Friends + Money

My friends’ tendencies with money fascinate me. I’ve noticed a very distinct pattern with those who grew up with money and those who grew up without. My whole life I’ve known the latter pattern – when you cover someone’s meal or smoothie or movie or what have you, you tell them not to worry about it. More recently I’ve come into many, beautiful friendships with people who’s families didn’t necessarily worry much about money, and the interactions are different; arrangements are always made to square up later. Is it because they grew up with families who taught them about handling money? Are people from more humble beginnings more generous or do they expect the favor to be returned? I have no idea! Maybe it’s as simple as being the method we’ve always known and follow like muscle memory. I prefer the model of squaring up. Being covered by friends without expecting repayment has always felt very uncomfortable to me. Maybe it’s a pride thing. My mom [very explicitly] raised me to be independent and self-reliant. Granted, that lesson comes with some serious drawbacks but that is another issue entirely. Whatever the reason, accepting these financial favors feels like indebtedness, which is decidedly uncomfortable.

I spent this past weekend in Colorado, visiting an old friend along with Alexis. Our friend covered us for several meals and kept saying “don’t worry about it.” True, Alexis and I work for nonprofits and make just enough to get by in San Francisco. Roberto just got promoted and certainly makes significantly more than Alexis and I make combined. There’s something almost patronizing about the offer though right? We shouldn’t be taking trips that we can’t afford. We are grown-up enough to budget our extracurriculars. We expressed our need to spend as little as possible at the start of the trip. My friends who were raised with money would have responded to this by suggesting we get groceries for the weekend to avoid overspending on restaurant meals. Roberto instead offered to cover our meals at nice spots that he wanted us to experience. That’s very generous, but I think also inconsiderate. I don’t say that I prefer more casual meals with friends because I want to appear humble; I say what I mean and it’s frustrating when my word is not taken for what it is. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the generosity and kindness inherent in his offers. Anywho, I just think the difference between the two groups, and my knee-jerk internal responses to each of them, is interesting.

Airport Musings

Finally crawling out of the fog. Feeling pretty okay today. Still coughing so at this point I’m convinced it’s an infection. Will try again to get a primary doc on Monday. Probably not going to kick this without antibiotics.

Anywho, I’m currently in the airport, two hours early. Greece was just invaded again in my novel and these two siblings are definitely about to do the dirty. Don’t judge me; it’s a Pulitzer prize winning novel.

Saw Sarina last night (hi Sarina) and per  usual, she helped me see things more clearly and offered actionable advice on potential next steps. Here’s the thing: I dropped out of an ivy league university following sexual assault and untreated, severe depression and anxiety. I failed all my classes the semester before I left which means I did not leave in “good standing” with the university. Now, two years later, this may prevent me from successfully transferring to a new university. The admissions officer I spoke with at USF suggested I try to “resolve the issue” with my last university before applying for transfer. I never reported my assault. Never even told my mom – and I tell her everything. To reverse the status of my standing with Columbia, I would have to report the assault and explain how that led to the crippling depression that led to my failed grades and to my absolute inability to survive another semester there. Then the validity of my experience would be evaluated by who knows how many people and departments. I will have relive my trauma in retelling it to these people I’ll never met. My experience and my future will be vulnerable to and dependent upon the judgement of administrators and staff at an institution that failed to help me when I needed it most. They will be tasked with determining whether my experience warrants reversing my status and securing my academic future.

Regardless of how all this plays out, I will get my degree. I’m getting better every day at managing my mental health and overall wellbeing. I’m getting better at doing things for me. For once I’m confident that I’ll make it work.

What else… last night we talked briefly about love and “soulmates”. I believe that we have tons of potential soulmates. Timing determines who we “end up with”. I could meet a potential soulmate today, but it may not be the right time for us to meet and so that pairing will never come to fruition [unless we meet again at the”right” time and place]. I’ll work on this theory and bring it back another time. Any relationship also depends on each partners commitment and yada yada and on limitless other, ever-changing factors. Imho.

Remember when I asked for recommendations? Here’s one for you: Westworld on HBO. I’m only 2 episodes in but MAN.

Alright. I’m going to grab a coffee and browse the ever-predictable airport gift shops.

TTFN,

❤ Grace

Hierarchy of Needs: Status Update

Okay, no more of this nonsense. Let’s get back to wellness! Cold, infection, or whatever notwithstanding. Remember Maslow and his handy pyramid? Here:

stb-hierarchy

Physiological Needs:
Breathing is cool, if slightly impeded by whatever sickness I’ve got going on recently. Food and water are always covered, thanks to the folks I work for as well as my parents and the side gigs I take on here and there. Shelter, check! Clothing, check! Sleep is hit or miss, but definitely improving. There are thankfully no real barriers for me when it comes to this category.
Safety and Security:
Health will be better when I kick this cold and get back to exercising how I like. Employment is definitely a source of stress, but I do have the nannying and soon I’ll start driving for Lyft (I’ll be eligible for their rental program once I turn 25 in about a week). Property… Not sure exactly what this one is going for. Owning a home? Have stuff? I have shelter and I have things, so I guess I’m covered here. Family. My family has always been complicated at best but we love each other and I’m sure that’s what counts. They are actually doing relatively well these days. My parents/grandparents are finally fixing up the house which is giving them all something to do together. Social stability is cool I think. I have no serious issues with socializing and I’m not caught up in any drama.
Love and Belonging:
This is a good one. From what I understand, this is where we get stuck most often. My friends these days are truly the bees knees. I have family who love me and answer when I call. Intimacy has always been a bit of a struggle for me. Feeling connected to people doesn’t really come naturally. I’m working on it though!
Self-Esteem:
Confidence is an ongoing project. I don’t think about my body as much as I used to, which is very good. Achievement is a tricky one. I haven’t fully forgiven myself for not having a degree yet, but I am visiting a university today so I’m at least taking real steps to get there. I’d like to have stable employment, at least a bachelor’s degree, and have a working knowledge of world events and politics among other things. Respect of others. Do I have the respect of some people? Sure. Probably. I do not frequently feel disrespected. Am I a unique individual? Hah I’m not sure any of us is.
Self Actualization:
Morality I think is easier than we make it out to be. I believe that there are “good” and “bad” and I believe we can classify things, actions, intentions, consequences, etc. as such. I am not a terribly creative person. Are there ways to work on that? Spontaneity is right up my alley. I like to think I’m a “yes girl”. Acceptance…of what? I sometimes feel accepted and sometimes I don’t. I think I am pretty accepting of other people. Simply the Basics is helping me to experience purpose. I was definitely lacking here previously. Meaning and Inner Potential. I’m not going to pretend to know what that means. I’ll look it up and get back to you.

I’m off to finish off the green curry I made two nights ago, and take the fluffy pup upstairs out for a rainy walk.

TTFN,

❤ Grace

Journal Entry

I’m writing from my phone for once. I don’t like it as much. I’ve been in a funk this week. Once the wheezing stops I’ll go back to doing yoga, sweating, getting out, seeing people. I need the wheezing to stop.

Today was my second volunteer group. It was smaller so I actually helped the volunteers this time. I prefer helping.

I’ve realized quite a bit about myself in the last year. I’m needy. I need support and compassion, genuine, aimed directly at me. I need to feel needed. I need to feel helpful, useful, wanted.

Going to Colorado this weekend. Going to avoid drinking. More than a beer or two and I’m noticeably deeper in the fog the next day. Maybe the fresh air and old friends will help. Even the traveling will be nice. I love airports. I love arriving a couple hours early, grabbing a coffee and sitting down to people-watch or read my book. It also helps remove any anxieties surrounding missed flights.

Tomorrow is my transfer student orientation with USB. Hoping to get a moment one-on-one with an admissions counselor. I left my last school under unusual circumstances, but we’ll talk about that another time.

For now I’m hoping to try to nap on this couch. Waiting for the kids’ parents to get back.

TTFN,

❤ Grace

Requesting Recommendations

Generally, when I’m not in school I feel like my brain is melting.

I implore you, please help me avoid intellectual atrophy.

Leave any recommendation at all that you find thought-provoking. Any books, articles, songs, paintings, podcasts, movies that you find worthy of critical thought or careful consideration.

I appreciate anything and everything.

All my love,

❤ Grace

On the Up n Up

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Okay so I’m already feeling much better, mentally at least. I successfully resisted texting Jack yesterday. This is a big deal for me because I get a bit obsessive when I’m feeling depressed, especially over my romantic relationships. He didn’t reach out to me either and I didn’t lose my mind over it. I’m getting better at overriding my depression when it comes to decision-making and thinking logically. *knock on wood*

This morning was the usual with the kids. I had some oatmeal and half a bagel – enough to take my meds and vitamins without getting nauseated. Had a cup of coffee and prepped the kids’ stuff for their afternoon martial arts classes, so I won’t have to worry about that later today. Now I’m cleaning house. The window is open even though it’s raining; the air purifier is running full tilt and I’m washing all of my bedding. I’m taking Zinc now in an additional attempt to kick this insane cold.

Tomorrow is my second volunteer group with Simply the Basics. Last time we had a record number of volunteers and this time we’re down to a cozy eight people, which means less chaos. I have some reading material from Meghan that I’ll go over later while the kids are
in their classes.

I’m going to try some easy yoga flows and light exercises today despite my cold. Exercise makes an enormous difference in my day-to-day mental health so avoiding it lately has been decidedly unhelpful.c34274e34e286cd42c9d0aba0c1f2842

I went to an information session last night with Larkin Street Youth Services. Super solid agency. Hoping to add this my volunteer activity. Cat may also start working with LSYS. They are apparently pretty selective about their volunteers, which is great. Catherine set this LSYS information session up for us which a.) showed me that someone is thinking of me and wants to do things with me b.) got me out of the house and into a group of people when I would other20122f122f042f792fpresidentba-b4vwise have stayed home and gone to bed early. I can’t stress enough how helpful it is to hear from friends and family. When I’m falling into my depression, nothing is more uplifting or encouraging than receiving a phone call, email or anything from friends or family. My grandpa called me a week ago and, even though he was clearly a few beers in, it made my night. My mom and sister call me more often than anyone else and it’s heartwarming every single time, even when we don’t have anything to talk about.

Going to try to reach out more. Especially to my grandparents. I bought a pack of blank cards and I’m going to start sending letters to old friends and family that I don’t see often.

These days I’m…
Reading: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
Listening to: Ratatat radio on Spotify
Watching: Arrested Development with Jack
Taking: Sertraline, basic Multi-Vitamin, Vitamin C supplement, Zinc supplement, Wal-zyr, and Melatonin just before bed. The Melatonin is definitely temporary, but it seems to help with the sleeplessness brought on by incessant coughing.
Playing: Dots on my phone, Uno with the kids, Sudoku before bed
Applying: to USF, for financial aid, for part-time jobs

Take care of yourselves ❤

TTFN,

Grace

Let It Out

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Writing in the interest of “just getting it all out.”

When it comes to expressing my emotions, at best I’m a coward and at worst, a menace. Every time Jack and I have talked about our feelings or what exactly we’re doing together, I’ve initiated the conversation over text message even though we see each other very frequently. Initially I was frankly a shitty person to everyone involved and I’m still [very pleasantly of course] surprised by Jack’s forgiveness and continued friendship. So what? I feel more strongly for him than vice versa. Which is fine and probably good for me considering it’s always the other way around with me. Why? Because I’m a coward when it comes to emotions and when given the choice, I have always chosen the path that is less likely to end in my heartbreak. I have very serious feelings for Jack and I’m obviously very vulnerable to ultimately getting hurt by this arrangement. This is obvious because, as I’ve told you, the last time I told him how I felt, he responded by letting me know that he still has feelings for his ex. That was a couple months ago. We haven’t touched the subject since. I’d like to think we could have a future together but I also understand that that’s objectively naive and if I were reading this on someone else’s blog I’d probably write in to advice her to gtfo while she still can. But alas, I chose not to. I still do. I’m clinging to an unlikely fantasy perhaps because I at least have the comfort of knowing that we will remain friends regardless of how this ends.

Anyway, the only reason I’m all worked up about this is because I was recently advised to tell him again how I feel and I know that’s totally solid advice and I should definitely follow it. Today Jack and I were at a friend’s Super Bowl gathering and I started texting him flirtatiously, as we often do. This time however, he didn’t play along. There is no reason why I should take that personally. But that, coupled with his regular response of “you’re welcome to stay” when I ask if he wants me to stay at his place, brings up my [probably well-founded] anxiety about getting hurt at the end of all this.

So, do I enjoy the ride while I can? Or do I ask to revaluate our arrangement? I thought about saying to him that I’m satisfied as is and that I do have serious feelings for him. But that doesn’t quite sound honest does it. If I were truly satisfied then I wouldn’t have anything to bring up. So am I unsatisfied? Can one be simultaneously satisfied and hopeful for more? For now, I know that I am worked up and to say anything in this moment would be rash. So we wait. Hopefully sleep.

Take care of yourselves ❤

TTFN,

Grace

 

Green Around the Gills

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I’ve been sick for about two weeks now, give or take a couple days of thinking I’d recovered. The worst of it is not being well enough to carry out the self-care routines that keep my mental health on the up and up. I’ve been doing so well. And yesterday I plummeted as from a sheer cliff near the top of a mountain I’d fought so hard to scale. It sounds dramatic because it feels dramatic. It’s going from calm confidence to swirling chaos all inside your own head. It’s suddenly wishing away your existence. It’s appreciating everything you have – the family, friends, coworkers, the space and the things – and suddenly longing to be elsewhere, nowhere.

Depression is a bitch.

I’m clearly in a pretty dark place at the moment. But I’m regaining sight of what I have and of what I have to look forward to. Tomorrow Jack is throwing a farewell party for a friend who’s moving back up north. This means I’ll get out and mingle with those very lovely humans I like to hang around. Maybe I’ll stay afterward. He and I have both been pretty sick. We agreed just yesterday that whatever we have feels “like death”. When I’m in this state I become ten times more unsure of myself so I will likely wait and see if he invites me to stay. More than that though I want to give us each the time and space our bodies need to heal. It’s not unlikely that we’re handing this flu right back to each other every time one of us starts to feel better. Not sure if I’m making any sense.

Today I saw my psychiatrist and had all good news aside from feeling under the weather [and consequently more vulnerable to my depression]. He booked my next appointment three months out. It feels like getting an A+ on a paper. Probably not a great model to follow though, since my mental health is not some project that I turn in to the doctor every once in a while; I don’t get applauded for feeling good, and I don’t get shamed for feeling down.

A few nights ago I went out with Jack and we ran into someone he used to sleep with. I was a disaster internally but I kept my composure like a real grown-up. I was so jealous of her; she’s beautiful, intelligent, driven, kind, and thin. On our way out he told me that she asked him if I was going home with him, and he said yes. She looked jealous, he said. I would have been equally giddy regardless of her reaction. It was so satisfying to me that he’d told her he was taking me home with him. He expected me to react more victorious than diplomatic. Of course my heart was doing somersaults. Last night though, this all reminded me of the last time I told Jack that I have serious feelings for him. He told me that he still had feelings for his ex. I knew that at the time they spoke daily. Sometimes notifications would pop up while we watched Netflix on his laptop and I would just catch her name. Now I can’t help but wonder if I still have reason to feel jealous. My feelings for him have not changed. If anything they’ve grown stronger. I want so badly to just ride the wave and let the pieces fall, but I’m terrified that they’re bound to fall out of my favor and I will have done nothing to save myself. Do I tell him again? Do I ask him about her? Or do I keep going with the flow and see what happens. My shrink wants me to do the latter and I’m inclined to follow her advice. My mom told me the other day that I have a tendency to act rashly. She said I need to slow down. So, for now, that’s what I’ll do.

Take care and TTFN,

❤ Grace

First Assignment! The New Intern

new-guy

Last night I finally turned in my first assignment for Simply the Basics. I was so intimidated by this assignment, and all I had to do was answer questions about myself and my interest in the program. Anywho, here is what I submitted:

Interview for Blog

Meet Phylicia!

Feel free to skip questions or add your own!

– What is your role with Simply the Basics?
I am Simply Basics’ new Program Assistant!

– How did you first learn about Simply the Basics? What drew you to the program?
I heard about Simply the Basics through a friend and was curious. I knew I wanted to get involved with women’s advocacy and with an organization that empowers people, and this seemed like the perfect fit. One look through its website confirmed that Simply the Basics is all about setting people up for success. It empowers people, shelters, and organizations by providing basic needs and by offering workshops that help people build for themselves a solid foundation for future success. I think what stood out to me most was its efficiency; this is a program that saw a problem and developed a solution that would benefit everyone involved, by involving everyone!

– Which Simply the Basics program do you feel the most passionately about and why?
My passion has always been education. The academy presents people with the opportunity to arm themselves with knowledge. I am a strong believer in the old adage “knowledge is power,” so I was very excited to see the workshops the program offers.

– If you could say one thing to all of the donors and supporters of Simply the Basics, what would it be?
I would tell them that they are literally lifesavers!
[I actually meant to write something else here and apparently failed to fix it in the final version]

– What personal hygiene product could you not live without?
I [literally] could not live without soap. I’m prone to infection so living without soap would be both extremely uncomfortable and potentially very dangerous.

– Are there any particular moments in your life that you can point to as being influential in your desire to give back to the community?
One of my most vivid memories from my first winter in New York is of a person lying on a vent outside of my dormitory. It was after dark and heavily snowing. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea of experiencing homelessness in severe weather. I still can’t. Simply the Basics helps ease the discomfort and suffering of people in my community, and I can’t think of a better place to invest my time and energy.

What is a fun fact about yourself?
I’m in a long distance relationship with my dog. His name is Jackson and he is very nice.