Page 92: Let’s Talk About Snacks, Baby

This post is in partnership with Love With Food and does include affiliate links. Thank you for helping to support the businesses that help to support XOXO, Lib.

At my last job, one thing that I loved was the way that they prioritized the need for chocolate in the office. Refilling the M&M’s in the break room was just as important as the refill on toner or toilet paper. I felt like, “these people really get me.”

In addition to the chocolate in the break room, though, I tried to keep healthy snacks in my desk but that’s just not very easy! I’ve never been accused of being really good at planning ahead so sometimes I would leave for the day without starting off with a healthy breakfast or even packing a snack and so by 10:00 am there I am in the break room shoveling handfuls of M&M’s into my face and trying to avoid contact with anyone else. The sugar crash was hard as I am prone to migraines.

Since transitioning to working from home, it’s definitely better. I have other options in the house but more often than not I am bored with the same ole same ole. Carrot sticks again? Carrot sticks are great—don’t get me wrong—but I’m getting bored. And then I feel like a jerk because, hey, at least I have access to food when plenty of people in the U.S. don’t.

That’s why I am really excited to partner with Love With Food!

Love With Food is the easiest way to SNACK SMART and DO GOOD! It’s a snack subscription service (those of you who know about my love of Birchbox know my love of subscription services) and for every box that you receive, at least one meal is donated to a food bank.

There are so many different plans, too! I signed up for the Tasting Box because there are only two of us who live in this house—this plan includes one meal donation to a food bank every month. If you have a bigger family there is the Deluxe Box! With both the Deluxe Box and the Gluten-Free Box, your contribution to food banks is doubled!

And if you’re the kind of person who is in charge of deciding the snacks that are served at your office, they have office plans, too!!

I’ve signed up and every month I’ll go through my box and let you know what’s in it and what I think of the snacks! But in the mean time, if this sounds like something that you’re interested in, sign up with me! We’ll compare snacks!

XOXO, Lib

Page Seventeen: A Quick List of Pet-Peeves or We Are What We Hate

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Things That Make Me Irrationally Upset:

-Plastic shoes. Come on. Your feet sweat and they’re just slipping around in there, slicing off your toes and at the end of the day, the smell is horrendous. What are you doing to yourself? Do you really need a pair of shoes that will outlast the robopocolypse?
-The way that DOMA has such a stupidly misleading name. The Defense of Marriage Act sounds like a good thing, right? No matter how hard I try, I can’t get my brain to wrap around the idea that people want to defend marriage by not letting a bunch of people experience it.
-The way that a person’s whole day/ week can be ruined based on the outcome of a sports game. Seriously? You’ve got more to live for. I assure you.
-The way that when I make a list on Facebook, my second point always gets prefaced by the world’s stupidest emoticon. B) I don’t know anyone who uses that smiley face wearing shades. Just… just stahp!
-The idea that your relationship is only a good relationship if it’s filled with dramatics and turmoil and yelling. Like this horrible song where the point is, “I hate you so much it must be true love.” I could write for days about how this idea (it’s not new) is obliterating our relationships and the way that human beings treat one another in general. Like, if someone treats you the way that an asshole treats people, do not reward that behavior with love and attention! Why would you do that? There’s a thing where two people who love each other can also be kind to one another. I like that one more–and so does anyone within ear shot.
-Hearing about Emma’s wedding on A Beautiful Mess. We get it, you got married. It was adorable. That’s enough, okay? Enough!

And those are all annoying little things or annoying big things that make my blood boil. But there’s a whole different genre of pet peeves that I have and they look like this:

-People who lack follow through.
-People who wish their life was different but make zero effort to do anything about it.
-People who feel like they have to use excessive hyperbole to make their points rather than just letting an honest assessment do the trick.
-People who have complete disinterest in empathizing or seeing things from another person’s perspective.
-People who rain down neg vibes on everyone else’s posi vibes (like, by writing a list of pet peeves).

The difference between these two lists is that if I don’t like plastic shoes, I can just not wear them. It’s that simple.

I can’t say that I got an over abundance of eternal wisdom growing up but there is one thing that my mother always told me that is true and I carry it with me every day. She always said, “what you dislike about other people is usually the very thing that you dislike about yourself.” And damn she was right.

I don’t want to be the kind of person who say she’s going to do something and then never does it. Do you know how many times I say, “I need to take out the garbage” before it actually happens? And that’s just a tiny example.
I want to move forward in my career. In order for me to do that, I have to get licensed and in order to get licensed, I have to study a lot, pay a lot of money, and then take a test that I may or may not pass. There are a few steps between where I am now and where I want to be. Every step is another place where I could easily just say, “Eh, never mind.” I feel like that’s my usual MO. But I want to be the kind of woman who follows through.
People who exaggerate are really difficult to understand, for me. It’s similar to the fable of the boy who cried wolf, but for people who just want other people to listen to them. I feel like when I want a little extra attention, I can have a tendency to exaggerate and get a reaction. But that’s dishonest and then when I want to tell a story that’s actually interesting or explain something the way that I’m actually experiencing it, then either no one will take me seriously or it can’t compete with the tall tales that I already told.
I know that (for some reason) it takes more effort but it’s so much more fulfilling to be a positive person than to be a negative person. But because it takes more effort to look on the bright side of life, complainers frustrate me so much. And the irony is outrageous. I’ll be stomping around the house, angry, yelling at Ryan saying something like, “Why does he have to complain about everything? Doesn’t he know that life is hard enough without his stupid, negative commentary?” And Ryan is gracious to not point out the irony of how mad I am that the world isn’t a more positive place.

In the end, there’s probably a specific theme between the more serious pet peeves. They all relate back to a fear that I have of being untrustworthy. I want to be an honest woman in all of the ways that are possible. I want to be fair and empathetic, I want to have follow-through and I want to be an uplifting and positive person. I want you to know that I mean what I say, exactly the way that I say it. On one hand, these pet-peeves are a peeve in and of themselves. But on the other hand, I can use it for good. I could stomp around the house and let it frustrate me or I could recognize these irritations for what they really are (fear that I probably exhibit the very qualities that I hate) and use them to do better. All it requires is the effort of a perspective change. I say “all it requires” like a perspective change comes easily. It doesn’t. It usually doesn’t come without a fight.

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It takes time and effort to meet the person that you really are.
It takes work, real work, to become the kind of person that you want to be.

In the end, I have control only over me. I am in charge of how I react to the outrage on the news, the complainers on Facebook, the plastic shoes of the world.

But, seriously though. I know I’m not the only one who struggles this way. Can we all try to work as a village to make life just a smidge easier on the other villagers? And maybe think twice before we find ourselves complaining just to complain or refusing to empathize with someone who may have a different viewpoint, or submit misleading bills to congress?

I thank you for your time.
XOXO, Lib

Page Four: That Season

To make this point, I’m going to have to tell you a really boring part of my job.

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The bulk of my everyday activity at work is inputting the same information about patients over and over and over all day long. There is an option where I can click a button and it will just magically fill in all of the information itself if we’ve seen the patient before and previously filled in this information. Great, right? Well, we’ve only had this software since last February and since most of the population is recommended to visit the optometrist only once a year, I’ve been doing a lot of inputting tedious information since I started this job last May. For the record, I adore every single other aspect of my job so it’s totally worth it.

Anyway, somewhere around November, I kept thinking to myself, “I can not wait until we’ve had this software for a year so that most of the people who come through here will probably already have their info taken care of.” Every day I would curse, “I wish I could just push that [stupid] button!”

The other day, I realized that it’s March. We’ve had this software for a year, and by now the majority of our patients are repeats and I can just push the button! And, oh, I do. I push it with complete glee and relief and  it occurred to me that I am in that season that I was so looking forward to–I had been for weeks–and I didn’t even notice it.

I tend to run into that a lot. I would watch movies and see the single girl who has her own sun-bathed apartment and I couldn’t wait to have that for myself. And sometimes, usually when I’m stepping into the shower or lugging groceries up the stairs, I remember– I am in that season that I was so looking forward to and I don’t even notice it.
A few weeks ago, I pulled up to my house after a long and stressful day and I saw my boyfriend descending the stairs of my apartment, carrying a trash bag. He was a little embarrassed that I caught him in the midst of what was supposed to be a vaguely anonymous good deed. But I sat there in my car and I thought, ” I am in this graceful season that I could have never imagined to hope for and I so rarely notice it.”

I am moving around so fast, just barely getting through the day sometimes and other times daydreaming about the future so much that I so rarely take a moment to look at this life that I am living–that I am immeasurably satisfied with. I am happy. Happier than I remember ever being, and I almost never look around with grateful eyes.

I have friends who have re-defined “friendship” as my mind has ever known it, I have a job that I want to have forever, I am dating the most witty, talented, kind man that I have ever known, and I have two–two plants in my home that, as of this morning, I have not killed. Things are difficult but things are perfect and worth acknowledging. Worth fighting for.

And I hope you can see that, too.

XOXO, Lib

Page Two: The Golden Rule

Towards the end of the first season of HBO’s Girls, there’s a scene where best friends Hannah and Marnie get into their most epic fight ever. It starts out over something small and escalates (as these things so often do) into some much deeper, silent issues. They’re going back and forth saying mean things about one another and finally Hannah says, “There’s nothing that you can say to me that hasn’t already been said to me, by me, probably in the last ten minutes.”

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There is certainly an enormous part of friendship that implores that if you recognize flaws in the other person, you will accept them without question unless and until those things start to cause harm to someone or to the friendship. And then they will be tackled, if the friendship is worth it, or abandoned all together, if the friendship is not. This is just how basic friendship works ordinarily. You don’t say mean things about Friend A’s annoying laugh and she doesn’t talk about how you sometimes speak in hash-tags and then we all get on with life.

If someone else were to make disparaging comments about your friend’s laugh, you would probably not be thrilled about that, right?  And then they’d go on to pick at little things about her that you didn’t even notice before. Like her muffin top or a bend in her nose or the way her boobs are two different sizes. I’d like to think that we would step in and say, “woah, woah, woah, uncalled for.” Right? We stand up for our friends but we don’t stand up for ourselves against ourselves. Well, I think we need to start doing that.

I mean, if we’re really going to employ the Golden Rule in our lives and treat others the way we would want to be treated, then the way we treat ourselves should be the precedent that is set, by which we decide to treat other people–right?? But that’s not what happens. We treat other people awesome and then we treat ourselves like garbage (constantly picking on the jiggle in our thighs or upper arms or lack of planning) and we find that we’re never really happy. And who would be? Who could possibly be happy when there’s someone following you around talking shit on you all day? “You’re not smart enough, you’re bad at dancing, you have a bulbous nose, you’re too bossy, everyone only puts up with you.”

Yesterday, I was experiencing severe cabin fever and restless brain syndrome so my boyfriend took me to the grocery store so that we could buy enough toilet paper to last us through the next rumored blizzard. I was happy to be out of the house but my attitude persisted. Silently, to myself, I was playing this tape of, “You’re not brave enough and you’re just never satisfied and nothing is ever good enough for you and your boyfriend is totally picking up on your bad attitude and just can not wait to take you home and be rid of you…” Finally I just couldn’t stand it anymore and I whined to Ryan, “I am in such a grouchy mood!!” I stomped my foot–in the produce section. It was a sliver of a tantrum–only the tiniest fraction of how I actually felt inside. He squeezed my shoulders and said, “but I still want to hang out with you.” And that went right to my heart. It made me feel warm in my spirit and it spread to my mind. He didn’t deny what was completely obvious to the both of us. He just got right to the point: there are things about you that are not entirely pleasant all of the time but they do not define you and I like you.

I’m not going to tell you to stop acknowledging the things you don’t like–because that’s just hard and a measure of self-awareness is nothing to sneeze at. It helps us to know what to change and what to embrace. But maybe if we appended those gripes with a kindness. And accept kindness as fully as we accept meanness. “My thighs have carried me miles and miles and miles without acknowledgement or complaint,” is just as true as, “my thighs appear pretty jiggly when I’m wearing these shorts.” So maybe let’s try to find some kindness.

XOXO, Lib.