Life Lately (according to my iPhone)

This is what my iPhone says we’ve been doing lately. Look at the pretty pictures and try to follow along!

♥, VB

White People Silliness

Let’s face it, white people can be really embarrassing. When one race runs the world (or at least has until us Hispanics outbirthed them the last few years), they attempt to co-opt any and all fun activities from other walks of life and call it their own. Let’s run through a very short list of things that weren’t white people’s stuff that now kinda are:

  • Do you Zumba? That’s actually just a lot of Latin dancing that you now think you can do, but let’s face it, no. No, you cannot do the salsa.
  • Do you enjoy twerking, like Miley Cyrus? Nope, you can’t do it right, so please stop uploading Vine and Instagram videos of you attempting to booty shake (as it was once known as, back in my day).
  • Do you try to say ‘cool’ words like homes (short for homie) or lyrics to any current pop/rap song like “What rhymes with hug me?” in a non-ironic sort of way? HAHAHAHANO.

First of all, I titled this post “White People Silliness” because I like to make fun of white people. I assure you this is not racism, or reverse racism, or any other -ism that advanced degreed minds who work in cross-cultural, post-apocalyptic, marginalized intersectional feminism preach. This is plain and simple fun. Because if you can’t laugh at yourself and the human condition sometimes, then really what is there to look forward to in life?

In a world full of Paula Deens, think of me as Shaula Zeen (that sounds Latin, right?).

Let me start at the beginning. I was born and raised in the South, a true Atlanta native. I was raised in Buckhead, a very affluent community right in the heart of Atlanta. So when I say I’m from Atlanta, I mean Atlanta, not Lawrenceville, not Marietta, not Fairburn. My mother is Spanish and my dad is Panamanian, so I like to refer to myself as Spam. And in every sense of that meat-like mashup product, I am a mix of so many different identities: American, European white, Spanish, Native American, Panamanian, Colombian, Southern, woman, feminist, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, etc. My older sister and I are first generation Americans.

Growing up in the South was pretty challenging for us. Everyone I grew up with was a blond-haired, blue-eyed, American, English-speaking Southerner with grandparents who lived down the road, and an extended family within driving/plane distance. Everyone spoke the same language, and everyone bled red, white, and blue. They listened to Bruce Springsteen and loved them some hot dogs and fried chicken.

Then there’s me. Olive skinned. Dark haired. Dark eyed. My family no habla inglés. Out of our entire family, only the four of us celebrate Thanksgiving, and every New Year’s Eve, we eat 12 grapes in the last 12 seconds of the year. We listened to the Gipsy Kings, and ate paella and a Mediterranean diet (although we did love us some hot dogs and fried chicken too). Everyone always thought I was Mexican because that’s the only Spanish-speaking culture they were aware of in Georgia. Ignorance ran rampant, and I never knew exactly where I fit in.

Timmy’s never ever had that problem. Obvs. 1) He’s a dude. 2) He’s Whitey McWhiterson. 3) He’s a true Southern boy with deep roots in the region. 4) He has a beard. (a real one, not in the way that I am his beard because he’s gay and needs me to cover for him…wait, forget I said that part).

Timmy went to Auburn University, in good ole Auburn, Alabama. What would possess anyone to move from Stone Mountain, GA, which ain’t that bad of a town, to Auburn, AL, I have no idea. He loves that town, with its two downtown streets, its football/any collegiate sport and drinking culture, the shouts of “Roll Tide Roll” (wrong school? I kid, I know it’s “GOOOOOOOOO DAWGS! SICK ‘EM! RUFF RUFF RUFF RUFF!” Wrong again?). He loves when Auburn peeps see each other anywhere in the world and acknowledge each other with a simple, “War Eagle.” It’s his happiness.

I am big city ALL THE WAY. I went to NYU because I couldn’t stand the idea of living in a small college town. My dad is from Panama City, Panama, and my mom is from Barcelona, both majorly large cities. I love the idea of getting lost in a big city, having to make my own way and contributions and always being reminded of being significantly insignificant. This is one of the main reasons why I hate Lakeland so much. I got my Master’s degree from Emory; there’s a reason I went to two schools in a row with no football team.

Timmy and I are different in a number of ways, but we did have a lot in common growing up. Going to Woodward together for middle and high school, we knew all the same people, we did the same after-school activities, we were both athletes, and very social people. We both like being the center of attention, public speaking, and being true to who we are. We’ve both lost very loved people in our lives, and we both made our lives exactly what we want them to be.

But Timmy and I are different mainly because of our cultural differences. I grew up with a natural rhythm in my body. It’s something that Latin people can’t describe; it’s just something we have inside that allows us to always find the beat in a song, to dance well, and look coordinated in our movements. I have no idea where I got it because it’s not like I took Latin dance lessons when I was little. But my whole family has it, and we always find ourselves fighting the urge to just get up and dance. We just feel the music.

This is Timmy dancing:

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The Most Non-Scientific Ways to Get Through a Sleepy Day

Read the news lately about sleep deprivation? Um, it’s completely terrifying.

Now, on top of worrying about the ozone layer, global warming, Florida drivers and odd occurrences, random acts of God, mosquito bites, cancers of any kind, living up to my potential, being kidnapped for 10+ years, and shootings from fundamentalists from any religion, now I have to fear that lack of sleep will make me gain weight and die earlier. Great. Just awesome.

I’ve always been a nocturnal person, and it just seems like life is stacked against people like me. Even when I was little, like 3 or 4, my parents realized how completely futile bedtime enforcement was, and so instead, they simply instructed me to keep my door closed after 8 pm and not come back out. I could do whatever I wanted as long as I was quiet and stayed in that room. Easy peasy.

I’ve been in the working field now for almost 6 years (including graduate school, which, let’s face it, is the most stressful thing you’ve never been prepared for), and I STILL cannot get used to waking up early and working until 5 pm. I’m a useless sack of skin until around 3 pm, and that’s only if I’ve gotten a 20 minute nap somewhere in there. No nap, and my usefulness to society doesn’t actually begin until about 20 minutes until 5.

This is me, every day I’ve ever had to work. Which is every day, every week, every year, until I die.

Everyone keeps telling me that I’ll get used to it eventually, but they are all liars, I’ve decided. You simply cannot make someone whose normal internal clock runs from 11 am until 12 am to get up and do anything productive at 6:30 am until 5 pm. It would be like telling Amanda Bynes to adopt a work ethic like Helen Mirren. IT DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY.

Have you ever tried to do something sleep-deprived? Of course you have. Anyone who has kids can also attest to this, although parents are driven by some primal desire to not kill their kids to propagate their genes or something like that. I’m driven by my incessant need to sleep until I’m naturally ready to wake up. I crave sleep all the time. And whenever I do have kids, it’s only going to get worse. I will be a monster.

It’s gotten to the point where my level of desiring sleep and my level of frustration with the ridiculousness of all this are almost the same.

Even as I type this post, I’m struggling with the thought of saving a draft and taking a nap instead of finishing. Pathetic. Am I ever going to grow out of this? Will I always have to be subjected to unfair working conditions and expectations simply because my circadian clock (which is basically your internal sleep/awake clock) is off a few hours from everyone else’s?

I don’t have the answers. What I do have are my ways of getting through a work day when you’re plagued by sleep deprivation. Here’s how I do it:

  • Alarms (yes, plural) go off at 6 am. I hit snooze every 7-9 minutes. Attempt to calculate how much sick time I have built up and if I can use any for today. More than likely, the answer is no. Now I’m just mad.

    this has happened at every hour of the night. Mostly, I hate everything and everyone when the alarm buzzes.

  • I have a huge cup of coffee in the morning, set to brew automatically at 6:30 am so that I don’t have to get up and do it. This is a key point. I do not get up any earlier than I absolutely have to. This includes sacrificing showers, making up cute outfits, and eating breakfast at home.
  • Finally get out of bed at 6:45 am. Coffee is now not going to burn my face off when I get in the car and start drinking.
  • Speaking of breakfast, I pack breakfast to eat in the car or at the office. I cannot remember the last time I ever ate breakfast at home during a workday. It would require me to wake up earlier, and that ain’t happening.
  • I’ve refined my ability to get dressed and put on makeup in less than 5 minutes. I’m a pro at flawless makeup application in less than 3 minutes, and this includes all-over foundation, bronzer, blush, eyeshadows (usually 2 shades), eyeliner, and Vaseline on lips and eyelashes (which is a great substitute for mascara. No clumps, no black crap, and shiny, separated lashes). This also includes putting on jewelry and shoe selection. A pro, I tell you.
  • I normally don’t have to walk Floyd in the early morning or feed him because he’s dead asleep. He’s an amazing sleeper and I’m so thankful for a pet that doesn’t wake you up to tell you he’s ready to be walked and fed before you’re done REM-ing.
  • Morning sex? What the hell is that? (Moms, cover your eyes).
  • I’m in the car by 7 am. I now listen to the radio on the way to work, and only one station because they make me laugh. I’ve always been a huge advocate of satellite radio, but it puts me to sleep on my hour+ commute in the morning. When I listen to the radio station, I go into somewhat of a fugue state and all of the sudden, I’m at work!
  • At work between 8 and 8:15 am. I eat breakfast, check all my emails, read no less than 5 different online news outlets, and decide whether or not to update my blogs (the actual updating won’t happen until way later in the day, when my brain actually starts to form thoughts). I’ll answer emails here and there while trying not to nod off at my desk. I will also shift positions in my chair every 5 minutes because of back pain. The back pain is usually the only thing that keeps me awake enough at the office in the morning.
  • I think about how all this sitting is shaving years off of my life, and adding that to the lack of sleep, my fear will wake me up long enough to walk through the office to retrieve copies of something.
  • Lunch time! Sleep on my couch or do anything else, like eat. Sleep usually wins.
  • 1 pm rolls around. If I haven’t had any meetings, I will likely have them in the afternoon which will provide just enough adrenaline to keep me alert and awake. If no meetings, the afternoon is just a rapid descent into hell.

    Imagine this person with a much cuter shirt and female parts, and this is me every day.

  • No meetings in the afternoon leaves me wanting to stuff my face with snacks out of boredom and sleepiness. Instead, I log on incessantly to FB and hope that someone posts enough stuff to keep me entertained. I also check People online and make fun of celebrities and their “fashion”.
  • 3 pm starts. I may need coffee or I may become a different person entirely. I start to feel motivation to produce and I normally can get all my tasks for that day done in the last 2-3 hours of the day. I’m the fastest worker you have ever seen during this period of time.
  • 6 pm is here. Time to surrender and cry tears of self-pity as I drive 2 hours home in a sleep-stupor or walk 3.5 miles in St. Pete in order to avoid traffic and get exercise. It’s really a crapshoot.
  • 8 pm. Finally at home. So devastated from attempting to make it through yet another entire day on little to no sleep that the only thing I can comprehend is an episode of Real Housewives or Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Attempts at making conversation with me will make my blood boil and my head explode.
  • Try to get into bed around 10 or 10:30 pm. Make chamomile tea. Read. Anything to induce sleep. End up falling asleep at midnight. Shit.

Those are my ways of getting through the day, with little to no scientific proof to back up any of my methods. Learn and take what you can to apply to your lives. Or talk to your doctor. Either one.

Unless you’re one of those morning people. In that case, go jump off of something high and dangerous. You’re not welcome here.

♥, VB