Monday, October 14, 2013

things I would tell my 20 year old self.

These blog posts with the common theme "what I would tell me twenty-year old self" are dime-a-dozen and featured daily on Facebook, and I'm think it's about time someone says something about it.

I get it, we were young, dumb and we made mistakes. But come on, if your twenty-something-year-old-self really went back in your time machine would you change it all? Impart some earth-shattering advice about self-esteem and keeping your friends close then miraculously graduate with a honors into your fantasy life, with a big house and rich husband?

I wouldn't. And with that, here are the bits of advice I would tell my twenty-year old self, knowing there is no f**king way that could ever f**king happen:

-Weed your garden. Friends will come and go. Some will stay. Love them if you feel like it, leave them if you feel like it. Be a good enough person to be surrounded by good enough people, and you'll be fine. Even if you lose touch, you can always stalk them later on Facebook.

-Drink too much. This is the only time in your life you will be able to afford it. Well, maybe not financially, but in terms of calories and hours of sleep you need to survive, this is as good as it's going to get. There will soon come a time when you are handed a diploma and can no longer mix Franzia blush boxed wine, Keystone light beer from a keg and McCormick's brand anything in the same night and survive it. Which brings me to...

-Frat Guys. What a blessing. They aren't all what your parents warned you about. Sure, you should keep an eye on your drink, but adults have to use that caution as well. Frat guys are the best. They're just normal guys disguised in Polo and Ray Bans, and they have an endless supply of the above stated libations. Frat-party it up.

-Designate a driver. The best choice is the one with a yellow light on top of his yellow car. Because the likelihood of anyone else in the group staying true to the task is narrow at best. And if you don't trust yourself enough on this one, rent an apartment within stumbling distance to the bars.

-Go to class, most of the time. You're gonna skip class, it's gonna affect your GPA. NO ONE LOOKS AT YOUR GPA. Trust me, you'll watch the grades suffer, you'll learn your lesson. You'll learn an unbreakable work ethic, through experience and mistakes. You'll leave your GPA off your resume, you'll make connections and you'll land that job. But still give it a good effort and never ever schedule an 8am class.

-Wear UGG Boots. Sure, everyone says they look stupid. And with Nike Running shorts, they kind of do. But you're about to move to Colorado and discover that UGG Boots are the shit. But just remember, you're poor, so buy the knock-offs from Target. And rock those boots with the fur, girl. But not with leggings. Leggings are not pants. Not anywhere. Never.

And there's absolutely nothing else I would tell myself. 20, as well as the surrounding ages is the only time in your life (until you're 90, with dementia) when you can say, do and feel anything you want and you will be forgiven (within reason, don't be a dick or a felon.) You'll make mistakes, you'll rebuild. You'll want to tell all 20 year olds to grow up. Bite your tongue. Let life take it's course. None of us got where we are today because our future, lame-ass selves jumped on our hippogriffs and shook our fist at our crazy-ass selves.

Plus, soon we'll be thirty and nothing will be forgiven. And that's gonna suck.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

honk if you have missed ali jay.

Some facts you should know about me that will help you understand this post:
  • It typically takes no longer than 4.5 seconds behind the wheel to develop extreme, pervasive road rage. 
  • I was a psychotherapist.
  • Ergo, I can move past said road rage easily, just by stepping out of the car. 
  • I have never honked my horn as a result of road rage. 
  • I have never gestured my middle finger, or any of my fingers for that matter as a result of road rage.
  • Unless you have a vantage point to catch a passive eye roll, or you can read thoughts...you would not know I had road rage. *Exceptions include, but are not limited to: my mother, My Dustin, my former MHCD clients
So today my drive home was not unlike most, frustrating and slow and full of demon-fun-suckers in fancy cars. But as you would assume, I stayed focused on my silver-lining; a job I get to drive to, in my mediocre, paid-off vehicle so I can afford to eat gluten-free oreos dipped in nutella in my tiny, cozy apartment.

THEN-

While I was stopped behind a car at a red light, the light turned green and the car to the left of me honked at the truck in front of them. The driver in front of me turned his entire body around to flip me "the bird"*. Then we all got on our way. But no one was happy. But out of the four of us affected by this exchange....WHO BENEFITED FROM ALL THE MADNESS!? No one.

No one got home faster. I assume no one got home and told their significant other how amazing their human experience had been in the last hour. 

So maybe we talk about circumstances during which it OK to use your horn:
  • When someone is about to crash into you.
  • When you are about to crash into someone.
  • When you see a Texas Tech decal on the back of a car in Colorado.
And that's about it folks. 

Now I know my previous posts essentially dance around a certain anecdote via run-on sentences and a strategic use of italics, then bring it full circle to support some profound thought. But this evening, I don't have anything profound to say.

It's really quite simple. Let's be nice in traffic y'all. You're not just honking at a car. You're honking at a person with their own priorities, issues, likes and dislikes. And you're also honking to everyone within earshot of that person. And sometimes that person is trying to enjoy some nutella oreos in their tiny-ass apartment IN PEACE while you are busy throwing a pointless temper tantrum behind the wheel at the intersection outside her window! And sometimes the demon-bird-flipper doesn't know who is honking and takes it out on the innocent, patience, former psychotherapist behind him, and it really effs up everyone's day.

So just be cool y'all. Your horn isn't some miraculous toggle that when activated will jet us all home .4 seconds faster. 

*Why it is called "the bird" is beyond me. It should be called "the shark" or "the spider" or "the gecko" or some other abomination of a creature, because birds really aren't that bad. I don't think it's fair to associate them with such a nasty, pointless gesture. "The centipede", however, really gets the point across. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

BioMarin Can Save Andi

Friends, this morning we took to our social media outlets to post our thoughts on the VMAs, our back to school photos and our typical 'Monday' memes. What if you could use the same social media to save a life? 

I'll keep it short because I would really like for everyone I know to read this and take action:

Our friend, Andi Sloan needs access to an investigational medication called BMN 673.

BioMarin is a pharmaceutical company that could provide Andi with compassionate use of the medication.

Andi is a fighter with a whole army behind her. And that army is fighting hard to get the attention of BioMarin so they may let Andi try their product.

If you have a Twitter account, please follow Andi. Retweet her so we can get BioMarin to respond and see how much we care about Andi's precious life. https://twitter.com/andi_sloan

If you are on Facebook, join the army! https://www.facebook.com/groups/andisarmy/?ref=br_rs

If you'd like, please sign the petitionhttp://www.change.org/petitions/biomarin-pharmaceuticals-allow-andrea-sloan-andi-sloan-to-take-their-experimental-drug-bmn673

Use your social media power for the good. No one wants to hear any more about Miley Cyrus today anyway. :)

Happy Monday!
-Ali Jay

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

we're closer now than we've ever been.

I am not a runner. I love fitness, but I've never been good at or enjoyed running. I could probably contribute this to my A.D.D. coupled with a crippling fear of suffocating. That being said, sometimes I get hasty and think 'there is no reason why I couldn't run a 5k', so I sign up for one and invite all my friends and brag about it and "train" and watch the days go by in horror as the race date grows closer.

The night before the race is usually when I start sabotaging. I drink too much, stay up too late, maybe eat 9 wings with ranch dressing and large fries. And that's precisely what happened last winter when I signed up for a 5k, drank too much, ate too much and stayed up too late before it.

I felt rough y'all. And if you've ever been hungover before, [which I'm sure you have, because you're reading this, so you're my friend and I'm not friends with people who haven't been hungover] you know that running is the thing you are least capable of doing in such a state. But ALAS, I had moral support [that for about 3/4 of the race ditched me because they WEREN'T hungover and are CAPABLE of jogging 3 miles] and my dear friend Calley provided profound inspiration* as she tends to do by stating, "we're closer now than we've ever been."

A bit dramatic for the task at-hand, but so applicable to EVERYTHING. I told her immediately, "I'm going to blog that, I will." So I've had this draft blog sitting around here basically since last December and I'm finally inspired enough to relate it to something.

~

I realized that I was so focused on mimosas the finish line that I never enjoyed the process. And y'all this was an ugly sweater 5k, so the process was fricken hysterical.

"We're closer now than we've ever been" gave me the drive and perspective I needed to reach my end-goal and I became obsessed with the mantra. But that's just my anxious personality taking over and my anxious personality tends to miss out on what's happening around it.

So I need a new mantra now, for every activity that is not running, that will remind me not to focus on the finish line, but to slow down and take in the beauty [or the ugly sweater parade] that surrounds me.

When you're always focused on long-term goals it's hard to be thankful for the path that got you there. And when those goals are too long-term it's hard to congratulate yourself for your small victories. Personally, I think I deserve a cupcake and champagne every time I get out of bed before the fourth alarm, but that's just me and if I had champagne for breakfast I would never meet any goals anyway so I just settle for a cup of coffee and get on with my day.

Let this be a lesson to you, not only on patience but also on never accepting an invitation from me to run in a 5k.

*If you need therapy, which you probably do because you are reading this, so you're my friend and I'm not friends with people who don't need therapy, click the link above.

Friday, July 5, 2013

silly yak.

Six years ago today, I ate a turkey sandwich, sat down at my computer and logged on to find out that the turkey sandwich I just consumed was virtually poison to my body. The ten months leading up to these results were hellacious. And while I was relieved to have an answer, the answer was not one I wanted.
Celiac Disease is a tricky little diagnosis, because while it is non-life-threatening, it’s still a life changer. I feel fortunate that the only thing missing from my body is a tiny little enzyme that processes a tiny little protein, but there are some times when I just want to punch someone in the face for taking my diet as a joke.
So on my six year anniversary, let me share with you a little friendly advice from a self-proclaimed, gluten-free expert:
It’s not a choice, so don’t make fun. It’s a disease. If you wouldn’t run through a hospital making fun of patients there, don’t make fun of me either.
Stop rubbing it in our faces. I know what a donut tastes like. I really wish I could drink that beer too. I don’t need you to remind me of what I’m missing out on. I can’t stress this enough.
Gluten-free is not that hard, or expensive. It can be, yes. But if you eat healthy and get a little creative, you can have almost meal without having to go to the end of the earth. They make bread, it kind of sucks and it is three times more expensive than glutenous bread. Turn your sandwich into a salad or a taco. Stuff your pizza ingredients into a mushroom cap and bake it.
That being said, I don’t want to go to Panera with you for lunch. A salad is not the same when there is bread baking in the back. It’s like in True Blood, when the vampire is quietly enjoying their synthesized blood cocktail and a human walks in. Enough said. Unless someone from Panera Corporate is reading this- PLEASE MAKE GLUTEN FREE BREAD.
When I bring something to your party/potluck/whatever, taste it!  I spent 20 years of my life eating gluten, and the first four years of my GF diet making mistakes in the kitchen. I know what it’s supposed to taste like, and after six years I can make any dish and it will likely be healthier than the alternative. So be open-minded and enjoy your not-stomach-ache later. But if you want to be close-minded, nbd, because I’m going to go to town on the leftovers.  
Champagne is gluten-free. A fine alternative to beer.
Time to step down from my soapbox now and enjoy my big gluten-free day. I love you GF diet, thanks for the last six, let's stay together forever.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

june twentieth.

I've always been a wanderer. Spontaneous. I'm told that as a child I would get bored with a restaurant or a show and decide I needed to explore the bathroom or whatever I could find as a change of scenery.

Once, while visiting family in Dallas, I asked my parents if I could stay longer and took my first solo plane trip back to Austin a few days later.

In high school, on a whim, I joined my best friend Amanda for these silly dance auditions at 7am and for the next four years, drill team was my life. 

After several hollow dreams of the west coast and Ivy League schools passed, I followed my young, naive heart to Lubbock, Texas, a city I had never been to, a University of which I did not know the mascot.

My grandma is reading this or else I would even tell you how many tattoos I have!!!

I don't think any of these circumstances could have prepared my parents for what I did on June 20, 2011. 

...

About two months prior, I laid in my bed with strep throat and applied to 44 jobs in Denver, Colorado. I didn't tell too many people, as my plan had been to return to Austin and look for jobs there. But a couple weeks later, my now friend Michelle called me to offer me an interview as a Mental Health Case Manager in Denver! I flew out, and y'all, no one thought that plane ticket would pay itself off. (Side note: they were right, you don't make any money in social work, badumm chhhhh) Fast foward, two weeks later I got a call back offering me a temporary position for another employee's maternity leave.

My family is a helluva lot more reasonable than I, so they all told me to wait for a permanent position, but my I accidentally left my heart in Denver during the interview so I had to go back and get it. 

...

Today, exactly two years after I drove away from my hometown with my car loaded down, my heart is heavy (as are my tear ducts). But not heavy in a bad way. Heavy with love, wonder, homesickness, new memories, old memories, friendships, more memories than I thought were possible, confusion, anxiety, peace, more love.

I love my family, I love my friends, but y'all...I'm so happy I didn't listen to you and your reason. I'm so happy I've never listened. I've made so many mistakes, I've been so irresponsible. But I've just been following my wandering, attention-deficit, bleeding heart.

And now as my little brothers have both taken that drive over the Texas border, my parents sit at home and watch "Sheldon" (Big Bang Theory), and share stories of our dogs like they are another generation of children, I hope they are proud. And I hope their hearts are as heavy as mine with pride and enough worry and wonder to occasionally come visit us or buy us plane tickets back home. Because they gave us this gift, a sense of adventure bigger than a sense of fear, and let us fly, but not too far.
Vienna - Billy Joel

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

a strangely wrapped gift.

I've never been known for having outstanding luck. As my grandma always says, "That wouldn't happen to anyone but you." Always. She always has the opportunity to say it!

I thought that removing myself from the field of social work would help bring some order and normalcy to my life, but on this, my first day in human resources, life was anything but orderly.

Last night, I was flying back from Omaha, NE so obviously that would be the evening some hooligan decided to pull a telephonic bomb threat. While my tensions rose about the time I would have to prepare for my first day of work, I managed to keep calm and be thankful for the safety of travelers and for a couple extra hours of bliss and red wine with the love of my life. [Side note: there has never been a moment that I wasn't thankful for red wine.] [Wait, maybe that one time I drank too much Barefoot wine, but we don't have to revisit that memory.]

My flight wasn't full, but it was bumpy so I managed to get about 14 minutes of nap and 62 minutes of staring at the tiny white bag in the seat back pouch in front of me, strategically planning its impending removal and use.

Once I had my feet on the ground I was looking for[ward to] the RTD bus that would take me back to the shady, dark parking lot in which my car was parked. Fast forward to the next hour of my life, there was no bus. I decided that 7.5 miles in a taxi was an affordable alternative and ventured to the Ground Transportation level of the airport.

You would think for $45, the driver would assist me with my luggage, but noooo. I barreled my way into the taxi van, dropping my phone and not realizing my wallet as well.

I'm just going to give up on the rest of last night because it just gets worse and worse. [See: Gas light flashing, then google how many gas stations are open after midnight in Denver.]

So, if you're still with me, here's the golden moment:

I put literally everything except tooth-brushing off until this morning, based on my zombie-state. So I woke up around 5:45am, showered, breakfasted, took a 15 minute nap, made coffee, stared at my closet rack, changed clothes 4.5 times, spent 35 minutes on my hair for my new badge picture and walked right out the door at 7am without said coffee. 

I stopped at the gas station, started the pump and took a relaxing seat back in my car and RIPPED MY ANN TAYLOR BLACK SUMMER SLACKS FROM LOWER BACK TO NETHER REGION STRAIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE OF MY BUTT.

The end.

Moral of the story: Everything happens for a blessed reason, my friends. Whether it's for a few more precious memories with a loved one, to give you perspective that you are fortunate enough to take a cab alternatively to public transportation, or so that you stop for gas and rip your pants BEFORE getting to your brand new job. Life is a gift, even when it seems like it isn't.