This post contains affiliate links, because I like money, but I s2g I wrote this post before adding the affiliate links and the monetization does not affect my opinions.
Since mid-February, I’ve been crying probably 3 or 4 times a week, which is a frequency creeping dangerously close to depressed-college-Sam levels of Crying Too Much. I’ve also been doing too little of the following: sleeping, washing my hair, washing my face, moisturizing my face, flossing my teeth, brushing my teeth, and bathing.
This is fine, I thought, like the comic strip dog wearing a hat while his kitchen is engulfed in flames. It was fine, because I was interviewing, so my anxiety was justified, and because I could deal with situational stress that had a foreseeable end. It was fine!
It was fine to have anxiety attacks at work while sitting at my desk doing nothing and having to leave work because I couldn’t focus while counting my heartbeats or feeling hysterical with nausea or trying to stop my eyeballs from producing inappropriately timed tears (a Sam classic).
And while I’m not yet at the point where I literally want to die and find myself zoning out mid-conversation or partway through a crosswalk to fantasize about tall buildings (college was uhhh how do you say this? rough), I am, in fact, not really all that fine.
My interviews are over. But I still had to leave my desk the other day to will a sudden onslaught of tears into submission in the privacy of a bathroom stall. I still haven’t been practicing normal hygiene routines (this week’s score: Hygiene-1, Anxiety-5), or sleeping at healthy hours.
I’m probably teetering on the edge of depression at this point, if I’m being objective about it, but this time I’m not so socially isolated that I’m being sucked into its gaping maw. I’ve got a few more hands to hold on to this time. It could be worse.
It also brings me some peace to know that my friend Victoria was right, back in college when I felt like I was going to break from the weight of deciding whether to quit my sensible second major (Computer Science) or not, and that she’s still right – either I’ll keep going, or something will break, and I’ll do something else.
It would be best if I could take one more tech job. I know this. I know how much it would help to take one more tech job, to hoard a couple more years’ worth of savings on a six-figure salary before I check the fuck out. But I’m not sure I can.
It might break me. And that’s the tea.
But I don’t want to end on that note. So here are some things that have been keeping my happiness levels afloat lately (and not so lately):
- attending Dua Lipa’s concert at the Masonic and falling even more in love with her!!!
- these Mulan and Big Hero 6 pins that Spenser bought me from the Disney Resort in Tokyo:
i was straight up uwu-ing!! spenser is the best!!
- moving most of my taxable investments from Betterment to Vanguard
REALLY LONG ASIDE: For the record, I haven’t had any problems with Betterment and I highly recommend their service if you find the task of actually choosing and rebalancing funds to be intimidating (and if you’ve already maxed out your tax-advantaged accounts (401ks, IRAs, etc.)). Betterment has a straightforward and approachable UI/UX and very sensible portfolio suggestions, especially for new investors, which is very helpful if the main thing deterring you from investing is lack of knowledge. It is so important to get started early and let time and compound interest work for you! (This is not just my opinion! This is historically and statistically true!) I only decided to move to Vanguard because the fees are lower (Betterment charges 0.25%; Vanguard’s average expense ratio is 0.11%; this fractional percentage difference matters only somewhat, only in the very long run), and I now want to get my hands dirty balancing my own portfolio. (It was kind of a nightmare to get it transferred, so I’m proud that I saw it through. In order to do an in-kind transfer (aka without liquidiating all my assets, which would be a taxable event), I had to go to a brick-and-mortar bank that I have an account with, to set up an appointment to get a Medallion Signature Guarantee, which is sort of like public notarization, but performed by a financial institution, and they had to call in the branch manager to approve the transaction. It was Involved™.)
- absolutely LOSING IT over Harry Styles in a kilt
- watching and rewatching this video of Harry Styles in a sequined black and white houndstooth suit, pride flag, and rainbow lei singing “Anna” with hair TO DIE FOR:
- reading so many books! (Shoutout to the public library!) So far I’m at 20 books read this year, and I enjoyed almost all of them, but these were standouts:
- In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan. A hilarious, lovingly told fantasy novel about a bisexual redhead named Elliot whose best friends are Serene (short for Serene-Heart-in-the-Chaos-of-Battle, a fearsome warrior elf girl who hails from a matriarchal society that’s just as prejudiced as human society, but in a reversed-patriarchy way) and Luke (a super athletic, super righteous, super handsome warrior who is Shy™). Elliot, unlike his friends, is training to be a peacemaker and treaty-writer, and he loves mermaids!!! I have no words for how much I love this book!!! If you loved Maya’s versions of absolute nightmare Draco Malfoy, you will LOVE THIS BOOK!!!
- Geekerella by Ashley Poston. A CUTE AF modern-day retelling of Cinderella, but set against a sci-fi fandom backdrop, complete with cosplay and conventions and a PoC prince(!).
- Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I had no idea going in that this was a sci-fi book or that it was set in a futuristic version of Beijing! This is the 2nd retelling of Cinderella I’ve read this year (and the 2nd version with a non-white prince!), and it was such a treat.
- The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. This was unexpectedly very, very good. This gem of a tale follows a golem (of Jewish folklore) and a jinni (of Arabian/Syrian folklore) who end up crossing paths in late-1800s New York. It made me think a lot about personhood and humanity and morality and karma and destiny, and I highly recommend it.
- The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. This is a story about a Jamaican-American girl and a Korean-American boy, and fate, and it is adorable. There is a chapter about chopsticks that made me cry. That is all.
- Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater. This is the 3rd book in the Raven Cycle series. I have never rooted for a polyamorous ship in my life until this book. As I’ve said before, I’m not usually a fan of love triangles, but this series has got me rooting for a love pentacle.
- Captive Prince by C. S. Pacat. I truly don’t know how to adequately describe this book series, but this graphic pretty much sums it up.
- Loving vs. Virginia by Patricia Hruby Powell. This is, of course, about the landmark 1967 civil rights case wherein the Supreme Court ruled that state bans on interracial marriage are unconstitutional. (The worst thing I learned from reading this is that Alabama still had anti-miscegenation language written into its laws as recently as 2000.) I borrowed this from the library not knowing it was written in verse, or that it was told from the point of view of the Lovings themselves. Between chapters are peppered facts and press snippets and court rulings that draw you out of the Lovings’ personal struggles and into the broader context of this country’s racist history. (Not that this country isn’t still racist.) As a woman of color in an interracial relationship with a white man, I found myself crying every few chapters, not just because of the tenderness and frustration of the Loving’s story, but because the history of this country is so dark, and I am so grateful to those who came before me and faced injustice with resilience. It made me feel especially grateful for my partner, and for the ACLU.
- visiting the Color Factory with my little cousin (she’s 15; not so little anymore) and taking an absurd number of photos and embracing the absolute vanity of it all with JOY and UNBRIDLED ENTHUSIASM
the artist at work
the artist in her natural state: smothered in balls and mcloving it
here’s a nicer picture:
I bought this jumpsuit ($22.90 at Forever21) just to wear to the Color Factory and it was TOTALLY WORTH IT.
One day I’ll have to share the rest of the photos, because they are truly excellent.
- watching Kedi, a documentary about the street cats of Istanbul (I streamed it for free on Kanopy, via the San Francisco Public Library; your local public library might also have it available!), which made me, a dog person, repeatedly tell my boyfriend, for several days straight, “She is a blessing from god,” every time the cat meowed or snored or headbutted me asking to be buttered.
- listening to Shawn Mendes’ self-titled album and bopping to “Nervous” and “Falling All In You”
- patting myself on the back for buying this KittyCot cat bed for the living room window, which is now the cat’s favorite spot in the house
- patting myself on the back for replacing the piece of cardboard we taped over the little window on the front door with this really pretty light-refracting, rainbow-making window cling
It is much prettier than the piece of cardboard we had taped up, and it both lets light in and makes it really hard to see through the glass. Even if you come right up to the window, you can only make out blurry shapes and colors. Plus, we only used like a square foot to cover this window (the roll is like… 6 feet long and cost me $8.99), so this was a really cheap privacy fix.
- moving (almost) all of my stuff to the apartment!!! (actually it’s the top floor of a house so it’s more like a flat)
- listening to King Princess on repeat (I KNOW I’M LATE TO THIS TRAIN.) (I love “1950”, which you’ve probably heard by now, but “Talia” is A STAB IN THE GUT: “If I drink enough / I can taste your lipstick / I can lay down next to you / But it’s all in my head / If I drink enough / I swear that I will wake up next to you.”)
- knitting in the round for the first time! So far I’ve learned how to cast on in the round, and how to do a k1rb/k1b stitch (knit 1, row below). I’m working on this crop top.
- crying over Meghan Markle and the royal wedding and “Stand By Me.” I understand that the monarchy is, like, objectively bad, but I have loved Meghan Markle since the first season of Suits and I am just so happy that someone with such a RADIANT SPIRIT is going to be a(n even more) public figure whom people can look up to, especially because I trust that she will use her social/political position to the best of her ability to do good in the world.
- adding a few more ColourPop products to my makeup collection
I bought the Ultra Glossy Lip in Finesse, Lippie Stix in Bichette and I Heart This Lippie, No Filter Concealer in Light 16 and Light 18, Pressed Powder Shadow in Glass Bull, and Super Shock Shadow in Birthday Wish.
Mini reviews for the ones I’ve tried so far: 1) The Ultra Glossy Lip in Finesse is gloriously thick and sticky/tacky and glittery and glossy. It makes me feel very early-2000s. 2) The Lippie Stix in I Heart This Lippie is a gorgeous red-pink that’s very flattering on my skintone. 3) The No Filter Concealer in Light 16 is a good match for my skin when blended out, but Light 18 is just too dark. As other reviewers have noted, the formula oxidizes quite a bit, so it looks darker on skin than in the tube. I’ve been using the No Filter Concealer on acne hyperpigmentation, and the coverage is admirable, but it does make me look a little cake-y by the end of the day. I’m fine with that for now. 4) The Super Shock Shadow in Birthday Wish shows up as basically pure glitter with no pigment on my eyelids. I did get some glitter fallout into my eyeballs, but I also applied it with my fingers because I didn’t have a brush handy. The glitter payoff is pretty stellar, so I imagine this would work well as a topper.
This is not my best hair day, but here’s how I Heart This Lippie looks on me! I really do heart this lippie.
- spending waaay too much money on apartment stuff #slightregrets, including but not limited to the following:
- a tiny trash can for the bathroom!
- a tiny compost bin!
- this bamboo bathroom shelf!
- this bamboo storage tower!
- bamboo bath mats!
- all kinds of drawer organizers! (drawerganizers?)
- this wicker/rattan basket!
- a slim lil utility cart!
- this lightweight curtain rod!
- this foldable drying rack!
- an Easyology cat litter mat!
- this super 90s shower curtain! (p.s. here’s a Society6 referral/invite link for $10 off)
- a couple of gold wire storage baskets!
- and so much more!
- NOT spending money on these experiences:
- Shawn Mendes tickets (for 2019. I missed out on the Verified Fan pre-sale because the auto-selected seats I got were crap, plus I don’t particularly want to travel to Oakland to attend a concert by myself, so I gave up after a couple tries… but now I’m actively trying to find cheap tickets because his latest album is 💸)
- Janelle Monáe tickets. I loved Dirty Computer, but I cannot justify spending $175 on a concert ticket unless it’s for a One Direction member and I’m close enough to see their spit flying.
- King Princess tickets (for the Troubador in LA. You bet your ass I looked up cheap flights and justified the cost to myself, but the kicker was staying overnight in West Hollywood… the prices were absurd. Luckily she just announced new tour dates, so I’m going to try to get a $15 ticket for her San Francisco show.)
- tickets to have my aura photographed by Radiant Human (Aura photography is basically a photo of how sweaty you are… the actual science behind it doesn’t make me think it’s less cool, but it did make me hesitate about spending $35 on it, which is good news for my wallet.)
- eating fatty tuna nigiri served with gold leaf at Roka Akor
(It was hella good, but fatty tuna is always hella good. Also notably good were the bone marrow, the mushroom clay pot rice, the pork belly, and the miso butter corn.)
- eating a hella good chocolate chip toffee cookie from Jane the Bakery
- eating a damn good rainbow roll at Goemon
- eating all these flavors I’ve never had before at Tharaphu Burmese Street Food! We ordered the “Latt Sone” Family Style with fried opo (a type of squash), samosas, tea leaf salad, beef curry, stir fried tofu curry (which was insanely spicy), brown rice, and coconut rice. It was a delicious adventure and we were SO full afterward.
- watching videos of Tom Holland, my favorite piece of white bread
- buying a Troye Sivan concert ticket(!!!) and continuing to look for reasonably priced Shawn Mendes and Janelle Monáe tickets. Past Sam would’ve been hesitant to spend money on going to concerts alone, but you know the fuck what? Live music gives me an amount of happiness disproportionate to the amount of money and time I put into it, and going alone is way more fun than it is scary or embarrassing! I credit the Talk Direction Twitter community and the 1D for Olds Slack group for encouraging this SOUL-ENRICHING use of money.
- finding out that THE GAME IS NOW and basically SHITTING because I have been obsessed with BBC Sherlock SINCE 2011 AND I KNEW THEY WERE PLANNING SOMETHING AND SHERLOCK HOLMES AND JOHN WATSON ARE IN LOVE, FUCKING QUOTE ME ON IT!!! (Did I immediately start thinking about planning a trip to London? Of course I did.)
- wearing a lot of clear lip gloss and scrunchies
In the above pictures, I’m wearing ColourPop’s Ultra Glossy Lip in Finesse. It’s basically impossible to tell from these selfies, but Finesse is a totally clear lip gloss with a slightly unexpected but hella lovely shot of glitter in silver, teal, and turquoise. The glitter is fine enough that it doesn’t register unless you’re in bright, direct lighting, which makes this super wearable.
Another Finesse face. I’m also wearing a poorly applied wash of ColourPop’s Super Shock Shadow in Birthday Wish that I inexpertly smudged across my eyelids with my fingers. The pigmentation is really sheer, but it’s also got glitter for days.
SCRUNCHIE TIME. I haven’t worn ponytails on the regular for a long time (because I got so sick of people always touching my hair UGH), but I decided to bring it back into rotation recently, only this time I’ve been wearing my ponytail super high on my head. (But only because my hair is still short and therefore lightweight enough that a super high ponytail doesn’t murder my scalp. I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.)
The exact scrunchies I’m wearing in the above and below pics are no longer available at Forever21, but there are a ton of really cute scrunchies out now, so go forth, my son, and adorn your hair with this American Eagle striped+floral set, this F21 red and white striped one, or this absurdly cute red/blue/yellow/green striped one from Shopbop, among many others.
(For the record, I have to wear a regular hair tie underneath these scrunchies. No way they’d be strong enough to keep my hair in place by themselves.)
Scrunchies and lip gloss! #fashionheaux
(I’m also wearing the ColourPop No Filter Concealer here, but you can totally still see the acne hyperpigmentation near my philtrum/nasolabial folds. I considered editing it out, but u kno wut MY SKIN IS NOT PERFECT AND NEITHER AM I! I’M NOT SORRY!)
- playing Secret Hitler for the first time with Jess &co. (The gameplay is basically like Mafia or Resistance, but with more rules and snazzier designs.)
- picking slightly underripe cherries on our annual fruit-picking trip and then eating approximately 80,000 calories at Digger’s Diner afterward (Aaron’s Aaron had the Diablo Burger, which is like a regular burger, except instead of two buns, it’s served between two grilled cheese sandwiches)
- watching Amber Mark perform at the Great American Music Hall and feeling SO ALIVE!!! Her voice sounds just as rich and full live as it does in recordings, and my ears were so, so happy. She got us all clapping and singing along to “Love Me Right” and I felt like I was having a religious experience/epiphanic moment a la James Joyce right there in the crowd. On top of Amber Mark’s stellar vocals (and the wind machine that gently and glamorously blew her hair back throughout her whole set), the GAMH is such a beautiful, chill venue. (It’s also wonderfully small. I’ve never been able to stand so close to the stage before!) I had a fantastic experience and I HIGHLY recommend watching Amber Mark perform live if you can.
This photo does the GAMH absolutely no justice and yet here I am posting it.
- breaking my mother’s heart by moving out. I broke my heart a little bit too. My boyfriend keeps saying “I feel like I stole you.” He did. But it was time.
I started writing this post a couple weeks ago. I can’t tell if things have gotten better at work (because the future of the company is so uncertain that the unlikelihood of getting fired is now very certain), or if I’ve been adequately distracted by the process of moving out/moving in (to organize our combined library alphabetically or by color? that is the question), or if the prospect of a vacation has me feeling more mentally settled this past week or so.
But I’ll take it.