Just because an article says something doesn’t mean it’s suddenly true: The Gluten Free Debate

Dear people who insist you know what’s best,

I don’t want to hate you or your insistence that you know what’s best for me, but that’s mostly because I don’t want to hate. I don’t like to have animosity toward anything because that anger isn’t useful, it doesn’t bring anything to a world that already has enough of that.

However, I need you to know that you are wrong and you don’t know the first thing about what’s going on just because you read the title of an article and have decided that your ability to read approximately a sentence has clarified or solved all the mysteries about this one particular problem. However, what you forgot to do was read the entire article or go back and look at any of the research that could have helped make you more insightful about said issue.

Anyhow, let me not be vague about todays topic: Food allergies/intolerances.

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Tour Day 2!

Fuck you 7:30 alarm! I am fucking pissed that we have to wake up and it’s only been 2.5 hours since my eyes shut. The Best Western bed that otherwise wouldn’t have been comfortable was the only place that seemed right to stay in. I try to stay in as long as I can while the other ladies get ready.

My eyes are closed and I realize that Sel has taken a shower and is getting ready in the room.

“Should we talk?” I wonder. My best guess is no, we shouldn’t until it seems like it’s time.

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Tour Day 1!

Day 1:

6:14am. It’s 6:14 and I’m already awake on day one of tour. Restless, excited, and nervous for the day I wait for my boyfriends alarm to sound as I lay awake crafting the list of items that I’ll need to pack and buy before we leave four tour in five hours.

K is breathing softly and always adjusts his body to how mine moves, but I am moving too much and I don’t want him to awaken, but now it’s 6:18. I’m pretty sure I’ve figured out the lists now and I have no idea what time his alarm is going off today. I figure it’s somewhere between fifteen and thirty more minutes. I can lay here, but what do I think about now?

Oh shit… I just remembered I need that extra thing to add to the list. So I go through the list as many times as I can. Don’t forget the red nail polish, the inhaler, the power converter, the vibrator? No scratch that, it’s too loud and I’m not going to have any alone time, I’ll just have to figure some phone stuff out.

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Change of Plans: Staying put after letting go

When things start moving in an alternate direction even after you have a goal in mind, sometimes there’s nothing you can do but move in the new direction.

I had mapped out what my next few months would look like, travelling around the country, meeting new people, learning more about myself and contemplating the meaning of life or some crap like that, as travellers are wont to do. I was going to taste the varied foods of Mexico as I skirted along the West Coast and East through Arizona and Texas. Then I would have gumbo, so much of it, once I hit New Orleans.

I would meet Southern folks and listen to their stories and stand at the grocery store talking for hours even though I only came in for a few apples and some soup.

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Quotes from a long conversation at 3am

Last night, I was supposed to go to bed at 1am. Instead, my friend Elissa and I stayed up in my car talking for the next three hours about everything we could try to fit into a three hour conversation before the sun came up. I learned so much about her and I said more than I’ve probably ever said to anyone. I love conversations like this. Things were good and hard and wonderful and real. Everything was so fucking REAL. Here are some things we discussed.

 

 

“Everybody around our age is a commitment-phobe but at the same time loyal as fuck. I mean… I’m loyal at least, I’m like a dog.”

“It fucking pisses me off when people say they don’t call their mom. I mean… call your fucking mother! Because when she dies, all those excuses you had for not calling her like, “oh, but she doesn’t call me” aren’t gonna matter anymore. You’re just gonna be left with some stupid regret, some stupid stupid stupid regret and that’s gonna be your own damn fault.”

Lissa and Me chillin'

Lissa and Me chillin’

“His life shouldn’t have turned out the way it has. People don’t understand all the different variables that make you turn out the way you do. He didn’t kill because he wanted to, he killed because he had to.”

“I don’t think you ever get over someone dying you just learn how to live with it.”

“I wished my whole life that I had a sister. The grass is fucking greener? That shit is stupid, you don’t wish that you grew up alone like I did. There’s nothing worse than growing up by yourself. You open the door and the only thing there to raise you is your TV set. I got so fat and ate so much because food was my only family. You don’t want what I had. I grew up so alone. I was so very lonely.”

“All this drama and I still love my sisters. I love my mom, I love my sisters, I looooove them soooooo much!”

“We’re in our 30’s now. The normal thing to do is to start a family, have a house, do these domestic things right? Well… What if that’s not what I want?

It would be so much simpler if that’s what I wanted, but for now I haven’t figured that out – at least I’m happy.”

“I dream about my mom once a week. Usually I end up saving her from dying over and over again, but sometimes we just talk. Those are the ones that hurt the most, because I get confused sometimes and think that she’s still alive when I wake up, because she’s not. It was just a dream and I have to remind myself where I am.”

E: I don’t know your mom’s name after all this time.

N: It’s Carolyn. I don’t know your dad’s name either.

E: Hunter. Samuel Hunter Eng.

“All those pizzas that came out… I was like… I’m gonna fucking eat the shit out of that pizza.”

“He’s tied to my father’s death. I was with T for the two years that I watched my dad die. I was stressed, angry, manic. What would our relationship have been like if he hadn’t been dying?”

“I knew a guy that was dating a girl with one leg that confessed to me that he likes dating disabled girls because he feels like they’ll never leave him and he likes feeling needed. I bet he’s dating a paraplegic by now.”

Lissa and me!

29 Seconds

29 seconds are all I have left of my mom’s voice.

This recording is one I had saved in my voicemail for no other reason than

2582_505684452944_7524717_n it was “cute” at the time.

She sings Happy Birthday on my 28th year, but she’ll never see my 29th.

I am certain every time I hear this that she is still alive.

Her voice will never become old and high pitched and remind me of apple pies like my Great Aunt Sue who is 91 now.

She won’t sing my children to sleep when they one day come. They will have no Grandma to play with, to make them feel special by baking cakes and taking them to Sunday ice cream (though… that part is for the best because she couldn’t cook a lick).

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine,” she sang to me every night when I was little because I was her only and so she was mine.

She taught me how to sing, though she thought I had no natural talent as a singer.

The song that we knew was ours and would make us laugh to sing together was this one:

“See no one loves you more than me and no one ever will.”

She was beautiful, talented, and smart. She could have been a professional singer, a model, a doctor, but she got scared because she never thought she was good enough because she was the “darkest” kid in the family.

She was not perfect, but she was my hero, my mentor, my friend, and my mother.

I have 29 seconds of her voice. What I wouldn’t give for another 29 or another 29 years of it if I could.

I write her songs she will never hear.

I will keep writing her songs until I sing no longer, the time when I am no longer above the ground.

I save all voicemails now that I think are important like this from the people I love because I worry that tomorrow I might wake up and never hear their voice again.

Call someone and tell them you love them and maybe they’ll keep it for many years to remember you by.

Listen:

Packed: The baggage that’s left

Today is my last night sleeping in my old place. It was supposed to be last night but in a fortunate set of events I actually got to push it a day. At this point I’ve got most of my stuff out and all of my bags are packed and damn does it seem like I’ve got a lot of baggage.

I haven’t even left, but I’ve been forced to do a lot of reflection recently as I prepare for everything that’s about to come.

Every day as I pared more stuff out of my life, it seemed like more hidden parts of what I thought I was done dealing with/ struggling with came to light.

What’s in my baggage:

  1. Some rational and irrational fears
  2. Grief
  3. Heartache
  4. Anger
  5. Doubt

I’m not afraid to admit that I cried a few times as I packed things up and threw things out. Here is a short list of some of the “stuff” that made the cut and now gets to sit in my storage space until I decide to come back for it.

Kept:

1.       Stuffed animals and baby blanket

My mom tried to toss my 3×3 yellow baby blanket with soothing silk edges when I was 12. I found it in the trash. I washed it and hid it under my daybed for four years until I found it there again, relieved it of its incarceration, and told my mom she couldn’t throw it away again because I would keep it for the rest of my life and give it to my child. The status of the blanket now is – tattered beyond repair, but I can’t bear to part with it, I made a promise to myself back then.

No kids as of yet to take the blanket off my hands, plus a tiny being might choke themselves to death on the holes throughout the thing. Best to buy a new one if tiny version of me ever comes along in my future.

Stuffed animals: Lighty-bear, Horse shack, You are my sunshine Lion.  Sometimes they were my only friends as a child.

Lighty-bear, a 20” skinny white bear, on Riri and Raleigh’s Christmas tree at 8 and slept with him in my bed until I left for college. Also, I’m super creative and good at naming things as you can tell.

Horse shack: A tiny gray stuffed horse. Did you ever watch Welcome Back Kotter? Nick at Nite taught me a lot as a kid. This little guy named after Arnold Horshack used to give me advice about the darndest things, like how to avoid certain kids in school.

You are my sunshine Lion: A little windup lion that plays…. You guessed it! You are my sunshine! My mom used to sing this song to me every night as a child, so… that’s going nowhere anytime soon.

2.       A few boxes of books

It’s fucking hard to part with books. Ask anyone that has a lot of books how hard this is and they’ll understand. They’ll tell you stories about where they found some of them, how the pages smell, the first time they read the book and what it meant.  Ask anyone who owns five and they’ll say, “what’s the big deal? They’re just books.” Fuck you, person with five books, you’ll never understand. Just go watch the movie or tv show about the book you could have read and suck it.

Okay… that’s all really harsh, but I really got to the point where I was irritated with people asking me what the big deal with getting rid of books is.

3. Mom’s Crystal:

Glasses, plates, more glasses, cake tray. I have never ever ever used this except for when I was younger. Three boxes of crystal and 4 years later, it’s just gonna go ahead and chill with me until I’ve got a house and one of those shmancy cabinets allocated for crystal.

4. Journals  (Ages 8 – present):

It would be fairly ridiculous if anyone out there asked me why I’m keeping these, but just in case… it’s because when I’m hella hella old and #1. Have nothing to do but read and watch tv and #2. My memories are even worse than they are now (and they’re already pretty bad) then I can look upon the journals with fondness and delight, or more possibly disgust and wtf? Middle school was shitty, so was most of high school, but at least it’ll be a testament to getting through it.

5. Mom’s Jewelry:

so much of it is Gold! Ugh… I look terrible in gold. I will likely not wear much of it, but sometimes when I put it on for just a second, I kind of feel like her. I remember days when I would help her get ready and put the necklaces around her neck. She would smile. She was beautiful. These remind me of everything good.

 

Tossed (or donated, for the environmentally sensitive):

1. A few boxes of books:

After ranting about keeping books, I did get rid of some because my life just can’t haul the amount that I have. It was time to step away from some, especially the ones that I would likely never read again, for example, My Brit Lit Compendium as well as my Critical Theory books. I’m sure there are some English majors out there cringing, but come on… I’m never gonna be a prof with my grammar and writing etiquette!

2. Mom’s sewing equipment:

This was a hard call. My mom had a sewing machine and a serger that I’ve been carting around since she passed. Well… I did what I had to do, I called Selena and asked her what the fuck I should do. If anyone doesn’t know Selena, she’s basically my friend and my surrogate mom up in Seattle. She’s the bassist for our band NighTraiN and I knew she would know the answer.

“Donate them,” she said.

That’s what I did.

3.       Mom’s maijong and backgammon sets

I don’t know about you, but… I really like board games and card games. Luckily cards are easily transportable; what aren’t, are these games. They’ve been moving with me for a while and I haven’t played them. I realized that I could think about them, but I couldn’t play them with her again, so I may as well just play them online like the rest of everything I do these days.

4.       Clothing I haven’t worn in centuries

No explanation needed.

Well, I’m not going to go into all that emotional baggage that goes with this. That’ll have to be a later blog because that shit is a little deeper than anyone needs read on a lovely Thursday.

Creating Coco

Right now I’m creating Coco.

 

Coco is a flirt

Coco is bold

Coco is dangerous

Coco is tempting

Coco has no boundaries.

Coco is desired.

Coco is on fire.

Coco inspires.

Coco loves everything.

Coco keeps secrets.

Coco never lies.

Coco only trusts those who can be trusted.

Coco fights.

Coco knows your deepest darkest things.

Coco is a dark thing. The dark thing that haunts you.

 

Who is Coco?  

She is my alter ego.

She is the identity that is associated with my new stage name Coco Cherie.

She won’t officially be unleashed until the end of August, but I can’t wait to meet her.

She is not necessarily everything I’m not, but she is certainly everything I want to be.

What will Coco wear? What will Coco sing? I guess you’ll just have to wait and see.

Legs Wide Open: Climbing to the top of the Corporate Ladder the easy way

               Do you want to increase the chances of getting that next promotion?

               Have you been stuck in a rut in your work and home life and you need to figure out a way to move in a new direction?

               Do you feel like you lack the confidence to navigate social and work circles?

               Well look no further you’ve come to the right place!

A few days ago, Mashable put out a list of their Top 15 Ted Talks that will change your life.Original-Wonder-Woman-Lynda-Carter1

I consistently forget about these nice little talks crammed with generally life relatable information tied up into neat 15-30 minute packages. So thank you to mashable for the reminder. I clicked on the link and scrolled through to see what might be the most life changing for me at the moment.

Then I saw it…

As a person obsessed with body language, I’m surprised I didn’t happen upon Amy Cuddy’s, Your body language shapes who you are, sooner.  The thing is that I’d heard some of the information second hand just a few weeks before discovering the actual talk, but didn’t realize they were one in the same.

Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, is a professor and researcher at Harvard Business School. A social psychologist is someone who conducts research on human behavior for a living. She gets to analyze “people’s interactions with others and their social environment” on a daily basis – frankly I’m extremely jealous because I pretty much do this on a smaller substandard scale every day with fairly inadequate results.

I’m sure all the ladies out there are wondering right about now how opening their legs is going to lead them to better careers, more confidence, and possibly better social standing. Well first, I think you should listen to the Ted Talk, but if you don’t have 21 minutes of leisure time to get through it, let me summarize.

Most people recognize that body language, also known as non-verbal communication is a language in itself, but do you know how much it’s really effecting your conversation?  The actual words you use during a conversation relate only 7% of your conversation, voice tonality 38% and body language 55%. 55% is huge! If you are having a conversation and your body is saying something other than what you want it to say then what do you think that does in terms how well you are going to do when you are trying to make first impressions, find a new partner, convince a room full of people your idea on a project is worth pursuing, and more?

In order to use non-verbal communication to your advantage you first need to become aware of your own body language!

  • How do you sit? Do you cross your legs or keep them open?
  • How do you stand when talking to new people, friends, business partners, supervisors? What kind of hand gestures do you use? Do you fold your arms, keep them at your sides, make gestures?
  • How much eye contact do you make? Do you make constant eye contact, look away sometimes, look down?

Beyond these, there are other aspects of body language that we are all aware of subconsciously that are the building blocks of how people judge us and decide who moves forward, who stays put, and who moves back.

I don’t actually have time to go through how to change all aspects of your body language since we are here to talk about gaining confidence, but please see: Body language – Great tips to improve our conversation for 18 handy tips on improving and understanding body language.

Open your Legs: Becoming confident in 2 minutes

According to Professor Cuddy, it only takes 2 minutes to boost confidence levels enough through doing a simple pose that you can do almost anywhere to help land you that job! It’s called power posing.

Power Posing is simple. It requires that you open your body up and stretch out your arms and legs.

Here are some classic power pose examples.

body-language-power-pose-2 High-Power-Poses1

Facts about power posing

  • Testosterone increases up to 20% while cortisol (our stress hormone) drops about 10%, giving you both a confidence booth and the ability to deal with a stressful situation. This works for both genders.
  • Power poses come across as more competent and likeable in interviews and presentations.
  • Your brain chemistry could be permanently changed. Professor Cuddy believes and shows that implementing power poses into your daily routine can turn, “Fake it till you make it” into “Fake it till you become it.” You become that person you want to project to your audience.

Why women need this

Women are already socialized to reign in their words and keep opinions to themselves and so if you watch female body language, you’ll often see women’s bodies closed and crossed. Just the act of crossing your legs is enough to close the body off and make the body smaller, while power posing makes the body bigger. Women are often afraid to take up space, which mean women are showing to the world they lack confidence, which I know is not true!

Closing the body off actually does the opposite of power posing in terms of how it affects your brain chemistry:

  • Testosterone decreases by up to 25%, while cortisol increases by 15% making it harder to perform presentations and increases anxiety levels.

It’s not necessary that you spread your legs out wide, but making sure not to cross them all the time is key in helping you actually boost your confidence in any situation.

Can this really help you climb the ladder? It’s all up to how you pursue the ladder. Many women lack the confidence to ask for raises, lead presentations, and are constantly leaning back instead of advancing in their careers. In fact, watch this other Ted Talk by, Sheryl Sandberg, Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders about that.

This two minute exercise might be just the boost you need to get you to that next step in your career.

If you were reading this because you thought perhaps it might help in another arena. A plus side to this is that the slight increase in testosterone may increase libido as well. In any case, it’s worth a shot, so why not start power posing today and start your journey to the top of that ladder!