Give Your Internal Head Coach a Break

Do you know what I’ve been thinking? That it’s absurd for us to expect that we will always be able to find motivation within ourselves. So many of us do this, including us folks who would have the hardest time doing it— those with depression, or mood disorders, lyme disease, mono, and all sorts of other issues that affect our energy levels. And we feel BAD about feeling unmotivated. (Bonus: feelings about your feelings are called meta-emotion. Like, when you feel like a failure for feeling too depressed? THAT'S a meta emotion).

This just seems so futile to me. Sometimes you just CAN'T, ya know? Sometimes you're burnt out and you can't find it in you to go on. You’ve depleted your emotional and mental resources…

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Goodbye, Fab Feminist and Hello, Untrendy!

I’ve embodied the Untrendy lifestyle since I was old enough to stick a finger up my nose during a dance recital while my mother sat shaking her head from the audience. It’s a choice I’ve made before I even had the word “untrendy” in my vocabulary.

When I realized that Fab Feminist was limiting the content I wanted to put out in the world, I started brainstorming a name that would be empowering but not trite. I thought of other brands that I really identified with (shoutout Ban.do and Manrepeller) and realized I wanted to give fewer f*cks.

Fab Feminist couldn’t BE the all-encompassing mecca of intersectional feminism that I wanted it to be. With a full-time day job and a couple side-hustles, I couldn’t put out the content that our brand name lent us to. I couldn’t do it fast enough and I couldn’t do it well enough. When Giuls came on board, we both started organically shifting our focus to mental health: navigating the process of caring for our sad brains and anxious hearts. Amidst that, we’d found our own niche within the broad umbrella of feminism.

After that, changing our brand became the obvious next step. But what to? What was more aligned with our purpose? Big Magic taught us that inspiration will hit you with a Big Idea without warning, and that’s exactly what happened.

“What about ‘Untrendy?’” I asked Giuls one day. We’d been going back and forth about a new name for our brand. I don’t still have the message thread, but I’m pretty sure “Hmmmm…..I like it,” is a reasonably accurate response. Discovering "Untrendy" was like slipping on a pair of cheap, pink sunnies and flipping the hibiscus flowers attached to the frame like windshield wipers, saying, "Ohhhh, yes! This is Untrendy and this is the way I LIKE IT." It felt natural and it felt like us.

We started noticing HOW MUCH OF OUR LIVES was influenced by the secret undercurrent of Untrendy. Like, wearing a midi dress to work without shaving your legs first. Or ordering a glass of Chardonnay. What about Jen Gotch’s dorky-thrift-store-kid-clothes style? Or Racial/Social/Gender Justice Disruptor, Ericka Hart’s photos of her mastectomy scars? Women and people all over the world are living their AUTHENTIC, purpose-filled lives that are decidedly *not* trendy. And that’s the kind of life we want to live, too.

We, the Untrendy, live life on our OWN terms. We set our OWN priorities and live by our OWN moral codes. We don clothes that we feel good in regardless of what the fashion industry tells us is trending. We ignore beauty conventions. We do not dress our bodies to please anyone but ourselves. We speak our beliefs especially when they go against popular opinion. We do not buy into consumerism’s mantra that in order to be happy, you must accomplish X and buy X and do X. We don’t wear Gucci leather belts or ‘smile!’ when men tell us to. We KNOW that to be human is to be sad sometimes or a lot of the time and we don’t hide it. We are UNTRENDY.

We are here to shake up personal development with honesty and humor, offering people the tools they need to live their most fulfilling lives on their own terms.

Paralyzing Perfectionism

 
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This perfectionist started her morning off with a satisfying Naked smoothie. Nothing tastes better than being able to finish off the bottle of your mango goodness in one pour!

I’m sure many of you can relate and might identify as perfectionists as well, at least in some aspect of your lives. Little moments like this are just oh, so magical.But I’ve also learned that a lot of my struggles with procrastination and motivation actually stem from a need for perfection. For me, the biggest one is writer’s block. I find myself spending all my energy procrastinating instead of actually writing and then the day goes by and I hate myself for it.

It took me too long to realize this isn’t because I’m lazy. I know when I sit down to write I can be there for hours fixating on each word to ensure my sentiment is received. Once I discovered that my habit of procrastinating wasn’t due to a lack of motivation but, was a result of my perfectionist tendencies, I became aware and was able to focus on that by trying not to put so much pressure on myself. Sometimes you just have to write and allow it not to be “perfect” (whatever that means) otherwise you risk resenting something that is crucial to your happiness. I was, in fact, less motivated the longer I put off writing what I wanted to.

So, relish in these satisfying moments of fulfilled perfectionism, don’t let it be another thing you’re hard on yourself for, but don’t allow it to stop you from being you. It’s not your identity.

When an Apartment Hunt turns into a Panic Attack.

Anxiety is a f***ing b.

You might feel like you're doing everything right, moving forward with your life and then BAM. You're in the midst of a panic attack.

Sometimes, the cause is obvious sometimes, it's something small, sometimes it's completely invisible. For me, I think it's all of those combined. How can you know which came first? Little things become harder and harder for me. Like doing laundry became impossible. I started feeling incapable of getting ready for work until the absolute last minute. After a certain point it's almost like you're trying to make it harder for yourself, but really it's just that exhausting and everything seems impossible. 

I was apartment hunting with my boyfriend. That's what set it off I think. I had so many tours scheduled and so many unstored numbers of landlords and brokers in my phone in so many different locations in a span of 24 hours. We ended up at the Realtors office instead of the apartment we were meeting the realtor at (which I realized was his fault because he never actually sent me the god damn address and had his office address listed). A fucking waterfall just opened. I started sobbing these disgusting, snotty sobs, accompanied by those deep uncontrollable noises emphasized by gaps of air you only produced when you cried as a child. Why did I schedule all these meetings this way? I guess I spend too much energy trying to cater to other people's schedule to the point where I burn out on my own.

 I feel this immense pressure to always be on top of everything. Yes, it's definitely a bit of a control issue that gets out of control, ironically. But it's these moments (which probably happen a few times a year tbh) that serve as my wake-up call. 

I must be reminded sometimes to re-commit to myself. I don't always have to be the one rearranging my schedule for a stranger's comforts. I don't always need to be the one to move off the sidewalk when someone's also using the sidewalk that I'm equally entitled to. I don't have to always say yes to plans I don't have the energy for, or to make those plans work because I said I would even though. 

I can't see to get out of bed. Sometimes you have to put yourself first and not apologize for being selfish. Because it's not. Selfishness and self-care are very different. Don't apologize for your anxiety or depression. I'm sure as hell not going to anymore. (well, until my next panic attack, that is.)

F*CK Depression. I deserve better than this.

I don't know how to start this blog post. I don't know if I'll be able to fully grasp how much depression sucks with a couple paragraphs. I don't know if I'll do myself or anybody else struggling with depression justice with this blog post, but it's become important for me to talk about it and so I think it's important to blog about it.

I went to a psychiatrist for the first time in my life two weeks ago. Before I went, a friend told me they thought I could get through this without medication. My partner thought that when I had a massive breakdown after a couple drinks, I was being dramatic. My boss wrote me up for substandard work. Let me be completely clear about this--it is hard to survive a single day with depression. It seeps into your bones and makes you ache. It makes you cry yourself to sleep at night out of sheer loneliness, even though there might be a warm body two feet away. It makes you slow and foggy. It makes you scream out loud in your sleep. It makes brushing your teeth and washing your hair a hassle, and sometimes it makes you wish everything would just end.

A couple weeks ago, I started telling everyone that I was depressed. I told my students. I told my partner. I told my supervisors and colleagues. People didn't rush to scoop me out of this massive depression I've found myself in, but they listened and they heard me, which was enough. I've stopped taking responsibility for my moods and my unproductiveness because I know that I'm doing the best I can with ADHD, generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and PTSD. I've stopped faking positive emotions and am trying to accept my feelings of sadness at face value. I've also stopped pretending that I can get out of this on my own.

With great, exhausting effort, I have begun to hoist myself up from the bottomless pit of all this. I ordered vitamin supplements (shoutout to care/of and their customizable supplements), I scheduled an appointment to see a psychiatrist, I started taking medication, started spending time outside by myself, started making plans with friends, signed up for Audible for not one, but two books a month because doing so makes me happy. At this point in my life, I can't waste another minute in this hellhole of depression. Every thing I do right now is with the intention of saving myself. Little by little, I am starting to feel good again. I know there will be days where I feel sad as dirt. I know there will be days where I relive my trauma over and over again, but if I can start to carve out grooves in the walls of this depression, I will be able to climb out. I deserve to climb out.

As I start this journey, I will be sharing resources that have been useful for me on the blog and Instagram. If you know of anything that can be of help to folks suffering from depression or anxiety, tag the blog at @fabfeministblog so we can share these resources with our readers, too. If you have found that you, too, are in the hole, remember that you have fierce supporters in Giuls and me. Send an email to fabfckingfemale@gmail.com if you need to. Don't let the stigma keep you from healing. Depression and anxiety do not discriminate and you deserve happiness.