s a passing thing, and tomorrow I’ll wake up feeling lost again. But if anything, that makes writing this down now all the more important, so when I start to doubt myself again I can look back at this and remember that yes, I do know what I want to do, and yes, I am doing it right now. Literally, right now. I’m sitting in class as I write this. (Maybe if I were really doing this right I’d be paying attention.)

But for the first time in a long time, maybe ever, I feel so confident and so right with what I’m doing. I want to tell stories, and I know how to tell them. And it’s a good feeling. I hope that you can find that same sense of purpose, dear reader, in something important to you, whatever that may be.

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Not pictured: Me
Pictured: my sister, looking cool on a bench in Greece while I sacrifice proper exposure for that JJ Abrams Lens Flare

The Value Of Traumatizing Children

WAIT WAIT WAIT I know it sounds bad, but bear with me a moment. I don’t mean PHYSICALLY traumatizing your children, I only mean psychologically traumatize them! Alright so that’s not better. But seriously, bear with me on this.

Lately I’ve been trading childhood stories with some friends of mine. You know, buddies. Pals. Amigos. I have some of those. Anyway, more and more I’ve been realizing that mine and my sister’s upbringing may have been… unorthodox, to say the least. That’s a long story, but there’s one aspect in particular that I want to focus on, and that aspect happens to be stories themselves.

Every child that’s raised in a semi-decent home gets told stories. Usually, the stories parents choose are tailored specifically for children. But not my parents, no no. They decided that any story could be a children’s story simply by virtue of being told to a child. Case in point: Greek mythology. Most everyone knows that most every Greek myth ends in horror or tragedy or cruel irony and are perhaps the farthest thing from Disney movies as you can get.

Let’s sidebar for a moment so I can really impress this upon you. Since I brought up Disney, we’ll stick with it for a moment. Disney’s Hercules follows the son of Zeus and Hera, who gets tricked by Hades, as he falls in love with a human named Meg and battles the Titans. It ends with him saving the world and getting the girl and learning what it means to truly ~be a hero~ and so on and so forth. The true story of Hercules is such: Zeus (per usual) slept with a mortal woman who bore a child. Zeus knew that Hera, his freakin’ wife, wouldn’t be happy, so he had the baby named Herakles to honor her. But Hera was not pleased. She plagued his youth with multiple attempts on his life, then finally, when he was married with three children, she sent a madness upon him that drove him to murder his wife and children. All his adventures? Penance for his crimes. His life ended when his second wife, tricked by a centaur, gave him a poisoned tunic that burned him so badly that he leapt into a fire.

Take a guess as to which story my parents read to us.

All our books of myths were the real deal, no kiddie stuff. Atalanta? Turned into a lion after her wedding for failing to pay homage to Aphrodite. Narcissus? Wasted away staring at himself. Niobe? Watched all fourteen of her children murdered in front of her because she slighted Leto. Phaeton? That boy was blasted out of the sky because his stupidity was going to destroy the world.

Thing is, little baby me didn’t register this as being strange. This was just how stories were, in my mind. It wasn’t until recently that I found out that this isn’t what one would generally call normal. Most kids get told stories where the endings are happy and the villains don’t matter.

So what? What’s the difference? Well, I think, at least, that this has affected my development. I skipped the disillusionment of finding out that Santa’s not real and not every story has a happy ending because I never lived under either of those illusions. (In our house, Santa was ~part of the spirit of Christmas~ not an actual person.) I don’t think I’m jaded or pessimistic because of it; in fact I think it’s the opposite. Instead of going through the ups and downs of believing in something then losing that faith, I’m able to start on a clean slate and work my way up, so to speak. If I start with the assumption that things will end badly, then there’s nowhere to go but up, right? Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s more important for kids to grow up happy and believing in happy endings. There’s always time for them to learn later, right? But I would’t say I was an unhappy child. You couldn’t even pin my current mental issues on this part of my upbringing, because my sister grew up the same way and she’s pretty functional. So what if she ate the storybooks? (That’s right, it’s call out time.)

Anyway, I’m not going to pretend that I know the best way to raise a child. I’m still half a child myself. But I think there’s something to be said about not lying to your children. Kids are smarter than they often get credit for, and they can handle more than you’d think. Just look at how dark some kids movies are! They can take it! And there’s no loss of childhood wonder, just a redirection of it. Maybe I’m just a little nuts for looking at a tree and thinking about how it might be a nymph in disguise. But I think we ought to give kids more credit than they’re getting. They’re not stupid, and I don’t think they’re done any favors by hiding reality from them. Bad things happen, they’re gonna learn sometime or other. May as well give them as much time as possible to figure out how to deal with it, and how to make your own happy ending.

PS: The only people who ever got happy endings in the myths were people who acted selflessly and without pride, putting others first and working hard. Frankly, if you ask me, that’s a much better lesson than just “be nice”.

PPS: Case in point, Admetus and Alcestis got a happy ending because they were literally willing to die for each other. Well, that and Herakles wrestled the physical embodiment of Death himself so they could live. See, it’s not all bad. Just punch Death in the face and everything will be fine. (Terms and Conditions may apply.)14107627_1060618800696283_3442762360669744485_o

You’ve Heard of Beat Your Face, Now Get Ready For…

BEAT YOUR BRAIN. Beat it like the Russian team in an American sports film.

It’s no secret that I don’t have a great brain. Anyone who spends more than a few minutes with me can figure that out. Yet I’m out here living my life, going to school (most of the time), getting gigs, chillin’ with friends, etc. How? I fight my brain.

Maybe it’s not a fistfight, but it is a fight. Being mentally ill really takes the phrase “your greatest enemy is yourself” to the next level, because accomplishing even the smallest of tasks becomes a battle. The best way I’ve found to get around that is by removing as many obstacles as possible between where I am and where I need to be.

Brain: you can’t get up

Me: alright well my clothes are on the floor by my bed, so I can just get dressed under my covers and see how I feel.

This is one of the earliest tricks I came up with. Sometimes just the notion of getting out of bed feels just as plausible as climbing Kilimanjaro, so I removed some of the difficulty. If my clothes for the day are in arm’s reach, as I almost always leave them the night before, I don’t need to get out of bed to get changed. Then once I’m dressed, I usually feel better, and I can get up. Or at the very least, all the moving around made me need to pee so I need to get up anyway. Then once I’m up, I can tell myself that I can just wash my face and make some tea and go back to bed if I truly feel so awful. Usually, after all that, I’ve convinced myself that going to class isn’t all that bad anymore.

Brain: you can’t make a sandwich

Me: fine then I’ll just stand in front of the fridge and eat pieces of cheese, deli meat, and lettuce until I’m full because it’s basically the same thing.

Where most people gain that “Freshman 15” in college, I actually lost a lot of weight from simple lack of eating. On bad days I just have no desire to eat and no energy to make myself anything. But sometimes you don’t have to make yourself something, and I’m not talking about ramen. Having things that I can eat with my hands, and not have to worry about doing the dishes later, has been a huge help. And it’s nothing fancy, either. Usually it’s just something like cheese, bread or crackers, and some kind of non-messy vegetable or fruit. Non-messy is key for me, since (like with the dishes) sometimes feeling like I’ll have a mess to clean puts a damper on my plan. So a lot of times it’s just eating an entire, un-cut cucumber, or pulling off leaves from a head of lettuce, or handfuls of spinach from a salad mix. Does it look ridiculous? Absolutely. But does it keep me alive? Yeah, so I don’t care how many times my roommates walk in on me with handfuls of greens.

But it’s not always as simple as that. On my worst days, no amount of exercising, healthy eating, or showering can make me feel better. These tricks aren’t some kind of cure-all; I still have the same chemical imbalances in my brain and I still spend many a day locked up in my room, unable to face the world. But I have a whole lot less of those days when I can trick myself into just one more task, and then one more task, and so on until I’m dressed with a full face of makeup, my bag packed, and a nice breakfast in front of me.

Am I wrong? Maybe. But, as pictured, even a broken clock is right twice a day. So it ain’t much, but it’s all I’ve got, and you have similar issues then I hope this could help you, even a little bit.

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Steal the Little Things

I’ve realized over the past few years that I am a highly adaptable person. I’m not sure how I turned into this person since I distinctly remember being a nightmarish, stubborn goblin as a small child. But I have to believe this started early because I know I started to steal little things from people as early as age nine.

I don’t mean stealing material things (although my collection of different post-its was BOMB), I mean stealing little habits or tricks that I thought would make my life better. For example, the earliest memory I have of this is seeing a girl in one of my classes in fourth grade write a capital letter ‘E’. Up until that point, I had written it using one vertical line and then tacking on three horizontal lines one by one. But this girl (S/O to Emily Yuill) wrote hers as if it were a backwards three. I suppose this is also the cursive way to write it, but at that moment it seemed so fluid – one motion, smooth and unique. I decided I liked it, and I’ve written my E’s that way ever since.

Although that’s the earliest example I have, I can remember adapting all sorts of things – especially when it comes to ways of speaking and certain phrases. It’s been very helpful when I’m in a new environment to sound as alike to others as possible. I’ve become rather good at mimicking cadences of speaking and picking up common phrases in certain circles whether it’s a foreign country or a work environment. While this is helpful in my day to day life, I end up sounding quite strange when I’m speaking in a casually since my style has now become an amalgamation of many.

This also might be the reason I am obsessed with the daily routines of pretty much anyone. Those morning routine videos on youtube are like crack to me (a close second are packing videos). I am constantly searching for little tiny things that I think are more efficient or more helpful that I can add to my life. And it’s worked quite well for me, pretty much everything from my morning routine, speaking style, travel habits, and work behavior is a collection of tiny things I’ve noticed on others, adapted to myself.

I suppose this systematic collection of behaviors is basically what growing up is, but I’ve always been pretty aware of it. As soon as I see something I like, I immediately switch over to it to try it out. Not everything works though. For example, cold morning showers – HELL NO. I’ve tried a lot of things, sometimes too many things at once, and now I’ve amassed a whole swath of habits that I can trace back to a specific person, article, or video I’ve encountered.

This cultivation of activity is something that I’ve realized I love doing. I love looking for things that improve my life and recognizing them in others. Are there any behaviors you’ve adapted over the years? Think about it for a quick sec and see what things you do now that may have been appropriated from friends or family. You’d be surprised what you’ve collected.

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PC: Kiki Moussetis

Forgotten Talents

On Saturday I had the enormous pleasure of seeing the Calgary Philharmonic play the score to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Apart from my Harry Potter obsession, I realized I hadn’t been to the orchestra in a few years and I MISS IT. Not only do I miss watching the orchestra, I miss being a part of one. A little backstory here, I played viola as part of an orchestra for a little over a decade. And I was GOOD. Not great, but good enough to play in one of the most advanced orchestras my school had to offer. Unfortunately, I haven’t played much since high school and realizing that actually made me sad.

Back in high school, I had two “things,” if you will. Number one was swimming. I spent five hours everyday training and had at least one meet every week. Number two was orchestra. Being in the advanced orchestra meant I gave up at least half my lunch in addition to a normal school period for rehearsals. And of course, I practiced on my own in order to keep up. In between all that, I had my classes, and that’s how I went through school.

At the time, it was a lot. Training for swimming was exhausting and getting good at an instrument is an exercise in repetition that drove me nuts. But when I went to university, I stopped both of these activities cold. I told myself I wanted to focus on other pursuits like study abroad and internships and that since I didn’t want to become an Olympian or a professional musician it didn’t matter.

And it didn’t. I was perfectly happy swimming at my own pace for an hour workout rather than a 5 hour one and playing whatever struck my fancy on my viola rather than repeating the same four measure section over and over to wring it to absolute perfection. But after awhile, it did matter.

I hadn’t just done those activities in passing, they had been huge parts of my life for over a decade. I was really good at both of them, I had spent countless hours getting better, learning, improving, and then I just gave them up. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’d change my decisions. I’m pretty happy with the trajectory my life took, but I do wish I had made an effort to include them at a bare minimum.

I miss competing at meets, I loved the adrenaline, I miss the feeling of winning,  and I miss cheering on my teammates.

I miss being part of an orchestra, creating a sound so big it fills the whole room. I miss joking with my stand partner, and honestly, I just miss playing.

I’ve replaced these things in my life now – I took up new sports, and now I write as a creative outlet rather than play music. But I miss my old commitments. I was glad to be rid of them when they were overwhelming, but nostalgia has come to haunt me and I think it’s about time I start swimming some laps and playing some music again.

Are there any talents you stopped, whether because of a life change or because they were too exhausting? Did you ever pick them back up? Let me know in the comments!

 

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I hope she doesn’t hate me for posting this throwback, but this was taken behind the scenes of one of my favorite concerts ❤

 

Stress Fest

I had some enlightened political post planned for today, but instead, I decided it was high time I got a little bit vulnerable with this blog.

The last few weeks I have been under incredible pressure. I have been ridiculously stressed before, but not since university, and even then I handled it in questionable ways.

To set the scene: I have been travelling for the last 6 weeks nonstop. I rolled on to a difficult to please client, with tons of time-sensitive work, and I fly out every Monday morning to see them and fly back late at night on Thursday evenings. When I return home, I feel like I’m being pulled in a million different directions between spending time with my boyfriend, my family, my friends, and my own personal hobbies like this blog.

Usually, I think of myself as pretty collected. The last few weeks…not so much. The tiniest comment from someone can send me into a full-blown depression spiral (suicidal thoughts, and all), and my anxiety levels are so through the roof that I’ve had a sobbing breakdown almost every Saturday for five weeks straight. We are talking on the floor of the bathroom ugly crying until I can barely breathe and my face is so puffy it looks like I had an allergic reaction to something. So you could say I’ve been rather high strung lately and it has not been pretty (it should be noted that my boyfriend has been extra great these past few weeks and deserves a shoutout).

Believe it or not though, I am actually handling the added stress much better than I have in the past and that’s because of one simple thing: I have not given up on my wellbeing.

In the past, when I’m under this much stress, my diet goes to shit (like gummy bears for dinner), my sleep takes a hit from staying up late trying to distract myself with shitty TV, and my workout schedule becomes just another chore. Although these behaviors felt like they were helping in the moment, ultimately they bit me in the ass HARD. My skin broke out, I was tired all the time, and I felt out of control.

Clearly, I’m no expert but my ONE tip on handling stress is to keep your wellbeing a priority. It is the one thing you can always control and the one thing that may just keep you sane as all the external craziness washes over you. Below, I’ve outlined what I do every single day to mitigate my stress and promote wellbeing. Not all of these will sound appealing to everyone, and maybe they don’t’ even apply to some of you. Everyone has their ‘things’ that help them feel healthy, whole, and in control. As long as you know what yours are and you make the effort to practice them no matter what, then you can’t really go wrong.

  1. You knew this was coming – I workout. 6 days a week, I make an effort to do something active. During the week, these are especially helpful because it helps me expel any negative energy that comes from a stressful day with the client. On Fridays and Saturdays, it is simply about feeling good about my body.
  2. Diet. This one has been harder to control lately as I’ve been travelling so much, but I’ve made a special effort to eat better while on the road. Eating lots of heavy, rich foods just makes me feel tired and slow. I notice a visible difference when I eat lighter, more nutrition dense meals for lunch and dinner. I also limit my desserts as those are usually my kryptonite.
  3. Meditation. This one is a new thing I’ve been doing since the start of 2018. I take ten minutes every day to go through a meditation exercise to regulate my breathing and practice controlling my perception of certain emotions. I use the Headspace app since I’m not practiced enough to guide myself through a meditation and the app has this calming male British voice to walk me through exercises which makes it much easier.
  4. Self Improvement – This takes many forms, but for me, I spend ten to fifteen minutes every single day practicing either my Greek or my Spanish (unfortunately Mandarin is getting left out because Duolingo doesn’t carry it). I also spend a half hour to an hour every day reading or writing. These are things that I’m doing for my own personal growth and that feel especially rewarding because I am doing them solely for my own improvement, not for anyone else.

It’s important to note that while these things help enormously in terms of keeping me feeling like I’m in control, I am still reduced to an insecure pile of tears every Saturday so there is still work to be done. And it’s also significant to note that it’s ok to be overwhelmed sometimes. It’s going to happen. The important thing is that you have an action plan to get on top and get going again.

 

 

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Me trying to channel Wonder Woman to cope with my stress PC: Kiki Moussetis (the queen of stress)

 

She’s the Brave One

It’s my sister’s birthday today! I’m sad I can’t be in Chicago to celebrate with her but it’s a Wednesday and we both have lives to live so we celebrated a little bit early. She turns twenty this year which means nothing so I’ve started planning for her twenty-first instead.

In any case, I had to, of course, write a little shout out post to her. I’ve written about my sister and my relationship with her a couple times before, and she’s even been a guest author on my blog so I’ll spare you all the repeats of content and focus in on one of my favorite things about her.

For those of you that don’t know, my sister suffers from a bit of social anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Sounds like a horrible combination to me, but she bears it like a champ for the most part. The crazy thing is that despite all of those emotional blocks, she is fearless.

First things first, she is studying to become a film director. Most parents I know would have a minor heart attack if their kid wanted to go into film because it’s just not a dependable career (this includes my dad who pleaded repeatedly with her to get a second major at first). Consequently, many kids would be talked out of such a path early on and go on to major in something boring to get a boring job that brings in good money (enter, me).

Not her though, she saw the special features on the Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, and said yep, this is the life for me. I’ve always been jealous of people who know exactly what they want to do, but she not only knows, she knows she has chosen a path that is very difficult to succeed on. She knows that to become a star director, there will be a lot of shitty jobs, long day, and bad pay. Or you know, she might submit a film to Sundance next year and become a breakout star at 21. It could happen.

She also never backs down. Ever.

Let’s compare us for a small moment. I have a pretty strong moral code. There are certain things that I just will not let fly and I will call people out on for the most part. However, I do have a threshold where I will flex my morals for my own personal gain. My sister does not. At least not one that I’ve seen. She will defend her views and others with every breath she’s got and no amount of personal gain could make her budge on that.

Her empathy for others is tied to directly to this moral code since she strongly believes that everyone should have equal opportunity and that people with more should help people with less. One of her common habits is eating lunch out in between classes, but if she passes someone on the street begging for food, you can bet she just gave her whole, recently purchased, lunch to that person and would go hungry that day instead. Most people I know would never do that. (Maybe I’m just friends with selfish people haha).

Furthermore, while she sometimes has trouble standing up for herself depending on the scenario, she almost never has trouble standing up for others. She refuses to let people be judged based on their demographics and will absolutely not stand for discrimination. So help anyone who tries to patronize or marginalize a group in conversation. She will RUIN you.

But in the end, it’s not about her witty insults or fiery conversation, it’s about the fact that she is willing to go to the ends of the earth to achieve what she believes in. Doesn’t matter if it’s her passion for film or her passion for others. Most people are like me, we compromise our ideals if there is something in it for us. We obviously have our limits, but we are much quicker to give up abstract beliefs when there is a reward. My sister is not. She will not flex, bend, or break.

There are tons of things I love about my sister – She can always be counted on to sing showtunes with me, she can calm me down literally within seconds, she’s the best writing teacher I’ve ever had, the best debate partner, she has fearless style – and so on. Of course, she also has flaws, but lacking conviction is not one of them and that is perhaps my favorite thing about her.

Happy birthday Kiki! I’m stocking up on sangria for next year!

 

kikisbday2

PC: Our loving mother