My New Year’s Advice for Humanity

My New Year’s Resolutions for Humanity

I am not particularly critical of myself. Most days I am just fine with the way I look, I think that I spend an appropriate amount of time watching television, and my soda habit is virtually nonexistent.

So instead of setting an arbitrary number of times that I should go to the gym in a week, I’m going to provide some New Year’s resolutions for those stock characters in the population who could use some help setting resolutions.

1. The Single.

If you’re single, resolve to find a companion.

Ex. Cozy up with a cat and throw the laptop off the sofa.

2. The Smothered.

If you’re smothered, resolve to find alone time.

Ex. Cozy up with the laptop and throw the cat off the sofa.

Far too often people find that they are unhappy with the level of companionship they receive. Whether you haven’t gone on a date since before blogging became a thing, or whether you are a mother so overcome with responsibility that you haven’t realized that blogging has now become a thing, there is a way to achieve your goal.

1. The Smoker.

If you smoke, resolve to substitute your addiction.

Ex. Reach for a lollipop instead of a cigarette.

2. The Overweight.

If you’re overweight, resolve to substitute your addition.

Ex. Reach for a cigarette instead of a lollipop.

Far too often people find that they are unhappy with how they are treating their body. Whether your body was used as an air filter or as a trash can, there is a way to achieve your goal.

1. The Spender.

If you spend too much money, resolve to save in certain ways.

Ex.  Pay the $500 bar tab, but have your friend drive you to the emergency room.

2. The Saver.

If you save too much money, resolve to indulge in certain ways.

Ex. Don’t partake of the $500 bar tab, but spend gas money to drive your friend to the emergency room.

Far too often people don’t understand how they should be managing their money. Whether you party with Magnum Grey Goose until you’ve forgotten you don’t even make a living wage, or have a sip of your buddy’s Coors after a successful day repurposing that coat hanger into a piece of art for your cousin’s birthday gift, there is a way to achieve your goal.

With these expert tips, even you can achieve your New Year’s resolution! And by following my methods, it’s guaranteed that you’ll also have something to work on come January of next year.

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The Reblog

Some days I have nothing original to say. If you paid close enough attention, you’d realize that even on those days when I’m saying something, it doesn’t often mean much. And if you actually listen to the not much that I’m saying, you’re bound to be woefully disappointed.

Which is why I utilize the reblog.

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The reblog acknowledges that you are lazy, but also shows that you can be both lazy and caring. It does not judge you for your lack of originality, but applauds your efforts for reading and understanding the works of others more qualified (and probably more entertaining) than you. The reblog is ever kind and only increases the standard of your prized and dear website, all while making the original poster feel like a million dollars even if they don’t see one cent from their work.

So yes, some days the words that come out of my head are downright unintelligible giberty gab herbity gerb, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate the schwerbity plurb of another.

Flingenclopp.

What to Expect When You’re Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is here, and with it the wholly unrealistic expectations of peaceful family togetherness and a tasty home cooked meal.

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In order to have a truly enjoyable Thanksgiving and limit the amount of times your head gets banged against the wall near the festive corn and pumpkin display, certain things just need to be accepted as inevitable:

  1. Canned foods and instant recipes will abound. Who has time to make homemade cranberry sauce when the in-laws are knocking down your door and the mantle hasn’t been dusted since last Thanksgiving?
  2. Christmas will be acknowledged. Come the weekend after Thanksgiving, it’ll be December. So those boxes of Christmas decorations lurking in the corner of the living room will just be skillfully ignored.
  3. No matter how loudly you speak, Poppy will not be able to understand you. Even if you can get his hearing aid working and his attention focused, once he finally discerns the word “twerk” the conversation will self-implode.
  4. Skinny jeans will be banned from the premises. Both looking good and stuffing yourself until you pop cannot exist together. Bring the sweatpants with the mustard stains; family doesn’t judge you.
  5. Your family will judge you. Your grandmother will notice the untidy state of your hair and mother will ask if a second helping of pie is really such a good idea, and do you need that much whipped cream anyway?
  6. The pets will want in on the action. Can you really blame little Josie for jumping onto the fine china? She’s not use to you putting in any effort and just wanted a closer view of what exactly “trying” looks like.
  7. You will want to quit your job. Crescent rolls are all that matter in life.
  8. Nothing will ever change. The fruit cake will still taste like boot, you’ll still fall asleep during the football game, and the panic of the impending holiday season will upset the mound of potatoes settling in your gut.

As long as you prepare for what’s ahead, there is no reason that Thanksgiving can’t be a perfectly lovely holiday that allows you to spend time enjoying the company of others and their attempts at cooking. And when Christmas arrives, simply duck and cover.

The Horror! The Horror!…The ROCKY Horror

I’ve been familiar with The Rocky Horror Picture Show since my early high school days. I’d puzzled over the movie, remained confusedly captivated over the Sweet Transvestite lyrics, and generally enjoyed the idea that such an absurd film could have such a devoted following. Yet, until recently, I’d never seen a cast performing the movie on stage while it simultaneously played on film (though I did attend a delightful shadow cast of The Princess Bride).

Despite my apparent interest, I had never attended a production partly due to my excessive time spent with my cat, partly for fear of how they would treat the inexperienced-in-all-that-is-Rocky virgins. No one seemed willing to discuss the hi-jinks that the cast would play on the newbies for fear that it would deter them from participating in the spectacle that is The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and after my first show and participation in the Virgin Games at the behest of my former friend Eric, I think I get why.

247135_10151678616010695_1545180286_nWhile it may be fun for the audience to laugh and point as Rocky Virgins are sent onstage to switch clothes with someone they’re standing next to, or scream out in the ecstasy of an imagined intimacy, or parade around with lipstick letter “V”s on their forehead, I can say from personal experience that it is nerve wracking as heck and my face has been permanently marked by a blush so deeply red that others are continually offering me sunscreen. But boy was it an experience! I may have just had my most embarrassing moment(s) of my life witnessed by a theater’s worth of people, but I can truly say that I’m glad that I went through with something that put me outside of my comfort zone while remaining within the point where my line is drawn.

Yes, I imagine a good many people in my life would judge my participation.

Yes, some of the subjects and themes broached were a tad risque.

Yes, there were scantily clad individuals parading around throughout the night.

No, there was not an empty seat in the house.

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Everyone who showed up to the show was so involved in their choice of costumes, props, verbal insults, strange and secretive greetings, and the actual movie itself. In a world where everyone needs constant entertainment and five iProducts constantly shoved in front of their face, it was just so sweet and rewarding to watch a room full of people staring unblinkingly at a film that they’d seen hundreds of times. The concentration on their faces as they would boogie to the Time Warp conveyed a sense of purpose and devotion that is rarely found in this generation. Though this angelic contemplation was occasionally interrupted by vulgar shouts towards the cast, characters, and general audience, I felt grateful to be a part of such a devoted group of people who were simply interested in having a good time according to their standards.

I truly have nothing particular to say about the movie itself, because there truly isn’t too much I could say to make sense of  what went down on that night of Horror. But really, when you’re in such a joyful setting with good friends, free candy, and that guy from your Shakespeare: The Later Works class that you didn’t expect to be wearing a midnight blue sequined dress, singing sexually ambitious aliens don’t really matter.

Vanity, Thy Name is Katy (Pt. 2)

One week ago, I decided to reject my reflection for a solid 7 days so as to break my horrid habit of a vanity so great that I do indeed think that song is about me.

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I was fed up with constantly feeling the need to look at myself in the numerous and various reflection surfaces placed around my life in an effort to keep me continuously obsessing over the state of my hair. I had come to the conclusion that since looks were of such little importance the acknowledgement of those looks mattered just as little. I was already well aware of the struggles I would undoubtedly face while trying to use my phone without catching a glimpse of my technology-tinted profile.

Even then, I was not ready.

The week of this challenge was one of the longest weeks of my life. I actually believe that someone may have snuck in a good extra bit of hours, and this week was comprised of 9 or 10 equally unsatisfying days.

Throughout the challenge I felt nervous and agitated and upset at not being able to look in the mirror. I constantly felt the need to confirm my existence by looking at myself and being reassured that I hadn’t turned into a ghostly creature no longer capable of sustaining a physical form, I actually chose this limiting lifestyle. I even felt none of the love towards my body or my self that I assumed would come by denying my image, if anything it made me feel a bit worse, like I was so ugly that if I walked into a bank they’d turn off the cameras (ba dum tish). And even though I actively tried to avoid my reflection, I still caught glances of myself throughout the day which only fueled my anger; I would tease myself with a brief glimpse and then immediately turn away before my eyes could drink in that sorry sight of a crazy person (as only loons would attempt a challenge so ridiculous).

Here are my reasons why I will never attempt this challenge never ever never again:

  • It was frustrating and a tad painful not to be able to use the mirror to put my contacts in.
  • Hiding behind other people in Bodypump made exercising quite the chore. I want results after a workout, not to be denied looking at my awesome and newly fit body!
  • My neck hurt from looking down so much to avoid mirrors. Truthfully, I had to hide my eyes so often that it hurt.
  • No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t help but catch accidental glimpses of myself which was quite obnoxious.
  • Looking at my shadow was often the highlight of my day.
  • On the third day I had such a struggle putting in an earring that it took me an extra few minutes and a red ear before being ready for class.
  • I didn’t care as much about myself, and consequently ended up eating more and exercising a bit less.

Why I’m somewhat kind of maybe barely glad that I completed this challenge:

  • When Skyping I actually spent more time looking at the person I was having a conversation with than looking at myself in the little vanity cam they provide.
  • Getting ready in the morning was a breeze and I never really worried about outfits or jewelry choices (though I’m sure other people worried over the sake of my mental health; red shorts with a blue top, really?).
  • I look in the mirror less now, or at least think twice before I look.
  • Ummm, that’s it.

IMG_2728Honestly, I barely want to talk about this experience because I had such a negative time with it. One important thing I’ve learned is that vanity is perfectly healthy in small doses, and denying such self devotion only serves to turn you into an angry and grumpy person with funky looking hair. While it may not be so good as to pander to all of your vices, I’ve come to feel that vanity, while annoying in excess, is actually quite harmless.

Vanity, Thy Name is Katy

On average, I look in the mirror 18 times a day.

That’s not even counting the number of occasions when I catch a glimpse of my reflection in some shiny surface. Yeah, that’s not me puzzling over that artistic portrait as to fathom the creator’s intent, that’s me trying to get a glimpse of how my hair looks in a ponytail.

It’s puzzling as to why we as humans aren’t content until we’ve looked at ourselves up and down, in a full length mirror, from a side angle, with duck lips, and with a hat tipped jauntily on our heads until we realize that such a hat is too bold for our certain hair style. Do any other animals perform this ritual of self-interest? Do ducks float around on lakes so as to constantly view their watery profile? Has anyone really considered why it is birds fly into windows? Perhaps they’re simply overly anxious to confirm that their feathers are as preened as they should be. I’m also fairly certain that if you gave a monkey a camera the first thing they would do is take a selfie while hanging out in their tree house.

I opted for the scarf instead of the hat...whoopee!

I opted for the scarf instead of the hat…whoop de doo!

And then once we do give into temptation and look to our beautiful image, what do we see? Ourselves. Almost exactly as we were the last time we checked. What’s the point? What does it matter if I have a small bump in my hair? If my lips need more glossing will the world stop spinning? If I end up wearing that jauntily tipped hat would it really matter in the long run? Who cares what we look like?!

Well, apparently I care; based on the fact that I look at myself in the mirror around 18 times a day.

Maybe if I were prettier looking I’d understand. But seeing as I’m just regular old plain average normal Katy, what the heck is with my obsession with myself? For me to have two mirrors in my room is extravagant. To look at myself in the full length mirror in the hallway while leaving the dorm is outrageous. To go to the bathroom for any other reason than relieving oneself is simply silly; who wants to spend time in a restroom simply to enjoy the mirror? Even my phone cover can serve as a mirror. Just in case I’d like to ensure that I look my best while sending a text message (because the recipient of my message can just tell if my necklace is hanging crookedly around my neck).

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Why must I look so good in scarves?!

But to be fair to myself, I don’t always set out in search of a mirror. I don’t memorize the location of reflective objects around campus and take longer routes just to get a glimpse of myself. But the fact that my building has a full length mirror in the hallway should tell you something about the world. The fact that there are mirrors above almost every sink, that people carry around compacts just in case, that ever in our cars you can find mirrors above the front two seats, shows what an egoistical and vain society we really live in. I don’t necessarily want to look at my reflection so often, but the world is telling me that I must. They want me to be vain, and I’ve been all too happy to oblige.

Yet, when looking beyond my mundane exterior, you’ll find a rebel with a passion for stirring up adventure and intrigue (in addition to finding a fanatical cat lady). It is this nature that makes me not just question the role of mirrors in my life, but that also makes me desire to denounce them.

There have been many documented challenges of people swearing off the mirror for a month or two or twelve, but seeing as I’m too cheap to buy their books, I’ve decided to create a mirrorless lifestyle challenge of my own. I’ll take a guess that they’ve leaned the meaning of true beauty, internal happiness, styling hairdos without visual assistance, and societal influences on commonly accepted standards, but I’m just hoping to get a grip on reality and learn that survival is possible without knowing if I’m having a good hair day or not.

Starting today, I’m going to cover up the mirrors in my room, avoid my image while using the sink, stealthily avoid looking too closely at my phone cover, and give up admiring/critiquing my reflection altogether. I will do all of this for one week (because I’m weak). At the end of this experiment, I hope to appreciate myself and my body a little bit more and gain some real understanding as to why I can’t help but looking at myself in that glass door window at the gym.

Also, I must have looked at myself nearly 50 times today in anticipation of my mirror cleanse. Wow I’ve got some work to do.

Also also, let’s hope I last the week because I’ve just remembered the wall length mirrors in the gym’s aerobics studio…

Also also also, I’ve just put up construction paper to cover the mirrors in my room. It makes me nervous.

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Hypnosis: Where the Sun and Surf are Just a Countdown Away

Do you remember the last time that you laughed so hard that tears were streaming down your eyes and you couldn’t take a breath due to the hilarity of the situation occupying every cell in your being? For me, that time was tonight, and the cause was a hypnotist by the name of Jason Linett.

The first thing that Jason did was hypnotize the whole audience. We were bade to hold our arms out in front of us and close our eyes. With a slight suggestion, he placed a book in our left hand. It got heavy. Our hand went down. Some people giggled. Then, out of no where, a balloon became tied to our right hands at his command, it was floating up and up and up and our hand followed and followed and followed. Upon opening our eyes and seeing our once near hands placed a part, we knew we were in for a treat.

jason linettJason randomly chose 10 people from the audience (comprised of eager UMD undergrads braver than me). One of whom is a good friend of mine, and another of whom I’ve seen around school. This guy was legit. There were no plants. For some reason, I began feeling nervous and excited and anxious and pumped. And I was safely sitting in the second row.

Confidently, the hypnotist lead the volunteers up to relax their bodies and delve deep into their minds; slowly, he positioned them to lean against one another; and carefully he suggested the most silly yet wholesome activities for the participants to do. I watched as they enjoyed the sun in a beach, I smiled when they got comfortable in the sand, I giggled when the temperature began to rise, and I laughed so hard that I fell into the person next to me when it became 100 degrees on stage and they had to beg a waiter for a glass of water to quench their imagined thirst.

I sat on the edge of my seat amazed at the fact that a girl completely forgot about the number 6; I rose from my seat to watch as half the participants roamed the audience acting as secret agents and interacting with those seated, telling them to keep quiet and watch out for danger; I jumped up and down in my chair with glee as one boy was unable to leave his seat on stage, believing himself to be stuck to the chair. And when that same boy believed that his hands were internationally known lip syncing puppets who performed to Bohemian Rhapsody, I struggled for breath with the students around me.

A lot of the events that the University of Maryland provides for their students are casual and friendly and completely worth checking out. However, karaoke, comedians, and casino night have nothing on watching 10 people pretend to be in a bodybuilding contest and strut around the stage showing off their muscles.

Pals of the Pen

I’ve always wanted a pen pal.

Ever since I was young, I’ve held an affinity for writing and a passion for connecting with other people.

The fact that we sit in traffic almost each and every day next to hundreds of people whose lives we will never know, whose circumstances we can only begin to imagine, whose hopes, dreams, and aspirations are a complete mystery to us but are also familiarly reflected in our own lives, is a truly unbelievable occurrence.

world with peopleThere are so many people in this world, and I’ve long harbored the dream to connect with those that I wouldn’t ordinarily have the chance to meet. I always knew that it would be difficult to travel, and I thought that just by communicating with someone via letter, I could experience their world and live their reality. I wouldn’t have to wonder any longer what the 60 year old woman in the green Honda liked to sing to on the radio, or who the 18 year old boy was talking to with a smile on his face.

I’ve never actually had a pen pal, but this blog is getting pretty darn close to fulfilling that dream of mine. Through this post, these pieces, this site, I’ve shared my world and connected with others from all different walks of life.

I know that when I publish this post, it’ll be just like mailing a letter to my long-standing pen pal, humanity.blank letter

Junior Year, A Life in Summation

Wow. Life moves quickly. Not only am I unsure how I’ve already reached the end of my junior year of college, I’m also confused as to where my sophomore and freshman year went.

At the beginning of this year (one roommate, a new major, and countless hikes across campus ago) I was coming off a pretty rough time. I hadn’t really found a niche for myself in college (which was all too familiar to my high school experience) and I spent more time traveling home than livin’ it up college style.

My goal for this year was simple; say yes to life. And looking back on my time now, I can truthfully say that I said yes and experienced much of what college life had to offer (while still focusing on my studies)

Some of my experiences include:

  • Participating in Terp Thon and raising money for Children’s National Medical Center374409_4651322164662_876425834_n
  • Hosting Manicure Movie Monday in our lounge
  • Starting a job at UMD Dining Services and meeting some of my best friends
  • Taking more pictures than I will ever need
  • Throwing paint around with friends and strangers at HoliDSCN0474
  • Becoming a part of Sign Language Club and visiting Gallaudet University
  • Going on a dinner cruise at the Inner Harbor
  • Partaking in a murder mystery dinner and successfully avoiding accusations
  • Attending all of the movie nights and randomly themed UMD events
  • Listened to the Dalai Lama give a lecture on peace
  • Gaining an insane amount of weight from not watching my health and then working it all off522422_10200226503339411_1759804122_n
  • Participating in an Alternative Spring Break and becoming an advocate for domestic violence victims
  • Making an effort to hang out with friends and get in touch with people
  • Running my first 5K to benefit Yeardly LoveIMG_1931
  • Attending all of the UMD men’s soccer games and becoming part of the Crew
  • Crossing two items off of my bucket list (dying my hair red and attending a concert)
  • Receiving 12 free UMD t-shirts
  • Cheering my football team onto a Super Bowl victory
  • STARTED A BLOG!

Holy cow I’ve done a lot. I know I’ve missed listing a ton more activities, but I’m just grateful that I’ll have this blog to look back so that I can relive all of these wonderful experiences.

Also, don’t expect much from me this summer, because I’m pretty sure it’ll take me up until September to recover from my junior year.

Need Directions? I’d Love to Help!

For some reason, I absolutely love it when people ask me for directions. I feel thrilled whenever someone approaches me with a confused gleam in their eye and a dejected shrug in their shoulders.

Mostly I get asked while roaming the streets of the University of Maryland, as it is so easy to get lost in the 1,250 acres of rolling hills.  Sometimes I’ll even approach people who are oh so obviously lost. They try to hide their crumpled map and frustrated sighs, but I seek them out and gladly offer up my services.

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Giving directions is a wonderful way to boost your self-confidence. I know it seems silly, but there is nothing better than proving your literal street smarts and helping others in a simple way. It’s also nice to affirm that you know your way around in the world and are so confident with the path you’ve chosen that you’d like nothing more than to share that path with the poor lost souls of the world.

Maybe I’m reading too much into telling someone to take the first left and find the Benjamin Building on their right, but I truly love giving directions and knowing exactly where I am.

(Strangely enough, I also love asking for directions. I think it’s because I’m offering someone the chance to experience the same delight that I feel when called upon to perform in the line of societal duety.)