Letter to Myself: Stop Coddling Yourself & Your Emetophobia

This is a letter to myself. It may seem harsh sometimes, and it is probably irrelevant for most people.

Every Emetophobic thinks they know the secret to themselves: living with it. Pack a kit, take antacids, wear a mask; whatever it is, you do it. You truly believe that it’s the right thing to do. You have good days, and not-so good days. But, at least you’re taking care of yourself, right?

Wrong.

You know those overprotective parents? You’re being one of them. To your brain.

The worst thing that you can do for yourself is let your anxious brain take charge. Your brain is the devil disguised as a crying baby that just wants a hug. Don’t hug the baby, no matter how cruel it seems. The baby will thank you later. (In real life, yes, definitely, go ahead and hug the baby. That was just a metaphor.)

You are stronger than yourself. (I know that sounds incredibly stupid, and makes no sense, but bear with me.) You are stronger than needing pills that “prevent” yourself from something that shouldn’t even be a big deal. You are stronger than going through a dozen peppermints a day like it’s your job. You are stronger than skipping over any paragraph that has the word “nausea” or “puke” or “vomit” in it. If you just skipped that past sentence, go back and read it. I promise you that it will not hurt you in any way.

You don’t need control. I know you want it. I know that if you could just look into a crystal ball, it would all be better. But get this: you can’t. Get over it.

You’re making breakthroughs every day. Every minute you get through without hugging the baby, you’re changing the entire course of your future. You’re steering yourself off that sad, lonely path, and towards a bright happiness, one step at a time.

Emetophobia can be cured. It’s possible. And, it will happen for you. I’m 100% positive, because I believe in you and I believe in your power and strength and determination. If you can, you will. It won’t be easy, but it will feel amazing when it’s all over, and you can finally wave goodbye to good old Emet.

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3 Days in Decorah, Iowa

If I said I was from Iowa City, IA to someone living somewhere that people don’t call “Flyover Country”, I can already anticipate their first question. Yes, I’ve heard them. And, as an extremely helpful person, I will answer it. I cannot tell you how many pigs we slaughter a year, nor how many acres of corn we own, because, I do not live on a farm. (Insert dramatic gasp here.)

Downtown Iowa City- from tree sweaters to unsupervised pianos, anything goes.

~RAYGUN

This summer, I went on a trip with my mom and my grandmother to Decorah, IA. It’s beautiful, from the touristy museums to the little everyday treasures, hidden in storefront windows and in every cup of violet chai. (Speaking of which, being named Violet, I was destined to meet this wonderful drink.)

On the way there, we stopped through Spillville to visit this amazing clock museum. It is filled with clocks that the Bily brothers carved. Some of them even moved and played music!

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Photo credit: POSTCARDY

Deer Statue
A beautiful deer statue downtown.

Every mural, every unique detail that would normally be overlooked, was a hidden easter egg.

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Like the floor made entirely out of pennies (and dimes, for the words) at the Magpie. (The restaurant that serves the AMAZING violet chai.)

In fact, the Magpie’s counters are all chalkboard. (I wish I got a picture of them, they were beautiful.)

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The Magpie also has a 2D tree made out of pennies on the wall, complete with shading! (Sorry for the bad photography, I was at an awkward angle.)

One of the downtown museums has a fence made entirely of fossils and unique stones. A downtown toy shop had little doggie sweaters that say “I pee outside!” (I just thought they were funny,) and a mini working Ferris wheel handcrafted by 6 kids in 42 total hours.

On the way back, we also visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, and the Seed Savers.

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A barn at Seed Savers in all of its morning’s glory (pun intended.)

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The rooftop of the barn.

My Complicated Relationship With Music

Some people are good at being themselves. Some people don’t care what other people think about them, or at least do a good job of pretending or ignoring it.

I am not one of those people.

I used to be terrible with this. When I was around people that I was friendly, I would be myself, but when I was around people that I didn’t like, or where all “popular” and all, I would turn into this strange, shy creature, who resembled me in no way. An absolute pushover. Ask me for a piece of my candy, to borrow my homework, or whatever- I’d do it. And not because I was “nice”. Because I was afraid to stand up for myself. Because I was a doormat of a girl.

While I have gotten better with that over time, there is one part of my fear that remains: being judged by my music choices. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s me. When I’m in class, listening to music like everyone else, it’s all I can do not to pull my computer into my lap and hide my Spotify with my arm.

There is one situation in particular that really bothers me. I told my good friend, who loves a particular artist, that I liked their music too. When she asked which of their songs I like to listen to, I froze up. Why? Who knows. But I just stammered, “I don’t know. I guess I just listen to all of them,” really lamely. I ended up coming off as someone who says something just to impress someone, when really I had a list of song names in my head that I could have easily ticked off.

Do I care what people think of my music choices? Yes. Does anyone else care about my music choices? No. That’s what’s funny to me. Because I know for a fact that no one else really cares, and yet I still remain worried about it.

Friendship is a Funny Thing

img_1141I have a best friend in the whole wide world.

Someone that is quite different from me, and doesn’t know everything about me. But someone that will still always be there for me. And someone that I will always be there for.

I have other friends, too. Several that moved away, three of which that I am still in touch with. One that I text almost every day, one that I am visiting this Sunday, one that visits us quite frequently from W.D.C.

There are other friends, too. Friends from dance. Friends from school. Friends that I don’t even remember where I met them.

And there are friends that I don’t even know why I’m still their friends.

After all, I may have been their best friend long ago, but otherwise, we seem to be bonded by something other than choice. Like we’re just stuck together now.

(Why is that, anyway?)

One of those “friends” is someone I could go on and on about. About our history. And about how they only seem to care about themselves. About how much they’ve changed.

But I don’t really feel like doing that. Because if I talk about our one-sided friendship, then I’ll feel like I betrayed them. (Though it should be the other way around.)

All I can really say is that friendship is a very, very funny thing. A mystery of the universe.

“How are you?”

You have definitely heard this question in your life. And tell me honestly- how many times have you actually given an honest answer?

The common answer is good.

How many people actually have that great of a life, every day? If it wasn’t for my emetophobia and my anxiety, then yeah, maybe I would be “good” every day, too. But, I know everyone has their own problems, so why can’t they at least say “Ok” or “I’m here, aren’t I?”

If I didn’t care how they were really doing, I’d never even bother asking them.

Everyone has to have a good day sometimes, I suppose, but if you say “good” in a bored tone, or even a sad one, it betrays your answer. Don’t say “good” in the same tone you would say “fine” when you’re trying to get someone off your back. Certainly, don’t say it in the same tone that you would say “terrible.”

“How are you?” is an automatic question (for most).

When I ask this, I always want an honest answer. But I suppose we are in the kind of world where some people just can’t give one, whatever the reason. But once, after a really terrible day, I answered my friend “Pretty bad.” And then they laughed and said, “You’re funny.”

(Mind you, this is the same “friend” that I gave the silent treatment for two weeks in third grade, and they didn’t even notice. This is also the same “friend” that asked to see my homework “to compare answers” and ended up showing it to half the class to copy. Oh, and this is the same “friend” that calls me “boring” and “perfect” in a bad way.)

Autumn Bucket List

“Autumn… the year’s last, loveliest smile.”

~William Cullen Bryant

25 things to do this fall with your family & friends!

1. Visit a family farm or a local apple orchard (or both!)

2. Decorate for Halloween

3. Watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”

4. Carve Jack o’ Lanterns

5. Make a Halloween costume

6. Read Halloween stories out loud by candlelight

7. Visit a Haunted House

8. Dress your pets in sweaters or Halloween costumes (my dogs hate me for this)

9. Attend a party or dance

10. Go Trick-or-Treating or hand out candy at home

11. Visit a corn maze or a spook maze

12. Roast pumpkin seeds

13. Make caramel apples

14. Volunteer somewhere

15. Bake pumpkin bread

16. Take photos of or do art with the leaves

17. Go on a hike or play in the leaves

18. Do a puzzle

19. Watch “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”

20. No screen-time for a day challenge (best done over Thanksgiving Break)

21. Thanksgiving dinner

22. Go thrift shopping

23. Take a walk downtown

24. Board game night!

25. Go line-dancing or attend a football game (I will definitely choose the line-dancing)

NOTE: I will never use a photo that isn’t my own without saying so. For instance, this is a photo that my friend and I took this October.