Chill out, homie.

Everyone around me keeps stressing. People stay worrying about stupid ass shit day and night.

“What am I supposed to do with my life?”

“How can I move to (insert dream destination)?”

“Why don’t I have a girlfriend?”

“Should I call my parents more often?”

“Do you think Sheila is mad at me?”

“Does this shirt look okay on me?”

Yo. YOU HAVE LIFE AND A PLACE TO SLEEP AND FOOD TO PUT IN YOUR MOUTH. SO QUIT STRESSING AND JUST CHILL FOR A SEC HOMIE.

You do you. Stay in your lane and everything will work out. I promise you that. Keep your goals in sight and just make sure you’re gradually working towards them.

And if you’re like me, and don’t have clear goals or aspirations, then just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Take every opportunity that comes your way. Things have a really weird way of working out. I swear.

My former job at Strange Donuts was straight up just handed to me, as casually as one of the owners mentioning to me “I want you to run the new store.” Only thing I did to prove myself for the job was be myself. I didn’t even ask for it. It just kinda happened. So I said yes. I put one foot in front of the other. I thought that would be a good idea. And it was. It worked out.

In my (stupid and often unhelpful) opinion, the only things you should do are the things that make you happy. As long as these things don’t negatively affect the people around you, do whatever the fuck you want. And don’t let a hating ass fuck tell you shit about it.

I’ve been doing whatever I want for a while now, and life’s been working out in the most perfect way I could have ever imagined. I have friends and a job and a roof over my head and good food to eat. There’s a lot of stuff I don’t have. Like a clear future. Or much of a savings account. But that’s ok. Because I know if I continue to do the things that make me happy, everything I need will eventually come.

I like to hike. I like to be outside. I like to walk along the beach. I like to sit on the couch with my friends and talk about life. I like to make coffee. I like eat donuts. I like to do nice things for the people around me (on occasion). I like to read. I like to listen to hip hop and pop punk. I like to write. I like to explore. These things make me very happy.

What do you like to do? What things make you genuinely happy? Go out and do more of these things. The rest will fall into place, I promise you. Don’t think about the future so much.

Or maybe in thirty years when I’m still alone without a career, I’ll look back on writing this and realize how wrong I was at the time. I guess we’ll see.

“I’ll take a root beer, please.”

Today marks four years of continuous sobriety for me. I feel pretty weird sharing this, but I wrote this lil’ piece on the flight home from New Zealand. Keep reading if you wanna see your boy get mad vulnerable.

                                  

“It’s so boring without drugs.” – Amy Winehouse

I’m 35,000 feet above the Pacific flying back from New Zealand, and this quote is all I can think about. I’m trying to fall asleep, but my mind won’t shut off. Also, homeboy next to me on the flight won’t stop moving around and going to the bathroom, so that might have something to do with it (I hope he’s reading this as I type it out. You should probably get your prostate checked out if you have to urinate this often.)

This quote from Amy Winehouse is all I can think about because I just finished watching that film about her career, life, and unfortunate drug abuse. Allow me to put the quote in context for you.

Amy is at a Grammys viewing party back in her hometown in England, surrounded by fans, friends, and family. She’s been sober for maybe a few months at this point. After hearing that she won the Grammy for Record of the Year (her fifth Grammy of the night), the whole room erupts in applause and cheers for good reason. This is arguably one of the highest accolades a musician can be awarded. Amy’s friend, Jules, tells her how proud and happy everyone is for her. Amy shrugs and says, “Jules, it’s so boring without drugs.”

Normal people might’ve cried at this point in the movie because this was so shocking and sad for them to hear. I, on the other hand, almost cried because it was all too relatable for me.

You might or might not know this about me, but I’m in recovery. Just like Amy was. Just like many others that walk the streets with you. Some of my closest friends and mentors are in recovery, too. Some are public about their struggles with alcohol and drugs, others are more private.

I’m not extremely open about my past. I confide in people that I trust, but I usually don’t bring it up out of the blue. It embarrasses me, to some extent. So here goes nothing.

I could go into explicit detail of my partying days, but I don’t necessarily want that kind of stuff floating around on the internet with my name on it. So I’ll try to keep this short and to the point:

I used to not like myself. Not even a little.

I started drinking and smoking weed, (on that good kush and alcohol, shouts to Future and Weezy. Still didn’t have any down bitches that I could call, though).

Lo and behold, the drugs made me feel comfortable in my own skin.

But I started doing mean things. Really bad things.

The drugs stopped working. I found myself in a dark place, more fearful and resentful than ever.

My substance use got out of hand (0-100 real quick. Real fuckin quick.)

Friends and family members noticed it becoming a problem. My dad convinced me to start attending 12 step meetings.

Thanks to friends, family, and people I met at those meetings, I’m sober today.

I’m 23 and I’ve never had a legal drink. That’s dope as fuck.

Amy’s life reminded me of the power that one person’s story and struggle can have on other people’s lives. I remember how she felt, feeling bored and unhappy without drugs. But I can say from personal experience, as well testimonies from homies in recovery, that life gets way better the longer I’ve been clean.

I have real friends. My family doesn’t hate me. I can look at myself in the mirror and be happy with the man standing in front of me. I graduated from college, something that definitely wouldn’t have happened had I continued along the path I was on.

There are shitty days, sure. But the worst days now are far better than the best of days when I was getting fucked up. Life is worth living (if you don’t know that song by Bieber, do your ears and soul a favor by giving it a listen right quick.)

This isn’t me telling you that you shouldn’t be drinking or doing drugs. If you can enjoy substances in moderation, more power to you. Matter of fact, smoke a blunt for me. I just know that moderation isn’t something I completely understand, so today I’m choosing to be sober.

Hopefully something in here was of interest to someone reading. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna try to catch some Zs and cuddle up with the stranger next to me. I hope he likes being little spoon.

 

 

 

 

It costs money to eat

Today, I couldn’t think about anything except money.

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*rubs hands hungrily*

More so, my lack of it. My financial situation looks way better than most of my friends’, who are in so much debt that they’ll probably die before they pay it off, yet my finances still stress me out like a mother fucker.

This isn’t anything new. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved the shit. Before I had anything to spend it on, I used to save up all my allowance and birthday checks for nothing in particular. I would carry around every single dollar I had just because I felt more comfortable with it right by my side.

Just me and my money.

My ride or die.

My day one.

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New phone who dis

Not much has changed. Nowadays I have more skrilla than I’ve ever had, but my worries about it still keep me up at night.

“Will I make enough coinage this month?” (Microsoft Word suggested “coinage” as a good synonym for money. Word, Word.)

“Should I have bought that leather jacket?” (Correct answer: yes, you should see how good I look in it.)

“What if my car breaks and I need to buy a new one?”

“What are the chances that I get caught if I start selling drugs?” (@Police jk.)

The fact that I don’t have a career lined up doesn’t bother me one bit. I have a Bachelor’s in Psychology, so I’m l i t e r a l l y having to fend off job recruiters because I am *so* qualified and in demand. (Side note: if anyone knows of a fun job in San Francisco that pays six figures and isn’t actually work, but more just a place where I hang out with my friends and eat, lmk.)

I try to tell myself that I’m okay with being poor for a while. That I can do without the unnecessary purchases. I don’t need Brie every time I go to the grocery store. My life would probably be fine without new jeans. How much enjoyment am I really going to get out of this ice cream? (A lot, ily ice cream no one understands me like you do ily.) Do I need this donut tattoo? Yeah, probably.

On one hand, I don’t want to take a job that I probably wouldn’t enjoy just for the money. On the other hand, ya boy’s gotta eat.

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They don’t want u to eat smh

But as long as I have enough money to eat, I’m chillin.

All too often, I worry about the future and what’s to come. But here’s the realization that I’ve come to after all of this bullshit:

IT DOES NOT MATTER. NOTHING MATTERS. EVERYTHING WILL BE OK.

I have my health.

I have friends.

I have family.

I have a job that I look forward to going to in the morning.

Anything else is extra, so I guess I’ll be thankful for all the other dope shit in my life.

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bless up

Shit happens

I poop a lot, or what I’ve been led to believe is a lot. I go several times throughout the day, and each time lasts about ten minutes, sometimes more. My friends and family are well aware of this, as they receive countless Snapchats and texts while I’m taking care of my business. Usually they don’t appreciate being alerted of my bowel movements. Oh well.

As I was taking my morning dookie today, I was texting my friend Nadine and I just happened to mention to her the fact that I was mid-doo doo. She responded with “Oh NICE! That rocks! Bodies are COOL.” Her enthusiasm was unexpected, but appreciated. I often text, snapchat, and talk on the phone when I poop because it makes the time go by faster, but usually the responses I receive from my friends are more negative.

“Ew that’s disgusting, Stu!”

“Do not contact me ever again.”

“You are going to die alone.”

We started talking about poop and poop shame (the embarrassment many people feel after pooping, and the lengths they go to hide it), and its similarities to how people hide other things in their lives that they feel they should be ashamed of.

Why are people so afraid to let their peers know that they just dropped a big ol’ (Dej) loaf? Why don’t more people ask their friends about the health of their bowels? How are people supposed to know what to do when there’s something wrong with their dookers when they can’t even have a normal discussion on the topic?

Much like feces, why are people so afraid to let their peers know what’s going on in their lives? Why don’t more people ask their friends about what’s troubling them? How are people supposed to know what to do when life fucks them, if they don’t know how to talk about life?

Poop is the PERFECT metaphor for life. Here’s why:

1) L i t e r a l l y everyone poops and l i t e r a l l y everyone has shit (lol) in life that they have to deal with. Nothing to be ashamed of, that’s just life (and poop).

2) Sometimes life stinks, just like fanny fudge. Sometimes all you went to do is get the fuck out of the bathroom, but you have to finish what you started.

3) Pooping isn’t all bad, though. There’s nothing I look forward to more than my time spent on the throne in the morning. I check my email (lol what emails? I graduated, no one emails me anymore), scroll through my feeds (v important), and send Snapchats to my friends (sorry). It’s a good time. Just like pooping, life can be a lot of fun.

4) Sometimes it’s ok to call on your friends if the going gets rough. Everyone needs help once in a while. It’s totally understandable to send someone that “Hey can you talk?” text, or that “Yo there’s no tp in here, help a brother out?” text.

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Savage af

5) Sadly, strangers don’t want to hear about the consistency or color of your bum nuggets, nor do they want to hear about the resentments you hold towards your mother. Some things are better to share with people you’ve known longer than a couple minutes.

6) There’s no right or wrong way to live life. No one can tell you how you’re supposed to live life. The same thing goes for dropping logs. Some people wipe while sitting down, and some do it standing up. I like to listen to music when I go potty. Pants can be halfway down your legs, or all the way off. Shirts are also optional.

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When you forget your shirt in the bathroom after a nice, relaxing poop.

7) Lastly, I think we could all benefit from being a bit more open about our excrements, as well as life’s woes.

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In summary, pooping is good and so is life. Let’s talk about these tough subjects with our friends more. I know I will.

 

Unapologetically myself

“I will never apologize for being me. You should apologize for asking me to be anything else.”

Someone I follow on Twitter tweeted this quote the other day. Obviously, I did what any logical human being would do, and immediately unfollowed (and blocked) this person. Sadly, I can’t shake this cheesy quote from my head. I relate to it more than I’d like to admit.

I find myself apologizing and explaining myself a lot, even when it isn’t necessary to do so. I might apologize for the way I’m typing on my laptop, in the off chance that it’s annoying someone. When I can feel someone judging my music preferences (Fetty Wap, Chief Keef, Young Thug, etc.), I feel the need to justify why I choose to listen to the music I listen to.

Maybe I like Chief Keef for his no bullshit attitude.

Zero fucks

Maybe I listen to Young Thug because he transcends gender roles with his fashion choices.

Thugger

Maybe I fuck with Fetty Wap purely out of respect for the blind.

Really the only time I should have to explain myself or apologize is if I’ve offended you. Ironically enough, that’s probably the only time I won’t apologize because I can be a pretty shitty person if I’m not careful.

Why should I feel embarrassed for wearing clothing I like? If I think I look good in raw denim, Jordan 1s, and a t-shirt with embroidered roses, then I do. I don’t need the opinion of someone wearing Sperry’s and Chubbies to influence how I dress myself.

“Nice shoes, GDI.” – I literally heard some random douchebag in a frat say this to a friend of mine as we walked by. There’s a reason why fraternities aren’t looked fondly upon. 

American Psycho is my favorite book. Am I embarrassed about it? Actually yeah a little because it’s a pretty fucked up read and I totally understand why someone might not like it. Is that going to stop me from talking about it? Nah, judge all you want.

A few more fun facts about me that I imagine people judging me for: My favorite movie is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I fart pretty often, some might say an unhealthy amount. I’m not doing anything with my college degree, unless you think working in a coffee shop is a good use of a Bachelor’s in Psychology.

While writing this, my friend looked at my laptop and asked, “What are you writing about?” My first instinct was to close the computer while my cheeks turned bright red. As I explained the feelings and thoughts I was trying to put into words, I found myself embarrassed for even starting this blog. Thoughts of low self-worth and inadequacy flooded my mind. “Feelings are feelings,” she said to me.

I’ve spent my whole life trying to figure out who Stuart is, and what he should like. Middle school was a shit-storm of changes in style and tastes. When I got to high school, I was so overwhelmed by my surroundings I thought it’d be best to just fit in and do as others did.

When is there NOT a quote from American Psycho that’s applicable to my life?

In college, I finally began to express myself. And then came more crippling anxiety.

“Do people think I’m cool?”

“Why don’t more girls like me?”

“Is that group of people staring at me because they like my shoes or because they hate them, as well as everything else about me?”

I was doing whatever I wanted, but I still cared too much about what all these fuckboys thought of me. Not a good combination.

Now in this new town with new people who know nothing about me, I have to start all over. Missouri was just starting to get comfortable. Now I’m in California with a new batch of people to judge me. So I’ve found myself explaining myself and apologizing for things about myself that I can’t control.

Since I’ve been here in California, I’ve been doing me and only me. I go where I want, when I want. I eat whatever I feel like eating (not enough ice cream, San Luis Obispo is seriously lacking quality cream). I can wear pretty much anything in my wardrobe to work at the café. Music I like has never sounded better. My favorite movies are more entertaining. I’ve never read more books for pleasure in my life than I am now.

I finally feel like myself.

But here’s the weird thing. People actually like me for the same things I apologize for and feel the need to justify. Some people even think I’m fun to be around, which is a novel concept. Someone told me I was so positive and happy all the time and I was like “???????” Who knew people would like me when I act like myself?

If I’m not careful, I might never apologize for being myself again. Then it’s game over for all you fucks that ever judged me.

Sometimes I’m sad

Anyone else tired of seeing all these stupid people on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pretending to express no emotions other than joy and happiness? It’s not that I take pleasure in seeing other people in pain (okay, maybe a little), but scrolling through hours of posts from people claiming that their lives are so great ALL THE TIME gets fucking old.

We get it, you love your boyfriend. We remember the #mcm you posted last week, and every single Monday for the last 27 weeks.

Yeah I like hanging out with my friends, too, but I’m not gonna post 13 pictures in a row of them and I at a bar on a Wednesday night, acting like it’s the most fun we’ve ever had.

It’s not the positivity that I’m angry about. If you’re truly happy, great! I’m glad that you’re content with your life. Who am I to rain on your parade just because I’m an angry fuck?

Sometimes I feel like Patrick Bateman

But I do have a problem when people act like everything is all good just because they’re too afraid to admit how they’re really feeling. We’re fucking humans, we can’t control our emotions. So why the clear lack of negativity on social media? Even the happiest of people have less than ideal days once in a while.

Maybe I had a shitty day, and all I want is for everyone to know how much pain I’m in. Sadly, there are unspoken rules and etiquette of social media that determine what is and isn’t acceptable to post.

Expression of negative feelings on social media is looked down upon. No one wants to hear about my thoughts of suicide I have every now and then. Maybe the thought of not existing, of not having to think anymore, is attractive sometimes. But people would rather laugh at a tweet about Drake.

Cries for help on these public platforms are scrolled past, lost in the feed forever. People would rather look at a stupid picture I post of a donut (I’m eating a donut right now shouts to @strangedonuts I miss you) than read one of these posts in which I speak as candidly as I can about things important to me.

I’m guilty of this false positivity on social media as well. I’ve deleted a tweet or two. I derive (dis)pleasure from a lot of (or not enough) likes on an Instagram post.

Sometimes I actually get annoyed when people leave a comment, but choose not to double tap my picture. Reading that typed out on my computer is fucking embarrassing, but it’s the truth. I try not to let people’s opinions affect the way I live, yet it’s hard not to when I can feel people judging me based on how many likes I get on a picture of my dinner (btw I make better sofritas than Chipotle, fuck with me).

Even when I think about sharing this post on Instagram tomorrow, I already know what picture I’m gonna use (thank you Jennica for taking cool pictures of me ily sis) and what time of day I’m gonna post it (in the morning, I feel like that’s when my pictures get the most attention).

Point is, I wish people/I could express how they/I truly felt on social media, or even real life. I rarely talk to people about how I’m really feeling, unless I’m feeling positive.

Nothing good can come from bottling up emotions and pretending like everything’s alright when it’s not. So let’s start talking about our feelings when they’re not alright. Deal?

Still figuring it out or whatever

In case you didn’t know, until recently I was in a committed relationship for many years. Some might’ve called it an unhealthy relationship, but it’s all I knew.

My girl influenced my every move, every single decision I made. She used to pick out what I would wear in the morning and told me what I should eat for lunch. I’m not crazy for thinking that’s fucked up, right? One person shouldn’t have had so much control over my life, yet I couldn’t escape her.

Even when I was alone I could still hear her nagging voice in my head, whispering her stupid fucking opinion even when it wasn’t wanted or warranted. “No you can’t go out tonight because you have a test tomorrow and if you don’t study all night for it you’ll fail and then you’ll never get a good job if your GPA isn’t high enough and you need blah blah blah,” SHUT THE FUCK UP.

I had tried everything I could think of to make things work with her: therapy, drugs and medication, support groups. Nothing worked. A few times I even told her that we should see each other people. She didn’t agree, so I gave in and went back to her.

Enough was enough. A couple weeks ago, I started the drive out to California in hopes of getting this girl out of my life for good. She’s been texting and calling me nonstop, sending me naked pics trying to entice me.

It’s getting easier to ignore her. I keep telling myself that I’m better off without her.

“My ex asked me, “Where you movin’?” I said, “On to better things.””

– Drake, “10 Bands”

The saying “it’s not you, it’s me” doesn’t really apply here because this relationship I just described was between myself and my fear. (I’m so clever, right? Right?? Ha ha hahaha ha.) Not fear of spiders, heights, or commitment, though. Fear of l i t e r a l l y everything. Most people, places, and things frighten me in some way.

My fears of the unknown and being alone ran my life. Fuck fear. I’d lived with this shit for too long. I said fuck it, packed up all my shit, and gave fear the middle finger as I jumped into the unknown and drove to California.

Lowkey the scariest thing I’ve ever done, driving to a new city with no plans and no friends. The idea of getting so far out of my comfort zone is what made me want to do it, in fact. Going to Mizzou along with a large group of my friends didn’t really help me get out of my comfort zone much. It was more like a new and exciting faux-comfort zone.

Sure, I most definitely made my own lane for myself at Mizzou, befriending a bunch of weird motherfuckers that I call my best friends. Yet, I still found myself craving more. A lot more.

It’s such a trill feeling doing the shit that makes me the most afraid and uncomfortable. Since I got to Cali, I’ve been on my solo dolo wave, going to the beach (no pun intended) and hiking by my lonesome. And I’m oddly cool with it.

I even went to a concert by myself one of my first nights here (shouts to my sister for being the plug and making some calls to get me on the guestlist, she’s a real one). I made some friends at the show. We kicked it til 3 am that night. It was cool. And I’ve become really close with them in a short amount of time together. It’s rad seeing new friendships grow. I’m stoked.

In the midst of all these new experiences, I’m realizing something hella important about myself: when I’m faced with something challenging, my instincts are usually wrong. My initial gut instinct is to say no when asked a question or faced with a decision. I tell myself that I’m thinking with logic and reason, but really I’m just afraid.

I was on a solo hike the other day when after a few miles in, I ran out of water. My first thought was to turn around and head back “for my own safety.” Standing on the trail, sweating my ass off from the abnormally hot weather central California’s been experiencing (still more comfortable than Missouri summers though), a wave of turn up came over me and pushed me up the rest of the trail. My exhaustion was well worth the view from the top.

The crazy view from the top of the mountain isn’t the point of that stupid story. It’s that my initial thought to turn around was wrong, and I proved that to myself.

I swear, I feel myself growing into someone different, someone way doper and more advanced, all because I’m doing everything I can to get all these fears out of my mind. I feel these demons inside me trying to fuck with me, and I refuse to let them run my life like they used to.

“These demons, they callin’ my soul. I said fuck all of you hoes.”

– Drake & Future, “Scholarships”

I can’t say it’s all bad, though. All the bullshit I’ve been through has made me and fueled me to conquer whatever I’ve been up against. I’m about to be on some next level shit in the next five years because of it, just wait on it.

“This year I’m eatin’ your food and my table got so many plates on it. Hundred inch TV at my house, I sit back like “Damn I look great on it.””

– Drake, “Versace”

Everything I’ve done my whole life has made me the man I am today, and I’m sure as hell not going to let some bitch called fear fuck everything up.