Archives for posts with tag: seattle

It’s a typical Seattle afternoon – gray, dismal, clouded, dripping with rainy melancholy. Sitting at the hipster cafe, blowing my nose and sniffling because I’m sick as a dog, the man next to me asks if I have a cold or if I’m doing cocaine.

I guess the question itself isn’t so strange. Sometimes the winters here drive us to do something – anything – to get us out of the malaise that seeps into our very pores. And while I do not personally turn to chemical substances to get me through, I am no stranger to harming myself in the pursuit of feeling better.

Maybe it’s by pushing myself to the limit of what I can take – not sleeping enough, not eating right, drinking too much, wasting my valuable energy and time on the pointless abyss that is men in Seattle and dating. Maybe it’s that internal monologue that tells me how very much I suck at life and encourages me to just give it all up. Maybe it’s crawling under the covers (literally) and giving up on the outside world.

When I was eighteen and severely anorexic, weighing 35 pounds less than I do today, my dad and I used to take walks down the trail by our house. My brain was foggy from lack of nutrition and my body was weak with strain and sadness. My only motivation was the calories I was burning (of which I had so few to spare) as we picked up our pace around the turn. My dad used to tell me that if we kept working and believing, we could part the gray clouds above. I knew he meant these clouds to symbolize my disease, my depression, but I still pictured myself literally pushing the clouds away to allow the far-off sun through. Willing that warm yellow light to give my pale and sick body back some of its vigor and life.

Things these days are different. I eat food. I like my body. But the clouds are still there, a lot of the time. And it isn’t for just one reason in particular. Yes, we have an orange blob of hatred for a president and a large segment of the population that has proven its contempt for women, immigrants, and minorities with their vote. Yes, the state of international affairs and human rights worldwide is cause for immense concern. And yes, I feel sadness and emptiness despite living the white middle class privileged life that I am so lucky to lead. But is one of these things the cause?

I don’t think so. I know that depression runs deep in my family. And sometimes I decide that I should be able to cure myself of it – for fuck’s sake, my life is pretty damn good in the grand scheme of things.

But depression is not just an inherited trait – I believe it is also a symptom of my generation. We have too much; we want too much. There is an endless supply of things to desire, and technology makes acquiring them that much easier. Our endless comparison of ourselves to others that we either know (looking at a high school acquaintance’s seemingly perfect life on Facebook) or have no actual connection with (read all about the super diet that gave Kate Upton that dream-worthy body in Marie Claire) is the opposite of what we actually need in our lives. Comparison truly is the thief of joy.

So that girl from college has a more impressive job than you? So what. Her life is her own. And your old friend from childhood married your crush? Good for them. Comparing what you have to what they seem to possess will end in nothing but heartache.

So maybe part of what we need is to stop this joy-stealing crusade of looking at our lives and measuring it against what others have. To fully, as we say in yoga, “live in the moment.” To be actually grateful for the blessings in our lives and not worry that someone else has something even “better.”

And trust me, if ever I figure out how to do this, you’ll be the first ones I tell.

JohnMayerDerpy

Like everyone else in Seattle, I’m still riding the Seahawks Super Bowl high. Our long-awaited football superiority was pretty much the only thing that anyone talked about for months prior to the game; green and blue were the only colors worn as far as the eye could see; Richard Sherman became a local hero much to the chagrin of the rest of the world; and I’m pretty sure I started murmuring “kakaw” and “beast mode” in my sleep.

So naturally, I was super hyped after the crushing total domination that the Hawks dealt the Broncos on February 2. I felt so much pride for our massively talented players and our state. It was a pretty amazing way for a team to win their first Bowl, even if I did feel kinda awful for Manning after all those sad puppydog looks he was giving…but hey, the dude’s already got one ring.

Everyone in the city was positively bouncing off the walls and going crazy – at least for Seattleites (see this hilarious twitterstorm of #HowSeattleRiots tweets making fun of the city’s polite raging). And like so many others, my friends and I rushed out into the streets, honking our horns, high-fiving strangers and chanting Sea! Hawks! between every sip of craft beer.

That night was a blast. Except for one thing.

At the only bar I went to, I was groped three separate times by three complete strangers.

The first (obviously wasted) guy put his arms around me, told me that I was beautiful, and then (as I attempted to push him off) proceeded to stick his hand into my jeans back pocket while simultaneously licking the inside of my ear. What. The. Funk.

Escaping from him, I eventually made my way outside the bar, where my friend and I chanted along with the crowd and sang We Are the Champions – right up until Creeper #2 walked up and grabbed me around the waist from behind. I turned around expecting to see one of my dude friends standing there and found instead a total stranger leering down at my chest.

NO – I told him.

Why? He asked, with an incredulous look of privilege and feigned innocence in his eyes.

Extremely aggravated but determined not to “make a scene,” I reentered the bar. A little while later, I saw two of my friends posing for a picture, and asked the cameraman (another unknown bar-goer) if I could jump in their picture. Sure honey, he cooed, as he reached his non-camera hand down and grabbed my ass and pinched hard.

Let’s just say, this all gets old fast, dudes. I never – or should I say we never, because I believe I’m speaking for a lot of my friends out there – asked you to touch us. We didn’t invite you to invade our space. We didn’t run around screaming “please grope me, I beg of you” or wear a sign saying “ATTN: I want you to innappropriately fondle my behind.”

John Mayor once sang a famous song that went a little like this:

Your body is a wonderland
Your body is a wonder (I’ll use my hands)
Your body is a wonderland

Well Johnny, that’s all good and well when it’s your consenting partner, spouse, friend with benefits, or one night stand. But groper dudes of the earth, please just listen to me. My body is actually NOT your wonderland. I am actually NOT here for your tactile pleasure. No, really!

I can’t think of a single woman who can honestly say that she enjoys random strangers touching her in this aggressive, sexual way.

It’s time to wake up and smell the mace people, because I think we are all goddamn sick of this bullshit.

 

*Disclaimer: I have nothing against John Mayer. But this picture is quite derptastic and relevant so I had to include it.

PNWBay

As all who know me are well aware, my time in DC (4+ years in total) was completely life-altering. It was a grand, terrifying, fun, miserable, gut-wrenching and soul-searching period of my life. But it was also a period that I knew would end.

And that it has. I write to you from my cozy corner of the big red couch in my mother’s house in western Washington State, fire blazing in the hearth and a light dusting of snow outside.

It’s after midnight here and I just finished reading about 100 pages of Game of Thrones book 5, bookworm that I am. I’m thinking about my friends back on the east coast – some tucked in their beds with their lovers and some eating Jumbo Slice after a rowdy night at the bars. I miss them. A lot.

And yet I feel this sense of ease and calm that I barely remembered existed until I moved back here a few weeks ago. I feel fear too – fear that this is all too good to be true; fear that the rug is going to be pulled out from under me and that this peace will disappear.

It’s not as if you can’t find that same peace in the District. It just wasn’t there for me.

It wasn’t just the constant sound of ambulances careening by my apartment, or the everlasting bruises on my shoulders from carrying far too heavy and far too many bags of groceries home for miles. It wasn’t just the way people don’t look at you or smile when you pass on the street.

It was everything, and it was nothing. I had ceased to feel the way I wanted to feel. I’d stopped seeing the upside of things, or the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

Don’t get me wrong – DC is amazing in so many ways. I love the city’s energy and the constant rush of so many things to do and people to meet. I love the educated, fascinating, varied individuals that inhabit it. And the friends I made there…they’ll never be replaced.

I suppose I’m just not the type of person who thrives in the District long-term. Many extraordinarily smart and fantastic people do – and I applaud them. But not this girl.

This girl feels comforted sitting outside the bar in the freezing winter air while her friends drink Rainier and chain smoke. This girl lives to see the mountain on a clear day, breathtaking in all its ethereal glory. This girl likes to run on paths surrounded by evergreens with the light northwest rain messing up her way too long hair. This girl missed her family.

I guess it’s simple. I’m home.