To Sparkle Punch...

That is the question

exposure therapy

FIFTH Blogiversary!

JessComment
public.jpeg

CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE?! How has it been five years?!

It’s also hard to believe how much my life has changed since July of 2014. Back then, I was still living in South Philly with Deena and limping around in a walking boot because I had somehow broken my foot. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Walking boot, but make it fashion?

Walking boot, but make it fashion?

I had been in a relationship for almost a year (and would go on to date B for another year and a half!). I was a year removed from inpatient and thus had only been in therapy for that long. Seeing a male therapist was laughably unrealistic. Yoga was in no way an important part of my life (although I had already met the woman who would become one of my YTT teachers, as well as my sometimes therapist). I didn’t drive at all.

What a difference five years makes!

Sometimes, it feels like inpatient is when my life actually began. Which I guess is somewhat accurate—inpatient forced me to finally be honest with myself and others about how I was feeling. So that tends to be the starting point when I reflect on the recent past. And when I look back over the past six years, the only “accomplishments” that stand out are driving/getting my car and completing yoga teacher training. Of course they stand out—they’re fairly momentous.

Interestingly, they’re both developments that 2014 Jess never would have seen coming.

Something else about 2014 Jess? She was not psyched about starting a blog to talk about ~feelings~ and deep stuff. Even after creating this space, it took her a good two months to actually, you know, post something.

My one therapist likes to remind me that fear and excitement are two sides of the same coin. Her theory is that, if you’re afraid of something, you actually have an interest in it, because if you didn’t, you wouldn’t react so strongly to it… with some caveats, of course. (Like, my absolute terror of bees does not mean that I actually have a deep desire to be a beekeeper.) But with the blog, I think her theory applies. Expressing myself creatively in this space ultimately excites me and leaves me feeling fulfilled in a way that few things do… even if publishing this post in August 2014 initially made me go, “Oh my god, I’VE MADE A TERRIBLE MISTAKE.”

But I didn’t. Posts like that need to be published. We as a society need to talk openly and honestly about mental health issues, and with my experiences + interest in writing, I guess I need to be one of the ones to do it!

I am so thankful for the supportive community that has welcomed me and formed in response to my writing. Mica, Bri, Lisa (my dear blog mom), Nicole, Tif, Becky, Crystal, Ashley (a true OG!), knowing all of you has brightened my life immeasurably. And for anyone who reads my blog anonymously or cheers me on via Facebook or Instagram, thank you. It warms my heart so much knowing that you are out there.

Let’s keep finding the sparkle! xoxo

Rebirthday #6

JessComment
3-20-13

3-20-13

Five years since inpatient felt like a big deal. Six… doesn’t feel like much of anything. I didn’t even want to write about it! Like, okay, yay, I did a thing six years ago. What am I doing now, though?

Clearly, there is a part of me that beats myself up for not being “further along” on this whole healing journey (even though I know full well that healing is non-linear). I’m also super aware that I’m not checking the boxes of a typical 30-something: marriage, kids, house, some combination thereof. I try to remind myself that I’ve never been one to do things on the “typical” timeline (hello, driving at age 27!), but I do get there eventually… which I guess means that my forties are gonna be LIT! 😂

In all seriousness, I don’t feel ready to check those big boxes. But that’s not as healthy as it sounds. Rather, I feel like I will crumble under the stress and uncertainty that come with those momentous life changes.

When I was a kid, my anxiety—especially about situations outside of my control—was at times accompanied by big emotional and physical reactions: not eating, not sleeping, crying all the time, obsessive worrying... so I started to avoid anything that would potentially set off that avalanche of symptoms. The only problem is that I’ve learned that coping skill very well over the years. If anxiety makes every one and every thing seem scary, how do you get yourself to do anything? Not to mention that a trigger can show up in all sorts of unexpected ways.

Traditionally, I would only do a “scary” new thing because I was forced into it (by, say, a graduation, or someone else’s life changes). But this past year, I’ve actually chosen the “scarier” option a few times, and although the situations wouldn’t seem like that big a deal to an outsider, they were momentous to me.

In one instance, I initiated a very difficult, emotionally vulnerable conversation with a friend who I would have normally ghosted (so as to not have said difficult conversation). I also started seeing a male therapist, a scenario I typically avoid due to some unresolved guy issues.

These experiences are teaching me that I can handle more than I think I can. Did speaking so honestly with my friend leave me feeling incredibly exposed? Yeah—I felt like I’d ripped off my own skin.

But I survived.

And when I made the initial appointment with the male therapist (a suggestion from a different therapist who was leaving their practice), it was just to cross it off—to confirm my belief that I would be too triggered seeing a male and thus can only see female therapists. But that didn’t happen. (Full disclosure: this particular therapist has a very calm and gentle way about him, and that helps a lot.) Being emotionally vulnerable with a male does freak me out, don’t get me wrong, but it’s giving me a chance to talk about these feelings with a trained professional as I’m experiencing them. That just wouldn’t happen in the same way with a female therapist. It also gives us the chance to try to make sense of what I’m feeling, instead of me just running from the feelings by default.

I guess I need to remind myself that growth and change come in all forms. It’s not always the big box life events or the celebratory moments you’d post about on social media. It’s driving somewhere new when driving isn’t your fave. It’s being your authentic self with someone who loves you… and being brave enough to do it when you’d rather run away screaming. It’s continuing to show up for a situation that scares you. It’s the willingness to look at what is going on in your mind and your life so you can understand it better.

It’s one hell of a ride. The fact that I’m still on it at all, I owe to the girl in the ER six years ago and her very powerful decision. 💜

IMG_7058.JPG

Rebirthday #5

JessComment
IMG_6847.JPG

FIVE YEARS. Wow. What a surprise, indeed. 

I could have died five years ago. Sorry to get all “seven strangers picked to live in a house” real right out of the gate, but it’s the truth. My thoughts had gotten so dark that they almost turned out my light for good. But I didn't let them. And today is the day of the year that I get to celebrate that for the huge freaking victory it is. I don't know if there is an accomplishment that I'm prouder of, honestly.

It's shocking that I can talk about all of this so openly now because I was terrified to admit how I really felt for a long time--eleven years, to be exact. Eleven years of hiding the impulses that scared me but felt like they would scare other people even more. Eleven years of feeling so deeply alone, even while I was with other people. I didn't intend to share my feelings on March 19, 2013, either, but I was so desperately in need of help that I just blurted it all out to my unsuspecting friend Kristin. She took me to the hospital the next day and has become one of my closest friends. (And we originally met through blogging! So if that doesn't speak to the power of blogging friendships, I don't know what does!) I talk to her (or at least bombard her with Pusheen stickers in fb messenger) every day. The whole wild ride ultimately made our friendship stronger. Certainly, this is just one person's experience, but I share it to show that it is possible to let people in to the dark and twisty parts of yourself, and not have them run away in horror. I have to remind myself of that on a regular basis, but I do know, deep down, that it's true.

If you know someone who is struggling with suicidal depression, I can say from my own experience that it was extremely heartening to know that my friends still supported me despite my dark thoughts. It must be scary, and possibly confusing, to hear that a friend or loved one is suicidal. But if you love the person, reassure them of that. This site has some great suggestions for things to text someone with depression. You can also just sit with them while they call the suicide hotline--that's where Kristin and I started. And you can go with them to the ER as a possible next step. We went to the ER at a hospital that she knew had a well-respected inpatient program in case I ended up staying. Which was my choice, by the way--the doctors didn't feel like I was enough of a risk that they had to keep me. My psychiatrist at the time told the ER doctor to just increase the dose of my antidepressant. But I knew that that would only make me feel the numb kind of "better" that eventually cycles back to suicidality. Over those eleven years, the periods of suicidal depression seemed to be coming closer and closer together, so I knew it would come back, and I wanted my life to be more than that.

So I said yes to inpatient, which is probably the most responsible, adult decision I've ever made. 

It's hard to imagine that good things will happen to you when you're trapped in the darkness of suicidal depression. But once I started taking my life back, a cascade of good things followed, and quickly too! Sure, we're not together anymore, but I met B a mere 50ish days after inpatient! DAYS! And in my depression, I thought for sure that I was unloveable! It's so wild to think that, at any moment, you could be meeting the people who will become very significant in your life, or you could be doing something that ends up being hugely impactful in the long run.

Let's recap some of the unexpected, wild, and wonderful things that happened after inpatient: 

April 2013: I start consistently going to therapy for the first time in my life.

May 2013: I start group therapy and meet B. 

June 2013: I move to Philly with Deena. 

July 2013: I go to my first ever yoga class, which is a total trainwreck BUT is where I hear about an upcoming retreat for women with trauma, which I attend--and that’s how I meet one of my current therapists! (She’s the one who does the retreats and the yoga teaching training.) 

July 2014: To Sparkle Punch is born! 

April 2015: I start exposure therapy for my driving phobia.

May 2016: I buy my own car. 

None of these things would have happened without that first step of seeking help.

Now, that's not to say that the past five years have been all rainbows and sunshine. B and I broke up. My uncle died of lung cancer and my cousin of a drug overdose. I moved back home. I had to find a new Philly therapist when my original one left her practice. The important thing, though, is that I don't turn to suicide on the non-sunny days anymore. I see my suicidal thoughts as being in remission--I'm not experiencing them now because I'm taking care of my mental health by going to therapy, journaling, doing yoga, etc. It's an ongoing process, and I still struggle in a great many ways. I mean, hello, two months ago, I couldn't eat, sleep, or sit still because I was practically vibrating with anxiety! I have a hard time leaving the house (aside from going to work or therapy). I struggle to see a future for myself, which I think is a known side effect of PTSD. But I'm working on those things. I haven't given up yet. And today, that matters more than anything. 💜

IMG_6848.JPG

One year!

JessComment
FullSizeRender.jpg

May 31st was my one-year car-iversary!! Which is still slightly hard to believe given my previous fear of driving! (You can read about how I did exposure therapy for that here.)

I thought it might be fun to look at year one (and my history with driving overall) by the numbers, so here they are!

1: Number of tries it took me to get my license (...after many driving lessons)

19: Age at which I got my license

29: Age at which I bought my car

23: Age at which I first drove by myself

3: Months of exposure therapy

10: Months between ending exposure and buying a car (😮 totally did not anticipate that when I started exposure!)

Hop in, Calico Pinky!

Hop in, Calico Pinky!

28.8: Miles to work every day

21: Number of highway miles to work

5:50: Time I used to get up in the morning for my public transportation commute 😴

8:15: Time I usually get up now

2:10: Typical length of my commute via public transportation

:40: Typical length of my commute via car

IMG_0588.JPG

1: Number of passengers I've had that are not related to me (shout-out to Kate Reynolds!)

66: Miles one way on my longest drive to date

14,976: Total miles driven in year 1 (+ two weeks)

1: Number of times I popped the hood instead of the gas tank 😂

1: Legitimate near-accidents (a number my scared-of-driving-self thought would be much higher!)

12: Months as a car owner 🎂

IMG_0624.JPG

Even though I wasn't driving before 2015, I had always thought that I would drive eventually--just some time in the very distant future. So when I got the keychain above as a present at Ring Mass in high school, I put it away because it was so pretty that I only wanted to use it on my future car keys. Fast-forward to me finding it a few weeks ago and honoring my 17-year-old self's wishes by adding it to my car keys. ❤️ Those "someday" dreams can definitely come true.

When you're ready, come and get it

JessComment

Spoiler: I was not ready.

So I bought a car a few weeks ago! A purchase that was a year in the making! And when the time came on May 31, I still was not ready! Actually, that's not true--I was excited by then. Before, however, was a different story!

 

After I finished exposure therapy last summer, it became clear that I would need a car of my own, so that I could drive regularly and stay un-terrified of driving. But I was not thrilled about this proposition. Luckily, saving for a down payment was a great, indisputable excuse that let me to hang out in comfy noncommital limbo for awhile. In the meantime, I could borrow my dad's car and drive to work once a week, thereby not undoing all the progress of exposure therapy. Insert thumbs-up emoji here.

Buuut then, in March, I got my tax return back and could suddenly afford a down payment.

OH CRAP! was pretty much my mindset from March until May, although I did test-drive a few cars and work out my budget in that time. And my commute on public transportation was getting to be a giant pain in the ass. A normal person would have reached their breaking point with a four-hour-a-day commute long ago, but for someone who feels anxious in down time and also while driving, it was nbd. Or at least it had been. I couldn't deny that a 45 minute drive, in a car that was waiting for me whenever I was ready to leave work, was pretty sweet. Certainly less stressful than trying to make four Septa connections each way! 

A week or so before I bought the car, I was on the bus near work (connection #1) heading home when I saw that my usual train was delayed and that a portion of the el (which I would take in place of the train or catch later in its route after getting off the train) was shut down altogether. I jotted down what ran through my mind as I hyperventilated through that commute, so I wouldn't forget how insane it was:

This is your brain on public transportation: a jumble of train/bus schedules and back-up plans.

This is your brain on public transportation: a jumble of train/bus schedules and back-up plans.

I could no longer deny the ridiculousness of my commute. But even so, the night before I was set to buy the car, I was having serious second thoughts, and poor Pops made the mistake of asking me about my lack of enthusiasm. "OF COURSE I'm not excited--I'm about to sign my life away to something that scares me! Why would be excited about that?!" And that's when I realized that I was actually having a very normal reaction for me. I have never been someone who welcomes change with open arms. So of course I'd be freaking out about having to embrace change, commitment, and driving all at once! IT ALL MADE PERFECT SENSE! I was right on track (for me)! And realizing that took away a lot of the worry and doubt. Instead of falling prey to my anxiety and interpreting it as a sign that buying a car would be a huge mistake, I was just like, "Oh, I'm exactly where I usually am in situations like this. It's just business as usual, ok."  And, lo and behold, I felt excited when I woke up the next morning! I was still nervous of course, but I wanted to pursue the trip to the car dealership as planned. I did play a pump-up song on the way there, but the rest is history!

No joke, this is my jam. And only the "club remix" version, haha!

As I had feared before buying the car, I'm still stressed about driving. But that makes sense too--there's no real way to get used to driving every day without having a car to, you know, drive every day. So I'm hoping that this residual anxiety dissipates with more driving practice. But so far, I don't regret taking this leap at all.

I'm the keymaster

JessComment

Last Thursday, I drove to work, and then had the strangest thought later that day: I can go somewhere. I can LEAVE during lunch. I could even investigate this Nordstrom Rack that is allegedly not too far away!

In the two years that I've been at my job, I've only gone out to lunch on days when my co-workers are celebrating something. There's just not much within walking distance. But I must say, once the idea of taking the car out began to bloom, anxious thoughts popped up like weeds to choke it down: "You don't NEED to go out. What if something happens? What if you get into an accident? You don't even know where you're going! THIS IS MADNESS." I do tend to have almost OCD-like fears with driving, like I'm pushing the envelope and something bad will happen if I drive, since driving is not fully necessary (i.e., one can exist without driving). Some form of these fears is responsible for my lack of driving over the past ten years.

image.jpg

But not on this day :) (What do we say to the god of death? NOT TODAY!)

Three months ago, I'm not sure which idea would have been more laughable: driving to work alone or driving someplace completely unfamiliar on a whim. And while both scenarios produce some degree of anxiety these days, it's not crippling. I'm not its slave anymore. For anyone debating the grueling work of exposure therapy, that is the payoff. And it is so very rewarding. 

image.jpg

Tee: J. Crew (on sale!)

Shorts: Gap (no longer available in blue)

Necklace: Chloe & Isabel

Watch: Target

Bracelet: Lokai

Sandals: Target (no longer available online)

Nail Polish: OPI Alpine Snow

My mane was srsly out of control this day. Thankfully, I got a Deva Cut like two days later :)

My mane was srsly out of control this day. Thankfully, I got a Deva Cut like two days later :)

Can you see the sparkles from my failed  blogaversary  photo shoot? Womp womp.

Can you see the sparkles from my failed blogaversary photo shoot? Womp womp.

Linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday!

What the heck is exposure therapy?

JessComment
Sasquatch and Catloaf were my passengers for my first solo drive to UPenn (eek city driving!)

Sasquatch and Catloaf were my passengers for my first solo drive to UPenn (eek city driving!)

I found exposure therapy to be tremendously helpful, and I HIGHLY recommend to it anyone struggling with a phobia. It is so empowering to feel that you are conquering your biggest fears! Buuut how exactly does exposure therapy work?

Well, at my regular therapist's urging, I contacted the UPenn Center for Anxiety, and began a six month process! I did the over-the-phone intake back in January and was told that the grad students (the cheapest therapy option) were all booked up at that time, but that I would likely hear something in about a month. I was super relieved--hello avoidance!--and mostly forgot about it until I got a call in late February. I still wouldn't see someone right away, but I could come in for my in-person intake, and would likely be seen soon. I liked the girl that did my intake, and luckily, she became free a few weeks later and would be my exposure therapist! We decided to start on April 1, since a slot opened up for me right before I left for Chicago.

In my first appointment, my therapist and I created my "hierarchy"--a series of tasks related to driving (i.e. driving alone, driving in the rain, driving to work) ranked by how much they scared me on a scale of 1-100.

A snippet of my hierarchy. The numbers written in on the left are how scared I was of each task in my last exposure session :)

A snippet of my hierarchy. The numbers written in on the left are how scared I was of each task in my last exposure session :)

The idea was that I would work through these fears in order from "least scary" to "effing terrifying" throughout my course of treatment. Once I started doing the actual driving, my therapist would write my assignments (taken from my hierarchy) on sheets like the one below, and I would note when I did each one and how anxious I was before, during, and after. My anticipatory anxiety was usually waaaaay worse than my anxiety during the task. Our brains are so great at cooking up disaster and keeping us stuck in fear!

image.jpg

To that end, we also tried doing an "Imaginal" in which you script your biggest fears around your phobia, and then record it and listen to it repeatedly. I think it's supposed to make you comfortable with the idea that bad things could happen to you, but probably not to the ridiculous extent you've created in your head. (My imaginal involved car accidents, kidnappers, and ransom--enough said.) The problem for me was that I only ever had time to listen to it on the train, and trains/buses easily put me to sleep. Oops.

For me, the "game-changer" part of exposure therapy was the accountability. This is not surprising: I was a total teacher's pet in school (#perfectattendance #woot) and did my homework every single night, so for me, having to be accountable to another person who gave me assignments was an ideal system. I won't lie, though, I did briefly shut down and refuse (internally) to do my first assignment. But I realized that I would not only be ignoring an assignment (gasp!), but I'd also be paying my therapist to do nothing--she can't help me if I'm unwilling to hold up my end of the bargain and do MY work. So I pushed through and drove for about 20 minutes by myself (my first driving assignment), and progress snowballed from there. Overcoming that fear inertia is often the hardest part of anything scary, and I found that exposure therapy was just the push I needed in that direction. 

 

I hope this post was helpful to anyone intrigued by the exposure process. Feel free to comment or e-mail any questions I may not have answered!

This is ground control to Major Tom

JessComment

When you start exposure therapy, you pick out a goal to work up to over the course of your sessions. Mine was "drive to work alone," and I'm pretty sure I scoffed as I said it to my therapist, like "Yeah, that's my 'goal,' but you and I both know that's crazy."  On day one of exposure therapy, I hadn't driven alone in over two years, so saying that I was going to drive 45 minutes on two different highways to work ALONE felt the same as saying, "I'd like to go to Mars in 2.5 months, please."

Well last weekend, I went to Mars.

I DID IT!!!!! Hello, work!

I DID IT!!!!! Hello, work!

Because my exposure therapy wraps up this week (my therapist is a grad student about to start a different rotation), it was time to tackle my be-all, end-all goal. By now, I've driven to work like 6 times with my dad, so getting to work didn't seem as ridiculous as it had back in April, but it was still daunting. (I might have wailed, "What if I don't make it?!" before leaving. Pops was like "GO, you'll be fine.") I was so nervous, I walked out the door without the car keys. Luckily, the drive itself went much better than that, and I sang along with some super-dramatic jams (like "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" maybe...) to channel my anxiety. I merged several times, pulled up close enough to the ticket window on the Turnpike that I didn't have to put the car in park and practically get out, and managed to keep my speed on the Turnpike around 65! (I'm pretty much the grandma emoji behind the wheel.) And then, once I got to work, I turned around and did it all again successfully! (Well, it was Sunday.) I followed it up with a trip to my happy place (Target), although I was so mentally and physically exhausted after all that that I basically went home and collapsed. Progress will do that to you, I guess.

I'm still somewhat in shock about all that I've accomplished in the past 2.5 months. From driving in parking lots, to driving alone for 10 minutes at a time, to driving on 95, in the city, on the Blue Route, and the Turnpike. Holy crap. Here's to doing the impossible! <3

image.jpg

Don't believe me? Just watch.

Jess2 Comments

If you feel stuck with your fears and doubt your ability to overcome them, boy do I know that feel. I'm scared of lots of things (bees, the Bradlees logo, commitments of all kinds...), but let's just focus on driving. I spent 12.5 years trying to avoid driving whenever possible, and now, in 2 months of exposure therapy, I'm driving. It's annoyingly comical how much easier it is to do something than to avoid it. Sure, there's massive anxiety involved, but at least you're actually confronting the thing you fear.

I used to beat myself up a lot for not driving. I felt stupid for not being able to do this one dumb thing that seemingly everyone else does no problem. I'm a smart gal and I had taken driver's ed/driving lessons, hello! I passed my driver's test on the first try and parallel parked like a champ! But the thing I failed to acknowledge was that I never practiced driving in that 12.5 year interval. I walked everywhere, or took Septa, or relied on friends to get around. So how good could I possibly be at driving when I never did it?! Like, DUH.

The only time I took up driving briefly was after I got the job I have now (back in 2013), but then driving became part of my suicide plan. Obviously, I was not in a good place at that time and went inpatient shortly thereafter. But even as I embraced so many other scary things post-inpatient (living in the city, yoga, group therapy), my fear of driving was alive in a new way--I feared that driving would trigger my old suicidal thoughts. The brain is so fantastic at coming up with excuses and "logical" reasons for avoidance!

I say all of this to highlight the layers of mental crapola that made driving this huge pain-in-the-ass hurdle for the past 12.5 years. It just goes to show how berserk the mind gets in constructing walls of fear.

Ultimately, though, getting past fear IS POSSIBLE. When 2015 began, driving was not on my agenda whatsoever. When my therapist suggested exposure therapy back in January, I agreed to call Penn while fully convinced that it would never work for me. The day before I had to do my first driving assignment, I basically had a temper tantrum about how stupid it was and almost refused to do it. But I somehow pushed through and took a risk--something else I'm pretty scared of. It turned out that my anxious mind had not accounted for my past excellence in school (i.e. always doing assignments), my laser focus, my work ethic, and my resolve. So when "Uptown Funk" came on as I was driving (relatively calmly) to Penn last week, I was just blown away by the idea that I'm doing something that my anxious mind so strongly believed I couldn't--or shouldn't--do. Don't believe me, Anxiety? Just watch.

And if I can work toward overcoming my fear of driving, imagine what YOU can do!! <3

 

After doing part 1 of my first drive to and from work (with Pops) last weekend! Driving to work alone is the ultimate goal for my exposure therapy yikes!

After doing part 1 of my first drive to and from work (with Pops) last weekend! Driving to work alone is the ultimate goal for my exposure therapy yikes!

Sorry I'm not sorry

Jess2 Comments

Except that I am sorry. About pretty much anything. Especially when I'm behind the wheel: "Oh! Sorry! Sorry sir!" Perhaps I didn't realize you were coming into my lane, or maybe I thought I almost hit you or am afraid I cut you off. Apologies are also issued to my passengers: "Ah, I'm sorry this ride is so bumpy! I'm sorry if it's freezing in here!" Real talk: I just feel so self-conscious while driving. I feel like everyone knows what they're doing, and I'm the dunce who somehow snuck my car onto the road. (Of course, all of my passengers have said that I'm doing great, but self-consciousness and logic are fundamentally at odds!)

Last week, my in-session assignment was to drive from University City to Penn's Landing and back again while practicing changing lanes. After one too many panicked apologies, however, my therapist tweaked the assignment: "Alright, for every time you say 'I'm sorry,' you'll have to make an unnecessary lane change." That cured me real quick! I only racked up two "I'm sorry" lane changes after that! But with exposure therapy nearing its end, my therapist threw down some pretty intense homework assignments too: driving an unfamiliar route, driving on the highway alone, and perhaps the most challenging for a perfectionist with anxiety, driving on a whim. (A whim, what's that??)

So I spent a good bit of Memorial Day weekend 2015 behind the wheel, encountering new obstacles like a family of geese ("Seriously?!") and a dude in a wheelchair crossing City Ave BACKWARDS ("SERIOUSLY?!?!?"). But my whimsical outing remained incomplete until Monday. I'm used to planning everything--I mean, you really have to if you take public transport. (If you choose to go somewhere on a whim, you're gonna be waiting at the bus stop for awhile!) But when I ran out of breakfast bars Monday morning, a situation of whimsy presented itself: I could go to Target (via the highway) to get more.

I did it!! My positive self-talk on the way was "You can do it... because you're doing it!" I'm basically Gordon Bombay here.

I did it!! My positive self-talk on the way was "You can do it... because you're doing it!" I'm basically Gordon Bombay here.

So we all know that I love Target. It's great and comforting and sells everything you could ever want. But a problem with Target is that I can't get to one easily via Septa. If I am at Target, I'm either there with someone and feeling rushed (hello "I'm sorry" complex) or I'm stressing about getting Septa home. I never really get to do this: 

Wandering aimlessly with some Starbs

Wandering aimlessly with some Starbs

Or this: 

Trying on one million things!!!&nbsp;And I bought none of them!

Trying on one million things!!! And I bought none of them!

What. a. delight. Running errands has never been so exciting, now that they take only as long as I want, and not as long as the bus route is (and heaven forbid I miss the bus. On a holiday?! Who knows the next time that thing's coming!). Oh, and I guess a secondary whim happened when I was on my way to Target and realized that I could also swing by Ulta, which is right next door. That's where I spotted this beauty:

image.jpg

How fitting.

"Beep at my therapist!"

Jess6 Comments

Last week was the first time I had to drive in-session. Which meant picking up my therapist at UPenn and DRIVING IN THE CITY. And, to spice things up even more, it was Penn move-out day, HOORAY. So I was basically driving in real-life Paperboy, dodging ambulances, bicyclists, my formerly-beloved buses, and kids wheeling desk chairs and huge boxes of junk across the streets of University City. OY. But I survived, and it actually wasn't so bad (especially on the way home when I didn't get shuttled onto a different street due to construction!). I was totally freaking out when I picked up my therapist, but within a few minutes, I became relatively calm and dealt pretty well with driving around the city for a total of two hours! I'm pretty proud of myself. City driving has always been especially high on my "Things to Avoid Like the Plague" list (along with wet seats on the El and bees), and I did it!! And my therapist said I was better than some drivers she's been with (despite the fact that I got beeped at a few times during our ride #brotherlylove).

A few days later, I took the driving up a few more notches and drove to work (with Pops), on a route that mostly consists of highway driving. After dealing with the obstacle-course nature of city driving, highway driving was a comparative breeze. Get in a lane and go straight? Now THAT I can handle! Driving to work was also great because I could wear the outfit below, since I would be in control of the temperature (unlike on Septa, where I usually freeze)! *confetti horn emojis*

image.jpg
image.jpg
  • Tank: Splendid (Nordstrom Rack, 2013)
  • Skirt: Pins & Needles (Urban Outfitters, 2013)
  • Flats: Bandolino (Zappos, April 2015)
  • Bag: Merona (Target, to be included in May 2015 budget)
  • Watch: Xhilaration (Target, to be included in May 2015 budget) 
  • Bracelets: Lokai and DIY
  • Bow necklace: gift from the bf
  • Nail polish: Revlon, "Enchanting" 
image.jpg

Linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday!