My Guest Post for The Confusing Middle

I was honored when Aaron over at The Confusing Middle asked me to write a guest post for him while he’s on vacay. Here it is! (Censored, because apparently “fuck” isn’t everyone’s favorite word).

Hey, kids… I’m out of town this week. Finally taking that vacation I’ve been thinking about for eight years. Anyway, while I’m gone some friends have agreed to write some guest posts for my blog. Today’s post comes from Alex. I asked her the question, what is one experience that has shaped the person you […]

via Sticking to Your Convictions — The Confusing Middle

As Featured on News Cult: A How-To Guide to Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning is cleaning on fleek. It’s not just your regular dusting, vacuuming, washing and scrubbing. It’s a complete overhaul of your home and life, both physically and spiritually. It’s a time to reassess and decide what you no longer want or need. And there are ways of doing it that streamline the process so that you get the most out of it. So here’s your how-to guide for spring cleaning.

Go into it from a minimalist perspective

The goal is to get rid of a lot of shit. We all have too much stuff, and there’s no need to live like that. It takes a literal and figurative load off when you toss unnecessary material items. So be prepared to just PURGE.

Set standards

For how you decide what to get rid of. I think that if you haven’t used something in the last year, that should be the main criteria. Then, things that are too worn, broken, or otherwise obviously can’t/won’t be used should go next. Otherwise, go with your gut—as you scan your belongings, if you don’t have a strong feeling or justification for wanting to keep something, or it just pulls at you or gives you weird vibes for whatever reason, decide to get rid of it.

Leave no stone unturned

Go through your entire home—every closet, under every bed, the attic, every cupboard, every storage bin—and pull out things to get rid of, using the above guidelines.

Make categories

For how you’re going to get rid of things. Usually, these are along the lines of throw away/recycle, donate/give away, or sell. This will help you feel more productive, and not like you’re just wasting everything by throwing it in the trash. If you’re super anal and your spirit animal is the label maker organized, you can make cute, color-coded labels for your categories.

Do the trashing/recycling first

Get it out of the way. Throw away or recycle (if possible) everything you want to get rid of that isn’t nice enough to donate, give away, or sell. **Please note** Your neighbors will apparently go through your trash so don’t throw anything away you aren’t prepared to see on the front page of the newspaper.

Then move on to the donating/giving away

Choose a charity or cause that you’ve vetted and you’re passionate about, and donate everything you possibly can to it (and as many others as you’d like). The best part of this is that you are doing good, (unless you’re a Republican, and then the best part for you is that you get a tax write off). Don’t be an asshole and donate shitty stuff—only donate gently used or new things (or follow the rules of the place you’re donating to, if it has them).

Another option is to give away things to your friends, family, neighbors, or anyone else you think could benefit from or would appreciate them. If you have stuff you’ve bought that’s brand new and you ‘ve never used, you can also repurpose it as gifts. I know that etiquette people are going to jump down my throat for this one, but why waste more money/resources if you already have something that would make an appropriate gift? Plus, it’s handy to keep a “gift drawer” at home that’s stocked with some nice little gifts anyways, in case you come upon a last minute need for one (read: when you’re a shitty friend/guest and don’t think ahead).

Or, you could throw a swap meet, where you and a  group of friends get together and bring items you’ve decided to get rid of that you can trade each other for. This is just a way to make spring cleaning more fun—make a party out of it (read: any excuse for alcohol)! And so that it doesn’t completely defeat the purpose of decluttering, you could make a rule that for each item you trade, you have to donate another. At the end, you can all make a drunken visit to your local Good Will or another organization and drop off your donations together.

Any of these ‘give away’ options will make you feel better about the incredible amount of money you’ve wasted buying things over the years. #noregrets #YOLO #HAGS 

Then sell

I’m not well-versed in the selling used items thing, but I know that some people are successful doing it. If you’re strapped for cash, see if a consignment or vintage store will take any of your clothes (although I’ve heard a lot of them are pretty snooty and don’t take even genuinely nice stuff—like, you’re a used clothing store, you’re already out of elitism’s reach… GTF over yourself). Or see if you can sell stuff online (I’ve had some success with selling college textbooks on Amazon). If you live near the endangered species known as bookstores and record stores, try selling your books/CDs/DVDs/albums there. Or get a booth at a flea market. I also just tried using thredUP, and while I just sent in my first bag so can’t make a super definitive personal value judgment yet, from what I can tell, they’re a good service—I especially like that they recycle items that people send them but they can’t sell (read: the offensively unstylish P’s OS you send in that no one, not even a naked redhead stranded on a beach at high noon, would wear).

Avoid keeping things at all cost

If you’re like me, you have hoarder instincts, which lead you to hold onto things for no reason. You even hold onto sentimental items that make you feel bad, like cards from old boyfriends, jeans that no longer fit, or other reminders of how you’ve failed at life that you’re fooling yourself into believing are somehow motivational to you in a positive way. But why keep stuff around that makes you feel bad or that otherwise serves no purpose (which then just makes you feel bad anyway because it’s proof of your wastefulness)? I mean, I know we’re not as bad as refusing to get rid of our baby’s dirty diapers or collecting every toothpick we’ve ever used, but still, holding onto anything that is in any way excessive or useless just doesn’t make sense. So just let it go. In other words, rather than confront your demons, just get rid of them. #denial #ifpantsaretootightandthey’renotintheclosettohauntyou,aretheyreallytootight?

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/guide-spring-cleaning/

As Featured on News Cult: How to Get Over Writer’s Block

As I write this, I have writer’s block. I thought a good way to get over it would be to write a piece about how to get over it. Not sure that’s logical, but I figured it’s enough of a cyclical tactic that it’s bound to work eventually. So, that said, in real time, here’s how to get over writer’s block.

Put pen to paper

I hate to say it, but forcing yourself to do it is the only way you’ll get any sort of momentum. I’m pretty sure Nike’s slogan was a product of writer’s block. Even if what you write is complete shit, still make yourself start there. In my experience, it’s not as easy as just sitting down and forcing yourself to write one time and then you’re off to the races—you may have to do this several times until you start feeling like you’re making any progress and that it won’t always be such a battle. So start slow—maybe just jot down a few words today. Tomorrow, a sentence. Wednesday, a paragraph. Etc. And that way, too, if and when you fail, it will at least be a slow burn instead of a miraculous flame-out. #welikeourfailurelikewelikeourgeneralexistence #unnoticed

Stop being a perfectionist

I think part of writer’s block is fear that your product will be terrible. But if you just accept that it will be terrible, or at least less than perfect, you’ll free yourself of pressure to meet a certain standard, and then can write with abandon. No one’s perfect—not even people who claim to be. So don’t let your misguided aspirations/delusions of perfection stop you from expressing yourself—the Catholic church(/actually really any religion) sure doesn’t!

Cry about it

Yes, your creative dry spell is majorly heart-wrenching. So just let it out. Will you ever be able to write again? It’s impossible to say. Have you lost your vision forever? Probably. Are you less insightful, witty, and original than you thought? 100%. You have every reason to weep. And while you should probably just end it all now because clearly you’re going nowhere, also consider getting over it. #buildthatbridge #thenburnit #afteryougetoverit #becauseifyouburnitbeforeyougetoverityouwon’tbeabletogetoverit #butyou’reallclearafteryougetoverit #burnbabyburn #bernbabybern #BernieSanders2016 #seewhatIdidthere  

Realize that writer’s block is mostly composed of your laziness

Sure, it’s more glamorous to say that our muse has left us, but really, we’re mainly just too lazy to do the hard work that is writing. I don’t think anyone knows why anyone writes, because it’s really just hard. Overall, the process is agonizing. So it makes sense that sometimes we feel like watching 9 hours of shitty reality TV back-to-back instead. We don’t need to term that “writer’s block”—we can just be honest with ourselves. And also not feel ashamed for it—everyone needs and wants breaks. To be allowed, that instinct doesn’t have to be manipulated into some version of martyrdom.

Focus on what you’d enjoy writing about

And do that. Maybe you’re having writer’s block on a subject that you don’t particularly care about. Makes sense. So if you can switch to something you give 2 shits about (at least—aim for 2-4 shits given), your block may dissolve. I know this is easier said than done, especially if you’re writing on assignment. But try to find creative ways to make whatever you’re writing about more appealing to you so that the process of writing about it will be less painful. One way to accomplish this is to look at every piece of writing as a learning opportunity; everything you write requires some knowledge on your part, and that may mean you have to do some learning before you can write with authority. And learning new things is great—mainly because then when someone says something ignorant, you can shut them the fuck down with complete peace of mind. #writingisyourweapon

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/worst-get-writers-block/

As Featured on News Cult: My Bucket List

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Let’s face it: we’re dying. Moment by moment. We’re on a slow, painful march towards death. But none of us live like that. We live like our best days are ahead–it’s only going to get better–we have infinite time to accomplish our goals and live our dreams. We’re immortal.

WAKE UP PEOPLE. You could literally die in one second. What if you find out you have terminal cancer? Would you be satisfied with how you’ve lived? Have you done everything you’ve wanted? NO YOU HAVE NOT. So get your shit together, and make a bucket list. And then make a point of ACTUALLY crossing things off it– “making/checking off a bucket list” should not be on your bucket list.

Mine is below if you need inspiration. Some of these things I’ve accomplished already, some I still have to go. I’ll leave it up to your imagination to guess which is which. Here’s what I hope to do before I die. And if I die before I do, the burden is on all of you to finish it for me. NO PRESSURE DON’T FUCK IT UP IDIOTS.

1. Invite a Jehovah’s Witness in when they knock on my door and engage in a thoughtful debate with them about the existence of God and the merits of Christianity.

2. Eat deep fried ice cream.

I just don’t understand HOW they fry it without melting it??!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Date a guy who’s not a complete loser. #it’sasurprisinglydifficultfeat

4. Skydive.

*This should probably be last on my list in case it kills me. #thinkingahead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Tell that one cashier at Best Buy what I really think of her–that she’s a soulless, bitter killjoy and every time she utters a word a MILLION angels die.

6. Impeach The Patriarchy

7. Travel any- and everywhere.

8. Understand “The Cloud”

9. Never accumulate excessive wealth.

10. Win a game of The Settlers of Catan against my dbag cousin who thinks he’s omniscient but is really just a scourge upon humanity.

11. Have clear skin.

12. Write a book.

13. Recite Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” in its entirety at someone’s funeral.

 

The End. It’s short but to the point.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/?p=56193