the process of becoming

a blog for twenty-somethings trying to navigate the world and follow your dreams


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I’m not going to apologize for being “crazy”

This post is for the woman.

The woman who was brought up to be guarded, dare I even mention the word “submissive,” and proper.

The woman who felt then—and still does—SO. MANY. EMOTIONS. Who just wanted to be heard, noticed, appreciated. Acknowledged that having those emotions was, and is, perfectly okay. Whether that’s being really really happy, a little (or lot) depressed, or just plain moody.

Whether you were raised in the church to always “guard your heart,” whether your parents or relatives were good at discipline and children had to be “seen not heard,” or whether there was a boy who just couldn’t “handle” your tears, I’m here to tell you not to change.

I’m not going to apologize for being emotional, for feeling everything, for “being crazy.” And neither should you.

You are either 1) not crazy, so stop thinking/saying/feeling that you are, or 2) that “crazy” is the beautiful hot mess that is you—goofiness, wonder, passion, interests—all bursting out during moments of energy. I love it. Keep it up, okay?!

I had a rough time in high school where I couldn’t decide whether sharing my emotions was going to turn people off from being my friend. I was moody, dark, somewhat depressed, and I wore black a LOT (long live the band T-shirts). I knew that I had a lot of empathy for basically everything under the sun, but I didn’t know about anxiety disorders back then or the chemical cause of depression. I thought having a boyfriend meant that he’d take you as you are, emotions and crying episodes and all. I didn’t know how not to feel.

And I remember feeling inadequate when I was rejected for showing my feelings. For being “crazy.”

And then, halfway through college, I realized that I didn’t need to apologize anymore.

I don’t need to apologize to my now husband for bursting into tears unexpectedly. I don’t need to apologize to the world for not feeling well enough to venture into another crowd. For being too anxious to pick up the phone. For feeling depressed.

Men, this doesn’t just apply to women, obviously.

I’m simply referring to the generations before us who taught us that women “shouldn’t” you-fill-in-the-blank.

I’ve slowly and gradually learned that there’s only so much you can do to “self-improve.” Find where that stops and celebrate who you actually are.

There’s no stopping my emotion train, but there is therapy or medication for anxiety disorders for those who need them. And then there’s just really emotional people, and sensitive people, and artsy people. And poets. (I could go on)

And I am so so blessed to have a husband who recognizes me and my emotions for who we are and lets me be me. I’ve stopped apologizing and spent more time bursting into laughter over emotional breakdowns now.

Women, stop being sorry. You are beautiful for all the neurons and brainwaves and things you feel. KEEP FEELING THEM. Don’t apologize.


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i am a [somewhat] successful adult!

According to Thought Catalog (which I should in fact be writing for, but hey, applications), I am very much a (somewhat) successful adult! Read this post to find out what I’m talking about: 17 Ways To Find Out if You’re Somewhat Successful at Being an Adult.

I would like to add a few of my own, as I think we 20-somethings can really relate to these things.

1. You actually check your bank account every so often. Even if you, you know, cringe and cry a little each time. Or panic when you can’t remember making certain purchases… like a tank of GAS. (Hey, prices are good right now!)

2. You own (and use) a checkbook. Even if it’s just for rent.

3. You make your loan payments and pay your bills on time (usually). Or you just set everything you can to automatic online payments and rarely check your emailed statements because you don’t actually want to know your electric bill for the month.

(Notice a theme here?)

4. You actually go to the library, like, not for school research. And you use it well. And usually return your books on time. But when you don’t, you never pay those fees because you don’t want to dig change out and stand in shame in front of the librarian.

5. You don’t half-ass brushing your teeth most of the time. YOU CAN DO THE TWO MINUTES, I DARE YOU.

DISNEY6. You are able to go to Magic Kingdom as a responsible, indifferent adult and of course you do not take 20+ photos of the castle from every angle. Just kidding, that’s a lie. You take crazy selfies because you are ELATED to be there and not ashamed.

Yep. Anyone relate? Can you add some things to the list? (Humor not required)


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7 best friends for fighting cold symptoms

honey-and-cinnamonLet’s face it. Everyone gets sick. Especially with those pesky cold symptoms, even if you got the flu shot this year.

When my husband told me he had a sore throat last Monday, after just having kissed me no less, I knew my time had come again. With the end of winter hopefully upon us, these may not be as applicable to you now. But keep these ideas in mind for the next time you get the sniffles. They certainly helped me this weekend! I cut my cold symptoms short by more than half their usual endurance.

I used to have a terrible immune system and get sick about once a month with symptoms continuing for sometimes weeks. Last year was bad as well. But this year I vowed to find something new. And I think they work. I’m already completely better!

Here are my secrets. No science, just what I’ve found to work for me. Hopefully these 5 things will be your best friends when you’re sick as well.

Note: These are not medications! We all know NyQuil is heaven for some people. But for some, like me, maybe you find that the medications don’t do a thing, and you’d rather try non-medicinal ways to get healthier. Start here:

1. Extra vitamin C. 

As soon as you experience that first symptom — the one that makes you go “oh no, here it comes” — take an extra dose of Vitamin C, either by eating lots of oranges, a vitamin pill, or an Emergen-C packet for your water. I take 1,000mg a day with lots of water when I’m experiencing cold symptoms. The nice thing is, if you don’t use it, you don’t need to worry about it building up in your body.

2. Lots of water. 

This is a must for everyday life, of course, but given that we 20-somethings don’t usually drink our recommended amount a day, it’s especially important for when we’re under the weather. Even if you’re running to the bathroom more often than you prefer, this is helping to keep your body hydrated and happy.

3. A humidifier. 

I didn’t use mine this time, but last year when I had a bad cough and felt really dry, I found that my humidifier was my life saver. Also, I’ve never tried it but Vicks makes products you can put in their humidifier to help relieve congestion (I’d love to know if it works!). Just don’t shut the bedroom door or leave it on too long.

4. Naps. 

Sleep may be hard to come by when you’re sick, but naps are a different story. My prime time was in the mid-afternoon in the bright sun while trying to read a book. Napping until there’s hot chicken noodle soup waiting for you? Dream come true. I hope you get that lucky, too. But either way, I feel so much better when I let myself fall asleep and leave fighting the symptoms up to my body.

5. Honey and cinnamon. 

I’m going to swear by this one! I read about it from multiple resources, and the honey I use is raw, so there’s really no harm in it besides the extra sugar. This has worked for me twice — and is what has cut my symptoms in half both times. Just eat plain or mix in hot water 1 tablespoon of raw honey (regular from the store is fine too) with 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon (which is a lot!). It takes some getting used to, but I do this once or twice a day depending on how I’m feeling for the duration of my cold symptoms.

I mean, what can it hurt to try it? (Seriously, just Google this, I’m not kidding).

6. Smoothies. 

Eating well can be hard when you either have no appetite nor the strength to make anything. If you’re sick of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup, try making a smoothie (if you can). Throw in any carrots, spinach, celery, or other antioxidant-rich veggies you’re willing to risk juicing and then add fruit (oranges are best!) and whatever else to make it taste good. I know that I feel better when I’m eating well while sick.

7. Netflix. 

What more can I say? Reading may be hard, finding friends willing to endure your nose-blowing impossible, but our good friend Netflix will never leave you. Marathon on, my friends! When you’re not napping, use the time to get caught up on all your shows.


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you don’t need to achieve everything before 25

With my recent birthday – 23 – the age where I could no longer deny my post-college age and lifestyle, I have been thinking a lot about the way I function through my age. We 20-somethings deal with so much social pressure to be the best we can be right now without realizing the age we actually are.

Now, I agree with being your best (you should always be your best), but maybe we should define what “best” means for you. Maybe that means being the best at the age and place you are – excelling at your current job, building your experience, and meeting people.

For me, it means doing a little something towards my future every day, even if that just means going to work to earn my paycheck. Recently I’ve been getting down over not blogging every day, not working on my poetry/creative work, not “doing” anything to make myself the 20-something I want to be soon, career-wise.

What is this sense of urgency that drives me to feel this way? I don’t need to achieve everything before I’m 25 (or 27, or 30)!

I find myself becoming self-conscious when I see someone’s resume with tons of internship experience, or a literary agent’s assistant with all of his or her credentials, or a published article written by someone who has so many more. I think I want to be like them! Why am I not there yet!? 

But when I think about my actual life, I remember that I’m only newly-23. They probably are not, and if they are, good for them!

I’m only one year out of college – a year spent getting to know the special needs and health care community, a year spent getting to understand their behaviors, thoughts, and actions, a year spent figuring out what direction I want to go besides to be an advocate for them, and a year spent forming my marriage to my husband (don’t laugh at me, but since I’ve always treated marriage as the beginning and not the “end life goal,” I act like it’s no big deal that I got married. It is. And I shouldn’t take it – or the fact that it took a lot of work/time/energy to get here – for granted).

We are told the lie that we have to be achieving things now to be getting to where we want. But the fact is that these things take time. 

Have you made a LinkedIn profile? Edited your resume on InDesign? Written cover letter after cover letter, editing and making sure that everything looks perfect? Given yourself a well-earned episode of Friends after submitting your application, resume, and cover letter because you just spent all your energy on that one job application?

Well, I have. And even if you get that dreaded rejection email/phone call, know that your time was still well spent.

You don’t need to write a novel, publish a million articles or poems or creative work, or land a starter position at your dream company before you turn 25 (or 30). If you’re a 20-something like me, relax and keep at it. If I do achieve things in the next 2 years, I hope it’s something I can be proud of rather than something rushed or that caused anxiety, too much stress, or made me forget my other priorities in life.

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(Credit: Buzzfeed. Quote: New Girl)

What other priorities? Exploring my fabulous city, spending time with my husband and close friends, reading great books, trying the best food at recommended restaurants, and keeping up with pop culture, world news, and the best new music.

I’m learning how to be content with 23, with slowly working my way up in the world while also enjoying my life. Are you?

Can you relate to wanting to “do all the things” before you reach a certain age? What are your priorities that you don’t want to let achieving your career overshadow? 


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6 birthday things that 20-somethings can get away with

As told by the girl turning 23 tomorrow. I decided to do a little experiment: to see if I fit this list.

1. All the freebies.

I’ve decided that, since I’m still young and free and broke, I deserve all the birthday freebies (OK, maybe not all). But a few. So I actually found Minnesota-specific lists (lovely blog posts or articles) that include all the email sign-ups and places to show up that will give you some sort of freebie on your birthday. Problem is… gas money getting there. And all. The. Emails. Worth it? We’ll see! (My new personal mission is to find out).

First stop? ….Perkins for breakfast?

2. Having a party.  

I opted out of this one this year because I hate planning parties (although it sounds like there might be one anyway). But if anyone can get away with planning their own birthday party still, it’s an early 20-something. Because, let’s face it, after 24 or so you don’t feel like celebrating the fact that you are getting older (or at least that’s what they tell me). As your twenties advance, the celebration becomes more of a “friends, let’s go get drinks/dinner and toast once.” Or drink wine and watch Netflix with your cat.

3. Drinking. 

…or can you? I’m not really one to talk since I starting consuming a lot later and a lot less than most, but I’ve heard from others that it gets a lot harder to party hard the older you get. So, uh, make wise choices! Which include not staying in bed all the day after with a hangover (I won’t be!).

4. Getting gifts/cards.

I stopped expecting gifts long ago, but it’s nice when family members or close friends take the time to give a card rather than just a Facebook message! But this might not be something that will last forever (or at least not in the same form, as in free food/Tupperware leftovers).

5. Taking a day off.

Obviously not everyone can do this, but for those of you who have part-time jobs and have flexibility on your schedule? Make your birthday a holiday and celebrate however you want! With, of course, some productivity included (like laundry, maybe? Or bills… On second thought, maybe not).

6. Relaxing and not worrying.

Hey, you’re still in your twenties! Stop worrying about getting older and just get out and live.


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why I’m not seeing Fifty Shades of Grey

nope 2Valentine’s Day is at the end of next week, and with it, ironically if you ask me, the movie release of talked-about book Fifty Shades of Grey. 

I am going to tell you why I won’t be going to see that movie, and it’s more than just “I’m poor,” “I have better things to do,” or “Jamie Dornan isn’t hot” (because we all know that’s not true). 

It’s funny it’s coming out on Valentine’s Day because this isn’t a romantic, intimate movie about love. It’s a movie about a twisted view of sex and abuse. And that is not okay for many reasons.

Last Thursday, I watched a Today show bit where Hoda and Kathie Lee interviewed elusive British author E. L. James on how she started writing the novel. They praised her because she wrote it during a mid-life crisis. It was also originally Twilight fan fiction that she self-published before it got discovered. A few reasons why I probably wouldn’t like it either way.

I remember when the book first came out. I was working as a cashier at a very busy Super Target, and I could have sworn 80% of women between the ages of 20 and 40 were purchasing this book. I had no idea what it was about, so naturally I turned to the internet and Wikipedia, where I found the book described as “mommy porn” and was horrified to read this sentence: “[Fifty Shades] is notable for its explicitly erotic scenes featuring elements of sexual practices involving bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadism/masochism (BDSM)” (Wikipedia).

Slow. Down. Think about this for yourself.

Religious convictions aside, is that really something you want to and should be reading, supporting, and now watching? 

No it is not. Erotic fiction sounds and is nothing short of a form of pornography. It may be “different than porn,” and it may be what many women are tempted by because we are generally emotional/intimate beings rather than visual like men. But there’s no justifying it. Despite what the world may say, erotica and porn are harmful. They are harmful to yourself and they are especially harmful to relationships and marriages. And they are harmful to many, many others, BDSM aside!

I am aware that everyone believes different things about sexuality and sex itself. I am aware that I have not made this exclusively a Christian blog or blog for primarily believers. But regardless of my faith and biblical beliefs, I find it disturbing that our culture has accepted and praised this book so readily. And it honestly makes me wary of the future because this will inevitably spark more novels, books, and media about BDSM and other erotic fiction to be embraced widely.

Seems a little bit like our culture can’t make up it’s mind. Do we want to empower, or do we want to abuse? Each gets to decide.

As a feminist, I am not okay with this. As a believer, I am not okay with this. As a woman, I am not okay with this, with the plot, only about “a cold and sadistic millionaire and his seduction of a young, innocent girl into a world of sadomasochistic sex” (from Fight the New Drug’s article on why it’s wrong). I’m not going to get into more of the book, but you get the picture.

I simply want to say that I will not be supporting Fifty Shades, ever, and I want everyone, especially around my age, to be aware of the harm erotica causes. I am passionate about sexual issues like how porn is harmful to men and relationships, bringing awareness about sexual abuse (towards women and men), and ending sexual slavery. Abuse is a real thing, and BSDM is never okay and only fosters abuse down the road! This erotica only feeds sex industries and these problems, and I want no part of that.

Can’t we see how this all is related? Be aware of the small decisions you are making that are part of a bigger, more sinister purpose.

I don’t want to offend those of you who have read it, nor am I judging you and trying to make you feel bad. I just want everyone to think about this and not just be okay with it because our culture suddenly tells us we should.

I could back up much of what I’m saying with research, links, and studies, but many other bloggers are writing about this currently who know more about why this is emotionally, psychologically, and relationally harmful to you. Everyone has a different view on why the movie/book is harmful, and everyone is saying their opinion well.

I’m glad people are talking about this, because honestly the Church needs to be more vocal about issues like this and helping those who have already been affected by it.

Please think about those who are harmed by erotica/abuse before you think about seeing this movie.

See these recommended-by-me links for more information on bringing awareness to the harm of Fifty Shades, told by several different perspectives:

Five Things Fifty Shades of Grey Teaches About Sex

I’m Not Reading Fifty Shades of Grey

Think, Discern, and Wisely Consider

A Black and White Choice Not to Read Fifty Shades of Grey (7 Reasons Not to Read Fifty Shades)

50 Shades is Bad for Your Marriage (mainly for women)


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8 ideas for the overwhelmed post-graduate

Intelligent-Husky-Graduates-College-Still-Doesnt-Know-What-To-Do-With-His-DegreesFinishing undergraduate college can be a truly overwhelming experience. Suddenly you’re on your own. No dorms, cafeteria food and dining funds, professors giving you advice, and learning simply put in front of you. Everything takes effort and intentional work now – including earning money based upon your degree.

I can personally attest to feeling adrift and lost for the whole year after I graduated in December 2013. My story may be different from yours since my brain has dealt with depression since high school, but the post-university blues are a real and documented thing.

I went back to one of my college part-time jobs after graduation to “take a break” from the stress of senior semester (for example, I couldn’t read a single book or learn anything academic). Soon after, I felt stuck, stressed, and lost. I knew I needed more internship experience, but I needed money to pay for my wedding and didn’t have time besides. I didn’t even know how to look for jobs in my field, and worst yet, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I’m still figuring it all out!

Most importantly, I know I am not alone. For more information on on awareness of college graduates and depression, read these articles from The Guardian, The Independent, and the National Institute of Mental Health.

Take a deep breath and remember that you’re not the only one. Here are some ideas to keep in mind and do as you go through this time.

1. Renew your perspective. 

Going through college gives you expectations that may be actually unrealistic! You’re only in your twenties. Talk to people. Many of them didn’t get a job they loved (or in their field, etc.) until they were much older and much further out of college. Try to view your life from another person’s shoes, and you may be surprised to see how blessed you still are. And don’t forget to admire your degree a little!

2. Re-think your expectations. 

Like I stated above, our college minds are taught about the “real world” in terms of expectations for us. In turn, we develop ideas. When we don’t meet those ideas, we may not have made a Plan B and thus fall into negative thinking. Making smaller goals (like making a list of places to apply or attending a resume workshop) can be an easy first step in heading in a more realistic direction. Then you can realistically expect to be in your field, say, five years from now. Don’t go overboard too soon!

3. Narrow down your strengths (and weaknesses). 

Unsure of what you want to do? Write down your interests and then separate the hobbies from the things you could do as a career (this benefited me greatly!). Research your field and find out what you may be a perfect fit for. Write down your strengths for interviews, and also decide on what your weaknesses are should you need to work on those (public speaking, interviewing well, etc). College was spent learning about so many subjects that you may have skipped learning about yourself professionally.

4. Find out how to prepare. 

Maybe you were that student who listened to your college’s career center and practiced interviewing, resume-writing, and job searching, but I wasn’t. I barely had time for homework much less preparing for what I would do afterward. If you feel “stuck” in your current job situation, go back to your strengths and weaknesses and figure out what you could work on. Research actual jobs in your field, ask questions, and do the small things that are helping you become more learned in the area of the real world rather than maybe what you studied. Sometimes this is the best thing you can do while you wait for that call back or interview.

5. Don’t be afraid to try new things. 

Yes, we’re all taught that we should use the degree we got all those student loans for. But honestly, maybe you decided on that major as a junior or senior in high school and were too afraid or far along in college to explore other options (also known as me). Perhaps you want to deviate a little because you found an amazing organization or a line of work you never knew existed. Explore! Take a class now and then if something interests you. Volunteer one night a week or month. Or maybe you might find you love being an Esty-shop owner, barista, or waiter/waitress – that’s perfectly okay! More job experience is more life experience, and all these things can make you well-rounded and wiser.

6. Explore your world. 

As an autobiographical writer, I know I’m probably not going to get something big published while I’m young. It just makes sense that I would need to live a little longer and more. For that reason, I know it is important for me to travel and discover new places, and what’s great for my budget is that they might be just down the road. If you can’t afford to fly somewhere, read your state’s magazine and discover all the gems the locals talk about (Minnesota Monthly and Mpls St. Paul Magazine are my favorites for Minnesotans). If it’s not intimidating, meet new people around you and learn their story. In a small way you are broadening your perspective and becoming more learned in the ways of the world. Don’t underestimate your life and experiences.

7. Enjoy your friends and family. 

It’s true – you may not have the same community of professors and students you had at college. But now that you don’t have the same “busy with finals” excuse, you can use an allotted time each week to reconnect with friends and family you don’t want to lose touch with. Isolation is the worst for depression (as tempting as it is, I would not recommend binge-watching Netflix, at least not for months at a time). Talking to people and being encouraged by them is one of the healthiest things you can do.

8. Get help if you need it. 

Lastly, seek professional help if your depression simply isn’t letting up. It’s nothing to be ashamed of by any means, but it can be hard to find someone without the free services of college right there. Though your college’s counseling center isn’t able to directly help you, they’re usually more than willing to give you a list of services in your area. If that’s not up your alley, then seek out a mentor through your church or perhaps a past professor who would be willing to listen and encourage you.

Are you or did you battle with the post-graduate blues? What are your ideas for battling depression and feeling lost in the job-searching world?