24
Jun 16

Armpit Vodka

Today, I want to talk to you about armpit vodka.

armpit vodka

You read that correctly. Armpit vodka. You can file this squarely in the middle of the ol’ TMI folder if you’d like, but I know this post will help someone, so naturally I’m going to share. (And every once in a while I like to make my employer take a moment and shake their head and wonder why they hired me in the first place. And armpit vodka is the best way to do that, I think.)

So, let me begin at the beginning. I am one of those people who is always hot. Rarely do I find myself in a room that is cool enough for my liking. If you’re one of those people who brings a nice little cardigan out to dinner with you because you worry the restaurant might be too cold, you probably don’t need any armpit vodka. And I’ll thank you not to grimace in disgust when you see me out at the same restaurant, sweating like the heaving she-beast that I am.

Typically, I hate the winter time because people turn the heater up way too high. When it’s time to go Christmas shopping, I tend to not wear a coat because I know that all the stores are going to have the heaters cranked to the max, and I can’t think of a scenario that would piss me off more than to have heaters blow hot air at me while I’m wearing a coat and trying to fight crowds to purchase gifts for loved ones. In fact, in that scenario, my loved ones would turn into my most hated ones in the blink of an eye because the heat makes me incredibly grumpy.

But at least, in the winter, I can take off a layer or two and all is well. This is not the case in the summer, when I start my day wearing the bare minimum.

Oklahoma summers are hot and sticky and everything about them is the absolute worst. I didn’t always hate them. I used to actually love the heat, and spent about 10 years of my life playing competitive fast pitch softball in the summer heat. Hell, I remember playing in tournaments that were canceled because other girls literally died of heat stroke while standing in the outfield, and I wasn’t particularly phased by the heat at the time.

But that was when I could wear my sleeveless jersey and shorts all day. Now, I may not be outside all day, but I have to wear some business casual garb, and I would like to know what asshole decided that all business casual clothing should be made of the most unbreathable fabrics, because that person should be swaddled in a pair of modern-fit trousers and left out in the sun to slowly desiccate into the raisin they deserve to be.

But I digress. (I swear this post is about armpit vodka, and not just me ranting about heat.)

This summer, I started teaching with the Institute of Reading Development, and part of my job is going to different schools to teach kids and adults the joys of reading. Because of this, I have to carry a lot of books and supplies in the trunk of my car. When I get to my teaching sites, I have to unload everything, and haul it into my classrooms. So, some days, if I have three classes, that means I have to load up books for three classes, and schlep that all up into my classroom. And I have to do that in the unforgiving fabric that is business casual garb while the unrelenting Oklahoma sun bears down on me and the pervasive humidity seeks to suffocate me like a plastic bag.

Naturally, I get really sweaty. Like, really, really sweaty. Even my shins sweat.

“So what, Marisa?” you may ask. Surely I can just swipe on some deodorant and call it a day, right?

Well, okay, so, here’s the thing.

About 3 months ago, I switched to an aluminum-free deodorant. Chris and I read somewhere that the aluminum in deodorant could potentially cause Alzheimer’s. There’s enough research on both sides of the possibility to make me feel pretty content that I’m doing the right thing while simultaneously making me feel like this is unnecessary. But I’ve decided to stick with the choice, especially since Chris and I both watched members of our families live with dementia. And knowing how rough that is on loved ones, we knew that we’d want to prevent any and all loss of memory and any cognitive decline. If we could prevent it, why not?

So we purchased some aluminum-free Tom’s and didn’t look back.

In the spring, the deodorant worked just fine. Granted, I wasn’t really sweating and the AC was pretty much on anywhere I went. So, I thought the new deodorant was working great. However, now that it’s June and actually hot outside, I know that’s not the case. In fact, for the first time in my life, I actually have B.O.

I’m not sure what sort of chemicals are in your average deodorant, but they sure do a lot of work. So all the Teen Spirit and Secret and Suave and Dove products that I’ve used throughout the years probably formed some sort of water and airtight barrier across my skin, because even if I got super sweaty, my armpits did not, and I definitely didn’t smell.

This, in turn, led to a weird half-hour where I started to think about what the hell kind of chemicals I have been swiping on my glands my whole life, and whether or not I’m going to find out I have a weird sort of cancer caused by antiperspirants and perfumes.

I knew I didn’t want to switch back to an aluminum deodorant. The whole possibility of dementia aside, my armpit skin is smoother and softer than it’s ever been because of my stick of Tom’s. It’s probably because this is the first time in a really long time that I haven’t been slathering them with a bunch of unnecessary stuff and the skin can actually breathe and excrete all the sweat it wants to.

(This post is getting weird. I mean, it started in a really weird place, but when the word “excrete” is used, I get a little stressed.)

So, I did what any sane human would’ve done. I told Twitter about it. I got a lot of helpful info, and, of course, a lot of unhelpful stuff. (It wouldn’t be social media if someone wasn’t being a derailing asshole with terrible advice.)

But the best advice I got was from a follower who tagged her sister-in-law in her response. Her sister-in-law had been aluminum free for years, and gave me the secret to keeping your pits stench-free when you don’t want to cover them with aluminum.

Her advice? Armpit vodka, naturally.

armpit vodka

So, what is armpit vodka? Well, it’s not vodka distilled in an armpit, though I think that might be kind of a fun product gimmick. It’s actually just vodka. Whatever kind you have in the house, though I’d feel pretty weird using Grey Goose since it’s a little pricier for what you’ll be doing with it. You take that vodka, and put it in a small spray bottle. This is just a spray bottle that I found near the travel-size toiletries at Target. (Maybe it was CVS. Who knows? Both probably have one.) Then, I added a couple drops of lemongrass essential oil.

And that’s all you need to make armpit vodka. Then, you keep the little spray bottle in your purse or bag, and when you start to smell a bit, all you have to do is spritz your pits and the vodka kills all the germs that are actually causing the smell. And the essential oil kind of acts as a perfume to keep you smelling nice.

So, if you catch me between classes this summer, you may find me spraying down with my armpit vodka. And who knows? If I have a particularly rough day, you may find me spraying it directly into my mouth.


22
Jun 16

Burn Out, Fight or Flight, and It’s Okay to Feel Down

What do you do when you’ve been in the midst of a burn out for the past 3 years? Well, first, you have to realize it, and that’s been the hardest part.

burn out

A couple of months ago I attended one of Sheri Guyse’s workshops with my friend, Mari. I hadn’t planned on going, because 1.) I don’t leave the house if I can help it, 2.) paper grading was really ramping up, and 3.) it was on a Saturday morning, which is a time I like to designate solely for drinking a full pot of coffee on the couch while I snuggle with the smelliest dog you can imagine. (Seriously, she goes from clean to swamp monster in a matter of minutes.)

The workshop was good. It made me think about things I haven’t really thought about ever, and it gave me some ideas for how I wanted to work on myself. Part of the workshop included a free clarity call with Sheri, and I scheduled mine for at the end of April.

Well, because the end of the semester is like my Thunderdome, I canceled the call and rescheduled for May.

thunderdome gif

But when May rolled around, it turned out I would be in training for my summer job. I didn’t reschedule, because I assumed that Sheri would be tired of dealing with me, and probably wouldn’t want to schedule me one more time only to get another cancelation. But that wasn’t the case. She reached out via email, and I scheduled the call for a day in the beginning of June.

(I’m actively trying to unclutter my schedule and make more time for things so I’m not constantly canceling. It’s hard though. Not everything can be flexible, especially when you’re a teacher and can’t just schedule a vacation day. Also I think people who tell you to opt out of “the cult of busy” are operating with an immense amount of privilege. But that’s not what this post is about. Or maybe it is. We’ll see.)

(Sorry for the metacommentary. Not really. If you’ve been around these parts before, you know it’s my favorite.)

So, when we finally had our call, Sheri listened to me ramble on, and talk bad about myself, and complain about past employers, and talk about what I would like do full time. She brought up something pretty interesting that I hadn’t thought about before — fight or flight. She mentioned that when you hit that burn out stage, and your body is stressed, and your lizard brain puts you into fight or flight mode, so your body operates that way. That’s why people feel the physical manifestations of stress, like aches and pains or weight gain, or exhaustion.

That’s something that I had never really thought about before, but it really made sense. For the past who knows how many years, I’ve been really stressed out. I went from working full time in grad school to working for the company from hell to dropping everything and taking a the largest (and possibly inadvisable) pay cut in the history of pay cuts to where I am now — slowly getting all my shit together and figuring shit out.

All of this took place over the course of 3 years, and in some way or another, I’ve been stressed about something for the entire duration of those 3 years. And because of that stress, I know I haven’t been focused on my health or mental well-being. In fact, the only thing I can really remember feeling over that span of time is burn out. And Sheri definitely helped me see how strong that burn out was as a presence in my life, and how hard it made it to do any work at all, much less good work.

This blog has definitely been a source of release for me. I like writing here about whatever happens to cross my mind that day. And writing is something I have to do, if only because it’s the only way I feel like I can actually communicate. (If you’ve ever met me in person and wondered why I struggle with making eye contact or stutter for like the first 15 minutes of the conversation, just know that I’m not meant to do that whole face to face thing. Writing is my jam.)

After our call, I started thinking about what Sheri said, and all the feelings it brought it. And it made me take stock of my actions.

I knew that I had been eating pretty badly lately, despite my month of intention, but I realized how I had been using food as kind of a filler to make me feel less hollow from burn out. Sometimes, food is the highlight of your day when you’ve got more work to do than you think you can. And it shouldn’t be that way.

I knew that I needed to get back into working out, but couldn’t muster the energy. This was definitely due to the burn out, but also due to the foods I was eating. Cheeseburgers and cake aren’t really the best fuel to keep you moving. And by not going to yoga class, I wasn’t taking time for me, even though I know how important yoga is to my physical and emotional health.

I knew that it may have been a little too much to take my summer job, even though it made financial sense. But I didn’t realize how much my burn out, famine mentality was guiding the choices I’ve been making. Should I have taken this summer off to get my head on straight and relax and “fill the well,” so to speak? Yep. Yep I should’ve.

All this is to say that lately I’ve felt so down and overwhelmed. When people text me and ask me to go out or send me a Facebook invitation, my immediate reaction is anger. It doesn’t make sense, because these people are my friends and they just want to hang out, which is a thing that friends tend to do. But I know that I’m in such a bad headspace right now that the idea of using my precious downtime to do something other than sitting in the dark while listening to the Drive soundtrack sounds terrible.

So for now, I’m taking this time to feel bad. I can’t very well keep outrunning the burn out forever, especially since it’s caught up with me and has basically latched onto me like the facehugger, impregnating me with exhaustion and disenchantment. Important discovery: Burn out is a Xenomorph! Click To Tweet

facehugger gif

I’m writing more, I’m sleeping more, and I’m trying to eat better. And in my downtime, I’m trying to save it for me. Maybe I’ll get myself to the gym for a yoga class, but no promises.

And perhaps most importantly, I’m learning from all this. I’m taking notes so I recognize warning signs. I’m watching for behavior patterns so I know when I’m spiraling. And most importantly, I’m thinking of healthy ways to deal with burn out, because I don’t know if it’s possible to avoid it 100% and keep your day job. But if I can deal with it better, then maybe I won’t spend next summer giving birth to the larval chestbuster of depressed exhaustion.

chestbuster gif

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to turn off the Drive soundtrack long enough to watch Alien in the dark.


20
Jun 16

Planning on the Cheap in a Personal-Size Traveler’s Notebook

It’s time I update you on my planner. Since January, I’ve moved out of the narrow-size Deluxe Distressed Creme Brulee from Chic Sparrow, and into a personal-size Classic Golden Maverick from Chic Sparrow for personal stuff, and I was using the Creme Brulee for teaching and lesson planning during the school year, but have decided to make that my writing planner. And I’m probably gonna go all BuJo on my lesson planning.

personal size traveler's notebook

The reason I decided to keep the stuff in my Chic Sparrow cheap was because traveler’s notebooks can sometimes feel like money pits. Sure, you buy the leather cover, but then you need the special inserts. And there are a ton of really great people who make them for free or sell them on Etsy. But you start to wonder if you can justify the cost of the notebook that you are going to put into your already-expensive cover. So you decide to save money by purchasing some PDFs with a planner layout you like, and then print them on your own. You buy some heavier weight paper to make these notebooks as crisp as possible and so your pens and markers don’t bleed through, and you get some fancy pants card stock for the covers. Then, you have to buy a new ink cartridge to make sure they print right. And, if you’re like me, you waste 80% of your ink and paper test printing your inserts to get the layout and page order right because your printer is either not user friendly or possessed by the devil — jury is still out.

I’ve been there. That’s why I decided to take some of the pressure off myself and use cheap inserts that I found at Target and Bed Bath and Beyond.

Yep. You read that right. I found these inserts at everyday, local sort of places. No, they aren’t Midori brand or anything like that, and the paper quality is pretty much garbage, but they’ve been working for me for the past 6 months.

personal size traveler's notebook

I started out using a bullet journal-style notebook for my daily planning, but really didn’t like focusing on just daily stuff. I like to write down what will be happening in the future as soon as I find out about it so I don’t miss appointments. So, I purchased this little insert from the Target Dollar Spot.

personal size traveler's notebook

It’s not incredibly sturdy, and definitely was not designed for this use. And I actually had to remove the middle section of pages because they were upside down, and then I glued them back in again. But overall I like how it works for my purposes.

personal-size-travelers-notebook-6

I have a notebook I created where I’ve written my manifesto for the year. I’m also tracking books I’ve read, what I’ve learned each month. So far, I like the practice of doing it, and that’s the best part because it’s made me enjoy the process, as well as celebrate little victories.

personal size traveler's notebook

 

My zipper/pocket pouch is from 3 Speckled Fawns on Etsy. It’s really sturdy and holds my washi tape cars and stickers. The pockets aren’t ideal, and the pouch pockets I received were different than the pockets in the listing picture on Etsy, but it wasn’t a big enough of a deal for me to try to send it back or anything. (Also, the shop owner sent me the pen loop you see here for free.) So, if you’re planning on ordering this, know that virtually nothing will fit in these pockets, except for cut up sticker sheets and tiny Post-Its.

personal size traveler's notebook

I made a dashboard by laminating a piece of transparent scrapbook paper. I then used two adhesive plastic pockets I got in the Target Dollar spot a long time ago to hold stamps and stickers, and glued some Post-Its down for easy access.

personal size traveler's notebook

And finally, I have a monthly calendar that I use for future planning. It’s a no-name brand and I purchased it at Bed Bath and Beyond.

personal size traveler's notebook

As for accessories, I’m using the Waterman fountain pen that my parents got me when I graduated college. At least, I think it was college. May have been high school. Either way, it was a billion years ago. I also carry a black fine tip Sharpie, because I feel like I need it, though I’m sure I don’t. I also have this little charm from Michael’s on the band.

personal size traveler's notebook

I’ve been using this set up since January, and it hasn’t done me wrong yet. That having been said…I can feel a change coming on. #onebookjuly is just around the corner and I’m pretty excited to take part. Oh, and to also show you the sweet extra wide Jitney Red Outlander Chic Sparrow notebook I purchased. Stay tuned!


09
Jun 16

Things That Have Made Me Cry Lately {4}

things that have made me cry lately

When I was a kid, I used to get in trouble for crying. Now, I kind of just do it all the time. Periodically, I share what made me cry lately so we can commiserate together like a great big bawly mess.

This video:

I remember reading Love You Forever as a kid. Even when I was little, the story meant a lot to me and made me cry. But reading this HuffPo piece about the origins of the story just killed me.

I’m a relatively new reader of the Freckled Fox blog, and I love the posts Emily shares about her family. Unfortunately, she shared the worst possible news about her husband this week:

Our main doctor sat on the bed beside me as I looked at Martin’s scans and tried to understand what she was saying to us. Some of the charts were just big blurry masses where we should have been able to see his different organs, and she was explaining how the disease was moving so quickly and completely taking over. I could feel my heart getting heavier with every word of her explanation. Then she took a deep breath and said those words so apologetically, “I mean we’re talking a few weeks here, maybe.”
I can’t even explain what that felt like. All I know is that I was holding his warm hand, and I saw our five little babies in my mind, and I knew that no matter what happened to Marty that we would all be together. That our family was forever, and that everything would be OK, no matter what.

I can’t imagine being in her position, and keeping such a brave face, and I’m thinking good thoughts for her family. If you’d like to help them pay for some of the medical costs, you can donate here.

I debated about whether or not I should post this, because it’s technically a spoiler. But I’m not sure how a person could be on the internet since the air date of this episode and not see this scene from Game of Thrones:

Ugh. That look on Bran’s face when he realizes why Hodor is Hodor.

What about you? Why have you been crying lately?


01
Jun 16

The Non-Christian’s Field Guide to Growing Up in Oklahoma

As a non-Christian, it’s weird to grow up in a state where everyone seems to be a devoted member of a protestant denomination. Here’s what it’s like to grow up in Oklahoma as a non-Christian.

*****

The Non-Christian's Field Guild to Growing Up in Oklahoma

I’m five or six, and have never been to church.

Mom says the family down the street are strict Christians. I don’t know what that means. But I like playing with those kids, and they like me too. I like how they have a lot of brothers and sisters.

I think it’s novel that they don’t go to school. They say they home school, but to my well-trained eye, there is nothing schoolish about their home–no cafeteria, no gym, no playground, no industrial soap smell that makes your stomach tighten up because you think about your mom leaving you for the day and having to be nice to the blonde girls that call you fat and ugly.

The family at the other end of the street home schools too. I play with those kids as well. One day, we’re all in their yard and I hang my jacket around the neck of a statue. The oldest sister yanks it off and tells me never to do that again because you can’t hang stuff on Mary. I look at the statue that’s about as tall as me. The only Mary I know is my cousin, and she looks nothing like this statue, nor could I imagine her in a head scarf.

*****

When I ask my mom why we don’t go to church, her explanations don’t make sense to me. There’s probably too much nuance for a kid who still believes that Santa is real.

When I ask my dad, he says that organizations are corrupt, and that I have everything I need in my heart.

I have everything I need in my heart. Click To Tweet

*****

The summer before the fourth grade, I go to Vacation Bible School one day with my friend, Sami. Everyone else is a Christian, and true to elementary school form, it’s clear that it’s their right to ostracize me because I am not. VBS is a big deal, so I understand. All the kids I know from school get to do it every summer, and I absolutely have to do it too or I will straight up die.

However, when I actually go, it’s a far cry from the cool thing I was told it would be. The building is a big old church, but the room we’re shoved in smells like a pile of diapers and old milk. It’s clear that this is a room for babies, and we’re in there because that’s the only space for us. The tables are too short for us too, but we sit at them anyway while we work on our coloring sheets. To me, the characters look like cartoonish versions of The Ten Commandments — bearded men with staffs and cloth covering their heads.

At the end of the day, I am beyond ready to leave. The one saving grace is that we get a piece of Dubble Bubble before we go. The catch? We have to memorize John 3:16 and recite it back to the teenagers who have been left in charge of us.

My memorization skills are on point, and perhaps the main reason I do well in academic environments. I hear it once and repeat it verbatim while the other kids struggle. By the time all the kids are done, my Dubble Bubble has lost it’s flavor.

Ten years later, I will remember that verse while watching an episode of Monday Night Raw, and I will spend the rest of the evening rewriting that verse to better fit with the whole Austin 3:16 thing:

For Vince McMahon so loved the ring, that he gave his only begotten wrestler, that whosoever challengeth him should not perish, but have a big ol’ can of whoop ass.

*****

In middle school, the cool kids wear bracelets that say “W.W.J.D.” woven right into the bands. They stack them on their wrists like bright colored stripes declaring their coolness. I ask where they get them. When I find out, I make my mom take me to Mardel, because I think those bracelets would look so cool with my bucket hat and a pair of khaki cargo shorts. (I’ve always been attracted to really terrible fashions.)

While wearing them to school, I’m confronted.

“Marisa, you aren’t a Christian so you can’t wear those.”

I fail to see what religion has to do with bracelets. (This is years before Madonna and her red Kabbalah string.) To me, these bracelets are as meaningless as the overpriced accessories in a Delia’s catalog that my parents won’t buy me, or those terrible black platform slides everyone wore in the late 1990s.

Is faith another thing like fashion that is meant to be exclusive? It totally feels like it.

“You weren’t even baptized,” my confronter continues. “And if you haven’t chosen a faith and been saved by the time you’re eight, then you’re going to hell.”

This is news to me. And frankly, it seems like a lot of little inane check boxes to ensure I don’t go to hell, but I don’t say that. Instead, I resort to the only method I’ve ever known to keep people off my ass — humor. I assure this friend that I do go to church — the Church of Agnosticism. I tell her we’re just like her church, and we even have a van for youth groups.

She rolls her eyes at me.

All through school, everyone will roll their eyes at me when I talk about my religious beliefs, or the lack thereof. It’s like their faith is only strong when they thump their Bibles at me. Sure, we can have someone’s older brother buy us alcohol and do all manner of illegal things together, but they make it clear I’m still the bad person.

After college, those friends will leave their churches, and then act like they are the first people who have ever questioned the existence of God or the need for religion. They fill the hole left by their former faith by proseletyzing everyone into their new fundamentalist anti-religious mindset. They are just as zealous about telling me how there is no God as they were about telling me I would go to Hell for not being religious. I may not believe in religion, but I also don’t fervently believe in the lack of one

I may not believe in religion, but I also don't fervently believe in the lack of one. Click To Tweet

*****

In high school, all the girls with “Worth the Wait” rings will lose their virginity LIGHT YEARS before I do. At the time, I don’t question this. All the cool girls are pretty white Christian girls, so it’s only logical that those cool kids would be the ones to have sex first. I’m led to believe that it’s worth it to wait for the first boyfriend you get sophomore year of high school.

Which would be really funny if those poor girls didn’t grow up to be women who believed that they were somehow less because they weren’t virgins.

One day, a college friend will tell me how her youth pastor told her that she was like a chewed up piece of gum because she wasn’t a virgin. Luckily, the university offered affordable counseling services to help her undo years of being told she was garbage by a person she should’ve been able to go to for advice.

*****

In college, Persian family comes to visit. It’s the first time as an adult that I see Dad interact with his brothers. It’s the first time I actually pay attention to the stories they tell.

As my aunts argue in the kitchen about the proper way to make kashke bademjan, at the dining room table my dad tells a story about him and his brothers stealing shoes outside a mosque in Iran. They would wait for the call to prayer, and grab the shoes they wanted. Secretly, I hope this is a rite of passage for all Bahá’í children in Tehran.

The talk turns to the Revolution, to all the movie theaters and bowling alleys that are no longer there, to a world I will probably never see without the western lens. I will always hold a grudge against organized religion for this. It doesn’t matter what kind of religion it is. The imposition of religion will always mean that people don’t get to live their lives, experience the world that should be theirs by birthright or heritage, or be themselves.

I will always hold a grudge against organized religion for this. Click To Tweet

*****

In an early twenties fit of existentialism, I post some lyrics from The Hold Steady on Facebook. For the most part, they don’t mean a whole lot to me when I post them. I just type them in there because 1.) I’m in my early twenties, 2.) they’ve been stuck in my head all day, and 3.) I think it makes me seem super cool and deep and like maybe I’m the sort of person that someone would want to hang out with.

(At the time, it’s quite clear that very few people actually want to hang out with me.)

The lyrics in question are:

Lord, I’m sorry to question your wisdom
But my faith has been wavering
Won’t you show me a sign
Let me know that you’re listening?

The rest of the lyrics make it clear (at least, to me) that the song is about Holly, a fictional character in a lot of The Hold Steady’s songs. She drifts between being a devout Catholic to a strung out street kid. Her life is so incredibly different from mine, and for that reason I’m enamored with this character. I don’t want to be an addict, but I wouldn’t mind having a whole series of songs written about me.

Since it’s a pre-smartphone era or maybe just a time before I have one, I close up my laptop and go to work. But when I come back to Facebook the next day, I see that some dude who knew some friends of mine in high school has commented on the status.

I can’t remember the exact comment, but it was something like “This is exactly how I feel. This is why I’m an atheist. Once I asked God to levitate a blade of grass and it didn’t happen so I stopped believing.”

I don’t respond to or like his comment. It sounds incredibly dumb to me. Firstly, he doesn’t know what band I’m referencing, so he’s clearly not in the hip rocker dude demographic that I’m trying to attract. Secondly, why would God, or any god, levitate a blade of grass for a petulant little white boy from an Oklahoma suburb?

Later in the day, I receive a private message from him. He wants to hang out. I’m apparently his manic pixie non-Christian girl. I try to avoid him the way any girl in her early twenties tries to avoid the unwanted advances of boy — by being nice. Naturally, it doesn’t work.

In the end, he writes me messages where it is clear that he is not only entitled to have God make a blade of grass levitate, but he is also entitled to my time because he misinterpreted the meaning of the song lyrics in my Facebook status, and thought I was the original author. He makes it clear that I am obligated to hang out with him because atheists in Oklahoma have to stick together, and he thinks we are compatible.

I block him.

I will forever associate atheism with whiny assholes on the internet, which isn’t fair because some of my best friends are very nice atheists. Though, it should be noted that it’s also not fair that I associate a lot of modern Christianity with how creeped out I am by Joel Osteen’s smile, especially since a lot of my best friends are also Christians.

*****

If there is a wedding or a funeral on my mom’s side of the family, I not only get super excited for the impending Mexican food, but a little distressed for the impending Catholic ceremony.

We always sit in the back because we don’t know when to kneel or stand. We also have no intention of getting in line for communion. And we don’t confess either, and I have no idea what I would confess simply because I follow my own moral compass, and generally only feel bad or guilty after eating obscene amounts of junk food. Bless me Father, for I have sinned. I had a whole bag of Doritos for breakfast.

Bless me Father, for I have sinned. I had a whole bag of Doritos for breakfast. Click To Tweet

*****

Now days I struggle to explain what I believe. It doesn’t fit into a codified system. I’ve picked and chosen elements from various spiritual simulacra to create my own religion.

Magic is real. Miracles happen. All the prophets had great ideas. All religions have both amazing and terrible members. Books can give you the moral guidance you need. Music can put the fire in your belly. Yoga can give you the introspection to help you know your heart. I’m high on poetry like 85% of the time. Curse words are a necessary evil. Empathy is a virtue. Many things are true at once. All the answers reside within you if you just take the time to sit with your thoughts long enough.

This will never be satisfactory for the devout. But that’s okay. It’s good enough for me.