A Few Thoughts on Loneliness During Self-Isolation

It would be impossible not to think, even a little, about loneliness right now. It’s a feeling that comes and goes like every other emotion under the sun, catching me off guard as Monday becomes Tuesday becomes the weekend once again. Loneliness is a word I have forever shied away from, but after these past four weeks of self isolating alone, I have a couple new feelings (and of course, thoughts) when it comes to the L word.

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Must Be Love on the Brain: The Chemistry of Crushes

Looking into my crush’s cinnamon brown eyes, I suddenly realized he had asked me a question, a question which I had not heard because I was so engrossed in the symmetry of his face.

I had two options here: I could either assume the identity of a rational human being and ask him to repeat himself OR I could attempt to outrun the blush heading north from the base of my neck and just say any answer that came to mind. Caught in the eye of a dopamine tornado, I chose the later option hoping that my crush had asked what was holding up the salad line. He had not and what started as just an awkward silence quickly turned into a confused awkward silence broken up occasionally by a lunch order.

I wish I could tell you this was an isolated incident. That outside of this one crush on a California boy, who at the time had been assigned the desk next to me, I was the Lady Casanova of crushes, just collecting heart eye emojis with my continuous talk of consent and graphic novels. But the truth is, I don’t crush crushes, crushes crush me.

I still remember my first crush: Justin Fishman, kindergarten. Everyday I would attempt to sneak closer to his assigned seat on the show-and-tell rug only to be deterred by the exasperated questioning of my teacher. I learned quickly that a Fishman and a Lanning would never work due to the long distance imposed by an alphabetic roll call. 

Later there was Sammy Maxwell, the boy who asked me to the sixth grade dance. There was Aaron Lee, the red headed boy with the bright blue shoes, and Richie the tuba player who I wrote love letters to in high school. There was my freshman dorm mate who’d never been kissed, the writer-turned-gamer in my English seminar with surprisingly broad shoulders, and the friend-of-a-friend obsessed with Groupon. There was the guy whose voice sounded similar to Snuggles the Bear and the former rugby player; the musician who after our first date I blurted out, “Can I put my face on your face?” and later, the coworker who looked like Daniel Dae Kim — to name just a few. 

Over the years, my crushes have been diverse in their interests and backgrounds, but unified in their effect, turning me from a semi-stable human being into a puddle of goo. Even at 29, with two IRA accounts and numerous long term relationships under my belt, I still find myself barely more equipped to handle a crush than my braces-clad 7th grade self. 

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29: The Year of More

To give you an accurate picture of where my brain is at right now, I’ve been waking up every day for the past week wide awake at 3:30am thanks to jet lag. And what I’ve learned during those especially early mornings (besides the fact that this trip to China was totally worth all the sleepiness) is that there is nothing really like Marie Kondo-ing your entire apartment before the sun rises. Sure I almost fell asleep standing at the cross walk yesterday but at least my closet is now organized by color.

These past two weeks traveling around China have been some of the most memorable of my life and while I can’t wait to share all 1493 photos with you, tales of the trip will be coming in another post because today we’re talking about BIRTH-DAYS. Well, not all birthdays, let’s not be crazy. Today we’re talking specifically about my birthday because another turn around the sun always leads to me asking some big life questions like, “Why do people like having birds for pets?” and “What would Harry Potter’s therapy sessions be like?”

On the day of my actual birthday my family and I were attempting to hold our own within the  massive crowds surrounding the Terracotta Army when my mum asked me what my resolution was for my 29th year around the sun. Now, if there is anything that makes my heart beat out of my chest in a flurry of happiness, it’s a good list — bonus points if it’s a list of resolutions!

Surrounded that day by 2,000 years of history and tradition, I assumed I’d be hit with something really profound to guide my new year. But just like reaching the top of the Great Wall of China and comically finding a man in a white tank top sitting under an umbrella with a megaphone selling ice cold beer, this year I decided that instead of letting my perfectionist tendencies run rampant, I was going to keep it simple. This year my mantra is: More.

Hear me out.

Like many people — which may or may not include yourself — I naturally navigate my life using a less mindset. I need to spend less, I need to stress less, I need to be on my phone less. I want to procrastinate less, spend less time in the office, be less in my own way about writing and working out and traveling. On most days I tend to focus solely on the things I am not, or the things I’ve yet to accomplish, or habits I’d like to break, which means my waking hours contain a lot of self criticism in the hopes of self improvement. It also means I rarely appreciate who I am in the present moment and I’m sick of it people!

There is a balance here I’m hoping to achieve between appreciating the present and striving forward. And if any zodiac sign can try and figure out this contradiction, hopefully it’s the Geminis. So in celebration of turning another year older, here are the 29 things I want more of this year.

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The “Perfect Moment” Myth

^^ Saw this shared by Curly Girl Designs this morning and it felt like a sign to sit down and finally write this post. ^^

The idea of opening this blog started rattling around in my head about three months ago. Last year I made the decision to close down my longtime blog the Curious Case after an experience pushed me to reconsider the way I was sharing my life online. Once the dust had settled and I’d gotten back on my feet, I began to realize how much I missed having a corner of the internet to share my ideas and experiences upon — both the profound and my arguments that mariachi bands make everything better. But the more I got excited to start this, the more I found myself dragging my feet to get the work done.

Before I could possibly write, I’d think to myself, first I needed to clean my desk which would then turn into the entire apartment. I’d search Instagram and YouTube for “inspiration” and an hour later lament the fact that it was 11pm and I had nothing on the page. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to turn this idea into a reality, but it just wasn’t “the perfect time” I’d tell myself. Once I had organized all my spices, called every single family member, and planted a garden –essentially all the easy stuff on my to do list– then I’d be primed to devote all my energy to writing. Finally, after months of dragging my feet, I realized that I needed to reconcile my idea of “the perfect moment” if I was ever going to get this blog (and the countless lists of other passion projects) off the ground.

I often catch myself in the midst of a self-imposed “perfect moment” paradox. It’s not the perfect time to go to yoga because the house isn’t clean. It isn’t the right time to launch this blog because there aren’t enough blog posts on it. It isn’t the right time to date because I’m still working on figuring myself out.

The myth of “the perfect moment” is by far my biggest productivity road block and at the end of the day “my perfect timing” excuse comes from being perfectly nervous to fully commit. Because what if it doesn’t work out? What if all that dreaming and hoping and hard work comes to nothing? What does that say about me? It’s scary to give your ideas a real shot because when they’re floating around in your head they’re still untouchable to reality. But they’re also untouchable to anyone else but you.

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A Roadmap For the Blues

^^ Photo by my favorite illustrator Zoe Si. ^^

This week was a week where absolutely nothing worked. I got sick, my cat got sick, my heat in my building broke, I fell behind on work assignments, I ended up canceling all my social engagements. By Friday the Mercury of my world had so fully retrograded that the only thing to do was eat Indian food and drink Aperol spritzes in yoga pants on my best friend’s couch.

Going into each week, I tend to set some high, and highly planned, expectations for the seven days ahead, and most the time, it works. But this week, after trying and failing to keep my original game plan afloat, I finally threw my hands up in the air and decided to lean into the chaos. It wasn’t the week I had hoped for, but it was the week I was having, and a week that was only going to be made harder without any sort of self-care. Once I gave myself permission to just relax and be, my retrograding Mercury week turned into an almost comical collision of calamities.

Should you also be experiencing one of those weeks, here’s a tiny roadmap I used to help get me out of the blues and back on my feet.

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Sundays are for …

There is a special sort of magic that only comes on a Sunday.

While my Saturdays are often days packed to the brim with errands and catching up and to do lists, my Sundays seem to demand the opposite. Sure, they still hold the same amount of time as a Saturday, the same amount of hours and possibilities, but there is something about a Sunday that says brunch and long walks with no destination.

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I Hate You, I Love You – The Story of a Nose

^^ Photo  from one of my favorite illustrators ever, Zoe Sees. ^^

When it comes to the love I feel for my nose, I think Facebook’s limited relationship labels describe it best, “it’s complicated.”

Everybody has a body part (or lets be honest, a few) that they’ve spent years trying to accept with mixed results. A lip moustache, a crooked nose, uneven butt checks — there is often a large gap between the moment you notice the things that bug you about your body and the moment you decide to fully embrace their originality.

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