This is how I've been GOOPing

This morning I almost had a mental breakdown about spending $100 on moisturizer. Then, I couldn’t download Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook to my iPad because I can never remember the password to my goddamn Apple ID. Biting into a dry, unsalted rice cake I realized, I did this to myself. My sink is clogged, my credit card debt is already too high, and I’m about to spend $100 on 1.7 oz of lotion? I have the power to unchoose this choice, right?

Two weeks ago I embarked on a journey to transform myself into the goopiest Gwyneth Paltrow wannabe by cooking 20 of her recipes and doing 10 goop recommended things, and I feel like I’m failing at my own made up challenge. So far I’ve made nine out of twenty recipes and I’ve done three out of ten goopy things, and I have 14 days left. If you haven’t been clued into what these 10 things are, you can watch my video all about it, here.

The cooking has definitely been enjoyable. I love to cook, and making new recipes is always fun. I’ve gotta say though, I am so sick of bone broth. We need to take a break. Also… so much chicken. I loved the Crunchy Veggie Salad with Poached Chicken, and the Chicken and Cabbage Dim Sum, but I need a break from poultry. 

Chicken & Cabbage Dim Sum

Chicken & Cabbage Dim Sum

Crunchy Veggie Salad

Crunchy Veggie Salad

Here’s the thing about this challenge - the reasoning behind it was to focus on some self-care for the month of January. The holidays are such a busy crazy time, that I wanted to dedicate a month to doing things to better myself, not to stress out about buying moisturizer. The past few days I’ve spent more time stressing out about my clogged sink and less time taking care of myself. This is when I ask, What Would Goop Do?

Ok yes, maybe she would just pay her way out of her problems, but I don’t think she would let herself get in her own way. If this month is about self care, then I need to whip out the essential oils and take care of myself! Gwyneth wakes up at the crack of dawn every morning to work out and take time to herself before she wakes up her kids and takes them to school, so I am going to wake up at a reasonable hour (based on how late I work into the evenings) and do the damn thing!

It is so easy to put unnecessary pressure on ourselves. Knowing your limit is taking care of yourself. Also, sometimes taking care of yourself is doing things you don’t want to do. You gotta get outta bed even on the mornings you don’t want to, exercise when you don’t want to, even sleep when you’d rather stay up till 2am watching The Bachelor.

 As one of my 10 goopy things to do, I was trying to figure out what I could consciously uncouple from. I thought about breaking up with natural deodorant, but I’m not ready to give up that fight. So now I am checking one more thing off my list - I am consciously uncoupling from judging myself for how I complete this challenge. The whole point was to try new things and have fun, so I’m going to do just that. 

I am going to finish this challenge that I made up for myself to do in my own way. I know how that sounds. I created the rules, and I can change them. 86 the moisturizer, and lets get cookin’.

The First Female ________

I spent most of today on the subway traveling around the city per usual. The mood in each subway car, however, was not the usual. I kept looking in the eyes of strangers wondering if what I had learned this morning was actually real. Sitting across multiple people looking down at their phones and shaking their heads was all I needed to know that everyone around me was thinking and feeling the same thing. I sat across a Latino family of four where the mother and teenage daughter were hugging, eyes bloodshot. All I could think about was how everyone surrounding me would be affected by this ridiculous political outcome. 

I feel really angry. My anger isn’t about losing, it’s about who won. I don’t want to live in a country where my president does not respect women. I don’t care what he says, he does not.

When I was in 10th grade, I ran for Vice President of my class. I didn’t decide to run because I wanted vending machines in the cafeteria, or free pizza every Friday, I decided to run because I was angry. I was angry because there were no girls on the SGA, and I didn’t think it was fair. The same kids were in Student Government every year, and I wanted to shake things up a bit and bring some theatrically to the table. 

I ran against multiple people, and to my pleasant surprise, there was a run-off between me and another guy in my class. He was actually a very nice guy, so this is not a Trump vs. Hillary type of situation. I didn’t feel like his heart was in it like mine was, but that’s probably because he didn’t have anything to be angry about. During the run off, I asked around and multiple guys (boys) told me they wanted to vote for me, but felt guilty because my opponent was their friend. They felt bad for him (or so they said). 

So I didn’t win. And it was fine. I got to stir shit up, and that was great. I learned that politics was not my thing, and I continued to perform in every play, musical, choral concert, black box performance - you name it. 

What I learned today is that I don’t have to be in politics to have a platform. I have always had a platform, and I can continue to be angry and I can continue to fight in my own creative way.

I’ve struggled in the last few years to find my voice artistically. I’ve always known I want to be a performer and an artist since I started journaling in Kindergarten and performing private concerts in my living room every Thanksgiving. But I’ve struggled to find my niche, and it can be frustrating. It feels pointless, sometimes - especially when things like making cocktail videos (coming soon!) feels so trite.

But now I feel motivated in a different way than before. We need our artists, and we need people to keep creating and speaking and questioning. I may not be a politician, but I have a voice, and now I know more than ever, that it is my mission to make that voice heard. I do not have the desire to be the first female president, but I'd like to fight to be the first female something. 



It's Like Riding a Bike

   This week I conquered a fear. I rode a bike in the city. Well, not really the city - in Brooklyn. I’ve only ever biked in beach towns or the suburbs, so that plus my poor sense of direction has instilled a lot of fear. I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge a few months ago and a biker went off on my friends and I for being in his lane. If that’s what biking in the city entails, I don’t want it! Not to mention the countless injuries my friends have experienced. No thanks!

   With a new job comes new challenges, and this new job of mine has provided challenges at every step. One of those being that the office is located in the Navy Yard. If you aren’t familiar with the Metro NYC area, the Navy Yard is no man’s land. I barely get cell phone service. By public transit it takes about an hour to get there from my apartment, and it’s under three miles away. 

   Aside from the geographical challenges, I didn’t notice until recently the amount of unnecessary pressure I’ve been putting on myself, and the amount of wasted worrying I’ve been doing. I went from a job that had very specific parameters to one where I am in charge of setting my own systems and I’m like - I’m sorry, what are the rules, again? Where is my gold star? I’ve been anxiety ridden mess, and everyone I work with is like - Elise, you are fine.  Are we seeing the metaphor here?

   Because I was sick of the unnecessary trek to the Navy Yard, I faced a fear in my anxiety ridden state and signed up for Citi Bike. I thought for my first ride I would take it easy and just bike to the subway station, to break myself in.

   Walking up to the Citi Bike station, heart pounding, my eyes start doing that out of body tunnel vision thing. You'd think by this point I've tripped over enough twigs and fallen down enough stairs not to care what strangers think of me as I awkwardly try to figure out how to use Citi Bike, but that is not the case. Mortified, I jab myself in the crotch about three times until I the seat adjusts, take a deep breath, and begin my journey.

   I come the crossway under the BQE. Can I go when there's a walk sign or do I act like I'm a car? Hesitating is probably the worst thing you can do - I remember that from Drivers Ed. GO. As I approach Myrtle, I only have a few streets to go, and sigh with relief. I can do this! Come through, mama! (I’ve watched too much Drag Race…) But no - I have to make a LEFT turn on a busy street. This is when my life begins to flash before my eyes. I start to wonder how many people will show up for my funeral, but then the Red Sea parts and I miraculously make the lefthand turn in one piece!

   I am a champion! This is easy. I look down and realize I'm going the wrong way down a one way. Ooof… there’s a cop car. Very swiftly, I hop off my bike and walk a block over so I can go the right direction. A few minutes later, I approach Lafayette and Washington, dock my bike, and let out a sigh of relief. 

   The bike ride lasted approximately eleven minutes. I biked one mile. I was slower than the the Google Maps estimation. But I did it.