These last few weeks have featured me in a lot of positions 2014 never prepped me I’d be in. Lying propped up on a bed having an ultrasound done on my breasts. Going to the hospital and crying in the waiting room because I thought I was having a heart attack. The heart attack turned out to be an anxiety attack and my ultrasound came back negative - no cancer, but several cysts. For the latter, I’ve been told to cut my caffeine intake down drastically because stress + caffeine leads to the creation of said cysts.
I gave up watching TV from a TV set last June and haven’t been compelled to make a return to it either. So true to my all or nothing form, I’ve decided not to cut back from caffeine but cut away entirely. For the time being. As much as I can. And here we are, a little over a week of no coffee or soda later and I kind of want to murder everyone.
That’s not healthy. Not by a long shot.
I had always heard that caffeine was addictive, but brushed off the thought because pfft, whatever I’m chill enough to handle it. I didn’t start drinking coffee until after college was over. I drank soda pretty much my entire life, but I was never the kind of kid who got “hyper” off of it either. You know the one - you give ‘em half a Pixi Stick and they’re ripping the carpeting out of the living room floor. I considered myself fairly serene when drinking caffeinated beverages, but again, I always had them and never had a motive or desire to cut them free from my life since they weren’t hurting me.
Then came the infamous Red Bull Summer of ‘08. That was a bad summer - when I drank so much Red Bull that I would actually run home from work because I just felt so lightweight and free. Running around the neighborhood at 10 PM and laughing to myself the whole way in a Subway uniform. Truly a CATCH of a lady, I tell ya.
That habit specifically, the Red Bull one, was very hard to break. After that summer, I enrolled at my alma mater in California. One of the first questions I asked my peer advisor was whether or not they sold Red Bull on campus. When he laughed and said no, I smiled testily back and gritted my teeth. Later on that same week, I would see a girl drinking from a can of sugar-free Red Bull and came very close to running up to her and screaming, “WHERE DID YOU GET THAT WHERE CAN I GET ONE???”
Not that this clearly spelled out that I had some sort of co-dependency or anything.
It took a few months, but the Red Bull habit fell away from me. I didn’t feed into it and not having in proximity to me made it a little simpler to give it up. But I still kept drinking soda throughout undergrad and started doing Starbucks/Coffee Bean post-grad. My rule was one cup of coffee. Mondays through Fridays. No venti sizes. Just a little bit to ease into the morning and perk me up for the work day. Somewhere along the way though, I broke that once a day rule here and there. Or what I felt like was here and there.
Being a little over a week without coffee is strange. For one thing, I sound different. I can hear it in how I’m writing this. My friends have noticed. I am more muted now and feel… far. My thoughts are collected but they are scattered to some degree too. I’m present, and I’m paying attention, but I’m moving slower all around. Much of that I think has to do with being so grateful not to have the lumps mean anything life-threatening. I went into a quiet space in my head for the last few weeks where I contemplated life and my general existence and what happens when you die, all that existentialism train of thought. When you sit inside of your head and imagine the possibilities of the world without you in it, you realize that life will keep on going. It did before you arrived and it will after. It doesn’t seem like it will, but it will. One of my personal revelations, outside of considering this, was thinking about where I am presently and why am I rushing with that place. Since that point, I’ve been slowing down all around. I don’t want to “run” anymore in a figurative sense. I don’t want to worry that I’m losing some sort of life race or online relevancy for not doing as much as I think I should be. (By the way… when did it get to the point in my life where online relevancy, tweetability, was a thing I could be worried about?)
More than digging out a space in your head though, being without caffeine physically hurts. Two days in, I thought my skull was going to crack open. I’ve had the shakes, twitches, headaches and some trouble sleeping. I get so angry about small things that should not make me mad at all. And I do feel helpless at times too. Again, not healthy! There’s a part of me that whimpers, “But if you could just have ONE cup. One. It wouldn’t hurt anyone. It would even you out and make this feeling fade away.”
Yes. Yes it would. But the feeling would be temporary until the next cup of coffee was “needed” - my ever-present fix, so to speak.
So I’m trying to stay away from coffee for now. Will I be able to quit it in the long run? It’s probably not necessary, even in the eyes of my doctors who encouraged the decaf coffee if I needed a boost. But for right now, it just can’t be in my life. For all of those great highs came several crashes and burns and now I’m burning and need to be away from it for a moment to regain my strength and see what a caffeine-less version of me could really be like.
3/27 - the day I felt the first lump in my right breast.
4/10 - visit to the doctor to see what was going on and get referred on for an ultrasound/mammogram.
4/12 - thought I was having a heart attack and spent an hour in the ER at the local hospital. Turned out to be an anxiety attack.
4/15 - had my ultrasound and was cleared of any possible cancer (I have a few cysts, as it turns out). No mammogram needed due to my age and nothing in either breast requiring a closer look.
These are 20 days of 2014 I would rather not return to, but I feel like they warrant a log of sorts to ensure that I have a record of this on file.
Buzzfeed ran an article on abandoned malls in America and the mall from my childhood, Crestwood, is included on the list. The above picture is right outside of where the AMC Theater used to be. That empty store to the left hand side was where I bought my first pair of platform Sketchers.
Crestwood’s decline and eventual fall marked the end of an era for me. I know I’ve written on here before how I pretty much grew up in a department store and that particular store happened to be at Crestwood. As the years went on, I saw stores come and go and then keep on going. Watching from an escalator step I sat on going down, feeling like I was in my own personal version of Cheers where everyone knew my name.
I’ll never have any of that in my life again. Some of this is obvious change that comes with age. There will never again come a day where I will run with glee through rows of men’s suits. I’ll never lay on a model bed doing my homework. Some of it comes with the modern state of the world today and where I spend and what I don’t spend. I have never shopped like I did back then since - where I had so many bags the ties wore red rings deep into my wrists. I treated those rings like a badge of honor. And then some of it comes back to career ambitions and dreams which I didn’t know anything about at that age. You don’t realize as a child when you talk to coworkers of your father’s that working part-time in retail in their 30s is not where they want to be. I like to think they’re all in better jobs today.
Life is a slow erosion sometimes.
There are very few blogs I read on a regular basis and it kills me when people ask me what I read and I’m like, uh, does A Taste of General Mills count because that’s literally the only blog I read on the daily.
What I like about that blog is that its steeped in history, both past and present. You have your Pinterest worthy pictures included, but there is substance behind the post and no filler work. No repetitious list of “link love” and nothing that feels like a PR person was obviously behind the post, pushing to promote a product. And the tone! The tone is so grounded and doesn’t brag about itself despite having more than enough clout to do so. Truly my Midwestern roots are talking here, but I genuinely look forward to all of the emails I get from them letting me know there’s a new post live. Few sites provoke that kind of feeling within me and I know that for this one, it’s also partially because I’ve spent so much of my life engaging with the brand. But it’s nice to know that as times change, a brand’s voice will stay consistent and won’t lose its footing in the race to get some plum partnership ads or act flimsy in the face of looking relevant for all of five minutes. (cough, cough, Doritos and Lady Gaga at SXSW with that idiot hashtag, cough, cough)
Ahhh, this pencil dress with waterfall detail from ASOS inspires a Hallelujah chorus to go off all around me. I only have but few requirements in dresses when I buy them - length, jewel tones and/or black and white, versatility (day into night), cut to figure, and duration of wear. Also minimalism, as I don’t like to look like I spent too much time pulling a look together. Next paycheck, you’re getting ordered bb.
You ever get so busy with your day and life that you completely forget it’s the start of NYFW ME NEITHER.
(I’m actually pretty mortified about this. For me, this is the equivalent of forgetting about the Oscars or the VSFS. These are holidays to me. But in my defense, this whole morning was a nonstop blogging and tweeting race and I spent the greater part of the afternoon signing and writing up all these papers for an interview I have tomorrow. Not job related. Still important and exciting though. But I ask myself… where did I go wrong when I still couldn’t remember the most very important of all the February dates?)
Today is payday. And tomorrow is rent and student loan payment day.
Okay. So maybe it’s the end of days for me shopping wise, but I am so completely underwhelmed by almost every look in the Loft Spring 2014 Lookbook that I just don’t know. The above look gets a B in my book but only because all of that can be worn separately and not together and be okay. All of the other looks in the lookbook are all the same patterns and variations of things Loft formerly did better in previous years.
My go-to summertime outfit has long been black shorts (cut almost to the knee), a white blouse (sometimes sleeveless, other times with sleeves), black flats or grey heels, red lipstick, red sunglasses, hair in ye olde bun, sometimes a ponytail, sometimes down but it drives me crazy when it’s down and makes me feel so much less on my game. Sometimes jewelry but that’s usually earrings. Keep it simple and timeless. My wild cards are all in my jacket game, especially this one magenta trench coat I have that I’m just as crazy about today as I was when I bought it 5 years ago. I suspect this year’s usual summertime looks will be making their annual classic comebacks.