I’m Playing Cola Roulette

Yesterday I walked down to the store and bought a few things for dinner. Among those items was a Coke because it has been a while since I had any soda and I thought something fizzy would be a nice treat. Normally I am a Pepsi girl (and yes I can taste the difference) but I didn’t see any Pepsi so I grabbed a Coke instead. 

Because I am normally a Pepsi girl I did not think about the fact that Coke now puts names on their soda bottles. An interesting marketing campaign. I just grabbed the first bottle on the shelf and didn’t seek out my name. I got back to the house, pulled out my beverage and saw the name “Tom” plastered across the front of it. “Hmmm,” I huffed, “Share a Coke with Tom. I don’t know any Toms. Oh well, I’m sure he won’t mind too much.”

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Then I had a great thought.

When I was in college and still had a meal plan I sometimes played a game called “Saga Roulette” where everyone loses. Saga (the cafeteria) had several different stations where you could get your food. They changed what the station was every night. Or you could walk over to “The Grill” and grab a safe food like pizza or a cheeseburger. Instead of trying to choose what to eat I would pick a line and get whatever I got. The rule was that I couldn’t check the sign before choosing and I had to at least eat part of it.

Most of the time I lost.

I could do the same thing with Coke just change it up a little bit.

Cola Roulette:

You don’t look at the name on your Coke you just buy it.

If you have a friend by that name you have to get in contact with them (i.e. Send them a Facebook Message or give them a call.) That way you are technically sharing your coke with them.

If you do not have a friend by that name you need to try to make one (i.e. I tweeted at Tom Hiddleston and let him know that I was down if he was).

There are “wild card” Cokes as well. (I actually looked into this). Some Coke bottles do not have names on them. Instead they say things like “Share a Coke with Gorgeous” or “Share a Coke with your Bestie.” The solution to this problem is obvious. If you get one of those you have to inform someone that you think they are gorgeous or get in contact with your best friend or whatever. Use your best judgement on how to proceed with that one. 

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The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back

This is really just some general advice to anyone who is willing to take it. Always be kind to people. You have no idea what is going on in their lives or how they might respond to your actions. I know, you are just a random stranger off the street. They should never take anything you do as a reflection on them. You are going to walk away and never think about that person again so obviously they are going to do the same. Right? RIGHT? Wrong.

Like I said before, you have no idea what a complete stranger might be going through and you do not know how they are going to respond. 

The past two (or so) weeks have been very difficult for me. I have been all alone, in a situation that is very scary for me. I have been trying to be positive about it and slog through the depression and stress that goes along with being alone so far away from home, depending on the kindness of others in order to figure things out. Note that the operative word there is “trying.” I have been TRYING to slog through it but most days I don’t think I am succeeding and want to run right to the airport and get on the next flight home (even if it is 30 hours of travel time and almost $2000). When complete strangers are rude or outright mean to me that flight home looks even more attractive. 

The first one was in Oxford and honestly was not that big of a deal. I was walking through one of the parks and when trying to get around someone I bumped into a man. In the middle of apologizing he looked and me and grunted “f*** off.” It was not a big deal. I had bumped him, he may have been having a bad day. I was trying to be polite and fix my mistake but he just wanted to be angry. It still made me feel bad.It made me feel like there was no point in trying to be here, not when people were going to treat me badly. 

I went on with my life. 

Then today happened. I took the train into the town where I will be doing my MA today. Getting there was easy enough, it was getting back that was terrifying. I got lost in the town and then I nearly got on the wrong train. Fortunately I am very smart and know a little bit about problem solving. The train car I got on had a group of teenage boys on it. Boys who were a little bit loud and had been shouting at someone at someone on the platform when I boarded the train. Fortunately they left me alone to play Scrabble on my phone.

They got off at the next stop walked up to the window I was siting beside and did something incredibly rude. The sort of thing that if there had not been a thick window in between us the boy who actually did it would have been writhing in pain a few seconds later. I guess that is why they waited until they were off the train and I was still on it. The only appropriate recourse I had at the time was to raise an eyebrow, mutter that my IQ is 50 points higher than their’s (speaking modestly), and go back to playing Scrabble. 

It still bugged me.

It bugged me a lot. They don’t know that I have a lot going on in my brain right now and don’t have extra space to worry about people being rude to me. They don’t know that their actions could have upset me enough that I would just go home. They don’t know anything about me up to the fact that I am a human who deserves to be treated with the respect you would treat any other human. 

Those boys and the man in the park don’t realize that their actions can mess with people for days, weeks, or even the rest of someone’s life. They had their interaction and now it is done. I now have to deal with trying to ignore these things and look at the positive things in my life instead. 

(They also do not realize that I am a dragon slayer and am fairly skilled in self defense. If I felt like it I could have put them on the ground and walked away but that is beside the point.) 

Please be nice to people, you don;t know how they are going to react. You don’t know if you are going to be the straw that breaks their back.If you can’t be kind can we at least agree to ignore each other in peace?

“How to be the girl every guy wants” a short rant sponsored by the internet and coffee

It’s time for STORY TIME WITH KATIE insert music: Katie the Story Lady, Katie the Story Lady, It’s Katie!

(If you had been at the junior high camp I worked at a few weeks ago you would think that was hilarious and you would also have that song stuck in your head now.)

Not too long ago I was at my friend Amanda’s house because Amanda is one of the best people I know and let me stay at her house for a week after camp ended then drove me to the airport for my big international trip. Amanda is getting married soon and since I won’t be there for her wedding she showed me her dress and the material for her veil. Then she said she was going to have a chapel length veil. I nodded and said awesome and went about my life (her dress is so pretty by the way). Then I realized (a little over a week later because I realized it this morning) that I don’t know what a “chapel length veil” is or what that means. Thankfully, the internet is my friend.

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I got onto the Google and typed in “chapel length veil.”

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The first result was a how to blog on choosing your wedding veil. Since Google rarely fails me I clicked on that blog, fully expecting it to have some sort of chart or foot note that described the different kinds of veils. That blog failed me. Not only did that blog fail me on the level of answering my question it failed me on at least 8 other levels, the worst of which was the related blogs or “other blogs you might be interested in” section. 

Among the other, equally offensive, recommended blogs was a blog titled “how to be the girl every guy wants.” I did not click on it but I am certain it had terrible advice just like everything else in that angsty pre-teenish genre of blog, article, and youtube video. 

There is no such thing as a girl that every guy wants. In fact, desire in the way that they are using it is incredibly subjective. But that is not what makes me so mad when I see these articles and things.

What makes me mad is that there are still people out there who have this idea that a woman’s worth is somehow wrapped up in whether or not men “want” her and how many men want her. The idea that anyone’s worth could be wrapped up in another person offends me and even more the idea that people are regularly told to be something other than who they are offends me.

I want to be myself. Guess what, I LIKE who I am and I had better because I am stuck with me. The rest of you can leave but there is no way I can ever get away from myself. Even if I wanted to change who I am for other people I really could not. It isn’t exactly a possible endeavor. I was once in a situation where I was meeting someone who was much cooler than I am and the friend I was with said to me “be cool Katie.” I looked at my friend very seriously and said, “if being cool was something I could just do my adolescent years would have been very different.”

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I was never cool. Instead I went to midnight showings of movies dressed up like characters from the movies.

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And to Comic Con dressed up as Wonder Woman.

See changing who you are for the sake of someone else’s enjoyment seems like the absolute worst thing someone can do. I don’t do things because other people are going to think they are cool or desirable traits I do them because that is what I want to do. 

I did not read the blog but unless it said “be yourself and don’t give a shit” I don’t think I can get on board with anything it said.

A Few Thoughts About Depression

In the wake of Robin Williams’ death I have seen an overwhelming number of Facebook posts about depression and mental illness. Posts that are meant to take away some of the stigma of having a mental illness. I can only assume this is because my facebook friends all read the same statement from his publicist that I read saying that Robin Williams suffered from severe depression. So lets talk about depression, seeing as we really are not going to talk about much else today. 

Depression is a chemical imbalance in your brain. It makes you sad but sometimes it makes you angry and it always makes it difficult to cope with life.

Life is already hard to cope with. 

You see, real depression has nothing to do with your situation, or your success rate, how much money you have, how many or how few friends you have. Depression is a chemical imbalance meaning that it is an actual chronic illness. Imagine having tendinitis or severe arthritis, those are chronic illnesses that people are expected to go on living when they have them, you would have that treated (unless you like pain or are like me and respond to diseases by saying “well, I guess I have to live with that now.”). Depression is the same way except that it is something you cannot see and the pain is more difficult to define. 

I know all of this because I have depression, I may have even mentioned that before in these blogs but I can’t be sure because I write so very many blog posts that never see the light of day and so many more that I wish had never seen the light of day.

I have depression. Not severe depression just plain old boring depression. My body does not absorb Vitamin D well. It is madness. I go out in the sunshine, I drink whole milk, I do everything right to have high levels of Vitamin D but I am still deficient and have to take pills to counteract that deficiency. Unfortunately Vitamin D is one of the “happy vitamins.” The thing is I take my pills and I balance out and I’m fine. I take them even if I am already feeling good because I know that if I stop for weeks I’ll go back to being imbalanced and being unhappy and not knowing why. I also give myself permission to feel an emotion when I am feeling it. I don’t write off being sad or angry or happy as something being off about my body’s chemistry. If I feel something I feel it. I don’t think most people give themselves that kind of freedom.

These are just a few of my own personal thoughts about depression and mental illness in general. I am sorry that Robin Williams, just like many people out there in the world, decided that there was no other way to cope with life than to stop coping entirely but I do hope that the overwhelming response to it will help someone out there who may be feeling hopeless. 

Mental illness is not something bad, it is just something that has to be dealt with, like every other chronic illness. Take care of yourself.