Category Archives: stress

The Secret to Surviving Lockdown is Tea

tea

That’s right. Tea. 

Is there some sort of magical cure within the brewed leaves? Do they provide immunity to the COVID-19 infection? Will the brew ward off evil spirits?

Nope.

But it sure does taste good, doesn’t it?

That’s right my dear readers (all five of you!) I have gone on a balls-to-the-wall two month tea bender of epic proportions. White, green, oolong, black, pu’er, rooibos, Manuka, chamomile, and mint. I’m downing the stuff like there’s no tomorrow, because who knows… With this pandemic, there literally might not be a tomorrow.

sipping tea

And ya’ know what? My life is all the better for it. Being stuck at home, we have nothing to do but sick back and savor the complex flavors that tea provides. Some are bold. Some subtle. Some floral. Some deep. Some tea, like Dragonwell, Darjeeling, and milky oolong, somehow blend intense and floral notes all in the same leaf! How do they do it?

My life now resembles the Mad Hatter’s tea party, and the book is correct, once you start on your favorite pot of tea, time really does just slip away from you.

mad hatter

So go on, skip that nasty bitter coffee for a day. Instead, embrace the dignified, the fanciful, and the truly delicious tea leaf instead.  What better time than now? It’s not like we have anywhere else to be…

~ The Dark Horse

Taking Time for Yourself is Important

nyc

So, I’ve been here in New York City for about a month and a half now, and it has been one hell of a whirlwind.

Working on my thesis, and interning in TV, and writing for a magazine, and editing for a literary journal – It has been non-fucking-stop. And I love it. I absolutely love how busy I am and how much fun the work I do is, and how there is potential for my future now.

It’s amazing. It’s like I’m finally getting the things I want. My hard work is paying off!

 

However, having said that…

I’m definitely also working a little too hard. I’m working 7 days a week. (I’m even feeling a little guilty for taking a few minutes to write this blog post rather than do editing for the literary journal). And that’s a problem. 

I’m starting to feel the effects of burn-out.

sleep

 

I wake up in the morning, even after a 7-ish hour sleep, and I can feel that I’m only recharged to maybe 80%. I can feel the sluggishness setting in. I can feel the bags under my eyes forming. The dreaming and yearning to go home for a little vacation where I drink grandma’s ice tea and play Minecraft and ride my bike. I can feel the wanting a break. A rest…

 

AND THEN I WAS WALKING THROUGH CENTRAL PARK ON MY WAY HOME FROM WORK ONE DAY…

CP

And in Central Park, you can dedicate park benches and write little messages to loved ones, remembrances to deceased loved ones, and all that general plaque type stuff that you see on benches around the world.

And for some reason, I’m walking passed this one bench, and I happened to look at it, and it said,

“If you could just learn to slow down…”

 

And then my name was written right after that.

No joke.

Not kidding. 

I stared at the bench. I’m not one to believe in secret meanings or the universe sending me messages, but something about this.  It was like exactly what I needed to hear at the exactly the right time. It was so surreal.

 

So now, It’s Sunday, and I’m going to work…but I’m also going to take breaks. I’m taking some time to write this blog post, because I love my blog and it makes me happy to write it! I’m also going to go for a little walk at some point this afternoon too.

In short, I’m just going to slow down a little bit. 

Now, I was going to add a GIF into this post about writing. Something to show that I was taking time to write or whatever… and then I found all these horrendous Bradly Cooper GIFS that are just tragic, and make me laugh.  So, for your pleasure, I think I’ll showcase some wonderfully bad Bradly Cooper typing GIFS.

coop

Ok, so here’s Bradly in some sort of writing rainfall.  WHAT IS THIS EVEN FROM? Is this from that movie where he plagiarizes everything from Shakespeare or something? Wasn’t he in some movie called The Words? Or something like that?

 

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FULL BLOWN LITERARY HURRICANE! 

This is the type of shit that could life Dorothy’s house right up out of Kansas.

 

Alright, enough Bradley bashing. Remember to work hard, but to also take time for yourself. Your career is only one component of your life and only one component of happiness. Remember your health and your social life are important too!

 

~ The Dark Horse

 

 

 

 

New York, I Have Arrived!

nyc

 

Somehow. Someway….

It happened.

I’ve finally arrived.

I’m in the land of Joan Didion, Robert De Nero, and Anna Wintour.

And It’s so insanely exciting and cool and terrifying and thrilling and wonderful and stressful.

I mean, people, listen to me, I am currently writing in a cafe in Manhattan, surrounded by brownstones with iron fire escapes, and the sounds of honking and all the rest of those very New Yorkish things.

nyc1

 

And obviously that sensory overload is good and bad. Sensory overload can lead to anxiety. And I’ll be honest, I’m getting a tad of it.

It seems like too much has gone right. I mean, who lands a good job in New York, finds an amazing apartment at a great price in a wonderful neighborhood, has good roommates, and…. is actually happy?

Does anyone else out there feel like happiness is one of those things that other people get, but the we don’t?

It’s like I’m waiting for the floor to drop at any moment.

Like, maybe this job will fall through. Or the owner of the apartment will sell, and I’ll have to move….or worse, what if I can’t find a place afterwards? And then I have to leave because the stress has caused me to have a mental breakdown and lose my job? It seems like I’m so used to pain and misery that I no longer have the ability to even believe that a good life exists.

It seems that whenever something good starts to happen, a hurricane alarm goes off deep within me. Some old sailor starts screaming, “Batten down the hatches!” I start to brace for the bad to begin again.

perfectstorm

AND YOU KNOW WHAT?

THAT FUCKING SUCKS AND IS UNFAIR.

 

And you know what else? I’m really fucking over it. Done. (Or for all you eighteen-year-olds out there, I’m #done).

 

It isn’t fair that I have to live a life convinced that I don’t deserve good things. Or think that I’ll never be happy.

Fuck that. 

And Fuck all the people out there who have conditioned me to be this way. 

Fuck all the kids from my grade school who called me faggot.

Fuck all the kids in high school who spat on me, and who told me they’d beat me up if they ever saw me in the bathroom.

Fuck the teachers who stood and did nothing.

But double fuck the teachers who made comments themselves. I’m looking at you freshman year health teacher who told me I’ll die of AIDS simply for being gay.

And also to my old German teacher who was openly homophobic. 

Not to mention EVERY SINGLE religion teacher I ever had, who told me I would go to hell. 

Fuck my old boss at Aeropostale who made fun of me for having depression and anxiety. Im sorry that you’re a grown 37-year-old woman who’s life has amounted to working in a bumfuck mall in a cornfield in Ohio selling cheap clothing to little girls that fall apart after a month. 

Fuck everyone in Ohio who discouraged me from dreaming big. Who told me the world would eat me alive. Who told me I’d never be good enough. Who told me I was stupid. Who told me I was ugly. 

FUCK ALL OF YOU. 

CUZ GUESS WHAT MOTHERFUCKERS, 

I live in Manhattan now. And I just got a job in television. And I’m finishing up my Master’s where I’m putting together a book full of my essays. 

So, here’s my cock. suck it.

nyc2

Werk.

 

I’m ready to embrace a life of meaning. A life where maybe I can even help change other people’s lives. A life where I’m happy and fulfilled. And I’m done even remembering what a bunch of boondock Ohioans tried telling me about life.

~ The Dark Horse

 

 

Finals Week…

final

This is it. Today is my last final. 

After this, I’m free.

Free to enjoy winter break and relax a little before the next wave of stress begins with the move to New York.

But for now, I’m slowly dying.

final1

 

The weird mixture of stress and excitement that fills finals week is always a strange one. You can see the finish line. It’s so close! IT’S.  RIGHT.  THERE!  If only I could touch it! 

But before you can reach the finish line, there’s the tests and the 25 page essays which require (clutches my pearls) scholarly citations! Truly the scariest things that have ever happened to this world.

finals2

 

 

But, though it’s stressful and your life lacks sleep, and even though I’ll probably get sick after this is all over, it’s worth it. Because once finals week is done, you can take that deep breath and know that soon you’ll board a plane home and see your family, eat lots of food, and enjoy the holidays!

home!

 

 

So, wish me luck and let’s pray I don’t die.

And to any other student reading this (expect those lazy people at Dartmouth who already finished their semester…) I wish you the best. We shall go to war together.

hunger

happy Hunger Games everyone! 

 

~ The Dark Horse

A Simple Moment

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So, I was walking along the Charles River the other evening, and despite my intense desire to this hate world and fill my mind with pessimism….I saw this.

 

I took this picture of a mother goose with her little chicks all cuddled up with each other to stay warm. In that moment my heart was melting.  And I hate it when my heart melts because It feels like weakness…but uuuuugggghhhhhhhh BABY GEESE CHICKS!

Just look at em!

Even the coldest, hardest heart has to give in sometimes.

 

river

As I walked along the river, the cuteness continued.  There were goose chicks everywhere!  Some looked like teenage geese, while others were just learning how use their little flippers to walk. Mother and father geese stood guard as their little ones plopped in and out of the river.  I have never seen so many geese chicks before, and I’ve never been able to be so close to them!  These geese didn’t even care that we were there.  I’m gonna say there was probably like, at least 50 geese chicks around me.  Waddling with the adorableness of springtime.

I just said the adorableness of springtime…  Ugh, I hate myself right now.

But cmon, how can you not feel all gooey inside after watching little chicks waddle their butts and trip over their flippers that are just way too big for their little baby goose bodies?

 

Anyways, what’s my point here?  Oh, right!  Ok, the point here is this:  We have a way of getting so lost in our heads sometimes that we forgot to enjoy the world around us.  We stress about things, we regret the past, we dread the future, we feel lonely, we feel overworked, we feel a lot of things.  But then suddenly, a baby goose waddles by and instantly you’re brought back into the real world. You’re pulled out from that dark cavernous head of yours and you remember…..

…Oh yeah, the sun is shining. It’s a blue sky. I have an ice tea with me. And there is complete unabashed innocence and purity waddling right on by. That goose chick doesn’t care about struggles, he just wants to catch up to his buddies who are learning how to grow up and fly. He’s living in the moment….SO WHY AREN’T WE?

Let’s try and find more moments to enjoy. let’s try to find more moments that will bring us into the real world.  More moments that will make us smile, because let’s all be real here…. we humans never smile enough.

 

Go get inspired!

~ The Dark Horse

INFJ and Emotional Intensity

emotion

 

Hello my fellow INFJ’s!

So, today let’s talk about something we all experience: Emotional Intensity. 

 

Emotional intensity has been described by Imi Lo as:

“Emotional intensity is a form of neuro-diversity that is most often misunderstood by our culture. It is characterized by heightened and intense feelings, a constant stream of both positive and negative feelings — pain, distress, despair, fear, excitement, love, sadness or happiness — sometimes a mixture of many at the same time.”

For those of you out there who like images, I’ve made this:

HAPPY

INFJ types are known for our strengths. Such as being creative, insightful, inspiring and passionate.

These come from our intense sensitivity, which we get from this emotional spectrum.  We can see such beauty, but also such pain. We can see the light and the dark, and we can see them with a sharpness that others can’t.

 

For example, have you ever been talking to someone and they’re going on and on about how great their weekend was?  They’re sitting there saying things like, “OMG we went to this bar and OMG we were there till like 2am…and I was like…OMG I have work Monday, but whatevs right, it’s the weekend?!?!  OMG it was so much fun!” 

And you’re staring at them blankly, almost in pain. Wondering how something so insanely boring and trivial could bring them such joy?

 

Well, that’s the emotional spectrum in play. Normal people can really only feel so much joy and so much pain. They live in a relatively constant stasis, unaware that there could be anything more. And for the most part, not even caring if they ever have more. Because as far as they’re concerned, they’re happy.

But not us. When we hear them talk, our stomachs sink and our palms sweat. When you’ve felt intense joy and intense pain, the idea of spending your entire life only 60% switched on is scary.  AND IT SHOULD BE! For us, living that lifestyle would mean that we aren’t letting ourselves flourish. We need more because we know that there is more. 

dunst

For us, living that kind of life would be like being locked in a cage for eternity.

 

That’s why INFJ types are natural artists, travelers, philosophers, teachers, and preachers. We need more.  We need to feel like we have a cause. Like we have a purpose. 

And sadly, a lot of us don’t get nurtured and supported the way we should. A lot of people don’t understand us or refuse to help.  Then, our sensitive nature, which could have been there to push us to be the best we can be, ends up devouring us.

We wonder why nobody gets us and why nobody cares. We wonder why we’re so different…why everyone says it’s so wrong for us to just be…us. And thus, we fall to the dreaded INFJ dark side.

darke

 

But, we don’t have to.  We don’t have to hate ourselves. We don’t have to feel like crap. We don’t have to let society tell us that we’re bad for feeling such intense emotions.

Will people always tell us that our head is in the clouds?    Yes.

Just remember you’re not alone. There are other INFJ’s out there.  We are few and far between, but we are here. And we get you. And we don’t think you’re weird. We think you’re awesome!

bloom

Let yourself bloom!

~ The Dark Horse