Goodbye to my Clementine.

All images are from the absolutely amazing Barely Functional Adult Instagram account. Please take a peek at her scarily relatable drawings.

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The worst part is the waiting. Patience is a virtue they say.

When you’ve loved someone so passionately for so long, you don’t want to wait to stop loving them anymore. You want it over immediately; to erase their memory and their touch and their smell from your mind just like in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Except you know that unlike Joel, you will not want to keep your memories of your Clementine at the end of the movie.

When you’ve loved someone so passionately for so long and you’re not allowed to love them the same way anymore, you want them gone. They’ve morphed from the most important person in your life to a virus that can’t die from your memory.

There is no emotionally healing antibiotic that will work on a virus. The only thing you can do is take it easy and wait even though you don’t want to.

Every day, as the sun comes up and your alarm goes off, you wake up feeling heavy and hurting like someone ripped out your heart. They should be next to me right now. You get up and roll over the side of the bed that used to be their side; you no longer have to spider crawl over a beautifully sleeping body in the morning. You brush your teeth and think of them. You get dressed and think of their new girlfriend. You grab your coffee and your keys and your coat and do not think of anything. For one brief and wonderful minute, your mind is quiet. You start your commute to work and the virus attacks and you replay your last conversation with them over and over and over until you walk in the door to your 8 to 5.

The virus, with its memories and pain, forces you to an emotional ledge and if you let your shield down for even a quick second, you fall over and everything spills out; the tears, the pain, the agony of loss and loneliness; it comes and you cannot stop it.

So you collect yourself and clean up your face and head home. And while washing yesterday’s dishes that you were too lazy to wash the night before you’re hit again. You think of their voice and their habits. How when you would come home from work they would be asleep on the couch with the dog. How it felt when you would lift up the fleece blanket, move your body next to theirs, and then feel the weight of their arm around your waist as you both took a quick nap. They should be asleep on the couch right now, but they’re not here. Why are they not here? Instead of crying like you should you tell yourself how stupid you are being; how they’re gone and they don’t want you. You picture what you think their new life must be like with their beautiful new girlfriend in their beautiful new apartment in a new city a thousand miles away; their new life that you have not touched. While their fingerprints are all over every space of your life now.

You brush your teeth, wash your face, peel off the shirt that you’ve blown your nose into all night long and you crawl into bed where the only temporary medicine you can find is sleep; and you repeat.

Every day for months upon months you repeat this cycle. Every bus ride home you tell yourself that they are gone and they are not coming back and you beg for someone to be able to erase your memories of this person because it all hurts. It hurts. You wouldn’t be stupid like Joel Barish. You don’t want to remember the way your Clementine felt. You just want it all gone. Except that’s not real life and no one can erase your memories one by one.

So you wait. You heal yourself with affirmations and friends. You replenish your confidence by dancing in front of your mirror and compliments given to you by strangers, co-workers, and friends. You finally start remembering the bad memories and not just the good ones and you recognize that all of this is okay and that you will survive. Until….

Until the day that you can finally consider yourself off of bed rest. The virus is gone and in its place, there is a new you. You no longer feel heavy like someone is trying to drown you from inside your own body.

Every day,  as the sun comes up and your alarm goes off, you wake up and you can finally breathe again. You brush your teeth and think of yourself. You get dressed and imagine yourself setting a cup of coffee down next to someone new. You grab your coffee and your keys and your coat and open the door to a crisp November morning. When you look them up online you’re no longer checking to see if they miss you, you’re checking to make sure that they’re okay too. The city you live in is no longer “Our City” but rather “Your Home”. Every restaurant and bar downtown no longer contain the poltergeists of past memories shared with your Clementine. When you finally feel brave enough to go to your favorite bar again, your mind no longer dredges up the memory of that one time you came here and he ordered a Manhattan because he likes good whiskey and you ordered a French 75 because you don’t and he was wearing……

Instead, you can finally be present in your life and appreciate where you are which was right in front of you all along. Now that the virus has left, your mind is no longer trapped in the revolving door of your past.

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Instead of feeling agony when you think of your Clementine, you give the feelings attention and appreciate it all for what it is and give thanks for the pieces you’ve added to yourself; pieces that you picked up from them. The past year was dark and confusing and upsetting and now your emotional wounds have healed.  You finally understand and accept that you have been giving one person out of all the people in the World control over your well being, even if they don’t know it.

You’re finally happy and you survived and you will keep on surviving. When you’re 80 this moment in your life will not matter anymore and it will finally be just what it is which is a moment.  This is just a part of your life story, not your entire life story.BFA3

Your life did not begin with them and it will not end with them and that is okay because you are amazing and there is an entire world out there to see.

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A letter to the next one.

Dear Next One,

Where are you?

I wonder what you’re doing at a certain moment all the time during my day. Do you wonder what I’m doing? Who are you? I wonder that too. At this moment in time, I have no idea who you are. Are you someone I’m talking to now? Do I pass you every morning on the bus to work or at work or in the grocery store when I’m trying to find the one avocado that I think is ripe but actually isn’t?

Where are you?

I have daydreams about what you might look like but your shape shimmers and takes different forms based on what I’m feeling. Sometimes you’re tall with brown hair and some light scruff. Sometimes you have brown eyes and sometimes blue eyes but you always hold me the exact same way while laughing with me. Other days you’re my height and softer with curves and soft features. Other days your hair is long and brown and your lips are painted red. You have smaller wrists than I do but a kiss that knocks me off my feet and a nose that scrunches up when you laugh at something I say. Some days your shape is of a man and some days your shape is a woman.

Who are you?

Have we met before? Will I recognize you when I meet you or will we pass each other on the streets or in a bar or in a hallway and not know at first? Who will speak first, me or you? Probably me. I’m tired of waiting for the next one. I want you now. I want to roll over in the morning wrapped in my white sheets with you next to me. I want to wake up before you and bring you a cup of coffee in the morning that you drink while you rub the sleep out of your eyes and tell me that you love me. There are street corners that I want to stand on with your arms wrapped around me while we kiss under a street light when we’ve had a few too many drinks together. There are corn mazes and holidays and pictures to take that I want to experience with you.

Why are you not here yet? I miss you.

Dear Next One, I need you to know that I am impatient for you to get here or for me to get to you but that I have zero expectations about anything anymore. I don’t care how life turns out, I don’t know if you’re someone I’m talking to now who hasn’t arrived yet in the form of “The Next One”. I don’t have any expectations about who you are or what you are or how we meet or how we’ll end because I’ve used up all my expectations on The Last One.

The Last One left me as a shell of a human, self-conscious and dubious of strangers, but I’m working on me until I meet you. Would you like to get drinks? Can I send you my number now, Next One, and ask you to text me back? Until I meet you in an unexpected way I will bid my time talking to strangers and hoping that they are you. If they’re not then please don’t be mad at me for enjoying the company. I need someone to fill the spot that only you can have once you get here. I don’t have any expectations about you or me or how you will get here. Just guesses as I pass new strangers each day secretly hoping that one of them is you.

I want to love you and I want you to love me.

Dear Next One, I’m waiting for you. I’m here and I’m breathing and I think about you every morning during my bus ride to work as I cross the river and walk through campus to get to my job. I think about you when I’m brushing my teeth and when I’m allowing sleep to pull me under into a lull. If I think hard enough I can trick my mind into dreaming about you. That’s where we’re meeting now. I hope one day soon that we can meet in person on a street corner or in a coffee shop or even in a hallway where we’ve passed each other before.

I’m ready to meet you. Please find me.

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The weakness of men.

Tonight I decided to catch up on the new season of Outlander and in one episode, Claire Randall decides that her personal identity is rooted in medicine so she applies to Harvard medical school and is accepted. The scene cuts to her first day at school where her professor asks if she needs help to which Claire expresses that she is in the class.

Her professor’s response? Something along the lines of, “Oh right. They told me that there would be a woman and a negro in my class. How….modern.”

It was a moment in the show where I could visibly see the frustration on Claire’s face at her reception of her being an educated woman in 1960’s America. A woman who had spent x many years in the 1700’s of Scotland where she received more respect being a woman of knowledge.

It made me think about the reception of women throughout history. Granted, my experience is that of a white woman so my experience is quite a bit different from other women.

I remember watching a show, I can’t remember which, but in the show, a mother told her daughter that the man might be the head, but the woman was the neck and she could steer the head any direction she chose.

I don’t want to devalue men, but in my experience, I do see men as the weaker sex between the two (if you want to level down sexes to a binary number).  I could pull the argument of “Well women give birth. Could men handle the pain of pushing a watermelon out of their genitals?!” But I would rather tap into the fault of ego and sex to devalue the intellect of the male species.

Let me preface this by saying that I do not hate men. In fact, I quite enjoy them….physically.  But if I had to choose between a man and a woman when it came to knowledge, power, and drive; I would choose a woman. A woman has the power to drop me to my knees while a man has the power to make me laugh and roll my eyes at their request for me to drop to my knees.

As a woman, I throw at them the question of why. Why should I drop to my knees for you? What have you given me to earn this?

I can completely understand why men might feel victimized nowadays. The modern man has been raised by a generation of men who were on the edges of gender equality. The men in my age range have been raised by men whose mothers were just a tad more equal to their dads. The idea of being a man’s man was still drilled into their heads and God forbid you challenge that. Men have always been raised to be men. That quintessential definition of manhood….no tears, no emotion, always calm and collected, always the center of the household…because if they don’t have all of that are they really men according to history? You want to know the quickest way to test a man’s character? Intentionally challenge their ego and their definition of manhood.

And what about women? Where do we fit into this narrative?

I like my food to come with inspirational messages, whether that comes in the form of a fortune cookie, a tea bag, or a Dove chocolate. Once, my coworker left some chocolates on my desk and one had a message that read, “Don’t apologize.” I think the manufacturer left that up to interpretation, but my interpretation of that message meant “Don’t apologize for unnecessary situations. Take responsibility and stand strong.” The chocolate couldn’t fit all of that but that’s what I got out of it.

As a woman, I refuse to apologize to men. Maybe my ancestors dropped down to their knees to appease to the ego of men, but I refuse. I will not apologize for having opinions or a personality; for having questions and goals and dreams that rival the egos of my love interests. It’s not my problem if you cannot handle my willful nature.

If you are a man reading this, did you just put yourself in my statements and refuse to apologize to a woman? I doubt it because that’s not how you were raised.

In history, women and other oppressed people, have developed the ability to leverage their situation to their advantage. Throughout history, women have learned how to leverage their sexuality to their advantage. It’s not OUR fault that men are weak creatures easily seduced by the sight of a pair of boobs. We just learned that that allowed us to get what we wanted whether that’s freedom, money, power, or basic needs for survival. Throughout history, women have been slut-shamed for leveraging their sexuality to survive. To harken the message of my Dove chocolate, “Don’t apologize.”

Women should not apologize for using something that allows them the chance to survive. Only the weak insult the weak. We will not apologize to weak men for our sexuality. No sir.

It’s not our fault that you are too weak and therefore succumbed to the “natural urges” of your nature.

When you factor history into it, men have always been given the upper hand. Particularly white, upper-class, men. As a 21st century woman, I have been so lucky to have been raised by a single mother who explained to me that I do not need a man to live. Any man, or woman, who comes into my life is blessed to have me as their life partner. They are not necessary to my survival, they are a supportive role in my life.

Don’t apologize.

But to go back, white men have spent thousands of years with the upper hand in society. Why should those who have felt oppressed apologize for their oppression? When you walk downtown how many times do you hear a man saying sorry as he moves out of the way of another man? How many times do you hear another man apologizing for their shopping cart being in the way of another person’s shopping cart in the store or apologizing for being five feet away from someone while still thinking that they are blocking that other person’s path? In my experience never.

I am a woman. I will not apologize to anyone for being me because I did not choose this body. This body chose me. I did not choose my mom, I did not choose the color of my skin or my socioeconomic status. I did not choose my sexuality and I will not be devalued for using it to my advantage if I see fit.

Don’t fucking apologize.

I have been told that my boobs were too small and that they did not bounce. I have been told that I was not driven enough; that I was not physically attractive enough to be sexy; that I was too sexual and that it was intimidating. I have been told that I lacked social tactfulness and that I was not able to function on a level that was acceptable socially. I have been told that I was a bitch, a cunt, mean, and a whore.

I have been told all of these things by men who were love interests and I refuse to apologize for being me. I refuse to apologize for the things about myself that I had no say in and I refuse to apologize for the things about myself that I love which include my sexuality, my blunt honesty, and my small boobs.

It’s not my fault if another person lacks so much confidence in themselves that they feel like I am too much for their ego. That is not my problem and I refuse to apologize and I hope that you refuse too.

Don’t apologize for being you.

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Make love to yourself.

When I was 14 I made a deal to myself that I would graduate college by 22. Get engaged by 25. Complete a Master’s and be married by 26. And have my first kid by 27. To put this all in perspective I am currently two months exactly away from turning 25.

According to my 14-year-old life plan, I have two…TWO…two months to fall in love with someone, convince them to fall in love with me, and then convince them to propose to me. Please let’s all take a moment of silence to pay our respects to this highly unrealistic idea which has quietly passed into the afterlife.

Thank you.

The only way this would ever happen is if I somehow convinced the youngest daughter of King Triton to sign over her voice in exchange for a very unrealistic contract clause so that I can steal her true love only to die by being impaled with the mast of a ship. That’s never going to happen. Where the hell am I going to find a mermaid?

My fourteen-year-old self got a very necessary slap to the face with this one.

At almost 25 I’ve recognized the promises that I can actually keep to myself and the promises that I just have to laugh at.

Married by 26? Please let us all take a moment to express our feelings.

HA!

HA!?

I have cousins who have married before me and I’m older than them. Lord Jesus give me the strength to accept the ignorance of my younger self with humor. Please.

I can’t force someone to love me. I have too much empathy for others to be a psychopath capable of manipulating someone into loving me.

Here’s what I can control.

I did graduate college by 22. I will complete a Master’s by 27, not 26 but damn close enough. I will not be engaged by 25 or married by 26 and will most definitely not have my first child by 27 because my birth control is implanted in my arm and I have zero plans to remove that before 2019 when I’m…27.

Ohh heck no.

Hahahahaha.

Hahahahahahaha.

Sorry. I really needed to catch my breath there.

I’m two months away from 25 and I’ve learned 7 lessons in my very short life.

  1. When you’re trying to “work it out” with your ex, it’s never going to work. Please have more love and respect for yourself and give it up. You can be hopeful until the cows come home, but at some point, you have to accept that the cows bought a one-way ticket to Paris and they’re not coming home.
  2. Never shave the back of your head in an impulsive decision. It will take you two years to grow it out to the regular length of all your hair and you’ll regret it.
  3. Never accept your ex’s mattress, which used to be  “OUR” mattress just because you’re short on money. Every time you go to bed at night or bring someone home it will just remind you of that engagement that slipped by before you were 25.
  4. Buy a full-length mirror.
  5. Dig a pair of sweatpants out that make your ass look fantastic.
  6. Make a music playlist of disco songs that make you feel sexy.
  7. And make love to yourself in front of the fucking mirror.

Give up the notion that you are supposed to be engaged by 25, or married by 26, or have a child on your hip by 27. Get over the fact that kids from your high school have accomplished all of the goals that your 14-year-old self-made by the time they were 21. 

Take a minute to light a candle that smells sweet but woody at the same time. Light it and let it burn for a minute. Turn on some soft lighting. Put your sexy sweats on and your headphones in. Start your playlist and find a song that speaks to your soul in this particular moment. Sit on the floor with your legs crossed in front of a full-length mirror and sing to yourself.

Sing like you’re trying to impress someone sexy from across the room, but make eye contact with yourself.

Fall in love with you. Feel your own body. Touch it to the beat of The Emotions or Bruno Mars or Prince and keep eye contact for a whole song.

Realize that you don’t need someone else sitting on the bed that used to be “OUR” bed to feel sexy. Realize that you don’t need makeup or perfectly curled hair to be sexy and confident. Realize that anyone who is truly excited and thankful to be with you will be excited no matter what you’re wearing or how you look.

Don’t settle for less and don’t settle for pipedreams that you irresponsibly made to yourself at fourteen. Make love to yourself and develop high standards and respect because you deserve someone who can accept all of that.

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Depression is a beast.

If you’re more of a visual learner, please enjoy these comics relating to depression. Maybe it will help some people realize that the symptoms of depression are a part of a medical diagnosis that people can’t just “snap out of.”

I wanted to save what I’m about to pour out and use it as a climactic chapter in the book that I eventually want to write, but writing is one of the only healthy outlets for what I’m about to discuss and I can’t hold it in anymore. Drinking wine makes things worse.

My life was set up in a way that I went from adversity (being raised by a single mother in a low-income household) to a possible success story. To set this up (because these expectations will play into the story later) I was raised by a single mother for basically my entire life. Sometimes she worked two jobs and took night classes, other times she worked one job and, I have no idea how, but she managed to pay for me and my school clothes plus a place to live and transportation for me from school to the private practice where she was a CMA (Certified Medical Assitant). Only a few second and third cousins on my Dad’s side went to, or are going to, college. Some cousins on my Mom’s side through marriage have had alternate hiccups in life.

Basically, I have been dealing with the pressure that my family naturally assumes that I am the “successful one”, the “golden child”, and the cousin-granddaughter-daughter-niece that will turn out successful and normal.

I’m saying all of this because these expectations have a huge impact in what I’m about to explain.

Please, listen.

Depression. Anxiety. Mental health.

I don’t know what to call how I feel right now, but I can say with certainty that I feel like I am being suffocated or that I am drowning; not physically but mentally. If I were to fire off words or phrases that immediately come to mind they would be:

Overwhelmed

Alone

Dark

Suffocated

Drowning

Trapped

Isolated

Hopeless

Basically, I believe that I am depressed but I do not have a professional opinion. Before whoever is reading this fires off the alarm, I would like you to know that I have expressed how I feel with my roommates, my close friends here, and I have scheduled a mental health counseling session for next week. Just a disclaimer.

The reason why I am sharing this is that today I realized that I am coming to the end of my rope metaphorically. I can’t keep controlling my feelings and emotions from day to day because I mentally cannot anymore. In basic girl language, “I just can’t even.”

I’ve spent years doing what I thought was expected of me because I am supposed to be the one who turned out “normal and successful.” I say this because one of my fears is that by admitting that I may suffer from mental health issues, it means that I have ruined any family member’s expectations that I am perfect and the one who did things “right”. It’s a fear that echoes that deep down I am worried that by admitting I need help, it means that I am broken and just as fucked up as the rest of my family.

I’m sharing this because I want to fight the stigma that surrounds mental health and depression. I don’t want to contribute to it and I don’t want to fear it.

I’m not okay.

I don’t think that I have been “okay” for a while; as in since I was at least 15. A few months ago I found old notebooks that I had kept in a small memory box I like to stash under my bed. While flipping through I found poems and short entries that I had written almost ten years ago and those entries read as if I had written them today.

To me that signals that something is off in myself.

While talking to a now ex-boyfriend he stated that while we were together, and especially for the year that we lived together, he spent so much of his time and energy trying to pull me out of my sadness that it threw him into his own depression. Apparently, I spent so much of my time sleeping and being unenthused and uninterested that it really was a problem in our relationship.

I couldn’t see it and I definitely couldn’t fix it.

I remember last November and December as a dark pit. I would go into auto-pilot during the week and put my personal emotions in their own box with a lid that I never opened until the weekend. When I did let those emotions out they manifested themselves in intense exhaustion. My body hurt. It didn’t (and still does not) feel like the sharp pain of an intense hangover, instead, my joints ached and my bones just hurt. I wanted to throw up and my head felt hot. For two months I spent every weekend sleeping because no matter how hard I tried (and I did try by getting dressed and going down to my car) I couldn’t get myself up and moving. I just needed to sleep and lay down.

I realized lately how much it bothers me when people casually throw around the phrase, “I’m depressed.”

Example. “The Cleveland Indians lost the World Series and it makes me so depressed.” This, of course, is said with sarcasm in the inflection. What I mean by casually throwing the phrase around is when it’s used as a placeholder for “temporarily bummed.”

Now, again, I haven’t seen a specialist yet. I won’t until next Monday, but I do have a very strong instinct that I have not been, suffering from being temporarily bummed. I also do not want to paint myself as a victim in any way just for attention.

What I’ve been experiencing for a very long time can be described as a form of sadness that is so every day it becomes the new normal. I honestly cannot tell you what I would define normal as. I wake up every single day, and I have for longer than I can date, assumed that everyone else in the world feels disappointed to wake up alive and that everyone wakes up feeling like their world is falling apart even when it literally isn’t.

I’ve started to realize that the world isn’t falling apart, I am.

To me, depression can be described in the following metaphorical scenario.

Depression is a beast that pins you to your own sadness. A sadness that is so common and overwhelming that it becomes your own idea of what a “normal” life is supposed to be. You feel like you are suffocating or being drowned mentally but you can’t fight it anymore because you never will find the surface and you will never breathe again. Depression is a beast that is next to you when you wake up and it reminds you that you are disappointed to be alive. It showers with you, rides in the passenger seat in the car to work or school, and then follows you home at the end of the day where it eats you. When you’re at home, Depression can finally choke you again because you are vulnerable and you don’t have distractions to keep it away. The only way to survive day to day is to shut off the parts of your brain that are easily stimulated by events so that you don’t emit emotion.

In layman’s terms: To me, depression mentally suffocates you with sadness and darkness and you can never escape it so you start to believe that everyone else feels the same way. And then you realize that they don’t.

I don’t like when people casually throw around the phrase, “I’m so depressed” because that is a phrase that I am too scared to admit because I’m afraid that if I do share it, it means that I am broken. How I feel is not a joke or a casual statement or a meaningless phrase of sarcasm. How I feel is crippling and I want to cry and go home.

Writing that makes me cry.

I have been slowly starting to wonder if I do have what can be labeled as clinical depression and I am slowly starting to wonder if it can be fixed by medication. But again, if I share that then I fear that others will see me as broken and I will be unwanted.

All of this is what feeds Depression. I am personifying it because it feels like it is alive and sitting next to me right now. How I feel, and the hypothesis that I have regarding my own mental state, have developed into a real physical entity that I would deem essential to my current identity.

What I want to say is that I just want to feel normal and stable. Today, when I shared with my roommate that I feel like I made a mistake with accepting my new job, she said that she was confused because just last week I was saying how happy I was with my job and how happy I was to stay in Iowa. That’s the thing though about MY depression. I’m high and then I’m very, very low.

I have so many days where I say, “Finally. YES! You’ve figured this out. What you’re doing is the right thing and it makes you happy,” and I really do believe it for that hour or half a day that it lasts. But those highs are always followed by a low that yells, “You’ve made a really bad decision. You need to go home and run away. It’s pointless. Everything is meaningless because we will all die anyways.” All I can say is, literally, I see the world as pointless because we WILL all die and we can’t take our money or our accomplishments with us and who knows if those will impact our afterlife so there really is no point. Honestly. Life and this physical world have no real metaphysical meaning.

I can’t stop it. At least, I haven’t been on my own. I feel brave enough to say that I feel like I am suffocating mentally.

I wish that finding a psychologist or therapist was as easy and as commonly discussed as finding a general practitioner. It was easier for me to find a doctor to take a pap smear and insert a birth control rod into my arm than it is for me to find a therapist.

I haven’t found any packets or helpful brochures discussing where to look and I definitely have not found any information that covers how to pay for therapy.

I think that those reasons were why I put off finding help for so long. I just didn’t know where to look and I still don’t.

I literally wake up every morning disappointed that I am still breathing. I put those feelings and my overwhelming feelings that my world is ending into a box and lock it. I get dressed, do my makeup and hair, and commute to work with those parts of my brain turned off. I do my job taking minutes and scheduling calls and then commute home. Once home, I take care of my dog and then finally I unlock that box because the overwhelming sadness can’t be contained anymore. I don’t do all of this because I want to. I do it because it feels like my only way to keep going. What I want to do is drive home to my Mom or be with the one person I romantically want to be with right now, but those two options cannot happen because I have professional expectations to uphold.

During good months or weeks, I can keep it locked tight until someone or something (usually a question) link my mind back to those feelings and the floodgates open.

As one of my exes and one of my aunts reminded me, I don’t show emotion in situations where emotions would be expected. Instead, I bottle them up tight and store them away until the pressure builds and my sadness, anger, jealousy, etc can’t be contained. When that happens it’s a tsunami of everything and it’s unhealthy.

Tonight my roommate and one of my friends asked me what I wanted for myself. If I excluded my personal relationships (which play a very large role in my sanity) and if I exclude what I think others expect of me (stable job, career, money, responsibility) what would I say I want? I said I want to feel stable.

I feel like I have been walking the deck of a sailboat in a storm. I haven’t felt steady and safe in so long that feeling off balance, confused, and overwhelmed has become my normal.

That’s not okay. I want to feel stable. I want to wake up each day and not want to throw up because I am stressed. I want to not fluctuate daily between feeling like I am confident and have made the best life decisions for myself and feeling like I am literally being shredded alive.

To do that, I need help. If I want to finally feel sane I need professional help. If I want to eventually have a stable and loving relationship with someone I need help.

If I really want to live to 30, I need help.

I’m saying all of this because mental health, especially in my family, is something that has never been as commonly discussed as going to the doctor for a physical. I’m saying all of this because I can keep what I feel is my unloveable flaw private or I can share it in case someone else is feeling the same way. I’m saying all of this because I’ve finished the only two mini, single-serve bottles of wine I have and writing is the first outlet I have found on my own that makes me feel okay.

Finally, I’m sharing all of this because I don’t want my fear of being diagnosed as clinically depressed to be considered a flaw to others. Everyone needs help at some point in their life.

The one thing I want more than anything is for someone to love me (not in the paternal or maternal idea of love, sorry Mom) but romantically and if I want that then I need to glue myself back together finally after ten plus years and I need help.

I hope that someday soon that US society will make mental health resources as commonly available and accepted as finding a general health practitioner. I hope that when people sign up for health insurance that mental health coverage is listed higher on the benefits list and that the coverage options are as extensive as the ones you see while signing up for Delta Dental.

I can keep how I am feeling between myself, my roommate, and my friend here but I can’t because I think I am finally cresting emotionally and I don’t want to feed the fear.

It’s hard and I feel alone, but I take some solace in the idea that there are others who feel more than just “casually depressed” like I do. Depression shouldn’t be a part of daily existence and I don’t want it to be a part of mine anymore.

 

 

 

 

 

Living in a Robert Frost Poem Sucks

All images belong to @barelyfunctionaladult. Please check out her Instagram because the comics are extremely relatable. At least to me.

I’ve been absent from Jack&Peaches for a few months because of some life changes. Since being laid off from my job, I’ve had to remodel my life and figure out what to do next.

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Two weeks ago I had no idea what I was going to do once my lease is up in July. Today, I might finally have a real plan for the next phase of my life. Starting today, when people ask me, “Sarah, so what are you going to do when your lease is up? Are you working or what?” I just might be able to tell them real plans that include where I’m moving to and what I’ll be doing in August.

At this very moment, I’m enrolled in online classes at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to start my Masters in Library and Information Science in September. This sounds simple and straightforward, but I have the option to be an on-campus student which would mean moving to Milwaukee by August.

I’d be moving to a place where I know zero people already living there. I’d be saying goodbye to friendships I made in Iowa and quite possibly saying goodbye to a relationship with someone special that I have been hoping will work out but it just might not.

Moving to Milwaukee wouldn’t just be “Sarah’s in Grad School”. It quite possibly could be me flipping my life around from what I’ve known and starting over. I’m not scared because I’d be moving to a new city. I’m scared because all of the change makes me feel like I’m not going to be myself anymore. When I picture how my life could become by August, it’s a life that I don’t recognize and it feels like it could belong to someone else and not me. But it would be my life and it would be me going to school and eating at new places and walking downtown and going to the beach and all of that change that will turn me into an updated model of myself– Sarah 2.0. It scares me.

I know people my age move to new states and go to grad school and start new jobs in new cities where they don’t know anyone and say goodbye to old relationships all the time, but I’ve never really had to. I did move to Iowa to start a new job and said goodbye to my college friends, but I knew someone here already so when I moved, I wasn’t alone. This time I would be moving to Milwaukee and only have myself to rely on.

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I see two paths when I try and decide what I should do. I’m living Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” in real time and it’s a nightmare.

To my left, I can take the plunge and move to Milwaukee. I start over and I become a new person; someone who is a stranger to me right now but will become someone I know better than ever by next year. This path offers me the chance of real personal growth as a young adult and a young woman and no doubt will be full of hard personal sacrifices.

To my right, I can stay enrolled in my online courses. Since I don’t have a job now I can quite literally move anywhere I want to which means I could stick with what makes me feel comfortable and safe. I could move back home to the UP or I could move out to California and live with my Dad. This path offers me some control over what I feel comfortable with and would allow me to keep living within my safety net. It would offer me some chance of personal growth, but not much and personal sacrifices would only have to be made if I really wanted them to be made.

So what do I do? On the one hand, I’m terrified of taking the plunge because when I envision my future in Milwaukee I can’t even see myself in the picture. On the other, I’ve always stayed within my comfort zone. I’ve always had a plan that just helped me to casually float into the next stage of my life whenever it became time to do that. I floated from high school into college and the transition was fairly easy because my college was ten minutes from my Mom’s house. I floated from college into the working world when I moved to Iowa because I moved in with my [ex] boyfriend and I had someone here I trusted. Finally, I floated into a new apartment with new roommates in Iowa City when that [ex] boyfriend moved to New York and I decided to stay behind.

I’ve always just safely floated through everything.  I’ve never cannonballed into the metaphorical pool of life while yelling, “WHY THE FUCK NOT? JUST GO FOR IT! WOOOO!” Instead, I’ve only pencil dived off the low diving board and swam up safely to the surface.

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Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
“The Road Not Taken”
-Robert Frost

Week 9: Getting Frisky in Finland

Raven.jpgRecapped by Keegan L.

I’d like to start this recap by dedicating it to my aunt, Julie Graden. As aunts are known to be from time to time, this particular aunt is married to one of my Uncles, Uncle Roger to be precise. And as uncles are known to do from time to time, Uncle Roger took his nephew (better known as me) hunting serval years ago when I was about 13. On this particular hunt, I shot and killed my first deer.

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Of course, out of respect for the vegan nature of Jack & Peaches, I won’t tell you the details of this spectacular feat. I won’t tell you that I managed to shoot this deer while it was running at a full sprint and I certainly won’t brag about the fact that it only took one perfectly placed slug to drop the deer as it blurred past my line of sight.

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What I will tell you about that hunt is this: After a full day of trudging and hunting, my Uncle realized he had lost his cell phone.

The field we returned to late in the day to look for the phone was home to a herd of cows. At first, we joked that perhaps a cow had eaten the lost phone. After a long time of fruitless searching, this joke became a more serious consideration and I found myself poking at cow pies with a stick.

Get a load of this, a cow actually had picked up my uncle’s cell phone! We finally found it buzzing in a patch of trampled grass. It was covered in saliva and cud with a ton of missed calls from a mildly annoyed Aunt Julie.

The reason that I bring up this story now, is because the experience of poking through cow manure trying to find a lost cell phone is remarkably similar to the feeling I get while watching a new episode of The Bachelor and looking for things to write about each week.

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Ah, is it really almost over? It seems like only yesterday Nick was showing the world that he had the emotional range of a gently used sandpaper scrap and the internet world was mocking Liz for her repeated line about hooking up with Nick at Jade and Tanner’s wedding.

Now in week 9, Nick is demonstrating his new found emotional growth by…honestly, maintaining the emotional range of sandpaper stuck to the boot of someone wandering around a construction site. And the show has latched on to a new mantra from Raven about her elusive orgasm. So let’s get to it! Nine weeks down and one to go!

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The Bachelor playoffs started with a surprising upset in game one. Honestly, I felt a very depressing consolation as the camera man zoomed in close to Corinne’s as the tears started to flow. We might have an unhinged man-child in the White House, the Green Bay Packers might have totally blown a shot at the Super Bowl, and the Patriots may have clinched a win in that same Super Bowl, but hey! At least Corinne didn’t “win” The Bachelor… It’s really been a rough few months guys.

At any rate, Corinne’s departure leaves us with the final three which is actually the final two since we all know that Rachel, like the Green Bay Packers, is pinning her hopes on her next season. Seriously, what is up with the producers of this show? And for that matter, what’s up with the editors?

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The first scene of this episode was shot in a way that made it look like the contestants waited for Nick in the cold while he had drinks with former Bachelorette, Andy. Also, it looked like Lil’ St. Nick was guzzling a full tumbler of white wine during his conversation with Andy and every time he set his glass down it clinked. He was drinking wine with ice in it! I know some people do that.

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When I was a waiter, several middle aged women would order their Chardonnay with ice but to be honest, it always seemed weird to me. It looked totally abnormal on the table every time I served it and seeing the Bachelor partake in this barbaric practice made me cringe more than anything Corinne ever said.

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The rest of the episode focused on Lil’ St. Nick traveling to Finland to see if he would find the love he’s been looking for while building his career as a reality TV star. Remember back in Week 1 when I talked about that short shot of Nick trudging through the snow? It was an aerial shot with the narrator saying something to the effect of, “Nick sets out on his journey to find true love.” Well, there were plenty more snow-trudging shots in this episode.

 

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We obtained this live-action deleted scene of our “beloved” Bachelor trying to win Raven’s heart in a ski race.

 

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And this deleted shot of Nick attempting a traditional Finnish polka.

 

 

Once more, Nick’s lips remained impossibly unchapped as he scanned the snowy horizon while providing his own narrative voice-over, “I’ve been all over the world and I can’t think of a more magical place to fall in love.” I’m pretty sure he said the same thing when they all went to Bimini. He also said something like that for the episode in New Orleans. Although maybe the adjectives changed.

New Orleans, according to Nick was the most “exciting” place to fall in love. While Bimini may have been the most “beautiful” place to fall in love. So let’s strap in for the rest of the ride. Let’s watch Nick make like School House Rock as he unpacks his adjectives for his “magical” experience in Finland.

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Oh, and the shot of the Northern Lights at the end of the episode was totally put in there using CGI.

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 A phrase that the editors used almost as much as Liz’s “Nick and I hooked up at Jade and Tanner’s wedding” was Raven’s constant repetition of, “I’ve never had an orgasm.”

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Yes, it seems everyone is on a quest to find something on this season of The Bachelor. Nick, of course, is searching for ABC’s officially licensed and branded True Love while Raven is beginning her journey for the Big O. This kind of introduced a Cinderella “will the slipper fit” subplot to the whole Nick and Raven storyline.

I would tell you more about what happened this week, but honestly, that’s really the whole episode right there. Nick and Raven fly around in a helicopter and look at reindeer before introducing a commercial break with the narrator saying, “Coming up on The Bachelor…” cue shot of Raven and Nick with Raven’s voice, “I’ve never had an orgasm.”

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Nick and Raven play darts in a Finnish pub. Cue commercial promo! Raven: “I’ve never had an orgasm.”

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Nick and Raven retire to a snowy cabin retreat filled with awkward conversation pauses and Raven’s final confession to Nick: “I’ve never had an orgasm.”

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Quick cameraman! Zoom in on Nick’s face! Let’s capture all the subtle nuances of his reaction to use next week!

Cameraman: “But sir, his face looks the same as it always does. He’s doing that dopey half-smile thing with the slow blink.

Producer: “Dammit, man! That’s what the people want! Adjust your lens and Get. Up. In. There!”

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The header says it all. Tonight we can apparently look forward to some close up face shots as Nick and Vanessa discuss their feelings in a hot tub while wearing stocking caps.

As a side note, my blog, The Tell-Tale Lockhart is officially up and running! If you’ve enjoyed these recaps, take a minute to check out a few of my stories. The first one that’s up there now is about a time I fell out of a tree in college and the awkward conversation I had with the doctor I eventually went to see. All of the graphics for the site were made by the talented Jared Salasberry, who has created all of the graphic images for these recaps, as well as more amazing images that can be found on his Tumblr.

Also, be sure to subscribe to Jack & Peaches too to stay up to stay in the know with all things vegan and the life of Sarah! One week left! Good luck Nick. And to my liver— hang in there buddy, we’re almost through it!

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Week 8: A Tale of Four Cities

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Recapped by Keegan L.

So here we are, down to the final four. Making allusions to Game of Thrones and football has been a tried and true coping mechanism for me as I have suffered through this season of The Bachelor, so let’s not stop now! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Bachelor Playoffs!

Let’s go ahead and map the final four contestants to the last four teams who stood in the NFL before this year’s Super Bowl: The Pittsburg Steelers, The New England Patriots, The Lords of the North (long may they reign) Green Bay Packers, and finally—The Atlanta Falcons.

First up, let’s go ahead and let Rachel represent the Green Bay Packers. Clearly the best contestant, destined to not “win” the season, but gearing up for a big win next season. Rachel has been the saving grace of the season and knowing that she will inevitably be sent home has made this season all the more torturous to watch. She is the epitome of class and none of the other contestants come close to her level of swag so I can’t think of anyone more deserving to represent the best team in the NFL.

Next up, Corinne has got to be the Patriots. Vapid, braggadocios, and seen by everyone else in a “please God, anyone but her” light by the vast majority of the viewing public, Corinne is on track to derail any hope for humanity that exists in the world of The Bachelor. Let’s just hope that this season turns out better than the Super Bowl did.

Then we have Raven who has to be the equivalent of the Atlanta Falcons. Originally an underdog and unlikely contender, Raven “flew under the radar” for the first few episodes before claiming a spot in the final four. She also has the southern charm flare that is hopefully enough to undercut the mad sex offensive powerhouse that is the New England Corinne.

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And finally, the Pittsburg Steelers may as well represent Vanessa. This one is more of a personal equivalence. People had really high hopes for the Steelers back in the playoffs, but I wasn’t really surprised when they fell to the Patriots. In the same way, I don’t think Vanessa has much of a shot going up against Corinne, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed all the same.

So there we have it! Our bracket for the final four. Let’s fill the stadiums, buy a few cups of overpriced beer and let the games begin!

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Game one kicked off in Arkansas as Nick joined Raven for some four-wheeling fun. I was cringing uncontrollably when the cop pulled up for an awkward exchange. When the cop first pulled up, I was thinking how hokey it was and furiously scribbling notes about the forced drama that this show insists on putting together. Thankfully, it was Raven’s brother which fit in better with the show but it was still awkward as all hell to watch Nick pretend he didn’t know who it was at first. Honestly, Raven’s brother had a more confident camera presence than Nick has had all season. Let’s let that guy be the Bachelor.

Then we got to meet Raven’s parents and that was all fine and well. It was fantastic news to find out that Raven’s father was in remission after battling lung cancer and as sleazy as the producers are, it was good that they didn’t play up that angle. I honestly could have seen a cliffhanger before commercial break playing out like, “Raven there’s something we have to tell you about your father.” Then the music ramps up the drama and the commercials roll. Luckily, that didn’t happen and the producers get humanity points for not trying to cash in on cancer.

Of course the big drama of this part was Raven not being able to say “I love you” to Nick. And to be honest, I’m happy she didn’t. All season long, the Atlanta Falcons boasted a strong defense and Raven followed suit in her bracket by playing a solid emotional defense. But will it be strong enough to counter the powerhouse mad sex offense boasted by the New England Corinne?

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All of Rachel’s segments are totally undercut by the knowledge that she will eventually be going home. I can’t be the only one thinking this, right? After this writing gig is done, I have no plans to watch any future seasons of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette so knowing that Rachel is out of the running and is going to be the next Bachelorette, really makes these segments drag on for me.

I’m honestly kind of disappointed by that. Rooting for Rachel is almost as much fun as rooting against Corinne and knowing that Rachel is headed for the door either this week or next is almost as bad as seeing leaked internet pictures of Nick and Corinne’s engagement photo shoot. I should probably clarify that those pictures don’t exist, but can you imagine if they did? Fans of the show would have a field day with that.

Anyway, Nick and Rachel go to church before meeting Rachel’s family. I don’t know if there is any sharper contrast between two contestants with Rachel taking Nick to church and Corinne taking Nick shopping for a $1,000 thermal shirt. I’m not going to spend time talking about the specifics of Nick’s visit with Rachel’s family. Fans of the show will get their fill of that when Rachel’s season airs.

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All I can say is that watching Rachel’s segments evokes a pale shadow of the same despair that I felt watching the first quarter of the Atlanta vs. Green Bay playoff game. You know that the end is coming but you’re glad that it’s been a good season. And for both Rachel and the Green Bay packers, next year is sure to be a great one.

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In case you’re not a fan of football, it’s worth noting that the New England Patriots are pretty much disliked by everyone except their fans. Don’t get me wrong, they’re a great team but they play dirty, win in spite of most of the country cheering for them to lose, and they generate a ton of money. They are basically Corinne in NFL form.

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So for his third hometown date, Nick flew down to Miami to join the New England Corinne for a full day of shopping, kissing, and awkward interactions with Mr. Olympios. Really, the strangest takeaway from the episode seemed to be that people were more concerned with Nick being able to provide the sort of lifestyle that Corinne is accustomed to while Raven and Rachel’s families seemed more concerned with their daughters’ compatibility with Lil St. Nick. They also made a really big deal about how much the clothes Nick bought while out with Corinne cost, but honestly they didn’t look any different than the outfits he’s been wearing all season.

Either he, or more likely the show, has been footing the bill for some expensive clothes all season or the outfit Nick bought was somehow better just because it had a higher price tag. Now I’m starting to wonder if that’s how Corinne assigns value to things. Does she think that something is better just because it costs more? Is that how she’s trying to present herself to Nick? “Oh Nick I’m clearly the best! Look how expensive I am!”

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Like the New England Patriots, me and most people who have been following the show have been eagerly awaiting the fall of Corinne all season. I don’t think she’s going to be eliminated tonight though. They played up the whole “Nick and Corinne are taking it slow” (sexually speaking) for her not to get a fantasy island night.

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And last but not least we have Vanessa. I’ll be honest with you guys, my interest was seriously fading by the time Vanessa’s segment rolled around. I have to give her dad some serious props since he seemed to be the one who was most concerned with the entire scenario of the show and Nick’s four other potential true loves.

I’m way jealous of Vanessa for being a Canadian citizen though and the ability to marry for dual citizenship has got to be a definite plus during this political climate. Honestly, this show has started to look more and more like a metaphor for all of America to me.

Will Nick run away with Vanessa to the welcoming country of Canada? Will he embrace the giggling whipped cream-covered embodiment of American Consumerism and “Make America Corinne again”? Or will he choose something real and meaningful in order to build a better future?

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Huh, with that analogy it’s looking better and better for Corinne every minute.

Weeks 6 & 7: Do Rose Ceremonies Still Exist?

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Recapped by  Keegan L.

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And we are back! In an emotional roller coaster that eerily mirrors the 2016 election, we join our hero once more on his quest to find officially branded True Love™ that has been licensed and approved by ABC.

Before we rejoin Lil’ St. Nick on his quest, I’d like to make a few announcements. At the end of the week, I will be launching my own blog. (Editor’s note because the editor receives a lot of questions from Grandma. This is written entirely by Keegan, NOT Sarah. Keegan is launching his own blog. Sarah is keeping Jack & Peaches. Okay? Cool beans. Let’s resume.)

I can’t tell you the name of it yet because, while the domain has been set up, it’s just bare bones at the moment and I don’t want to discourage future visitors by exposing them to stock images and placeholder text. Designs for the blog are currently being created by the talented Jared Salasberry who has been doing the graphics for these posts. Be sure to check out his Tumblr if you want to see some dope animal graphics.

Additionally, Sarah has agreed to do crossover write-ups like these for something that I like but she has never been interested in. Her only negotiation requirement was, and I quote, “Not football. Please for the love of God, not football.

 

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Sarah agrees to give a recap for every Clay Matthews hair flip.

 

The current front-runner for topics is Season 1 of Game of Thrones, but if anyone has a better suggestion, please feel free to leave a comment. And so, without further ado, let us dive back into the adventures of the Baron of blindsided breakups, the Falcon’s defense to Corrine’s mad sex offense, and the man with the best beard in the Bahamas—our hero, Lil’ St. Nick!

 

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An interesting non-footballish football fact is that the Lords of the North, the Green Bay Packers, have been knocked out of the playoffs three years in a row by teams with birds as their mascots. This year they fell to the would-be Super bowl champions—the Atlanta Falcons.

Just as the Packers seem to have an inexplicable difficulty facing bird-based teams Nick seems to have an inexplicable difficulty staying “on script.” This is the first season I’ve seen, so the low number of rose ceremonies hasn’t seemed odd to me. But everyone I’ve talked to who has watched the show for several seasons keeps saying how weird it is that Nick is sending girls home on the fly.

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Take, for instance, Danielle M. Who Nick caught off guard and sent packing right after she put her heart on the red sleeve of her flowing dress. Now, I’m not the best at keeping all of the contestants straight, but isn’t Danielle the person who went on the first one-on-one date with Nick when they rode in a helicopter to that yacht? Isn’t she from Milwaukee too? Didn’t he say that “hometown” dates were coming up, and that’s why he had to think so hard about who should stay? Why wouldn’t you want to explore her side of your hometown? Damnit, Nick! You robbed the world of the chance to see that Wisconsin is more than just farms where people milk cows by hand and spend romantic outings shoveling cow poo.

This, of course, all takes place against the beautiful island backdrop of Bimini, a tropical island that received the same level of excitement from the contestants as Milwaukee. Corinne continues to bemoan the fact that she hasn’t gotten a one-on-one with Nick and said something about wanting to have Sushi on a boat with Nick. This is the second time that she’s specifically brought up sushi and to be honest, I’m not really surprised that she likes it. I mean, she certainly ate Taylor alive.

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Can someone please tell me what is going on with the promotions for this show? There was a big announcement concerning the next Bachelorette and we’ll get into that in a minute. But other than that, I also saw Corinne on a segment with Ellen recently and I’m honestly curious, does this enhance or muddle the illusion of The Bachelor being a show where people find true love? Do we assume that Corrine will be sent home before the final two because she showed up to talk about her experience on Ellen? Or should we assume that she made it at lease that far because Ellen was willing to have her on the show?

It feels weird to try and speculate on things like that outside of “the world” that the show’s editors create by selecting which contestants to give screen time to and that awesome music they plug in at key moments.

For real, the composer who puts together the score for this show is amazing. He or she must have studied at Julliard and if not, the admissions people at Julliard must be shaking their heads for letting that talent fly under their radar. The only sort of Bachelor merchandise that I would be interested in would be the score for this show. It would be awesome for having on hand to make any moment more dramatic.

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I could hit play on my phone and let the music swell. As it built and slowly climbed to a dramatic crescendo, I would look up from my table and tell the waiter:

“I’m very happy with the steak. I think this steak has a lot of amazing qualities and I’ve loved the time I’ve had to enjoy it. But now that we’re here and I’m thinking about what I really want out of this meal, I’m going to have to follow my heart and ask you to take it back to the kitchen. Could you please let the chicken know that I’ll be back next week for a one-on-one with it?”

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More to the point with producers not being on the same page as the editors, the big announcement that has had the internet buzzing recently is that Rachel will be the next Bachelorette. People seem really excited about it, but isn’t this a bit of a spoiler? I mean, I was at least expecting Rachel to be sent off this week but no. Instead, she and Nick hung out more, I assume to help the audience get to know her better before she gets her own season. And Nick said he would consider asking her father for permission to marry her.

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I know that this show is taped beforehand, so we’re quite possibly seeing Nick at a moment where he still believes he could end up with Rachel. But isn’t it a bit of a middle finger to the audience to make it obvious that Rachel won’t be the one Nick ultimately chooses? At least with Corrine on Ellen, there’s some ambiguity but if Rachel makes it to the final two, why would anyone even watch the finale?

This show walks such an odd line of real and not real. At least in something like Game of Thrones, you know it’s not real. You can find yourself invested in a character and be heartbroken by his or her decisions or fate, but at the end of the day, you know it isn’t real. This show has the amazing ability to blur the line of entertainment by creating a world of roses and chardonnay where the music swells in the background and the only time you don’t look good is when your mascara is running. And the camera guy better get a close up of that to use for the next episode’s promo.

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What can I do better?

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Hey, guys. Once June hits, it will mark one year of Jack&Peaches. In an effort to increase traffic to this blog and to provide interesting content for you, I put together a super short survey.

Whether you’re a subscriber (hey! thank you for supporting me. That includes you Grandma 😉 or a reader who randomly found this blog, a close friend, an ex, a stranger from Instagram, an alien from Mars who reads, etc. it would mean a lot to me if you took like two minutes from your day to help me improve Jack&Peaches.

While this is my hobby, I really want to provide content that is interesting and creative and provide it in ways that are easy for people like you to find.

Find the survey here. Thank you!

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You Do You Boo

Last week I learned from a four-year-old that all babies are born without kneecaps. Also, all images are from the @lubadalu Instagram account. Please take a look because her drawings are fantastic pieces of creative honesty.

Doing what you want in the age when everyone has an opinion and one that they want you to follow—it’s near to impossible.

I’m pretty sure that people have had opinions for as long as we have been around and we’ve probably had advice for just as long. But where do you draw the line between advice and opinion? And how do you know when to take your friends’ advice and when to do you and not listen?

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I can easily count the number of times I should have listened to the advice of my friends and family especially when it comes to relationships. For example, had I listened to the advice of my Mom and friends to dump my high school boyfriend instead of waiting three years, I would have saved myself a few monumental meltdowns and the destruction of my self-worth and confidence. But at the time I was 17/18/19/20 years old and I thought that their advice was swayed heavily by their opinions. So I didn’t listen. I did what I wanted to do at the time and stayed in the relationship and then when it ended I tried to make it work (you know that whole on and off again thing that young couples and a high number of celebrities do). Finally one morning I woke up and made the decision on my own to end the relationship and my Mom’s response was, “I’ve been trying to tell you all of this for three years.” Basically, her version of I told you so.

What I learned though is that you can offer a metric ton (figuratively of course as words don’t have physical mass unless you can manage to write out all your advice on a metric ton of paper which would take a long time so kudos to you for perseverance), but the person you’re giving it to will most likely listen but not abide. When it comes to making decisions that impact our own personal happiness, not the happiness that our friends and family think we need, we have to make those decisions when we’re ready. Not when our friends and family think we are.

And this lesson is hard, especially for me. Take for example a recent event. As I’m writing this I am currently on vacation time in New York, sitting in my ex-boyfriend’s apartment downtown. After a month of talking to each other again, I decided that what would make me happy was to spend my money and vacation time from work to fly to New York and see him. My close friends, however, do not think that that is what would make me happy and their advice was to quote, “Get off the plane right now!” But I didn’t listen. One gave me the sage advice that I am an adult and capable of making my own decisions but that I should thoroughly understand what I’m getting into but ultimately do what makes me happy. The other in summary said not to do it because she cares about me and doesn’t want the negativity that was in the relationship before to come back into my life. I wanted to keep the whole trip on the DL (down-low) because I knew that people would give me, and him, their opinions of what they think we should do and not advice for how they think we can be happy together.

And opinions about your personal relationships or yourself can weigh heavily on you.

As of writing this, my Mom doesn’t know because I knew that her advice would be heavily swayed by her opinions of him and not determined by what she thinks would make me ultimately happy.

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And I am happy and I didn’t listen to the advice of my friends and instead did what I wanted to do. While washing dishes before leaving, my roommate’s boyfriend said something wise to me:

Everyone in your life will have an opinion and they’re entitled to their opinions and what they think you should do, but ultimately it’s not their life or their relationship. While they may want the best for you, they aren’t in the relationship or living your life so chances are they won’t really know what is the best for you or what will make you happy. You have to do what makes you happy and if that’s going to New York to see him, then that’s what you should do.

And in my case, my happiness required splitting the cost of a plane ticket, finally using my vacation time I’ve saved up at work, and visiting someone who does make me very happy deep down.

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So I want to ask you—how do you separate advice from opinion? Where do you draw the line at not listening to either? And what makes you ultimately happy?

For me, it’s the person I woke up next to and made coffee for all weekend.

In the end, though, you should hear the advice given to you, ignore the opinions that are swayed by heavy bias, and make sure that you do you boo.

My advice is, whatever decision or action or person makes you happiest, that’s the right choice because this is your life to live, not someone else’s.

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Week Five: Cajun Creepshow

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Recap by Keegan L.

 

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Alright then, let’s get into it. Here’s my question for this week: Do Ex-Bachelors, or Ex-Bachelorettes for that matter, watch The Bachelor (or The Bachelorette)? I’ve been told several times that Lil’ St. Nick was the “runner up” twice on The Bachelorette, most recently when the bachelorette was a girl named Caitlyn. Or Kaitlyn….Maybe Katelyn, seriously now many ways can you spell that name?

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Like, I wonder if Kaitlyn has ever had a fight with the guy she picked instead of Nick and tunes in for an episode to think, Oh, what could have been. Or, do any other contestants watch the show after they’ve had their shot at finding love? I assume most of the contestants watched the show before being accepted into it and I wonder if their time on the show makes them bigger fans or just makes them disenchanted with the whole thing.

I wonder if any of them are trying to launch an acting career. Do they put their time on The Bachelor down on their resumes? Does this count as acting? Someone should really look into this. Would anyone watch a season of Corinne as the bachelorette? The thought of that makes me shudder.

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I for one don’t think I could stomach a full season of “The Corinne Show.” This episode made me shudder enough as we launched back into the age old battle of Brains Vs. Boobs when Taylor and Corinne squared off for round two. Corinne once again scores points for playing mad offense and seems to have taken off not only her top but the gloves as well. Seriously, she was yelling “Cash Me Outside” before that became a thing and I’m surprised that no one has made a Corinne based remix of that clip.

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The worst thing she said in this episode was “Make America Corinne again” and I have to say, I’m pretty proud of myself for making a comparison between Corrine and America’s least favorite president back in week one. For all intents and purposes, the parallels between her and the POTUS keep rolling. She’s rich. She’s self-absorbed. She certainly isn’t shy about trying to grab Nick. She keeps insisting that she’s a successful business person but we have no tax returns to validate that claim. Now my only question is: Where is the outpour of support for this rich bully? Why is no one making “Team Corinne” hats and shouting down anyone that says she’s not a good person?

Apparently, America holds Bachelor contestants to a higher moral standard than the leaders of our nation.

Either way, Taylor answered the challenge and did indeed cash her outside with the whole “emotional intelligence” debate but unfortunately made the mistake of bringing a brain to a boob fight. Do people still use “boob” as an insult to describe people as airheads? Here, let me try it in a sentence: The president of the United States is a total boob. Ehhhh, that feels a bit dated but I think it still works.

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Taylor said it best when she was gearing up for the two on one showdown date with Nick and Corrine. She said something along the lines of, “If Nick chooses someone like Corinne, his relationship won’t be built on understanding and respect. It will be built on whipped cream and lies.”

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Personally, I think “Whipped Cream and Lies” would be a great name for a band. I feel like a band like that would do a lot of covers of Fallout Boy songs. Maybe they would have a few original pieces thrown into their set. They would be timeless classics like a mournful ballad of regret entitled “I made America Corrine Again” and a pop-punk crossover called “Should have known you were bad news when you wouldn’t shovel poo.

Oh, baby. I shoulda known you were bad news when you wouldn’t shovel poo.

I put my heart on the line, but I saw in time that you only had eyes for you.

I think it’s really uncanny that you still have a nanny.

And you’re splittin’ my heart in two.

Now I’m sittin’ hear waitin’ while you’re still debatin’

Whether cows are mean when they moo.

[Then the Bass Drops]

Aside from collecting royalties from the “Whipped Cream and Lies” World Tour, Taylor should probably go back to school for her Ph.D. and entitle her thesis: “Emotional intelligence for morons.”

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Honestly, the voodoo date was probably one of the biggest WTF’s of the season. One of the first things the Priestess said when they first got there was “Voodoo dolls are one of the most sensationalized and misunderstood aspects of what we do.”

And then the producers were all, “Sweet! Let’s sensationalize and mislead people about their significance by having Corinne ask the Tarot reader for one!”

And really? Am I supposed to believe that the Tarot reader gave Corinne a reading that included the words, “The queen of swords is very confident and headstrong, but her words often have unintended consequences.” And then was like, “Oh here, let me give you a voodoo doll. So you can be overconfident and headstrong.”

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Also, did Nick not even ask about the voodoo doll? She was literally waving it around while standing right next to him and he didn’t think that was weird? Never once was he like, “Hey Corrine, whatcha got there?” If he had the conversation would have probably gone something like:

“Hey, umm what’s that?”

“Oh! This is a voodoo doll of Taylor. She’s such a bitch and I want to meddle with dark forces to make her pay for making me feel stupid.”

“I’m glad you shared that with me.”

Seriously, dude!? There is no way you’re glad at everything people share with you!

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Rachel’s date was pretty cool. Those oysters looked really good. I love oysters. Can’t get enough of them. Besides that, it actually looked fun. I mean, the street parade looked like a thousand times better than that weird haunted house thing for the group date. Also, while they were doing that group date, they kept cutting back to Corinne and Taylor preparing for the two-on-one date back at the penthouse.

But wasn’t Rachel back there too? I mean, was she just outside the bathroom door like, “Hey Corinne, can you please get out of the tub? It’s been like, 2 hours and there’s a lady from the hotel out here with room service and she really wants to get back to work.”

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