Daily Inspiration: Matthew Hussey

In the past few years, I’ve purposely stayed away from any kind of dating self-help, whether it be videos, blogs, books or whatever. I’ve just wanted to focus on being happy with me and nourishing my soul and not read some book on how I can be a better dater or get him to call the next day.

The only exception to that is a guy named Matthew Hussey. Yes he’s insanely good looking and has a British accent, but he actually gives some really good advice. I don’t like all of the pushing his books and his retreat and all his other money-making agendas on his website but I suppose he’s a rather smart business man for doing so. I like that he doesn’t just offer women advice on dating; he offers advice on embracing who you are and loving yourself too. This video below is the perfect example of that. It’s long but it’s well worth the 22 minutes.

It really really resonated with me as someone with a disability and a limp that I always perceive as an imperfection. I think he’s spot on when he says that it’s not being perfect that makes people attractive, it’s being imperfect but being resilient and still fun loving and courageous despite all of those imperfections. I love when he talks about not justifying yourself to other people too. I constantly feel like I’m having to justify my disability to people, especially when it comes to dating. It hasn’t been until very recently that I’ve loved myself enough to say, “You know what? I don’t have to justify this to you.” I don’t have to try to make my MD sound “cool”, or minimize it just to get someone to like me or want to date me. If you don’t like it…there’s the door. Here’s to all of our imperfections…our pimp limps…and not justifying any of it to anyone. Here’s to our courage!

 

Jackie and the Search for Happiness

HectorI watched a movie called Hector and the Search for Happiness over the weekend and in it was a line that really stood out for me. Hector (the lead character as demonstrated by the movie’s title) asks a Buddhist monk how he’s happy with all that he’s been through in his life. The monk replies emphatically, “I’m happy because of all I’ve been through!”

What a simple yet profound thing. I think a lot of us, myself included, think that happiness is never going through hard times. Happiness means things never going wrong or not struggling. But in its true essence, happiness is actually a result of hard times, the result of things going wrong and is what comes out of struggle. To be able to overcome any odds and still be able to greet the world with an open heart and an open mind. If we didn’t have all of those, how would we be able to recognize joy and let that happiness fill us up?

I recently started meditating. I know, Buddhism-loving me had never quite been able to bring myself to meditate even though I’m probably one of the people who could benefit from it the most. I have a lot of trouble shutting my mind off. I live in my head sometimes and it’s not always a pretty place and it keeps me from enjoying the moment. I lose sleep stressing out about things. So to be able to put myself back in the present and meditate on positive things like compassion and self-acceptance really helps a great deal. I’ve only started with about 5 minutes a day but I think it’s really helping. Like anything. it’s not a fix all but it’s a great link in the happiness chain.

I actually meditated on this very quote the other night too. I’m not happy in spite of muscular dystrophy. I’m not happy in spite of seeming to get myself into the most ridiculous situations or making stupid mistakes sometimes. I’m happy because of all of those. They’ve shaped who I am today and they’ve allowed me to appreciate all the good I have around me. Thanks Hector.

Differently Abled and the Media

MV5BMTAwMTU4MDA3NDNeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU4MDk4NTMxNTIx._V1_SX640_SY720_I think I touched on this particular topic in a blog a while back (once you turn a certain age, I’m telling you, things just start failing and what used to be an awesome memory is one of those things for me). So I watched The Theory of Everything this weekend. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. It’s based on the book by Stephen Hawking’s wife and tells of their relationship and his initial diagnosis with ALS as a young man. Eddie Redmayne won an Oscar for his performance in the film, something that’s garnered him a lot of praise, but also a lot of criticism. Hollywood is notorious for not representing minorities, women, gay people, transgender people and the like on a large enough scale. But it’s especially known for not representing people with disabilities. When they are represented, the roles are often played by able bodied people. I’ve mentioned Artie from Glee. This was the first time I ever saw a character in a wheelchair represented on a television show. And even though the actor who played him did a great job, he wasn’t in a wheelchair himself.

So this brings me to what I’ve seen to be the two schools of thought on the topic of differently-abled people in the media and actors like Eddie winning awards for representing them. One side thinks that it’s wrong for people who are able-bodied to be playing these roles and winning awards for it. The other is that it’s good that disabilities are finally being represented in movies and television and that these actors should be applauded for playing such roles.

I kind of fall somewhere in the middle. I completely, 100% agree that people will disabilities need to represented more in every form of media, especially TV and movies. Like with the case of Glee, I think that part should have easily gone to someone who was actually in a wheelchair. But when it comes to Eddie Redmayne’s part, I don’t think it’s so simple to say someone with ALS should have played him. He had to show the progression of Stephen’s ALS from being able to walk, to only being able to talk using a computer. So I understand why they cast him for the role as they did. He also did an amazing job and spent a lot of time with people who actually had ALS in order to play the role and represent the disease in the way it truly deserved. I also agree with the second school of thought too. I think that just the fact that movies are being made about people with disabilities and are garnering so much attention is hugely important. It’s unfortunate, but the road to full understanding and acceptance can be a long one. It takes small gradual changes sometimes. The Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted appallingly late in history and before it, people with disabilities were seen as second class citizens or a scourge on society and were given zero protection under the law. So yes, maybe having able-bodied actors play people with disabilities isn’t a huge leap of progress but it’s certainly a big step on the road to progress and you have to start somewhere. I have a feeling there were many people who didn’t even really understand what ALS was or its effects on the body before they saw The Theory of Everything even though it’s a disease that’s been known about for a long time. Bringing up the topic leads to a discussion and a discussion leads to questions and curiosity. Those two things lead to knowledge which then can lead to understanding. And the fact that awards are being given to the people in these roles is also extremely important. It brings even more attention to the film/show and thus, to the subject. If screenwriters and directors and movie producers are seeing how successful a film can be that focuses around someone with a disability, then they’re going to be a lot more likely to make another one. Maybe it starts with ALS, and then it’ll be MD or autism or multiple sclerosis.

I think there just needs to a balance. When possible, disabled actors should most definitely be hired. They’ve lived it so why not? But I also think we need to recognize the importance that movies or TV shows are being made about people with disabilities to begin with. I certainly look forward to the day when I see someone who walks just like me or has the exact same struggles represented on a TV show or in a movie. Seeing all these films and shows coming out now, I have a lot more hope that that day will come sooner rather than later.

Blogspiration of the Day: Sarah and Mike

This clip was one the many near-ugly cry moments I’ve had watching The Ellen Degeneres Show. But it wasn’t just the incredible compassion Sarah showed for her friend with autism, or the fact an entire pro-football team supported such a noble case. It’s what Sarah said about Mike that really stood out to me. She said even though he was born with high functioning autism, he’s never mad at the world and loves himself.

Mike could have given me (could still give really) a lesson in how to deal with being different. Nine times out of ten, when I am mad at the world, it doesn’t have anything to do with the world, it has to do with me being mad about the situation I was born with. The same goes for why I retreat sometimes or push people away or am afraid to get close to them. I certainly didn’t grow up loving myself either as is very evident by many of the things I’ve shared on here.

Autism is still a very misunderstood disease I think, especially among kids in high school. Yes I have a limp and was insanely skinny but I can bet that Mike has had to endure much more teasing and a larger lack of understanding than I ever did. So for him to be able to accept himself and not just redirect whatever discontent or negative emotions he might have about his situation onto the world or life, and at such a young age, is just amazingly profound. I hope you enjoy this story as much I did. Thank you Ellen, Sarah and Mike.

The Unhot One

“Why date me anyway when you can date a girl that’s much hotter than me and doesn’t have a disability? Happens time and time again no matter what issues the guy might have. I don’t know why I even bother.”

This was a text I sent to my friend this morning whilst (clearly) having a giant pity party. I hate that I still find myself feeling this way sometimes. I know I’m only human and feeling defeated is a normal part of life. But I wish I could just feel ok about my disability and feel attractive both externally and internally all the time. I work so hard on it, I just feel like the payoff isn’t always big enough. I know it’s a conscious choice I make to accept myself or not, I just can’t seem to quite get there. Something just won’t fully click.

But I also have to acknowledge and be open about how I’ve felt the past couple of days. After a long time of being single, I’ve watched almost all of the guys I’ve ever liked or dated move on while here I still sit, single and trying to figure it all out. It’s not a competition I know, but it opens up the possibility for that little voice of inadequacy to creep up and tell you you must be doing something wrong or there must be something wrong with you for not being able to find someone else too. You can’t help but feel a little less pretty when you see some of the girls these guys have moved on with and even if they weren’t (on the outside), they still wouldn’t have MD which automatically gives them a leg up on you (pun intended). Not having to worry about you falling. Not having to be seen in public with a girl who limps. Not having to avoid stairs wherever you go making fun places like Disneyland, not quite as fun anymore. Lucky them. They all get to move on easily while I have to tire and toil just trying to find one person who will accept me and love me for me.

Dating is hard for everyone. It’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack for everyone these days I think unfortunately. I can’t help but wonder though if it’s harder out here in SoCal. I’ve always gotten this feeling that most of the guys who live out here just think there’s something better around the corner. So they don’t commit until they’re much older and then find some 25 year old girl to marry and have their kids. Or they wait until some Victoria’s Secret model looking girl is interested in them and swoop her up. They see what’s in commercials and magazines and think that’s what they’re entitled to now. And who can really blame them with the way women are portrayed now a days? They don’t see normal women anymore except out in the world and even then, in parts of SoCal, the women look like the women on TV. So let’s be honest, if that’s what it takes to find a relationship, then I don’t have a shot in hell.

Of course I don’t want someone who is only focused on looks. If someone is going to be shallow then they are certainly not going to be able to accept someone who has a disability. It’s just a shame that you have to weed through so much of that to be able to find the ones who aren’t shallow. I’ve dated plenty of nice, non-shallow guys too but for whatever reason, things just didn’t work out. So you have all these odds stacked high against you. All of these things that have to come together to be able to make a relationship blossom (again, something anyone who dates has to deal with). It feels like playing a Jack in the Beanstalk-sized game of Jenga sometimes. When you know there’s no way the blocks aren’t all going to fall at some point.

I’ll probably get a lot of negative feedback for saying this, but the double standard that seems to exist drives me nuts. For most guys, it’s easy as can be to find the next girl to date, no matter what kind of issues he might have or how horrible of a person he might be. I know I get stuck a lot in this “well it’s so much harder for me” or “you can’t possibly understand what it’s like to have a disability” mentality in my life but when it comes down to it, for women…or at least for me…it seems to be so much harder to date. Add in the fact I don’t want kids and somehow I still have managed not to let myself settle for someone? You’ve got an Olympic-sized task at hand. Which I think is why I just don’t want to try. I think there are lots of awesome guys out there but I’m sorry, I don’t want to have to tackle this like a job. I love you Matthew Hussey, but I don’t want to spend an entire day going out and talking to every guy I come into contact with. I understand rejection is a normal part of life but I’ve already dealt with so much because of my MD, I’m not going to put myself out there for more than I have to. And I still just can’t quite get into the groove with online dating. It’s just too weird to have someone texting you asking you what you had for dinner when you’ve never even met them. Or having some 55 year old guy send you a message about how you had a “sexy” weekend. So maybe it’s my own fault that I’m still single because I don’t want to put in a bunch of effort to make it happen. But I just don’t feel like I should have to. I could do more things socially which would probably help but I’m at that age now where most of my friends have either significant others or husbands so the single and ready mingle days are far behind them, leaving me with no one to go out with (not that I even have much of a desire to do that anyway. I’d much rather stay in and watch a movie than go out to a bar on most Saturday nights).

I don’t know. This is just one of those topics that plagues me from time to time. Most days I’m completely content being on my own. I love the freedom I have and the ability to really focus on myself. I don’t have to explain my disability to someone else and they don’t have to be responsible for dealing with it with me. I just have to deal with it and that’s it. If I could just find a way so my friends didn’t have to deal with it either.

I’m at an age now where logically I understand there is much more to a person than what’s on the outside. So no matter how “imperfect” I might be physically, none of that matters. So even if these guys are dating “hotter” girls than me, that means nothing in the end. And it’s not a reflection on who I am either. But sometimes, it still just sucks. I always wanted to be one of the cool kids. Always wanted to be the hot girl. And every so often, the feeling comes over me that I would still like to be both of those things. And I’d like to stop finding myself writing blogs like these all the time. If I don’t get my feelings out, I feel like I’ll burst, but I wish I just felt so awesome about myself and dating all the time that I no longer had a reason to get my feelings out on the topic.

Care-less

silly selfie

I was doing some reflecting tonight as I often do. I was thinking back to when I was in college again. A time in my life, as I’ve mentioned before, that was particularly rough in a lot of ways. I remember when I went to the Counseling Services office for the first time. My self worth was at an all time low for a good portion of college. I blame some of it on the environment of the school itself but most of it was just where I was at in my life with my personal growth. I felt ugly. I felt stupid. I felt unwanted. Even the smallest thing like a guy not liking me would send me spiraling into a depression. I can’t even put into words how self conscious and insecure I was on a daily basis. I finally hit a point where I realized I needed help and one of the great things about my university was they offered free counseling. A few hours after filling out the application, one of their counselors called me to set up my first appointment. I saw him the rest of my time in college and I still carry his advice with me today. He was such a great help and made me realize so many things about myself and most importantly, he helped me start to see my value as a human being.

Fast forward to today and I was thinking about where I’m at now. My life weighed heavy under the burden of what other people thought about me for a long time. I craved nothing more than acceptance and being liked by other people, even if it meant being silent and hiding my true self. I tried to use clothes and makeup to be accepted. I thought if people saw me as pretty then maybe they would like me. Though I most certainly still have those moments, I can say right now with 100% conviction that I do not give a crap what people think of me anymore. And I’m not ashamed of who I am in the slightest. I’m a bleeding heart liberal. I don’t subscribe to just one religion or believe that any one religion is the “right” religion. I’m pro-gay marriage and an ally to the LGBTQ community. I’m a feminist. I get angry when I drive sometimes. I swear like a sailor outside of work. I like to watch bad reality TV to unwind. I love Taylor Swift. Sometimes a perfect night for me is just staying in watching Netflix. I don’t make an effort to talk to or be friends with people I don’t want to or people I think are negative/energy sucking. I cry a lot but can also be really good at not talking about how I feel. I can have unreasonably high expectations for other people sometimes. I have a pimp limp. I like to take ridiculous selfies of myself sometimes (like the above) even when I think selfies are self-indulgent. I think it’s our responsibility as human beings to help other people in whatever way we can. I am imperfect. I am a work in progress.

Just a year ago I wouldn’t have been able to say all of those things out loud, even to some people I know…forget posting it on a public forum where I know I’m opening myself to the possibility of mean comments or judgement from people who disagree with anything I’ve just said. But you know what? I don’t care. I don’t need to be friends with everyone. I don’t need everyone to like me. If you want to gossip and judge and talk crap about me, go right ahead. I can go forward in life knowing I’m happy with who I am. I’m always working on being a better me but I make no apologies for my convictions, my beliefs, or who I am. I make no apologies for being imperfect and screwing up sometimes. And if anyone has a problem with any of it…there’s the door. They’re welcome to walk right through it.

I’ve come a long way from the girl sitting in the counselor’s office filling out the application form and even though going through all that was just a part of my journey, it feels damn good to be where I am…

Wanderlost

One thing I’ve noticed that’s been popping up a lot on social media lately is this idea of wanderlust. Always finding a new place to travel or having the intense desire to travel anywhere and everywhere and doing it now. I have to say that I don’t really have wanderlust. Working in travel I have a lot of friends that do, but I tend to have a more muted perspective. I’m just grateful for whatever parts of the world I do get to see in my lifetime. Which isn’t to say that other people aren’t, but I just personally don’t have that insatiable desire for the next thing or the next place. Part of this stems from having MD without a doubt. It’s not as easy for me to just pick up and go somewhere. I have to plan really thoroughly ahead from everything to the flights to the hotel having an elevator or not. Travel is really tiring for my physically too. There are some places in the world as I’ve said before, that I’ll just never be able to get to either. So that tempers any real possibility for me to have wanderlust I think.

So instead I just choose to be thankful for whatever travel I am lucky enough to be able to do. There are people in the world who might even be physically able to travel but may never be able to actually afford it. So while my physical limitations might be difficult sometimes, I am still very fortunate I am able to save enough money over time to be able to travel and that my job allows for such great discounts for me to be able to travel.

I think this brings to light an even greater issue. Most of life’s happiness can really be found in attitude and perspective. Of course there’s a million places I want to go to in the world, but if I’m constantly putting pressure on myself to get there or stressing out that I may never get there before I die then that just takes away from my happiness. And travel should be all about happiness. I just have to take it one trip at a time. I honestly am just over the moon grateful I was able to go to Ireland and see a place so close to my heart and to my family. To be able to cross #1 off my bucket list. To be able to go anywhere after that is just a huge bonus.

I want to make it very clear though that I think travel is incredibly important for those of who can to do. To get outside of our comfort zone and meet and experience the way other people live. To experience other cultures. There’s no better way to understand each other as human beings. Travel is a great thing to be passionate about. I just think it’s helpful to recognize that there are other people that aren’t that aren’t as fortunate to be able to travel everywhere and to make the blanket statement that everyone should have wanderlust can be a little insensitive. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with appreciating wherever you have been either, no matter how many or few places that might be. Even if I only ever see a small portion of this great big world before I die, that was a small portion worth seeing in every way.

Down the Tunnel

There seems to always come a day when you start to finally accept your disability. When you start to accept yourself and focus on the positive. And then you find out you have a vision threatening ulcer on each of your eyes why? Because you can’t close your eyes fully every night because you have muscular dystrophy. Just when you think you’re healthy and don’t have to go to the doctor for the 6th time since January, your giant happy balloon gets burst.

Days like this you just can’t muster the positivity. I got some great news yesterday I was going to share but I was only allowed to be happy for one day before that had to come crashing down. I know this is the ebb and flow of life…for everyone…but sometimes I’m just tired of dealing with it. Why can I not have a week where I don’t have to assert my disability or convince someone I have one  or conversely be reminded I have one? Why can’t I make it a few months without some weird health issue? I can sit here and come up with some BS about how I’m going to try find the positive in all this but I would be lying to you and to myself. It’s always going to be one thing or another. This will hopefully go away and then something else will come up. I can’t even let myself think about what might happen if the treatment doesn’t work.

I’m reminded now why I don’t date really anymore. I can’t even deal with this myself, how can I expect someone else to? On the same note, because I’m constantly having to deal with it in some way or another, I don’t have the time or energy to worry about someone else’s feelings or needs in addition to my own. Having a disability is a full time job (and I already have 2 jobs).

I feel bad even complaining about this because I know some of you have much more severe issues to deal with than I do but I just can’t get out of my misery today. I’m tired and drained. It’s hard to accept something that keeps insisting on challenging you and bringing you down. It isn’t my fault I have my MD so why am I having to deal with things that come from it (and have to pay for them to boot?). My dad reminded me that this isn’t a punishment but honestly, sometimes my whole life feels like a punishment. That or someone up there has a cruel sense of humor (and I’m sorry don’t give me that, “God doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle” thing right now). Tomorrow is a new day and maybe I’ll start feeling like myself again. Right now, it’s just me and my bed and a lot of sleep I hope.

Taking a Stand

This blog is going to be a little disjointed. I’m going to start with what I wrote initially on my phone after a poor start to an Amtrak ride up from San Diego today. Then I’m going to finish with an amazingly rewarding thing I did.

Part 1

I’m not sure that I will ever get used to being questioned about my disability. This is a fact that makes me really sad. I know I’ve blogged about it many times but that just goes to show you how many times it happens to me. And I don’t even blog about every occurrence. The thing I think people don’t understand is when you’re questioning if I actually have a disability you’re not just questioning the legitimacy of my claim of being disabled, you’re questioning my legitimacy as a human being. You’re saying I am a lazy/dishonest/terrible person because I would make up a disability that I don’t have just to avoid stairs at Disneyland or to sit on the first floor of the train. It’s unfortunate that I have to suffer as a result of there being such horrible people out here that actually would do that. There’s no perfect solution for it, I get that. If you go too far one way and never question anyone then people will abuse it (as is what happened a Disneyland with horrible people from my area hiring disabled people to go with them so they could avoid the lines). If you ask too many people you get into discrimination territory. I just wish people could feel what I feel every time I have to justify myself to a compete stranger and maybe they would rethink their approach or understand just a tiny bit. I’m stuck in between these two worlds. I don’t fully fit in in the disabled community because I don’t have a wheelchair or a cane but I don’t fit in with able bodied people because I have a limp and fall and can’t do things that most able bodied people can.

Sometimes I just want to say “fuck you” to the whole “everyone is going through something
or “people just don’t know any better” thing. Sometimes I just want to stand on top of the globe and shout “hi world, I have muscular dystrophy and you can’t always tell right away so leave me alone!” Maybe I should just start wearing a t shirt that says that all the time. Screw fashion. Sometimes I just want to get a cane just so people get off my back. But I don’t need one and then I would just be helping reinforce the problem of people not understanding that disabilities come in all forms and I refuse to do that.

I know this is something I just need to accept because it’s never going to change but it infuriates me I have to learn to accept something that’s a result of other people’s ignorance. They’re the problem, not my disability.

Part 2

On that note, one of those ignorant people was sitting behind me on the train (on the disabled only level). He had been there since we left the station in San Diego and since he snuck onto the train ahead of everyone else that patiently waited in line. The conductor asked him if he had a disability and he said no. So the conductor asked him nicely to move upstairs. I thought he had until about 3 stops later I heard his phone go off again. It’s one thing when you don’t realize that the 1st floor is for disabled people (despite there being signs everywhere), but it’s a whole different ball game when you do and choose to ignore it. So I turned around, tapped him on the knee and this is how that convo went:

Me: Didn’t the conductor ask you about 3 stops ago to go upstairs because you’re not disabled?

Dude with Bob’s Big Boy Hair: Why, does someone need my seat?

Me: It doesn’t matter. We don’t all the luxury of being able to go up the stairs so that’s really fucked up that you’re still sitting down here.

Dude with Bob’s Big Boy Hair: Well I went upstairs and there weren’t any seats

Me: No you didn’t and look at all these other people standing around not taking up seats because it’s a full train. I am not going to be called out for not having a disability when I do and you’re still sitting down here.

Shortly thereafter, as said dude was packing up his stuff the conductor came along and saw him still sitting there so he promptly got his ignorant butt out of the seat and stood up. I seriously have never felt so invigorated in my life. I really had to pump myself to do it but I didn’t just do it for myself. What got me to finally do it was thinking of everyone who reads this blog, all the new friends I’ve made that have disabilities and how many times they’ve had to face a taken handicapped spot or the like by someone who didn’t really need it. Every time someone just didn’t care that a disabled person needed to use something. Blogging is great but if I can’t take this activism out in the world, then what’s the point? Sitting at home writing about change is great but I need to be that change too. I’ve watched that “What Would You Do?” show so many times, knowing I would probably be the person who was too scared to say something to whoever the wrong-doer was. But today I changed that, and I can feel it. It wasn’t just about standing up for something that wasn’t right, it was about how much I’ve changed and grown as a person. Not only was this guy extremely good looking but I did not do what I did quietly so people were staring at me and were very clearly uncomfortable. But you know what? I didn’t care!! Not at all. For the first time in I think my entire life, I stopped caring what some cute guy or a train full of strangers thought! That guy probably went and told all his friends about the crazy bitch who was in front of him that told him to move and you know what? That’s great! You go right ahead and tell them that. Maybe I am a bitch but if that’s what being a bitch means, I’ll gladly take that title.

I really do hope that my calling him out raised an iota of awareness and maybe he’ll think about not doing that again. If not, that’s sadly just kind of par for the course but at least I said my piece and dammit if I don’t feel amazing after doing it. How have I not been assertive my whole life? Confrontation is totally not that bad! Ok I’m getting ahead of myself but what started as a poopy train ride ended in the most satisfying one I’ve ever taken. And it was all well worth it anyway to be able to spend Mother’s Day weekend with my amazing mom who I was proud to share this story with when I got home.

Things ‘n Things

As I was flipping through my first issue of Conde Nast Traveler (thanks American Airlines miles!), I was inspired to write about something that has nothing to do with my having a disability. I wrote a post a while back about Living on One Dollar, an extremely touching and thought-provoking documentary on Netflix. The older I get, the less attached I am with things…stuff. But I feel like watching that documentary was a really big turning point for me. My relationship with “stuff” really changed. I get rid of clothes more than I buy them. I keep a much more stringent budget so I can save money or donate it rather than spend it willy nilly on the latest online sale.

But getting back to Conde Nast…in between some great articles on travel they have some rather ridiculous columns/pages on things…sunglasses, bags, shoes. I understand how those can intertwine with travel but the things they advertise aren’t in 90% of the population’s budget. A $2000 Chanel bag is the “best” purse for airplane travel? $700 Louis Vuitton sunglasses are the latest trend in travel wear? I was so obsessed with brands and labels in college because every around me was. I just wanted to fit in and have an expensive purse or wear a pair of 7 jeans. Now I just don’t get it. There’s absolutely no need to spend that much money on things. Sure you don’t want to buy the $5 sunglasses at the cart in the mall because you need to protect your eyes but newsflash for you, that Chanel purse is made in the same place with likely the same materials as one at Target.

We live in a consumerist and capitalistic society…I get it. Our economy is basically driven by the amount of “stuff” we buy. I just wish we could all see there’s so much more to life than stuff. It’s natural to want to have nice things. To have a comfortable life. But all this overpriced superfluous stuff is just so unnecessary. It’s just a status symbol to say to the world “look how well I’m doing” or worse, “I’m doing so much better than you”. It’s using something external to try and validate something internal. Cause let’s be honest, if you didn’t really care about the label, you would buy that Target purse instead (I know, there’s brand loyalty too and blah blah blah).

And our culture totally encourages this idea that we need more “stuff”. More clothes, the newest car, the newest phone, some stupid smart watch. None of that will make you happy. Yeah sure maybe you’ll get some satisfaction for a day, maybe even weeks but then that fades and if you don’t feel happy with all of the internal “stuff”: your self worth, your inner peacefulness and happiness, no amount of Louis Vuitton sunglasses and Chanel purses are going to fix that or improve those things. Personally, when I die, I would much rather do so knowing I had at least a little bit of inner peace and happiness. That I had good memories with those I loved rather than a lot of expensive purses or sunglasses.

I know I sound very judgmental and on this particular topic and I freely admit I am. There’s just so much more to life than stuff and it makes me sad how much our society and so many of us (even me at times) put so much emphasis on meaningless things instead of meaningful experiences and memories. Life is short. Make the most of it…without that Chanel bag.