Look Up

When you’re laying on the floor in a nearly empty apartment – because moving is tiring even for those of us that defer the bulk of the work to the strong people – don’t forget to look up ✌🏼

Two First Names

Photo by Allie on Unsplash

Something I often say to myself, in my head, is “I have 2 first names and 0 clue what I’m doing.” This is because my inner self truly thrives on jokes and self-deprecation. My inner self gets it.

My birth name was Katelyn, or at least this is the way I always assumed it was spelled, but could possibly have been 1 of the other 100 variations. (Update: when I asked my mom if this was the way it was going to be spelled, she gave me a bewildered look and said “No. K-A-I-T-L-Y-N.” Who knew.) Two days later my name was Katrina but I was never called this. I was always intended to be called Katie and every first day of school meant telling the teacher “I go by Katie.” A very fun process. If before reading this you assumed Katrina and Katie were in no way related, you were only half wrong. They really aren’t related in the scheme of things, but they are my two first names.

When I was 21 and started my internship, and when I was 23 and began working at my first real job, I truly forgot to mention my name situation. So at my internship for 4 months, and at my previous job for the short length of 42 months, I was called Katrina. This made for some awkward situations, like being told “I couldn’t find you on Facebook,” responding “it’s under Katie,” and being met with a look like, “why?” Probably more unfortunate was working with my mom’s friend, who had always known me as Katie, and had to awkwardly navigate the question of what to call me depending on the situation.

At the job I started in November, I made a VERY conscious effort to make sure everyone called me Katie. Still, I’ve learned to embrace both names. People have apologized for accidentally calling me Katrina without knowing, or asked if they should change my work email, but I’ve told them that at this point both Katie and Katrina are my names. I tend to go by Katrina at appointments or in school and exclusively use this name on any kind of paperwork to avoid confusion. My therapist, who arguably knows me better than most, calls me Katrina, and this seemed to be the least of things I needed to tell her. In calling me that, she’s not wrong.

Hair Stories

Photo by Taisiia Shestopal on Unsplash

I didn’t get hair until I was 3 years old. My head was very large and very bald. I got many compliments, such as “what a cute baby boy.” I still find myself impressed when a baby is born with a full head of hair. Their heads figured out what mine could not for 3 years. And honestly their hair is still much thicker than mine is now.

Hair thickness was an idea that frequently occupied my teenage mind. I often wondered what would it be like to live in an alternate universe where I had full, voluminous hair. (I do recognize the sheer privilege that allowed THESE to be the things that I wondered about.) My hair was (is) very thin. Looking back at old pictures to investigate my natural hair color, it’s still hard to tell. In some pictures it looks dark blonde, some light brown. It’s been described as dirty blonde, or gold, or the color of hay, or my personal favorite (it’s not) dishwater blonde.

When I was 16 my best friend and I went to CVS to buy box dye. I wanted my hair to be dark brown. We got back to my house and my mom found the hair dye and hid it. For a mom this means, “you’re still a kid and once you start dyeing your hair it’s hard to go back and that’s a lot of money and hair damage and you’ll even get to a point where you have to look at pictures to remember your natural hair color.” To a teenager this means, “your mom said you can’t so you have to do this even more now – go buy another box and go to your friend’s house now and dye it.”

I dyed my hair brown and as my friend blow dried it I expected it to lighten up but it stayed close to the same color as it was when it was wet. I was elated. My hair was a medium golden brown and everybody loved it. That lasted for 5 days. It then faded to a coppery-red, because you know, box dye. After that I started going to the salon with my mom, where the same hairdresser would do both of our hair. She is a family friend and really great but a talker. The whole experience would last at least 5 hours and I got why my mom hid the box dye.

My best friend likes to tell the story of the first time I cut my bangs. I was 15 and mad at the world for whatever reason 15 year-olds are. As much as it somehow seemed like it would at the time, cutting the hair straight across my forehead didn’t necessarily make anything better. My friend had to fix them for me, which was a really difficult task. I had side bangs for the next 5 years, which luckily were in style. The last time she brought this up, her fiance’s friend asked, this is a thing teenage girls would do?, meanwhile his wife nodded knowingly.

The second time I cut my bangs, two years later, it wasn’t out of anger but genuinely because I thought I could just trim my existing side bangs. Except what can sometimes happen is that I kept cutting and cutting until parts of them were SO short. This time around involved a lot of thick headbands to hide the pieces of hair that were only mere centimeters long. It is possible that even after this second time I made a few cuts to my bangs here and there, but lately I mainly just stick with hair salons.

There have been times when I have fallen into an absolute panic because I got my hair done and I thought it was too blonde or too red or too whatever. More recently, the look I’m mainly going for is grown out roots (kidding, sort of). I’m lucky that the balayage method/look of coloring hair is an option that basically every salon is doing now. When I go to a new hairdresser and mention fully changing the color, they take one look at how long I’ve clearly gone without getting it done (usually at least 6 months), and gently suggest that I maybe just stick to an option that allows for a more natural grow-out. I am glad to live in a time where grown-out roots are more acceptable.

Sometimes I look at old pictures of my hair and wish it was a certain way again and think about changing it, going blonder or darker (or a cool grayish purple), as my hair has somewhat settled into its dishwater blonde roots. Maybe someday I will, but if there’s one thing that all of these experiences have tried to painstakingly teach me, time and time again, is that it truly does not matter. Hair is just hair is just hair.

More Random Thoughts

Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels

1: Grocery Store Styles. When you go to the grocery store, you likely have a style in which you’re going to accomplish your shopping. There are two types of people in this situation: the list-makers/power shoppers and the grazers. I am a list-maker/power shopper. My boyfriend is a grazer. This adds some *really serious* adversity to a relationship, but so far we have powered through.

I like to make lists before I go to the store for food. Well, I like to and also I have to. I prefer to be in and out of there as quickly as possible. I don’t know what it is but I really don’t find grocery shopping enjoyable in the least. The process of transferring the groceries from the aisle to the cart, from the cart to the bag, the bag to the car, the car to the house, the house to the fridge. There are about 27 steps as it is and now we have to sanitize everything?!

My boyfriend goes into the store with what I feel is absolutely no idea with what he’s going to come out with. A complete disregard for any sense of order. He grazes. Down every aisle and sometimes down them twice. He says that he doesn’t know what he wants to buy unless he sees all of his options. I will say, this method does allow us to end up with some good food that I wouldn’t have even thought to get. But by the end of an hour trip through all the aisles I am despondent and dragging my feet.

2: Food Thoughts. I did not grow up in a house with many spices, although I will argue that there was plenty of garlic, which you can never have too much of. I preferred everything as plain as possible: pasta without sauce, cereal without milk. As a young child I didn’t even like soda. But alas, like most things, with more exposure your taste buds change.

I always preferred ketchup but I’ve found that mustard is an acquired taste; it is now one of my favorite flavors. I can’t eat hashbrowns without adding hot sauce. I could live off of Thai food, Arabic food, Mexican food. Every time I tell my Grandma I had sushi for dinner she says, you know that’s raw fish, right? My boyfriend also cooks with every spice imaginable, but I’ve finally acquired somewhat of a tolerance for spicy foods.

I will, however, never become tolerant of onions, no matter how often people insist I someday will. I’ve taped a piece of paper onto the onion powder that we have in the apartment (I’m not the one that bought this, obviously) that reads “NOOOOOO” so that I don’t mistake it for garlic powder and put it all over my spaghetti ever again.

I Own Too Much STUFF

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Have you ever had one of those days where you just want to feel organized, and that’s what you plan to do, but it feels like everything you do just makes you feel even more disorganized? That is today, for me. This morning I tried to organize my WordPress drafts, my writing, maybe in some ways my life. If anything, in doing so I only felt more disorganized, and then I tried writing about it, which didn’t work either.

My writing is all over the place, literally and figuratively, and there is stuff everywhere in the apartment. This said stuff has to be moved out in a cool 9ish days (probably much less by the time this gets posted). Why do we feel the need to have all of this stuff? That feeling of need is definitely quick to dissipate when it comes to having to move it all. That deal you got for a $5 shirt you still haven’t worn seems a lot less great.

I truly love lifestyle blogs but this is not that. I really don’t have any of the answers, at least on this right now. I wish I were more like Marie Kondo; I’m sure I own loads of stuff that don’t bring me joy. But in my mind I’m like what if I need this in the future?! (if you have to ask this, you likely won’t), or what if I get rid of this shirt I never wear and I miss it?! (you might but who cares – it’s a shirt).

One thing I’m really bad with is work clothes. It’s so hard for me to get rid of them because I have only been in possession of any work clothes for the last 5 years. It feels like any work item I might potentially wear is too valuable to part ways with; it still feels like I’m only just starting my work clothes collection. This, of course, is not true. 5 years is definitely a long enough time to have stocked up on way too much. If you don’t think you’ll wear it – you’re not going to wear it.

I also save too many random things. My mom can attest to this via my many boxes in her attic (my brother has at least 18 boxes of old Legos so I could be worse). I still own old cell phones that probably wouldn’t even turn on, and old glasses with old prescriptions, and speaking of which probably old Rx bottles I intended on repurposing but have yet to do so. I’ve always kept all my old school notebooks and folders and books, for what reason I am not at all sure. I have old notes from friends written in class in a small box, folded up in a way likely only a teenager would know how to accomplish.

In one of her books Sloane Crosley says: “there are two kinds of people in this world: those who know where their high school yearbook is and those who do not” and upon reading this for the first time I cringed. I fall into the former category, not because I have tons of fond memories of high school, but because I. KEEP. EVERYTHING. Again, as per usual, I don’t have the exact solution for this problem (aside from “just get over it and get rid of your old junk”), so maybe I will go rewatch Marie Kondo on Netflix and maybe the “life-changing magic of tidying up” will finally stick?

Hello

Sorry for the bad quality photo taken of another photo. But here’s a picture of me with two of my favorite things. Why am I like this.

I had a root canal yesterday, which is fun and cool. Honestly it was like being at the spa except for being stabbed in the mouth with a local anesthetic a few times. Getting to lay back and relax for a full hour while not doing any of the work? Sign me up! I would get them all the time if they weren’t so expensive.

Well I should wash my face and drink some water. Maybe do some stretching.

Notes Section of My Phone

Photo by PhotoMIX Company from Pexels

The notes section of my phone is as cluttered and messy and filled as the thoughts in my brain. Partially because at any given moment it contains what seems to be every thought from said brain, furiously entered in. Compulsions that stem from what is in many ways a practical act are tricky. We do at some point need to go to the store. We are going to watch a show and it’s okay to watch some. List-making in some capacity is healthy and helpful. But at what point is it an unhealthy compulsion? For example, some people can have just one drink. Others can’t.

Before “writing something in my phone” became a thing I could do, this didn’t mean the compulsion to write things down wasn’t there. I remember a specific time in which I asked one of my friend’s mom if she had a pen/paper in her purse, because I needed to write down a list of clothes I wanted to buy. I was probably 11. One of these things was a halter top with only one strap. It was the 2000s and I was still primarily wearing clothes from Limited Too and God forbid I didn’t write that down and forgot that I wanted it.

Another time, in class when I was young, I wrote down “Rob – Robby – Robert, Bob – Bobby – Bobert” on a piece of paper. The kid sitting next to me accused me of liking the kid named Robby in our class, but really I was just trying to keep a record of the versions of this name. I was also probably wondering why Bobert isn’t the name that the nicknames Bob and Bobby come from, which is still a question I stand by. When I was 19 or 20 I felt like the number 8 was coming up in all kinds of ways, so I wrote down all the times this happened. I ended up losing this receipt at a party in Grand Rapids and I sort of shudder to think what kind of nonsense this would look like had someone picked it up and read it.

There’s an essay by Joan Didion called “On Keeping a Notebook” that I find to be so relatable. The main difference is though, most of the things I write down are the things happening in my brain, instead of the things happening around me. No matter how many times I organize or rearrange my notes section, it inevitably gets to a point where there are more than fifty notes in there and it makes me feel crazy. If I could just find order in my notes section, a reflection of my thoughts, then maybe my actual thoughts won’t be so disorganized too. Unfortunately I don’t think it’s that simple. And either way, I’ve yet to find consistent order in how I record my thoughts.

By the way, my notes section AFTER it has been recently organized can be pretty useful. Having a To Do list is one thing, having one note from May 30th that just says “red skin potatoes” is another (I mean it’s not unimportant, though). For some reason I am not good at sticking to keeping new thoughts into the existing categories. They seem so huge and important at the time that they deserve their own note, instead of being tucked away, which becomes a problem when I feel this way about almost every thought that I have. It’s inevitable that I’ll have to go eventually back in and combine notes so that they’re in their proper category, so that I don’t have 150 practically indecipherable notes in my phone.

I’m not really sure what the solution is. As someone who tries to be thoughtful and insightful (my therapist says I am so it must be true), and a person that attempts to be somewhat of a writer, I think a lot of things I write down are important and worthwhile. But then there’s obsessively writing down food items or clothing I feel I “need” or all the shows I have to watch which might be less so. Like with most things, I am still figuring it out.

Some Random Thoughts

On Friday morning I had 53 drafts on WordPress and it started to make me feel crazy. I managed to whittle it down to 43, but in doing so I wondered if just moving recorded thoughts from one place to the next is even progress. I have 57 notes on my phone, Word Documents filled with words, notebooks overflowing with thoughts, a Microsoft OneNote I just started, in an attempt to help, but that is in reality just adding another collection of nonsense to the mix.

Each new place I use seems like it’ll be the next best thing, more efficient and effective, but in the end it’s the same cluttered mess using a different medium. I really wish I felt more organized but at a certain point, when you have to record all the thoughts in many locations, the chances of achieving orderliness become a little slim. I’ve spent the morning trying to eliminate some of this mess, with Ida Maria scream-singing “Oh My God” banging around in my head (a great song- Google it), echoing the way that I feel. I’m guessing my sudden need to have all of this perfectly sorted out is not unrelated to our need to be moved out of the apartment in the next 6ish days. My boyfriend would not be thrilled to learn which organizing prospect I have thus far prioritized.

Anyway, I’m putting a few unrelated paragraphs here if only for my own sanity. They’re actually somewhat more related than I had originally thought, in that we all have preferences about seemingly trivial things that we probably don’t even realize until we meet someone with a preference different than ours.

1: Rich People Face Cream. A woman once warned me that if I used her extravagant face cream once I would never go back. I did use it, more than once, but her arrogance was frustrating, so instead I bought a cheap, bulk size face cream from Target that made my face burn. I do miss that expensive coconut smell though. And I don’t even like coconut.

I do have a tendency to buy way more than I need. I could realistically live off of an eighth of the clothes I own. But I’ve never been a person that’s proud of how much money I’ve spent on something. Honestly it’s the opposite, which is how maybe most people are: if I got a shirt on sale or for $5, I WILL tell you about it.

2: Temperatures. This might not sound important but it is (it’s not). I’m a big believer in feeling warm in the summer and bundling up in the winter, specifically when indoors. My boyfriend is exactly the opposite – in the winter he would ideally like the heat to be 90 degrees (he is part meerkat) and in the summer blasts the A/C. However, he is wrong. No one enjoys the feeling of having their hot skin, warmed by the sun, entering a freezing location.

And in the winter, do you need to be walking around the house in shorts and a tank top? Now this opinion may be even more unpopular, but for context my mom turns the heat down to 59 degrees F at night, and getting to have the heat up to 67 during the day is a luxury, so this is what I know. Any hotter than 70 degrees indoors in the winter and I will begin sweating and turn red like I’ve just ran a 1/4 mile (I’m not a fan of running). Wearing 3-4 layers of clothing and sleeping under 5 blankets in the winter feels like home.

Happy Fourth – I’ve Finally Seen Hamilton (sort of)

Today I wore my flag shirt that I bought at Target in 2018 (pictured above) and watched Hamilton on Disney Plus (am I at all late to the party? are people still talking about Hamilton as much as they were in 2016?). I will say I’ve been a fan of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s work since I first saw In the Heights in Detroit in 2011, so in some ways I am in fact ahead of the game. However I can finally say I’ve seen Hamilton (or at least the Disney Plus viewing experience version of it). Yesterday I felt stressed out about how unorganized it can feel writing everything down seemingly all over the place (in notebooks, on my computer, in my phone, as WordPress drafts) and all of this is to say I didn’t think I would relate to Alexander Hamilton so much in this way, but Aaron Burr might as well have been mocking me up there.

My mom would take my grandma and brother and me to musicals at least once or twice a year for my grandma’s birthday or for Christmas. I think the last time I saw a musical downtown was when I “ushered” for the Book of Mormon 3 or 4 years ago. I am putting “ushered” in quotations because I had absolutely no clue where any of the seats were and it probably would have been more efficient for those that I attempted to usher to just seat themselves. But this was a good way to see a show for free, even if it meant watching the first act on the bench of a fountain or some sort of structure that was not your traditional theater seat. I really don’t even see movies in the theater anymore, so the idea of sitting in a public place to watch something for almost 3 hours seems daunting to me (maybe unreasonably so), but nonetheless I’m grateful for every musical that I’ve seen and songs from Les Mis or Chicago or whatever else still frequently float through my mind.

After feeling unorganized in my writing yesterday and disorderly in the apartment (we’re moving in a week), I napped and then ended up getting a few boxes packed and watched Killing Eve. I would definitely recommend watching it if you haven’t – also Search Party on HBO Max is great. Well, as I alluded to earlier, I have at least 40 drafts hanging out on my WordPress so I’m going to try for the second time this weekend to get them somewhat sorted out so that I can post more soon. Have a nice night/morning/afternoon! 🙂

Why I Started Blogging

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I just found my old About page from April 23, 2019 in a Word document and I’m putting it here because after rereading it I found that it describes why I originally started blogging pretty well. I had just had a really great time walking alone on the Detroit Riverwalk after work, in which I also sat and people-watched and wrote down many observations in my phone that I wanted to share. I felt inspired to write about the value of independence and occasionally taking time to experience life by yourself. I also wanted to talk about my journey into the concept of “do more of what you love,” which was my original blog title.

I have somewhat strayed from that path since then. When I originally wrote this, I was on the verge of starting grad school, and soon stopped either having or finding the time to blog. I was definitely doing the things that I loved, just not necessarily writing about it. I traveled and spent summer weekends with my boyfriend at the pool and saw family and started a new job. But after creating my page in April, I ended up writing only twice within the next year. I am trying to write more consistently this time around. I also updated my About page to better reflect what my blog is actually about now. Anyway, this is where my mind was at 14 months ago. I’m including all of it, even the first few lines (even though it’s a little cringey to me now that I’m *28* and was just a mere *27* when I wrote this). The first part sort of reads a little like a MySpace About Me, but other than the age it’s all still true:

Hi (:

the very basics- Katie. 27. grad student. intersectional feminist. writer. mental health advocate. wanna-be adventurer. lover. human. woman.

I like sparkling water, podcasts, exploring cities, sunny days, and my dog.

As of now, I’m still figuring this out and it feels very weird to be typing this, not knowing if anyone besides my Grandma will ever read it. But if it’s just for myself (and my Grandma) that’s okay too. I’m starting this because it’s getting old describing myself as “a writer who never really writes,” and for as many times as I felt like I had nothing to say, there are definitely more that I’ve realized there’s actually a lot I want to talk about.

Lately I’ve been trying to do more things by myself, create my own adventures, and be more open about my mental health. Within the last year I started therapy, got medicated, and took a slew of other approaches at self-betterment. And while all of these things did help, one of the things I learned is that while I was checking all the boxes on the things I should be doing, I was forgetting to make room for the things that make me happy.

So this is my attempt to hold myself accountable to do more of what I love and document my thoughts along the way. I would like to write more, take more photos, explore more of Detroit, spend time outside, get out of my comfort zone and try new things, and be able to share some of these things with the world. Hopefully this blog does find some like-minded souls eventually, once I learn how the world of blogging works. So if you are somehow here, I am so happy to have you and I am so glad to be here. (: