Saturday, July 26, 2014

the C-word you weren't expecting

I generally have words that I love and hate, or love to hate, or just hate in general. Every now and then, these words rotate out.  These days, I have a whole new perspective on one particular word. Comfort. Comfortable. Comfortably. Comfortableness. Comfortability. Today, I dislike all conjugations of the word. What I've discovered is that being comfortable makes you lazy

Example. You go to work in your regular work clothes. Nice, pressed, perhaps attire that fits you better than your regular non-working attire. Then you come home from work and change clothes, into something comfortable.  What happens next? Are you productive? Do you go out and garden? Do you then go to the grocery store? Do you crack open your computer and work some more? Generally, the answer is no. (Note: there are exceptions: many people come home and change into their yard/house working clothes. This does not constitute into something "comfortable" as you have changed into a different type of work clothes.) 

When you allow yourself to get comfortable in your clothes, you become more lax in your behavior and actions. You pile up with the book, netflix, or pinterest. Now, before I continue, the afore statement is NOT a slam. If you've ever met me, you know the first thing I do when I get home is change clothes. But, the fact remains that it makes you lazier. 

Now, take this same idea of being comfortable and let's apply it somewhere else. Oh, I don't know, let's say...relationships.

When you first start to date or get to know someone, you are on.your.toes. You are aware of what comes out of your mouth, the thoughts you share, and if you're interested in the person, male or female, you display actions that show you are interested in furthering and investing in the friendship/relationship. In a relationship this could be the flowers and the "how was your day?" texts or phone calls, in a friendship it might be a consistent conversation through texting or time on the phone, getting coffee, or other activities. But, as the relationship progresses, so does time. 

Suddenly, you don't have to work so hard because you already know that person. You know how they feel about certain topics, you know how their day was before you see them, because you talk to this person on a regular basis. And because you know these things about your person, you become comfortable. Furthermore, because you are comfortable and no longer have to convince that person that you like them, or that you are invested in your relationship, you become by default, lazy. 

I ought to say, that there is an enormous difference between being comfortable with someone and being comfortable or complacent in a relationship. You should always feel comfortable with your person, you should not feel comfortable with your relationship. It should be hard, and you should have to work at it. 

Being too comfortable with your relationship leads to being complacent. Doing things because they are a habit, without really thinking about why you do it anymore. Complacency leads to people who miss out on their lives because they are no longer sure what their life would look like without that relationship, or that person. Is it really worth it? Is the ability to stay in a long term friendship/relationship worth missing out on doing what you as an individual want to do with your life? 

Not to me, finally. That's a lesson I learned the hard way, and as my daddy would say, "That's not something I learned in a book." Truth. Staying in a comfortable relationship after the relationship has run it's course is NOT worth it.

Watch the link below. It's 40 seconds of your life. Don't be a Karen. Don't change clothes and get comfortable :)

Blog Playlist
1. Everclear- Santa Monica
2. Matchbox 20- Push
3. Red Hot Chili Peppers- Dani California
4. Jimmy Eat World- The Middle
5. Everclear- I Will Buy You a New Life
6. Weezer- Beverly Hills
7. Stone Temple Pilots- Interstate Love Song
8. Blink-182- What's My Age Again
9. Everclear- Father of Mine

P.S I'll be happy to listen to song requests. Clearly, I love Everclear. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

my love affair with completely fictional characters.

Hello, my name is ARB and I fall in real and hard love with fictional male characters from books and movies.

The first time I remember this happening was when I was about 9 years old when I saw "Anstasia" in theaters. Yes, even animated male characters capture my interest. Dimitri was determined, sarcastic, and to be honest, a jerk through most of the movie. I spent many day dreams of my childhood hoping to fall into peril only to have my hero (Dimitri) come out of nowhere with a "wanna bet?!" and a right hook, freeing me from my captors evil grip.

The second time I really remember crushing hard was a few years later in 1999, when I read Harry Potter for the first time. When I first read those words, "Sunshine daises, butter mellow. Turn this stupid, fat rat yellow," I knew Ron Weasley was my guy. He was funny and experimental. As I continued reading over the years, I only fell more ridiculously in love with Ron Weasley. I liked Harry, he was a good hero (except when he was a whinny brat) but Ron stole my heart with his sense of humor and easy going nature. For the record, I would probably have checked into therapy if Rowling had killed him off, as she later stated. 

Finally, in my late high school years and well into my twenties I learned watched two movies that changed my life. 

The Breakfast Club
The Sure Thing

Now, I won't lie, I went through high school experiences that naturally drew me to John Bender. He was oh-so crude. He smoked, he was mean and sarcastic, and most importantly he broke the rules. All the time. It was true love when I heard, "Screws fall out all the time sir. The world is an imperfect place." Then there was my favorite, "Hey, how come Andrew gets to get up? If he gets up, we'll all get up, it'll be anarchy!" He was the guy that acted like he didn't care about anything, and for the most part, I believe he didn't. He was, no matter how crude, honest and never kept his opinions to himself. Bender had zero intention of letting anyone get the best of him, no matter the cost, which turned out to be about a bajillion Saturday schools. You came to understand that he opened up in bursts of anger, and that truly he wanted and needed the same basic needs of every other guy out there. 

I learned to love the bad boys.  And then I met Walter Gibson.

Gib was an ordinary guy, neither loved or hated by his general high school population. He tried to win girls over with his talk of Cassiopeia, and struck out often, but never let it get to him. He was funny, and kind hearted, and just wanted to have fun. I knew I loved him from the moment I watched his over the top attempt to get Alison to tutor him for their composition class. His love of junk food and necessary improv drew me to love him even more. I learned how to shotgun a beer from watching Gib, and I smile every time I hear the name "Nick." 

Here's the point. There's something to be said about my love affair with fictional characters, and my love affairs in real life. 

In my real life, I have been drawn to crude, sarcastic, funny, witty, brave/stupid, and drinking prone men. The exact same characteristics that my father portrays. 


If you read the above link, you will see that this is not unusual, and is somewhat to be expected for women with fathers present in their lives. 

However, to fall even more down the "that's weird" rabbit hole. Let's discuss my other, more minor crushes. There's Lloyd Dobbler (Say Anything). Jonathan Trager (Serendipity). Rob Gordon (High Fidelity). For those of you that have seen all of the mentioned movies, you've already spotted the connection. They're all John Cusack characters. Second PLOT TWIST, Dimitri from Anastasia was also voiced by John Cusack. I know, right? Weirder yet. John Cusack (who I clearly loved before ever knowing said real-life person,) looks almost exactly like a guy I had a massive crush on in high school. 

And now you know. 

If anyone happens to know a guy who is a combination of Dimitri, Bender, Gib, and Ron, I'm open for discussions about that person. 

Blog Playlist

1. Will Smith- Wild Wild West
2. Crazy Town- Butterfly
3. Aerosmith- Love in an Elevator 
4.MC Hammer- U Can't Touch This
5. Keith Urban- Put You in a Song
6. Simple Minds- Don't You Forget About Me
7. Donna Lewis- I Love You Always Forever

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"So, you live with your Abuela?"

Not going to lie. There are days when it's difficult to be 25 and single. No husband. No kids. And then I remember; I'm 25, with no husband, and no kids. I have a master's degree, a career that I love, and I've traveled the world my entire life, mostly alone. It really doesn't matter that I have no husband or kids.

All of the above information is open to the public, and most people no longer question me on the husband/kids bit (as though either of those is something I alone control...umm hello, it takes two to tango). However, it is difficult to encounter the "'re 25, and you live with your...Abweela? Abula? Abdula?"

Abuela (ah-bweh-la). Her name is Abuela. Which brings us to: why does a 25 year old, single female, with a career, "still" live at home?

Because I CHOOSE to. Could I go out and buy a house alone? Absolutely. Could I go rent an apartment? Of course.

1. Why not buy a house? This *is* my house. My abuela, my sister, and I own it.
2. Why not rent an apartment? A. wastes money better spent elsewhere i.e, trips, education. B. like I need to be able to get myself in more trouble. C. I can already manage bills, I don't need that life skill. D. I have zero problems being alone, I don't need to "get used to it".

For those of you that have met, or heard enough about Abuela, you know that she is, for the most part, quite capable of taking care of herself. Minus the occasional watermelon I have to get from the trunk, or the horrible 1-800 numbers I have to call because she doesn't understand people well on the phone. In spite of these minor cons, the pros and memories that I build living with her are irreplaceable. While many of my friends have lost grandparents in their teen years, I have been lucky that mine are in good health in my late 20's.

Don't get me wrong. It is not always easy. My abuela is as old school Cuban/Catholic minded as they come. However, she has shown me through example what self-sufficiency means, how ladies *ought* to behave, and she has instilled in me a drive to succeed. Why would I give that up, to live alone?

Blog Playlist
1. Wallflowers- One Headlight
2. Blink 182- All the Small Things
3. Third Eye Blind- Jumper
4. Everclear- Wonderful
5. Red Hot Chili Peppers- Scar Tissue
6. Sum 41- In Too Deep
7. Sugar Ray- Every Morning
8. Train- Meet Virginia

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

why your amygdala sucks.

For the sake of not starting off in the same way that everyone else does when writing about this particular topic, let's just assume that yes, we've all had that moment where you suddenly smell something familiar and WHAM, there you are in the middle of a memory like it was yesterday. Got it? Good.

Well, we can all thank our entire limbic system for that wonderful bit. Located in my favorite part of the brain, the temporal lobe, your limbic system is made up of your olfactory bulb (smells), your amygdala (processes your psycho emotions), and your hippocampus (your ability to learn through association). The coolest part, is that all of these things work together to make one big, happy lobe. Your olfaction sense is very slow to process smells; however, once processed, you are not likely to forget it. This is why first smells and repeated smells are important. Your olfaction bulb smells and processes scents, attaches it to a memory in your amygdala, which makes you feel some type of way, and then BAM, it hits your hippocampus and you'll forever think of Z whenever you smell Y. Conditioning, people. It's a big deal.

Whenever I get into thinking about my temporal lobe (which I do more often than I care to admit, because...memories), I'm reminded of a few of my favorite things. The 2001 movie "Someone Like You" has a scene where Ashley Judd is trying to forget her loser ex-boyfriend, and she goes to the doctor to have her amygdala removed because every time she smells vanilla or fresh sheets she's reminded of how happy they used to be and how miserable she is now. The second thing I'm reminded of is Hermione in the Half-Blood Prince, where she's smelling the Amortentia potion and she states that it smells different to each person, based on the things they love. To her, love smells like fresh parchment, tooth paste, and Ron's hair *swoon* <<

But I digress, the title of the post is about your amygdala, not the whole lobe. Your amygdala is what is responsible for you attaching a memory to a smell, and then feeling some kind of way about it. It's responsible for kicking your square in the feels, just based off a measly smell. Crazy. And like most things in life, people don't smell something and think "Oh, that's nice, that reminds me of..." and think about it all day, they move on. BUT, if it is a NEGATIVE memory they have, they go swirling down a rabbit hole of memories that they'd rather not drudge up. Fresh cut grass would be one example that most people have a positive smell from. But do you spend your whole day thinking about a memory with grass? Probably not. However, walk into a funeral home, and you're hit in the face with the smell of lilies, I can pretty much guarantee you're going to be feeling some way the rest of the day. (Someone argued with me that this could be because you smell cut grass more often than you smell lilies in a funeral home, but still.)

Somedays I like my amygdala and we get along. Other days I'd like to go to a doctor like Ashley Judd and ask him to remove mine. For your own personal enjoyment, I've created a list of positive smells, and negative smells in my book. Some of you will easily be able to assume where they come from, others may be more difficult. I've also included an interesting blog about your amygdala and relationships written by John McManamy.  "Relationship Rule #1: Never engage in dialogue with the other person's amygdala."

Smells that set off Alicia's Memories

Car grease/oil
Paul Mitchell Hair conditioner
Old books
Salt Water
Wet dog
Second hand smoke
Burned matches

Wet Socks
Zest soap
Capri Sun
Brand new phonics books (with the shiny pages)
Vienna Sausages

"Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived."
-Helen Keller

Blog Post Playlist:

1. Weezer-Beverly Hills
2. Everclear- Father of Mine
3. Everclear- Buy You a New Life
4. Eagle Eye Cherry- Save Tonight
5. Collective Soul-December
6. Everclear-Wonderful
7. Sister Hazel- All For You

Monday, July 21, 2014

what we have here...

Is failure to communicate. Oh, wait. That's generally the story of my life.

Regardless. I have missed blogging. I've missed the sound of my fingers clicking the keys away, trying to get the next word on the screen before I forget my thoughts, or the still feeling I get inside while my fingers hover over the keys, debating how honest to be. Knowing that you are spilling yourself to the world and yet no one at the same time. Putting thoughts into the universe that may, or may not have an impact. There's something cathartic about it, and so I am back.

Instead of boring my adoring audience (all 3 of you), with updating the details of my life (because you already know them), I will show you my summer in pictures.

I  graduated with my Master's Degree                I finished the school year and did some day drinking

I went on my first People to People trip and took Student Ambassadors to Paris and London.

I spent 4th of July with some wonderful people, good friends, and my sister included.

I cuddled with this ham >>>>>>>

I was honored to be bridesmaid in a college friend's wedding, and I got to see The Fray in concert in Nashville.

I also managed to snag in lunches, dinners, drinks, trivia, and movies with an assortment of friends that I don't get to see as frequently during the school year.

The Topic.

A friend suggested that I blog about "how can it be that hitting beach balls at an awesome concert can be so much fun?"

Though this is not necessarily the most thought provoking topic, and it will certainly not win me a Pulitzer, there is something to be said for it. We make memories stand out in our minds when they are different from other memories. I have many memories of eating pizza, but one very specific memory of being a young kid in Munchies pizza in Red Bank and burning the roof of my mouth for the first time. It stands out because it's different...painfully so.

Often, the same can be said for what makes certain activities "fun." Being on the beach is fun, as is hitting a beach ball. But in this case, you generally know where the ball is going, who you are aiming for, and where it is going next; there is a plan.

When you've spent two hours on an adventure car ride going to a place you're not necessarily familiar with, you're in the foreplay of making a memory.  When you are standing at a concert in the middle of nowhere, wet, with your eardrums thumping in your brain, and your eyes intoxicated by the pulsating lights on stage, surrounded by thousands of people feeling the same way you do, you feel a sense of unity and happiness at the sight of the giant beach balls. Everyone in the crowd reaches up in hopes of simply touching the one that comes near them, sending it back into the crowd for someone else to enjoy and create their own memories as well.

In the end, the answer is simple, what makes hitting a giant beach ball at an awesome concert so much fun is that it's a new memory that you've made with a thousand other strangers.

Tonight's Blogging Playlist:

Rob Thomas-Someday
Mariah Carey- Obsessed
Journey-Feeling That Way
Journey- Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'