The Twenties: I Can’t Even Commit to Getting a Damn Hedgehog

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I don’t have a hedgehog, but here’s a picture of my dog, Sophie.

Last night, I had a dream that I got a pet hedgehog that talked to me.  Honestly, I like to believe that in my dream, she was my sidekick, but I actually don’t really remember the dream that well except that at one point, my hedgehog got stuck in a PVC pipe in my kitchen and was yelling, “Sara, help me, I’m stuck!” and I had to squeeze her out of the pipe.  Also, why was there a big PVC pipe in my kitchen?

Actually, no, why was the hedgehog talking?

I digress.  There’s a backstory to this.

For the past few years, I have really been wanting to get a dog.  I looooove dogs, and my house has always felt lonely without one.  However, I have big dreams of traveling after college, and at this time in my life I’m not home consistently, so I decided a dog is not the best choice for me at the moment.  Then a few weeks ago, I saw a picture of a hedgehog on Instagram, and this is another part that I don’t actually remember, but I guess that I must have become obsessed with them in the meantime, because lately I just cannot stop thinking about hedgehogs.  They are the cutest little roly polies, and apparently (from my extensive amounts of research), they’re also quiet, and odorless, and they’re totally low maintenance.  The perfect animal for a busy student.

So why can’t I commit to actually getting one?!

Okay, for starters, they’re like expensive hamsters.  They require the same materials, but since they’re exotic, they’re a good $200 more than hamsters.  However, they’re much cuter and friendlier, so I think it would be worth it.  However, I really do not think it is the price that is stopping me from getting a hedgehog but more the fact that I can’t even keep a damn succulent alive.  With my last pokey plant, I over-watered the thing a.k.a. I loved it too much, and it died.  Moral of the story: If I can’t keep a pokey plant alive, how do I keep a pokey animal alive?  I’m sure a living, moving thing would remind me to feed it and clean out its cage, but what if I hug it too tight or something?  Plus, apparently hedgehogs have to be kept in a 60*-75* F temperature constantly, and how do you regulate these things?  These are real life, first-world, Millennial problems, people.

Lastly, I have been trying to think of a punny hedgehog name for the past couple of days, and I really cannot think of one.  I simply cannot get a hedgehog until I have a fantastic name.

Anyways, I’ll probably end up getting a hedgehog at some point, but only when I stop being so crazy about it.  (Please note: I am NOT an indecisive person ever, so I don’t know how to deal with my feelings when I have an indecisive moment.  But hedgehogs are living things, you know?)

Any hedgehog owners out there?  Advice?  Thoughts?  How do you keep your hedgie warm?

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Wake Up by Arcade Fire

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The Twenties: What is this?

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For those who have been following me for some time, you probably know that I like to share little snippets of my life on the blog.  Most of the time, I’m talking about feminism or my struggles with anxiety or just weird things that I come across, but lately, things have been unusually hard in my personal life concerning career goals, relationships, family, adulting, and the like.  This is totally not new to any twenty-something that has ever lived.  Honestly, it’s no secret that the twenties are an ever-evolving, revolutionary time period that everyone experiences.  Like, shit, 80% of sitcoms on TV are dedicated to the portrayal of the twenty-somethings’ lives.  For unknown reasons, people think we’re a fascinating species, but really I think it’s just that we’re relatable.

I have to admit that I have not been in my twenties for very long, so by no means am I an expert.  However, I’ve always thought that your twenties start when you move out on your own (in my case 18) and pretty much last until you’re in your thirties (or when you get married/buy a house/have kids?  I don’t really know).  What I’m trying to say is that I have noticed the struggles of the twenties in my personal life starting at 18 and even in some of my older friends that are now in their thirties but are still experiencing the same stuff they were dealing with 8 years ago.  This is a period of our lives where half the people we know have toddlers and engagement rings while the other half woke up half-naked on the front lawn of a frat house covered in profane Sharpie doodles.  Which leads to my question: What is this?  What are our twenties?!  We watch our childhood friends graduate college, get careers, become someone’s wife, become someone’s dad.  We struggle with our career choices, dating, an onset of health problems we thought we wouldn’t have for another 20 years (why do I always have heartburn?!), learning how to like green juice and drag our ass to the gym in the morning pre-coffee.  The twenties are difficult, and I won’t believe otherwise, but I’ve also been told that it’s the best time of my life.

See, I have this issue where I’m currently in college, and everyone is telling me, “Make it last as long as you can.  You’ll never get this time back.  After college, it’s just work and paying bills.  Yadayadayada”.  However, I truly do not believe I am currently living the best part of my life.  And for the love of God, if this is my peak, I’m just going to stop now.  I can tell you for sure that, while I have truly enjoyed college and life during, I have also had some of my worst anxiety and sadness over the past few years.  There are days where I want to stay in college forever and days where I can’t wait to be set in my career.  It’s a battle, but I try to learn from the hard days and cherish the good ones.  I want more than anything to have the best time of my life during the twenties, and I really do believe that it’s going to happen, but I guess I’m kind of just wondering when that will be?  (Patience is not my forte, have you noticed?)  I have to say, as of right now, I’m not super impressed with my twenties, but I also had set myself up to believe that everything was going to be perfect by this time in my life.  Every time something good happens, I think “This is it!” until it isn’t.  However, I’ve already learned so much from dealing with more difficult aspects of life, and I know that with persistence, I’ll find what I’m looking for (and if anyone is persistent, it’s me).  I’m working on getting out of my head a bit, opening up, and not taking myself so seriously.  This has been a problem in the past.  While physically I’m in my twenties, my personality is far into her thirties.  I must disclose this, because my opinions may not be completely accurate of a twenty-something, although obviously this varies person-to-person.  While my thirty-something personality can sometimes be a drag on my younger self (when I feel like my life is not progressing fast enough, when I would rather stay home than go out, when I put insane amounts of pressure on myself at work or in school), it has also had a lot of benefits (I have formed adult relationships, I set goals, I know – basically – what I’m looking for in life).

I want to stress that I am not here to judge or psychoanalyze anyone like I’m some kind of expert on living-life-to-the-fullest or learning how to be your “best self”.  I’m just here to share observations in my usual satirical way.  The twenties are hard and confusing, and honestly, I don’t quite know what I’m doing with my life.  I’m just looking to share some of my experiences while I navigate whatever it is that I’m looking for.  I want this to be humorous at times and therapeutic in others.  Hopefully, I’ll find some people who can relate, and we’ll swap war stories.

If you have any good advice or thoughts, please feel free to share.  I’ll be here in my minuscule corner of the internet attempting to finish my degree, find love, and actually remember to put gas in my car before I’m running late to an important event.

Cheers to the twenties, ya’ll.

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: The Modern Age by The Strokes

 

Feminism is not Misandry

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*Disclaimer:  These are my own thoughts and opinions–please understand that this article is not intended to start an argument, political conversation, and is absolutely, under no circumstances, meant to undermine men (since you know, the whole point of this article is to reaffirm that feminism is not synonymous with misandry).  This is just something that truly needs to be understood.  If you do not have feminist ideals, this article is probably not for you.  Furthermore, if you don’t have anything nice to say, tell your teddy bear or write it in your journal, because I’m not interested in your negativity.  You’ve been warned!*

First, let me start off by saying that I am proud to be a woman.  I am independent, confident, strong, but I can also be stubborn, opinionated, and impatient.  I believe that, together, women and men have the ability to change the world, and I hope for equal opportunity for all people.  I believe in the equal treatment of every race, religion, sex, and body size.  I dream of a world where people of all shapes, sizes, colors, and cultures are seen as beautiful and can be celebrated.

Unfortunately, not everybody thinks as I do.  I understand this, and I also accept other peoples’ ideas and opinions.  I keep an open mind when listening to other parties speak their minds.  I try not to judge others for their opinions, even if they do not align with my state of mind.  I do a fairly good job at this, until, you know, somebody becomes irrational, or worse, is just plain wrong.

If you are unaware of what intersectional feminism is, no worries.  To be honest, I did not know what it was until a little while ago.  Turns out, I was an intersectional feminist all along, and I didn’t even know it!  It is important to understand what intersectional feminism is in order to truly understand what we believe, and why true feminism is not misandry.

Unlike Brandy Melville, intersectional feminists believe that one size does not fit all.  What I mean is that there is not one type of feminism that can cover all the different types of oppression.  Racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia, etc. are all connected together and should therefore be examined together.  For more information, here’s a handy dandy link with more details on intersectionality!

That said, I know that there are all types of negative feminism and nonfeminism.  Feminazis, TERFs, and antifeminists are all real, but that does not mean that they are justified or correct in their actions.  Rather, they have taken a positive thing, and turned it a complete 180.  And of course, instead of focusing on the positive side of feminism (Equal pay!  Body positivity!  Loving and supporting other women!  Safe abortion/access to birth control!  Sex equality!), society and our media tries to target all their attention on the adverse aspects (re: negative forms of feminism listed above).

But luckily, intersectional feminists are bonding together in order to truly establish who we are and try to rid of the idea that feminism is the idea of equality for all!

It breaks my heart that there are people, especially women, who do not support my decisions for my body.  That there are fellow women that do not want me to have access to birth control and that some women do not even accept that I deserve some jobs that I am qualified for.  I know that not all women support other women, and while I do not necessarily agree with their choices, I choose to support their opinions because that’s what feminists do!

My main goal here is that people stay informed on the truths regarding feminism and the ideals we support.  That will not always happen (for example, people still believe in the Planned Parenthood hoax even though David Daleiden admitted the videos were fake).  However, ignorance only prohibits those who practice it.  Choosing to believe lies only sets those back farther in life.

This is precisely why I am so shocked with the backlash against positive feminism.  If you’ve read recent news stories such as the murder of Grace Mann, the countless stories regarding college football players raping women (while victim blaming *but what’s new?*), and even instances of women proudly declaring their antifeminism, then you know what I’m talking about.

What is so difficult for me to comprehend is the horrible things people have to say in relation to feminists.  While regarding the vicious murder of Grace Mann, one antifeminist blogger stated, “One day a feminist wearing an “ironic” KILL ALL MEN t-shirt will walk down the wrong street, enter the wrong room and encounter the wrong man; a man that does not value her as a woman and chooses not to treat her as an equal. The man will not see the t-shirt as ironical humor, but be offended and beat her savagely, laughing as he licks the tears from her crying eyes”.  I have chosen not to state the name of the writer or blog, because frankly, he is not worth my time.  But you can find more info here.

Other antifeminists claim that feminism is outdated.  They claim that feminism does not support conservative, or traditional, ideals.  Amongst many other reasons, they also claim that feminists do not believe in the victimization of men.

While I can see why they’re concerned, I also believe that they are majorly mistaken regarding what feminism really is.

For starters, a real feminist would never wear a KILL ALL MEN shirt, because that it not feminism.  It is misandry.  Feminism is about the equality of men, women, trans, different races, cultures, etc.–wearing this shirt would completely go against our ideals.  That is not to say that a Feminazi would not wear this shirt–she might.  But she is not a true feminist–she is a misandrist, and they are just as bad as misogynists.

To further clarify, in case you still don’t quite get it, feminists promote the equality of men and women.  It is also about women supporting women.  Therefore, we accept all choices that women make.  The reason we do not openly talk about women who choose to get married, have children, and be stay at home mothers is because they face little criticism from society.  But working women?  Women who may not want to get married, or have children, or who do not like to cook, or dress up?  They face criticism every day.  We are not putting down women, we are encouraging them to follow their path and make their own decisions.  Another thing that Women against Feminism do not understand, is that we, as feminists, are supporting the equal treatment of men and women across all races, cultures, sexual orientations, ages, etc.  Women against Feminism are quick to state their position on equality between men and women, but completely disregard other types of oppressed people.  This is why feminism is still relevant.  We support everybody.

Lastly, we do not believe that men are never victims.  Men can absolutely be victimized.  Men are raped, men are abused, men can be mistakenly accused as sex offenders.  I, as a feminist, support their rights, but I do not believe that women have more rights than men.  In some areas we are equal, in many we are not.  The idea is to get to the level where we all have the same amount of rights, the same voice, and equal love.  The reason we try so hard to support women is because we have been oppressed for a long time, and historically, men have not.  Women are told that we should not have a say regarding our bodies.  We are told we do not deserve equal pay to men.  We are told that we are worthless without men but that we are sluts if we spend too much time with them.  However, we would never think of disregarding men in the process of attaining equality.  Remember: feminism is for everyone!  (I have many feminist men in my life, and they are just as wonderful and appreciated as the feminist women in my life!)

What absolutely sickens me is that, in the act of opposing feminism, real people are getting hurt every day.  People get raped, murdered, harmed, and physically/verbally/emotionally abused fighting for their basic fundamental rights.  Nobody deserves this under any circumstances.  Ever.  Say what you will about feminists, but a true intersectional feminist would never harm somebody to get what they want.  The same can not be said for those against feminism and equality.

Feminists are not out to get one another.  I mostly believe that we are misunderstood.  I believe that antifeminists are either misogynists or they are misguided concerning what real feminism is.  We want equality, we want our rights, and we want the love and support of other feminists.  Don’t like abortion?  Don’t get one.  Don’t agree with easily accessible birth control?  Don’t take it.  Want to be the CEO of a corporation or be a stay at home mom?  Follow your own path.  We are not trying to take anyone’s rights away, but rather increase the rights of all groups of people.  Overall, I want to make my own decisions regarding my body, my lifestyle, and who I choose to be as a person.  I do not want to be judged for my decisions.  Nobody does.

Feminists face a lot of opposition, but we are still going strong.  Unfortunately for those against us, they are fighting a losing battle.  There will always be men and women who choose equality over all else.  We are louder, because we are willing to fight for what we want.  We are leaders.  We are strong.  It’s time to do your research, and learn what real feminism is all about.  Those who face the facts will soon realize…

…Feminism is not misandry.

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*Song of the Day: Been a Son–Nirvana

*Want some recommendations on some great feminist blogs?  Just ask!*

Dating Sucks

I pretty much use Napoleon Dynamite references whenever possible. Image: http://www.quickmeme.com/p/3vxnni
I pretty much use Napoleon Dynamite references whenever possible.
Image: http://www.quickmeme.com/p/3vxnni

Considering media practically runs our lives, it’s no surprise to me that people look to the nearest dating app to easily find their next relationship or hookup.  I personally have never used Tinder, so this is coming from a biased point of view, but I also have seen the effects of using the dating app firsthand through some of my friends throughout college.

My first problem with my generation is that we do everything on the internet or through our phones.  I’m not going to say that I’m some saint who is never on her phone or the internet (hello, I’m writing about this topic on my blog right now), but I also use caution with my electronics.  Unless I’m waiting for some important phone call or email, I really try to stay off my phone when I’m hanging out with my friends or family.  Ever been in the middle of a sentence when somebody starts cracking up over something on their phone, and you realize they haven’t been listening to your story for the last 8 minutes?  Yeah, not cool, everybody.

Really though, I find it a huge bummer that the sanctity of relationships has become so distorted that I can’t even remember the last time I was asked on a date in person, by somebody less than ten years older than me, in my college town.  It’s been at least a year.  I’ve actually met men in person who only ask me to dinner after they find me on Facebook.  Even though they had just been talking to me in person 2 hours ago.

Not even shitting you, I’ve been broken up with over text message before.  Please, for the love of God, stop the madness.

As much as it seems like I’m totally against dating websites, I’m really not.  If online dating is your thing, please understand that I’m not ridiculing you, and I know there are people who have met incredibly wonderful SOs online.  I just believe that moderation is key.

My real problem with Tinder and dating apps is that people let them ruin their social skills, their relationships, and will even lower their standards as a result of online dating.

Again, I have never used Tinder, so my initial opinion of the app when it first became a big thing was essentially that it was for the low self-esteemed and desperate.  I’m not necessarily proud of that, because I try really hard not to be judgmental.  I also have friends with Tinder profiles that are definitely not desperate or low self-esteemed.  It’s just that the idea of hanging out with my friends, swiping through profiles, occasionally dodging a dick pic, and completely disregarding guys I’m not necessarily attracted to seems so, so harsh.  For somebody who really places an emphasis on personality, a dating app based solely off looks was on a way different level than I was.

Maybe the real problem is actually me, and I’m just not down to conform with my fellow Millennials’ ways of life.  It’s not like our parents were flipping through their iPhones swiping right or left or whatever*.  They found love somehow without all of this online bullshit (my parents are high school sweethearts, happily married 25 years…).  As a little girl, TV shows and movies and books and magazines told me that love would happen so romantically.  I’m not a very romantic person, but I also would like to be taken out on an actual date once in a while.

*6 year old me believing love experiences would be as awesome as Lizzie McGuire’s really let me down*.

I’m fairly certain that dating apps have turned me into a hopeless romantic.  The term has now evolved so much that even going to dinner with respectful, 20-something man is too much to ask for.

Dating apps and online dating has, unsurprisingly, allowed Millennials the freedom to conduct all of their relationship and social business over the internet.  I swear, I don’t think most guys my age would even know what to do if they wanted to ask me out in person.  Would they bravely walk up to me and ask for my number?  Unlikely.  But that’s probably why I only get asked out by guys who were already preteens by the time I was born.

Even sadder than my nonexistent love life is hearing instances of people still scrolling through Tinder when they’re already in relationships.  Aside from the frustrating hook-up culture we live in that makes it completely abnormal to actually define relationships, Tinder has marketed itself as a “social” app, meaning that people apparently find no problem in swiping through every once in a while to see how many matches they have.  Earlier, my friend told me her friends use Tinder to find matches just to make sure that they still can.  People want to know that they’re able to appeal to others, even though they’re in relationships.  However, in doing this, they’re reinforcing their low self-esteem (ex: “I’m not attractive/desirable/wanted if people do not ‘swipe right’ on my profile”) and hurting people that care about them.  Maybe some people are okay with their SOs scrolling through Tinder every once in a while, but I know that I would be incredibly hurt by this.  In raising your self-esteem, you may be lowering someone else’s.

Going back to what I was saying earlier about our hook-up culture and “defining relationships”, I cannot stress enough that I do not find it a bad thing.  I am completely all about sex positivity.  The problem is that it has overshadowed people looking for actual relationships.  It seems as if every guy I talk to is only looking for casual hookups or low-involvement.  Again, that’s fine if that’s what they’re looking for, but for young people that want to remain monogamous, it’s a huge letdown.  I’ve gone on a couple of dates where the whole time I was thinking, “Is this a date?  Is this not a date?  What is happening right now?”  If you ask somebody out, make your intentions clear from the beginning so that nobody ends up hurt at the end of the night.  If you want a hookup, that’s fine.  If you’re looking for a serious relationship, great.  But find your target market and pursue only your target market** . Then, ask them out in a respectful manner.

I guess, in the end, what I’m really trying to say is that dating apps and online dating should not to be used as a primary option for people my age.  I go to college in one of the most single cities in the U.S. for young people (seriously, Reno is ranked 8th), and I rarely get asked on a date in person.  We have transformed ourselves into a society that would rather get to know somebody over social media than in person.  The love of your life could be standing right in front of you, but you would never know, because you’re swiping through Tinder looking for them.

I know that not all people follow these ideals, that there are good guys out there that share the same beliefs that I do, and that I will eventually find someone that gives me the same love and affection that I will give him.  But that’s not at all what concerns me.  I’m worried about my friends getting stuck in shitty relationships distorted by false images portrayed by online profiles.  I feel sad for my smart, beautiful, talented friends that stress out about “defining the relationship” with a person that really isn’t looking for one.

People say that new is better than old, but does that really apply to dating methods?  I’m not looking for some Nicholas Spark’s-novel-kind of relationship, but I also don’t want to be dragged into these fucked-up mind games where neither party knows what the hell is going on.  And I don’t want to be considered a “prude” or as “high maintenance” for following these beliefs. Dating should be enjoyable and uncomplicated, but it never is.

I’m optimistic that my kind of person is out there, and truthfully I’m not worried about finding him any time soon.  It’s just that so far, dating in my early 20s has left me rather unimpressed.

Any thoughts about Tinder and online dating?

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*Not even kidding, I had to Google how Tinder works…

**This was the marketing major in me showing her true colors.

*Song of the Day: Ooo–Karen O, because she gets it*

My Happy Things 9.9.15

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Hello friends!

I haven’t posted a “happy things” article since I was in Europe.  That’s mainly because I originally intended for “my happy things” posts to be a way for me to communicate with my readers overseas since I did not have kitchen access and didn’t really want to worry about getting a bunch of clothing pics the whole time.

However, I have been having a pretty rough couple of weeks.  Without getting into too much detail, the past few weeks have been very stressful and have left me a little heartbroken.  I’ve had a lot of those “I can’t catch a f***ing break” moments.  As dramatic as I make it sound, this is quite abnormal for me, so I do not always know how to handle it.  Panic attacks are somewhat typical for me, but they’ve been worse than usual lately.  While I know it has a lot to do with lack of sleep, not working working out, and not caring for my body as well as I should be, a series of events have lead my life to be very stressful.  I do my best to remain positive, but sometimes I’m just sad.

I’m not afraid to admit that.  I find nothing wrong with sadness, and I find nothing wrong with my anxiety.  It’s just a part of my life, and while I think I’d be better off without it, I also know that it is a part of who I am.  Admittedly, I have a hard time expressing this over my blog since it is very personal and vulnerable.  However, I think it is important to acknowledge that everybody has “something”, whether it’s anxiety or depression or anything else.  I feel lucky that I have the resources and self-motivation to break myself out of my anxiety-funks, and truthfully, I do feel a lot better now than I did a few days ago.  However, not everybody has those means.  There’s an unfair stigma associated with mental health issues, and I would love to help end that.  After all, most people do not know right off the bat that I have anxiety.

Which goes back to that old cliche.  Don’t judge a book by its cover.

Unfortunately, oftentimes when I get sad about real things, I start to get upset about stupid, irrelevant things.  Like why did Little Joy break up?  Why is it socially unacceptable to eat ice cream for dinner every night?  WHY IS SEASON 4 OF NEW GIRL NOT ON NETFLIX YET?!

(Seriously though, Netflix.  New Girl.  Season 4.  Let’s go).

Anyways, since I’ve been having a hard time lately, I decided to bring back the “happy things” posts.  I probably won’t update them every week like I did in London.  But I will definitely keep them around for when I need encouragement, or for when I just want to share some cool things with you guys.

So while I am sad, I also know that there a lot of beautiful things in life.  There is so much to be happy about.  Writing music and blog posts is one of my favorite ways to express how I’m feeling.  I tend to use sarcasm when I write, and I like to make fun of myself–life is too short to take everything seriously.  Sometimes life is hard, but we just have to laugh it off and keep going.  Plus sarcasm makes me happy.  And I would like to use my writing to spread happiness.

And occasionally use profanity on the internet.  Sorry, readers.  It’s who I am as a person.

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My first “happy thing” was getting my disposable pictures back that I took in London.  Although this one came out blurry, I’m really in love with it.  Flowers + coffee = a perfect day.

“The Medic” by Foxing.  Foxing is one of my favorite bands ever.  Also, their album The Albatross is just all around so perfect.  You know when you can feel somebody’s emotions through their music?  That’s how I feel when I listen to their album.

Plus, they’re going to be playing a show in Reno in November, and I’m soooooo excited.

So.  Excited.

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The balloon races in Reno!  This is an annual event that is super popular, and one of the coolest things about living in Reno.  I have never actually been to the balloon races, but last year a balloon went off track and landed in my cul de sac!  It’s a pretty neat event, because you can see the balloons floating around Reno for pretty much a whole weekend.

Anyways, this year I’m going to go (even though it means waking up at like, 4:30 a.m. to watch them light up O: ).

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Living in beautiful Reno.  I took a little walk around the midtown/downtown area the other day, and I was just so happy to be there.  Although the river is really low, it’s just such a pretty place to live.  And the people are so nice.  And there’s really good food and coffee and music.

And I’m really just so lucky to live here.

Whine About It.  Nothing cheers me up quite like watching these videos.  Okay, maybe baby elephant videos make me a little happier, but these do the trick also.  This one is probably my favorite, because it’s just so accurate.

(P.S. How do I get a job where I get to drink wine and bitch about life?  I want that job).

Thanks for reading, guys.  My family comes into town on Friday for my aunt’s wedding, and I can’t wait to have an amazing weekend.

*Insert inspirational quote here*

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*Song of the Day: The Medic–Foxing*