3 Reasons Why I Gave Up Hating My Body After 25

For years, I was self-conscious of my body.

It started with my breasts. Then my weight. Then it was my stomach. Next thing you know, I was cripplingly self-conscious.

After ditching wearing a bra after 15 years, I’m done feeling self-conscious of my body.

The last three years since graduating college, I have grown immensely. No, I haven’t necessarily advanced in my career but personally, I have triumphed. I was tired of feeling like I wasn’t good enough or that people were judging me.

The truth is that people are judging me. But I also realized another truth around the time I turned 25—I just didn’t fucking care.

Here are the three reasons why I gave up hating my body after I turned 25.

1. I’m Stuck With It

It seems really stupid to spend money on plastic surgery when I’ve been gifted this gorgeous, amazing body. Why would I shell out thousands of dollars for something that’s already perfect?

The truth is that I was born this way. It was time to embrace my body, not hate it.

Hiking near The Dish in Stanford, California. Look at all that armpit hair!

I furthered cultivated this practice by getting rid of all my toxic clothing and buying pieces that I felt inspired by. Getting rid of clothes that were full of toxins and promoted a negative body image felt so freeing to me.

I was also able to sell some clothes I didn’t use and get some of that money back.

I’m stuck with my body, and I’m starting to have trouble seeing why that’s a bad thing.

2. It Was Hurting My Relationships

Turns out, crippling self-confidence issues are not sexy.

I was not only hurting myself, but I was hurting the people close to me. I have an amazing fiancé who couldn’t understand why I was so self-conscious.

It was just my body. It was only this perfect thing that grounded me to this world. I was a goddess and I couldn’t see it.

jenn ryan

Being a mermaid in Nantahala National Park, North Carolina. Yes, those are my breasts and yes, I lack the ability to care what you think about them.

I was ready to stop hurting my relationship with my fiancé and with myself. I was ready to embrace every single part of myself—from the hair on my body to my scars to my stretch marks, they’re all part of my stunning self.

My relationship also improved once I let go of the notion that I was my body. The truth is that I’m not my body. I’m not the things I identify with. I am only life.

Letting go of my hatred towards my body image only helped me become more of my best self.

3. I’m Ready to Be My Best Self

Once I was freed from all the perceived imperfections and struggles that kept me chained, I was free to fly.

I became more confident in just about everything. I stopped caring what people thought. I realized that there are very few things that actually matter in life.

Taking some pics at my house in Maryland with one of my rabbits, Fiver.

What I was not prepared to do was spend the rest of my life hating my body, letting that hatred hinder my relationships, and most of all, hold me back from being my best self.

I’m proud to say that I love my body despite what other people might perceive as its flaws.

Thank you to everyone who teaches me patience. Thank you to everyone who thinks not wearing a bra is a public nuisance. Thank you to everyone who tells me body hair is disgusting. I love my body and giving up hating it was one of the best things I’ve ever done.

6 Things I Learned from Living in a Cabin in the Woods for Two Years (And Why I’ll Never Do It Again)

(Yes, a picture of the actual cabin.)

I got my associate’s degree from a local community college, which meant that I only had to do two and a half years at university to complete my bachelor’s degree. It didn’t sound so bad, and I got into my dream school, so I was pretty excited to go.

Fortunately, my grandparent’s second residence—a log cabin in the woods—was located just shy of an hour south of my dream campus in University Park, Pennsylvania. Being the recluse that I am, I figured I could live there and completely avoid the student population while I did my schoolwork.

It was a great idea in theory. Here’s how it played out and why I’ll never do it again.

1. You Do Actually Need People

I will never forget that feeling when my parents drove away and left me at the cabin for the first time. Yes, I was older than the typically-aged college student. But my love for my parents was no less, and as I watched them drive away, I cried.

I was prepared to not have friends. I’d never been social, didn’t feel the need to be, and I wasn’t counting on making any friends. My boyfriend was going to university in Virginia, about two and a half hours away. My best friend at the time, Stephanie, was going to university in Maryland. I was fully prepared and equipped with my smartphone to stay in touch with them during my time there.

(My brother pulling me on a sled in the snow in PA. I am having the time of my life, as you can see.)

Turns out, it wasn’t enough. I went days on end without seeing anybody. It’s a feeling I wasn’t used to and one I learned not to like. I felt very isolated despite being on a campus with 40,000 people and missed simple face-to-face interactions with people. I made two friends during my time at Penn State (hey, Dom and Chris!) and their kindness and friendship made me realize just how much people matter in life.

2. You Don’t Actually Want to Build a Log Cabin

I can’t tell you how much I hear people nostalgically talk about cabins. They vacation in cabins. They honeymoon in cabins. They party in cabins. They talk about building cabins because they’re cheap.

I stop these people every time. I’m like, “NO! You do not want to do that!”

Vacationing in a cabin? Fine. Honeymooning in a cabin? Fine. Partying in a cabin? Whatever floats your boat. But for real and serious, you DO NOT want to build a log cabin.

(Although this is a gorgeous picture of the Juniata River, which happens to be right in the backyard at the cabin.)

The log you see on the inside is the same log that you see on the outside. They do not hold heat well. The animals destroy them. They are a bitch to maintain. You will regret this decision and in a relatively short amount of time, the cabin will not be worth the money that you put in to maintain it.

Trust me, I’ve seen all this firsthand. Go visit a cabin. Do not invest in one. It is not an investment and it’s definitely not comfortable to live in year round. You can thank me later.

3. The Winters Are Cold in Pennsylvania

I’ve been going to that cabin since I was three years old. I KNOW the winters are cold in Pennsylvania. But here’s what I learned from living in that cabin for two winters: the winters are cold in Pennsylvania.

Now, before everyone freaks out and tells me what I wimp I am, yes, I have been to Canada, and no, I do not handle the cold well. I have low blood pressure and am borderline anemic, so I freeze in anything that’s below 70 degrees basically.

I froze my ass off there for two years. My social anxiety kept me from taking any sort of public transportation while on campus, and since I was a commuter, I needed to walk from the school parking lot to my classes every day. So I walked my ass right past the bus station where all the normal commuters got picked up and hoofed it in my Timberland boots 40 minutes to and from class every day.

(Me drawing hearts in the snow for my boyfriend because I was bored.)

I’ll never forget the day it was 5 degrees outside and I stole a pair of mittens out of the women’s bathroom and grabbed a sweater out of the lost and found because I was so cold (ok, I’m lying, I didn’t do those things because I was cold, I did those things because I was weird and I wanted to; they also didn’t happen on the same day, which somehow makes it even weirder).

Did I mention Penn State is notorious for not cancelling classes because of snow? Classes were not canceled once during my two years there. We had two 2-hour delays and it seemed I was lucky to get even that. I missed a week of classes one winter because I couldn’t get out of my driveway, let alone up the mountain I drove every day to get to campus.

The freezing cold was not fun and I was miserable and I hated it. I’d get home at night when it was cold and dark and soak in the hot tub for a long time while I shuddered at the thought of going outside again.

4. Animals Like Log Cabins

Log cabins are the epitome of nature. The wood that’s there, the fact that no one lives there year round, its location in the middle of the woods: all these features made it irresistible to animals.

Deer, foxes, squirrels, turkeys, mice, flying squirrels, and rabbits were some of the animals I saw there. The flying squirrels and mice had taken up residence with me in the cabin. I rescued one from the coat closet one evening when I was doing my homework at the dining room table and heard it rummaging around in there. I was scared to death.

(A picture of that poor flying squirrel. Don’t worry, I got it off the glue trap safely and released it. I HATE glue traps; my grandparents put them out and I throw them away every time I go up there.)

The mice liked to try and eat my food and somehow found their way into my panty drawer (yes, you read that right: panty not pantry) and the silverware drawer. Two of the worst places to find evidence of mice, let me tell you. I washed all that stuff more times than I care to count.

I learned that there’s essentially no separation of nature. You are one with the animals, the forest, and the life that you exhibit there. A good thing? Yes. Sometimes. When you don’t own that building.

5. I Will Never Live in a Log Cabin

Two years and I was DONE with that shit. Don’t get me wrong—I am so, so grateful to my grandparents for letting me stay there. The cabin was beautiful and they maintained it well and I was alone, mostly secure, and able to have my bunnies with me. I could canoe whenever I wanted and got to bike and run in beautiful spots.

(A picture of the cabin from the backyard.)

But I will never live in a log cabin again.

Summers are gorgeous. Winters are brutal. I’m fine to visit but I will not live there. Thanks, but no thanks. I want a real house next time.

6. I am Actually Scared as Shit

Like I said, I thought I was prepared for the loneliness and isolation I would experience. Turns out, talking to Ian and my parents and my best friend Stephanie every day wasn’t enough. My four adorable, amazing rabbits weren’t even enough.

I still slept with a shotgun next to me.

I still slept with a six-inch knife under my pillow.

I still slept with my cell phone beside my ear just in case someone broke in.

Did I mention the can of wasp spray on my nightstand? Shit sprays 20 feet and your attacker is blinded until they get to a hospital.

Or the cabinet underneath the laundry room sink that I cleared out? Yeah, I fit perfectly in there. I figured if someone broke in I would hide in there while calling the police. No one would look for me in a cabinet!

I spent nights before I fell asleep going over escape routes in my head. What would I do if someone broke in the basement, what would I do if someone broke in the main level, what would I do if a car came in the driveway, what would I do if they were going to hurt my bunnies?

(Me and the bunnies at the cabin.)

I was scared as shit basically every single night while I was there except for the nights that Ian or my parents or Stephanie were visiting, which wasn’t often. I realized that I’m actually terrified and was completely unprepared for being alone after growing up in a house with four other people and numerous guns. Terrified.

 

For all of these reasons, although I am grateful for my time in the cabin, I will not live in a cabin again, definitely not alone, and definitely not in central Pennsylvania in the dead of winter. Was my English degree worth it? You tell me.

8 Mostly Nonsensical Benefits of Taking Cold Showers

I first experienced the benefits of taking cold showers after I went for a run. I was sweaty and it felt liberating. It helped me cool down, refresh, and get out of there quickly.

Then, as I read more about the supposed benefits of taking cold showers, I began taking them more and more often. This likely had something to do with the fact that it’s, you know, mostly summer now.

Also, my fiancé and I went to elope in Costa Rica and there was no hot water there, so we got used to the cold showers (but man, that Costa Rica thing is another story).

So here are 8 mostly nonsensical benefits of taking cold showers. You won’t find any research here—just facts based on my personal experience. Boom!

1. Save on Your Energy Bill

First, let me be clear that when I say “cold” showers, I mean lukewarm water. It can be mostly cold with just a touch of warmth. I’m not talking about walking into an ice bucket because that would just be brutal.

One time years ago, my brother dared me that I couldn’t take a cold shower without screaming. Of course, I took him up on the dare. He then proceeded to wait outside the door while I stepped into the shower. I let out a little yelp which he unfortunately heard and I think I owed him $5.

Anyway, regardless, reducing your use of hot water and saving on your energy bill is one of the best benefits of taking cold showers. You could save over $150 a year just by turning that knob a little more to the colder side. You can also wash your laundry in cold water to save even more!

2. Don’t Fog Up the Mirror

I hate it when the mirror fogs up. I like seeing myself after I’ve just taken a shower. I look fresh and new and when I have a fresh buzz, it feels amazing.

So I’m pretty dismayed when the mirror is fogged up after a really hot shower.

When you take cold showers, this problem does not exist. You can get out of the shower and be like, “Hey, cutie.” Because you totally do that. Like Jack Black in Orange County.

3. Have Great Skin

I have always struggled with my skin. It’s always been dry and scarred easily. I’ve finally started taking some essential fatty acids, so it’s getting better. Turns out, the heat was not helping it and greatly contributed to my already dry skin.

When you stop taking hot showers, your skin remains much more supple and less flaky and dry. Which is what it’s all about. The benefits of taking cold showers include having some Beyonce-like skin. It helps protect your skin and keep it healthy!

4. Reduce Dandruff (Because Hell Yeah!)

Dandruff is a real problem and it sucks. I’ve found that the best thing for this is a straight apple cider vinegar rinse for an hour or so followed by a cold shower and rinsing it out. The benefits of taking cold showers absolutely extend to your hair. The cold water helps reduce dandruff and keeps you flake free for an extended period of time. The best!

5. Feel Like a Badass

Whenever I go for a run and come home, have a glass of cold water, and take a cold shower, I feel totally boss afterward. I feel like I could do anything and it would be fine. Plus, the benefits of taking cold showers may even include boosting your mood, according to research (ok, I lied just a little when I said there wouldn’t be any research here).

Cold showers make you feel like a total badass. You’re doing something many people wouldn’t do and fuck yeah, you just exercised. So you feel awesome and get out of the shower feeling like a million bucks.

Write this down: benefits of taking cold showers=feeling boss.

6. Adjust to Room Temperature Easier

Since I hate being cold, whenever I would get out of the nice warm shower, I’d instantly be freezing and start shivering. Ian hates it when I shiver. I know he feels bad and I look pathetic—I really can’t help it.

When I take a cold shower, I get out of the shower and I’m like, “Man, it feels warm out here.” I adjust much easier to the outside temperature and am able to better regulate my body temperature. It feels kinda like jumping in a pool, but without the chlorine!

7. Appreciate Warmth with the Benefits of Taking Cold Showers

If I thought I appreciated the heat before, I was sadly mistaken. I appreciate the warmth now. Everything feels amazing after a cold shower—Ian’s warm hands, a soft blanket, my organic cotton socks and boxers. YES. This is why I exist. To enjoy these small things that bring me so much comfort with the benefits of taking cold showers.

8. Less Shower Time

When the shower is colder, you get the fuck out of there in minutes. You are not in there for ten minutes, fifteen minutes, twenty minutes, a goddamn half hour. You get out of there as soon as you are done whatever it is you need to do. Less water used, less energy used, more boss time.

The benefits of taking cold showers have both irrevocably refreshed me and also cut down on the time I’ve spent in the shower. From more supple skin to an easier time adjusting to the outside world, I plan to continue taking cold showers as often as I’m able. I will NOT give up my hot baths though. Sorry!

Watching the Eclipse Topless with Kimchi in Nantahala National Forest, North Carolina

Once I heard about the eclipse, it didn’t take me long to figure out that I was going to go see it.

So I switched shifts with a co-worker at my weekend job, booked a hotel in Black Mountain, North Carolina, and tried to convince Ian to go with me.

Ian had to work so he didn’t want to go, but when I mentioned Rosetta’s, he gave in and we packed the cooler, the pooch, and headed south.

Turns out, everyone else had the same idea we did. We spent a total of 30 hours on the road there and back to see the total solar eclipse (for reference, Asheville, North Carolina is only an 8-hour drive from my place).

It was absolutely and completely worth it to be present for this spellbinding moment.

Nantahala National Forest

We planned on going to Lake Santeelah, North Carolina, but due to traffic and the beauty of the Nantahala National Forest in Topton, North Carolina, we didn’t make it there. We found this beautiful picnic area by a river—the perfect place to watch the eclipse!

The river was private beneath a bridge right along a road. I have no idea where we were since the GPS didn’t work. It was amazing!

We were so excited to find this perfect, private spot.

In order to ensure no one else would try to watch the eclipse with us, we went topless. We figured it was the best way to create awkwardness and prevent anyone from invading our privacy.

Plus, it’s not illegal to be topless in North Carolina, which is pretty cool.

 

While we waited for the total eclipse (the partial eclipse had already started while we set up our picnic), we took pictures, played with Lisbeth, and enjoyed the beautiful scenery, occasionally glancing up at the sun with our glasses.

Gosh, we look like dorks. Fortunately, our glasses weren’t too expensive. $15 with shipping.

Here are some of the pictures we took while we waited for totality.

Loving the fresh buzz on me! It’s really interesting how the light changed as the moon passed over the sun. It was an incredible experience.

The Kimchi

If you don’t know what kimchi is, don’t let the following photo throw you off. It’s fermented vegetables and really good for you. It contains probiotics and is extremely tasty; Ian and I eat it all the time.

So we had some during our picnic before the total eclipse and got some really funny—and weird—photos, including this one here.

Ian said I looked like a zombie either throwing up or consuming some type of bloodied meat. This is actually a piece of fermented napa cabbage. This particular type of kimchi is spicy!

In case anyone is wondering what exactly I’m eating, it’s this delicious stuff here.

 

Ian and I buy this all the time; it’s extremely spicy and I would absolutely not recommend eating it by itself, but there you go.

 

It’s best when it’s eaten with other foods. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a dish to eat it in and I forgot to bring forks, so here we are in the national forest eating it like zombies with bloodied fingers and a huge appetite.

 

 

Totality

We meditated for a few minutes before totality happened. The darkness happened really fast and then all the sudden it was there. The sky seemed to be shimmering while we stared up at the moon blocking the sun’s light. It was dazzling. I have no other way of describing it.

I did start crying a little because it’s a weird feeling when you do something and you know that you’re never going to do it again. I know that I probably won’t travel to see another eclipse, so seeing this gorgeous, amazing total solar eclipse in my life was the epitome of beauty and sacredness.

Ian and I stood there together in what felt like a dream for the two minutes and thirty seconds of totality, then we watched the sun emerge again together by the river.

eclipse 2017

This is the best photo I have of totality. It does not capture it at all.

And some photos after the sun joined us again.

jenn ryan

jenn ryan

We waited for the eclipse to almost totally end before leaving. It was an experience that I was so grateful to have. A huge thank you to my fiance Ian for taking these photos.

Shirt: Butterfly Cropped Shirt by Gaia Conceptions

Necklace: Handmade vintage piece by local jewelry vendor Minxes Trinkets

Then, of course, we got a bunch of Rosetta’s on the way home. So although we were on the road for 12 hours for what should have been an 8-hour drive, we had vegan chili cheese fries, a buddha bowl, and some kick ass pad thai to make it through.

I love you, North Carolina!

What I Wish I Knew about Oral Piercings Before I Got Them

I have some experience with oral piercings.

I got my tongue pierced ten days before my nineteenth birthday with a tall, biracial man I was deeply in love with. I just didn’t know it at the time.

Of course, it hurt. To my surprise, it didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would. I held his hand as the needle went through, and when the barbell was securely fastened inside, the sharp pains that came whenever I moved my tongue were unexpected.

We went back to his house late that night and ate peanut butter on bread. I couldn’t believe the pain! Then again why would anyone in their right mind try to eat peanut butter hours after they got their tongue pierced?

Did I mention he was a whimsical, childish, ADHD-afflicted unicorn? Or something like that.

I had my tongue pierced for about five years before taking it out due to a dental problem. You’ll hear about that in a minute.

About a month before my twenty-third birthday, I went to Ocean City with a friend of mine. She wanted to get her tongue pierced but was really scared. Long story short, we had a little bit too much to drink with her sister. Then we went on the boardwalk to get piercings.

I’d always wanted my lip pierced but never gotten it done. That fall would be my senior year of college at Penn State and I knew I’d have to get a “real job” after that (we see how that turned out, right?) and probably wouldn’t be able to get my lip pierced. It was now or never!

So I forgot about my internship in Baltimore for all of twenty minutes while I got a needle shoved through my lip. I was surprised how much that one hurt.

I still have my lip pierced.

So what do I wish I knew about oral piercings before I got them? What I know now about oral piercings may surprise you.

Oral Piercings Will Cause Problems with Your Teeth

Okay, yeah, I definitely heard this one but didn’t believe it. These were the notions about oral piercings of adults who didn’t want me to be the badass that I really was.

I took my tongue ring out because, after years of having it, my tooth sensitivity was getting worse. I later realized that the barbell had been rubbing along the inner edge of my bottom teeth, slowly wearing the enamel away and creating some not-so-fun tooth sensitivity.

Although things were pretty safe with my tongue ring in, I also occasionally knocked it against my teeth (this happened maybe about five times in all the years I had it in). I’m honestly not sure if I chipped any of my teeth but it’s definitely possible.

In regards to my lip piercing, it slowly rubbed on my lower right canine. I now have gum recession on that tooth. You can’t see it from the outside but there’s a significant amount of gum tissue missing compared to the other side.

When I noticed this, I freaked out a little and took my lip ring out after having it for over four years. So yeah—oral piercings can and will cause gum recession and tooth sensitivity, both signs of gum disease!

The Hole Will Not Go Away

When I took my lip ring out, the hole didn’t heal up. I had that sucker out for about eight months and the hole was still there, very visible from the outside of my face.

I assumed that the hole would heal up given time. But then I started Googling.

Turns out, when they pierce your lip, they core away a tiny piece of your skin that—you guessed it—won’t grow back. So while there’s not an actual “hole” there per se, it looks just like a hole and it’s definitely noticeable.

Hmm… did not think about that one before I got my lip pierced.

So then I found myself months before my wedding with a hole in my lip that I found out could only be corrected with plastic surgery, which would ultimately leave scars. Either way, I was stuck with this oral piercing whether or not the stud was in.

The only logical thing to do was to buy a pack of piercing needles on Amazon and re-pierce that thing. (Side note: I do not recommend doing this although my experience went fine.)

So now my lip stud is back in and I’ll probably be stuck with it forever unless I want a hole in my face. Fortunately, the hole from your tongue ring will heal up rather quickly, but there will always be a scar there too. Oral piercings cause scars and sometimes permanent holes!

Professional People Cared Far Less about Oral Piercings Than I Thought

Unless you’re going into the military, it’s unlikely that what kind of job you get will determine whether or not you can have an oral piercing.

My super cool neighbor saw my tongue ring not long after I got it and said, “You’ll want to take that out when you go for a job interview.”

I got hired at my internship in Baltimore, my amazing job at a homeless shelter in DC, and yes, I made my own freelance writing job all with piercings in my face.

Of course, if you’re going for a high-level job, you might want to think about that before getting oral piercings. For me, I love piercings and couldn’t imagine being at a job that wouldn’t let me have them. Back when I was in college I didn’t know that. I thought I’d have to sacrifice my soul to be anything worthwhile to the world.

So the bottom line is: if you want that oral piercing, get it. No one who actually cares about you will judge you. 

I adored my oral piercings. Although I’m unlikely to get my tongue pierced again, I’ll probably have this lip stud in for a long time. I loved my oral piercings much more than I thought I would. I’m sad that they caused problems with my teeth and wish that I took that consideration a little more seriously before I went under the needle. I also wish I knew that when I committed to the lip piercing, that I’d be committing to it for life. Like a tattoo!

But don’t get me started on those 🙂

Here’s How I Don’t Know How I Ever Lived without F.lux

About 9 months ago, I was looking up something about the thyroid and adrenal fatigue.

I don’t remember what it was, but it lead me to stumble across a page on Wellness Mama’s site about the thyroid. I can’t find the page now (damn that woman has a lot of blog posts), but it was similar to this page about getting enough sleep.

Anyway, she recommended installing F.lux on your computer. F.lux is a software that helps to block blue light and allows you to interact with technology without hurting your eyes too much.

So, of course, I had to install this magical thing to see what it was all about. My life hasn’t been the same since.

Adjusting to F.lux

Before F.lux, I had no idea how bright the screen of my MacBook really was. It just seemed… well, normal.

It definitely was not normal. I’m up super late most nights, so staring at that bright screen was overwhelming when everything else was mostly dark. Of course, I could dim it, but that blue light was still there.

When I installed F.lux, it took some getting used to. Everything appeared orangey. I would stay up late working, squinting at my computer screen, thinking, what the heck is up with this software?

Well, F.lux does this ingenious thing where you set your time zone as well as what time you wake up every morning. This means that my computer knew what time it was and adjusted its light accordingly.

This explained why at 1 a.m. I could hardly see my screen. The software adjusted for the time and I was left thinking, “You know, it is 1 a.m.… maybe I should go to bed.”

F.lux also reminds me when I’m getting up. It knows that I need 9 hours of sleep every night, so once that 9-hour mark hits, F.lux gives me a visual reminder to tell me, “You’re getting up in 9 hours.” Every half hour after that, it reminds me that I should start thinking about getting some sleep.

How F.lux Has Changed My Life

F.lux has done a few things to help me clean up my act, both as a professional writer and as a human being. They include:

  • Having an easier time seeing my computer screen
  • Rarely having to adjust the brightness
  • Knowing when it’s time for me to go to bed
  • Reducing my exposure to blue light
  • Helping me to annoyingly point out how bright other people’s screens are
  • Sleep better because I’m not being kept awake by that crazy bright light that my mind thinks is a sun

I have really enjoyed having F.lux installed on my MacBook and wouldn’t take it off for any reason!

Some Features of F.lux

F.lux doesn’t just get all orangey on you and then let you on your merry way. If you have a routine and you let F.lux know about that routine by setting your waking hours, it will adjust for you in a way that mimics natural sunlight.

However, I don’t always feel like watching a movie in natural sunlight. For this feature, F.lux has a “Movie Mode”. If I’m feeling kinda dangerous, I’ll turn F.lux off. This is best for movies that feature a lot of darkness. F.lux’s disable mode is set for an hour. Of course, you can keep disabling it, but it’ll come back on after an hour of you watching something.

F.lux is really easy to use and set. I’ve not given it much thought since I downloaded it, except the other day when it requested to update the software.

Anyway, F.lux has helped me manage my time better, go to bed earlier, have healthier eyes, and to be aware of the time. When you have a bright screen, that screen is timeless. When you have F.lux, there is a time, and you live according to it, more in line with your circadian rhythm.

You can download F.lux for either Windows or Mac here. Give it a try for a few days and see if you notice a difference—you might never go back to blue!

Ethical Investing—Save Like a Millennial Boss

A couple years ago, I was given ownership of an investment account my wise and wonderful grandfather had set up for me. There wasn’t a ghastly sum of money in there, but it was enough for a down payment on a home, the beginning of retirement savings, or whatever I wanted it to be.

I was stumped on what to do. Should I buy a home? I mean, the money’s just sitting there, right? Should I continue to invest in it? As someone with so little clue about investing, I had no idea what to do.

So what does a Millennial like myself do? I find the first financial advisor in my area that Google picks and contact him.

He was a really cool guy. We met in his office and talked about investing and he complimented me on my mermaid skeleton necklace.

All was going well until I realized that the mutual funds my grandfather invested in were tied to companies like tobacco, pharmaceutical, and animal testing companies that I didn’t agree with.

I was pretty surprised. Was this how the market worked? How could I ethically invest this sum of money while still making money? What was I going to do?

This is how I found out how to ethically invest.

Buying Individual Shares of Companies: Risky Yet Personable

After having a traumatic experience with trying to buy a home in North Carolina, I decided to just invest the funds.

My first financial advisor had apparently never encountered a client like me who was so against being a part of these companies. He spoke about his aversion to the tobacco companies—but he still invested in mutual funds associated with them.  What?

I wasn’t that kind of person. I insisted that there had to be another way. He told me that I could just buy individual stocks in companies, but, seeing as no one could predict how well those companies would do, this was a risky move.

It sounded complicated and like it would take a lot of effort and I would have to constantly adjust my funds in order to ensure that I would profit. It didn’t sound appealing, but it did seem like the only way to invest my money in something I believe in and companies I agreed with.

My financial advisor did not advise this course of action and was disappointed when I told him I was going to pursue it. We parted ways.

Finding the Right Mutual Funds: Your Best Bet

I never did set up my portfolio the way I intended to after seeing my local financial advisor. It just seemed like a lot of work and well… I still wasn’t sure how to do it.

I did transfer the money out of the financial institution that it was in (and away from those mutual funds I disliked so) and into another account, where it sat for several months—uninvested—while I decided what to do with it.

Then, I came across a different financial advisor, one who lives a couple states away, who was about socially responsible investing (SRI). SRI is about investing in funds and companies that cultivate sustainable, ethical practices for our people and our planet. I was interested, so I got in touch.

This guy was super nice, knowledgeable, and helpful about SRI, despite the fact that he couldn’t work with me. He explained that his clients have a minimum amount to invest. My funds didn’t even come close to that amount.

However, he still gave me resources for finding the right mutual funds for me. He explained that if I was going to be investing over a long period of time, mutual funds made the most sense and required the least amount of maintenance.

The resources he gave me were excellent and included a SRI website that has been invaluable to me (you can find that site here) as well as the names of two ethical investing companies that I might be interested in getting in touch with.

The site mentioned above—The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investing—has detailed charts about all types of SRI mutual funds and their performance, but more importantly (at least to me), is the tab on the chart where you can click “Screening and Advocacy”. This will tell you about what types of practices these mutual funds limit or avoid.

These categories include:

  • Climate and Clean Technology
  • Pollution and Toxics
  • Environment
  • Community Development
  • Diversity
  • Human Right
  • Labor Relations
  • Executive Pay
  • Alcohol
  • Animal Welfare
  • Defense/Weapons
  • Gambling
  • Tobacco
  • And more!

What’s great about this is that you can evaluate these mutual funds based on what’s important to you. For me, animal welfare is among the most important ones. It was important to me that I invested in mutual funds that didn’t work with companies that tested on animals.

So with that resource combined with the two companies he suggested to me—Pax World and Domini—I was able to find mutual funds that restricted animal testing.

I chose to go with Domini because unfortunately, Pax didn’t have any funds that actively sought to avoid animal testing. I even contacted them to ask about it. Domini was a natural fit for me. It was super easy to set everything up and invest my funds. I’m proud to have my retirement and saving funds invested with them.

When Investing Is a Good Idea: Your Future Boss Funds

It’s a known fact that many Millennials don’t have any savings. In fact, 31% of us have $0 in savings. How shocking is that?

It’s shocking when you consider that disaster could be right around the corner at any time. You lose your job. You don’t have health insurance. You get in an accident. You can’t work. You’re at risk to lose your housing.

Things can happen so fast.

So here’s the deal: investing may or may not be the right choice for you depending on what you plan on using your money for. Have $1,000 that you want to invest for retirement? Absolutely, invest that shit! Have $2,000 that you plan on using to buy a house in a couple years? Probably easier to leave that money in your traditional savings account with the bank.

You can max out your retirement fund at $5,500 every year. I would highly suggest you do that if you’re financially able to. If you’re not able to reach that amount, don’t stress about it—even investing a little bit helps, whether it’s $100 or $2,000. Your future self will thank you.

How much should you actually be saving? 20% is the general rule. 20% of your income should go into savings. These savings could be for anything—emergencies, retirement, etc.

Saving feels like complete nonsense if you’re a living-in-the-moment type of gal. I get it. Why would you ever invest $1,000 into your retirement account when you could go on a vacation to Mexico with friends?

Hm. Let’s think about that one: starve when I’m 75, or party now. Which would you choose?

Just save some money. It doesn’t have to be the 20%. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be close to the 20%. Just save something, and save it now. If you want to ethically invest like a Millennial boss, you can do so. Choose what’s important to you and build your financial portfolio around that. You’ll feel good and—you won’t starve when you’re 75. Toodles!

 

 

The One Thing That Really Bothers Me about Being a Writer

I’ll give you a hint: it’s not having my name out there. It’s not even having my photo out there. It’s not even about writing about bras and body hair and tampons and menstrual blood and my misdiagnosis and whatever other personal things I write about.

Mean comments. That’s the one thing that really bothers me about being a writer.

Or, should I say insensitive comments?

Badly written comments.

I mean, comments that clearly were not thought about before they were written.

Whatever you want to call them, I just really hate it when people write negative comments. Yes, they are voicing an opinion. No, I do not think it was done in the best way.

This post is compiled from a few comments I’ve gotten over my career of being a writer that either:

a) really hurt my feelings

b) made me really mad

c) made think how stupid people can be

We have all done immature and thoughtless things. If you’re posting a comment on an article that someone took the time to write, why not make it a good one?

Disagreeing with the author’s opinion is perfectly fine. But can we do it in a way that’s at least, you know, nice?

Here are some people who responded a little less kindly to my articles as well as my responses.

The Person Who Did Not Understand the Article

Oh, this lady. This was written in response to my article about my shaved head on Elephant Journal. This woman clearly did not understand that I have chosen to cut my hair because I like it, not because I was rebelling against society’s standards for me.

My response (and some fun responses from others):

I handled that well, right? She did hurt my feelings, though. All those CAPS. Like I don’t understand NON-CAPITALIZED WORDS.

The Person Who Wants to Feel Superior to You

I don’t know what they’re teaching Gracie at Hudson Valley Community College, but I suppose she hasn’t yet learned that everyone’s experience is unique to them.

Gracie wrote this comment in response to my landlord article, which is published on this site as well as on Thought Catalog.

Was my experience the worst one on the planet? Of course not. So I responded as such:

My initial reaction to this post was anger that someone was discounting my experience. Once I got over that and actually thought about it, I was able to respond much more rationally.

Apparently, the readers of Thought Catalog really like feeling superior to the author. Another beloved reader wrote this in response to an article I have published there about bras:

I’m not sure if the word dumbassssss is the correct word to describe me or to discredit the research I cited in that article, but I couldn’t think of a polite response and so I simply thanked Lesley for her comment and tried really hard not to wish that she never gets a job after her internship ends.

The Angry Women Who Just Really Like Their Bras

It’s no secret that I’ve been pretty vocal about the fact that bras aren’t good for our breasts. My article on Wellness has gotten a lot of attention and a lot of comments. Some of them are from angry women who really disagree with me.

I don’t know what she means by “actually have breasts”, but assuming she’s referring to the size of breasts, this comment is just plain rude.

Her opinion could have been better expressed rather than simply saying all women who don’t wear bras are ugly. Oops, sorry, I meant U G L Y.

And then there’s this woman, who likes to equate breasts with pancakes.

Sigh. I really wish she had cited research… but she didn’t, so I have to assume she had no basis for saying my article (which was backed by numerous studies) was full of lies. So I couldn’t think of anything else to say, except for:

The following person clearly feels that there’s research that proves otherwise, but she neglects to cite it.

Studies, please? And I would really argue that you have some degree of control over whether or not you develop cancer. Otherwise, why would the National Cancer Institue list diet, alcohol, obesity, and tobacco among its risk factors for cancer?

So yeah. Angry women. Love their bras.

The Person Who Just Wants to Be Mean

And then there’s this mess of comments on that bra article on Wellness of a woman asking for resources and this dude who shoots her down and offends all women with large breasts. Such an ignorant comment!

I tried to be helpful and just ignored that other bastard. I hope that made you feel better dude because you clearly have no idea what it’s like to have breasts.

And finally, we have this lady from Elephant Journal commenting on my menstrual cup article there.

Wow? Wow what?

It seems that she’s saying that cotton tampons are better than silicone. Shouldn’t she have just said that?

Cotton is one of the top producers of pesticides in the world so firstly I would argue for organic tampons here, and secondly, silicone is at least reusable which helps our landfills out. Thirdly, most tampons are made from synthetic fibers and treated with carcinogenic chemicals.

But I didn’t respond to this one because I couldn’t think of anything to say to “wow”. Just ran out of energy after responding to the other comments.

How to Comment Nicely

There are other ways to comment even if you disagree with what the author is saying in the article.

For example, the woman above could have said, “I really think that cotton tampons are better than silicone for these specific reasons.” Sounds much more put together, right?

Back up your claims with facts and research to help others see your opinion. This helps you appear more credible and gives justification to your comment. Be mindful of what you say to others. These are actual people writing these articles, not machines. We have feelings!

Above all, be kind. Recognize that someone has a different opinion that you. Be aware of your feelings. Reading these comments was really hard for a sensitive cancer like me because I took them personally. Apparently, they took my articles personally as well.

Take yourself out of it. Respond kindly. Be nice to one another. This should not be so hard.

I also have to say I really hate that Facebook comments plugin.

I love being a writer. I love having people read my work. And yes, I love having people comment on my articles because it generates discussion, shares a wide variety of views, and gets me better search rankings in Google. What I really dislike is people being insensitive in their comments.

Share kindness, not hate!

 

Celebrities Supporting Animal Torture (Bash Fest Part III)

It’s been so long since I’ve done one of these! Don’t worry, I’ve been collecting more celebs for you guys.

Didn’t see Part I and Part II? Do hop over there and check out those celebrities that support animal testing.

Here’s my Part III list of celebrities who endorse products that test on animals.

1. Selena Gomez   Company—Pantene

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She’s so pretty and while I am a little upset that her relationship with Justin Beiber fizzled, I’m more upset at the fact that I saw her in an ad for Pantene shampoo! Did you guys know that Pantene is owned by Proctor and Gamble? They conduct huge amounts of animal testing in the U.S and their products include Charmin, Crest, Dawn, Herbal Essences… and many, many more.

2. Miranda Kerr   Company—Clear Scalp and Hair

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This former Victoria’s Secret model has been featured in ads for hair care products Clear Scalp and Hair (weird name, right?) Unilever owns this company. Unilever is another big animal testing player that owns brands such as  Dermalogica, Dove, Lipton, Axe, Hellmann’s mayonnaise, Vaseline, Ben & Jerry’s, and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. Yes, some of those were food products. Since when did buying food mean supporting animal testing?

3. Barbara Palvin   Company—L’Oreal

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Do you know this woman? I’ve been seeing her everywhere, it feels like. She’s a L’Oreal makeup model and is also a model and actress from Hungary. Another celeb who’s taking part in convincing people to buy products that test on animals!

4. Leslie Mann   Company—Jergens

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Took me a little bit to find out who this lady is. For some reason, the only movie I can remember her being is in Orange County (LOVE that movie!) Anyway, I saw her in an ad for Jergens lotion. The ad pictured is another ad she’s in. Jergens might be its own company, but they still participate in animal testing for their products.

Oh, and I love how their website says their products are for “healthier-looking skin”. The key word in that sentence is “looking”!

5. Naomi Watts   Company—L’Oreal

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Yeah, she’s modeling for them. Sucks. I see L’Oreal advertisements everywhere. They test on animals, people! Do you WANT to support the torture of bunnies, kittens, puppies, and monkeys? I certainly don’t.

6. Kate Moss   Company—Rimmel

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Rimmel London is a makeup company brand owned by Coty, Inc. Coty is well-known for animal testing (we’ll see them again later in this post). No, Kate Moss! I guess this isn’t her first round of helping people advertise their animal-tested products, though.

7. Janelle Monae   Company—Covergirl

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To be honest, I wasn’t really sure who this was. I had to look her up. Saw her in a Covergirl ad. Did you guys know that Covergirl is also owned by Proctor and Gamble? Ah!!! Stay AWAY.

8. Jennifer Lawrence   Company—Dior

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When I first heard about Jennifer Lawrence, I read an interview with her in Rolling Stone magazine that absolutely appalled me. But then I saw her with Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook. So I like her a little more now. But then I saw her in an ad for Dior. They test!

Needless to say, I have a lot of conflicting feelings about Jennifer Lawrence. And no, I’m not a Hunger Games fan.

9. Larry the Cable Guy   Company—Proctor and Gamble (Prilosec OTC)

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You have to have seen this dude in advertisements for Prilosec OTC. Yet ANOTHER product that’s owned by Proctor and Gamble. Not sure why anyone would want to buy a product that he was on, but in case you were thinking about it, no. Just no.

10. Karlie Kloss   Company—L’Oreal

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This former Victoria’s Secret model has a thing for torturing bunnies. You can tell by the look in eyes. Seen her in a ton of L’Oreal advertisements recently. They test on animals and are selling you chemical-filled products all so you can look fake (or real, I guess).

11. Giselle Bündchen   Company—Chanel

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Yeah, they test on animals. Do I need to say anymore? And what is up with these former Victoria’s Secret models just making a killing in the cosmetics industry? They’re not helping out anyone but themselves.

12. Marion Cotillard   Company—Dior

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Dior again? Ick. This famous actress from Inception is modeling for them. Stay away from their fragrances. Did you know that fragrances contain carcinogenic chemicals? It’s true. And the manufacturer doesn’t even have to disclose to you what the heck is in there. Thanks, Marion for making animals and people alike suffer.

13. Zoe Salanda   Company—L’Oreal

Zoe Saldaña at the "Entertainment Weekly: Wonder Women: Female Power Icons in Pop Culture" panel. Comic-Con 2009

Zoe Saldaña at the “Entertainment Weekly: Wonder Women: Female Power Icons in Pop Culture” panel. Comic-Con 2009

This movie star from Avatar and Drumline has recently popped up in L’Oreal advertisements. Why do these gorgeous women feel the need to not only wear make-up, but appear in an ad that convinces others to wear it? Oh, and in case you forgot, L’Oreal tests on animals.

14. Lea Seydoux   Company—Louis Vuitton

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This girl is not only gorgeous but had an amazing role in the popular movie, Blue Is the Warmest Color. I was really saddened to see her gorgeous self in an advertisement for Louis Vuitton fragrances, which test on animals.

15. Gigi Hadid   Company—Maybelline

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Not surprising to see a model in an advertisement for makeup, but come on. Guess who Maybelline is owned by? L’Oreal. You can tell this girl is wearing a ton of makeup, jeez.

16. Susan Somers   Company—L’Oreal

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This all-around business lady has a lot of things going for her. Didn’t know she could be a model for a company that participates in animal torture as well.

17. Zendaya   Company—Covergirl

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Looks like this T.V star has finally made her way to big stardom—advocating for bunny torture and shitty cosmetics! I can’t help it, I’m a mom to four rabbits. I get pissed.

18. Stella Maxwell   Company—Guess

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Another Victoria’s Secret model! Wha what? This beauty was seen by me in an advertisement for Guess fragrances. Guess fragrances are made by Coty Inc., a company that participates in animal testing. Boo!

19. Lily Aldridge   Company—Michael Kors

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Not real excited to see yet another Victoria’s Secret model in an advertisement for Michael Kors fragrance. They test on animals!

20. Margot Robbie   Company—Calvin Klein

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This Austrailian actress was spotted by me in an ad for Calvin Klein fragrances. Noo!

21. Johnny Depp   Company—Dior

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Ok yeah, have to say I was so surprised to see this sexy devil in an ad for Dior cologne. Don’t get me wrong, he looks great. It’s just… animal testing?

That’s it for the bash fest part III! I highly encourage you to educate yourself about the products that you’re buying. You have the opportunity to change the world with your purchases. Choose companies that actually care about the planet and don’t sell you toxic chemicals and products that needed to be tested on animals before you use them. Real, healthy products never need to be tested on animals before a human uses them.

Animal testing is inaccurate and unethical. Spend a couple more dollars and feel good about what you buy. It’s not that hard. Doing a Google search will tell you if the makers of the product test on animals.

Together, we can all make a difference! THESE celebrities, however, are only making the world a poorer place by advocating for these products. Don’t buy into the advertisements. Choose for yourself.

6 Lessons I’ve Learned from Dealing with a Crazy Landlord Lady

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Being an adult is hard. Don’t get me wrong, I for sure like being an adult better than being a kid. Just because I’m an adult doesn’t mean I can’t still dress up for Halloween and wear mad glitter, right? Right.

When my fiance and I moved in together officially for the first time in North Carolina, I thought it would be more of a dream than a nightmare. My fiance and I are amazing together–that’s not the nightmare.

Having a crazy landlord lady is.

Here are six lessons I learned from dealing with that crazy landlord lady!

 

1. You Cannot Reason with Crazy People

There is no logic in the mind of a crazy person!

They will not see your point!

You cannot “get through” to them!

Sending an email asking why all the things outlined in your lease haven’t been taken care of does not make them understand that they are responsible for these items.

This crazy landlord lady honestly did not think she had to uphold her end of the lease. It frustrated me to no end—but it seemed that she truly did not see reason. “Oh, the grass is two feet tall? I’ve neglected to empty your trash for two months? Well, obviously you are an awful person. How dare you remind me of my duties. There is no reason for this!”

 

2. Be the Bigger Person

Because, well… they have the upper hand. You’re living in their house. They are giving you a place to live in exchange for money. If things go wrong and there’s bad blood between you and the crazy landlord lady, she can and will attempt to evict you, for no other reason than she can.

So just because a cow shows up right outside your door at 8 a.m. (yeah, it’s legit)p1100337

you have to be the bigger person. Just do what you’re supposed to do and don’t stoop to their level and act like a five-year-old. Which leads me to my next point.

 

3. Being Mature Is REALLY Hard When You’re Dealing with a Grandma That Acts Like a Five-Year-Old

Sometimes, being a mature adult is really hard. It just is. I don’t WANNA go to the bank today. I don’t FEEL like working. How am I doing today? YOUR FACE!

Being mature is way harder when you’re dealing with an adult who’s more than 30 years older than you and yet she still acts like a five-year-old. This crazy landlord lady was a grandma, for God’s sake! And she still acted like:

  • Everyone was out to get her
  • She was entitled to everything
  • She said things without thinking or reasoning
  • She could talk to other people like they were dirt and get away with it
  • Repeatedly said, “There is no reason for this” when there obviously was a reason
  • Oh, and she didn’t have any responsibilities except to smoke weed

(If you ever want a reason to not smoke marijuana, talk to this crazy landlord lady for five minutes. It’s not so cool when you’re 60, your brain is fried, and you’re on parole for growing pot, people!)

I learned that being mature is more about you than it is about the face you present to the world. At the end of the day, I was doing what made me a better person. I certainly didn’t want to be mature or professional in the moment (felt more like screaming, YOU’RE INSANE, BITCH!), but later, I was always happy that I had acted my age.

This crazy landlord lady made it extremely difficult for me to be the nice, mature person that I am. She tested me within an inch of every one of my limits. But because of her, I’m able to say that I’m a wiser and more mature person today.

 

4. Being Mean Never Got Anybody Anywhere

Ok, so maybe it did, but my point is that being nice is always better than being mean.

This crazy landlord lady was downright mean. She cursed at me. She sent me nasty emails. She gossiped about me to the other tenants. She threatened to evict me and my fiance. She threatened to sue us. She even stopped paying the electric bill and the only reason it didn’t get turned off is because the other tenants (bless their souls) told us that she had stopped paying it and didn’t even tell us. She was going to let the power go out on us and didn’t even notify us.

(For the record, my fiance and I were able to pay the bill literally hours before it was to get shut off. Which is entirely ridiculous because our utilities were included in the rent, which we were currently up on.)

This crazy landlord lady has some serious karma coming her way. We never got her to reimburse us the money for the electric bill. The other tenants were nice enough to help us pay the bill. It amazed me that people our age that we didn’t even know would be nicer and more responsible than this crazy ass landlord lady. Thier kindness touched me and I’m so thankful that they were there for us. I have hope that there are more people like that in the world.

I learned that being mean would not get me what I wanted. It would not make me a better person. It wouldn’t even give me the satisfaction of telling that crazy landlord lady off. It would only lower me and make me a poor human being.

 

5. You Really Can Kill People with Kindness

Listen, this bat-shit crazy landlord lady would send me these ridiculous emails. Most of the time, I was able to reply professionally and not respond to her meanness. One time, however, she got on my last nerve and I composed an equally nasty email back to her. I had had ENOUGH.

Luckily, my fiance saw the email before I sent it, and stopped me. “Jenn, this will not do us any good. Where will we be if you send this email?”

Um…homeless?

He helped me compose a much nicer and professional email, even thanking the crazy landlord lady for letting us stay and figure our stuff out despite the fact that she was basically kicking us out.

And you know what? That crazy landlord lady responded very nicely. This happened every time she sent a ridiculous email that was mean—I responded nicely and professionally and she would come back and appear all normal.

(NOTHING in the world will convince me that that woman did not have a drug problem and a mental illness and serious, serious problems.)

But, I learned that being nice really does change people’s attitudes. Not every time, but most of the time. It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give people—your kindness. No matter how awful the situation is.

 

6. Let It Go

What happened to me and my fiance at that rental was awful. I know I make it sound like it was just the trash and the lawn—but the truth is that these were some of the most harrowing months of my life. From the way we were treated to almost having no power to nearly being homeless, it was all around a terrible experience.

But, this is just my side of the story.

Here’s a brief list of awful things that happened while we were there:

  • We found 4 snakes in the house (different snakes at different times)
  • A centipede fell on me from the ceiling (while I was sitting on the toilet)
  • All our food had to be kept in the fridge because of mice and ants that were there when we got there
  • Some man came to change the locks (we found out the house was in the process of being foreclosed not long after we moved in)
  • My fiance cut his knuckle off with a slicer (it’s since healed into a bad-ass scar, thank God)
  • Our trash piled up for two whole months
  • Our lawn wasn’t cut for two months
  • There was mold growing just about everywhere
  • We both got poison ivy
  • My fiance’s job SUCKED
  • I couldn’t go to the bathroom in the bathroom at numerous points because there were centipedes in there (I HATE centipedes)
  • I got the flu
  • My rabbits were not doing well
  • I gained 10 pounds
  • And at the end of it, we basically got kicked out, were not given our security deposit back, and lost a shitload of money

But you know what? Holding on to all these things just poisons me. We’ve since tried to forget about all the horrible things that happened to us there. Because holding on to these things will only make us into nasty, mean, crazy people. Just like the crazy landlord lady.

On the bright side, there were a few positive things about being there. Remember, there is always good in every situation. Count your blessings!

 

1. The Dog Seemed Pretty Happy

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I don’t think she cares where she is as long as she’s with Ian. A foreclosed horse farm? Hells yeah!

 

2. We had a pretty cool garden that crazy landlord lady started for us

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Look at all that swiss chard and lemon balm!

 

3. The view was nice

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Not awesome, but nice, ya know?

 

4. We had fun in Asheville before we left

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We didn’t do too much fun stuff while we were down there because everything was so awful. But, after we decided to come back to Maryland, we ate at our favorite restaurants, went to Carowinds in Charlotte, and here we are having Turkish coffee in Asheville.

I grew up a lot during this time. We all are always learning, no matter how old we are. Do I hate crazy landlord lady? Yeah, a little. But I hope she’s still learning too. And if she wants a reference—hells yeah 😉 !