This little bloggy, blog has been my favorite adventure for the past two years. I’ve ranted, whined, and complained my way into “adulthood” through this guy.

While the majority of it was nonsense word vomit, it was special to me because it was the first time I tried putting myself out there on the internet. Writing somewhere other than my journal.

And I loved it.

Also, for the few people that regularly read, thank you so much. I started this blog just for me and it means the world to me that there are people out there who actually think I’m funny sometimes.

However, life is about moving forward to bigger and better things. So, while I love being goofy and grumpy on the internet, it’s time to take a little step away from The Hullaballo and focus on something new. Something a little more refined and serious. Something important to not only me but the rest of the world. (The subject matter is important. Not me talking about it. As you well know by now, I don’t know anything).

I’m starting a new blogging adventure. Discussing mental health issues and how to navigate the world despite mental difficulties. My hope is to provide a clear and completely unfiltered view of my experiences, as well as the experiences of people around me.

I know, that’s a pretty big shift in content and I know that many of you are here for the LOL’s. While I can’t promise comedy, I can promise that I will never take myself too seriously.

So, it would mean the world to me if you would check out my new online home and, if you like what you see, give it a follow. I keep telling myself that starting over again from scratch is a horrible idea, but some things are important enough to take the risk.

What does all of this mean for The Hullaballoo? It means it will get a little quiet for a while. I don’t plan on abandoning this….work of….wierd art, but I will be taking a breather to focus on creating a new platform and making it as valuable as possible.

I will be back! So don’t give up on me!

If you want to see what I’m working on next, check it out!

 

This is arguably the most annoying thing that people say to me when I tell them about my job. I explain to them how I spend 8+ hours sitting in a beige cubicle, staring at my dual-monitors, writing technical documents for heating and cooling equipment and their response is often,

Oof, I could never do that. I’m just not meant for a desk job.

To which I laugh and ask them what they do for a living and they revel me in the life of a spin class instructor. I smile and nod while they talk, but a tiny piece of me boils under the surface. A tiny piece that wants to say,

Oh, you’re not a desk job person? You don’t want to spend your days in a building with windows that don’t open breathing in circulating fart air for the next forty years? Wow, that’s such a coincidence. You know who else doesn’t want to do that? EVERYONE ON THE PLANET.

No seven year old has brought their dream board into class on career day and talked about how they couldn’t wait to grow up and slowly die under fluorescent lighting. This is no one’s dream.

But you know what, Jessica, here’s something I do dream about.  Being able to pay my bills. If I didn’t get up and sit at a desk every day, I wouldn’t be able to do other boring things, such as buying organic bananas, paying my rent, and being able to go to the emergency room when I was internally bleeding thanks to suuuuper lame stuff like insurance.

It is not my love of lumbar-supportive desk chairs that pulls me back to the office every day. It’s my need to stay alive.

I will put money on it that if you that if you walked up to anyone who works a 9 to 5 desk job and asked them If I gave you a million dollars and a house on a tropical island, would you leave your current job? You won’t find a single one who says, Oooh, tempting, but I just don’t think I could ever leave my cubicle behind. I’d really miss the feeling of my hamstrings slowly shortening. 

The other thing, Brittney, is that you’re making some pretty bold assumptions about the desk-bound population when you say things like, I’m just, like, way too active, so I could never sit still that long. Because for some reason you think that people in corporate America go to work to wipe their Cheeto fingers on their dress pants and peruse Buzzfeed.

Nearly 86% of the American workforce have desk jobs. That’s a lot of people doing a lot of work. A lot of work that needs to get done in order for you to get your kale smoothies and weekly paychecks. Everything that you encounter in a day is affected by someone sitting in a cube somewhere. Cubicles make the world go-round….or….go-cube, I guess.

We don’t eat lunch at our desks because we’re lazy. We eat lunch at our desks because we’re busy.

And finally, Jennifer, sometimes the things that people are passionate about lead them to a desk. I love writing. It is the one thing I can do every single day and never grow tired of. Now, would I rather be strolling a beach somewhere on the west coast thinking up the next American literary classic? Of course, but for reasons discussed above, that probably won’t happen anytime soon. So, for the time being, I get to go to work every day, to my sad, beige block and write about how to install an actuator on a valve to regulate your system airflow. Yes, I am aware how boring that sounds. No, it is not my dream job.

The point is, that I get to come to work every day and get paid to be a professional writer. The thing I’ve always wanted to do. It has nothing to do with the cubicle.

So, next time someone tells you what they do for a living, remember that reminding them how much desk jobs suck the soul out of their very being is the last thing they want to hear and may lead to them making a passive-aggressive comment about how lame your Squats before Shots shirt is.

Photo: CC image courtesy of Mark Sebastian

Dude, being an adult is freaking terrifying.

I remember the good old days when none of my decisions held much weight. Will I join the track team or do the spring play? Will I break up for real with my boyfriend I see once a week or will we hold on just a little longer? Will I dye my hair bright red?

Yes, my life was every 90’s teen movie ever.

These felt like huge, life-altering decisions. How could I possibly come back from dying my hair?! Also, don’t even get me started on college. I had daily freakouts while trying to choose a school. Even when I finally did, I cried for a week because, at the end of the summer, I would be packing my bags, loading up the car, and leaving the home I had always known…..for a school an hour away. 60 minutes.

Yes, I was as dramatic as every protagonist in every 90’s teen movie ever.

Now, at my wise age of 24, I reflect on these moments and roll my eyes so far back into my head that I can see my own brain. I want to reach a hand through time to my eighteen-year-old self and pat myself on the fire-engine red hair.

You sweet, innocent child.

Those decisions were small potatoes compared to what I’m looking at now. If I get let go from my job, how long will I be able to pay my bills? Should I buy a house? Do I want to have to live here for at least another five years? Should I go back to school? Can I afford it? Is it worth four years of part-time school while working a full-time job? How do I not die? Am I eating the right foods? Is there too much carbon monoxide in my apartment? Does my detector even work? Has anyone freaking tested it?!

Things that have a little more gravitas.

And I know what you’re thinking, Oh Kierstyn, in another ten years you’ll look back and questions like these and realize that they weren’t so bad.

And you know what, you’re right….because I’ll have a whole new set of terrifying questions at 35!

I’m not panicking. You’re panicking. EVERYONE JUST CALM DOWN.

But wait, we didn’t even get to my favorite one yet. As a twenty-something who has been married for two-and-a-half years, I often receive the wonderfully intrusive and incredibly uncomfortable question, Are you guys thinking about kids?

…..am I thinking…..about kids. Am I thinking about kids? Am I thinking about creating a human life inside my body that I’m going to shoot out and will spend the rest of its life financially and emotionally depending on me? I cried this week because I wasn’t sure that it was a good choice to get bangs. So no, I am definitely not thinking about that kind of commitment at this time. Please check back in ten years.

I want to go back to when I was sixteen and everyone was very adamant about telling me not to get pregnant or make any huge decisions, for that matter.

Yes, I do understand that as an adult the world is my oyster. I have the power to do whatever I want for the first time in my life and I should embrace that and seize the day and adventure and blah, blah, blah.

A beautiful sentiment, but every large decision that I make from this point on, I can’t go back on. I haven’t met an adult in my life that doesn’t have half-a-dozen I really should have done that stories.

Side note, my favorite is when your parents tell one of those stories about how they didn’t take that job offer in Paris or how they didn’t marry that beautiful island woman they were crazy about and then you say But if you had done that, then you wouldn’t have me! and they give you that sort of half smile like Oh….yea….sure…that’s good…I guess. It warms my heart.

Anywho, what if I pick all the wrong things and am full of regret? What if I pick all the right things but still feel like I missed out? What if I do nothing at all because being an adult is freaking expensive and I just live in a suburb of Milwaukee until I die?

I don’t have a conclusion because I’m currently still freaking out about it. So have a half-finished paragraph. What do you want from me? I’m just as clueless as you are.

If you’ve been keeping up with me, then you know that last year was not my best year. It was actually pretty terrible. Like, a heaping pile of cooked carrots.

So, I’m going into 2018 with only one resolution: Like myself.

I know it sounds super cheesy and vague, but it’s not as easy as it sounds, okay?

See? I ‘m already trying to defend my own resolution because I think it’s dumb. I’ve got some work to do. Even this blog had gone dormant in the last few months because I’ve hated every post I’ve tried to write. My drafts folder is filled with finished pieces that I just can’t get myself to publish.

Ugh.

Anyway, I’ve been trying to figure out how to start off my resolution. I started with vowing to stop calling myself names (chubby, gross, dumb, awkward, pushover, etc.) and while it’s nice to stop saying those things out loud, it doesn’t change the way I feel.

Then, the other day I was flipping through my journal when I came across the block of pages filled with letters I wrote to the people I love. They were all so kind and filled with more love than I could ever express out loud. My heart instantly felt happy just from re-reading them. I thought about how my friends and family are so important to me and I wish I told them every day how incredible they are.

The more that I thought about, I wondered why I don’t extend that same love to myself? How many times have I woken up in morning and said, “Kierstyn, you’re the best. I’m so lucky to be you and I can’t wait to tackle this day.”

Exactly zero times. That’s how many.

That might be because having a third person conversation with myself is super creepy and might make my husband start sleeping on the couch, or it might be because it’s really hard to remind myself that I’m awesome. It’s not in my nature as a Kierstyn or as a person to allow myself to see how special I am. As a culture, we don’t allow it.

To sum up this ramble, I decided to show myself a little of the love I try to show the most important people in my life, because shouldn’t I be one of the most important people in my life? I wrote myself a letter similar to the ones I wrote all of them. I told myself I could only say good things, so don’t think that I think I’m super perfect and amazing. I could write novels about my flaws, but that’s not what we’re here for.

We’re here for self-love, so let me self-love, dammit.

Try it for yourself. It’s awkward and seems little wrong, but it feels so wonderful to hear kind words from your biggest critic.

Kierstyn,

You are so beautiful. I don’t mean your shiny hair or your big eyes, though those are nice too. 

I mean your soul. That shimmer in your core that radiates out of you like a heat wave and hits the people standing around you. It’s the shimmer that makes people smile when you make a pun accompanied by a pair of finger guns or tease someone in a way that makes them laugh instead of hurt. 

It’s the shimmer that makes you cry when you feel like you’ve hurt someone’s feelings or because you miss your friends so much that it feels like a chunk of you is gone. 

The shimmer that makes you unafraid to speak in a crowded room even if what you’re about to say is bold or embarrassing, because being part of something makes you feel so full, even if it means everyone is laughing at you.

Your light doesn’t just sit, rooted in your belly. It travels all the way up your spine and fills that beautiful mind. You are so smart and imaginative that if someone cut open your skull, a shine so bright would spill out that it would fill the night sky like a beacon. A beacon reaching out fingers of light from its edge, groping for ideas you haven’t thought of yet, but are right on the verge of finding. 

Because you are an explorer. An explorer of ideas. An explorer of stories not yet told or ones told a million times, but with a little bit of you put into them. 

You are made up of the good stuff. You are cashmere, lace, and silk. For the bits and pieces of you that are still a little rough, you carry sandpaper around in your pocket. You can see where you have room to grow and want to do so.

Don’t let your ability to see your flaws make you forget the most important thing, though. More important than any of the other things here. You are worth it. So, so worth it. I know you don’t always see that, but read it over and over again until you do. Tattoo it on your skin. Write it on the walls. Put it on a post-it and carry it around in your pocket. Hang a banner from the top of the highest building in the city. Remember it every second of every day.

I love you more than you think I do. 

XO, 
Kierstyn

 

I was eight-years-old the first time I remember feeling overwhelmed by simple emotions.

I was sitting alone at my little desk in my mom’s home office working on math homework, my gangly legs swinging from the chair. I was staring at a row of multiplication problems and I didn’t have the slightest idea of how to solve them. The more I looked at them, the more it became impossible for me to focus. As my frustration grew, my brain turned into this chaotic mess of anger and sadness that took up all the space and made it so that there was no room for things like 25 x 7. It was so consuming that I couldn’t think straight. I started pressing the tip of my pencil into my arm repeatedly in an attempt to focus my mind on to a single feeling.

When I was fifteen I made a suicide plan that I wrote in a notebook next to doodles of checkerboard hearts and I hurt myself every single day.

When I was 18, I once tried drink myself away. Luckily, that is super hard to do, I was a major lightweight, and I just woke up with a killer hangover.

When I was 23, I crumbled like never before. I couldn’t do anything. I would go to work and stare at my computer screen for eight straight hours without accomplishing a single thing. I would come home and go to bed at 5 pm because when I was sleeping I didn’t have to listen to the chaos going on inside my own head. I wrote a goodbye note and carried it around with me in my purse so that I would have it on me, just in case.

And then, for the first time in my life, I actually told someone…which meant I had to tell more people…which sucked…but I don’t carry notes around with me anymore.

I know that’s a very brief summary of a lifetime, but that’s because there is nothing special about that story. Depression effects one in eight adolescents. I just happened to be statically unlucky. However, that’s exactly why I want to share it. I think it’s ironic that the illness that makes you feel most alone is one of the most shared illnesses on the planet.

At the beginning of this year, when I felt like I was losing my mind, I spent hours scouring the internet looking for anyone who felt the way that I did. While there are forums, Reddit threads, and YouTube channels on the subject, they all said the same thing.

“I felt sad. I felt out of control. I felt overwhelmed.”

These are all true, but they didn’t tell me what it felt like. We all feel sad, out of control, and overwhelmed sometimes. Those are very human responses to how insane life is. I knew what those words felt like inside of me, but that’s not what I was going through.

I recently saw the movie “Get Out”, late to the party, I know. There is this scene where the main character is hypnotized and pushed into “The Nowhere Place”. It looks somthing similar to outer space. There are stars, no gravity, and he floats through nothingness with no way to anchor himself. He can’t speak. He opens his mouth to yell for help but nothing comes out. He just drift further and further away from the light.

While depression is not at all what “Get Out” is about, the moment I saw that scene I thought to myself that’s what it feels like. It feels like you have no control, no way to ask for help, and you’ll just keep floating on forever and ever.

That was the kind of thing I was looking for during my late night internet research. I wanted to know that the way my body and mind felt was not unique, because maybe if someone else had felt the same way, they could tell me that I wouldn’t feel like that forever.

I didn’t want to hear that I wouldn’t always be sad. I wanted to hear that I wouldn’t feel like I was moving through molasses all the time.

So, that’s why I wrote down exactly what it felt like. For the past year I’ve been recording the feelings as they came along through some very poorly written poems. The first one I wrote about eleven months ago, sitting on my bathroom floor and crying while typing in the notes app on my phone. The last one I wrote three weeks ago.

And I put them in a book. (meaning a PDF I built using InDesign, don’t think this is official or anything).

I wrote them a little bit for me, but a lot for the sad souls out there who want to know what it is that they are feeling. I’m not saying that I have an answer to what depression feels like, but I do have a lot of cheesy metaphors and overused cliches to share my own experience. They won’t apply to everyone, but it’s certainly what it’s like for me.

This is the first time I have ever shared poetry outside of a classroom and certainly the first time I’ve ever shared such personal work before. So, please be gentle.

You can download the PDF below if you want to check it out.
Fair warning: It’s 26 straight pages of sadness, so skip out if that’s not your thing.

Here You Go:
I Don’t Know What Happiness Looks Like

I Don't Know

WHOA, looks who’s back?

(It’s me. I’m back)

It’s been over a month since I filled your feed with nonsense and emotional ramblings. So, where have I have I been? I’ve been writing a book!

Or rather, trying to.

For those of you who don’t know, November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, if you’re feeling crazy). People all over the country make a pact to write a 50,000-word novel in the thirty days of November. There are checkpoints and meet-ups and bunch of other really cool stuff for those who want to jump-start their creative juices and get some words on paper. It’s not about writing something polished (or even good). It’s about committing to a writing goal.

For the past two years, I’ve told myself that I was going to do it. I was going to sign-up, commit, and conquer, because that’s the kind of person I am. Not the committing and conquering kind of person. The signing up kind of person. In both 2015 and 2016, I registered, I uploaded my book title, and then for thirty whole days, I didn’t write a damn word.

So this year, I promised myself it would be different. I wasn’t the same Kierstyn as I was a year ago. I was older, wiser, better hair, more determined.

At the beginning of October, I wrote out a three-page summary of my book idea. I printed character sheets. I researched the time period and the town I wanted to place it in. I met November 1st with outlines in hand. And you know what? I wrote!

…….10,000 words.

Then I got super bored with the character I was developing and also realized the central theme of the story wasn’t quite interesting enough to keep someone engaged for 50,000 words. Also, I noticed that I was writing super descriptive sentences just to eat up some of the word count.

“One rack held the magazines that women would grab on their way home from church that Sunday morning and read in the car, with a cigarette between their lips and the occasional “Hmmm” to let their husbands know they heard them complaining about the traffic down Main Street.”

Could have said: One rack held magazines. 

These realizations made me see the difficulty in writing a novel. It’s nearly impossible to dedicate hours and days of your time to something that you aren’t 100% crazy about. I’ve always written short stories. So, I figured I could just take all of the same tools I use for that and write something longer. The difference is that in a short story, when the protagonist gets boring or the story gets stuck, you can just end it. There’s no copout with a novel. I needed to find a solution to my shitty storyline and until yesterday, I couldn’t.

Yesterday, I was sitting at my desk and an idea for what happens next just flew into my brain and my fingers were a flurry as I pushed the story forward. Unfortunately, I didn’t make the 50,000 mark, but that’s okay.

Stories don’t always come in a constant stream. They are often flashes that appear when you don’t expect them and fade away before you have a chance to grab a pen. Novelists sometimes write their book for years before the whole story is revealed to them. The whole purpose of this exercise is to get the flashes started and keep them coming.

Though, I bow down to those who did meet the goal. I am very impressed!

I’m not giving up on my shitty novel just yet. It might take me a while, but I plan to work on it until I run the idea into the ground. Whether that’s 20,000 words or 60,000. Maybe I’ll get ’em next year.

However, because mama didn’t raise a quitter, I did finish something this month. Since the novel thing was…..slow progress, I was working on another book in tandem. A book of poems, to be exact. A collection of pieces I’ve written over the past six months around a common theme and I plan post through The Hullabaloo sometime in the next week or two. So, if you like poetry (or just like me and want to make me feel better about myself), keep an eye out for that.

Until then, I will return to your regularly posted nonsense here on the Hullaballoo.

At work, I think it’s important to be professional and keep emotion out of things. I try to go in with a positive attitude and have good interactions with the co-workers.

However, I can’t help what goes on inside of me. Somewhere, tucked behind the optimism, there is an April Ludgate hiding in my core. Even if I do my best not to show it, there is a dark-haired, anti-social, pessimist with lots of opinions trying to break through.

She’s a lot like this:

1. How I feel the first ten minutes of every work day

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2. When someone sends me a nasty email and I choose to rise above them and send an only slightly passive-aggressive response

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3. When someone on the team has an idea and they won’t let it go, no matter how many times we’ve told them it won’t work

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4. When I’m in the middle of a two-hour meeting and suddenly hear my name

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5. When I have a meeting right before lunch and it’s running long

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6. When I’m working with new people and have to introduce myself to the room

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7. Every time I get my paycheck and see how much is being taken out for taxes, 401k, and insurance

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8. When my boss asks me in my yearly review what my career goals are

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9. When my boss gives me a new project when I’m already too busy

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10. When I have to send an email / make a phone call / walk over to someone’s desk / attend a meeting / exist

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