getting fine at 29, Health, Love, Personal

The Painful Awareness of Aging

While trying to come up with a loving tribute to my brother to post as a Facebook status as today marks three years since his passing, I just couldn’t. I tried so hard, but everything came out so angry and negative. Earlier today, while shopping with my mom (our tradition to help distract from the day,) we walked into a Disney store, and the first two displays were Star Wars and Marvel Comics. To make matters worse, a very wistful version of “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” was playing in the background, and all I could think of was that he’d either be angry that there was so much merchandise (angry that Disney, Disney!! of all things owns Obi-wan and Wolverine, and that Disney is totally fucking over X-Men because of Fox, blah blah blah) or beyond excited that there was more access to things that he once loved. I burst into tears. I had to leave the store. Last night at work, every minor thing was pissing me off. I couldn’t focus, I felt panicky all night.  Obviously, this day is always going to be sad and weird and hard. But the last two anniversaries, I didn’t cry on the day. I didn’t have borderline panic attacks at work the night before. Things were always just…meh. The weeks leading up to the day have always been anxiety producing, but as it got closer, it would kind of stop til I was just…meh. Why is this bothering me so much on this particular anniversary?

Oh, that’s right. Two months from Monday, I’m going to be thirty. I’m going to be the same age as my brother was when he died. Barring any sudden terminal illnesses or freak accidents, once I hit thirty and three months, I will be officially older than my older brother. To me, that is the meanest and cruelest of reminders that he’s gone. I can’t wrap my head around this. I mean, logically, yes, it makes sense that since my brother is no longer alive and I am, that I would out age him, but emotionally, it’s scary and weird. Thirty is crazy enough, but this? This just adds a whole new layer of hurt. I am dealing with this alone, and it’s hard. Who do you even talk to about this? This isn’t like a dating problem or something more universal, this is something most people don’t ever have to even think about. The last time I sought professional help in dealing with grief, the shrink more or less told me that the solution was to get a better job and a boyfriend. I’m not even kidding, that is what I got for $120 a session. I’m not trying to be a special snowflake, poor Princess Furey, but this is really hard. Anything age related, and I can’t handle it.

The most recent example: crush gone wrong rejected me for a girl that is significantly younger than me. Again, not the worst thing that ever happened to me. It’s not like he cheated on me or the girl he went after had a vendetta against me. But since I have “oh shit, I’m coming up to an age that should be celebrated, not scary but is because of my stupid brother” attached to me, I wanted to punch this guy. I felt so old, so ugly, and so horrible about myself when shit went down. But I couldn’t quite say to him, “You don’t like me that way, I get it. But for fuck’s sake, could she just be a little closer to your age so I’m not feeling shitty about my age more than I already am thanks to my dead brother? Thanks, jag off!” I admit, this is selfish and unfair on my end–I’m totally taking my anger out on this guy simply because I can’t grasp this weird, weird, weird fact. Yes, getting rejected sucks ass, but overall, it isn’t his fault. It’s not Matty’s, either. He didn’t plan this. It’s a hard, strange fact that I’m having trouble with and can’t process. Will I ever get over it? Is this going to taint every birthday? Because those are hard with or without this “death age” thing hanging over my head.

And that is why I can’t do the, “I’ll always love and miss you, brother!” type post on social media this year. As much as I want to, I can’t. I do want people to talk about him. He existed. I can’t pretend he wasn’t born; wasn’t a major part of my life as well as other people’s, like his widow, his friends, our sister, our parents, our extended family. He was. He still is. It’s just that this age thing has me freaked out. It’s not supposed to be this way. But it is what it is. And now that I’ve had the breakthrough (if you’ve read this far, thank you very much.) I can ease up a little more and actually enjoy what’s ahead, which I know he would want.

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Health, Love, Personal

Three Months In

This winter royally kicked my ass. It kicked everyone’s ass–making plans around snow, worrying about whether or not I could work (or worse, get stuck there,) dealing with everyone else’s craziness stocking up on bread and eggs, the works. The stories I have of rude customers from my retail job over the last few weeks are astounding. Adding to this mayhem is that I’m one of those people that gets miserable without sunshine. The bad thoughts I had leading up to my 29th birthday came back with a vengeance–that I wasn’t good enough, that I was stuck, I was unwanted.

I know that’s bullshit, but man, I was really feeling it. My mom, also feeling snow crazy, decided that we should go away, somewhere warm, with plenty of sunshine and no work. That place? Disney World. She insisted that it’s a much different experience when there’s no children and only two people in the group, that it wouldn’t be anything like the family trip this past August. I was reluctant for a while, but as the trip drew near and the negative thoughts and emotions grew stronger, I was more than happy to bounce.

It was so worth it. It was so worth it to go, to get away. Yes, we had a jam packed itinerary, but I was the most relaxed I had been in months. It was nice to be removed from certain situations, and in new places. There was sunshine! Flowers! Warmth! I met Ariel! I got a kick ass hot stone massage! And, perhaps this is the weirdest thing, but being in Disney World made me realize a few things about myself:

  • I’m not ready for kids. Although I have more patience for kids now than I did in my early twenties, the mothers at my hotel looked so worn down and exhausted every day. I was that person in the parks wondering why there were so many damn kids (because, you know, it’s DISNEY WORLD.)
  • I have to take things one by one. I’ve been making myself crazy thinking that I have to get my own place, a better paying job and my version of Marshall all before I turn thirty. That’s insane. I feel if I take it one at a time, it’s less pressure and things will fall into place themselves otherwise.
  • I have to shift my perspective when it comes to thinking about time. I’ve been angry because I feel like I’ve lost two and a half years and that I’m trapped. I actually began thinking about it the weekend before I left; where I attended the engagement party of a good friend. At the time of the party last year, she and her fiancé were broken up. I’d always been looking at it from the opposite side; that it only seems to be when things are going well that bad things happen. It can go the other way, and I can’t be on my guard all the time anymore.
  • The most important: I can never be my “old” self again. And after some time away from my usual routine, I don’t want to be. If I’m my old self, that means (a) Matty is still here and (b) that means that I’m back in my early twenties where I was even more ridiculous than I am now–whiny, hung up on stupid, stupid guys, ungrateful (I want to tell my college self to chill out so bad, that things really weren’t so bad) drunk and really unsure of myself. I want to keep moving forward.

I know this may seem like a bit of a rehash from my last personal post, but I need a reminder sometimes. I think we all do, that things aren’t so bad, to be more patient, to slow down a little, or in some cases, speed up. Once you graduate from high school and/or college, when you know all the bullshit is going to end, there is no definitive end to things, unless you are 100% certain you know when exactly you’re going to die. It’s scary for some. An earlier draft of this post, titled “How Many Times Can I Learn to Fly?” detailed how I was sick of learning life lessons, sick of setbacks. But perhaps instead of resisting, I should actually put these lessons into practice.

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Love

Valentine’s Day Pressure is Bullshit

I am usually a big fan of Valentine’s Day. Although I’m always single on the day, I usually find a way to make it fun–celebrate my other single friends by going out to dinner and a movie, give them little gifts. Make valentines for everyone I know. Celebrate myself by buying something I normally wouldn’t for myself. (this year, I bought myself two tulle skirts, one powder blue, the other with Cinderella’s castle printed on it from the Cinderella: a Collection by LC Lauren Conrad at Kohl’s.) I don’t believe Valentine’s Day should make people feel shitty. Use the “love day” as a way to express love and gratitude for those you do care about–friends, yourself, family, co-workers, whomever.

But this year, I can’t take the pressure this holiday brings to many people. I think it’s because I’m closer to 30 and by October, I’ll have been to two engagement parties, three weddings and a former college housemate will have had her baby (that she’s excited about) within the year. So what does Valentine’s Day have to do with it? It’s bringing up these insecurities. There’s weird consumerist pressure to make February 14th either ultimate day of romance and passion or to make single women feel like they’re walking Cathy comics that I feel stressed.

(I had to.)

It’s such bullshit–why?  Valentine’s Day makes single people feel awful for being such, and it makes people in relationships feel stressed out over an unofficial holiday where it’s like, you don’t pick the right restaurant or show up with an engagement ring, relationship over!  It’s so dumb. So how do we circumvent these awful feelings? It’s not easy, at least from the single person’s perspective. The last two Valentine’s Days, I’ve had to work my retail job where customers and coworkers alike shot me looks of pity and served backhanded compliments as they were running off to meet their significant others while I was stuck closing the store. ugh, it was the worst. And as I can’t stress enough, it’s not necessary. We should be appreciating our loved ones every day. Valentine’s Day should just be seen as a bonus with cute decorations and a better color scheme than Christmas.

So is there a way to beat the pressure? You could be cynical and look at it as just a day for retailers to make money at the end of January/beginning of February, or you could hold on to the hippie dippy ideal that we go all out for everyone we love. I think in the end, you make the day as you want it to be. People are always going to try and be “helpful,” but they’re not important. What is important is that you’re happy, healthy and secure in your relationship. If you’re single, don’t look at it as a race. When you do get to the point that your friends are, it’ll be worth it. Don’t settle. If you want a relationship to happen, it will. You just need patience and to not let greeting card companies, movie studios, restaurants, and magazines make you feel awful. You’re fantastic!

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Celebrity, Love, Women

Why the Media Needs to Shut Up About Kristen Stewart

Kristen Stewart has been everywhere lately thanks to some photographs of her kissing marriedSnow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders that were leaked to tabloids and gossip blogs. Needless to say, Twi-hards are all a twitter over these randy photos. It isn’t so much because Stewart is kissing a married man, it’s because she cheated on Robert Pattinson, her Twilight costar and boyfriend.

Now, I have a number of issues with this “scandal.” For starters, I’m in the camp that thinks this is a huge publicity stunt to keep Stewart and Pattinson in the spotlight until Breaking Dawn Part Two comes out in November. Seriously, she’s been in the public eye for how long and she’s making out with a married man in an open parking lot? Really? I bet you dollars for doughnuts that the couple will have a miraculous reunion weeks before the premiere, where Pattinson will forgive Stewart, and all will be well in Twilight land. However, that being said, I’m still not digging the attitude many bloggers and Twi-hards are taking with Stewart.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a fan of placing the sole blame on the “other woman,” and I’m mentioning it again. Stewart was not the only one in that parked car. I’m really sick and tired of people claiming that she single-handedly destroyed not only her relationship, but the marriage of the director who is also a father of two, who (as of this post) is still in his relationship, and has had almost nothing negative happen to him career-wise.

I’m also annoyed that Pattinson has been accused of cheating on Stewart many, many times, and he hasn’t had any negative ramifications for his actions. He hasn’t had Twilight fans make videos asking him “how could he hurt Kristen?!” He hasn’t been kicked off film projects like Stewart has–it was announced earlier this week that Stewart would not be in the sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman, the project is now being retooled as spin-off film for Chris Hemsworth, who played the Huntsman.

Now, is Stewart completely innocent? Of course not, she was caught with a married man while in a relationship of her own. But is she the only one involved? Uh, no. The way the tabloids and gossip blogs are treating her is awful, as if she is the first young adult woman to cheat on her boyfriend. Perhaps this “scandal” is intensified as they are in the public eye and Stewart and Pattinson are the stars of one of the biggest film franchises ever, but as I’ve said again and again–women in the popular media just can’t win. If Pattinson had been caught cheating, he’d be fine, and people would either be pissed at her for leaving him or staying with him. How the hell is that fair?

So, what’s your take, LivLunatics? Is Stewart getting what she deserves, or is it time we tell the media to back off when it comes to these situations, to stop making “good girls” and “bad girls” simply because of one bad action? Shout it out in the comments!

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